SA Medal Hangers – New Blog

I cannot believe that we are mid-way through December and I have not even started my Christmas shopping yet…… YIKES!!!  My family is easy – we do a Secret Santa and so only have to buy for one person.   I happened to get Mr OL, which is a bit of a problem as I now need to get him 2 gifts.  We also all generally give my mom something additional as well – but she likes hand made stuff so that’s done.  At least Father Christmas is on the ball so Little OL is sorted.  My in-laws…. hmmmmm I really need to get to the shops soon.

I have a good excuse for not having gotten to the shops earlier… I have been working hard!  So many people have contacted SA Medal Hangers for custom made or personal medal hangers – it has been awesome.  I love coming up with the new designs.  But because of that , I have decided to create a new blog.  This will showcase SA Medal Hangers’ custom-made or personalised medal hangers.  We have created so may awesome one off designs and they won’t all get displayed on our website, so to give people some inspiration or ideas when ordering their own medal hanger I thought this might work.  What do you think?

Please feel free to visit and follow that blog.  It is http://medalhangers.wordpress.com

In the meantime here are a couple of the ones we have made recently – I am so proud of them.

SA Medal Hangers - Personalised Princess

 

 

SA Medal Hangers - My Race Bling with stars

 

SA Medal Hangers - Triathlon

 

If you are interested in ordering anything similar please contact me on pamela@medalhanger.co.za  You can also visit our Facebook page for more photos… SA Medal Hangers

November – quite a month

So, its been exactly a month since my last day of official employment and BOY OH BOY what a month.  I have never been this busy or this excited or this stressed.  And I have loved it!

It started with me trying to get ready, not only for the Dryland Traverse but also the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge Expo.  The timing was not good as there was no cell phone reception at the De Hoek camp site where the Dryland was based, but thankfully they had set up Wi-Fi, if a bit temperamental at times.  I was going to be away for 4 days and then back for only 1 day before leaving for Johannesburg, so I needed to get everything done before I left for the run.

I was also worried about driving from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg by myself and then concerned about actually driving in Johannesburg.  Both of which were fine.  It took me about 80km to remember that I LOVE driving on my own.  I turned the music up to the max and had a blast.  I did get a few odd looks at some of the stop and go’s with my music rocking the Kombi. Not sure if it was the volume or my dodgy taste in music though…..

Thanks to Firefly for the recommendation on a accommodation as it was less than a kilometre from the Coca Cola dome and very easy to find when coming in from the N1.  No problems there.

Then the expo – I was not sure how it would go.  It was totally foreign territory to me.  I did not know how much stock to take, if people would buy or just want info.  I just hoped I sold some…..  which I did.  Not as much as I would have liked but the interest was high and as custom orders are our biggest seller most people wanted info to order later.   Which thankfully a lot have done.  That has totally exceeded my expectation.  In fact I am bouncing around on Cloud 9 at the moment.  I know a lot of the medal hangers ordered are for Christmas presents so January will be really quiet, but considering I have only just started I am ecstatic.

Here is a photo of the SA Medal Hangers stand at the expo.  What do you think?  As it was our first expo, I learnt a lot of stuff.  I will do the stand slightly differently next time, I will take less stock but have more staff and hopefully I will be a lot less stressed…….. Our next major expo is at the Cape Argus Cycle Tour in Cape Town in March and I can’t wait.

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Then, did anybody spot SA Medal Hangers in a few of the magazines……  We got write ups in the Runner’s World and the RIDE SA magazines .  I had sent them the info but had no idea they would use it – happiness is

SA Medal Hangers Runner's World  Gear New Stuff

So, what can I say! This has been one heck of a year.  My work goal for the year was by the end of 2013 to go half day in formal employment and to try and to have found something else on the side, which hopefully by the end of next year would be enough to take over.  Being retrenched kind of kicked that goal out the window, but it was replaced by something so much bigger.  My word for the year was DO and I think I have done just that.  2013 has one month left and I am excited for it and then even more excited for 2014!

Last day!

Today is my last “official” day at work. I say official because I have only been popping in and out over the past week (trying to get used to unemployment :-)  )
I must admit that I am quite sad to leave this job. I have been working here for the past 6 years, which has been my longest stretch at one place. Before that my longest was 3 years. I have met some amazing people and have learnt a lot. People have had confidence in me and I have changed positions in the company a couple of times with my latest one being Compliance Liaison Manager, a position I enjoyed and nothing like I have done before.
But, I am also excited to leave. Although it was not my choice it is most definitely time. I have known for a while that me working full time and Little OL being at the school she is at just does not work. The days are too long for her if left in After Care and although I could fetch her at lunch and take her home which I have been doing for the past few months it is far from ideal.
Now I will be working from home, so get to spend the afternoons with her. My hours will be more flexible (set by myself) and it is something that I am passionate about. I LOVE sports, and I get so excited by what others have achieved. It is awesome that I get to see the medals that people have earned and that they are telling me the stories behind them. It also great that I am getting to be creative with the designs of the medal hangers. (can you tell I am excited about this…… lol)
So, today is a mixture of happiness, sadness and excitement. Another chapter begins!

