Ok, so I am pretty damn excited about this campaign that I’m taking part in, starting today, and running until the end of August. Firstly, because I’m revoltingly competitive, and secondly because its something I do everyday, and now theres a competition associated with that something I do every day – keeping active.
Shield have challenged me, and a bunch of other bloggers to a #ShieldItsYourMove campaign. The basic idea is to ‘just keep moving’. There are mommy and lifestyle bloggers (me), sports bloggers, food bloggers, fashion and beauty. You name it.
We all have the month of August to move as much as we can, and track our daily steps on our jawbone Up2 devices. We all move for different reasons – for me it’s training once a day and working off that office stress, as well as chasing a busy toddler round the house. Im not sure how the other bloggers spend their movement time, but all will be revealed during the coming weeks when we post our updates using the #ShieldItsYourMove hashtag across various social media platforms.
Moving and keeping busy is easy when you feel confident – which is where Shields new MotionSense technology comes in. It’s the words first anti perspirant with unique micro capsules activated by movement. So, the more you move, the more it keeps you dry, and the more you move the more Shield MotionSense releases fresh bursts of fragrance. And I’m not just saying that. I have been a Shield user ever since my wedding in 2013, when I trialled several antiperspirants in the build up to the big day and Shield came out top. Let me tell you, there is no sweat like wedding sweat!
So, follow my journey here, on Instagram, Twitter and on Facebook as I try to out move the other bloggers for the month of August.
Three years ago I took part in, and completed my first ever Half Iron Man in East London. Upon crossing the finish line I burst into tears. I was elated, so proud and felt like I had achieved the impossible. (Turns out, it’s the 2nd hardest course in the world, so my feelings were justified I suppose). Fast-forward to 19 June 2016 when I crossed the finish line in Durban, and all I felt was a heavy heart and bitter disappointment.
It’s been a few days since finishing the race, and I’ve been trying to understand why I feel so ‘let down’ about the entire experience.
The weeks and month leading up to the race were not kind, and as mentioned here, the odds just seemed to be against me. When I did the race for the first time three years ago, I had a lot more time to train, people to train with and it was I Summer, which meant Winter with its debilitating cold, dark and sickness wasn’t an issue. Back to back bronchitis, chronic anemia, no sleep, shin splints, planning a first birthday party, a resignation from work and massive stress in my life left me feeling seriously fragile for most of my training.
We arrived in Durban on Thursday – to give us enough time to register, chill with the friends whose house we were staying at, and acclimatise for the race. The big rule before any event like this is easy; REST UP. Unfortunately, the Monday before, Carter had started with some severe gastro that was so bad we did what we have never done before and actually panicked enough to take him to the hospital. There, they declared a viral gastro infection and asked us to ‘wait it out’. On the Saturday before the race (having waited it out for 7 days) he was only getting worse; there was blood in his stools, he wasn’t sleeping, had a raging fever, was as miserable as sin and we were exhausted. We took him to the hospital in Durban and within twenty minutes he was admitted for dehydration and on a drip. Emotional doesn’t even begin to cut it, I was devastated for two reasons – one for my poor sick baby in hospital, with a now bacterial dysentery (the guilt!) and two, for the race in less than 15 hours time – which Barry and I had both trained so long and hard for, sacrificed family time for and had been planning for, for the better part of half a year. Barry insisted I still race – knowing that after this 70.3 I was probably going to give up triathlon for a bit and focus on finding some balance in my life. With a heavy heart I left the hospital to go and pack my transition bags and rack my bike. If it wasn’t for my friend Eryn who we were staying with – who had just completed the Full Iron Man – I probably would have given up there and then. Thankfully she got my mind right(ish), helped me pack my bags, nutrition and bike and helped me get to the race to set up. She also took me down to the race the next morning at 5 am and stood on the cooking hot pavements, with her hubby and son, and supported me the entire day.
