Treading lightly

The RAC 10km race is one of my favorite road races on the running calendar. It’s well organized, you can enter on the morning and the best part is the 8am start which means you still get to sleep in and enjoy your Sunday long run (bonus)!

Having taken a break since last year for his stress fracture in his femur, KK decided to run with me. We never run together. He’s too competitive and runs almost double the pace faster than what I can run. Which usually means we fight. And besides, I was worried about his leg. Would he manage 10kms?

But 2kms into the race, my worries turned to my own pain. My foot!

When I had X-rays taken in November last year for my sprained ankle, what surprised me most was finally seeing what had caused months of heel pain. The plantar fasciitis was in actual fact a heel spur!

I had not felt the stabbing hot poker to my heel since I started running again in January but boy did it rear it’s nasty head at this race.

I was disappointed. Was it ever going to go away? Most probably not.

Did it ruin my race? Definitely not!

Watching KK’s body language, the glee written all over his face at the fact that he was running: priceless! We stuck together for the entire distance.

And when he pushed me up that last 500m into the RAC field, I didn’t hate him. I would’ve run another 10kms if he asked me to.

Running through the Jo’burg streets engulfed in the most beautiful autumn colors. Just beautiful!

There are a few more winter races coming up soon and we’re both looking forward to them.

Will we run them together? Judging from his motivation to regain his running strength and fitness, most probably not. As I blog this post, KK keeps moaning about the DOMS from his training. There’s no such thing as baby steps in his life! Dude’s on a mission!

Baby (running) steps

“How was your run?” 

It’s the same question KK asks me every time I return from my run. I’m so busy sync’ing my Garmin to my Strava that I often reply with, “Great!”. But this time, it was different. My run was fantastic and I could not get the smile off my face. Looking at my watch, I was asking, “What? A PB?” I had just run my fastest time on a regular 4km route from home. I was thrilled!

Strava

Strava details comparing my runs on the same route

It’s my last month taking blood thinners since my pulmonary embolism scare in December. Six months of rehabilitation and slowly getting back into running. It’s not the only excuse reason I have scaled back on my running. With KK’s femur stress fracture, we’ve both been living life in the slow lane this year.

But I haven’t been sitting idle…

  • I’ve been training regularly with a personal trainer (and friend) Super Stacey. The focus of my training programme has been on strength exercises, and especially targeting areas such as glutes and hamstrings.
  • I’ve also returned to following a more balanced eating plan *whispers: LCHF/banting*. More veggies, less meat. Cutting out dairy for the first time in my life. What an eye opener! Lots and lots of water. It’s made a huge difference to how I feel. (and yes, I keep promising to update you in a follow up blog on my diet.)
  • Shorter runs. I love heading out for a 4km run before the sun sets in the evening. My route is out, up, down and back in. Mentally, it’s easier to handle after a tough day at work. I keep the longer run for weekends. And when I say longer, I mean no more than 7kms.

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 9.47.16 PMI’m unable to say what has made the difference to my progress specifically, but I’m guessing it’s all of the above. It’s a factor of quality over quantity in my running distances, proper eating, focused strength training all wrapped up in one, and time… in my case, 6 months.

You can’t just run. You need to strengthen and fuel your entire body. And sometimes, you need to stop thinking about half marathons and be pleasantly surprised by the joy and relaxation of a simple 4km run.

In other news, KK is ready to start running again. Baby steps….

Dear Annie

It’s been just over a week since we said goodbye to you. A week of re-adjustments and changing of habits. One bowl of food, not two. One handful of biscuits, not two. I keep looking for you and hearing your bark. Even though you’re gone, you’re still very much in our hearts and minds.

Brussels Griffon. You’re not a common breed of dog and when describing you, I always refer to the movie “As good as it gets” with Verdell. But that’s not how we ended up choosing you.

13 years ago, KK was not a big dog fan. When picking a dog breed, instead of strolling through kennels at the SPCA, he paged through a dog directory narrowing down his choices based on size, hair shedding and outdoor space requirements. The entry for a Brussels Griffon was a match!

You were so much smaller than your little beetle bug! And so stern. That look never changed.

We found a breeder in Durban and within a few months, you arrived. Just like the catalogue had described, you were “full of self-importance, happy, spunky, spirited, and comical.”

From day one, you were an escape artist. You managed to get out of the dining room, up stairs and set the alarm off while we were at work. For a couple who had decided not to have kids, we ended up installing a baby gate in the kitchen to keep you inside during the day with a little dog flap in the back door to come and go as you please.

You loved weekends when we would potter around in the garden and you’d do your best to mess with the leaves and grass.

You were always the first to dash outside an open door to greet guests and run trails along the bottom of the garden, barking at the neighbors dogs behind the wall.

