Comrades Marathon 2012

Along with Miss South Africa and Tellyfun Quiz, Watching the Comrades Marathon was a South African tradition I grew up with. There was never a year that passed by by in our house when the TV wasn’t turned on early on a Saturday morning and all throughout the day we would glance up and see brave souls crossing the finish line, and some who didn’t.

I didn’t grow up in a running family so watching that race on TV was the closes I ever got to the actual race, until last year when we drove to Durban to watch a mutual friend run it for the first time. The experience was exhausting and crazy, and for my boyfriend, a challenge

This year he ran it for the very first time, along with his dad who ran it for the 13 th time, his brother in law who has a few under the belt our friend from last year and 10 of our running club crew.

Waking up at 2:30 am to drive the runners to the start set the tone for the rest of the day. Hurry up and wait. I admire Comrades supporters who pour through Pietermaritzburg in their thousands, complete with camping chairs, refueling goodies, skottels blankets and snacks. The role of the supporter is to arrive at a designated spot a few hours before, set up a station and then watch for their runner to come through, screaming and shouting for all the other runners as we do so, then move onto the next spot If I was nervous waiting for Barry to come through the points, I can’t imagine how he must have been feeling. Luckily, armed with woollies snacks and a crew of dutiful watchers, we found Barry and Pierre at all the stops and then headed off to kings mead stadium for the finish.

I can’t begin to describe the noise, the crowd and the vibe when you arrive. Runners.are.everywhere all doing the trademark ‘Comrades shuffle’. To watch a poor runner try and tackle the stairs after running solidly for up to 12 hours is quite a thing. Luckily we managed to find a spot on the crowded grandstand and wait for the guys to arrive. Barry was hoping for a 9 hour time which qualified him for a Bill Rowan medal, and when he hadn’t come through the finish at 8:50 I was in a state. When he did run under the massive balloon arch at 8:58, high giving everyone and smiling from ear to ear I was ecstatic! Our friend Pierre came in under 11 hours and I am happy to report both of them, although quite ‘eina’ and sore today, can live to tell the tale.

You often hear people refer to all athletes as ‘winners’ but when it comes to the Comrades I couldn’t agree more. To see you challenge yourselves in a run which most people believe to be impossible, and to cross/sprint or crawl across that finish line is a privilege. To all 180000 runners who took part this year – you are amazing.

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Oreo Cupcakes

I’ve been craving cupcakes for a few weeks, and on Saturday I decided to make vanilla cupcakes with a twist. I made the basic mix then added in several crushed Oreo cookies – the result was rather delicious.

Vanilla cake recipe :

1 box Oreo cookies

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 ¼ tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Line two 23cm round cake pans or one 23 x 33 cm rectangular baking pan with wax paper. Grease the paper and the sides of the pan well.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs together until slightly thickened – about one minute.
  4. Add crushed Oreos, sifted flour, milk, oil, baking powder and vanilla essence, and beat for another minute – just until the batter is smooth and creamy. Don’t overbeat. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan(s).
  5. Bake in muffin pans preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick poked into the centre of the layer comes out clean.
  6. I used a pre-made icing and sprinkled crushed Oreos on top.

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Meet Amy, she’s a runner.

Meet Amy, one of my oldest and best friends (more like a sister after all we’ve been through). Amy recently got married, isn’t she just lovely?

Maybe if I laugh loudly they’ll think I was just kidding?

Amy also recently drank too many glasses of wine and agreed to do something she never thought she would do – run the 2013 Two Oceans Half Marathon. This is her guest post :

I’m all knee caps and elbows and big teeth.

I should have known that a sweatband and reflective running tights would make me look like the girl version of Owen Wilson. I should’ve pictured my knees knocking and skew shoulders flopping with every step I planned to take but, sadly, this didn’t even cross my mind when I typed out the words that sealed my fate: “Challenge accepted. Boom.”

Boom indeed. The sound of my almost-size-8 running shoes slapping the treadmill. The sound of that novice gym moment when you jump (okay, and scream) because you had no idea an iPod could be that loud in your ears. The sound of my heart smashing into the sides of my head after only 2 minutes of treadmill time. Running is hard man!

