On Bucket Lists and Dreaming Big

I’m really stressed. Two very busy and demanding jobs, being a mom a wife a friend and a nice human being are all taking its toll on me. That and the daily financial stress of life, revolting Johannesburg traffic and wondering what the hell I’m destined to do on this earth have left me feeling severely Eyeore’ish. So much so that yesterday I even had a driz in the office after a long and frustrating phone call with my bank about home loan rates and the fact that I’m literally being bent over and rogered on a daily basis by their fees.

Speaking of traffic; my daily 3-4 hour commute and back to my offices means I have a lot of time to listen to shitty radio. So I don’t. I listen to inspiring podcasts and Internet radio stations and interviews with people who climb mountains and jump off buildings and follow their dreams. And ultimately I feel inspired for just a little bit until my actual life takes over and I’m knee deep in admin and invoices and editing and earning a salary.

The other day one of the interviews turned to a discussion on bucket lists, and while the radio crew rattled off their wish list I found myself completely stumped. The biggest thing on my agenda at the moment is ‘surviving’ so I was completely taken back by what these other folk had on theirs.

I haven’t stopped thinking about this since that day, and I’ve been thinking long and hard about what really makes me tick, what my dreams are and what my bucket list would be. It’s been quite a fun time letting my mind push through the mental constraints I’ve had and to conjure up a dream book of ‘what if’s’. It’s also been very hard to let myself think big and I challenge you to do the same, come up with your own list ad share it with me.

So, what is on my bucket list?

  • A photographic safari documenting wildlife ala National Geographic style. Think the Great Kenya migration, tree frogs in the Amazon and lemurs in Madagascar. I want to get up close and personal with everything from wide-eyed bush babies to the wrinkled and calloused skins of ellies. Naturally this means using only the best equipment and gear and sleeping under a ceiling of stars with my camera set to a long slow lazy exposure to capture them as they wind themselves around the night sky

  • Speaking of photographic safaris and all things National Geographic: remember this photo? I’ve been obsessed with it ever since I painted it for a matric art class project. I adore taking photos of people and something I have always wanted to do is travel the world and take portraits of locals in small unknown towns. Black and white head shots of ladies in the dusty streets of India, solemn faces of praying Monks in Tibet, curious kids on steps in Stonetown, fresh faced ladies at Croatian festivals and thin lipped, toothless ladies in China. I would travel with a guide who could speak any language and who would help me communicate with these people so they trusted me enough to take their photos and step into their personal space.

 

  • A complete house renovation with unlimited budget. My décor, my design, my dream and my space. Glossy dark wood floors, white open airy windows, furniture found on Pinterest and a garden so lush you could lose yourself in it for days.

  • A collection of rescued and abandoned farm animals. Sheep, a cow, a chicken or two. The money and space to take them on.

 

  • To write my book. Have it published, be wildly popular. Make fuck tons of cash dollar.

 

  • To do a photo-shoot in the snow

  • To learn how to design my own logos, brochures, adverts and more.

 

  • Have a ‘yes’ day. Don’t tell anyone but agree and say ‘yes’ to every single thing thrown at me. This one terrifies me a bit as well, I mean, what I someone asks me to go camping. Or dancing. Or eat meat.

 

  • Visit the pub/restaurant I was named after ‘Kate Kearneys Cottage’ in Ireland

  • Win an award for a photo I’ve taken. Any photo, any award

 

  • On the subject of photos – have someone buy a photo of mine that they have fallen in love with. And I’m not talking a family member buying a photo that I took at their family session, I’m talking random stranger loving something I’ve created and wanting to own it.

 

  • Finding the perfect foundation and the perfect bubblegum pink blusher.

 

  • Achieve a body weight that makes me want to run around naked. Buy an expensive bikini and put it on said amazing body.

 

  • Understand a little bit about every single thing. I love learning, but to be able to contribute to a conversation on anything from politics to propagation, without reaching for Dr.Google, must be a hell of a cool feeling.

