That time of year again

The change in season is never more evident than when we return home from our Easter holiday. The yearly trek down to Cape Town to run the Two Oceans is the first time I’m packing in warmer jackets and closed shoes, knowing that evenings are a lot cooler. And by the time we fly home, everything is suddenly duller. There’s a fresh chill in the air, the sun sets earlier and unless you head out for your afternoon run before 17:30, you can forget about finishing in the light.

Brenaissance

Wine and pizza pairing at the Brenaissance Wine Farm on the day we landed. I was already feeling chilly & whipped out my puffer.

We did manage to soak up a few rays down in Cape Town. Truth be told, we must be getting older because we preferred to lie around at the pool at the hotel instead of heading down to Clifton 4th beach.

12apostlespool

Calm & relaxing. Only realized that my toenails are painted blue by pure coincidence – Thank you Monika & Lemonade.

KK gets terrible cabin fever and so we decided one morning to hike up the mountain. It wasn’t as easy as we thought. The fires had destroyed a lot of the vegetation and so the path wasn’t visible. It turned into quite a serious hike, right up KK’s alley! But the views from the top were amazing!

I was left with mixed feelings about Cape Town’s drought situation. There’s definitely awareness of it up in Jo’burg and we packed in wet wipes, expecting the worst. But I didn’t get a sense of the seriousness whilst down in Cape Town. The hotel only had a few signs around, but no clear instructions on what I was expected to do with the water in the bucket after I had showered.

The concierge claimed it wasn’t an issue and would only hit Cape Town in 2019. The toilets at the V&A Waterfront had a small sticker above the loo saying, “This toilet uses grey water.” So does that mean I flush after my wee or not?

The great thing about holidays in Cape Town are definitely the late sunsets! It was 19:00 and the sun was just setting over the ocean. It was refreshing to stop and take it in. We also scored with no wind this year! The wind and I are not big friends and that nasty South Easter can upset my entire day.

cape town sunsets

I must confess that I did have two chocolate croissants, one after the other, at breakfast on our last morning in Cape Town. It was glorious! I had been very good the entire weekend – no wine, lots of protein, zero Easter eggs (liar) and a salad here & there for lunch. But coming back to Jo’burg, I have a new mindset & have reset my goals:

  1. Running: I will be relooking my running goals. I’m already eyeing RAC 10km in May. But for now, I am hoping for more runs, less mileage. Going for regular 4km runs after work (before that Winter sun sets) instead of thinking that I need to run 10s and 21s all the time. That will come, but not for now.
  2. Weight: Call it “the 40s midlife crisis” or blame it on my running injury excuses, but something has gone seriously wrong in my head & I have lost control over food. Sounds quite dramatic, I know! I’ve been to see another dietician. I’ll save it for another blog post, but while eating Pronutro and rice cakes works amazingly for some, it didn’t for me. So I found someone who is Banting / LCHF / Keto / Plant based pro. My gut feel is that this way of eating suits me. It’s worked before. It’s my head I need to fix first.

There’s another long weekend coming up at the end of April and then we have that long stretch into Winter. Chilly, dark morning runs. Battling the traffic to get home from work early enough to run. The streets lined with an array of beautiful hues of brown and orange leaves that crunch under your feet. I’m ready for you Winter.

 

x5 tips for turning busyness into activeness

Technology frees up time. But the tragedy is that we use that spare time to be even more busy. We work more instead of doing the things that bring us joy. There have been a couple of articles floating around describing society’s busyness as an epidemic. Our self-created stress. 

The crazy thing is that we sacrifice the activities that help de-stress us. Our hobbies, our down time, the time for gym, running, cycling, playing with the kids or walking the dog. Making time has become harder and harder. Notice, I said “making” and not “finding” because as my running Junkie friend Brenda always reminds me, you will never find time. You need to make it.

