Something Beautiful #2

Subtitle: How to Grow a Magnificent Hydrangea

Step One: Buy the hydrangea. Buy several actually because the mortality rate is high.

Step Two: Plant said hydrangea with great enthusiasm.

Step Three: Observe zero results from above action.

Step Four: Move the plant from place to place trying desperately to make the thing happy. Repeat this step over several years.

Step Five: Declare the plant stupid and dump it into a dark corner under a tree and ignore it.

Step Six: Wait several more years.

VOILA! You have a glorious hydrangea!


Something Beautiful #1

In my ongoing attempt to dazzle the running world with my fabulous speed and superb running form, I have sorely neglected my photography. I spend all my free time running and gymming, or reading about running and gymming, in the vain hope that I will find that one thing that will blow my grandmaster competition right out of the water (or at least off the road) before we all die of exhaustion.

This morning I unpacked my camera, apologised profusely to it for the neglect, and decided that I need an assignment to keep me clicking. Each week I will photograph something that fits the bill of “Something Beautiful Right Under My Nose”. All I have to do is walk around my garden or down the road and look for the little things that really come to life through the macro lens.

Today’s offering is my maroon arum lily.

Bitch Mountain In The Heat

Swartmodder? No problem!

I have coined a new word – tortoisity – pronounced tor-toss-itty –  and it means showing the characteristics of a tortoise. Tortoises make cute cartoons and apparently they always win in the end so displaying totoisity is not necessarily a bad thing.

But today as I lie shattered on the bed after 17 kilometres on Bitch Mountain, previously known as Swartmodder, in 30 degree heat (Celsius that is) I am wondering how much of the difficulty was due to heat and how much was due to general tortoisity.

I consulted Dr Google as one does in these situations and what I found was interesting for a runner training under the unrelenting African sun. For every 6 degrees above 12 degrees Celsius your marathon time gets slower by 1.5 to 3 percent, so up to 6 percent for 24 degrees which isn’t even a particularly hot day in our neck of the woods.

There are scientific explanations involving blood plasma  but basically as it gets hotter our hearts beat faster, our bodies dehydrate quicker and the blood flow to the muscles slows down, all of this making that slow pace seem like a humungous effort.

So what to do? Train hard when it’s cool, below 13 degrees Celsius that is, because the fitter you are the more your total plasma volume and the easier it is to adapt to heat. Train in the heat to increase adaptation but lower your expectations pace-wise. 

So there is my answer – tortoisity alone cannot be blamed for the slow pace on a hot day. It’s a combination of things. Get out there and train, no matter the weather, but don’t beat yourself up if the heat prevents you from achieving your desired pace.

Rainy Sunday Snacks

cheese muffins

A rainy Sunday curled up with a warm dog and a book sounds fabulous, especially after a long run. But for me it never lasts. After a couple of hours I’m itching to move around and do something. And that is when I tinker around in the kitchen, trying new recipes.

Todays efforts produced Cheese and Chive Muffins which are low carb enough to call Keto, easy to make and absolutely delicious eaten warm with farm butter. Perfect for a rainy day.

You will need:

1 1/2 cups of almond flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon Ina Paarman’s Green Onion Seasoning

2 large eggs

1/2 cup full cream natural yoghurt

60 grams of butter, melted

1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup chopped chives (mine are home grown so allow me to boast a little here)

Paprika for sprinkling over the top – optional but yummy

Heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Grease a muffin tin – this recipe makes 12 muffins. The best thing I ever bought for baking was a silicone muffin pan – no greasing required and the muffins just pop out.

Mix the almond flour, salt, baking powder, garlic powder, onion seasoning, cheese and chives together in a bowl. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, the melted butter and the yoghurt. Mix the egg mixture into the dry mixture and spoon the batter into the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for 10 minutes at 220 degrees Celsius, turn down to 200 degrees and bake for a further 10 minutes. The muffins should be golden. Poke one with a toothpick – if it comes out clean they are done.

Store these in the fridge but always reheat in the microwave for a few seconds before eating – it returns them to their awesome fluffy state.

Running Really Happy


I never expected to enjoy our 16km long run today. It was drizzling. The dirt road was wet, slippery in parts. I have had a snotty nose for a week and am definitely not at the top of my tortoise game.

It turned out to be the nicest run I have had in ages. Why? First of all I love running with friends but sometimes when you have to keep up a certain pace and chat at the same time it can be very stressful for a back of the packer. LSD is no longer long slow distance but becomes long stressful distance.

Today I hid my watch under the cuff of my rain jacket and just ran, not caring when or where I walked, what my pace or heart race was, just chatting and thoroughly enjoying the company. We chatted away the 16 kilometres (yes Strava I did reach my goal) and it seemed so easy.

I am normally a data geek, pouring over whatever stats I can lay my hands on. I read endless articles and books about running, always on the lookout for new things – they’re normally old things dressed up to look like new things.  This then leads me to trying out different methods which all rely on watching my Garmin like a hawk. Is my heart rate too high, is my pace too slow….blah blah blah.

It was absolute bliss to just zone out and run by feel and I think it is something I will be doing every Sunday if I can.


Me when someone mentions speed

An Ideal Breakfast



Picture and basic recipe courtesy of ❤️

Eggs are the healthy way to go for breakfast but I so often crave something sweet early in the morning – especially after a hard workout. I am so excited to have perfected the keto crumpet which is sweet enough to stop that craving and does not even need honey – all it needs for serving is a few dots of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  And they are not rubbery like so many other keto crumpets.

To make 5 decent-sized fluffy crumpets you will need:

2 eggs, 1 tablespoon coconut flour, 1 tablespoon xylitol, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, a pinch of salt, a pinch of xanthan gum, 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla essence and 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl and then add the ingredients in the order they are above, mixing as you go. The batter is ready to rock and roll, no resting in the fridge required.

