Category: ridiculous

 

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.

IMG_2717

 

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about how it was only March and already 2015 was turning out to be a pretty awesome. I talked about how I’d finally obtained that effing sub-2 and how I’ve set new PBs for a 5, 21, 30 and 42km. I also stated that I was about to participate in my first ever Ultra and that there was a chance I might not complete it. And if this were to happen, there would be tears.

Well, I did it! I completed the Two Oceans Ultra (56km) in 6:25. I was hoping for sub-6 and up until the 28km I was on track. That is until Ou Kaapse Weg and then it all went downhill from there. Figuratively speaking, of course. Ou Kaapse Weg is a bitch 7km climb.

What else can I say about the race?

Well, for weeks before the big day my father and I planned to run the race together. We trained together – 5 days a week. We talked strategy. Or more accurately, he talked and I tried to absorb it all. On the day of the race, at the 7km mark, he left me. And I wasn’t surprised. Or angry. Or hurt. He’s done this before; so many times that I expected it. At the 37km mark I caught up to him. And then I proceeded to finish the race ahead of him, by 12 minutes. (It’s funny, at the beginning of the year he told me that I would be able to kick his arse in shorter races but I’d never take him in longer events. This year I’ve beaten the old man in a 10, 15, 21, 30 and 56km race. And now I want to do what he’s never been able to achieve. I want to do a marathon in less than 4 hours.)

At the about the 40km mark, there was a radio announcer slash TV presenter. He asked various runners what was the first thing they wanted to do when they got home. Some said they wanted a cold beer. Others said they wanted a warm shower. And I just thought, “I’d like to take a nice, satisfying shit.” Right now several mothers are wishing their sons would end up with someone as classy as me.

Other than wanting to take a dump, I also wanted to cry, a lot. After 42km, running is no longer fun. It’s just this stupid hobby that requires you to move your legs in quick succession. And yet, the very minute I’d crossed the finish line I was so overcome with euphoria that I vowed to run the Comrades next year.

So that’s one of the reasons that 2015 has gotten a little sweeter. The other is that I’ve been awarded a partial scholarship to go to the United States for a few weeks.

Life is good.

Bali

 Photo taken at the Lynwood City Lodge gym. 

It’s the end of March and so far 2015 has been pretty sweet. I’ve accomplished most of my running goals. I’ve finally managed to achieve that effing sub-2. I’ve set new PBs for a 5km (26min), half-marathon (1:58), 30km (2:53) and marathon (4:27). And in a few days I will be attempting the Two Oceans Ultra (56km).

 

There’s a good chance that I might not complete the Ultra within the seven hour cut-off. I’ve accepted this possibility. This is a new me. I no longer dwell on ALL the things that could go wrong. Keeping a mental inventory of how things could blow up, served no purpose. Instead it only made me anxious, to the point where I was numb with fear and struggled to breathe. Now I accept that things might not go my way and calmly think about remedial measures. What will I do when shit hits the fan?

 

In this case I’ve decided that irrespective of what happens on race day, I will pick myself up. I will take a week (and no more) to cry (and there will be crying). And then I’ll get right back to training. I’ll start working towards my goal of getting faster. I will work towards completing a marathon in 4:15. I will qualify for an Ultra and I will run the Comrades Marathon in 2016. Race day (4 April) changes nothing. Hashtag think like a winner and toenails will be sacrificed.

 

And even though 2015 has been pretty sweet so far, I can’t help thinking what else can I do to make THIS year even better? Well, there would be travelling. There would be adventure. There would be roadtrips, dancing, music, fun, laughter and romance. There would be a blue eyed fellow, a ring, a grey Wizard and a volcano called, Modor.

 

Okay, so I probably can’t arrange for the Lord of the Rings type scenario, but I do have control over the travel/adventure/happiness aspect of my life. I’ve already been lucky enough to spend a few days with good friends in Wellington, celebrating the nuptials of Juan and Dizzy*. And in a few weeks, I’ll be jetting off to Durban to eat bunny chows, check out The Valley of A Thousand Hills and witness one of my craziest girlfriends tie the knot. What next? Well, then I head to Turkey for just under a month. There I’ll have my very first taste of stretchy ice-cream, check out the Whirling Dervishes, the Aya Sofya, and will attempt to take a selfie with every individual who makes me smile. That should keep me busy until the end of June.

