Running is good for mind, body and especially soul

When the alarm on my phone buzzed this morning, my brain started its familiar sabotaging tricks: stay in bed, it’s Sunday! Don’t drive to Wanderers and run a stupid 10km race. Stay in bed, it screamed. Luckily I had committed to two friends that I’d run the race with them, which was a good enough excuse to fight back those negative thoughts.

Meeting up with Tanya among 7000 runners was surprisingly easy and as that gun went off, we had already started to catch up. Work, life, kids, food, running… all the usual stuff.

I had promised my trainer, Stacey, that I would focus on my heart rate and my breathing, so the walk / run approach suited me perfectly.

Crossing that 10km finish line felt like a 90 minute “free” coaching session aka marathon. I vented, Tanya advised. I quizzed, she answered. I opened up about insecurities and she was able to stop me in my tracks, continually making me question, “but why not?” And “is that true?”

The rewards of running are endless…

Some days, you learn about your body. Other days, you test the willpower of your mind. But every now and then, it’s the company during the run which is what you need most. Today was that kind of day!

Surround yourself with people who inspire you, who build you up and make you believe in yourself. There’s no better time than when you are out on a run because when you’re running, you’re automatically in a winning frame of mind. When you run, you are already giving back to your body. The conversations are pure gold.

Thanks Tanya! Good soul food! I forgot about the uphills and didn’t obsess about watching the time on my Garmin.

Oh and I did offer to push the pram during our run while Tanya tweeted & cheered on the Rockies 21km leading runners. Wow! New respect for runners who run pushing prams because it is not easy! You do feel like a million bucks when people cheer you on though! That last kilometer was amazing!

Thanks Rebecca! *high 5*

My magical jumping beans

I was out running last week when literally out of the blue, I remembered a memory of the magical jumping beans from my primary school days.

Growing up, my family spent every holiday we could dragging our caravan through the Kruger National Park.

We would set up camp as close to the fence as possible in the hope that the smell of our braai tjoppies would lure the hyenas. During the scorching days, we camped out at drinking holes for hours with the zinging drone of insects in our ears just waiting for the Big 5 to get thirsty.

It was on one of these holidays that I stumbled across some magical jumping beans lying under a tree.

I collected them up and carried them around in a used yoghurt cup (most probably a choc chip flavor as this was my favorite and still is). The beans mimicked popcorn kernels and would jump erratically with a life of their own. Magic!

I was mesmerized. It kept me busy for days and instead of scanning for animals on our drives, my head would be looking down, into the cup, with delight.

Magic in my hands!

This was amazing! And I thought that when I returned to school, the kids would fall at my feet, dying to hold the magical jumping beans in their hands.

It was just before the holiday ended that my beans slowed down and eventually stopped jumping. My heart sank. How I was going to convince my schoolmates of my beans and their tricks. I was devastated.

I returned home and threw the cup with its contents in the bin. School holidays ended and for weeks, my eyes drifted out the classroom window, remembering the clickety click sound of those jumping beans. There was no way anyone would have believed me and so I kept it a secret and when we had to report back on our holiday, I spoke only of zebbies and giraffes.

As the leaves of winter have fallen and spring arrives In Jo’burg, there are pods scattered on the pavements along the road where I run near home. Every time my running shoes crunch on the pods, I remember the beans. 

I know that everyone has a similar memory, their own bean story. How absolutely wonderful life would be if we could capture those feelings again, that innocence, and not listen to the naysayers but truly believe in the magic of jumping beans.

So then, magic or not?

The Tamboti tree flowers in September and the pea sized seeds develop in three-lobed capsules which fall, when mature in November, to the leaf litter below. If you stand by a copse of Tamboti trees on a hot November day you may hear a distinctive rustling in the litter and if you look more closely you will see some flicking in the litter due to some seeds jumping intermittently. Collect some of these jumpers and place them on a plate in the hot sun and the jumping becomes more invigorated. Open one carefully and you will find a small larva whose body suddenly contorts causing the bean to jump. This is the larvae of the small grey moth Emporia melanobasis which parasites the seed when still green. ~ http://www.krugerpark.co.za/africa_tamboti.html

Caravan image credit: SANParks

Running through my Winter…

1. After being brave for so long, we made the decision to put Annie down before she suffered. It radically changed our relationship with Emma. Not a day goes by without us thinking of Little Annie Panks. | 2. I joined a bunch of friends walking dogs at a dog shelter. It was hard work but so rewarding. | 3. We went away with friends to Parys. A weekend of park run, long lunches, popcorn, 30 Seconds and wine. | 4. All CW-X stock is on sale & we managed to sell most of the average sizes. | 5. I started to crochet! It’s fantastic to zone out & detox from devices. | 6. KK and I attended an Enneagram course. Turns out we’re both perfectionist but I avoid conflict. I just want harmony. Funny that. | 7. Another weekend away to the ‘Berg. Good for the soul but boy did it get cold! | 8. Getting artsy fartsy and visiting the Standard Bank gallery. | 9. KK and I ran Old Eds. The running bug has bitten! We’re back!

With so many wonderful memories, I must admit that the signs of Spring could not have come at a better time. That welcoming feeling of warmth, renewal and fresh beginnings. Exactly what I needed most!

Keeping my hands busy

I recently took up crochet. Besides recognizing the joy it was bringing to my circle of friends, I was keen to learn a new skill. My coloring books were gathering dust and I was picking up in conversations that crochet was becoming quite trendy.

What? Was this old-fashioned hobby making a comeback?

As a newbie, I was advised to start at the wool shop at Northlands Deco Park where “everyone goes.” They were right, the place was a hive of activity! People were scanning through books of both knitting and crochet patterns laid out on a table. Squeals were heard when a new delightful wool was discovered. Others hovered at the shelves as if they were in a library choosing a new book to read.

I strolled through the many layers of coloured balls of wool shelves along the wall. Stroking. Squeezing. Brushing my fingers lightly over the knitting needles like a feather. Acting like I knew exactly what I was looking for. Crochet hooks of different styles and sizes hung on the wall. OMG, where do I even start?

After mustering up enough courage to ask for assistance and revealing that I was a total newbie to this world, I walked out the shop with a crochet hook and x9 balls of wool, smiling.

I couldn’t contain my excitement!

Crochet is one of the easiest hobbies to grasp. With a basic understanding of the simplest of stitch I started crocheting a large square to finally stitch together a lap blanket.

The wool looks pretty but is a pain to work with!

If only my Granny could see me now!

Here’s what my new hobby has taught me:

  • My hands are too busy to hold my phone. This is the biggest plus! For a change, crochet allows me to take a break from social media. Everybody needs to do this.
  • You listen to TV shows, rather than watching. I find it almost impossible to look away when I’m crocheting meaning I can’t watch TV at the same time. Some shows can be listened to, like Will & Grace, others not. Good Girls needed my full attention.
  • I bought wool that was on sale. I realize now just why it was on sale. It’s fluffy, hard to work with. Grrr! Hobbies take time and practice to hone the skill. You don’t get it right the first time. Lessons learnt.

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that, just like running, you have to make time to do it. If it’s 10 minutes while supper cooks or being the passenger in the car on a trip. I’ve also set aside time on weekends to just sit and crochet. No disturbances.

With so much else going on, and with so much I want to do – reading, running, walking Emma – prioritizing my time and what I spend it on has been an eye opener for me.

Crochet makes me look down and zone out. It’s actually quite similar to running in fact. But less sweaty. 🙂

My very first square done!

Okay, hands up! Who wants a crochet blanket for Christmas?