Here are a few photos of customers hangers that they have sent me.  I love seeing them!

SA Medal Hangers

SA Medal Hangers

SA Medal Hangers

SA Medal Hangers – Table Mountain MTB

SA Medal Hangers - Triathlon

SA Medal Hangers – Triathlon

SA Medal Hangers - I LOVE MEDALS!

SA Medal Hangers – I LOVE MEDALS!

 

And I agree – I lOVE MEDALS!

Corporate Ironman Challenge 2013

On Saturday morning it was the Corporate Challenge or locally known as the “Corporate Ironman”.  It is 10% of the full Ironman distance, so a 380m swim, 18km bike ride and a 4.2km run and can be done individually or as a team.  I chose to do it as an individual however, if truth be told when race day rolled around, I was not that keen.  I am not sure why?  It was not because I had not trained properly (I hardly ever do), I just was not in the mood.

Until I got down there!

I always forget how much I enjoying being part of an event of this magnitude.  I LOVE the vibe, the atmosphere, the people, the excitement and most importantly I love taking part and doing something physical.  I have not ridden my bicycle or swum since January so I was a little nervous about those, but not enough to let it worry me.  It is a short race so I could just push the bike.  I swim at the same speed not matter what.

Our company entered 3 teams and 2 individuals, me being one of the individuals.  I got down there before sunrise and racked my bike.  It was awesome watching the sun come up over the sea and was a beautiful morning.  The race starts in waves with the individual girls starting last.  It was quite nice to get to watch all the others go off first.  Boy, some of those people can swim.  Then it was us.  The sea was gorgeous although I did swallow a huge mouthful of water when the wake of a jetski hit me.  My swim was ok, not bad, not good, just ok. When I first started swimming I had as serious pain in my arm, but it is one I have had before I know that after about 50 meters or so it goes away.  I just need to play with my stroke a bit.  After the swim was the bike.  I had a good ride condidering I have not been on my bike since the 70.3 in January.  My average speed was 28 / hr and I really pushed it.  I figured the race was short enough that I would not die.  Luckily I felt good. Even going into the run I felt good. In fact I feel good pretty much the whole way.  Right up till about 60m from the end……. I know I am a little bit competitive.  I have mentioned this before.  I know it does not appear that I am, based on my times etc, but I can be.  About 600m from the end a girl passed me – I did not realise that I actually knew her, but nobody had passed me on the run and I was not going to let somebody catch me right there so I tried to keep up.  Bad idea!  I have never ever before felt that I was not going to make the finish line.  I kept up for about 550m and then it went a bit pear shaped.  I started seeing black marks and my legs turned to jelly.  My thoughts where “uh, so this is what hitting the wall really feels like” I thought I was going to hit the floor in front of all those hundred spectators and it was not going to be pretty.  I had a decision, either slow down and hope the feeling passed or try to keep up and know that I was going to fall flat on my face.  I slowed down and let her go.  Thankfully the feeling did pass and I did make it down the red carpet…. As soon as I stopped running I felt perfectly fine again.

Corporate Challenge Sunrise

Well, what can I say?  I finished 27th girl overall and in a time of 1H17.  I am totally over the moon with that result and I bettered my time from last year (I had not trained for that one either).  I loved this race, every single moment of it (except when I thought I was going to land on my face).  I am so glad that I did it.  The weather was perfect once again and the support was awesome.  Can’t wait for next year…….

Swim: 11:06, Bike 44:05, Run 22.28 –Over all time 01:17:48

I seriously need to think about training for next years one……

This weekend

I think I am living in denial about this weekend.  I have not even thought much about it and am not stressed (yet).

It is Ironman weekend!  I love Ironman weekend!  I love the build-up, the excitement, the expo, the registration and seeing all the athletes.

What I have not been thinking about is the fact that I have entered the Corporate Challenge Triathlon (10% of the IM distance).  What I have not been thinking about is that I have not been on my bike since January, nor have I swum.  Yikes.  Thankfully I am not a stranger to doing an event with minimal training…

This weekend it will also be my amazing sisters 6th Ironman. We did our first one together in 2007 and she has just kept going, only missing one when she was living in London.  I am so amazed by her.  Did I mention that she swam the Bell Buoy Challenge on Easter Weekend???  I am in total awe of her.