You never knew quite what to do with your chewy and if we looked away for 10 mins, you had buried it in the sand outside.

You exploded with boundless energy and life. I can still remember hearing your laughter as you raced up the stairs and flew onto the bed. Or making sure you snuggled behind us on the couch to watch TV. The breeder warned us that this position meant you were establishing yourself as the “Leader” of the household. True words indeed.

Your favourite position.

There are so many memories of you in my head. The way you walked (pulled) on the lead. How you kick-boxed me when I was dishing up your supper. Watching you stalking and chasing the haadedahs.

Sitting on Oupies lap

Going for walkies with Oumie. You loved this!

In December 2015, our lives changed and a tumour was found on one of your adrenal glands. We were “lucky” that it had been caught early and successfully removed. But you were never quite the same after that. You lost your sparkle.

You hated being on a drip. Sorry Panks.

 

Suddenly old age caught up with you. You had started to go deaf and blind fast. When KK would arrive home from work, you wouldn’t run to the door anymore because you hadn’t heard him come home. If you couldn’t see or hear me in the room, you’d be frantic. You battled to jump on the couch and I started carrying you up and down the stairs in case you slipped and fell down them (which happened often when you ran down ahead of me). You refused to give up.

A little fighter. The ghastly Lenisilone drugs started to take their toll. Mood swings. Bloated belly. Hunger. You weren’t comfortable. A bout of pancreatitis meant a change in diet. Low fat kibbles and tin food. No more grated cheese snacks.

Cuddles…

You held on for another two years before your body gave in. A growth discovered in your belly and on your liver, inflammation of the stomach lining, suspected Cushing’s disease… I’m grateful for the doctors at Fourways Veterinary Hospital for their list of life-saving options but we made the decision to not pursue treatment. 12 years & 9 months is a good age for a dog. We made sure you had an amazing life. We refused to let you spend your last few years in and out of hospital and on medication.

We said our goodbyes on the 30 April. You spent your last day pottering around in the garden, barking at our neighbor’s painter on the roof. For lunch you had a big bowl of cheese and biltong and enjoyed a walk through the complex with your sister. I hugged you at every moment I could and stared at you while you slept in the warm afternoon sun. Emma would tiptoe up to you and sniff your sleeping face. She knew.

When we drove you to the family vet, you were calm. You didn’t struggle. KK and I stayed with you till the very end. We owed you that.

But my heart is broken. KK’s heart is sore and Emma is lost and confused. She misses you so much and you know how much she hates being alone.

But we did the right thing. You were not suffering. You were not in pain. You were uncomfortable but happy.

Sitting with KK on the bed XXX

A lot of people often refer to my dogs as “my children” because KK and I have chosen not to have kids. I always correct them saying, “No, these are dogs. No comparison to actual children.” But when I think of the love and joy that you brought us Annie, I think you were a pretty good substitute. You loved us so much! And we loved you. We called you Panks and I was your mom and KK, Mr non-dog lover, was your biggest fan.

You loved sitting on my lap.

Our first and last dog park trip. You couldn’t understand why the other dogs kept talking to you.

We will miss your smile, your stern face and your joy!

Spatchcock Annie

Drink more water. Yuck! Here’s how I’m doing it.

“Research” says that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. I’ve seen this stat somewhere so when my nutritionist recommended that I drink 1.5l to 2l of water per day, 3 weeks flashed through my head. If I could keep it up for 3 weeks, I’d be okay, right? Eeek!

I’m a big tea drinker. I can drink up to x6 cups of tea a day, easily. To give that up in favour of water was tough! I was dreading it! But I’ve survived. It’s 3 weeks later and I think I’ve cracked it!

Here’s how:

  1. I bought myself a spoily water bottle. Instead of using those skanky freebie plastic water bottles you get at the road races, I wanted this to feel different and not feel like I was carrying around my water bottle from the gym. Glass bottle
  2. My personal trainer suggested that I use the dead time driving to work and back to get through one litre – 500mls on the drive into the office and 500mls driving back home. Then to ensure that I fill up again during the morning and again after lunch.  Driving with water bottle
  3. Add a little sparkle! The good old SodaStream has been a life saver. Most of the time, I am drinking sparkling water which feels oh so fancy. People actually spend money on this stuff!IMG_5284
  4. Every now and then, I drop in some flavour bursts. My boss told me to look out for sugarfree flavour drops. What a gem! I don’t mind the plain water during the day but every so often, just having that extra flavour makes a big difference. IMG_5283
  5. Lemon, oranges and even apples. I have added some cut up fruit to the water and been amazed at the subtle flavor it adds.

The difference drinking water has made to my body is incredible. The “research” and all those articles in health magazines was spot on. And yes, it only took 21 days. It’s a good habit to have too. 💪🏼

Any water drinking tips of your own you’d like to share?