Paolo Nutini

Photo taken at the Paolo Nutini concert in Kirstenbosch. 

I finally did it! All those hours of hill training, bootcamp, early mornings and ounces of GU have finally paid off. Today, 21 March 2015, I finally managed to achieve my goal of running a half-marathon in under 2 hours. 1:58 to be precise. And even though it has taken me months (fine, YEARS) to get to this point, I can’t help but wonder, “What else is possible?” Can I possibly get faster? Can I do 21km in 1:55?

Notes about this race:

  • I’d originally started the race with my dad. At the 1km mark I was slightly ahead of him. But it really did take him long to catch up (3km mark). And then he widened the gap. Man, did he widen the gap to the point where I couldn’t even see him. It took me a whole 10km to set my sights back on him and another 5km to actually catch up with him. And the whole time I was eyeing him, watching that gap close, I kept thinking, “He must be crazy if he thinks I’m just going to hand this one to him on a platter. I am going to put up a fight. I am going to make him work for it.” I beat him by 1 minute.
  • I wasn’t entirely sure I’d make a sub-2. At the 19km I had ten minutes to spare. That’s 10 minutes to finish the last 2km. That isn’t a lot of time to play with. But at no time did I think, “You’ll never make it. Just give up.” This is something I think of often on races. It’s the reason you’ll occasionally find me walking during a race. Instead I just thought, “Anything is possible.”

Now what?

  • Complete the Two Oceans Ultra-marathon (56km) within the cut-off time (7 hours).
  • Get faster. Set new PBs. I’ve already set a new PB for 42km (4:27), 30km (2:53) and 21km (1:58). But I’m hoping to drop my marathon time by 12 minutes (4:15).

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Photo taken in Sea Point.

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Photo taken at the Amber Fort in Jaipur.

At the end of January and February, Nicole from “A life less bullshit” recently sent her no BS club a monthly review template. I had every intention of completing January’s review, but didn’t … Anyway, here’s my review of February.
Thinking back over the month of February, I am …

 

Most proud of: Completing the Cape Peninsula Marathon (42km) in 4:27. I’d set a goal of 4:20 and missed it by seven minutes. And I’m okay with that. I set a PB of 25 minutes. And I still believe that one day I’ll run a marathon in under 4:20. It just requires work. (In January I set a new PB for 30km. I completed the Bay to Bay race in 3:08.)
Deeply grateful for: My running club. I love how they push me to run further and harder. I love the constant encouragement. And let’s face it, I love hearing the words, “Oh we’re not in her level. She’s does a marathon in 4:27.”
Delightfully surprised by: How willing I am to speak to ANYONE about any aspect of running. You want to talk about how you’ve lost a toenail? Cool. You have advice on which Garmin running watch to buy? Awesome! You want to tell me that a sub-2 half-marathon is totally possible? Stop flirting with me! 
Letting go of: A crush, a fantasy, the idea of someone perfect. I am letting go of this with the firm believe that someone out there will appreciate my sense of humour. (FYI, my WhatsApp status once read, “Does this smell like chloroform to you?” )
Feeling inspired by: The characters in Grey’s Anatomy. (I’ll take inspiration wherever I can get it.) I love how gutsy the female characters are. I love how they say what’s on their mind. I love how brave they ultimately are. Here’s a link to some of my favourite quotes from the show.

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Photo taken in Indonesia. 

I’ve slowly been editing and cataloging my photographs and have come to the conclusion that I am an awesome photographer. I am also exceptionally humble. (One of my favourite bloggers once tweeted that there was nothing humble about his brags.) On a serious note, I do realise how incredibly lucky I’ve been with regards to travel. In 2014, I was lucky enough to travel to India, Cameroon, Eastern Cape, Durban, Johannesburg, Langebaan and Cape Agulhas. This year, I attend a wedding in Worcester and will be heading to Durban AND Turkey. I simply cannot wait! Did I mention how I plan to eat ALL the Turkish Delight in Istanbul? Did I?

Anyway, let’s talk books.

A few weeks ago, I finished reading “The Rosie Project.” The book is easy to read, funny and oh so adorable. The main character, Don is a socially awkward geneticist (reminds me of Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory, and Adrian Mole). Don is intent on finding a wife and even devises a scientific test to find the perfect woman.
Here’s an extract of the novel. Don is giving a talk on Asperger’s to young sufferers and their parents.

“I decided it would be helpful to provide an example, drawing on a story in which emotional behaviour would have led to disastrous consequences.

‘Imagine,’ I said. ‘You’re hiding in a basement. The enemy is searching for you and your friends. Everyone has to keep totally quiet, but your baby is crying.’ I did an impression, as Gene would, to make the story more convincing: ‘Waaaaa.’ I paused dramatically. ‘You have a gun.’
Hands went up everywhere.
Julie jumped to her feet as I continued. ‘With a silencer. They’re coming closer. They’re going to kill you all. What do you do? The baby’s screaming – ’
The kids couldn’t wait to share their answer. One called out, ‘Shoot the baby,’ and soon they were all shouting, ‘Shoot the baby, shoot the baby.’”

The above paragraph had me laughing so hard. I just found the idea of little kids screaming “shoot the baby” so absolutely ridiculous.

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Taj Mahal, Agra. Photo taken on a rather misty day.