However, I do have to admit that it is rewarding. Although I’m nowhere near fit, I can already see my abs trying to reveal themselves and my ‘wobbly bits’ are less wobbly. I feel stronger and have even had my first pounding session like when hot chicks in movies take out their anger on a treadmill (except, I look less like Megan Fox and more like The Fantastic Mr Fox with running shoes).

I have gone from marathon book reader and cake eater to evangelist runner with iPod strapped to bicep in just 4 weeks. Will I be running the Two Oceans Half Marathon in 2013? Challenge accepted. Boom.

 

Cant wait to run with you in 2013 my friend!

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Rupert approves, but what about Bella?

I’m the first person to roll my eyes when a new parent uploads a pic of baby’s poo to their Blackberry messenger profile, or when un-born fetuses start updating mommy’s Facebook status, so I realise me posting about my dogs may generate the same reaction from you. Sorry. The thing is, my blog was named after our first born dog Rupert, but since then we have also been blessed with a sister for Rup, Bella, and I figured she deserved some acknowledgment as well. I wont bore you with how unbelievably cute they are, how they light up my life, how I could kiss them all day or how I can’t imagine my life without them. Nah, I will just post adorable doggy pics and make you wish you had kids as cute as mine.

Interesting fact – both our dogs were named after wine (Rupert and Rothschild and Arabella). That means when I’m downing a glass or two of the good stuff, I’m actually just toasting my pets. Sneaky.

Is this bed an extra length? – R
-R
‘scuse me? – B

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I am a racist.(A stolen story)

This is not my article, it was written by a South African woman ‘The Frida Factor’ but I read it and found it so thought-provoking, relevant and important, that I had to share it with the readers of my blog. The original article is posted here Would love to hear your feedback.

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A South African artist called Brett Murray has been causing a huge stir since his painting of South Africa’s president titled The Spear was put up in  a local gallery. The ANC have worked themselves up into a total frothy about the painting and their biggest issue with it – It’s racist. ???????

Disrespectful, maybe. Rude, maybe. But racist???

That little word that has become the political whip with which the ANC work the masses up into angry mobs and riots anytime something happens that they don’t like. And it’s becoming really really tiring.

In South Africa, the word racist has lost it’s original meaning and now only get’s used to describe a white person doing something a black person doesn’t like. You never hear it used in any other context. You can’t say to a black CEO that he is racist because he won’t hire white people, no – he’s just making sure that only blacks get hired because of BEE. You can’t call a university racist because they won’t accept an application from a white student with straight A’s for 8 subjects – instead taking on a black student who barely passed matric. Nope, they’re not racist, they’re just correcting the wrongs of the past. But god forbid you do hire the white person or you do admit the white student, you’ll be branded racist by the government quicker that you can say “colour shouldn’t be the issue here” because how dare you choose a white person over a black person in a democratic South Africa.

Most of the time when you are a white person and you call your fellow countrymen to be held accountable for their unacceptable words and actions such as corruption, nepotism, fraud, theft, you’ll be branded a racist.

Today, I shouted at a taxi driver who pushed in-front of me nearly driving me into the curb with no regard for the fact that I have a child in the car – I must be a racist, because only racists care about road safety it would seem.

I complained to the manager of my bank because the woman handling my account is so incompetent and hasn’t responded to one email or message I’ve left her for over 2 months!  Nevermind that my account is about to be shut down because of FICA. I must be a racist then because only racists expect service from a bank and stupidly think an organisation is going to actually do the job they promise to do in all their marketing material.

The other day my husband confronted a woman outside a shopping centre after she carelessly threw her fast food packet on the floor less than 10cm from a dustbin. Her response – “you’re just a racist”. Yes, you’re absolutely right, because only racists care about keeping their city clean and litter free.

I fired a lady who worked for me once because I caught her rummaging through one of my cupboards and she had taken my passport and other belongings which I found in her bag. Her only response – “you’re a racist”. Yes, yes I am. Because only racists think that stealing is a criminal offense and is done by people with no morals or conscience.