So in making time to be active, here are a few tips:

  1. Pack your gym bag for the whole week, not just one session. I fill my bag with x4 gym kits for the week ahead. Socks, tops, the works. This commits me to training for the entire week with no excuse that I did not have time to pack my bag.Gym
  2. Try a service such as UCook which helps take the pain of deciding what to buy & cook away. We have been testing out UCook for the last three weeks. The big win is that supper is decided a week ahead & when I get home, all I do is grab the brown paper bag full of delicious fresh groceries out of the fridge and off I go. No need to think of creative meals and defrost and prepare. All of this is done for you!img_4239
  3. Train whenever & wherever you go. I had almost cancelled a meal at my Dad last week because I had not yet completed day 4 of my training program. I realized that doing the program would be simple enough to do in his lounge, while he cooked supper. I arrived at his place, threw my gym mat on the floor and with Shadow, my favorite dog, circling me, I managed to do my x3 sets of squats and lunges (before we tucked into macaroni cheese).img_3911.jpg
  4. Monitor your steps. I’ve started to track my steps during the day to monitor when I’ve been vegging at my desk and only taken 3000 steps compared to some days when I’m able to reach a goal of 10 000 steps. On the low days, it’s easy to re-route myself and take the stairs to the staff parkade and even head out for a 20 minute walk to watch the sun set, just to ensure I’ve moved.
  5. Weekday/weekend runs are the new coffee catchups. Meeting up with a friend for a walk or run is the killing two birds with one stone philosophy. You have no idea how much chatting you do when you’re running together, but also how great you feel after the run. Skinny & loved! *jokes* There are so many opportunities to do this that have popped up too; Parkruns and CMIYC (Catch me if you can) come to mind.

Winter is coming! Seriously though, the darker morning and evenings limit the time we have to spend outdoors even more. It’s cold and every fibre of your body will beg you to stay under the covers. So that’s why I’m putting plans in place and getting into the habit now to make time for the things that matter.

Any tips you want to share that have worked for you?

Winter is coming…

After a few years of running, my schedule starts to look quite similar at this time of year. Tapering down for Two Oceans is high on the agenda and everyone I speak to seems to ask if I’m running. Yeah, I am. I was fortunate enough to get an entry along with 16 000 other runners! 

I’ve been keeping an eye on Cape Town’s weather. Easter is early this year which means that hopefully we still get some sunny days on the beach when we head down there for the race. 

But there is a definite chill in the air in Jozi. The mornings are dark. The leaves are falling. Even my hair is dry and static. 

I know that by the time we get back from running Two Oceans down in Cape Town, we’ll arrive home ready to face Winter. 

Running with headlamps strapped to our foreheads. Running gloves. Long sleeve tops. Ice cold mornings at track. Grass all over my car mats. 

The sun is setting earlier these days. Soon we’ll need the flood lights.


 I’m not ready! 

Not running in winter did me some good

I hate running during the winter months. There, I said it. I always promise myself that I’m going to try keep up my training and run through until summer, but it never happens. My last race is usually the RAC 10km in June and after that, it’s downhill. As it gets darker, the excuses flow and the motivation wanes.

But it’s not all bad. This year, I have discovered some good that has come out of it.

I’ve rested my feet. All through 2011 and up until June this year, I have been battling with plantar fasciitis as well as Morton’s Neuroma in my left foot. I have bought every gadget I could find to massage my feet. I have been to Lyno sports massage. I have tried all the stretching exercises I could find on Google and Runners World. But not running for two months and resting my feet has done wonders. I know when (wise) people tell you to stop running and rest when you get injured, most runners go into shock and refuse to listen. But it works. My plantar fasciitis was healed with Lyno but the neuroma has definitely lessened and cannot be felt on most days. My feet feel strong and rested.

I’ve rested my body. I don’t normally catch colds or flu during winter. In fact, KK and I do not even have a house doctor and usually self-medicate with med-lemon and honey. But this year, we were both hit badly and it set us back for weeks. First him, then me. I had to stop all activity and was even bedridden for a week. No gym, no running. It can make you feel pretty miserable. But knowing that it’s winter made it okay. If it were summer, I’d be panicked that I was missing all the cool races. But the race calendar only really kicks into gear once spring comes along so I could safely use this time to rest as much as I could and recover properly. My body has rested.

I’ve rested my mind. Running can sometimes be all consuming. It gets to a point, especially before the big races such as Two Oceans, that that’s all everyone talks about. I get a bit obsessed about my running pace. I get upset about my race times. I get all worked up in good and bad ways after reading tweets, blogs and articles talking about running. But the less races I’ve run, the less running has been an issue. I’ve also been able to blog about other things that have been keeping me busy and so there have been some weeks where running has not even featured. It’s good to rest your mind.

Yet, I must admit that I even though I have rested my feet, my body and my mind, enough is enough. I am feeling niggly. My feet are starting to itch. My body is feeling heavy. My mind is starting to think about all things running.

The resting is over. I can feel spring is on it’s way…