Two Oceans 2014

Yesterday I completed my fourth Two Oceans half-marathon. And I did it in 2:10:04! That’s my official time. Enter rant. Considering that it took me an entire minute to simply reach the start line, I really think that I deserve the right to claim that I finished it in 2:09.

2:10 wasn’t my goal. I was hoping for 2:06, but I am happy with my results nevertheless. I am happy for several reasons.
• 2:10 is a NINE minute improvement on my best Two Oceans time. (In 2013 I completed the route in 2:19.) That’s an effing huge improvement.
• 2:10 is also pretty damn close to my PB. (I think my current PB is 2:08 or 2:09.) And if I can run 2:10 on such a difficult course, then 2:06 is well within my grasp. It’s so close I can actually taste it.
• I was mere seconds behind teammates who annihilate me at each and every race.

Anyway, other highlights and lowlights of the race:
• I lost my very first toenail. I say this with pride. I feel like now I can actually call myself a runner.
• A friend collapsed mere metres from the finish line. She had to be carried across the line by four gentlemen. Upon gaining consciousness the first thing she asked was, “Where is my medal?”
• I love this race. I love standing on the side-lines, watching people cross the finish line. I love the expressions on their faces. Triumph, determination, exhaustion, pain, pride. I love it.
• I also love how this race brings out compassion in strangers. I loved seeing people drag complete strangers across the finish line. Yesterday, with less than a minute left to cut-off, my brother-in-law’s brother jumped over the barrier separating supporters from runners, and he dragged/shoved a 70 year old woman across the finish line. Apparently she’d missed the cut-off last year by 8 seconds!
• I look at people who run the Two Oceans Ultra and think they’re insane. And yet, I can’t stop wanting that so badly. I am actually thinking of attempting a marathon again. Surely this year I can complete it in 5 hours, right?

I took the following picture at Kirstenbosch Gardens.
Spider - Kirstenbosch Gardens

One & only, and conversations with my dad

A few weeks ago, I invited my parents over to supper. On the day they were to dine at my humble abode, I called to remind them of my generous offer. My dad answered the phone. The following conversation ensued.
Me: Are you and mom still coming to supper tonight?
Dad: Hmmm, why don’t you bring the food over to us?
Me: Erm, no.
Dad: Okay. But do you have enough plates?
Yes, after living alone in my apartment for nearly 13 months, my dad wants to know if I have enough plates for three people.

Anyway, I took the following photos at a bachelorette party at the One & Only hotel in Waterfront.

Figs - cake

Cake - One and Only

Bride to be - Mu'mina

Lion Park – Johannesburg

A few days ago, I and a few friends flew down to Johannesburg to attend a Joss Stone concert. Yes, we spent thousands of rands in plane tickets JUST to attend a concert. Aren’t we extravagant?

Joss Stone was brilliant. Her voice was so pure. And powerful. Not only is she a brilliant performer, but she’s also REALLY likable. I feel weird about saying that about someone I’ve never actually met before. But she handed out white roses to audience members, clambered down from the stage to dance with her fans, AND gave her bracelet to a girl in the audience. She also invited everyone down to the front of the stage (considering that we’d purchased nosebleed seats this was quite a treat).

While in Johannesburg, we also managed to check out the Lion Park. Here are some of the photos I’d taken.

Caged lion cub

Lion - Joburg

Taz and Simba

Zebras - Joburg

Giraffe

Lion Park - bokkies

Five things: books, running, apartment, fear & Joss

One
I bitch and moan about my neighbourhood a LOT. I joke about how I don’t need to pay R400 to participate in an obstacle course. Every day that I run through my neighbourhood I have to side-step a beggar, vendor or prostitute. And it is true. There ARE a lot of beggars, vendors and prostitutes in my street. On two occasions I’ve nearly tripped over a beggar dozing in the doorway.

But this doesn’t mean that I don’t love my apartment. Every time I step through my front door and see the two palm trees off to the side, I am thankful. Every time I sit on the balcony and watch the sunset (which isn’t often enough), I am thankful.

Two
Yesterday, I opted to surf instead of pounding the street for a couple of hours. (Note: My idea of a short run is 1 hour. I am hoping to one day run the Victoria Falls Marathon in under 5 hours.)

While in the water, one of the many surf coaches at Muizenberg instructed me to “Get out.” I thought it a rather strange way to proposition a woman, until he explained that he’d seen a fin in the water. My reaction to the news wasn’t panic and fear. I’m afraid of rejection and intimacy, but sharks? Nope. Instead of fear, I reacted to the news with dismay and reluctantly left the water. (I was back in the water 5 minutes later when I’d decided that the coach probably just had an overactive imagination.)

Three
I am currently reading “The hundred-year-old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson. My favourite lines from the novel are:

“Allan Karlsson’s father was both considerate and angry. He was considerate with his family; he was angry with society in general and with everybody who could be thought of as representing that society. Finer folk disapproved of him, dating back to the time he stood on the square in Flen and advocated the use of contraceptives. For his offence he was fined ten crowns, and relieved of the need to worry about the topic any further since Allan’s mother out of pure shame decided to ban any further entry to her person.”

Four
A few days ago, I ran 30 in 3:19. That’s a new personal best (PB) – five minutes off my previous time. I’ve yet to achieve a new PB for a 21km. My current PB for 21km stands at 2:08, which was achieved many moons ago.

Five
Photograph of Joss Stone performing at Carnival City in April 2014.
Joss Stone - 2014 Joburg concert

Stoppin’ the love – KT Tunstall

Now you say it’s easy 
That you been falling for all of my charm 
And getting lost in my smile

On Thursday, I was lucky enough to attend the Parklife concert held at Kirstenbosch Gardens. The headline acts for this year’s concert were Donavon Frankenreiter (whom I’d never heard of), and KT Tunstall (whom I’ve long admired).

