Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Monday, 30 September 2013

The Satori Camel Run - Take #2

I have run the Satori Camel Run twice now. The first time was last year. I mentioned it HERE  

It is a '10 miler classic' so is 16.1km long and runs through Noordhoek on road, trail, hills and valleys.

This year it came at the end of a VERY cold and stormy week, where freezing cold, wind, rain and general mayhem had dominated the week. It was so bad that throughout the day before we'd been getting messages from the race organisers saying the field were flooded so parking areas had to be closed and shifted to the nearby streets, the beach was flooded, so the route had to be changed to bypass the beach etc. As a result when the storms were raging the day before the race I was really reluctant to have to wake up early and make the trek over the mountain to run in the elements. It just didn't sound like a fun idea AT ALL. I actually moaned about not wanting to go on FaceBook, and the inimitable Michelle Cupido told me that many people had not been able to get an entry for this race and so if I HAD one I had better damn-well pitch up and do it! Yes ma'am  And also as you should know by now, I am nothing if not dedicated to my commitments (I don't commit easily, but when  do I stick to it!). So I decided, come hell or high water, I would get up and GO.

So up I got on that dark and stormy morning (which was so called 'Spring Day' PAH!) and off I went at sparrow's fart and in the dark. Driving through low cloud and pouring rain all the way and dressed like an eskimo. When I arrived and finally found parking way up a side street, I ended up sitting my car for a good 15-20 minutes just deciding whether to actually get out and go run the damn race or not. I wasn't feeling all that well either. Meh. So not my best start to a race ever at all. 

Eventually I mustered the resolve to get going, spurred on by Beryl & Bridget banging on my window as they passed by in high spirits - as always. As luck would have it despite the chill nip in the air, and much water and mud everywhere, the weather had actually lifted and the rain seemed to be temporarily at bay.

So with pre-race routines sorted it was time to line up and get ready to go. I seeded myself near the front and soon we were off. 

I had a slow and sluggish start, but soon got into a comfortable pace and enjoyed the crisp air and festive crowd. Before we knew it we'd entered the Cape Point Vineyard and start the climb up THAT hill. It's a killer. I ran it until that very last crazy-steep section where walking actually becomes faster than running. Once up that I felt strong and was ready for a crazy fast descent down the otherside, only to find the other side pretty muddy, eroded and slippery from all the rain, so a bit of caution was needed there. But it was still a fast and fun decent. At the bottom we were waved on by a large toad - who I considered stopping to kiss, but was too focused on keeping a good pace up so I ploughed on.

I kept going. My time last year was JUST shy of 1:30 and I hoped to beat, or at least match that. This year I got to Monkey Valley still feeling good. Last year I was already taking strain at this point. I was even managing to pass some people which was nice. On I ran actually enjoying the cool weather. The detour we took in the neighbourhood instead of the beach and dunes made it a bit easier for me and avoided all the sand in the shoes which was nice. In fact I'd managed to stay pretty clean and dry...

And then we had to run the loop through the farmlands section which is in the last 3-4 kms. Well despite my best efforts to avoid the mud and water puddles eventually I came to what can only be described as a mini-dam and there was no way around it. I thought what the hell and just ran straight through the middle. Getting wet right up to the middle of my calves! After that with soggy shoes I just ploughed through whatever was in front of me. There was no point in trying to be delicate about it anymore! I was still feeling pretty strong and pressed on to complete those last couple of kilometers and managed to finish in a very respectable 1:26 and few seconds and in 89th place (second finisher from my club). Results are HERE.

Those 'Camel Droppings' (Date balls) at the end are divine and I love the Buffs instead of medals idea too. So useful. Great bragging rights and good advertising for the club.

The end was a cold, wet and muddy but festive affair where I discovered everyone was there: Lorien, Michelle, David, Beryl, Bridget, El, Adele, Morne, Will, Zaheed, Ellie, Moira, Andy etc etc. In the end I loved it and was really glad I'd gone.

It is a lovely race and one I am sure I will be back for again next year! :)

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Spring Series: Win or Dye trying!

I have been going on about the Merrell Spring Night Series for the past 2  weeks now.

I may have mentioned how much I have enjoyed myself..? ;) So although the final race this week was sold out, and I had not entered (as I was meant to be away), I just had to go back and finish what I started.

I was hell bent on getting an entry and going back to chase that damned 'podium finish' which I thought was in my reach. I was told there would possibly be entries going on the day - IF there were no-shows. I'd also heard that there was a dress-up theme for the final race of 'colourful'. And a prize for the best dressed.

