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Photo taken in Durban

The following was written a while back …

Books

I’ve just finished reading, “Hyperbole and a half” by Allie Brosh. Allie Brosh is a blogger who talks about her dogs, her childhood and her struggle with depression. Her book (and blog) contains comics (not just words!) and “the secret to eternal happiness.” She is of course lying about the “secret to eternal happiness”.

My favourite quote from the novel is her description of depression and everyone’s optimistic suggestions for combating the disease.

“It would be like having a bunch of dead fish, but no one around you will acknowledge that the fish are dead. Instead, they offer to help you look for the fish or try to help you figure out why they disappeared.”

Next up on the reading list is:

  • Snow by Orphan Pamuk (Started reading this a while ago …)
  • Kinshu: Autumn Brocade by Teru Miyamoto
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  • Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

Running

On Sunday, I ran my first race since Two Oceans Ultra – UCT Memorial 10km. I knew that no matter how tough the route I would be able to complete it in 55 minutes easily. I managed to do it in 54. I probably would have done better if I didn’t stop at the 9km mark.

Travel

I’ve yet to board my plane to Durban and I’m already plotting my 2016 adventures/bucket list.

The Comrades Marathon in Durban is definitely on my list. I’d also like to do the Oudtshoorn Marathon.

Juan and Dizzy* might be moving to the UK soon. So I’m thinking of visiting them in London and then popping over to either Rome or Paris to run a marathon.

I also need to tick off snowboarding and hiking the Fish River Canyon from my bucket list. *Sigh*

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Books
I’ve once again discarded set aside Orphan Pamuk’s Snow. This time for The Notebook. The Notebook isn’t a particularly great book; it’s soppy and easy to digest. But I needed something light. I found Snow, which is set in Turkey, distressful.
Here are a couple of quotes from the novel:

“Headscarves protect women from harassment, rape and degradation. It’s the headscarf that gives women respect and a comfortable place in society. We’ve heard this from so many women who’ve chosen later in life to cover themselves. Women like the old-belly dancer Melahet Sandra. The veil saves women from the animal instincts of men in the street. It saves them from the ordeal of entering beauty contests to compete with other women. They don’t have to live like sex objects, they don’t have to wear make-up all day. As Professor Marvin Kind has already noted, if the celebrated Elizabeth Taylor had spent the last twenty years covered, she would not have to worry so much about being fat. She would not have ended in a mental hospital. She might have known some happiness.”

“Infected by the disease of atheism, he began to put unreasonable pressure on his lovely little pupils: he tried to spend time alone with their mothers; he stole money from another teacher whom he envied.”

Travel
What else can I tell you?

I am heading off to Durban soon to celebrate the nuptials of two people I’ve known for 14 years. Yes, I’ve managed to sustain a friendship for 14 years! I am really looking forward to it. I am flying down with a lovely bunch and we’re planning to eat all the BunnyChows, gawk at the turtles at uShaka and swim in warm ocean water! Warm ocean water guys. In winter!

And soon after that I’ll be jetting off to Istanbul. I’ve yet to sort out my accommodation for my month-long trip. So far I’ve only managed to book hotels for Istanbul, Goreme and Antalya. I still need to book hotels for Kas, Fethiye and Olympos. (Do yourself a favour and Google images of Fethiye. Go on, do it!)

I also need to sort out my flights to California. I’ll be spending Independence Day in USA! So excited.

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A few days ago I celebrated my cousin’s birthday at De Waal Park. At first I was wary of going, De Waal isn’t my favourite urban park, that honour belongs to Green Point. But I had fun. There was lots to eat, the sun was out and their was plenty of opportunities to people watch.

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My favourite moment was watching this man teach these young ‘uns how to tightrope walk. He was so patient. Kid to young man, “Who teached you to do this?”

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A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about how it was only March and already 2015 was turning out to be a pretty awesome. I talked about how I’d finally obtained that effing sub-2 and how I’ve set new PBs for a 5, 21, 30 and 42km. I also stated that I was about to participate in my first ever Ultra and that there was a chance I might not complete it. And if this were to happen, there would be tears.

Well, I did it! I completed the Two Oceans Ultra (56km) in 6:25. I was hoping for sub-6 and up until the 28km I was on track. That is until Ou Kaapse Weg and then it all went downhill from there. Figuratively speaking, of course. Ou Kaapse Weg is a bitch 7km climb.

What else can I say about the race?