Books
A few weeks ago, I finished reading “The sex lives of Siamese twins” by Irvine Welsh. At first I found the novel hilarious and engrossing, but I was left feeling dissatisfied in the end. I just didn’t see the need for all the violence.

I am currently reading “The gargoyle” by Andrew Davidson. I am still at the beginning stages of the novel, and I’m not really sure how I feel about it. Note: I’ve already shed a tear or two.

Anyway, here’s an extract from the novel:

“Your car gathers speed down the embankment, bouncing. Your hypothesis is quickly proven correct: it is, indeed, quite painful. Your brain catalogues the different sensations. There is the flipping end over end, the swirling disorientation, and the shrieks of the car as it practices its unholy yoga. There’s the crush of metal, pressing against your ribs. There’s the smell of the devil’s mischievousness, a pitchfork in your ass and sulfur in your mouth. The Bastard’s there, all right, don’t doubt it.

I remember the hot silver flash as the floorboard severed all my toes from my left foot. I remember the steering column sailing over my shoulder, I remember the eruption of glass that seemed to be everywhere around me. When the car finally came to a stop, I hung upside down, seatbelted. I could hear the hiss of various gases escaping the engine and the tires still spinning outside, above, and there was the creak of metal settling as the car stopped rocking, a pathetic turtle on its back.”

Running
I am running the Cape Peninsula Marathon (42km) tomorrow. I am pretty nervous about the prospect. I’ve set a pretty impossible goal for myself (4:20). That’s 32 minutes faster than my personal best – I’ve only ever run 2 marathons. I’ve done the maths, over and over again, I know what pace I need to set to achieve this goal and I am afraid. I am afraid that I might fall way short of this goal. I am afraid of THAT crushing disappointment, THAT sinking feeling, the realization that I’ve given it my best and my best still wasn’t good enough.

Note: Nicole talks about disappointment and running goals here.

Travel
I’m getting really excited for my trip to Turkey. My flights and passport are sorted and I have a pretty good idea of which cities I’d like to tour. I’ll be spending a few days in Istanbul – eating ALL the Turkish Delight, spending ALL of my money purchasing glass lanterns and leather jackets, getting a massage at a haman and checking out the whirling dervishes. I’ll then move on to Goreme (Cappadocia), where I’ll (hopefully) be charting a hot-air balloon. I also plan to check out the hot springs at Pamukkale, the Eternal Flames of Chimaera in Olympos, the archaeological site at Ephesus and chart a boat to the Blue Cave.

All I need to do now is sort out my visa and accommodation.

Books, running and travel

MumbaiMumbai. Gateway to India is in the background. We took a ferry to Elephant Island.

 

Dizzy* and Juan recently tied the knot in Wellington. Here are some pictures I took.

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La dolce vita

* I wish that I’d taken more than just a handful of photos, but I was simply having too much fun dancing, posing, eating (so much candy) and photobombing my friends, that I simply didn’t have the time or inclination to point and shoot.

Grazegraze

The above photo was taken at Graze, a new restaurant in Harfield Village.

Books

I am currently reading Irvine Welsh’s latest offering. He’s the very same guy that brought us, “Trainspotting”.

Part of the narrative is told by Lucy Brennan, personal trainer who is obsessed with exercise and weight. Here’s an extract from the novel.

“The only fast-food place handy is this pizza joint, so I order a couple of slices. The line is busy with just one fat chick sweating behind the counter, trying to keep up with the orders. – Sorry about the wait, she says.

- Well, that’s a start. But don’t beat yourself up, take action, and I hand her my card.

She looks at me like she’s going to burst into tears. – I meant … I meant the wait! That wait you’ve had in this line!”

David Sedaris

I absolutely love David Sedaris and I’ve read most of his books. In the following article he talks about a cow giving birth:

“What might I have thought if, after seven hours of unrelenting agony, a creature the size of a full-grown cougar emerged, inch by inch, from the hole at the end of my penis and started hassling me for food? Was that what the cow was going through? Did she think she was dying, or had instinct somehow prepared her for this?”  

 

The Wedding

Dizzy* and Juan are getting hitched. They’ve asked all their guests to select one song that they’d love to hear at the wedding. Naturally I have taken this to mean “find the most inappropriate song to play at a wedding”, which is why I’ve selected “Gold Digger” by Kanye West. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the song, lyrics include the words:

“If you ain’t no punk holla we want prenup

We want prenup!”

 

Twitter

If you’re on twitter (who isn’t?), do yourself a favour and search the hashtag 5WordsToRuinADate or FiveWordsToRuinADate. My favourite from that thread were:

 

Serial

I am currently obsessed with the podcast, Serial. I’ve made it to episode 11 and I STILL can’t decide if Adnan is guilty. All I know for sure is that 1) the stealing of shoes at mosques seems to be a universal problem and 2) the guy smoked A LOT of weed.

 

Travel

I am incredibly excited for my trip to Turkey. And I am having a tough time narrowing down the cities I want to explore. I want to go air ballooning in Cappadocia, check out the chimaera at Mount Olympos, swim in the pools at Pamukkale, experience the whirling dervishes in Istanbul and take a ferry across the Bosphorus.

 

Music

My new favourite artist is Hozier. Absolutely love his song, Sedated.