On the same Saturday that Carter was admitted – before we took him to the hospital – we had the pre-race training swim. Normally the pre-swim is a free for all where athletes get to play in the water, get a feel for the waves, the current and the ocean. This year the ocean was not playing ball, and the race organisers seemed uneasy. They made it a swim where you had to queue up and head off 10 at a time, with the organisers checking people in and out using our timing chips. Alarm bells were ringing in my head, and as the queue got longer and longer and more and more swimmers were coming you the water looking less than happy, I was in full blown panic mode. After about an hour and a half of waiting to go in, they abruptly cancelled the pre-swim. The water was just too dangerous. My heart sunk a bit further into my chest. The swim was my Achilles heel and mentally I had been preparing myself for this single discipline the entire time. Distracted by a very unwell baby though, we left and took him to the hospital, as above.
After a last visit to see my baby and Barry in the paed ward, I went home to Eryn and Greg and slept surprisingly well (could be the red wine or Xanax..or both). Up to this pint I had also picked up a tiny bit of Carter’s gastro, which meant an upset tummy and zero appetite – also not great before a race).
Race morning arrived and I was up at 4 am. For those who take part or spectate in triathlons, you understand its not as simple as arriving and running in to the water. It’s a mammoth task of logistics, planning and time. Even though your bike and two transition bags are packed and racked the day before, you still have to get down to transition the morning of the race to pump tyres, stock nutrition and triple check you have everything you need in the relevant bag. I did this all and left the transition area to find Eryn. It was dark and fresh and a beautiful morning. My tummy was feeling better, Carter seemed to be on the mend, and I suddenly had a bit more optimism about the race. Then the race organisers made the announcement: The swim had just been cancelled.
3000 athletes went in to panic mode. This was the first time in 20 years that the swim had been cancelled – which meant that the ocean really wasn’t in a good mood. Many people were angry and quick to judge. I was gutted. The biggest challenge for me, and one that I finally felt ready for had been pulled form under me. Which meant we technically weren’t doing a triathlon – we were doing a duathlon. I, along with 2999 other athletes felt cheated.
The race, instead of a well oiled slick machine now turned into disorganised chaos. The pro athletes (only about 16 in total) still had to do the swim, and the rest of us plebs would start on the bike once they were done. We walked down to the swim, my mind now completely unraveled and watched them start. ‘The waves aren’t that high’ I thought to myself as I looked down. Then the gun went and the pros went off and the only thing I can liken it to was confetti being tossed into a gale force wind. Swimmers were everywhere. Some immediately got pushed several hundred meters to the left, others got pushed to shore and some just could not get past the surf. Two ladies had to be rescued and many of them (remember, all pro athletes) said they thought they were going to die. To give more context – take a look here.
It was while watching the pro swim that I realised the organisers had definitely made the right call. I can guarantee that several people would have lost their life that day should the swim not have been cancelled. However, that still didn’t stop the thoughts banging in my head. People just aren’t going to respect us now. People will say it wasn’t a real race.
Now, this is where I think I started feeling like a loser, and why the race has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The bike start – instead of happening as people came out of the water – ie a staggered approach – but still relatively in line with your age groupers happened with all 3000 athletes at the same time, but actually not at the same time at all. Which meant a 2 hour queue as they let people off, five at a time every 15 seconds. I happened to be one of the very last in the queue, which meant that by the time I eventually started my bike, other athletes had already been out there for almost 2 hours. That does a lot for ones psyche, and even though your time only officially started once you had got on your bike and started cycling, mentally it felt like you were already behind. As an example, if athlete A started at the front of the queue and cycled a 4 hour race, and athlete B started at the back of the queue and cycled a 3 hour race, athlete A would still finish the bike first and start the run while athlete B was still riding. This is what happened to me, and even though I feel I had an OK’ish bike time (for me anyways!) I came off the bike and started the run when pretty much everyone had already started. Because of my late start, and the mentality of the organisers and volunteer staff being that of a normal race (ie cutoff times after swim and bike), by the time I turned around at the 40 km mark, people had already started packing up cones and aid stations and cars were flying past me on the freeways. Not cool. That, coupled with a really bad stitch in my shoulders made me a glum chap.
I got off my bike in transition and looked around in dismay – it seemed as if 90% of the bikes had been racked – which made perfect sense when you thought about it logically, but totally threw me, because even though I was well within my cutoff time, it felt like I was coming stone last. I started the run when most people were on their second lap, and so by the time I started my second lap, I had marshals rushing me along – again forgetting that I was making decent time and that time on the clock wasn’t an indicator of athlete performance. “I started 2 hours after everyone else!” I wanted to scream.
