I’m a guilty person by nature. I feel bad about everything!! Bump into me with your shopping trolley, and I will apologise profusely. Look at me and whisper to your companion and I assume you are judging my entire being. (Back fat, food in teeth and split ends included). Last week my car was keyed for no reason and I berated myself for days, wondering what I could have done to deserve it. Turns out it was a common occurrence in that specific parking lot, and I happened to be an unfortunate target. I had done nothing wrong, yet I assumed I had. I’m that person who smiles sheepishly at a waiter when the table next to me shouts from bad service, and then tips them extra when the payer isn’t watching
In November I got engaged. Cue happy tears, laughter, too many Facebook congratulations to count and a general feeling of euphoria. Which lasted for 48 hours. Within days of bouncing back to reality I had been told how awful wedding planning was by friends and acquaintances, told to keep everything wedding related to my private life by certain work people and treated like yet another cash injection by everyone ranging from venues to photographers and in everyone inbetween.
Because of this, 3 months later I have been too afraid to even start getting excited about my big day. When people kindly mention it I joke how I would rather elope. When someone shows an interest, I brush them off and say ‘oh gosh, it’s ages away, lets talk about you’ and when I realise that weddings are indeed a business and things get booked, fast, I tell myself there are a hundred other more imprtant things to focus on than A WEDDING.
Just yesterday I was talking to colleagues, (indulging in a few minutes respite from my desk during their smoke break. Amongst these trusted colleagues I brought up the taboo issue of my nuptials, mentioning the exorbitant price of the venue and all the homemade and DIY things I wanted to do to offset that. One of them (colleagues) mentioned – but that’s what your bridesmaids are for! Never! I exclaimed, having been a bridesmaid more times than I can recall – I would never ask them to get involved this early on. Then I clicked – why is it that I would put more hours and effort into my friends wedding than my own? Why do I feel guilty about wanting to plan a day which is all about me? I feel guilty about the attention, I feel guilty about people making me feel special for a change and I feel guilty that this event has sucked me in, and captured my attention.
I shouldn’t feel bad about wanting a beautiful day, a day filled with things I have planned, created and imagined. A day when Barry and I are surrounded by the best people in our lives. I’m a smart, grownup woman, capable of many things, multi tasking included. I can manage time better than Big Ben and even the ‘W’ word won’t turn me into a dithering wreck. This will be my day, and going forward I vow (pun intended) to ensure that when I smile at an idea or spot a dress I love, I won’t hate myself for not focusing on what other people want me to, but rather enjoy the experience. I mean, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, right?
Brides, fiancées and just those dreaming of your big day – I would love to hear your feedback on your experiences and emotions during this time of your lives.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Saturday afternoon consisted of racking bikes and sorting out our bags in the transition area.
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)
The race was staggered in age groups, and the boys left us to go start their swims
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.
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)
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!)
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.
Well done team! We deserved the tequila that followed!
Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock – today is 12/12/12 and the next time we have such a matchy-matchy date we will all be dead.
This date also means we are 12 days away from Christmas and 19 days away from 2013. So, I thought this was as good a time as any to recap on the year that was, and summarise 12 big things (some good, some bad) that happened in my year.
1) I ran and finished my first Two Oceans Half marathon
2) Two of my best friends got married
3) My blog made a profit! (Yay)
4) My brother got engaged
5) I got engaged
6) We lost a vibrant friend
7) I took part in, and finished, my first 94.7 cycle challenge
8) I took part in, and finished my first Triathlon
9) We got Bella AKA ‘Pig’ our second addition to the furmily. (Who subsequently got bitten by a puffadder, put us through weeks of stress and sadness and has pulled through like a champ!)
10) I lost a dear, kind, wonderful Uncle
11) My Fiance ran and completed his first Comrades (in under 9 hours let me tell you!)
12) I made some fabulous new friends, and removed some not so fabulous ones from my life
What were the highlights, and lowlights of your 2012?
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 😉
I like to think I’ve come a long way since my first trail run, when I arrived at the venue, kitted up in all the right gear, headlamp on and about as confident as Mark Zuckerberg at a Social Media convention. Then the gun went off and I found myself panting after a 12 year old in converse and stumbling through the finish line what felt like 3 days later.
Trail running is a whole different ball game. I was used to flat roads, gentle slopes and dodging only traffic. Trail running involves precarious surfaces (think golf courses, rocks, rickety bridges and rubble). It also requires a lot more stamina due to having to concentrate every step of the way. But what. a. jol! It’s an opportunity to go out at night with a bunch of people, often dressed like a bit off an oddball and run around forbidden spaces. Theres something quite liberating about dashing over the 9th hole on a larny golf course.