I swear being a white person in this country can be very bloody exasperating at times. The ANC has brainwashed the masses with this little word – racist – to the point that it’s actually completely lost its meaning and now get’s used totally out of context. Most days I just let it pass and I don’t go into effect of it. But today is not one of those days. Today I’m angry and today I’m sick and tired of it.

I’m not shouting at you because you’re black, I’m shouting because you’re a maniac on the roads who is a danger to society.

I’m not complaining to your manager because you’re black. I’m complaining because you’re an incompetent moron who is incapable of doing her job properly.

I’m not firing you because you’re black. I’m firing you because you’re a thief.

I’m not confronting you because your black, I’m shouting at you because you’re a messy pig who expects other people to clean up your mess.

Please get over yourselves and move out the way of the remarkably amazing black people who DO take total responsibility and who actually want this country to work for ALL the people who live in it.

If being a racist in this country means that I will stand up for my rights, fight for what is fair and true and hold everyone around me accountable for their words and actions, then I am a racist through and through. If being a racist means that I believe in freedom of speech and expression and that everyone’s point of view is relevant, no matter what colour, age or sex, then I will proudly announce to all who can hear that I am a racist. If being a racist means that I believe we should all be treated with the same rules and consequences and that no-one, especially not the President, is above the law and exempt from criminal prosecution when that law has been broken, then print me a t-shirt saying “I am a racist” and I will wear it in the streets. If being a racist means that I will not stand idly by while the few, corrupt pigs in the ANC rape this country for everything they can get with no regard for the poor and the homeless and the uneducated, then I’ll get I’m a racist tattooed on my back.

Mr Zuma and the ANC – you need to get a different vocabulary. Instead of shouting at someone like Brett Murray about a painting being offensive, maybe you should be asking yourselves why he painted it in the first place. Instead of wanting to take Zapiro to court every time he depicts the president & his shower head in one of his cartoons, why don’t you stop to realise that there is truth in everything he draws and that your angry responses are really due to the fact that he keeps hitting a nerve that’s a little too close to home.

Maybe, Mr Zuma, it’s time to take a long, hard look in the mirror. If you were honest with yourself  you’d see that people actually have very little respect for you because you have lied and cheated your way through your Presidency. You have been involved with more seedy, corrupt criminals than Horatio Cane and you have abused funds for personal gain. You have raped, lied, stolen, protected evil men and weezled your way out of prosecution and you wonder why people continue to take the piss out of you in the media and treat you with utter contempt. Even the great Oliver Tambo’s daughter doesn’t think much of you based on what she had to say about the painiting: “He should inspire the reverence he craves. This portrait is what he inspired”

You Mr Zuma and your ANC are a bunch of CANTS!

CAN’T let go of the past
CAN’T operate in your life without breaking the rules
CAN’T find your integrity with a map and a flashlight and a tour guide (unless you pay them off).
CAN’T treat women with any kind of respect
CAN’T obey the laws of this country
CAN’T stop operating from a place of revenge and hate for what’s happened in the past
CAN’T find a way forward with no agenda or payoff
CAN’T stop putting family members in government positions for which they are not qualified
CAN’T stop the out of control corruption that is rife throughout every government department
CAN’T stop getting involved in shady, underhanded deals
CAN’T seem to get the education right in this country
CAN’T say goodbye of Affirmative Action and BEE which is ruining businesses across this land

But what do I know?

I’m just a white girl talking about a black man.

I must be a racist

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Is that a python on your shoulder?

On Saturday we attended a fundraiser my mom and some of her ‘committee’ members held at ‘their’ river. One of the activities of the day was a snake demo. I was asked to step up to the plate when the snake wrangler had run out of kids to use (and after watching a 4-year-old girl handle a huge tarantula I couldn’t really say no).

I got to play with this ‘little’ cutie for a few minutes.

I think yellow is my colour.

 

 

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Gym Class, for beginners.

