It takes a little bit of veldskool to find yourself again

It was a last minute invite from our friends, Dan & Linda, which saw us packing our bags and heading to the majestic Drakensberg mountains for the long weekend. KK and I always promise to make time for shorter weekend getaways but land up never getting around to organising them.

I knew that the weather would be chilly but somehow I still didn’t pack enough warm clothes. I ditched my warm puffer jacket at the last minute and regretted it the first afternoon when we were sitting outside having sun downers. As that sun dipped behind the mountain, the temperature dropped very low. Brrr!Drakensberg Sports Resort sun setting

It reminded me of my old veldskool trips where we would be bussed up in the middle of winter to Pilgrim’s Rest in Mpumalanga to sleep in rows in army tents in the pitch dark. I remember not taking enough warm clothes with me then and having to borrow my friend Vicky’s track suit top. I also remember my takkie slipping off my foot during the obstacle course and disappearing into the mud. It was my only pair of shoes. It sounds cruel when I write about it, but trust me, these were the best of times growing up!

But I digress..Drakensberg sports resort

Cuddled up in fleecy blankets with glasses of wine in front of the log fire was exactly what I needed after a few weeks of hectic work pressure. I had been working 12 hour shifts and hadn’t made time for a run for over 5 weeks. My body felt the effects.

So I let go… I over ate. I over slept. I drank too much wine and allowed the beautiful mountains to engulf me. It felt like one huge hug. My favourite was the Village Bakery which was overflowing with the most divine baked goods! Of course, I had to have my favourite… a jam donut!Village Bakery Drakensberg

On the Sunday we managed to visit the Falcon Ridge Bird Sanctuary for a show. If you go to the ‘Berg, add it to your itinerary. It’s an amazing place and the show is full of snippets of info on these wonderful birds. This is Dan and Linda saying hello to the fastest bird on earth, the Peregrine Falcon.Dan and Linda Falcon Ridge Drakensberg show Falcon Ridge Drakensberg Vultures Drakensberg Falcon Ridge

As we drove home, I had already mentally re-set my goals. I had refreshed, recharged and realised what I needed to do to get back the balance I had somehow lost. What helped was this view…Drakensberg views Sunrise over the Drakensberg mountains

A sentence out of a blog post by a friend hit home. It said, “You’ve been gone so long from all that you know.” Sometimes you have to leave, to come back and find yourself.

Last week, I went back to track. I made the Monday and Wednesday session. It felt so good! And I have my first trail run coming up.

Thanks Dan & Linda for a fab weekend!

Run like the wind

I doubt very much if I would be a runner if I lived down in Cape Town. I’d blame it entirely on the wind. 

What I concluded after a short run this morning in 37km/h wind is that it’s difficult to run against. It blows so hard that it forces your body off balance. It forced me to stop and walk a few times. (Okay, maybe I shouldn’t blame everything on the wind).

The sound howling through the trees and over the ocean upsets me and leaves me feeling uneasy. It’s an angry wind. Loud. Violent. Unforgiving. Nasty. All characteristics which don’t gel with me.

 

running in windy cape town

Post run shot of my fizzy wind swept hair!

 Maybe it’s easier running on the trails through the forest? Maybe those beautiful trees would shelter me from the wind? I saw this suggestion tweeted from someone in the know (aka a Capetonian). 

I’ll give it another try tomorrow. The weatherman has predicted rain for Saturday’s Two Oceans race. Wind or rain. I don’t know what’s worse. 

Mid-Holiday reflections

We’re just over half way through our December holiday and it’s been absolutely wonderful!  But a part of me is already panicking that it’s flying by way too quickly! So let’s see, what have we been up to? 

We’ve done a little bit of this…  

   
And quite a fair bit of this… 

suntanning next to the pool    
dogs sleeping in the sun And gosh, way too much of this… 

    
   
But thank goodness, lots and lots of time for this… 

 With just over a week to go, we’ve still got a mini break away in the Waterberg planned as well as a 15km road race. 

How are your holidays going? 

Allow me to tell you how hyenas eat an elephant. It’s with ease.

If you work in the corporate sector, you’ve no doubt heard the saying “How do we eat this elephant?” or variations of it. On a recent trip to the bush, we happen to come across a dead elephant and I got insight into exactly how an elephant gets eaten. There are important lessons that corporates need to know and perhaps the first thing I noticed is that everyone has a role to play.

The elephant had been dead for about 3 days before we arrived and it was already stinking so badly, we could hardly breath! The lions were trying to eat it, but were struggling. You could sense their frustration as they licked & scratched but failed to rip open the body of the elephant. As hard as they tried, they were ill-equipped to tear open the hard, tough hide and were forced to wait.

Lions eating an elephant lions eating an elephant lions eating an elephant

The jackals ran around the elephant, even jumping on top of it. They are the most beautiful animals! They also look deceptively tame as they mirror many behaviors of house-trained dogs. They too had to wait.

jackals

A day later on our trip, when the stink had become even more unbearable, the hyenas arrived. You knew they were coming by that familiar cry from afar. Typically shy animals which you only really get a brief glimpse of, we were spoilt when so many of them, both spotted and brown, arrived to do what they do best & they did not waste time.

IMG_0199 IMG_0103 Hyenas

They ripped open the skin of the elephant with ease. They gnawed open the swollen belly of the elephant and even climbed right inside of the animal, coming out drenched in blood and raw meat. It was both disgusting but amazing to watch. While the lions and jackals waited, their bellies swelled up by how much they were eating.

hyena

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A vulture was spotted circling above the carcass but we unfortunately left to go home before it landed to tuck in.

The saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One small bite at a time.” was coined by United States army general Creighton Williams Abrams Jr. (September 15, 1914 – September 4, 1974) who used it to explain that when doing something that is difficult, do it slowly and be careful.

But the added lessons I took out of watching the hyenas eat the dead elephant is this:

  • Allow the specialists to come in and do what they do best. Wait your turn.
  • Sometimes the King of the Jungle (lion) needs to rely on the scavengers (hyenas). It’s acceptable for skill to triumph over hierarchy in large projects.
  • I agree with Abrams. It takes time to eat an elephant. It’s not something that can be rushed. But for those eating, enjoy every bite!

What an awesome sight to observe!