Category: adventure

Splash - Durban 2016

“I went to the hospital when my time come. So I could be easeful. I didn’t want to have it at home like I done with the boy. They put me in a big room with a whole mess of women. The pains was coming, but not too bad. A little old doctor come to examine me. He had all orts of stuff. He gloved his hand and put some kind of jelly on it and rammed it up between my legs. When he left off, some more doctors come. One old one and some ones. The old one was learning the young ones about babies. Showing them how to do. When he got to me he said now these here black women you don’t have any trouble with. They deliver right away with no pain. Just like horses. The young ones smiled a little. The looked at my stomach and between my legs. They never said nothing to me. Only one looked at me. Looked at my face, I mean. I looked right back at him. He dropped his eyes and turned red. He knowed, I reckon, that maybe I weren’t no horse foaling. But them others. They didn’t know. They went on.”

Extract from the novel, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

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I recently stumbled across this quote on social media, “I opened my mouth, almost said something. Almost. The rest of my life might have turned out differently if I had. But I didn’t.” It’s a quote from the novel Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini and it resonates deeply with me.

I’ve the best version of myself when I travel. When I travel I’m a little braver, a little more confident. I’m not afraid to ask strangers questions about their lives. But when I’m home, I tend to bottle up my questions. It’s not that I’m uninterested. I’ll have a thousand questions I’ll want to ask someone, but I’m simply afraid to speak up and that could cause me to appear aloof.

I wish I could be the best version of myself everyday.

Talking about travelling, have you seen this blog post by Olivia Rae James?

 

Two things I’m most proud

1.Completing the Comrades Marathon
ComradesWeeks before running the Ultra, I’d told my dad that this was the first and last Comrades. I was convinced that I would hate every second of it. I was afraid that I would fail badly; that I wouldn’t make it pass the 20km mark before I would start vomiting, cramping or crying.
Well, I did it. I managed to run 89km in under 11 hours, earning my second bronze medal for an Ultra this year. And I only wanted to cry at the last 5km of the race.

Insert quick rant: To get the start of the race, my peers and I took an official Comrades bus from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. Our bus driver got lost IN Durban and we arrived to the race late! At some point my fellow runners and I told the bus driver to stop, we bolted out of the bus and sprinted the last 1km to the start line. By the time I arrived at the start I’d miss the national anthem and the race had already started.

 

2. Hiking Lion’s Head on my own
LionsheadHiking up Lion’s Head is something I’ve wanted to do for ages now, but it isn’t always easy to find a partner in crime. In the end, I simply decided to go up by myself.

 

Two things I’m grateful for:
1. My brother-in-law
He found me at the last 5km of the Comrades, the point at which I finally hit the wall. The point at which I’d decided that I’d simply walk the rest of the damn thing. It was at the point that he delivered some vital information. He told me that I had 38 minutes to do this in under 11 hours. Realising that this was achievable, my body responded positively.
2. My Comrades running partner
On the day of the race, I met a guy who would pace me for 90% of the race. He told me when to run, when to walk and urged me to eat. Unfortunately, I lost him at the last 10km when I stopped to use the portaloo. Without him by my side I found it really hard to urge my body forward.

My intention for June:
To track every kilometre I run during this period.
Try to figure out my next big goal or adventure. I want to hike the Fish River Canyon but I’m not really sure how to make this happen. This isn’t something I’m keen to do on my own. This is something I would need to do with a group.

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Rusch to Glory

I’m currently reading “Rusch to Glory” by Rebecca Rusch. 50 pages in and I am completely and utterly captivated.

 

Extract from the novel,

“Though I have some great scars from climbing, mountain biking, and paddling. I got my favourite scar while rebuilding that truck. It’s on the front of my left thigh, halfway between my knee and hip, a straight, thick line across the quad. On that day I was using a heavy handheld rotary grinder to prep the inside of the truck bed for painting. Filthy, sweaty, and holding a big power tool, I felt supercool. I turned the grinder off and stood back to admire my work. Funny thing about grinders – they continue to spin even after you turn them off. My proud moment was interrupted by the smell of burning flesh. The grinder had buzzed right through my Carthartts and seared the flesh of my thigh. The heat of the blade had cauterized the skin so it wasn’t even bleeding, but I now had a big, deep burn on my quad.”