The run was shitty, and I will never again underestimate a ‘quick 21km’ again. Because it was completely flat I assumed it would be the best and easiest part of the day. It wasn’t. Flat means no hard uphill, but it also means no lovely downhill to relieve your legs. It was also 1 pm by the time I started, and 36 degrees.
I just felt the spectators at that point were disinterested, and I felt lonely for most of the run. Even my parents, who had come all the way to see me race, looked bored. I think it had been a long day of waiting, and due to the slow start, there wasn’t much excitement in terms of masses of athletes all competing at the same time. I could see them thinking ‘really, is this it?’
About 8 kms in I started running with a girl Siobhan who I met along the route and who mentally helped me a lot. I left her after a few kms as I was feeling a bit stronger, and she needed to walk a bit more. (I hope she somehow stumbles across this blog and makes contact – I never caught her last name, but we did commit to having lunch in Joburg together to celebrate not dying). The last 10 kms were much better than the first, and I kept a very slow but steady pace (race day goal was a 6:45 and I was managing between 7:30 and 8. I was hurting and the tummy cramps of the previous few days had flared up.).
On those last 10 kms, again due to the lateness of the day and mentality of how it’s usually done, a lot of the aid stations had closed up, sponges and water had run out and the promenade had been opened properly to the public. I ran into 2 people, was hit by a wayward soccer ball and had to dodge more than one child running in and out the crowds. By then I was close to despair and started going in to a very dark place.
Eventually, I finished, in my slowest 21 km time ever of 2:44. I crossed the finish line happy, grabbed my medal and T-shirt and made my way back to the supporters area. It was completely empty. That kind of (un)welcome does a lot for this already battered ego, and I felt so sad and despondent.
The positive to the race was that my baby boy was discharged that afternoon so he and hubby at-least got to see me on the route, which was a beautiful sight when you are empty and broken inside.
Sadly, I don’t feel as if the organisers handled the delayed start well, and I’m bitterly disappointed by how I was made to feel like a B grade athlete out there – at no fault of my own. I think the organisers had been prepped for a 7:30 am start and a cutoff by 15:30 – so when the plans changed and the time got pushed out, they weren’t aware that it was OK and athletes competing were not a bunch of losers. I also definitely know that having had the swim portion cut out – which actually made the race harder for some reason, has made me feel like a 2/3 Iron Man.
Does that mean I have unfinished business, and will be coming back next year to see it through? Probably not. I’m feeling a massive sense of relief that this race is over, and that I can focus on some other aspects of my life right now. Nothing that looks or sounds like a swim, bike or run… although, that’s what I said straight after my very first Half Iron man in 2013…
For creatures of habit, human beings are funny little things. Why, every year, do we insist on making drastic changes to our lives in the form of new years resolutions? I’m talking huge, life changing decisions that we make at 11:55pm on 31 December, as we drunkenly reflect on the year that was and how we absolutely must do things differently in the year that’s about to be.
We make crazy promises to ourselves, promises that are unrealistic and promises that deep down we know we can never ever stick to. I mean, when last did you ‘get rich quick’ or ‘lose those 5 kilograms’?
I gave up on the new years resolutions a few years ago, when I began dreading seeing them through. This year, I’ve decided to take a on a much easier and effective approach.
I Instagrammed this motivational the other day, and it was met with such a positive response, that I figured – why not elaborate on it slightly, and make a list of 15 actionable, manageable and (most importantly) do-able things for 2015 (because, let’s be honest, with a baby on the way a lot of things may just have to be pushed to 2016…)
1. Find 3 hobbies you love.One to make you money, one to keep you in shape and one to keep you creative.
(FYI, I picked voice overs, trail running and Pinterest/gardening,photography and home decor)
2. Sign up to become an organ donor. I’ll make it easy for you – click here.
(If you need some motivation, watch this)
3. Read 1 thing of substance once a month. It could be anything from a novel, to a white paper to a web article. (Start with this, it’s amazing)
4. Give back. Make a sandwich for the beggar you see every morning, collect dog food at your next dinner party and donate it to a needy pet rescue place or pop your spare change in the charity tin at the till. No gesture is too small.