Well that sealed it! I would either win by being fast, or by being idiotic and dressing like a fool, one of the 2. I think we all know where this is going...?
So this is what I wore on Wednesday night to the Spring Night Series Final Race.... I had coloured lights on my fingers and a flashing multi-coloured fibre-optic light around my neck too and long stripy coloured socks and was generally just a mess of colour and bad taste!
 (Photos by Mark Sampson of Thribe Media)

They had a crowd participation voting round to decide who should win. Starting with about 10-15 entries, then the top 6 of us having to stand on tables and then the top 3 had to perform for the crowd. I was desperate enough, and had enough friends in the crowd (who had other friends) to rile up a bit of a noise and fan-fare and I managed to elbow my garish way to a win! I do think Tatum had decided my enthusiasm was funny (or annoying?) and I really was desperate to get my paws on some trail shoes! (I may have mentioned that a few times too..?) and so to placate me I think she threw the voting slightly... and I WON!
Earning me a R1200 Merrell Shoe voucher! WORTH IT!! YAY! :)
I also managed to grab a rather sought after entry to the race after anxiously  waiting to see if I'd get one - there was a waiting list.

Ryan Sandes was there too. No pressure! he didn't dress up, so at least I didn't have to compete with him on that score. LOL.

Then without further adieu it was time for the race. Most of us stayed in our dress-up gear and it was a merry and chirpy bunch verbally sparring and giggling on the start line. I barely listened to the race briefing, and next thing it was was iPOD on, headlamp on. 40-12 coloured lights ON. Stopwatch ready and off we went!

I followed my dress-up top-3 contender team-mates 'Princess' and 'Mr South Africa' the whole way, with Princesses' neon pink lit-up tutu being a great beacon to follow up ahead.

The competition was fierce and strong and the route turned out to be pretty much the reverse route from last week. It was not easy but comfortingly familiar, even if backwards. So I kind knew what would be coming. Again, I was slipping and yelping quite a lot (I really do look forward to comparing the grip on trail shoes soon!).

There was a lot of steep climbing and a fair amount of walking happening, and yes even I relented and walked a bit - my heart rate was pushing 180 bpm at times so I didn't really have a choice in the matter.

I ran and ran and ran and gave it my all. Again not actually knowing how well I was doing because they mix the 5.5km and 8km fields half-way. I finished knowing I had tried my best. So I was kinda bummed to find out later I'd 'only' placed as 9th lady to finish. Damn. Oh well I'd won the dress-up so I was not really upset and decided to get on with the merriment of wine drinking and socialising! I was chatting and laughing through the prize giving and didn't even hear when my name was called out... I was completely taken by surprise to hear that I had placed 2nd lady overall in the whole series! Really!? Wow!! I was so stoked.

All I can say is that everything about this series was awesome and I am so glad I took part. I am just sad that it's over now.

Thanks to all involved for a fabulous intro into in the trail running scene... and stay tuned for my new trail shoes, which I hope to get soon!


My Results below:

I ran all 3 of the 8km event races in the series, and this is how I did.

Final Series results were calculated using a formula:

"Points are calculated based on winning time. Time of the winner is divided by the participant's time and then multiplied by 1000. So the maximum points per race is 1000. The person with the most points after three events will win the series."

There is an awesome gallery of pics HERE

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

My Awesome TMC Lite Escapade

On Saturday I took part in the Crazy Store Table Mountain Challenge Lite. It was the 9th time the TMC event was being held - and it seems like it gets progressively more difficult and challenging each year. From the very start it was a good challenge with the route broken into 3 legs circumnavigating the whole of Table Mountain. 

Original Route:
Leg 1 starts at the Kloof Nek Tafelberg Road intersection by Lion's Head and travels along Tafelberg Road around to the King's Block House on Devil's Peak. 
Leg 2 goes from the King's Block House along the contour paths above Kirstenbosch to Constantia Nek. 
Leg 3 goes from Constantia Nek through Orange Kloof above Hout Bay to Suikerbossie, up Llandudno Ravine, along the top of the mountain, down Kasteelpoort, and back to Tafelberg Road along the pipe track and along the 'Twelve Apostles'. 

The original 35km route:
It is by no means an easy event. Previously there were options to do the full TMC, or form a team of 3 each doing a single leg.