Well, for weeks before the big day my father and I planned to run the race together. We trained together – 5 days a week. We talked strategy. Or more accurately, he talked and I tried to absorb it all. On the day of the race, at the 7km mark, he left me. And I wasn’t surprised. Or angry. Or hurt. He’s done this before; so many times that I expected it. At the 37km mark I caught up to him. And then I proceeded to finish the race ahead of him, by 12 minutes. (It’s funny, at the beginning of the year he told me that I would be able to kick his arse in shorter races but I’d never take him in longer events. This year I’ve beaten the old man in a 10, 15, 21, 30 and 56km race. And now I want to do what he’s never been able to achieve. I want to do a marathon in less than 4 hours.)

At the about the 40km mark, there was a radio announcer slash TV presenter. He asked various runners what was the first thing they wanted to do when they got home. Some said they wanted a cold beer. Others said they wanted a warm shower. And I just thought, “I’d like to take a nice, satisfying shit.” Right now several mothers are wishing their sons would end up with someone as classy as me.

Other than wanting to take a dump, I also wanted to cry, a lot. After 42km, running is no longer fun. It’s just this stupid hobby that requires you to move your legs in quick succession. And yet, the very minute I’d crossed the finish line I was so overcome with euphoria that I vowed to run the Comrades next year.

So that’s one of the reasons that 2015 has gotten a little sweeter. The other is that I’ve been awarded a partial scholarship to go to the United States for a few weeks.

Life is good.

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I did it. I completed the Two Oceans Ultra (56km) in 6:26. I was secretly (or not so secretly) hoping to do it in less than 6 hours. Anyway, that’s one more thing to tick off my bucket list. Next year I attempt the Comrades.

Thanks to everyone for their words of support, advice and encouragement. You guys rock.

And now I leave you with an extract from the latest book I just completed:

 “The King’s Preserves had almost been hunted out. In these modern days it was rare to find so much as good-sized deer in them, and no one had seen a dragon since time out of mind. Most men would have laughed if you had suggested there might still be such a mythy creature left in that tame forest. But an hour before sundown on that day, as Roland and his party were about to turn back, that was just what they found … or what found them.

The dragon came crashing and blundering out of the underbrush, its scales glowing a greenish copper colour, its soot-caked nostrils venting smoke. It had not been a small dragon either, but a male just before its first moulting. Most of the party were thunderstruck, unable to draw an arrow or even to move.

It stared at the hunting party, its normal green eyes went yellow, and it fluttered its wings. There was no danger that it could fly away from them – its wings would not be well developed enough to support it in the air for at least another fifty years and two more moultings – but baby-webbing which holds the wings against a dragon’s body until its tenth or twelfth year had fallen away, and a single flutter stirred enough wind to topple the head huntsman backward out of his saddle, his horn flying from his hand.”

The Eyes of The Dragon by Stephen King

OMTOM and books

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 Photo taken at the Lynwood City Lodge gym. 

It’s the end of March and so far 2015 has been pretty sweet. I’ve accomplished most of my running goals. I’ve finally managed to achieve that effing sub-2. I’ve set new PBs for a 5km (26min), half-marathon (1:58), 30km (2:53) and marathon (4:27). And in a few days I will be attempting the Two Oceans Ultra (56km).

 

There’s a good chance that I might not complete the Ultra within the seven hour cut-off. I’ve accepted this possibility. This is a new me. I no longer dwell on ALL the things that could go wrong. Keeping a mental inventory of how things could blow up, served no purpose. Instead it only made me anxious, to the point where I was numb with fear and struggled to breathe. Now I accept that things might not go my way and calmly think about remedial measures. What will I do when shit hits the fan?

 

In this case I’ve decided that irrespective of what happens on race day, I will pick myself up. I will take a week (and no more) to cry (and there will be crying). And then I’ll get right back to training. I’ll start working towards my goal of getting faster. I will work towards completing a marathon in 4:15. I will qualify for an Ultra and I will run the Comrades Marathon in 2016. Race day (4 April) changes nothing. Hashtag think like a winner and toenails will be sacrificed.

 

And even though 2015 has been pretty sweet so far, I can’t help thinking what else can I do to make THIS year even better? Well, there would be travelling. There would be adventure. There would be roadtrips, dancing, music, fun, laughter and romance. There would be a blue eyed fellow, a ring, a grey Wizard and a volcano called, Modor.

 

Okay, so I probably can’t arrange for the Lord of the Rings type scenario, but I do have control over the travel/adventure/happiness aspect of my life. I’ve already been lucky enough to spend a few days with good friends in Wellington, celebrating the nuptials of Juan and Dizzy*. And in a few weeks, I’ll be jetting off to Durban to eat bunny chows, check out The Valley of A Thousand Hills and witness one of my craziest girlfriends tie the knot. What next? Well, then I head to Turkey for just under a month. There I’ll have my very first taste of stretchy ice-cream, check out the Whirling Dervishes, the Aya Sofya, and will attempt to take a selfie with every individual who makes me smile. That should keep me busy until the end of June.

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.