The other thing that I am in denial about this weekend is the fact that it is my birthday!  Oh dear…  I still have not celebrated my last birthday and here is another one.  At least I am planning on doing something I absolutely love this weekend – cheering on at an Ironman. Believe me the temptation to do it as it was on my Birthday was extremely, but sanity prevailed.

So, if you are down near Hobie Beach on Sunday, come and say hi.  I will be the one eating handing out cupcakes in between screaming for my sister.

The race that started it all

8 years ago Saturday morning I ran my first 10km ever, the Metlife Plaza Valentine’s Day run.  My mom convinced me to run it with her.  I had just started running again that January so 10km was quite a big deal.  I Googled my times and I completed it in 59.32 – quite good if I do say so myself.  The only reason I got under 1 hour was because my mom was with me the whole way yelling at encouraging me to keep running.  With about 1 km to go I told her to go ahead I could not do it any more and she did, but then my competitive streak kicked in and I followed desperately trying to keep up, she finished bout 20seconds ahead of me.  (It took me over 7 years to actually beat her in a race.)

I decided to do that race again this year and my goal this time was to do my fastest 10km.  It is a flat course and there was minimal wind, so I felt it was possible. The fact that I had not actually run in 2 weeks did cross my mind but as one of my friends said at the start it just meant my legs were fresh…..  it seemed to work – my official time for the 10km on Saturday was 56:04.  (On my watch it was 56:01:32 – which made me wish I had actually looked at me watch in the last 500m).  I am happy with that – they only other time I have gone quicker was in the Sunshine Coast Triathlon.

Just for the record, a year after that first 10km I ran my first half marathon.  It was the 2 Oceans and a year after that I did my first Ironman.  I still have not run a stand-alone marathon; it is a goal for this year.

FBC – Favourite photo / Best Friends

I don’t think I have a favourite photo of my and my “best friends” – in fact I am not sure at the moment how to determine what best friends are or who they are.  It is not like when I was school and I had two “best friends” and we did EVERY thing together.  I think as you get older you have more facets to your life, more interests and there fore sometimes require different friends for different aspects.

I have my sister – who is most definitly my “best friend” in all aspects but then I also have other friends that could also fit in there som where.  A “best” friend with who I train, you chat a lot while cycling/running/swimming (which might go some way to explaining my time…..), a “best” friend that I have made since having Little OL, a “best” friend at work (who keeps me sane) and a long standing “best” friend, who when looking from the outside, might not seem as if we have that much in common but who is invaluable in my life.  And then of course my internet “friends” who sometimes know more about me that people I am in contact with in real life.  It is not often that all my best friends will get together – in fact I can tell you that they never have – so I don’t have a photo of all my best friends.

I will instead post one of my most recent photos of myself, my sister and my bestest training partner at the top of Maitlands Hill on our last (and only second) long ride – we did a whole 59km…… The week before IMSA 70.3 in January.  I know, even I can’t beleive I actually made that bike cut-off with the minimal cycling we did (although we did use our indoor trainers quite a bit in winter)

The best friends and training partners a girl could ask for

The best friends and training partners a girl could ask for

 

They have now left me in the dust and are trainig for Ironman together – I am feeling left out…….. BUT I know that I could not commit to it at the moment, it is not a priority, but I do get jealous when I hear that they went cycling without me.  Hopefully from next week I can join them on their morning (shorter) rides again.

 

 

So, Ironman South Africa???

The big question everybody asks me, even before I completed the 70.3 is whether or not I am going to be doing the full Ironman again this year.

I must admit that it is tempting….  Both my brother and sister are going to do it again – it will be my sister’s 6th full Ironman. WOW.  And it is on my birthday.  I can just imagine how emotional it will be standing on the start, on my birthday with both of them waiting for the canon to blast.

That is until I think of all that is involved and the commitment it takes with regards to the training.  I am not in the right space to do it.  It is not a priority in my life.  Mr and Little OL are.  I don’t want be on my bike for more than 3 hours on a Saturday morning.  I don’t want to then have to run the next day for more than an hour. I want to be at home.  I work full time and the weekends are the only time I get to spend with them.

That is also one of the reasons why I don’t like training in the evenings.  For the 70.3 I was able to train in the mornings before Little OL woke, if I wanted to do the full Ironman I would need to train in the evenings as well.  I am not prepared to do that.  I already go to art classes one night a week, so miss her that night.

And I would need to be asleep by 8:30 – 9:00pm.  I just don’t have the time at the moment to do that.  I am enjoying baking and crafting and the only time I get to do that is in the evenings after Little OL goes to sleep.  I would not be able to do these things.

Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely LOVED training for Ironman last time, but I was in a totally different space.  I was able to make it a priority and put my all into it.  Now I just don’t want to.  Maybe in a few years’ time when Little OL is older I might want to do it again.  That is not to say that this year I am not going to set myself challenges or give myself goals.  I am useless with training without a goal.

This year I would like to run a marathon.  I have never run a stand-alone marathon and would like to.  I would also like to do the Dry Land Traverse in November.  It is a 4 day stage trail run.  It looks awesome.  I think those are big enough goals for the year. Then of course there is Ironman 70.3 next year again……

Ironman 70.3 South Africa 2013

 

I am not very good at writing race reports but here goes – I finished in 7:33:45 and I am very, very happy.   At least this year I actually got to the start line and finished.  A big step up from last year.

I have realised that I am very lucky when it comes to Ironman races.  I have yet to have a puncture or a serious technical malfunction, both of which could end my race.  I did however have a few minor issues, but none of them were race threatening, more of an annoyance.  My bike computer gave up on me at about the 10km mark – it kept telling me I was doing 14 km/hour, which was fine, except I was going down a hill and it fell more like 41km/hour.  When I got to the turn-around point I actually turned if off; it was more of an annoyance than a help.  I then tried to calculate my time to transition based on my watch time.  My Garmin also stopped reading distance after the swim, giving me only the time. Thankfully that was enough on the day.

Then the actual race:

The swim was ok, I am not good at going straight and try to avoid the crowds so swim wide – this meant that according to my Garmin I actually swam 2.3km. The final bouy also moved and ended up on the beach.  I was a little surprised when a wave crashed on my head as I rounded it and my first though was oh crap this is going to be a long 100m if I need to swim it with waves crashing on me all the time, and then I saw the girl next to me stand up. It was waist deep.  My thoughts then were off relief.  I did not have any further to swim.  My swim time – 44:36

I heard later that two men died on the swim.  It is very sad, imagine your son, father or husband (or wife, mother, daughter) goes off to race a triathlon and does not come back.  Chances are you are also going to be there watching.  It must be devastating and my thoughts are with those families.

The Bike – besides my bike computer not working I had fun.  It was not nearly as bad as I expected, and although I could have done without the headwind we faced heading back I enjoyed it.  I was so happy to reach the turn-around in a decent time that I burst into tears.  I knew that that bar any issues it was do able.  My only other problem in the bike was my sunscreen got into my eyes and they started to burn (probably because of the tears earlier).  I could not see a thing and it looked like I was bawling my eyes out.  Luckily it happened near the end and just before the horrid hill everyone was telling me about.  I think it distracted me as I did not notice the hill.  I guess not being able to see can do that to you.

Then the run… The whole time I had been thinking – as long as I can get to the run I’ll be fine. Well I got to the run and it SUCKED!  I just could not run.  My legs just did not want to run – they wanted to walk.  It was hot and I was tired.  I think I must have pretty much walked the whole 1st 10km.  Luckily as I passed the 11km mark everything seemed to click into place and I started to run again.  Besides Bunkers Hill (which is not nice) I pretty much ran the whole of the last 10km and I loved it.  I finished on such a high, and was smiling and happy, although if I look at the finish photos my sister-in-law took I don’t look that smiley.  I look like “where the hell is the line”, but at least my hair looked good (not).  And few seconds after I crossed the line the tears started again.

So as I a round up – I loved it.  I will do it again!  Can I say that I will train more, nope, probably not?  I am very happy with how this race went considering my serious lack of cycle and swim training, who knew that muscle memory is there.  I do think that the trail running has helped a lot though.

So to everyone that supported me and cheered – at the side-lines or from afar, thank you very much.  I really appreciate it!  It means a lot to me.

Ironman 70.3 South Africa

Ironman 70.3 South Africa

Essential Ironman Preparation

There is a lot that goes into getting ready for an Ironman or ½ Ironman race.  Obviously there are the months and months of training and the mental preparation.  That we all know about, but once you have done that there is so much more to do.  I am talking about the more important stuff!  The stuff that really matters on race day – like ensuring your toenails are painted (preferably matching your bike), your legs and under arms are shaved or waxed and your hair is done.  In my case when I say done I mean coloured.  Horror of horrors, your finish photo has the grey showing!  So, to ensure that this disaster does not befall me I am off to an emergency appointment with my hair dresser this afternoon.

A few weeks ago I realised that my next appointment was only after the 20th I called him in a panic and asked if he could please, please, please squeeze me in beforehand.  He laughed and said yes, and I was the 2nd person that week to phone him for the exact same reason.

Very glad to see that we PE athletes have our priorities straight!

 

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