Each year or so the route has got progressively longer and tougher and instead of taking the direct route (on jeep tracks) for each leg they now make it as technical and challenging as they can finding every hill, step and rock they can find and making that part of the route. They have in the process added and extra 3km to the route and made it much more grueling and hard-core!

Last year's tougher 38km route... and this year they added to that and 'toughened up' leg 1 significantly too.

New Route:
Leg 1 now veers off Tafelberg Road almost immediately and runs up and down the paths of Deer Park, some so steep that all but the elite athletes end up having to walk sections.
Leg 2 now instead of being 'just' a lovely scenic contour path, this leg now includes the brutal climb up and down the beastly Rooikat Kloof! OUCH!!!
Leg 3 is unchanged as far as I know..?

I have known seasoned runners, runners who have completed the Comrades successfully, who have been broken by the TMC! So it was always something I observed from afar with a healthy dose of respect, doubt and fear. For the first 5 years or so it was not even within my realm of capability. Then in the past few years I have thought it sounded like a lot of fun and have been semi-keen on doing one of the first 2 legs, preferably the 2nd (most scenic & popular) leg. But entries to this race go like hot cakes and getting your hands on one is like trying to find hen's teeth. Also there is no way I wanted to tackle the FULL TMC and the mission of finding and forming and then performing in a team just seemed too much. So I just haven't had a real opportunity yet. Also I am really not a trail runner. I have done the odd social and casual foray on the mountains but never competitively and I don't even have trail shoes yet (as previously mentioned)...

However you look at it, this is a crazy event! However after having entered and then having so much fun at the recent Merrell Night Series Races when a friend told me that a batch of late entries were opening for the TMC and it was for a special 'Lite' version. Without thinking I snapped one up as fast as I could! YAY! I was so excited to finally be part of the crazy action, and with the word 'Lite' in the title it totally felt doable. Easy even! Right? Until I looked at the details properly and saw that what I had done was enter Leg 1 AND 2 together combined as a solo end-to-end race event. Hang on 1 & 2 together is now about 22km! Holy crap had I really just signed up for an off-road hard-core terrain Half Marathon distance race on a mountain!? ERMAGAD!?
Clearly I had lost my mind, and deciding I might as well embrace the spirit of it all I went all out. There was the most horrendous weather forecast for the big day and the day before was pretty bad too. I had already decided it would be a rest day, but it turned into a complete binge day too. Starting with the work 'Bake & Donate' day where Team Awesome put together a spectacular 'Mad Hatter's Tea Party' cos 'We are all Mad here!' where FAR too much cake, sweets, chocolate and and and was consumed until we all wanted to die... but did I stop there..? No of course not, I then went on a fantastic Brewery Tour, Beer Tasting and beer drinking session. Until I was actually quite rat-arsed to be honest. *Oops*

I had to pull myself together to get my race stuff together and was finally sort of ready and got myself to bed around 11pm. I then tossed and turned with racing heart and sweating (due to over-indulgence not nerves I think) listening to the raging storm outside. At 2am I eventually fired up my laptop to watch an episode of a series I am watching... so when I woke up at 06:30am to hear the wind and rain I was not super enthused to get up. I even started bleating about it on Facebook - where my 'helpful' friends told me to go back to bed. Since I am rather otherwise that actually spurred me on to get up and just do it, come hell, or high water. So up I got and got ready and set off. In the pouring rain.

Miracle or miracles though as I drove around the mountain the cloud started lifting and the rain cleared and by the time our race started there was even a bit of sunshine. It was meant to be! :)

After chatting to a few people at the start and being interviewed and mocked senseless by Trevor Ball about wearing devil horns we set off.

Clearly trail running in general, and this race in particular attracts a rather fit and athletic bunch as a sizable bunch of people zoomed off well ahead of me in the initial ascent. Much as I wanted to race I knew I had a long and grueling journey ahead of me and I had to focus on finished and not killing myself before the end! So I got into a slow and stead rhythm and plodded up as the seasoned runner filed past me. However soon there was a nice gravelly descent, where I was met by my favourite running friend GRAVITY. Embracing my friend I went careening down the hill passing loads of people and gaining momentum, speed and confidence with each pounding step. Soon though the lovely down hill was over and another steep climb faced me. I plodded up and all those people passed me again. This went on over several up and downhill sections. Eventually we had a serious stair climb section where everyone seemed to just walk it. Then a really muddy and slippery section where I decided trail shoes are a MUST for those conditions, you really do not have enough grip or stability with the 'marshmallow' road shoes I wear.