 

  • Be office and traffic less, and when I do have to be in traffic have a driver so I can find more productive ways to while the time.
  • Be the voice of a character in an animated movie.
  • Get veneers for my teeth, and transform my smile into this:

 

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Kate Rankin Photography

A year ago today I went back to work after maternity leave. It was a big deal – and anyone who has ever been wrenched from a warm womb of maternity bliss and chucked back into open plan offices, deadlines and tuna salads named ‘Kevin’ understands just what a tricky transition it can be.

I went back to work with a renewed sense of purpose and my feelings on working moms, flexi time and balancing it all are not hidden. When I went back to work I wanted to do really really well at my job, but also be a great mom. And I did, but something was missing. I wanted to find my passion project. Wine drinking aside, I never really knew what it was that drove me. They say the things you do when you’re not consciously thinking about it, is what you really love. So if I think back on my life it’s actually pretty glaringly obvious that photography has always been my thing. I am never without camera, and my favourite present of all time was a 1.2 megapixel digital camera that came free with a double mattress from Dial A Bed. Oh, bless you, growth of technology.

Taking photos for me means capturing and preserving a memory forever. I view life through the eye of a lens and to me, everything is a picture waiting to happen. When Carter was born it was the perfect opportunity to take this interest of mine, and turn it in to something more. During my maternity leave I studied and passed with a distinction a diploma in photography, and finally felt comfortable using my camera on that terrifying ‘M’ mode. Sadly, work, motherhood and the aim for the perfect-mom-bod all got in the way and I let my camera gather dust for several months. Then, a few months ago, as if the heavens were aligning, I got asked by a mutual acquaintance – Jen –  to come and do their family/newborn photo shoot. I was flattered but said no. Then she asked me again. I explained that as much as I would love to, I didn’t ‘know enough’, ‘wouldn’t be able to do it justice’, ‘was too scared’. She insisted, and I’m so glad she did, because that was what it took from me taking this from a fun hobby to something more serious.

What followed was an intensive 2 week self taught crash course in ‘how to make nice picture for dummies’ and picking the brain of photographer friends. I dosed my arse on Clair from Fraser Photography’s couch for the better part of a morning and picked her brain on newborn swaddling and ISO and drank wine with Devin from Devin Lester Photography and tried to understand the ins and outs of Lightroom. I posed teddy bears on window sills to try backlit window shots and used my sweet (not so) obliging 1 year old as a model. A friend helped me design a watermark and YouTube became my best friend. The more I learnt the more confident I l felt. I also used this time as an excuse to sign up to more diplomas and buy a lens. Any excuse for a shop. Also, I now need to start making money off this fast-becoming-expensive hobby.

When I tell people I want to go into photography I’m often met with a lot of bashing and negativity. It’s pushed me more, and I’ve had some really great people help and support me and make me believe that maybe, actually, I can.

About two hours ago I shared the newborn pics with Jen and then posted them to social media. I was shaking like a leaf. Putting it all out there meant that I was out there, that people could now actually see, crit and comment on my work.

They say your first 10,000 photos are the worst. I’m pretty certain I’ll look back on my first few shoots in years to come, and cringe, but for now I’m so proud, and happy, and my heart feels so fulfilled.

Say hello to Kate Rankin Photography.

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A Tourist In My Own City

A few weeks back, to celebrate one of my best friends birthdays we got a little’ bit cultural and took part in 2 brilliant excursions – right here in good old Jozi town.

The first was a ‘Coffee Appreciation’ evening in Braamfontein. Coffee, check. Appreciation of coffee, check check. It was held at DoubleShot Coffee & Tea on Juta Street and I found the whole evening to be really fascinating. It started off with our coffee master taking us through the hisroty of coffee, the difference between coffees as well as how coffee is traded and valued. It ended off with several tasters and tests. I felt a right ponce swilling the black liquid under my nose, murmuring phrases like “ah yes, very wheaty old boy” and “The molasses is strong in this one squire”.

We left the event buzzing, and buzzed well into the night…. needless to say at 4 am we were still wide awake. Note to self kids, always appreciate coffee in the morning, your sleep patterns will thank you for it.

One of these is decaf. Clearly not the one I chose. 

Coffee Appreciation in Braamfontein

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Apparently roasted coffee beans don’t just happen. In raw form they look like pistachios, and taste like arse.