One of the more popular trail runs on the calendar is the Energizer Night Race which is now in it’s 8th year. So just like the battery, the event keeps on going (see what I did there?)
This year the Energizer Night race is being held at the stunning Central Park Trails in Jozi, on 1 December. It’s a Saturday night so there’s no excuse not to grab all your mates, family and running buddies and go through for what promises to be an action packed event (think 5 km run/walk fun races, 10km trail run, 12km team relays as well as a 40km mountain bike relay for teams of 2). The entertainment line up is a win, with the likes of Jesse Clegg (yes, ladies), local band Tokyo Groove, Code Red drum corps, string quartet ‘The Muses’, SA fire performers ‘Dreams of Fire’ and Laser X – a dance and laser experience show.
Sounds good huh? And from only 100 ronds to enter, it’s a no brainer if you are looking to be festively financially savvy. If you are keen to enter simply visit their website or like them on Facebook. You can also find out more about race and event details on these pages.
Now for the fun part. The super nice folk from the Energizer Night Race have given me two hampers choc-a-bloc full of goodies, to give to two of you. They are valued at R1500 each and consist of various Energizer items, an Enrista coffee hamper a Salomon t-shirt and a 32Gi hamper. Everything an avid runner needs before the big race!
To win one of these hampers all you need to do is follow@nightrace_sa on Twitter and then tweet why you need want to win this hamper with a link to this blog (I’ve shortened it here just to make life esier – wp.me/p1ZuF8-7Q)
I will be picking the 2 winners in the next few days, so enter as many times as you like, and good luck!
For a bit of visual stimulation, this is a piccie of what you can win :
Also, be sure to check out the video from last year’s race
Share your trail running experiences with me below – would love to hear them!
This is our story – and sure to go down in the books as one with many laughs and comedy of errors!
A few months ago Barry – the then boyfriend – ‘won’ a sales award at work. Yay for us we thought as he claimed a free weekend away at a venue of his choice. In true Barry style he kept the destination a surprise, only mentioning it would be in The Kruger Park area. (I of course used every available opportunity to remind him that he couldn’t claim this as a romantic gesture, as it was a free holiday…Barry just nodded and smiled). We booked the dates, I took leave and we carried on as normal. A few weeks later I happened to be planning one of my besties bachelorette parties, and while liaising with the other Bridesmaids we decided on a date, booked the venue and bought the theatre tickets. Cock Up #1 – I had now double booked the bachelorette and our weekend away.
I first became suspicious when Barry reacted in a not-so-calm manner, and was seen sighing and huffing and puffing on the phone and email to his ‘boss’ to try reschedule. Panic calmed down to relief when the holiday was pushed out by a week (Shame, I had now added on an extra 7 days of panic for the poor boy)
The night before we were due to leave I booked a spray tan to test out before the above-mentioned Bride-to be’s wedding, thinking that should it go orange (it did), tan my hands and feet an obscure shade of tangerine (it did) and make me look like Snooki (you guessed it) at least there would be no-one to see me on our weekend away. Haha, jokes on me. Cock-up #2.
Friday morning we leave for the destination – incident free apart from me whining like a baby about my post spray tan catastrophe tequila induced hangover – and arrive at a rather larny Rose farm/Spa/Slice of Heaven – Summerfields Estate. Ooh I say to Barry, this is quite nice hey – Your company has really spoilt us. Barry just nodded and smiled.(Disclaimer, all his work had to do with the engagement weekend was give him leave -the rest was up to him, and his 3 months of planing really paid off!)
Post (mouthgasm) lunch and quick nap we decide to go to The Kruger Park for a late afternoon game drive. It was fairly chilly and drizzly at this point so I pop on my comfy hoodie and granny loafers. As my dad would say – nothing brings the man out in me like the bush. Poor Barry (isn’t he lovely for loving me?)
We arrive in the Kruger Park after several confusing who-is-our-driver-what-the-hell-is-going-on-moments and finally hop on our game vehicle. Sans any other guests… Ding dong Kearney! After half an hour of driving and chatting to our wonderful ranger Pat, we pull up infront of a massive koppie and get told we can go up it to have a sundowner (we had a trusty 6 pack of Castle Lite with us).
I walk up this bloody hill to find a tatty old blanket and a bunch of daisies in a broken vase, knocked down from the wind. Panic stricken I point an accusatory finger at Barry and to the offering in front of me and say ‘What The F*ck Is This!?’. Barry looks back at me with such confusion on his face that any inkling of a proposal evaporated. (Turns out the folk at the Kruger Park had added the ‘rock picnic’ in – much to even Barrys surprise.)
