Category: fear factor



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.

A few days ago, before the turn of the New Year, I publically announced my 2015 goals/resolutions/bucket list items via twitter. Please note that they are all running related goals.

2015 running goals:

  • Set new PBs (Personal Bests).
  • Train for the Two Oceans Ultra-Marathon (56km).
  • Don’t get injured.

New PBs

2014 was a great year (running and travel wise). Much to my surprise I managed to set PBs for nearly every running category (10, 21, 30 and 42km). My improvement was significant. I went from completing a half-marathon in 2:09 to 2:01. That’s a new PB of 8 whole minutes. And it is due to this massive drop in numbers that I truly believe I am capable of more.

And I was right. On Sunday I ran the Bay to Bay 30km and completed it in 3:08. That’s a PB of 11 minutes. Booyah.

Short notes on the race

I was initially anxious about driving to the race. With most races my dad picks me up (and makes me toast for breakfast). I leave the logistics of how and when to get there entirely up to him. This wasn’t happening for this race. I would need to rely on myself. I would need to arrive at the race ON TIME and possibly PARALLEL PARK in a narrow, hilly street. Cue all the nerves.

But I did it. And I picked up Fahiema. Fahiema: “Sid is picking me up at 05:00 tomorrow. I set my alarm for 04:50. I love a challenge.”

The 30km race route started at Camps Bay, snaked down to Hout Bay and then looped back to Camps Bay. The 30km started at 06:00. There was also a 15km which started at Hout Bay and ended at Camps Bay. The 15km started at 07:30. At some point the 30km runners would converge with the 15km runners. For me that point was the 18km mark. And holy crap, did it feel amazing to overtake some of the 15km runners.


The non-running related goals:

  • Be a little more vulnerable, open and brave. Do the things that scare me. (Note: Everything scares me.)
  • Dance at Juan and Dizzy’s wedding until my feet bleed.
  • Do whatever I can to ensure that Fahiema’s wedding is a little less stressful.
  • Go hot air ballooning in Turkey.
  • Save up enough cash to go snowboarding in Europe for my birthday.

Day 9


My first panic attack happens on Day 9 of the great adventure of 2013. I’m in Maputo. I arrived the previous evening from Johannesburg, via the Intercape bus.

I’m in Maputo and my bankcard won’t work. I’m not sure why. It was working earlier that morning. Now? The error message on the ATM screen simply reads: “Your time limit has been exceeded.” What does that mean? Has my bank cancelled my card? Surely they’d call BEFORE cancelling my card?

I try not to panic. I fail miserably at NOT PANICKING. I tell everyone on Twitter that my bankcard isn’t working and OMG it won’t be long before I’m scavenging through dustbins in order to sustain myself in Mozambique. I curse myself for tipping the waitress so generously. WHY? I tell myself that I’ll be fine ONCE I meet up with Cazz and Cougar in Vilanculos. But until then I can’t spend anymore money. I have no idea how much a taxi will cost from the bus stop in Vilanculos to my backpackers. So I forgo supper, which isn’t an easy task considering that I only had fresh pineapple juice and lemon ice-cream for lunch. Stupid, frivolous me! And I tell myself, that if worst comes worst, I can ask my father to book an immediately flight out of Mozambique. God, let it not come to that.  

I will later learn that:

  • My bankcard only works at a Barclays ATM.
  • That a taxi from Pambara (the bus stop at Vilanculos) to my backpackers (a distance of 20km) will set me back MTn1000. (That’s  almost R400.)


In a few days time, I will be ticking ONE item from my bucket/life list. While the rest of you are office bound and lamenting the horrendous Cape Town weather, I will be traipsing along the Mozambican coast.


But before I jet off to the land of prawns, coconuts and coral reefs; I will be going to the Eastern Cape (for work). I will then head to Durban for 5 days. There I will gorge myself on bunny chows, surf in the warm Indian Ocean and explore uShaka Marine Park. Oh, and I’ll also be supporting my dad, who will be running his third Comrades Ultra-Marathon.


He has yet to complete the Comrades within the cut-off (he’s missed it by minutes) and I hope that by running the last 10km with him, he’ll find the strength to complete this momentous task. I also hope that one day I too will find the strength to run the entire 87km.


From Durban it’s just a “short” bus ride to Johannesburg and Maputo. (It’s an 8 hour bus ride from Durban to Joburg. And another 8 hours ride from Joburg to Maputo. Oh the fun I’ll have.)


From Maputo, I’ll head over to Vilanculos, where I’ll be joined by one of my dearest friends, Cazz. As yet we don’t have any set plans (other than to have fun), so if you have any tips or suggestions, please head on over to the comment section.

Every year my institution hires a couple of interns, as part of the Human Capacity Building programme. Some of these interns have impressed us with their uber-productivity and have gone on to become permanent staff members. Others have frustrated us beyond belief.


The following interaction occurred a few months ago.

Intern: Hey. How are you doing?

Slightly confused as to why an intern would be interested in my wellbeing, “I’m good …”

Intern: Great. I’m looking for the printer. The one that prints and copies.

Me: Thus distinguishing it from other printers.

Intern: Excuse me? I was at the printer earlier today and forgot my diary there.

Realising that the intern hadn’t sent a document to the printer using his PC, as I’d first assumed, I figured that he’d probably be able to describe the location of the printer. I was sorely mistaken.

Me: Do you remember where this printer was? Whose office it was close to?

“In the corridor,” he said with finality.  

My office building has three floors and a multitude of corridors. Trying my best to retain my composure and failing horribly, I tried to extract more clues from him. “Which corridor?”

With a roll of the eyes to illustrate exactly how laborious and dim he found ME, he said, “In the building.”

This, my friends, is who we have hired to assist us with our maps and spatial data*. God help us all.


* I once told a guy that I work with spatial data.

Guy: Oh cool. You work with space rocks.

I thought this was adorable.