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Oh yes, they also sell tea. 

 

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Several weeks back a few of us ran the Soweto Energizer Night Race. As we pounded the pavements of Vilakazi street we fell in love with the look of a restaurant we ran by – Thrive Cafe – and decided to have a lunch there another time, as part deux of Lauren’s birthday celebrations.

The food was simple but tasty and the wine was flowing – the highlight for me was the friendliness of all the staff, and their eagerness to please. I also bought a really funky Madiba print done by a 12 year old boy – which I just love.

 

 

 

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After lunch we walked off our full bellies and explored the area – and ended up in the dodgiest shebeen called “The Shack”. Here we drank quartz and danced to local music. As you do.

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I heart Jozi.

 

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DIY: Bird Feeder

I’ve been desperate to put up a bird feeder in our new garden, but couldn’t bring myself to pay a few hundred ronds for something I could easily make myself.

Yesterday – plan free – we were finally able to get stuck in to some work around our new house (I should share that with you too I guess) and so I decided that it was time to make a free standing bird feeder.

Guys, this is so easy and took about half an hour – it also costs next to nothing.

You will need the following:

1.Wood – we got a pine cutoff – and a long thick wooden spoke

2.Long nails (unridged – is that a word?)

3.Wood stain/oil.

4. Ruler and a pencil

5. Something to cut the wood if need be and to shave the pole into a spoke (this is where husband stepped in – so I cant really tell you what he used)

6. Paintbrush

7. Wood glue

 

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We cut the board into our desired size and then cut smaller pieces to create a raised section on the one side – the intention for this was to have the fruit skewers on one side and a deeper section for seed. We don’t want our precious birds food touching see.

The board was then drilled onto the stake and painted with a coloured oil sealant – we chose mahogany purely so we can use the leftovers on our sliding door.

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We chose to put the feeder up next to our Pride of India who’s not looking too healthy – hopefully some new chicks will perk him up.

 

I added fruit and seeds, and voila!

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PS – The irony of this entire thing is that a mere 30 minutes later I had about 15 birds eating the seeds I had just planted in my herb garden on the other side of the house.

Sigh. Birds be crazy.

 

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#GLAadventure Weekend

When Mercedes Benz South Africa invites you to be a part of an adventure weekend featuring the new GLA, the bush and some mountain biking, it’s impossible to say no. In-fact, it’s impossible to not jump up and down and squeal like a stuffed warthog (at least not in front of grownups), which I totally didn’t do, of course.

The weekend was part of a series of adventures throughout South Africa to showcase the new GLA and to put this (my new favourite) car through a series of challenges. I was invited to attend the inaugural adventure as blogger and social media person (do we have a word for us? if so, share please). I also happen to know how to ride a mountain bike** which must have helped with their selection criteria somewhat.

The first #GLAadventure took place last weekend in The Pilansberg and I (In very bad wifely form) left my husband at home to unpack and move into the house we had moved in to THE DAY BEFORE to join an amazing crew in the bush for a weekend which promised to be spectacular.

I got to hang out with the Captain of the Mountain Biking SA team, Justice Makhale (possibly the nicest guy in the world. I may just have a bit of a sporting hero crush now). Mzingisi “Ziggy” Ranaka, the winner of the adventure weekend (Ziggy is awesome friends, this man could bottle his energy and sell it), Khaya Dlanga – social media influencer of note. If awards were given for selfies, Khaya would be on the receiving end of many of them. Look!

I call this one ‘The Sunflower”

 

 

The Sunflower

The rest of the team, headed up by Director and Producer Peter Heaney (The man has pet chickens people!) ensured we got to hang with a ridiculously great bunch of people for 2 days.

I arrived at Pilansberg National Park on Saturday, just in time for lunch and a glimpse of the yet-to-be-seen Mercedes GLA. It’s one hot little vehicle that packs a serious punch. I particularly loved the way the seat-belt squeezes you just a little bit tighter – which apparently is the norm for most Mercs – but I’ll take it where I can I suppose.