 

Comrades

The Comrades Ultra-Marathon is less than a week away. I’m not going to say anymore than that in case I fail.

 

Fish fingers

My niece is still adorable.

Yesterday, I asked what she was doing and she replied, “Peeling my fish fingers.”

And she proceeded to peel her fish fingers. Like an orange.

Rusch to Glory

SeaPointMay

Above two photos taken in Sea Point.

Black Diamond

I’m currently reading “Black Diamond” by Zakes Mda. It’s not my usual fare. I generally prefer more poetic pieces (think “Jazz” by Toni Morrison), but this story is funny, raunchy and has so many truths about South Africa. Here’s an extract from his novel.

 

“With all this talk of deployment, Don cannot help wondering how the government became so enamoured of military vocabulary. In this brave new world accumulation of personal wealth is dressed-up in militarism, as if capitalism is the continuation of the guerilla warfare that was fought during apartheid. It is as if they are compensating for the fact that most of those who are enjoying the fruits of deployment are not the freedom fighters – the foot soldiers – who bore the brunt of the war. It is mostly the leaders whose fight against apartheid was in the capitals of the world, and the trade union bosses who crossed to the other side to be at one in body and spirit with corporate bosses. Or perhaps it is compensation for the fact that the actual war itself was a very limited one, and the liberation movement was denied the glory of an outright military victory when liberation was won mostly through ordinary black civilians who made the country ungovernable, and the workers who brought the economy to its knees, and of course the western community which pressured an erstwhile ally to negotiate with the blacks now that the feat of the Soviet Union was a thing of the past. More than anything else, the so-called mass action brought the government to a standstill; we did not see platoons of cadres in a triumphant march into Pretoria after felling the Boer forces.”

 

My niece

A few months ago, my three-year-old niece (and her parents) moved into a place 10 minutes from my apartment. It’s such a delight having her close y. A few days ago, I turned up at her place after a run. My running tights were slick with sweat (so gross). She touched my thigh, looked up at me and earnestly asked, “Did you pee in your pants?”

 

Asking the Universe for a big slice of adventure 

A few friends might be immigrating to the States soon. This depresses me. I feel like everyone is leading such exciting lives and nothing ever happens to me. Eat, run, sleep and repeat.

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The view from my office. 

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Somewhere in Kalk Bay. 

IMG_2915Slacklining above the pool at Brass Bell

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Last week I ran the Milkwood half-marathon (21km). I’ve rambled with this race several times before and have been disappointed on each occasion. (One year I injured myself so badly, I had to sit out for 6 weeks. That was pure torture!)

 

This year, while slowly crawling up the hills, I kept thinking of the narrative I wanted to tell. I kept telling myself that “today I was out for retribution; today I was out for blood.” I didn’t worry about going out too fast in the beginning. I didn’t worry about whether or not my body could hold this pace for the entire duration of the race. I didn’t listen to my jagged breathing and think, “You’re pushing too hard. Your body won’t be able to withstand this stress for 21km.” And when there were doubts, and there were doubts, I didn’t let them linger. I didn’t mutter anyone else’s mantra to get me through the tough parts. I didn’t have to tell myself to dig deep; to ignore the pain; to keeping putting one foot in front of the other. I simply remembered that I was a girl on a mission, I had come out with the sole goal of proving myself and that there was nothing more dangerous that a girl with something to prove.

 

Last week I ran the Milkwood Race, and for the first time in years I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face. Not only need I manage to achieve my goal of sub two hours, I managed to surpass my expectations. 1:52 – 5 minutes faster than my previous PB. I was so giddy that for days afterwards I resisted the urge to walk up to complete strangers, point to my chest and say, “1:52.”

 

Anyway, my goal after the Comrades Ultra is run a half in 1:49. Let’s go!

Training for an ultra-marathon (anything over 42km) is tough. It requires dedication, commitment, sacrifice and TIME. Boy, does it require time.

 

Training for the Two Oceans Ultra (and the Comrades) is a big time suck. My week days consist solely of working, running, and sleeping. Lather, rinse, repeat. My weekends are spent leaving parties early (22:00 for the latest), because I have to wake up at the crack of dawn the very next day to pound the streets and think about my life choices. Weekend runs can last anywhere between two to five hours. Naturally my run is followed by SLEEP. Three to four hours of glorious SLEEP.  I normally awake from these epic slumber events completely listless. So listless that I often hope that there’s food in the fridge and I won’t be forced to put on pants and venture outside in search of sustenance. (Spoiler alert: There’s never anything in the fridge).

