Ok, so I am a little late in getting started but I think it is a great idea. I have so much to be grateful for, but sometimes need a little reminding.
I will play a little catch up here, to bring me up to date. Day 1 – Day 6. Hopefully from tomorrow I remember do it daily.
Day 1 – Grateful that I have friend that is prepared to drive all the way across town before 5am to “cycle” in my lounge with me.
Day 2 – Grateful that at least one of my tenants finally paid all their rent! (read about my tenant problems HERE)
Day 3 – Grateful I am able to run! And that I am getting better at it. Such a good feeling. (related blog post HERE)
Day 4 – Grateful that the weather was stunning so we could enjoy the Johnny Clegg concert! It was awesome. Also grateful that I live in such an amazing city that has spots that you can drive to when you need to “get away” – or drive till Little OL falls asleep and naps.
Day 5 – Grateful for modern technology that makes keeping in touch with my sister so much easier.
Day 6 – Grateful that my mom lives in the same city as I do and that she loves watching Little OL so I am able to go and do the club runs on a Tuesday night. Also grateful that the club I am a member at runs along the beachfront. Seeing the sea is good for my soul!
I did it last year with my sister and loved it (blog post HERE). This year there were no teams, but I decided to do it with a friend anyway and we had loads of fun, chatting, laughing, getting wet and dirty – all the time running though parts of our beautiful city that we don’t always get to see. Firefly has put a post with pictures on his blog.
The race was just over 10km long, with 16 obstacles. These obstacle ranged from leopard crawling through a muddy field, to scaling the walls of Fort Frederick. We also got to run through a train, dive down a slip ‘n slide, climb over a truck and containers, run up and down LOTS of stairs, cross a river (which I fell in) and run up and then down the stairs of the Duckpond Pavilon at the St Georges Cricket grounds.
My mom brought Little OL to the finish and she played on the jumping castle and ran around a bit. After a while my mom left and I decided to stay on. Little OL and I went to the stalls for lunch and then sat with friends for the prize giving. In the lucky draws I won a prize – a hamper from Weighless. As I was walking up to go and collect it I realised I still had my lunch in my hand – chip ‘n Dip. Oops!
When I was at school I did a lot of sport but none of it conventional school sports. That might have had something to do with the fact that I have ZERO eye hand co-ordination and cannot hit, catch or throw a ball. As we had to do at least one winter and one summer school sport I did swimming and cross country but I was not very good. I did not like to practice and as most of my other sports did not involve endurance I could not run very far without stopping. Swimming was bit better (natural talent) but running…. Oh I hated it! The races were 4 km every second Wednesday afternoon at a different course. I would show up, run/walk/wheeze then go home muttering and moaning that I was not a runner.
After school I did nothing for many years. I loved walking and rollerblading and did that a lot while overseas. When I returned to SA I figured I really needed to do something again. I took up paddling (canoe and surf ski) I was unfit and always last but it was fun. The people there were all very fit though and spoke of running and races and things. It was infectious and I decided I was going to enter the Spar Ladies 10km race. My first run was not good. I managed less than 1 km before I turned around and walked back home. Thankfully the race was over 9 months away. I remember a conversation with 2 girls at the canoe club, both multiple time Comrades finishers. I was seriously impressed and mentioned that I had just started running, that I was hoping to run the Spar ladies, but it seemed sooooo far and I doubted I could do it. They just laughed (thankfully not unkindly) and told me that that was how it started. First a 10km, then a 15 and so on. My words were “I will NEVER EVER go further than 10km”. At that stage I seriously doubted I would even make that. Their parting words were “we will see”.
Well, they were right. I did a 10km, and signed up for the Knysna half marathon in 2005. In the end I did not do it that year due to injuries, but I did Two Oceans Half 2006. Then in 2007 I completed my first Ironman. Yes, I had only done 1 half marathon, and a lot of people did not think I would manage. In fact a couple of them have come to me since and said they would have bet their house that I would not have finished. Well, finish I did. I managed to squeeze in a few minutes before the midnight cut-off.
Since then I have run quite a bit more. I have done Ironman again, taking over 3 hours off my previous time. I have competed in a quite a few triathlons and open water swims and have recently gotten into trail running. I love it!
I am always enthusiastic and positive when somebody wants to try something new like running or triathlon. I am a firm believe that if I could finish an Ironman then just about anybody could. I was not athletic, I was not a runner, I was not a triathlete. I did not even own a bike. I would probably be last, but I knew that I would finish it and that is what counts.
For people that are just starting out with running, my main bit of advice. Take it slowly. Walk when you need to. Look around. Keep it fun. Do races or something for the social aspect and so what if you come last – somebody needs to. More often that not it has been me. Mr OL likes to joke that I get full value out of my race entry fee.
But most importantly just get out there and do it!
And for the girls – get a good sports bra. When I started the one I used was too tight, and I could not breath. Except I did not know it was the bra, I thought it was just because I was that unfit. Tight is not always better –support is what counts.
PE gets a bad rap. It was once written in the Lonely Planet that the only good thing about the city was seeing it in your rear view mirror as you drove out of town and generally in the past people, myself included, have not been that complimentary. That was until I moved away. It took me a while, but after having lived in 6 more cities, in 5 different countries I came to really appreciate what had been on my door step all the time.