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The Saturday festivities had started with a sparrows poep hot air balloon ride, so after lunch we were given a few hours to relax in our tents. Sorry, yes, I said tents. This was my style of ‘glamping’ though as the tent had a bed, a fridge and a plug point so my needs were pretty much sorted. I even got to game drive from the comfort of my duvet – as the animals came to us. I spotted these rather cute pyjama donkeys from my door and a sweet little dung beetle on the road.

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Dinner that night was held in the lodges restaurant which was lovely and chilled…and an early night as we knew there was a cracker of a start on Sunday at 5 am.

Sunday morning started off early and misty – and only the GLA looked good in the cruel early hours of the morning. Showoff.

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#NoMakeupSelfie
Just chilling with Justice Makhale in the boot of a GLA. As you do.
Just chilling with Justice Makhale in the boot of a GLA. As you do.

I don’t mean to brag or anything but I Got To Drive My The GLA All The Way To Sun City and it is glorious!

We arrived at the Sun City Adventure centre and after a short briefing session “If you see a rhino you must just ride faster, OK?” we set off on our bikes while the rest of the crew jumped on 4-wheelers and disappeared for hours. I suspect up to no good, but who can say.

Riding with Justice is bucket list kinda stuff and he could not have been nicer about it. he even hid his laughs when I fell off (3 times… mud, OK!) and helped me climb on my bike and clip in when my cleats were too full of mud to do so myself. Yes, he literally held my bike in place while I got on, and pushed me off. No, he didn’t make me feel like the loser I was. Yes, I am a little bit in love.

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The 3 of us rode around the most gorgeous bushveld for a few hours and were more than happy to oblige when Peter requested we cycle at deathly speeds through huge muddy puddles and rivers. Anything for a good shot you know, and also, Justice was far too clean and I needed to get him to match my hot look. Look:

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At the end of the ride we were shattered, and filthy and happy and I could not stop smiling. I still can’t believe that I had the opportunity to ride with Justice Makhale. Best weekend ever right?

Unfortunately, being in the middle of the bush, there was no place to clean – so after a brief hosepipe shower (Kearney, keeping it classy) we set off on the final adventure of the weekend, and undoubtedly the most important; Lunch.

Lunch, however, was to take place on the top of a mountain which meant conquering my ridiculous fear of heights and climbing in to a cable car. Cameras were rolling the whole time so I tried to hide the vomiting and screams as much as possible. Thank goodness for my sweet cable-mates who held my still muddy hand and promised me a pizza if I was a good girl. I was. I got delicious pizza.

Oh, we're going in that thing? Aw-sum.
Oh, we’re going in that thing? Aw-sum.
Ziggy. Laughs  in the face of danger.
Ziggy. Laughs in the face of danger.

That whole thing about “conquering your fear”? – totally true. The view from the top of the Harties cable way was worth every anxious sweat drop. It was incredible and not even the photos do it justice. But I’ll try:

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I even made a funny and pretended to jump over the ledge. Because I’m such a nerd I cropped out the deck below. I’m pretend hardcore like that.

Look ma, no hands!
Look ma, no hands!

Lunch on top with this view was an incredible way to end a very special weekend. A huge thanks to the team at Mercedes Benz South Africa for inviting me to join in on this epic adventure, and to the entire cast and crew who made it all happen.

You can follow Mercedes Benz South Africa on Twitter @MercedesBenz_SA, Facebook and Instagram 

The end result? A wicked cool YouTube video!

** Although apparently you forget how to when riding with a professional and fall of and cant get back on and in general just look and act like a complete noob. 

That's A Wrap!
That’s A Wrap!
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Go Sober, Save A Life?

I have memories of being a little girl and falling asleep while my parents were conducting themselves in a rather uncivilised manner at some sort of dinner party. There would be loud music (I remember a lot of UB40), dancing on tables, bottles of wine (corked, not screw tops, I’m talking way back ) and my brother and I passed out on the couch or under a table depending on the situation. At the end of the night we would be bundled up, popped on the backseat and would wake up the next morning in our own beds. We always woke up in our own beds. Safe and sound. Understand, my parents are not bad people, and weren’t bad people back then, they were just doing what everyone back then did.

Does that mean it was OK to drink and drive then? Definitely not. They just didnt know any other way.

