The Otter Challenge

This time next week I will be running/walking The Otter Trail Challenge – woefully under prepared.

The Otter African Trail Run

It is my final challenge of the year and I really hope that I come home with a medal AND enjoy the day. (see THIS post for my races this year)

I had big plans for this year running wise… and in general it has been a very good year for me.  I have hit my personal bests across all distances from 10km to an Ultra.  So in 10km, 15km, 21.1km, 42.2 km and 56km races.  I did my first Trail Ultra – Addo 44km and absolutely loved it.  I will be back there next year.  Entries have already opened if you are keen to do it.

The only goal so far this year that I did not complete was Comrades – life kind of got in the way there (a whole different blog post) and I started the day “knowing” that I would not finish.  Seeing as this race is very mental “knowing” you are not going to finish pretty much guarantees that you won’t.  My plan going out was to see how far I could get.  I figured I would regret not starting more than I would regret not finishing.  I was in Durban anyway for the Expo and I was right.  Although I regret not finishing I am very pleased that I started.  I ran about 30km with my sister and then told her to go on ahead as I was going to stop there (I wasn’t but didn’t want to hold her back any more).  I carried on till just past Drummond and stopped.  In my mind I was hoping not the make the Drummond cut-off because then I would have an excuse to stop.  I even when to the toilet about 2 km before and sat there for a while longer than necessary….  I made the cut–off and cursed a little.  I hobbled on for another couple of kilometers and saw another runner sitting at the side of the road.  I asked him if he minded if I sat down next to him.  The second I sat down about 10 people joined us and a few minutes later a bail bus came along and picked us all up.  As I was walking to the bus I asked myself again if I was SURE I wanted to stop.  I was.  I shed a little tear and then cheered up a lot when I found out that there was chocolate on the bus….I have entered again for next year and will do a lot of things differently leading up to the race.

Since then I have not run as much as I should have for Otter and definitely have not done the number of stairs that I should have or strength exercises but I am excited.  I have hiked the trail 3 times and love it!  I am doing the Challenge and have 11 hours to finish. There are 2 races – the other is called the Run and they have 8 hours to finish. There is NO way even on a good day that I would do that.

So, this time next week think of me…. and my sister and her husband and 217 other runners as we take on the Grail of Trail – The Otter…

I cant wait!

The realities of working from home….

There have been many posts written about the joys and hardships of working from home…. I wont repeat them but here are a few realities.

Puppies are curious… Taking a photo of your stock has its challenges!

Snuggly puppies

But being able to stop and snuggle makes it worth while

puppy snuggles

You get asked a hundred times a day “come play with me…”

Come play with me

And sometimes you can

puppy snuggles

Children are curious and want to help…

Doing moms work

Actually, I have no reply for that…. I NEED my computer back – I suppose at least she is learning some computer skills

and some photography skills.

Photography skills.

Maybe I can teach her to take the photos and I can play with the puppy more…

What are you proud of this week?

This week I am proud of how much my downhill running skills have improved.  Exactly a year ago on the Lake Farm Charity Trail run a friend , feeling very sorry for me, gave me a quick 101 beginner course in downhill running. (Thank you Sheena :-))

Downhill running, especially on trails, has been a real weakness for me but over the past year I have been practising a lot.  I have been making a concerted effort to run the downhill’s, not to be overly cautious, not to slide down on my bum (although I still do that in parts) and it seem to have paid off.

This weekend, again on the Lake Farm Charity Trail Run I passed quite a few people on the downhill’s and not only did I pass them somebody called me “Speedy Gonzales” as I went by.  (I am not entirely sure she meant that as a compliment but I am taking it)

I am super proud of myself.  I still need to work on the technical down hills as I am still pretty useless on those, but I think that is more a strength issue (I see squats and lunges in my future)

What are you proud of this week?