I had managed to pass and keep ahead of 2 women and decided my goal was to stay ahead of them. A blondie had run off into the distance at the start, she was nowhere to be seen. As I pounded down a hill a crazy guy on a mountain bike whizzed passed me, really close, he could easily have hit me actually. I kind of shook my head and left it at that. But I'll be damned he roared up the next hill and stopped next to none other than blondie.. he gave her some stuff, took her jacket etc. Yoh I was cross. Here I was lugging all my 'compulsory kit' on my back and this chick has here own private (and not allowed) second!? Ahem. My competitive nature was riled and I though damn here I WILL catch her. And I did I managed to pass her while she was still doing her exchanges with the guy. As soon as she saw me pass though she set off and charged ahead again. DAMN!

I kept her in my sights though and doggedly pushed myself forward. It's a looooong uphill slog to the Block House and I watched her up ahead stopping to walk several times (as were a lot of the men). I refused to let myself walk - telling myself 'real runners don't walk'. So even though I was running oh so slowly I made sure I KEPT running. Think Dory 'Just keep running, running, running'. It was pure willpower, dog-headedness and sexism (Yes I will admit I have no issue with men passing me and beating me and competing with me, but for some reason I get much more riled by other women on the course and get a bit of a 'killer instinct' with them and want to 'take them down'. I am not sure if that's normal or if there is something wrong with me. But when it comes to other women I WANT TO WIN! The same thing happened when I used to do fencing at Varsity...) that got me to the top of that hill.

I finally reached the Block House and Check Point 1 at the end of Leg 1 in a time of 1h04m - being 6th lady and in 25th place overall. I think I even said 'Oh thank-god I can stop for a second now!'. I grabbed a quick cup of Coke and decided there was no time to lose, since blondie was already through the style and on her way into Leg 2.

So I pressed on. Although I'd pushed hard and was a bit tired, and wasn't even half-way through yet. I know Leg 2 (or so I THOUGHT!) and felt confident that I would be fine. The weather was good, and despite the ground being very wet there was hardly any wind and the rain had given way to some sunshine, so everything was going great and looking good.

I proceeded onto the boardwalk enjoying the scenery, the view, the music on my iPOD, the relatively easy section we were on and realised I was LOVING IT!  I still had a long way to go but I was really feeling happy and enjoying myself. I was soaked in mud, sweat and water (we'd already had to run through several mud and water crossings) and my nose was running but I was feeling great and I think I had a huge smile on my face too. I soon reached the boardwalks which can get quite slippery and treacherous in the wet season. Thinking I'd have to take it easy I started gingerly but soon found my trust road shoes were handling them fine and I changed up a gear and went for it. I was flying along those boardwalks and blow me down if I didn't catch up to miss blondie! Whoop. I pressed and pressed until I was right behind her and tapped her shoulder and asked if I could pass. I was disproportionately THRILLED.

After that the race was on and I could feel her speeding up and running hard behind me. So I surged on and threw caution to the wind running as fast as my legs could carry me barely giving a thought to safety or caution. I couldn't seem to shake her though and this presence stayed right behind me. We got to the rocky section and I just kept going running and stumbling but going as fast as I could. Bashing my leg on a rock and not even caring.

In the next section of board walks a guy fell, thanks to some other guy going for a run in the opposite direction (not the right day and time for that buddy!) who caused him to veer, slip, pirouette and crash right off the path dramatically right in front of me. I stopped to check if he was ok and to help him up, and with that a guy passed me. It was not blondie who'd been on my heels but HIM. She was still behind me! So making sure guy who'd fallen was ostensibly ok I high-tailed it outta there. I did have a slight pang that I should have stayed, but the other guy who'd sort of caused it was there was with him. and I was on a mission to stay ahead!

I ran and ran and ran and realised this path was long and really not easy. The rivers and waterfalls were raging and the crossing were treacherous, tho exciting, and some even had marshalls stationed at them to aid runners across so they didn't end up washed down-stream. My shoes and legs were soaked through and in one crossing I ended up quite literally waist deep in the water. I have never run that kind of terrain or those kind of conditions before. It was insane and exhilarating and exhausting and liberating and challenging!

I think this was soon before...
Eventually the inevitable happened I was running to fast, and slightly recklessly, and getting tired and not quite lifting my feet high enough. My left foot must have caught a root and I tripped. I didn't just stumble I came down like an imploded building. I 'klapped out', thankfully in a soft clayish area and not on the boardwalks as I landed hard on my hand and knees, jolted my spine and my legs just cramped and seized up in unison. OUCH!