Ask your parents how ‘green’ they were back in the 80’s and I can guarantee that the answer was ‘not very’. Nowadays we follow those ‘Three Rs’ ilke the gospel and most of wouldn’t dream of just tossing a recyclyble item into the bin. It has become the norm to re-use and recycle as much as possible. Just ike recycling options have grown in the past decade, so have the alternatives for drinking and driving. Sadly, these options are pricey and often unreliable and force most of us to just take a chance after a night out.

Please don’t for one second think I am pointing fingers or preaching, I am guilty of having driven drunk many times and have always breathed a small sigh of relief upon reaching my destination safely. I am however a lot more conscious now and a several years back I swore against texting and drinking while driving because I could think of no bigger nightmare than being responsible for the injury or death of someone else, due to my actions. We are very fortunate in that my fiance’s company offers a cab solution to all of its staff free of charge. (Are you listening, corporates?)

So, what are our current options?

– Cab and taxi services such as GoodFellas and Roadtrip and becoming increasingly popular…and  increasingly expensive. With the cost of rising fuel prices it’s hitting us where it hurts most, our pockets.

– Inner city bus and train options are few and far between and not yet a viable option.

– Tuk-tuks are becoming fairly popular, yet these generally only run during working hours. I dont know about you, but when I need a cab the most it is definitely not on a Monday at 3 pm.

– Phone a friend. Always wise, yet something most of us never do for fear of inconveniencing that person.

Looking at the above options it’s easy for us to shrug our shoulders and say ‘well, then there’s nothing we can do, is there?’ but I think there is. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by some very smart people, be it in work environment or in my social circle and I believe that there is a solution out there, but I need your help.

We all know the death tolls on our roads are high (Research from Arrive Alive shows that drunk driving is one of the biggest threats to Road Safety in South Africa. Research indicates that 50% of people who die on the roads have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.05 gram per 100 millilitres) yet even that isn’t enough to make us stop. So what is?

The frightening stats as displayed in this visual (courtesy of www.sadd.org.za)

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I’m not sure if you have noticed a shift in attitude towards your peers lately? I guess it’s called ‘growing up’ but I’ve noticed a trend towards a healthier lifestyle in Jozi. Several years ago we would spend our weekends boozing at the pub or hitting a club, then sleeping it off the next day. Nowadays my friends and I spend our time growing organic veggies (dont mock it ’till you’ve tried it) running, cycling, taking part in adventure races, camping (still undecided on that one) and just generally living healthier, fitter and happier.

Understand, I still drink wine by the gallon and believe a life without champagne is a life not lived, but I want to balance that with a life lived responsibly. I am never going to cut alcohol out of my life so what I’m proposing is a small change that could potentially make a huge difference.

“The dinner club with a twist” involves one person staying dry and sober for the night – and acting as a designated driver as well. In return, their dinner and drinks (alcohol free) are sponsored by the group – perhaps a Redbull thrown in the mix if you’re like my friend (I’ll call him Jim) who becomes a fun sponge when sober. This duty then gets rotated per group member for each outing. My advise – find a lot of friends to ensure you wont have to be Sober-Sandy every 3 weeks.

Another perk – drinking makes you fat! Think of this plan as a fitter physique one (If you’re anything like me then less love handles is always a strong motivator)

Jokes aside, the stats are scary. According to SADD the death toll of drunk driving has now risen to 12000 people, per year. I have lost a friend through drunk driving, and I’m sure you have too.

There are some things we cannot control, like taxes, in-laws and seasonal flu. Drinking and driving is something we can. Think responsibly  act responsibly and let’s all try to make a difference on our roads.

I would love to hear any ideas you may have for lowering drinking and driving stats. Please share them in the comments section.

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The January Resolution

I’m not a huge one for New Years resolutions as ultimately my ideas are too ambitious for my brain and I end up failing most of them before the month year is out. This is not to say that some resolutions aren’t valuable; a mate of ours has been waking her hubby at at 4 am every morning to go running (she’s been eyeing out those skinny jeans), a colleague has finally taken the plunge and decided to start his own company, another friend of mine has decided to do the Half Iron Man in 2013 (hopefully inspired by my buff bod in a tri suit hey Tash? – I joke) and Barry, my fiance has decided to start studying to further enhance his skill set. And to make loads of money and buy me shiny things.

