Posted in What are you proud of this week

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…..

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

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Posted in Hiking Trails, Port Elizabeth, Running, Trail Running

Trail Running – my favourite part of winter

This winter however has been FUN!!!

I have been running a lot more than last winter!  That was not hard, last winter I was off injured for the majority of the time.

There are some amazing trails around PE and we have been making the most of them.  Most of them are free, some you pay a nominal amount – all are very worth it.

Here are a few of my favourite photos

First, My favourite one of me running.  (Thank you Willie Lawson for taking it)

Pamela - Woodridge Trail Run
Me – Trail running, my happy place.  Woodridge Trail Run

3 Rivers Trails 12km

3 Rivers Trails, training run
3 Rivers Trails, training run
Baakens Valley Series organised by Free Spirit Adventures
Baakens Valley Series organised by Free Spirit Adventures
Alexandria Hiking Trail (thanks Linda Rowe Photography)
Alexandria running on the Hiking Trail (thanks Linda Rowe Photography) also organised by Free Spirit Adventures
My awesome sister (and Drylands partner)
My awesome sister (and Drylands partner)
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Under Van Staden’s Bridge. An informal run to support the Friends of van Stadens and the Flower Reserve

Did you know that it is free to visit the Van Stadens Flower reserve and there are walks, runs and mountain bike trails that you can use all year round.

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Crossways Farm Village
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King Protea 3 Rivers Trails – Crossways
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3 Rivers Trails – Crossways

Notes on the 3 of the venues:

In Port Elizabeth – Baakens Valley – FREE!!  There are many access points to the Valley all throughout the city.  It is free to run, walk or bike here but it is advisable to go in a group.  We have not had any problems but I have heard of some people being harrased or mugged. BE CAREFUL

Port Elizabeth – Surrounding areas:

Van Stadens Flower Reserve, access on on the same road as the Van Stadens Pass and Woodridge Schools. You can visit the Facebook group “Friends of Van Stadens or the website VAN STADENS: for more info.  The reserve spans both sides of the N2 and is stunning.  Entry is free of charge and there are easy walks, hikes and bike paths. There are also more challenging trails for running and walking. The vegetation is diverse and has wooded areas and fynbos.  It is awesome.

3 Rivers Trails Crossways Farm Village  Cost R40.00 For more information visit their Facebook page or website 3 Rivers Trails.  The trails are marked and there are many different options for mountain biking, running and walking and all different distances. Each time we have been we have done a different route.  Those that did the Port Elizabeth leg of the Rhino Run will know it – this was the venue. Sign in and pay at the Crossways Farm Village Country Kitchen.  If you plan on doing parts of the Longmore Forest, you will also need a forestry permit.

If you would like to stay up to date on trail runs in the Port Elizabeth area there is a group on Facebook called Trail Adventures which is updated regularly.

Posted in Cycling, Ironman, Medal Display, Medal Displays, Medal Hangers, Medals, My New Business, Ordinarylife, Running, SA Medal Hangers, South Africa, Trail Running, Training, Training, Triathlon, Two Oceans, Work

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!

Posted in Comrades Marathon, Duathlon, Family, Ironman, Ironman 70.3, Medal Displays, Medal Hangers, My New Business, Ordinarylife, Running, SA Medal Hangers, South Africa, Swimming, Trail Running, Training, Wetsuit, Work

An achievement and a giveaway!