The guy behind me stopped and helped me up and I had to stretch my egs out a bit before I could go on... but I was still focused on staying ahead, but now my legs were complaining, and quite loudly. Dammit! I just couldn't get back to the pace I'd been going at before.

Eventually in the climb out of the Kirstenbosch valley blondie caught up with me and I graciously let her past with a big smile and we exchanged a few quick friendly (really) words and off she went. I did try to chase her down but from that point instead of it being the 'easy' jeep track on to Constantia Nek, the path took every difficult and challenging turn it cool. Up this stairway, down that one and then Rooikat Kloof. OMG. Kill me. That was so tough. It was just up up up forever with large stairs. It was basically like climbing Mt Kinabalu. I was not even trying to run at that point and realised I was actually starting to bonk a little bit.
I realised that I had not had breakfast and had been out there for quite some time and had not eaten nor drunk anything en route either. In a 10km or even 20km road run you can get away with this. When you push beyond 2-hours not so much. Also I was pushing my heart rate quite hard and keeping it pretty much over 160 the whole time. I HAD food in my running pack, but didn't want to stop to retrieve it. I kept telling myself 'just a bit further first'. I was still hell bent on racing. but I did have a couple of glucose sweets in reach so I grabbed 2 of those and drank from the next 2 streams I crossed - that water tasted like nectar! It gave me enough of a psychological and physical boost to perk up and keep going, although I was feeling slightly dizzy and was a bit worried I might push myself into dreaded migraine-zone-of-no-return if I wasn't careful. So I focused on breathing and paced myself and was beyond pleased to finally reach the jeep track leading to Constantia nek and the now much anticipated end at Check-Point 2.

However once my legs hit the jeep track they were SO tired I couldn't speed up and found I was just plodding slowly and painfully. My sacrum was aching, mostly due to the fall I think, and also just pain tired and my glutes and hip flexors starting to get stiff.

That section of Jeep track seemed never ending. I passed a young guy who also looked like he wanted to give up and I spurred him on saying 'let's finish this damned thing!'. Which encouraged him and he came to jog along side me. While proved very useful because when I stumbled and my sunglasses fell off and I was thinking 'oh to hell with them picking them up will be too hard now', he stooped down and got them for me. :)

He eventually dropped back though and I said I'd see him at the end and I decided I would finish in glory and race to the end. I think my running style got a bit peculiar then though as I was not feeling comfortable. I really was ready to be done!

FINALLY the end was in sight and thankfully it's nice downhill to the end, so I let my friend gravity jump on my back and off we went careening down the hill barely in control and just aiming for the end. I rounded the corner into the Constantia Nek parking and when I saw the mud bath I had to run through I very nearly just dived into it, thinking it would be a fitting way to end that epic amazing escapade. Letting sanity prevail though I simply stumbled to the end point and uttered 'Kill me!'.

What a race!

I finished in 2:48:45. I was 29th in the TMC Lite and 7th lady to finish.
All results can be found here. I am actually very pleased with my results. I ran and pushed as much as I could and coped a lot better than I thought I would ad had much more fun than expected. It was awesome.

I saw blondie at the end and shook her hand, telling her she is really good. She high fived me and said I'd given her a real run for her money. :)

They had organised luxury shuttles to take us back to the start/end of the main race and prize giving. So after socialising with some friends briefly I hopped in my taxi and off we went. Chatting and sms'ing up a storm. Soon the cold, stiffness and then nausea set i though and I really felt grim and was sure I was going to throw up. Again a symptom of pushing hard and not enough nutrition.  Once we were back at the start I felt vile. I got into my car ate a banana and some nuts had a warm blissful shower got some clean dry clothes on and felt so much better. I went up to socialise and enjoy the fun and games of the proze giving and even got a free massage which really helped to loosen up my aching hips.

All in all it was a fabulous race and really fun day out which I thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely like to do again!

Thanks to everyone involved!

There are more photos where you can see what it looked like and how hectic those water crossing were:   -> HERE <- b="">

Ryan Sandes won the Full TMC very convincingly and about 20 mins ahead of #2 who was about 15 mins ahead of #3. WOW. 