All very do-able goals, and ones which I approve of. But what about me? I find lately I’ve become that person who gets home and grumbles about the bad stuff – traffic, deadlines, workload, horrible people and taxis and I’m beginning to think that if I had nothing to complain about, I wouldnt speak much at all. I realised that a resolution doesn’t have to be something huge – it can start with the smallest action. So, with that in mind, here are several of my 2013 resolutions that I would like to achieve and stick to, not only in this year, but for all the rest.

– Do one good thing a day. It doesn’t have to be donating a hefty sum to a charity, or volunteering your time at an orphanage – although thats really good), it can be something small such as replacing the toilet paper for the next person (I have a habit of folding the loopaper into a little triangle, hotel style), bending down to retrieve something that someone next to you has dropped, letting someone in, in traffic – even though you’re already late, complimenting a stranger on their perfume/top/smile. Returning your food purchase to the shelf when you decide you dont want it anymore, instead of leaving it the trolley, starting a conversation with the bank teller, even though you hate the bank, politely declining a telesales call or reminding a friend about another friends birthday (instead of wanitng to take the friendship credit for yourself). Not huge things, right? But all (hopefully) guaranteed to bring a smile to the recipients face.

– Do something physical every day. I have realised, I am a grumpy b*tch when not full of endorphins, and even though it’s hard to hit the treadmill seven days a week, it’s not hard to walk the dogs, clean the house (jokes, thats very hard), play with a toddler near you (in a non creepy school drive by kind of way) or plant in the garden. Keep moving, Keep happy.

– Cook more (interesting and new dishes) then invite wonderful people to come over and eat them whilst drinking good red wine.

– Buy an SLR and learn to take magic photos. Then learn to edit them

– Learn design and actually make what I pin (personal PR – follow me on Pinterest here)

– Save money.

– Dont let bad habits rub off on me. Someone I know snaps at me when I make a comment or a suggestion. What do I then do? I snap back. I’m going to train myself how to smile and be the bigger person. I THINK THIS IS THE HARDEST OF THEM ALL

– Lastly, ask more questions, get more involved and be curious.

Resolutions
Resolutions

What’s on your to-do list for 2013?

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Iron Man 70.3

22 days into 2013 and I have yet to upload a blog post. So much for new years resolutions! I do however think that this post will make up for my absence, well, for me at least 🙂

I’m sure by now you are all aware that I have been training for the past several months for the Iron Man 70.3 which was held this past weekend in the thriving metropolis (I jest) of East London.

To avoid any further suspense, I will tell you now that I finished the race (7 hours 35 minutes) and that I could not be happier or prouder of my achievement. Boastful perhaps, but when I think back on the past 8 months and the early mornings, late nights, tequila sacrifices and lack of lie-ins, I think Im allowed some bragging rights 🙂

And so begins the longest blog post in the history of blogging. Sorreee.

The closest I’ve ever come to an Iron Man is watching my fiance tacking a wrinkled work shirt on a Monday morning (yes, I’m a modern day women – I let him do the ironing) so I was blown away by the entire event, from start to finish. The amount of organisation, man power and effort that goes into the event is insane, and I now know why they charge so much money for the entry.

This event has cost me a small fortune, so when we saw the price of plane tickets to East London (R18 000 return, cough splutter!) we decided to drive down. We left at midnight on Friday and drove through the night, arriving (exhausted) at 10am to blue skies and a buzzing environment. Our hotel, like something out of the 1970’s, was to be our home for the next 3 days and we put up with horse sized cockroaches, broken aircons and foreign hair in the shower.

We spent the day on Friday registering, attending the expo and briefing session and then hitting an early dinner with the crew. I felt like such a noob, and honestly felt like I had neon red ‘VIRGIN’ lettering stamped across my forehead. It was much to my relief then, when I found out that 53% of the athletes were 70.3 virgins. That meant 2000+ doing this race for the very first time.