Yesterday I was dared to try out a new class at gym, on my own. The class was kickboxing/aerobics and required three things, which I do not possess ;

1) rhythm

2) Co-ordination

3) The ability to watch a man perform an exercise and then repeat, while facing a mirror.

Thank the dear sweet universe there were no cameras filming me, but to give you an idea of what I looked like, see below.

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How to eat a cupcake

Yes folks, seems we’ve been doing it wrong all along.

Yesterday we celebrated a colleagues birthday and in true Cerebra style we grazed upon glorious cupcakes, which were very fitting for Renee, our resident cat lady. Thanks to Kim however, we were able to enjoy these delicious treats even more, after being shown the proper way to eat them.

Choose desired cupcake. It could be this charming kitty
Or this charming ball of wool for kitty to play with.

Turn cupcake upside down and pop out of it’s container, like this :

You’re doing it wrong.

Finally, slice the cupcake through the middle, scone style, and pop the bottom on the top. Make sure the icing is in the middle, like a red velvet sandwich.

Now doesn’t that look edible?

Yum.

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It’s like riding a bike…

…Except it’s not.

My first ‘Do Something Different’ post starts with me mounting my very abandoned mountain bike and riding the Lion Man Mountain Bike race in Bela Bela. For those sticklers for technicality out there, yes, this is not my first A) Bike ride or B) Lion Man, but the fact that I haven’t nor been on my bike in over a year makes it a relatively new experience for me. (Sies, cheating and this is only blog one!)

The Lion Man mountain bike challenge is a yearly event held at Mabalingwe Nature Reserve in Bela Bela (Formerly Warmbaths). The race consists of a 35 or 80 km ride through the bushveld, and the chance to encounter one of the Big 4 en-route. This year the race format changed slightly with Nissan coming on as title sponsor, and the route lengths changed to 20km, 40 km, 75km and 115km. Knowing my bum could not tolerate more than 2 hours in the saddle, and also realising I had probably forgotten how to ride my bike I opted for the fairly ‘safe’ 20km instead of the 35 km which I did every year before this. For those who have never sat on a mountain bike, and ridden (over rocks,craters, abandoned water bottles and limbs – kidding) at speeds of over 35 kmph, do not judge until you have done so. It’s bloody sore, and your bum needs at least two days to recover afterwards.

The race was great, apart from the ninja 4km hill climb at the beginning. After stopping several times to fix my bike and a help a few teary weary guys around me, I finished in 1;29. Not too bad for reborn biking virgin.

The boyfriend braved the 40km and finished (after stopping for 2 beers at a pub in the middle of the route) in 2:30 and our friends Kris and Chett came in from the (very long) 80km ride at just under 6 hours.

It was a very long day in the sun, and kudos to my bestie Amy (read her blog here, yussie she’s one talented chicka) who sat through it all day, patiently playing puzzles on her iPad, and snapping a few pics.

Let me tell you, the beer and mini donuts went down a treat afterwards!

 

This is me, finishing. All smiles

 

Post race recovery fuel

Hold up! I have just remembered there was in-fact a ‘first’ for me this weekend. My car’s battery died as we were trying to leave the reserve, so the boyfriend and I managed to push it from its parking bay and jumpstart it using the very old and temperamental land Rover. Shew, not such a first-post cheat after all 😉

Honda. I am your Father.
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Why wait ’till January

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

On Friday last week I was introduced to a very inspiring video during on of our weekly BBG sessions at work. I’m not sure why this particular one resonated with me so much, but I suspect it has something to do with the nearing-30-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life crisis. This video was all about living each day to the fullest, and making life count. Short of sounding like I’m para-phrasing from the back of a sugar packet, I was very taken in by the commentator and his words. So much so, that I have decided to undertake a slightly daunting task;

This task is to try something new and different once a week. It’s a challenge to myself to try more, live more and experience more. It’s also a great way to avoid my blog site from stagnating (as it has been doing lately, whoops).

You can find these blogs under ‘Do Something New, Dammit’.

PS – I’m pretty certain I’m going to run out of ideas on day 3. So if anyone would like to challenge me to something, go ahead!

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