5. Plant something you can use. For me, its herbs and vegetables. There’s something wonderful about eating what you’ve grown.
6. Learn 1 new skill. I am desperate to do a woodworking course – so I can make all the things I find online (instead of begging my husband to do it for me). With this bulging belly, that may be a project for 2016 – so for 2015 I am going to do a self taught photography course and find a course to teach me design and Photoshop.Your new skill needn’t me a huge investment – it could be as simple as learning to knit, or changing a plug.(Hint, Google)
7. Change one thing about your appearance. Cut your hair, invest in a red lipstick, buy a push-up bra. A small change can do wonders for your self esteem and is the cheapest way to get a makeover without the effort.
8. Eat 1 meal at the dinner table. Bringing a child in to this world makes me yearn for the days when we as a family would eat every meal around the table (also, it was in the stone ages, so technology wasn’t yet a distraction).
9. Don’t waste your money on shit things. I am a huge culprit here – I buy a lot of R200 things here and there instead of saving up for one big feature item. A bit like putting lipstick on a pig.
10. Make time for you. Work is work, and apart from those days we all have when a crisis pops up, leave it at the office, go home and make sure you have a balance. Not one Facebook post celebrating 2015 started with ‘I worked more than 8.5 hours a day). No-one cares. (That being said, work hard, make an effort and give a damn)
11. Fix those things that have been bothering you. I have created a Google doc as long as my arm with everything that needs to be done around the house. From things as small as changing a lightbulb, to complete house renovations. It’s amazing how much easier it is to tick stuff off, when you have a list.
12. Remember the good things. A rad chick I know kept a jar in 2014, and ever single time something good happened, she wrote it down on a slip of paper, and popped it in the jar. At the end of 2014 she had hundreds of awesome memories that reminded her just how amazing the past 365 days had been.
13. Find something to look forward to. Remember September? September is the ‘quarter to 5 on a Friday’ month. It’s revolting, and everyone gets in to a slump and starts panicking about the new year and what they have and haven’t achieved, and then makes DUMB NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS. (Do you see where I’m going with this?) This year, plan something fun for that time – a weekend away, a party, time off, whatever. Make sure you dont get to quarter to 5 on your Friday with no plans. You will be suicidal.
14. Save. My scariest one of them all. Put away as much as you can every month (even if it’s a little).
15. Clear your crap. We live in one of those old houses where cupboard space is tiny and scarce (seriously, did families in the ’80s not have things?!). A rule I (try) live by is that for every new thing I buy (be it clothes or makeup) I have to throw out (or donate) the same amount of existing pieces. Its the only way to prevent hoarding, and also prevents years of rubbish and useless things piling up.
So, that’s it. My list of 15 easy peasy resolutions for 2015.
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.
Never one to decline a challenge, I recently took part in the Impi Challenge race – held at Van Gaalens Cheese farm close to Hartabeespoort Dam. Despite the pre-race nerves (fear-for-your-life commentary from MC Guy McDonald not helping) the race was absolutely fantastic, and I look forward to taking part next year.
Admittedly, it wasn’t at all easy and I was pretty relieved that the 13km course was broken up by 19 various obstacles – trail running is a whole other ball game and the terrain makes you work twice as hard.
Even though I loved the race I was not amused by a few of the obstacles (10 m high cargo net and sewer tunnel included) and I’m pretty happy I only saw THIS photo of one of the obstacles AFTER I had gone through it. Vom.
If you are considering taking part in this race – here are a few pointers
– Dress up if you are part of a team
– Wear clothes you never plan on seeing again. Even 2 caps of new OMO liquid wont be enough. Ooh eh eh.
– Dont wear watches, sunglasses, caps or valuables. Trust me, between jumping 6 metres into a river, wading through compost, rolling through trees and swimming through dams, you will lose it all.
– Take your time – the event is not timed so the idea is to finish it with a smile on your face (Or not dead, either all)
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!
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 😉
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!