FYI – 70.3 stands for a total of 70.3 miles which is the distance of the race – I’ve had a lot of people asking.

Registration
Registration
All the items needed for race day
All the items needed for race day
Friday night race briefing
Friday night race briefing
Friday night carbo loading session
Friday night carbo loading session
Friday night carbo loading session
Friday night carbo loading session

On Saturday morning I woke up man down with a migraine. I was devastated to miss the training swim in the sea but had no choice but to take a small country’s worth of meds and try sleep. The crew went on without me and I managed to get one in a few hours later. I must stress that the sea swim was my nemesis, so getting a practice one in was imperative. Thank god for modern day medicine!

Shaun, Eryn, Xavier, Nick and Dax heading off for their training swim.
Shaun, Eryn, Nick, Dax and Xavier heading off for their training swim.
Spot the noob - putting my wetsuit on backwards
Spot the noob – putting my wetsuit on backwards
Heading into the training swim with Dax
Heading into the training swim with Dax

Feeling much better after the swim we headed off on a short ride to test the bikes and make sure everything was in working order.

Training ride
Training ride
Ride with Dax - he began to feel like my training husband!
Ride with Dax – he began to feel like my training husband!

Saturday afternoon consisted of racking bikes and sorting out our bags in the transition area.

Transition area - Before
Transition area – Before
Transition area - After
Transition area – After

Considering my tendency for nervous insomnia, I passed out on Saturday night and woke up fresh, excited and terrified at 4 am on Sunday. Race day. I think the photos speak for themselves, and I was contemplating not posting some – especially the post-race red face teary ones and mid run sweaty and cellulitey ones – but what the hell. I just did Half Iron Man, Who cares how shit I look, right? (Disclaimer, I did ask coach Barry if there would be time to apply foundation before the finish line and nearly got a smack)

This is what terrified looks like
This is what terrified looks like
Then the tears came
Then the tears came
TP Eryn giving a supportive hug
TP Eryn giving a supportive hug
All smiles
All smiles
Tash - what a supporter!!
Tash – what a supporter (and hairstylist!)
Getting ready
Getting ready

 

The race was staggered in age groups, and the boys left us to go start their swims

The guys are in there, somewhere
The guys are in there, somewhere

 

The ladies age group and 55+ men getting ready for the swim
The ladies age group and 55+ men getting ready for the swim (Im in there somewhere too)

The swim (1.9km) was my biggest fear and I have a dismal track record for not crying during an open water excursion. My game plan? Keep calm and walk in last. In the below picture I am the third last person from the back, taking my sweet old merry time. It helped a lot, and even though the water was as unstable as Brittneys music career, I made it out (unscathed apart from a wave/person induced black eyed) in 45 minutes. Yay me.

Where's Wally
Where’s Wally

I was NOT going to show this pic – but in the spirit of baring all and having mentioned the black eye – this is what I looked like post swim. (I also look like this first thing in the morning. I must have a great personality)

Sea Broken
Sea Broken
Leaving transition for the ride
Leaving transition for the ride

The ride was tough! I pushed hard to do it in the allocated time limit, and eventually finished the 90kms in 4 hours and 10 minutes. Broken, but excited to get my bum off the seat and start the run. I also wasted 7 minutes in transition looking for my lost chip (apologies to everyone who was SMS tracking me – I know I went AWOL for those 4 hours!)

Starting the 21km run
Starting the 21km run
Somewhere along the run route
Somewhere along the run route
Nick looking strong during his run
Nick looking strong during his run
Xav looking good during his run
Xav looking good during his run
The Marot brothers crossed the finish line together
The Marot brothers crossed the finish line together
Eryn on the run
Eryn on the run

 

Dax on the run
Dax on the run
Finally, the finish!
Finally, the finish!
Tastes like victory!
Tastes like victory!

Finishing was such a surreal experience  and I actually did a dance up the red carpet, and subsequently burst into tears at the finish line. It was also then that I heard about the tragic deaths of two of the swimmers in the mens category. The news put a massive dampener on the day and I am still in shock that it happened  I never knew them, but the news hit me, and everyone there, hard. I’m sure I echo the sentiments of all the athletes and supporters when I extend my deepest condolences to their friends and families. The official press release can be found here.