And Tatum Prins who arranges those Merrell Night Series Races won the Ladies race very convincingly too (and 14th overall nogal!) - and she has a 6-month old baby. HUGE RESPECT Tatum!!!!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

On paranoia & demonising our men-folk

Being the mom of boys, I have over the years given a fair amount of thought to the fact that males are pretty much demonised in society. As are black people, Muslims and god forbid the trifecta of a black Muslim man! *gasp in horror*! Sure, some men (some black people, some Muslim people) are bad and have committed heinous crimes. As far as demographics, generalisations and profiling go the odds may indeed be statistically higher that a male (black person/Muslim you get my drift... so I'll stop now) may be more LIKELY to do something bad. Whether it be spitting, graffiti, vandalising, general thuggery etc. right up to perpetrating more serious crimes like arson, theft, GTA, drugs, abuse, muggings, murder and rape.

​​However that doesn't mean women (white people or Christians) are beyond reproach and do not have their fair share of miscreants among them either! And it also does NOT mean ALL boys are bad or will do anything criminal in their lives.​ There are a lot (probably a vast majority?) of boys who will never do anything particularly 'bad'...

​So my point though is, imagine growing up as a boy and immediately having the odds stacked against you and almost having a 'guilty until proven innocent' type label applied to you purely because you are a male. (And seriously I can only imagine how much worse this must be for the other 'profiled' groups out there which just compound the issue). Imagine what it must be like where just walking down the street raises suspicion and thoughts of: "What's he up to?", "I bet he's up to no good..", "Better keep an eye on him!", and worse defensive actions like crossing the street, avoiding eye contact, rolling up car windows and locking doors as they approach. How must that make a young boy feel..?

I tend not to be a paranoid person, and I don't live in fear and generally do not feel threatened or vulnerable. I also tend not to feel suspicious by default and generally assume good and innocent intent unless I have reason not to. I like to think I am pretty street smart and have had no issue with defending myself when I thought the situation warranted it. 

So here's an interesting situation I found myself in on Thursday night last week. There I was merrily walking home from yoga at about 19:00 in the dark, listening to podcasts on my iPOD, when this youngish white dude stepped out of his car, which was parked in the shadows down a side street. He approached me and asked me to help him. He told me his car had broken down and could I help him? I sussed out the situation, shrugged and said sure. He needed me to help him pop the bonnet cos the catch is faulty and it doesn't really release. So I was pulling the bonnet, he was working the catch. To no avail. Eventually he asked me to try the catch inside the car and he'd try from the outside. So I went around to reach deep into the car while he went to the front. He then came back and pushed the door closed towards me  - I will admit I had mini-alarm bells ringing then wondering what he was doing and how I was sort of getting into a slightly precarious position. Also he was a young dude, nervous and embarrassed and rattled that his car was not working - which could have been interpreted as someone up to no good and the weird nervous behaviour being suspicious. What he was really doing was making sure his dodgy door didn't swing closed on me and bash my legs. So he was actually trying to be thoughtful and caring.

It really was just a genuinely innocent guy in a pickle needing a hand. I know that MOST women I know would not have stopped and not have helped him. (Ok, or even been out walking alone in the dark either for that matter.)

I really do feel sorry for guys being demonised as much as they are and treated as guilty and suspect by default, even if they are honest and genuinely good guys.

BUT the story actually gets weirder and funnier because after not actually being able to help the poor guy, he said not to worry he'd make a plan somehow, but thanks for trying. So I bid him good luck and told him I'd look out for and then send the neighbourhood security vehicle over... 

I walked on and soon saw an ADT van parked under some trees. The (incidentally black) ADT patrolman was standing next to his bakkie in a bulletproof-vest and leaning on the bonnet. As I approached he stood up, walked to the door and got into the vehicle. As it became clear I was approaching him directly he closed and locked the door and rolled up the window! I was quite bemused. REALLY!? Perhaps it is protocol? But I really found it odd and rather funny.

When I gestured that I wanted to speak to him he opened his window a crack and I had to speak through the 2 mm gap. So there you have it, maybe lone unarmed white 'christian'* women are actually the scary ones after all!?

Anyway, it really drove home that feeling of being regarded as suspicious and threatening when you have done absolutely nothing to warrant that reaction. It must be awful to be faced with that constantly. 

As far as I see it, my role as a parent is to teach my sons to be courteous, respectful and considerate men and I hope that if they are they will be afforded the respect and courtesy to live their lives freely and openly and spontaneously without being cast in the role of the 'bad guy' simply by virtue of their given gender.

Has anyone else given this much thought...?
* I am not Christian actually, but most people assume I am.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Runners are gross...