I’d fell in love with KT on my trip to Italy. That was in 2008. KT accompanied me through the streets of Florence and Turin. Her song “Heal Over” made me smile; gave me hope. I kept thinking that if I ever had kids, I would sing them to sleep with THIS song. And then I’d remember that I can’t sing, that I am physically incapable of carrying a note.

So when I learnt that KT was coming to Cape Town, I knew that I HAD to go. And I’m glad I did. KT was brilliant. She was talented, friendly AND hilarious.

Referring to the canon in Cape Town that goes off everyday at noon.

KT: What’s up with your canon? For a second I thought I was in the movie, Hunger Games. I expected the face of a dead girl to float above me.

Anyway, here are a couple of photos I took at the concert.

Donovan Frankenreiter - Cape Town

KT Tunstall concert - Cape Town

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If you’re looking to kill another 5 minutes at work, check out the “Text from Hillary Clinton” meme.

This is the weekend I didn’t run

This was the weekend I didn’t run. I didn’t lace up takkies at 05:30 to clock in some kilometres. I didn’t think about how each step makes me stronger. I didn’t dream of how wonderful it would be to cross a half-marathon finish line in under two hours. This is the weekend I slept in (08:30). And I marvelled at how glorious THIS is.

This is the weekend I didn’t watch the next few episodes of “House of Cards”. I didn’t yearn for Claire Underwood’s wardrobe. I didn’t wonder what it says about ME, that I cannot hate Frank Underwood’s character. This is the weekend I finally got around to watching “The Book Thief”. And I wept.

This is the weekend I didn’t pick up a novel. So unusual.

This is the weekend I didn’t devour an entire mango. This is the weekend I didn’t think about how I had fresh pineapple juice every day in India, and how I miss that, and how I really should invest in a juicer. This is the weekend I cooked for someone other than myself.

This is the weekend I didn’t feel compelled to spend Saturday night socialising. This is the weekend I was more than happy to vegetate on the couch and watch mind-numbing TV (Step up 3).

This is the weekend I finally got around to editing some of my photos taken in Mozambique, more than 6 months ago. This is the weekend I remembered how hard I fell for Tofo. My fellow travellers – so friendly and entertaining. The stars – incomparably beautiful. I need to go back.

Boats - Vilanculos

Tattoos - Mozambique

Tofo - first night

Mozambique - cricket

This is the weekend I didn’t run.

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I’ve recently added extreme tree camping to my bucket list.

And then I learnt

A few years ago, I could not differentiate between garlic and ginger. I didn’t cook. And I certainly didn’t bake. Cooking and baking were tasks performed by GIRLS. Girls, whose only ambition was to find a husband and pop out some kids. Girls who didn’t want jobs and ADVENTURES. Girls. who liked pink, tiaras and understood the difference between base and foundation. Girls who weren’t me.

A lot has changed since then. I no longer think of females, who can bake and cook as “girls”. I think of them as women; as matriarchs. I think of them as accomplished individuals. I think of them as women, who nurture and sustain loved ones.

This change in thinking, this transformation wasn’t instantaneous. It started with a thought that any individual over 25, who couldn’t adequately feed him or herself, was pathetic. So in 2012, I dedicated one day a month to baking, to learning, to creating, to never giving up, to finding ONE signature dish that I would whip out at EVERY family function.

I learnt a LOT that year. I learnt that you should never ever, ever pour boiling water on to active dry yeast. I learnt that if you DO make the mistake of pouring boiling water onto active dry yeast your (MY) mom will scream, “You killed it!” (Dramatic much?) I learnt that I really hate being screamed at. (Wait. Nope, I’ve always known that.) I learnt that attempting Chelsea Buns isn’t for amateurs and you need some serious baking skills to attempt the feat. I’ve learnt that you should wait for your cupcakes to cool down BEFORE icing them. I’ve learnt that there’s a certain pride and satisfaction that comes with creating something delicious. I learnt that if I put my mind to it, I can achieve almost anything, all it requires practice and dedication. I learnt that friends will describe my salted caramel chocolate tart as, “NOT a dessert. This is pure decadence; a heart attack waiting to happen.” I learnt.

I still don’t like pink, tiara or know the difference between base and foundation, BUT I can bake.

If you’re looking for awesome food blog, may I suggest Joy the Baker? She’s an awesome photographer, storyteller AND cook.

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Wes Anderson’s latest offering, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” will be showing at The Labia (a cinema in Cape Town) on 20 March. I simply cannot wait!

A free twitter

A few weeks ago a few of us met up and had supper at Nonna Lina. It was there that I revealed that after 6 years of friendship, I still have NO idea what Dizzy* does for a living.
Dizzy*: My work wants me to utilise my networks to grow the business.
Me: What? They want you to cold call your friends and sell them the internet.
Silence.
Juan: Yessss. And if you buy four internets she’ll throw in a twitter for free.

House of Cards and cute boys

Lately, my days have been consumed with work, running, binge watching “House of Cards” (Kevin Spacey is so good) and chatting to the occasional cute boy.

Recent Whatsapp conversation with Fahiema:
Me: I just chatted to a cute boy. Two minutes after talking to him I realised that I had avocado all over my face.
Fahiema: LOL! What’s wrong with him? Totally an invitation for him to come and lick the avocado off your face, right?

Anyway, here’s a recent photo I took at Oblivion, which is one of my all-time favourite hangouts.

Oblivion Quiz Night

Oh and if you have the time, you should totally check out the “I, too, am Harvard” photo campaign. The campaign tries to highlight the voices of black students at Harvard.