I just love these medals, I now have 3 and they are gorgeous. They are handmade by the residents of the Lake Farm Centre.  For more info about the centre visit their website HERE

Awesome Lake Farm Trail Run Medal, hand-made by the residents of the Lake Farm Centre

Awesome Lake Farm Trail Run Medal, hand-made by the residents of the Lake Farm Centre

All in all it was a great day – an awesome 15km trail run where we saw loads of buck including giraffe. Being called Speedy Gonzales on a downhill and a second-hand book sale at the end (I got a bit carried away as the books were only R3.00)  What more could you ask for on a Saturday morning and all before 9:00am!

This week I am proud of…..

This week I am really battling to think of something I am proud of….


I know there are some things I probably should be proud of, but mostly I am pretty disappointed in myself.  I let a ball drop and now it feels like the whole lot are about to come crashing down.  I know I will probably look back in just over a month and realise it is not nearly as bad as I think (I HOPE), but at the moment it seem pretty terrible and getting worse.  But, it does not affect my family, health or anything that is really important to me so I will just have to deal with the problems as they arise.


So, what am I proud of??? This week I am very proud of my daughter. I was away all of last week in Cape Town for the Cape Cycle Tour Lifestyle Expo and she stayed behind with Andrew,  our nanny and my mom.  She coped remarkably well, even though she was sick.  I felt terrible about leaving her, but could not do anything about it. I am proud that she is such an independent soul.

photo (3)

I am also proud that even though I was having a major pity party last week Wednesday, when my stand at the expo came crashing around me about 30 seconds after I had finished putting it up, I managed to give myself a stern talking to and pull myself together, rebuild the stand and have a great expo.  At that stage I really just felt like coming home.


What were you most proud of last week?

This week I am proud of…

This week I am proud of myself for completing my first trail ultra – and not losing my sense of humour once.  It is the second longest running race I have ever done and by far the longest time on my legs.  It took me 7h21 minutes.  I did the Addo Elephant Trail Run 44 km.  My first of 3 planned Ultra‘s for the year and the only one on trail.

I am not going to lie it was tough, but I loved it. There were parts where the trail was so steep that I slid back and a hill where I began to wonder why on earth I had not done more (read any) squats or lunges in preparation but all in all I did not find it too bad.

My sister and I and more than a few friends completed the 44km Addo Elephant Trail, there was also a 76km, which I did not even contemplate, although my husband has said he will not be surprised WHEN I tell him I am going to do it :-)

I was a little nervous going into this – the route profile is hectic and well, it is 44km on trail so not for the faint hearted, but I had heard it was beautiful.

Addo Elephant Trail Run 44km Route Profile

Addo Elephant Trail Run 44km Route Profile

We ran through the Addo Elephant Park – but not the section with the elephants or lions (I might have run bit faster then….) and the area is absolutely breath-taking.  We started at Kabouga Gate and ended at Zuurberg Mountain Inn.  The scenery and terrain varied so much from dense bush to open plateaus with spectacular views.  There was even a rock pool that we swam in at the 37km mark and it was very difficult to get out of that cool water.

Here are few photos but they and my words do not do the area justice.


Addo Elephant Trail Run - The Start (do we look a little nervous....)

Addo Elephant Trail Run – The Start (do we look a little nervous….)

Addo Elephant Trail Run - still early(ish) on.

Addo Elephant Trail Run – still early(ish) on.

This was rather steep....

This was rather steep….

Sister Selfie

Sister Selfie

At the top

At the top

Addo Elephant Trail Run

Addo Elephant Trail Run

Addo Elephant Trail Run

Addo Elephant Trail Run

Addo Elephant Trail Run

Addo Elephant Trail Run

Yes, I know... It might have taken less than 7 hours 21 minutes if I had not stopped to take photos of spider webs

Yes, I know… It might have taken less than 7 hours 21 minutes if I had not stopped to take photos of spider webs

Thanks to everyone that ran with me, especially Heather, Nicola and Georgie.  Well done to everybody that finished both runs.

Not a medal, but very a very nice finishers memento

Not a medal, but very a very nice finishers memento

This year’s race was superbly organised by Free Spirit Adventures.  It was their first year having just taken it over and although I am not sure what it was like before to me they did a fantastic job.