So, Cock-up up #3 is now the ring is in the backpack in the game vehicle, and we are standing on top of said hill like awkward fairies. ‘Let me go get your phone’ says Barry. ‘No babe, we dont need it’ I say. This goes on for a few seconds until he shouts in satisfaction ‘Instagram, you need to Instagram!’ and promptly runs back to the vehicle. All the while our game ranger is animal spotting with his rifle and pretending to ignore us’
I wont go into the whole proposal part, just to say that despite the sweet but slightly tacky efforts from the Park (they even threw in a bottle of JC Le Roux, despite requests from my now fiance to send ANYTHING but JC) it was a proposal that couldn’t have suited me better. The bush, my love and some wonderful stories to tell for many years to come!
PS – Glad to report that while I still looked like an Oros man, the rest of the weekend went off as smoothly as could be and I managed to drink my body weight (a skill!) in delicious bubbly and tequila.
Ive had the honour (see what I did there?) of being a bridesmaid for several of my lovely friends – and one of the best things about that is knowing that with each bash comes new opportunities to make fun DIY items for the celebration.
I’ve put together large affairs and very intimate ones, and waned to share a few fun DIY craft tips, for anyone looking to throw a bit of a celebration for a bride to be. (Or any celebration really)
(Tip: If you aren’t Photoshop adept, find a designer fined like I did with my colleague Kim, big help!)
Make your own photo booth by pasting wallpaper or wrapping paper on a large flat wall. The one I used below was for a 1950’s inspired party hence the red polka dots. I borrowed the frame from an art gallery and bought props from China Town (budget!). I also supplied a chalk board and chalk for people to write their own messaging.(Board and props not pictured in the image).
For the same party we labelled the various cheeses with wedding themed names (Bridesmaids Brie, Garter Gouda… you get the picture). I also labelled all the wine glasses with fun sayings from the ’50s and the definition. This also helped with people knowing which glass belonged to them. 22 bottles of wine later however, no-one really cared.
If you are hosting a smaller gathering, instead of using name tags for the table use a photo of the (insert guest of honour) and all her guests, then prop these on the table using a frame or crocodile clips. What I did with these was add a section on the photo and asked each guest to write a message. The bride-to-be got to take these home as a momento from the night.
A fun idea if you are hosting a baby shower is to ask all the guests to bring a baby photo of themselves. The mom-to-be then needs to guess who is who. This can also be used for birthdays or bridal showers. If using it for a birthday – ask the guests to bring a photo of themselves at the age they have known the birthday girl for. She then needs to guess who is in the pic. Failure to do so results in a tequila fine (Really, my favourite party trick!)
What would you be capable of doing, if you didn’t have fear? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for several months now, and the answer is ‘much more’. I’m not sure if this fear I am feeling has something to do with growing up, nearing my thirties and generally becoming more aware about the futility of life? When last did you see a young child not jump in the water, for fear of the cold or harm? Not often I’m sure. Post swim, said child will be all blue lip smiles and chattering teeth. Why then, as adults are we so terrified to do what brought us so much joy only a few years earlier?
Lately I have been even more bothered by this question, as I’ve experienced something so utterly terrifying, I’m actually embarrassed. As you may know I started training for the Half Iron Man event in January next year – an intense race broken up into a 1.9km sea swim, 90k cycle and a 21 km run. Who would have thought that I’m considering quitting the training and selling my entry because of the swim?
I jokingly recounted my first open water swim a few weeks back, and even mentioned how I was going to do another swim (part of a triathlon) the next weekend to ‘get over my fear’. I may as well have stated I was just going to ‘hike to the moon’. That swim proved to be one of the toughest and draining experiences of my life. To find yourself suspended in 13 degree dam water, surrounded by hundreds of swimmers, 200 m from land, whilst having an panic/asthma attack, sobbing and needing to throw up was a horrendous experience I wish never to repeat. Even after the lifeguards had come to take me to shore, I still refused. Some (still sane part of me) refused to quit. ‘Harden up Kearney’ I told myself, more than once, as I repeated the above process for 3/4 of a kilometer until I managed to get to dry land. (I can honestly thank my very patient boyfriend for not leaving my side the entire time, for me not completely losing it). Once I got to shore I handed in my timing device, quit the rest of the race, and spent the rest of the day in a very dark and sad place. Not my proudest moment.
So what now? Now I learn how to face my fear, and not feed it. I grew up swimming in pools and swimming for my school. Pop me in the clear blue waters of a Virgin Active and Im positively dolphin like. So why the fear of open water? Too dark? Too cold? Too open? Who knows, all I know is that my fear of that, along with every other paranoid feeling and thought I have needs to be eradicated now. So there you go fear-demon – from now on you shall be starved and left to die.
Off to give it a 3rd attempt on Saturday. Hoping it will be a ‘dam’ good experience!