I know I have said this before, but I have been blown away by the support I have been receiving for SA Medal Hangers – and I know it seems weird to say, but I am stupid proud of them. I have one up on my wall and I stare at it all the time. I am not sure which I am more proud off, the medals that hang from it or the actually hanger.
I also know it is early days, I know I still have far to go and I know that having a full time job has been a huge cushion for me in starting this business, but I am really proud of myself for taking what could have been a blow and trying to make it a positive.
Before starting this I did keep most of my medals, but they were hanging on a broken clothes hanger in the back bedroom cupboard. I would not look at them, but just add another medal as I got it. It was actually Mr OL’s suggestion that we display them but could not really think of a solution and then I found this idea.
Now that the medals are up and I can see them I realise just how far I have come. I started running again in 2005 and did my first Ironman in 2007. In the past 8 years running and triathlon have become a huge part of my life and I love it!
I know that not everybody wants to display their medals, and a lot of people don’t even take them at races, but since putting them up on the wall I have started seeing them not just as the metal and ribbon, but as something more than that! As an achievement – and something I should be very proud off.
To give somebody else the opportunity to feel that sense of pride and achievement I have decided to run a giveaway on SA Medal Hangers’ Facebook page. The details are all there, so please go and have a look. You could win a 65cm triple bar medal hanger of your choice! (Sorry – Open to South African Residents only). CLICK HERE for details.

SA Medal Hangers

Posted in Cycling, Hobie Beach, Ocean Racing Series, Ordinarylife, Running, Swimming, Trail Running, Training, Triathlon, Wetsuit

No excuses!

Sporty or active residents of Port Elizabeth and surrounds (and those visiting over the holidays) have NO reason to complain that there is “nothing to do”.  In fact the list is so extensive you actually now have to pick and choose.

I have decided to compile a little list here just to highlight exactly how much is going on in PE over the next month or so.  And these are only the ones that I know about.  If you have an event in the area over the holidays you can let me know and I will add it to the list.

Triathlon

Summer Series   

16th December 2012 – PORT ELIZABETH (Competed)

23th December 2012 – POLLOK BEACH  (Competed)

26th December 2012 – PORT ST FRANCIS

The races are sprint distance – so 750m swim, 20km cycle and a 5km run.  It can be done as an individual or as a team.  There is also a run, swim run event which will be held at Port Elizabeth and Pollok Beach events.

Website for more info:  Zports Summer Tri Series

Trail Running

15 December  Van Der Kemp’s Kloof Trail Run

Organised by the Malabar Athletics Club – Starts at 8:00 am, at Van Der Kemp’s Kloof, Water Road, Bethelsdorp

Distances 16km, 5km, 3km

Website for more info:  Van Der Kemp’s Kloof Trail Run  and Malabar AC Facebook Page 

15 December        Discovery Beach Marathon

18 km St Francis to Jeffrey’s bay (3km on tar road followed by 15 km along beach (including a river crossing)

Website for more info: Sunflower Discovery Beach Run

17 December        Cape Recife Trail Run  (Competed)

5km, 10 km and 20km options

Website for more info: Cape Recife Trail Run

Every Thursday – Sixty Minutes of Mayhem

Held every Thursday night at 6pm, run as many loops of 2.6km as you can in 60 minutes.

Website for more info:  Sixty Minutes of Mayhem

Every (or most) Wednesday nights

An informal training run in Baakens Valley starting at Bridge Street, meeting at 5:15 – 10km.

Website for more info:  Free Spirit Adventures – Facebook page

Open Water Swimming

Ocean Racing Series (ongoing – and competed in a few)

Every alternate Sunday at Hobie Beach –starting again on 13 January 2013.

Website for more info: Ocean Racing Series

22 & 23 December – Marina Mile

Held in Marina Martinque with various distances from 25km (ouch) to 500m.  There is more information on their website with regards to the different distances.

Website for more info: Marina Mile

31 December – Nelson Mandela Bay Mile  (Competed)

A one mile (1.6km) swim from Humewood Beach to Kings Beach (one way)

Website for more info:  Nelson Mandela Bay Mile

Mountain Biking

Every Thursday – Sixty Minutes of Mayhem

Held every Thursday night, ride as many loops of 3.1km as you can in 60 minutes.

Website for more info:  Sixty Minutes of Mayhem

17 December – Hopewell Open Day Ride

Starting at 8:00 am and held in conjunction with Masters and Ladies Cycle club, there are various distances from 12km to 30 km.

Website for more info:  Masters and Ladies Facebook page

 So now you have absolutely NO excuse not to put on your running shoes, dust of your bike or put on a swim cap and goggles.  Get out there and do something this festive season.  (then no guilt for that extra Christmas Mince Pie)

Facebook pages to like if you want to keep informed of events in this area.