What are you proud of this week (remember it does not have to be sports related)

Camping themed 5th party

Camping was not my theme of choice for this year, but Little Miss K wanted camping and I liked the theme so camping it was.  I initially wanted a Book Worm party.

Quite a few of my friends said I was insane to go with Camping…Maybe insane was not quite the word they used, but mad was mentioned more than once, as was tempting fate. Our family record with camping is not a good one. We have been camping 4 times since Kaylin was born and 4 times we have ended up either at the doctors or casualty or both.

I decided actual camping and a camping theme party were vastly different and went with it anyway.

Here are the photos.  (I am quite proud of how it turned out)

The Birthday Girl and Door Stop

The Birthday Girl and Door Stop

She was very excited that I made them both out of icing and that they were both on the cake….

The Party Table - Camping

The Party Table – Camping

Camp Kaylin - Camping themed Cake

Camp Kaylin – Camping themed Cake

Mix your own Trail Mix

Mix your own Trail Mix

The party pack Backpacks (each guest was given a little torch inside)

The party pack Backpacks


The backpack party packs, there was little torch inside each

The backpack party packs, there was little torch inside each


I made these little backpacks using a little paper bag and some ribbon.  It was actually much easier than I thought it was going to be.  Just make sure you find the paper bags with the flat base.

Campfire Flames aka NikNaks

Campfire Flames aka NikNaks

This is a disposable braai – but the grid was unnecessary as were the legs – so you could just use an aluminum roasting dish.

Wraps or Bedding Rolls

Wraps or Bedding Rolls


Bear Poop......

Bear Poop…… (chocolate, need I say more)

So this is what I did differently this year, than any of the other years.

Firstly – the biggest I did not have it at home.  Oh bliss – why did I ever do them at home before.

Secondly – I paid a little extra for the decor.  I looked through their themes, and then chose the closed to the theme I wanted. This is actually the venue’s fairy theme but I told them I did not want any fairy stuff just the woodland look.  I then made everything else to suit – red and green.

Thirdly – all the baked good are box mixes. I love making the little figures for the cakes, but dont actually like baking.  I find it stressful.  This was a lot easier.  Next time I might even just buy a pre-made cake and decorate it.

And then that is about it – once it is over you just pack up and go….

I have also realised that my daughter is nearly as bad as I am when it comes to planning birthdays in advance. She has already told me what themes she would like for the next 3.

What are you proud of this week?

A friend and fellow runner ran an amazing race this weekend and she posted about it on Facebook, but she started her post “I am genuinely not trying to brag…”

I totally understood what she was trying to say but it has been bugging me!  Not the fact that she posted about her awesome run, not the fact that she has achieved so much, but the fact that she felt she need to clarify or play it down.  She was proud of what she and had achieved and how far she had come and wanted to tell people about it and rightly so, but….

But what!  I see this so often and I am guilty of it myself.  I am in the business of celebrating achievements but often don’t mention my own for fear of being thought to be big headed, or boastful or that I make somebody else feel bad that they have not achieved the same.  I will often get orders for medal hanger from friends of family members who are proud of each other, but less from people buying it for themselves.  I will also get orders from people who tell me all about their friends’ achievements and how proud they are of their friend only to find out that they have achieved just as much if not more.

And so, in keeping with blog theme and THIS post, we should all be proud of ourselves, no matter what the achievement.  Our first 5 km, our first 100m swim, our Mtb ride, our first Ultra Marathon or even the first cake that did not flop.  If somebody else has not quite gotten there, then we should encourage them to achieve, but not by downplaying our own achievements.  Our achievements should motivate them, not make them despondent.  When did it become a bad thing to brag a little?

So, what are you proud of this week – it does not have to be sports related.  I am very proud of the cake I decorated and party I threw for my daughter.  I think it turned out great.

And for the record I have given up baking from scratch – far too stressful.  The cake was a box mix.   I love decorating cakes but do not like baking…..


I think should be a regular (hopefully weekly) feature… What are you proud of this week?  What do you think?


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