Dear Emma,

The house is so quiet.

I had no idea just how large your presence actually was. I had become so accustomed to your snoring under my desk while I worked. So used to your sprawled out body on the couch at night, making us uncomfy watching TV. Your barking at the top of the stairs until I came to carry you down.

Always under my feet

I’m a little lost.

My entire day revolved around you. The 7am wake up call for breakfast, the stare-downs for liver snacks during the day, the begging when you wanted a walk, supper at 5pm and then the 2am bladder call, again more barking next to the bed to be carried down the stairs.

Loved your little body on my lap

Guilty.

In the first few weeks I felt guilty. Guilty because I could sleep through the night. Guilty for having the bed to myself again. Guilty for being able to go out for a run and not have to worry about your anxiety levels soaring.

You had a major personality change when Annie left us. From being such a carefree happy little girl, you were alone and unsure. Your separation anxiety peaked and you never quite found your place in the world without your big sister.

Lessons from a dog called Emma nailed it.

But we bonded. And I loved our time together.

I miss these moments

Starting my own business meant we spent the whole day together. There were so many hugs, which you hated.

You listened to all my stories. You watched me laugh. You looked away when I danced. You’re the only one who saw me cry. A lot.

Even in those last few weeks when we knew you were ready to say goodbye, you taught me to take time to feel the sun on my face. To enjoy my afternoon naps. To get excited for chicken and butternut (just the way Oumie made it for you.)

You loved your suntanning

And when you finally fell asleep in my arms, you had such a beautiful peaceful look on your face. I even washed all the breakfast butternut off your beard and washed your face with a warm face cloth – you loved that too.

It’s taken me longer to say goodbye to you than when we said our goodbyes to Annie. She was strong. But you were the baby and you held all our memories of her.

Now you’re both gone.

Nothing really prepared me to say goodbye to both my girls. The house is so empty.

This face!

We talk about you often.

We still refer to you as our “little puppy.”

We miss you Emma. Thank you for the joy & love you brought into our lives. xxx

Kisses …
KK and his girl.

Dear God, when Corona is all over, I promise never to hate running again

Yeah, yeah. Famous last words. When I was growing up, I remember making a similar promise to God.

My mom tripped over a tree stump in the garden and dislocated her elbow. Crying in absolute agony, my Dad rushed her to the hospital to have it reset.

Seeing my mom writhing in pain was frightening. The hours waiting for her to return from the hospital dragged on and as night fell, I remember lying in the dark in my bed praying.

I prayed so hard. I promised to stop being a brat of a teenager. I promised to never lie again. I made a pact with God that if He took my mom’s pain away and brought her back home, I’d do whatever it took to be the perfect daughter. (Well, let’s just say I did my best).

I miss running. I miss the races. I miss track. I miss my running coach and all the other runners. I miss the freedom of heading out the door and choosing from a variety of running routes to run around my home.

I feel like that awkward teenage girl, pleading with God to heal the world so that I can go run.

Because I only realise now that when it’s taken away from me, that I really don’t hate running, I love it.

So God, this is my promise.

Looking ahead, 10kms away

I’m excited for this Sunday’s road running race at Old Eds. The crowds. The vibe. The stench of Voltaren gel. The queues outside the loos. All of it!

It’s just a 10km race but I’m looking forward to the adrenaline and satisfaction one gets from crossing a finish line.

I’m one of “those people” that (over) analyses the course before the race so that I know what I’m in for. To be prepared, I tell myself. But it’s usually a mental mind fuck because almost every race in Jo’burg is hilly.

KK and I have run the streets of Jo’burg for so many years that I have the routes logged in my Strava history. The Old Eds route is daunting! Yowzer, check out these hills!

It’s a crazy downhill fall followed by a staggered 8km uphill climb to the dry, grassy finish at the club.

I realised looking back at my Strava history that there was a time when KK and I ran a race almost every weekend. A time when I desperately wanted to run a 21km in 2:30 minutes and was absolutely gutted after each and every race when that goal seemed completely unobtainable.

Old Eds road race 2014.

So much as happened in the last couple of years which has changed my views on what really matters with running and in life. People and things come and go…Running coaches, running friends, running partners, running races, running injuries.

Weight loss, weight gain. Pffft….

Shorter distances have led to achievable goals. The runs around my neighbourhood have been so good for my soul. There’s a time and season for everything and those days of chasing 21km PBs have been shelved (for now).

CMIYC (Catch me if you can) photo stop

Runners don’t always give themselves credit for their running ability and so one of the other things I’m changing about my running is the narrative.

So yeah, I’m really looking forward to Sunday. It’s not “just” a 10km road race. It’s a 10 kilometre road race with 6 000 other amazing, strong runners through the beautiful tree-lined streets of Houghton on a fresh pre-Spring Sunday morning!

See you there!

The stories behind my “Best 9 of 2018” Insta pics

It’s that time of year when we reflect on the last 12 months, the good and bad. Both the wonderful and the disastrous memories we either cling on to or choose to forget.

Instagram does a great job of revealing which images received the highest engagement. It’s the images that others felt worthy of a Like or a Comment.

Here’s the story behind each of these pics:

1. My Dad retired after dedicating his entire life to serving as a Fireman. This was his last ride out on the fire engine. Incredibly emotional.

2. A week on an island off the coast of Singapore. It was bliss! Cocktails, snorkeling, overeating. Just what we both needed. I swam in those warm waters each and every day and loved it. The best part was leaving our cell phones in the hotel room.

3. and 7. We said goodbye to Annie this year. After the removal of her adrenal tumor a few years ago, her days with us were numbered. She held on to the very end. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Panks!

4. After 20 years in corporate, I said goodbye to these high rise photographs overlooking Rosebank and decided to open my own business. To be my own boss. Eeek! Watch this space!

5. I started the year off recovering from a double pulmonary embolism. This pic was taken on an early morning stroll along the Camps Bay promenade with KK. You start appreciating life a lot more after experiencing something like that. I have no makeup on, my hair is knotty, but the coffee tasted divine.

6. KK. My rock. The support and belief in me really shone through this year. Thank you! After 17 years of marriage, I’m still learning that an engineer will never know how to read my mind, It’s just easier to tell him what I want.

8. Our CW-X business happened for a reason. It was the bug that bit and made me decide that I wanted to run my own business. It’s with sad hearts that we will finally close the business for good and shut down the site in January.

9. Two words. New Zealand. Never before have I witnessed the emotions behind a father’s decision to emigrate and the impact on everyone left behind. There’s only so much anguish a 16-year-old can take. But watching my sister and niece recently laughing together and enjoying time together in the pool made me so happy.

My friend Conrad always reminded me that we say every year, “Gee, the year was tough”. But it’s tough every year. It’s how you come out on the other side that matters. It’s what you learn and how you grow that counts.

It’s the friendships you make and nurture. It’s how much you love yourself and others; when there are more happy days than sad ones, and the excitement of setting goals for the year ahead.

How did your 2018 turn out?