So I have seen and heard of some of the gross things runner do, and have always tried to keep it 'clean' and dignified... but I ran the toughest race I have ever done on Saturday morning - the Table Mountain Challenge Lite which was 22kms from Lion's Head to Constantia Nek via the Block House (mountain trail races are not for sissies hey).  While pounding down a rocky descent at the front of the mountain I had a bit of USI (urinary stress incontinence) aka I peed my pants a little from the impact (I am sure many of you know what I mean wrt jumping on a trampoline now post-kids..?) Anyway it didn't matter at all because there was so much mud and water around, that at one point I was literally up to my waist in water at a river crossing. (Sorry Cape Town water supply!!) ;)

Then while running in the wet and cold my nose was just streaming so I did that disgusting blow your nose into your hand thing! I just had to, and again there was so much water around it washed away immediately.

But yup after 8 years I finally became one of those siff bodily-fluid-ejecting runners!

But heck I am not that bad... here are 5 Disgusting things runners do ... at least I don't spit or poop my pants!

Here's more on gross running habits.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

My Night Trail Race Shenanigans

So I ran the Merrell Night Series Race #2 at Groot Constantia last night. 

Last week I ran it for the first time. It was actually my first proper off-road trail race and also the first time I have run completely IN THE DARK.

Running in the Dark  (Photo by Tribe Photography)

I opted for the longer 8km route (the short route is 5.5kms). Unlike the regular road races it is a smaller group and organisation is more casual and relaxed. So at the start line, and just minutes before the start, we were briefly told the route (which not really knowing the farm well meant very little to me anyway). With a last minute warning to run around and not into the pond on the way back in the dark we were sent off.

I got into a pace and was enjoying the run a lot. There were a bunch of fast guys up ahead and I followed them and all was well. Until about halfway into the run the field was so spread out and it was properly dark and there was just one guy ahead with lights and reflective strips bouncing in the near distance. I saw him turn down left and followed him, only to find we were re-joining a large group at the bottom of the hill and going back around the same big loop around the dam. It didn't feel right! 4-5 other people had followed me. The first guy turned back, I decided to just loop around again figuring it would just be extra training for the BIGGER race I am doing this Saturday. So around we went doing at least 1km of the course again and then finding the correct exit (straight and NOT left) when I got back to that point again. I soldiered on and kept running and completed - without running into the darkened pond.

Amazingly though I finished as 5th lady! I have NO idea how I achieved that as I am pretty sure I ran the whole rest of the route and my iPOD claimed I'd done 9.5kms so I definitely did cover 8-9kms minimum. 

Winning ladies last week (Photo by Tribe Photography)

I also found out at the end that the guy I had followed was the winning lady's boyfriend! Hrm... decoy-much?! So I was bemusedly-bummed about it and decided I'd go back this week, to take a podium finish. I didn't think it would be easy, but I thought I could do it.

So off I went last night, confident and ready. I even found and looked at the map beforehand to confirm where I'd gone wrong the week before and to ensure I knew the route. But the map made no sense to me so I finally gave up and went to the start. Where, as the race briefing started, I realised the route was completely changed this week. Noooo! Most of my confidence revolved around me knowing the route and knowing where I could let loose and run FAST. This week they also included 260m of climbing - not my forte at all! Shit!

Anyway, off we went. I set off hard and fast and was in the frontish group with only 1 lady (same one who won last week - she is FAST) ahead of me. The route was better marked and marshaled this week, but was MUCH tougher. I ran and ran but the terrain was tough and not conducive to running fast with normal road-running shoes on. It was very uneven and slippery and the steep bits were so steep and gravelly almost everyone resorted to walking in that section. At times staying alive was more of a focus than winning I will admit!

Still I was determined to do well and ran as fast as I could and pretty much stayed at my max heart rate for most of the race. By the time I finished I could barely breathe and my legs wanted to collapse. Since the 5.5km and 8km races converge and finish together I was not even sure how well I had done, but thought I may have managed a 3rd place..?

Sadly though when the results came out I was 5th lady again?! Nooo! Bugger! Same lady as last week finished first and well ahead of #2, so she is fastest lady by far!

Now I am so going to have to find an entry (it's sold out) for next week so I can try AGAIN! I wonder if I can get some trail shoes by then so I have a fighting chance at least and am not slipping and sliding and yelping my way around the course!? :)

Me running Race #2 (Photo By Peter King)

Anyway I am enjoying it a lot, these races are really festive and social and fun! The free wine tasting at the end being an added bonus.
More of me (Photos By Griff)

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

What are the SA/CPT laws around Skateboarding?