Trail Busters

Mountain Events

Nelson Mandela Bay Events

Trail Running EC

Swimming Plus

Go Trail Editor

Zports

Posted in Knysna, Ordinarylife, Running, South Africa, weather

The race that wasn’t

Phew – it’s been a while… Hello.

So my second big race of this year was also a DNS (Did Not Start) and sugar coat it as much as you like that the race was actually cancelled and I therefore could not do it anyway I had decided to bail before the official cancellation came through.

I had been lying in bed listening to the rain and the wind thought there was NO WAY I was getting up to go and run a marathon in that.  Even more off putting than the running though was the standing outside, waiting for the taxi and then waiting at the start in the cold, wet and rain.  For those of you that don’t know the Knysna Marathon starts in the forest and to get there you need to take a taxi shuttle. The shuttles start running at 4:45 but the race is only at 7:00 (marathon) and 8:00 (21.1km).  So lots of waiting!

At about 3:30 and after BBM’ing my running partner who was elsewhere in the house, wide awake as well we decided not a friggin chance and went back to sleep.  To put me to total shame though my mom and sister both went to the start and where turned away – they did not bail.

I am pretty disappointed that I was not able to do this race.  It would have been my first stand alone marathon (not in an Ironman) and I was quite looking forward to it.

One of my friends decided to drive the route later in the day to see if it was actually necessary that they called off the race.  Below is a photo he took of a causeway that we would have had to cross… Yip, race organisers good call…. (Thanks to Mike Brewis for these photos)

Gouna Crossing 14 July 2012
Gouna Climb 14 July 2012
What would have been the finish line Knysna 14 July 2012
Posted in Cycling, Ironman, Ocean Racing Series, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, Sunshine Coast Triathlon, Swimming, Trail Running, Training, Triathlon, Wetsuit

It was not always so!

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.

Me – Sunshine Coast Triathlon 2009

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!

Ironman South Africa 2009

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.

Me – keeping it fun at the Urban Run 2011

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.

Sunshine Coast Triathlon 2009 – 3rd lady out the water and 6th lady at the finish.
Posted in Hobie Beach, Ironman, Ordinarylife, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, Wetsuit

Corporate Challenge

I know that there are many people in Port Elizabeth who complain about Ironman, about the road closures and the cyclists.  I understand (not really) their frustration however instead of sitting “trapped” in their houses why not get out and be part of it. Go to the nearest closed off road and see why and what is actually going on.  It might put it into perspective.  Or not…

For me I love it, I love the atmosphere and the build-up.  I love that they include so many people in various events before the “main” event on Sunday.  There is so much going on and most of PE’s people have really taken to it.  On the Friday they have the IronGirl, a 10km run.  On Saturday they have the Corporate Challenge as well as the Pritt IronKids.  I believe that both the Corporate Challenge and the IronKids are the largest of their kind around the world.

With the Corporate Challenge you can either choose to do it as a team event or as an individual.  I chose to do it as an individual as did one of the other ladies in our office.  We also entered a team.  It was the other girl’s first triathlon and a very good one to start with.  There are loads of people on mountain bikes, it is shorter than a sprint, people are not so concerned over their times and the support is fantastic.

With our medals

I totally loved it.  I am fitter than I thought and the weather and the sea were fantastic.

The distances are 10% of a full Ironman so:

380m Swim

18km Cycle

4.2 km Run

 

Posted in Baby OL, Family, Food, Ordinarylife, Plettenberg Bay, Running, South Africa, Training, Training

Awesome, awesome, awesome weekend

WARNING – this is a looooong post!

I had an awesome weekend!

It started at about 12 on Friday afternoon when I met up with Shayne and Lynette, two amazing fellow bloggers for lunch.  I had met Lynette once before but it was the first time I was meeting Shayne.  All I can say is that it was such pity that I had to rush off after only an hour and a half.  I could have stayed and chatted for ages.  Thanks so much ladies, I could not have asked for a better start to the weekend.