Now, I LOVE this city. I love the beaches, the parks, the people. I love that I can do the sports I love in relative safety and I love that nothing is far away. Yes, it maybe that I am now “older” (as some idiot youngster on the plane last month decided to point out) and it maybe that my priorities have changed from in my teens and twenties but I love living here and defend my decision to move back passionately. This is where I want to be, this is my city.
I also love that there are others like me that LOVE this city and that they are putting a huge effort in to make it an exciting place to live.
This weekend was the first of the Signature Trail Run Series, an 11km race through the Baakens Valley, right in the heart of the city. It was awesome on so many levels. It was well organised and well-marked (although I did hear that some people took a bit of a detour). The route was challenging and fun but mostly it was awesome because about 280 people took part. It was so exciting to see everyone embrace this event and get excited about something in the heart of the city. The next one is on the 17 June and I for one can’t wait!
I would really like to thank everyone that puts an effort into to make stuff like this happen. Not just for Saturday’s race but all the events that have been held in and around PE over the last few years. It is greatly appreciated.
Read HERE for a more sedate event that was held in the same park on Sunday. And HERE and HERE for blogs from an awesome ambassador of our home town Port Elizabeth
This week I was totally selfish and I loved it! It was just what I needed.
Mr OL and I had decided to take the weeks leave and go on holiday. Unfortunately at the last minute his leave was cancelled. I mulled over the idea of cancelling mine too but in the end I decided to take it. I am so glad I did.
Mr OL, Little OL and I still managed to get away for a long weekend to the Wild Coast and came back on the Tuesday.
On Wednesday I started on my to-do list, which was as long as my arm. But first things first – I went for a 15km run. That was the start of a perfect day, which was the start of a couple of perfect days.
Perfect days in which I started on my to-do list (I got about ¾ of the way through it) and spent time by myself. ALL BY MYSELF!!! I went for lunch on my own, I went shopping on my own. I even drove to Alexandria and back on my own (to do a trail run, not just to go for a drive). I loved it. As I was driving I realised how much I missed just driving. It’s been awhile. I suppose when you are in a relationship you don’t just “get in your car and drive”. In the end my music was turned up loud and I was bopping along. What a privilege to be able to do that. To get in your car and drive. Wow, I was appreciative. It sounds really stupid I know, that the highlight of my week was a drive. Not the spectacular trail run I did, or the elephants or the stunning scenery but to drive. I suppose it is one of the things I have always loved to do. I used to just get in my car and drive to Plett, or Knysna or even Cape Town (when petrol was still cheap….) just by myself. It is gives such a sense of freedom.
I did a few other things this week, but will write about them separately.
So you know I said I (almost) wished I was there. As I lay in bed on early Sunday morning and listened to the wind howling and rain bucketing down I was thanking my lucky stars that I was not racing that day.
Oh my word the conditions were bad. The wind was gale force, it was cold and it rained off and on the whole day and night. And 1800 people had to do an Ironman. Each and every single one of them gets all my respect. In conditions like that to race for as long as they did… wow! Somewhere out there for 17 hours, it was bad enough spectating and I had a warm rainproof jacket on.
Normally when I watch and Ironman I really wish I was racing and say that I would love to do another sometime. Not this time. I am now saying NEVER EVER again. There is no way that I would want to put myself through that. The mental toughness that they all showed not to give up when having to cycle straight into that wind was amazing. I don’t think I would have that. I would be the one sitting at the side of the crying my eyes out.
So to everyone that did the race yesterday – WELL DONE!!! To my brother on his first Ironman and to do it under 12 hours – wow Scotty fantastic. To my sister – you are amazing. I knew you could do it. I always amaze and inspire me. You are so strong and make me so proud. Love you both.
Guess who was the one that burst into tears as my sister crossed the line – and it was not her….
Ironman fever has hit PE – again. Race week always has such a great vibe, so much so that it makes me almost wish I had entered. Not quite but almost.
At least this year I will be doing the Corporate Challenge. It is 10% of the full Ironman, so even shorter than a sprint at 380m swim, 18km cycle and a 4.2km run, but at least it is something and I get to run down the finishers chute – if I finish of course.
This year both my brother and my sister will be taking part. It will be my sister’s 5th Ironman and my brother’s first. It would have been absolutely amazing to stand on the start with both my siblings, but I know I am not in the right time in my life to be doing a full ironman. It takes so much commitment and with Little OL my priorities are elsewhere. I will however be down there at the start and supporting them both the entire day. I love the atmosphere, the vibe and the energy. I will be crying with emotion and screaming with excitement for all the atheletes. I know what it is like. It is the most unbelievable feeling in the world.
So to everyone taking part on Sunday – you have all my support and best wishes and just remember ENJOY
Last night I was having a stunning evening. I had arranged that Mr OL came straight home from work to see to Little OL and I went down to the beachfront to go for a run. It was a nice evening – if I bit windy but it’s PE so I did not expect much different.
I had run about 6 or 7 km when I started planning in my head what my BBM status. Hmmm “Awesome, Awesome, Awesome” was pretty much what I had decided. Things were going well and I was loving life…. AND THEN
OUCH – something happened to my BUTT. Sudden shooting pains are not good. Each time I tried to lift my leg I felt like somebody jabbed my butt with a hot poker. The worst part was that I was about 3 kms away from my car. My BBM status (in my head) suddenly went from “Awesome, Awesome, Awesome” to “#$#%$#$#!” and a few other unprintable words. Not a happy camper. 3Km is a long way to walk when your butt is sore.
At least it feels a bit better today. I used my foam roller and stretched. I am planning on riding tomorrow so let’s see.