Quinn and his friends have become avid skate/longboarders around our little neighbourhood - in quiet cul-de-sac roads.

I have watched them, and other similar groups in the area and none of them behave badly or thuggish at all, and are just going about their business as boarding enthusiasts. At very worst they'll be in a largish group -of 5-10 - but again not even making a noise or being disruptive other than being on their boards and marginally en-force. (Someone prejudiced might assume they are up to no good, but they really aren't!) Sure they are on the roads, but they are pretty quiet roads and they defer to cars when they approach. Someone keeps a look out usually and then they move if a car arrives and they put up a hand in a gesture to say hi and/or apologize for being in the way. Most people smile and wave.

The ADT guys like them and always wave and say hi etc and most of the regular old folks we know who walk their dogs chat and ask them how they are getting on etc. SO I REALLY don't think they are doing anything wrong.

BUT there are 2-3 people down near the park who have started causing issues and who come out and hassle them and tell them it is illegal to skateboard on the road and keep threatening to call the cops on them!? REALLY? 

So is it 'illegal' in any way. Are there regulations around this? I am happy to defend them and help them stand their ground, but I want to know if there are any actual laws in force..?

I have also made a point of telling Quinn to always be polite and respectful. Even (or especially) to people being rude and unreasonable to them, to ensure they stay in the right and that no one has any real cause to take issue with them.

It's really annoying though because they are focused and getting fresh air and exercise and are getting quite fit and toned and now they are being harassed and treated like gangsters and it's really unfair. :evil: 


I have now found this info:

Firstly, and most important, the City of Cape Town, like most big cities, has banned skateboarding on its streets. The relevant bylaw says quite clearly that no person shall:

on a public road skate on roller-skates or a skate-board or similar device except where permitted by the City;

The City is understandably disinclined to so permit. On special occasions the road from Kloof Nek to Clifton has been closed for the daredevils of the skating community. Elsewhere there is little evidence of accommodation of skateboarding except for competitions and events. Practising for these is of course necessary, but virtually impossible legally speaking.

Prohibiting skateboarding has consequences. It is a criminal offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment or both. While law enforcement on roads is conspicuously emaciated in general, in respect of the skateboarding offence it is non-existent. Complaints about skateboarding activities, if reacted to at all, are usually tactfully handled with a stern: "Cool it for a while you are irritating Mother Grundy" and no other action from the metro police, who seem to have a surprisingly "live and let live" kind of attitude.

This is however not the end of the matter.

Should, heaven forbid, an illegal skateboarder come to grief and injure himself then the medical aid schemes are entitled to refuse to pay the costs of medical care which may be required. Should his negligence cause loss, damage or injury to a third party - for example a fellow skateboarder or a skittish motorist who ends up in the ditch when surprised by a massed ensemble of flying helmets - then the all risks insurers who may be involved will be entitled to decline claims on the basis that an illegal activity is not covered under policy exceptions or exemptions which disallow claims that arise in such circumstances. ...

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Merrell Night Run Series 8km Trail Run #1

Last night I went of to run the 8km Merrell Night Series Trail run at Groot Constantia. I am usually a  road runner (I don't even have any trail shoes!) and decided to enter to join a friend - who then bailed!? Whatever...

Banner 2013 Night Series Sept

Anyway it turned out to be REALLY fun. Even though I nearly fell on my face about 5 times! Thanks to the mud, dark, errant irrigation tubes
 rocks and pot holes etc. Then I ended up doing an extra 1-1.5km, as a group of us did a large loop around the dam twice. I followed another guy* and at least 5-6 other people followed me.
. It seems that t
he arrow at the top of the vines above the dam is a bit misleading and I think we turned down in front of the gate rather than going straight through it first... I had visions of being stuck in an endless loop and having no idea how to get out of it
. At the time it didn't matter and I was having fun so was not too fussed. Since I am running a MUCH longer and tougher even next week-end
(The Table Mountain Challenge Lite**) 
I just chalked it up to extra training. BUT I somehow seem to have finished as 5th lady anyway..? Really? Wow! I am so going back next week** to claim 'podium finish! :)

Results: HERE

I'm going to take the boys
next week as it is a really fun and festive event. I am so glad I went. Looking forward to next week already!

* Who turned out to be the winning lady's boyfriend... hrm decoy much!?
on't be fooled by the word '
lite' it's
a 22kms slog off-road from 
Lion's head to Constantia Nek via the Block House on
Devil's Peak