I also wanted to use this platform to say a huge congratulations to each and every person who took part, finisher or not, as well as the supporters along the rote. To the ‘other Kate’ who kept me going on a tough hill on the bike route, to Tim who walked with me up Bunkers hill, to Shaun for his words of support just before the swim and to my friends (old and new) who did the race for the first time – Eryn, Xavier, Nick Dax and Pete as well as the support crew – Louise, Darryl, Tash and Meggyn. You are all flipping amazing and I couldn’t not have asked to be surrounded by better people this weekend. To Dean the mean pasta machine, and Shaun, congrats on yet another 70.3 notch in the belt. To all my friends and family for bugging the hell out of Barry on the day (it shows you care :)), for the messages, calls Facebooks and Tweets – it got me through the hills and wind and Bunkers Hill! Lastly – to my number 1 supporter on the day, as well as ‘Coach’ the man who got us through this entire thing. Thank you for the training programs, the Whatsapp groups, the organising of the numerous runs, rides and swims and for keeping me sane leading up to this race (even though i know there were times he wanted to kill me). Barry – my love – thank you! I can’t wait to be your biggest supporter for Iron Man next year March.

"Coach"
“Coach”

Well done team! We deserved the tequila that followed!

Tequila!
Tequila!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Energizer Night Race – Post Event

I have a massive case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) or in this case KIHMO (Knowing I Have Missed Out) that I wasn’t able to take part in the Energizer Night race this past Saturday. As this time of year goes our diaries were fuller than a Christmas stocking and we had another engagement on – an early Christmas with my fiances family.

As irony would have it – my brother and his fiance both took part – and their feedback only added to my envy. I decided to do a fun QnA with my brother John and one of the winners of the hamper Kate Els.

– Which race did you take part in?

(Kate) 10km run

(John) 10km trail run

Was this your first night race? If not which other ones have you done

(Kate) Not my first, but my furthest night race so far. I take part in the Kinetic Night Trail series once a month and will be running the 8km in December.

(John) Yes, first running race and a night trail run at that!

The entertainment lineup was diverse – who was your favourite performer?

(Kate) I loved the drummers! Code Red Drum Corps I think they were called? They were fantastic and made me bounce up and down a little in the cold wind before the race

(John) Most definitely ‘Code Red’, the drumming show. Real talent and coordination. Apart from that just watching the runners freezing their butts of in the cold waiting for the start!

*Seems we have a definite favourite here!

Would you do it again?

(Kate) Definitely, I think next year I’ll organise a big group of friends and spend more time at the venue though. And won’t be as nervous!

(John) Definitely! Can’t wait to do other trail runs as well.

Did you dress up? If so, in what?

(Kate) Ha ha no! I was far too nervous about running 10km with a headlamp on to even consider dressing up. Made sure that I had lots of reflective neon strips on my clothing though. I loved the guys dressed up in morph suits that looked like tuxedos. They were winners!

(John) No, very boring in my running clothes and Salomons.

 Summarise the event in 3 words

(Kate) Energetic, fun, totally-worth-it

(John) Challenging, Rewarding, Entertaining.

Did you take part to compete or just have fun?

(Kate) A bit of both. I want to take part in a half marathon early-ish next year so I’ve started trying to improve my fitness and my 10km personal time.

(John) A bit if both, I told myself it was just to take part, but once I started I felt strong and decided to compete as best I could.

What was the toughest part?

(Kate) Trail runs are harder mostly because of the uneven ground and the winding path, making it more important to concentrate on where you’re running. But even though it makes it tougher, it also makes you a better runner and strengthens your ankles, so less chance of an injury in future!

(John) Waiting in the cold to start! Not the events fault, the weather just decided not to play the part but luckily the rain held out.

 Thanks to Kate and John for answering the questions – sounds like a freezing but fun event! Also, Happy Birthday to my big bro for today – see, you can teach old dogs new running tricks 😉

JM80020121201-603081.jpgDSC_8431_Glow shot

Code Red
Code Red

JM80020121201-9400.jpg_DSC5477-2_Jesse Clegg

 

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