Melt a knob of butter in your non-stick pan and crumpets are a go! Add more butter to the pan for each batch.

Serve with a little butter and cinnamon, or cream and berries and enjoy!

Check out for more great ideas. When I find myself some konjac rice I am definitely going to try the keto rice pudding – for breakfast 🤣.


Ready Your Tippy Taps

Screenshot 2018-11-25 at 10.53.48

Thoughts of Dog is the main reason I am on Twitter. I adore this dog, his every tweet is a gem, but this one in particular really fired up my running self. Now every morning, after my special old-goat-made coffee, I put on my running clothes and think “Ready your tippy taps, today has potential”. What better running slogan could you wish for?

And talking of tippy taps, my modus operandi at the moment is to stick to slow running, concentrating on my tippy taps. Are my feet landing midsole? Are my footsteps teeny and quick? Do my feet land under my hips? Am I running tall and relaxed, leaning ever so slightly forward? I pick one or two to focus on for each run, or run through all four in my mind as I go.

I find one can’t concentrate on form when doing speed work, or even when the pace is too fast on a long run because as you fatigue, you lose form. So I have gone back to proper Maffetone style running which incorporates loads of walking to keep my heart rate where it should be.

The theory behind Dr Maffetone’s method is that before you move onto speed work you need to build a strong aerobic base. This allows you to run longer, stronger and with minimal injuries, if any. Step one is to find your MAF pace. Easy – take 180 and minus your age, so for me 180 – 60 = 120. This is the heart rate that I must work at. At first it is extremely and frustratingly slow with frequent walk breaks to bring the heart rate down. The theory is that the longer you work on it, the faster the pace you will be able to hold at that same heart rate. In other words you will be building a much stronger engine and chassis. Read more about Dr Maffetone here .

In the past I have tried building a base at my MAF pace but I have always cheated, allowing myself extra beats (at least 10 😀) above my 180 minus age. I then end up in that grey zone where I am training neither the aerobic system nor the anaerobic system. This time I have checked my ego at the door and as soon as that heart rate is over 120 I walk.

The beauty of this method is that absolutely everyone can do it, however unfit or whatever your age. So come on peeps, READY THOSE TIPPY TAPS. TODAY HAS POTENTIAL!

Screenshot 2018-11-25 at 11.29.10

Thank you @dog_feelings for making twitter great – I hope you don’t mind me sharing this on my blog!


Be Like The Dog

oscar & soxOur dogs love running. They never, ever make excuses to stay on the couch (except maybe Livingstone when there is a storm within a 100 mile radius). Each run is a fabulous new adventure for them. I wish I could run with that same abandon, relishing every moment, never worrying about a poor performance.

dogs runningThe dog will never think “Oh my gosh, another hill, I can’t stand it”.  The dog will think “What an awesome looking hill – check out that bush over there – I can pee on it!” And he will gallop up the hill to check out the bush. I am not suggesting that we pee on bushes (well not all of us), but maybe the view from the top is really worth seeing. And maybe charging up the hill as hard as possible could be fun?

The dog will never stress about paces and races. He will lope along slowly when he feels like it, stop and smell the roses when he feels like it, or go hell for leather after what he thinks may be dinner, but only if he feels like it.

I have also noticed that the dog is extremely good at rest and recovery. He can quite happily sleep all day without one iota of guilty conscience – definitely no overtraining grumpiness for him.

So what can we learn from our four-legged friends? Treat every run as a gift. Always be positive. Always be present in the moment. Never judge yourself against others. Always be keen to try something new and NEVER skimp on rest and recovery!

Dear Coach #16

Dear Coach,

Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 07.05.34

I did it – 84 km of trail. I loved it, I hated it, I laughed, I cried, I cursed. I ran through sunshine, lightning, thunder, mist, mud and hail. I fell more than once and faced old demons. But I did it – and I wouldn’t swop the experience for anything.

But while we are all basking in our little bubbles of glory, let us not forget the pacers – they are the unsung heroes. As 50-milers we did not qualify for pacers but our two daughters needed pacers on their 100-mile journey. To be a pacer you need to be a strong runner, you need excellent mental strength, endless patience and the ability to stay calm no matter what. Hats off to all the pacers, but most of all to my two sons-in-law. You surely proved your physical and mental strength bringing our two girls through the last 16 kays of 160,  the very darkest of hours, literally and figuratively. I salute you.

Here’s to next year at Karkloof!

Dear Coach #15

Dear Coach,

kk50 2

Just one of many beautiful spots that awaits the runners at Karkloof next week.

The next time we speak I’ll be giving my race report. No not race report, let’s call it an adventure report. I have absolutely no intention of racing a 50-miler. My intention is to enjoy the surroundings of what I am sure will be an awesome course, to enjoy the company, to conquer the 80 kays and to come out alive the other side. If the Old Goat and I are still married when we finish this thing, and if we finish it in good time, we will turn our attention to the big one next year – the 100-miler!

But let me not get ahead of myself – it’s easy to dream when you are sitting comfortably on the veranda, running done for the day. Garmin Connect says I am peaking, Strava says I am fresh, so I need to reign myself in (physically and mentally) and just avoid coughing and spluttering people until next Saturday.

kk50 Lols

One of my intrepid daughters at the training camp on the KK100 course.

And now to check the checklist:


All ready and waiting even though my thermal is like a sausage skin that rides up into a crop top. I purchased the real-deal waterproof jacket at great expense to ensure that we actually have no rain – you’re welcome everyone! I do notice though that they have not added a small flask of red wine which I am sure would be an absolute lifesaver if I find myself wrapped in my space blanket at any stage. I wonder if can arrange some sort of flask contraption around the Old Goat’s neck in the manner of a St Bernard?