Grazegraze

The above photo was taken at Graze, a new restaurant in Harfield Village.

Books

I am currently reading Irvine Welsh’s latest offering. He’s the very same guy that brought us, “Trainspotting”.

Part of the narrative is told by Lucy Brennan, personal trainer who is obsessed with exercise and weight. Here’s an extract from the novel.

“The only fast-food place handy is this pizza joint, so I order a couple of slices. The line is busy with just one fat chick sweating behind the counter, trying to keep up with the orders. – Sorry about the wait, she says.

– Well, that’s a start. But don’t beat yourself up, take action, and I hand her my card.

She looks at me like she’s going to burst into tears. – I meant … I meant the wait! That wait you’ve had in this line!”

David Sedaris

I absolutely love David Sedaris and I’ve read most of his books. In the following article he talks about a cow giving birth:

“What might I have thought if, after seven hours of unrelenting agony, a creature the size of a full-grown cougar emerged, inch by inch, from the hole at the end of my penis and started hassling me for food? Was that what the cow was going through? Did she think she was dying, or had instinct somehow prepared her for this?”  

 

Yesterday, I completed the Cape Town Marathon in 4:52. Not only did I complete the marathon in sub-5 thereby ensuring my entry into an ultra, but I also did so after attending The Fray concert and arriving home at 12:00. I woke up at 05:00 the next day. Yes, I ran 42.2km in under 5 hours AND did so on only 5 hours sleep. AND didn’t poop my pants! For my next magic trick I’ll turn water into wine.

Anyway, you probably want a brief recap of my race:

Hot: It was crazy hot on Sunday. And at one point (39km mark) I was acutely aware of my breathing (I was panting) and heart rate. Luckily the water stations were well stocked and I could drench myself in glorious water.

Let other people do the hard work. On the day of the race, I ended up following pace setters. I let them do all the hard work. I left them to do all the mental arithmetic and calculators. I let them decide how fast we should run and when we should walk. This left me free to focus all my attention on listening to my audio book. Yes, I “read” a book on space while running a marathon.

Flag bearers are fun. The pace setters, the men and women who carry the flags loudly proclaiming their goals, are amazing motivators. Every so often my pace setter would shout out a slogan and his “followers” would shout back a reply.

Pace setter: Energy.

Followers: Power.

10km left. At the 32km, I tore away from of the five-hour bus. It wasn’t intentional; it just felt natural to speed up.

Grateful. I am grateful for Fahiema and Kim for standing in the heat and waving their pompoms, for handing me chocolate, and for sending me the photo of the runner in his Speedo. Thanks!

More. I want to run another marathon. I want to see what I’m really capable of. Can I run a marathon in 4:30?

Next up on the bucket list:

  • Running a half-marathon in under 2 hours. (My current PB is 2:01.)
  • Abseiling from Table Mountain. (This item has been on my bucket list for far too long.)
  • Watch The Shining. (I hear it’s really good.)

Last night I attended a farewell party of a close friend of mine. And by close friend, I mean that over a 3 year period, I’ve only ever spoken to the guy three times.

 

The farewell party was held at Lefty’s, which is this dive bar on Harrington Street. Although it might not look like much, I can confirm that it serves up the most delicious concoction of falafel and beetroot. Unfortunately, Lefty’s doesn’t have a paper menus or a large selection for vegetarians. Besides the falafel, the only other option for vegetarians was tater tots (potatoes stuffed with mushrooms).

 

At the farewell party I met so many interesting characters. I spent thirty minutes quizzing a girl about her 3 month roadtrip through Africa and her work at SWEAT. We reminisced about our favourite Friends episodes. And I learnt the German word for nipple. Brustwarz, which translated literally means breast wart. This naturally led to conversation about how certain German words just didn’t have an English equivalent.

 

Irish guy: What’s the direct English translation of “voetsek”.

Guy from Soweto: There is no direct English translation. It’s a polite way to say “fuck off.”

Me: That’s polite? I’d tell my dog to voetsek.