But the Garden Route was calling…  Woo hoo!  To say I was excited would not really cover it.  I was excited and nervous.  I mean, seriously I had not run more than once a month for the past 4 months and here I was thinking I could run a half marathon.  Madness!!!!  But well, I am not known to over train and it was ONLY a half marathon….  Nothing right! cough, splutter choke…. 

I dropped Mr OL and baby in Plett at Goose Valley where we were staying and carried on to Knysna to register.  It was packed, but who should I bump into at registration – my mom.  She was doing the sensible thing and giving away her registration.  Me, not so much.  After registering I drove back to Plett, had dinner and went to bed.  At midnight Mr OL woke up violently ill.  At that stage I did not think I would be running after all.  I mean there was NO way he could watch Baby OL in that state. Thankfully whatever was in his system was now out and by morning he was much better.

Driving through to the start in the morning I realised I must be mad, here I was planning on standing out in the cold waiting for a taxi to the start and then waiting in the forest in running shorts, vest and a blanket over my shoulders – it was 5˚C for a race I had not even trained for! Crazy.  To make matters much worse the race start was delayed by 55minutes!  But, I thought I was looking pretty good, all the girls in our running club decided to wear bunny ears, a pink tutu skirt and pink long socks.  This bunny was looking fine – or so I thought until this COW said “you must be Heather’s mom!”   MOM – for %$@#$^T#$ sake!  I know I am her slightly older sister and I had no make-up on and it was 6 am but MOM!  Jeez, my sister is 30! All I kept thinking to myself afterwards was “this bunny and that cow will never be friends!”

Oh well, at least the actual race went better.  I went slowly right from the start and I was amazed.  I besides the hectic downhill at Simola I did not walk much at all, in fact I walked less this time than in any of the other 3 I have done.  I just ran very, very slowly.  But it went well, I had planned on taking just under 3 hours (cut off) and with 4Km to go it looked like I might even get under 2h30.  I realised then that I am actually just a little bit competitive because the thought did cross my mind to try and do it.  But then sanity prevailed.  I looked around and realise that the lagoon was beautiful, it is one of my favourite places, I had a long time till the finish and the weather was stunning, so I stopped a walked.  I walked almost the entire cobbled area along the lagoon, just because I could.  And I am glad I did.  I enjoyed this race more than any of the other Knysna races I have done.  I feel the best afterward and I still did it in 2h42.42.  With NO training.  Shows what starting slowly can actually do.

After the race I headed back to Plett and my family.   It appears as if they had plenty of fun without me. Baby OL discovered the Guinea Fowl are not that intelligent but are more fun to chase than a tortoise.  Goose Valley is a fantastic place to stay with kids.

Enjoying Plett

On Sunday we took a leisurely drive back, we stopped for breakfast at Old Nick Village, went to the farm stall Thyme and again  where we bought a delicous apple tart (which we had for dinner) at Keurbooms and then drove through to Patensie again and went back to Tolbos which we loved the first time we visited.

Enjoying breakfast at Old Nick's

All in all it was a fantastic weekend!  Hope yours were all just as good.

 Also well done to Claerwen on her first half marathon.  I am very impressed, well done.

Posted in Ordinarylife, Running, Training

A bit of early morning motivation!

This morning I had a huge fight – with myself.

My lazy ass self was trying to convince my active self to stay in bed. That getting out of bed at 4:30am to go and torture myself at Extreme Bootcamp was just stupid and lying in bed an extra couple of hours was a much better plan.

Luckily my active self’s argument was a lot better and we got motivated and got up.  It went something like this – once you get there you’ll love it, it is a beautiful morning and you love getting up early. And you feel better all day and you actually believe you can see your tummy shrinking if you go.  Remember how great you felt on Monday!!!

My lazy ass self was not falling for these arguments easily but eventually gave in and while lying gasping for breath, grumbling away after the 4th set of pushups and squats had to agree that getting up, although much more painful, was worth it. 

My active self’s concession was that we would take the car there and not run there and back.  Believe me after the session even my active self was thinking that the car had been a much better option.