 

One of the ways in which I’ve decided to make training (and all the accompanying sacrifices) easier is by making the most of my rest days. This means spending it with people I love; people who make me laugh; people who support my endeavours. It also means doing something special; something out of the ordinary; something other than sitting on the couch and watching TV.

 

This is why I’ve compiled the not-so-bucket list. It’s a list of achievable things I’ve always wanted to do in Cape Town, but never make time for. One of those things was swimming at the penguins at Boulders.

Here of some of the photos I took at Boulders.

Boulders

Entrance fees from 1 Nov 2015 – 31 Oct 2016
R65 for adults
R35 for children

Operating Hours: 7 days a week
Dec – Jan: 07h00 – 07h30
Feb – April: 08h00 -18h30
May – Sept: 08h00 – 17h00
Oct – Nov:  08h00 – 18h30

 

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The next night I share a dorm room with the snorer again. This time a German friend jumps out of his bunk bed and screams at the snorer to wake up. The snorer continues unabated.

The next day we will have an in-depth discussion about the snorer. We discuss the rhythm of his snoring, the fact that the snorer is still sleeping at 10:00 in the morning, while some of us had to retreat to the safety of the hammock outdoors in order to get a couple of hours sleep. At some point, someone will pipe up and claim that the snorer is actually quite a nice dude.

There is French toast one morning, a kayak down the river and a hike to the waterfall. There are discussions about the latest book I’m reading, “Into the Wild”. There is swinging from a tree, underneath the stars, while a guy strums his guitar. There is an unwillingness to pack our bags and leave the very next day.

You can read Part I over here.

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It’s round about this time that I lose track of time. I no longer keep track of the days.

I regret not hiring a kayak while in Wilderness National Park. I’d seen the shape of the waves and been afraid.

I walk elephants. I hold an elephant by it’s trunk. At one point it hits me, I walking a fucking elephant, an animal large enough to trample me to death.

I meet a Canadian, who plans to walk from Cape Town to Cairo. The journey will take him two years.

I share an eight-man dorm with a snorer. His snoring isn’t consistent. There are long pauses between the roaring noise. His snoring wakes everyone up. At one point, one of my roommates jumped from the top bunk bed and screamed at the snorer, “Jy snork poes erg!”
Translation: You snore fucking badly!
The snorer does not wake up.

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I’ve just finished reading the book, “Into the Wild“. Below is two of my favourite passages. It’s on ice climbing.

All that held me to the mountainside, all that held me to the world, were two thin spikes of chrome molybdenum stuck half an inch into a smear of frozen water, yet the higher I climbed, the more comfortable I became. Early on a difficult climb, especially a difficult solo climb, you constantly feel the abyss pulling at your back. To resist takes a tremendous conscious effort; you don’t dare let your guard down for an instant. The siren song of the void puts you on edge; it makes your moments tentative, clumsy, herky-jerky. But as the climb goes on, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self-control.

 

By and by your attention becomes so intensely focused that you no longer notice the raw knuckles, the cramping thighs, the strain of maintaining nonstop concentration. A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream. Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-today existence – the lapses of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison from your genes – all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand.

I wish I could attempt something this scary. I want to be brave and strong. 

I’ve spent the last few days traipsing along the Garden Route. Here are some photos and a brief account of my trip.

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Day 1: Wilderness National Park
Epic sunset. Pizza from Pomodoro’s. Hummingbirds. Afternoon swim in the river. Sleep desperately needed.

Day 2: Tsitsikamma National Park
Hike across suspension bridges. Lone dassie. Too much time spent in the car. Wishing I’d brought my iPod along. I can’t stand anymore reggae.

Day 3: Tsitsikamma National Park
Alex’s laughter as we sped to the waterfall on a boat.

Nature’s Valley.
Lots of cheese. Close run-ins with baboons. Secluded waterfalls and rock pools.

Day 4: Wilderness.

Overheard at garage store:

Guy: Do you have any Peaceful Sleep for mosquitoes?

Store clerk: No, but we do have Doom.