Irish guy: Your dog speaks Afrikaans?

Me: My dog speaks?

 

I’m back home in Cape Town and feeling like I’m exuding masala from my pores. I’m a whole another level of sexy.

The following images were taken in Udaipur.

Udaipur - street kid - larger

Street kid - Udaipur

My travel visa for India has finally arrived. Normal breathing may now commence.

The process of applying for an Indian visa is fairly simple and painless. You go online. You fill in a form. The questions are tame (compared to the US application). You are not asked if you’ve ever committed genocide or are in the sex or drug trade. You ARE asked to which religion you prescribe, if your grandparents are Pakistani nationals, and if you were you ever in the military.

Once you’ve completed the form, you submit it electronically. You also have to submit manually. To submit the form manually you do NOT have to make a prior appointment. You do not have place your handbag in a safe before you’re interrogated by an official. You do not have to pay an exorbitant fee of R800 OR hand over your first born. All you need do head on over to your regional BLS South Africa office between office hours (08:00 – 15:00), with the following materials:

  • application form,
  • copy of you ID,
  • your passport,
  • a photograph that meets set specifications,
  • 3 months bank statement showing that you have at least R10 000 in your account,
  • proof of address (a utility bill will do),
  • a copy of your flight tickets in and out of the country,
  • proof of your accommodation in India,
  • and an application fee  of R48. (You’ll be charged an extra R11 for SMS notifications.)

I had expected long queues and mounting frustration, but I’d arrived early (09:00) on a Friday morning and was the first in the queue. (I was the ONLY person in the queue.) This meant that I was in and out of there in 5 minutes.

The most excruciating part of the process was the waiting. The BLS South Africa website states that the minimum time required to process a visa is 5 days. Mine took longer than two weeks. Enter numerous panic attacks and frantic calls to the call centre. Enter neuroses and a wild imagination as to what could have gone wrong. Did they lose my application form? Did I fill in something incorrectly? Have they decided to first trawl through my Facebook, Twitter and Flickr account before making a decision? (It is so much fun being me!)

And just as I was about to hitch a plan that involved bribery, seduction and monkeys, my third SMS notification arrived. My visa was ready for collection.

A few days ago I wrote a blog post on the highlights of my trips abroad. I that post, I proudly proclaimed that the only thing I loved about Paris, was the Louvre. Seconds after posting that, I stumbled on THIS blog post. And now I’m all, “Ooooh pretty. Perhaps I was too hasty. Perhaps I should give Paris a second chance?”

Anyway, here’s part 2 of my travel highlights.

Garden Route (2010) – Watching a woman get stabbed in Jeffrey’s Bay, for daring to steal another man’s alcohol. Ha, I kid. I didn’t actually see her get stabbed. I just saw her prone, bleeding body in the street. Nah, I think that the highlight of this trip would be the treetop zip-lining.

Bali (2011) – Running through streets of Bali during a thunderstorm. It was frightening and exhilarating and I’d never before experienced anything like it. The other highlight of my trip was experiencing my very first earthquake.

Lombok (2011) – Snorkelling. I suffer from claustrophobia. I freak out in tiny dark spaces (and yet I did an underground tunnel tour of the city), and hate having a mask cover my mouth and nose. Preparing myself mentally for the task was the best decision of my life. I swam above a turtle and saw so many incredible looking fish. I tried to memorise the colours and shape of each and every fish. I wanted to describe each fish in detail. It was just such a wonderful experience.

Kula Lumpur (2011) – Eating authentic Indian food off a banana leaf.

New Orleans (2011) – The ghost and phantom tour. Our guide was a comedic genius and I loved every minute of the tour.

Washington DC (2011) – The Lincoln Monument. There’s just something so majestic about the statue. It might just be its size.

Washington

 Photos taken in Washington DC.

Couchsurfing.org is a social networking website that allows registered members to connect with strangers from every part of the world, and request accommodation in their city.

Recently on the Couchsurfing website, a user asked if there were “any strippers or erotic entertainers with a couch?”

Fahiema’s reply: My 74 year old pa has Alzheimer’s. He strips often and has a couch. Let me know if you’re interested…