Category Archives: running

My Running Journey

Never Quit

Winston Churchill was such a wise old goat. He inspired so many and he still inspires me today.

My Comrades history must look pretty shocking to those runners that cruise the distance every year in under 12 hours – four DNF and four DNS. DNS means failure to qualify and DNF means failure to finish in time. I’ve been close – 80km on my two down runs, 60km on my first up run where I panicked and quit. Plain stupidity and inexperience. 75km on my second up run because I knew that it was physically impossible to make the timing mat at the top of Pollys at 79km.

But I ain’t bovvered and I just keep on keeping on, my eye always on that insignificantly sized medal, and my mind full of quotes from that whiskey-drinking, cigar-smoking hero.

What made me think of this is my Banting group. They inspire me as much as I want to inspire them. Some of them have been extremely successful but it has been a long road. Others still need to travel that long road to reclaim their good health. There is always some stumbling along the way and there are obstacles big and small. It reminds me of my running, especially my Comrades journey.

37 years ago I was so asthmatic that I could not walk 100 metres, let alone run. I started with walking and I walked and walked and walked. My chest got so much better so I started a bit of running. In my thirties I thought a 5 kay run was incredibly far. In my forties I eventually worked up to the half marathon. I was 50 when I did my first full marathon. Imagine if I can celebrate my 60th birthday with my first Comrades medal next year!

So my message to my Banting peeps is this – never, never, never give up! You may stumble or you may fall but you WILL get to where you are going.


Icing an Injury

The first screenshot is my Spar Ladies Race. Not quite what Coach Mo prescribed. The first 6 kays were great – I was bowling along at 6:15 minutes per kay which IS what he prescribed but then suddenly I lost focus near a water table, stepped wrong and TWANG went a muscle in my glute/hip. The following 4 kays were much slower and a bit painful.


Anyway, the medical peeps always say ice an injury so this morning I took my glute/hip muscle for a whirl in minus 5 degrees. And if that is not icing an injury then I don’t know……It didn’t really work – shock, horror, what are these people talking about? Sorry Coach Mo – my speed work has come to an abrupt halt.

What I did manage though is 6 kays without walking once (including the dreaded PawPaw Hill) and the average pace wasn’t that bad for an injured tortoise!


Hello Treadmill My Old Friend!

I don’t have the guts to brave the dark and the frost on my own so while the Old Goat is languishing in bed resting his pins for his 87km Fun Run I hit the old treadmill.

Coach Mo has increased my paces which alarmed me somewhat. It’s hard being a tortoise in a family of hares, or should I say a woes in a family of hard-core runners. My children appear to have inherited the Old Goat’s toughness – pushing themselves to the edge seems to be part of the fun.

ME:   I can’t increase my pace.

DAUGHTERS/OG:   You can – just get out of your comfort zone.

ME:   I’m not ready to die.

DAUGHTERS/OG:   You won’t – you’ll pass out first.


This morning I did my (10 minutes easy, 10 minutes marathon pace) x 2 and I was out of my freakin’ comfort zone people! I usually find 100 different reasons to break the run – the window needs opening, one dog needs to go out, the other dog needs a rug, I need to fetch water….This morning I did not. Onwards and upwards!


Last LSD for the OG before the Big C!


Apart from slightly sore ribs from his run in with a cow, Ysterbok is looking strong one week out from his first crack at the Big C. He turned 60 last weekend so even being ready to toe that start line is no mean feat.

We ran a chilled 16 kilometres this morning in the most beautiful weather EG has to offer – crisp and clear. We trundled along to the sound of bird chatter and snorting cows – the bitches are probably snorting because they haven’t managed to completely crush the Old Goat yet!

So now it’s just a matter of ticking over for a week, keeping healthy and making endless lists – what to pack in the car, what to pack in the fuel belt, what to pack in the bag that goes to the start in Durban, what to pack in the bag that goes to the end in Pietermaritzburg. Me? I’ll be packing a hip flask of the best dry red I can find and my sense of humour!

Dear Discovery Vitality

Dear Discovery Vitality,

I don’t like using the f word on social media but there is no other way today – I am FUCKING FURIOUS.

I run 5 times a week and earn discovery vitality points for fitness. I am superbly fit which is in your interests. But now I am told that I have “reached my limit” regarding points for fitness. Does this mean you only want us to exercise for half a year? WTF people? I have 30000 points to go to reach platinum but I have reached my limits fitness-wise?

I do still get my free coffee for reaching 1200 points per week for my running – woohoo, how generous! I just don’t get to drink it because I am 350 kilometres away from the nearest outlet. Bad luck that.

So now what? I know what you want me to do. You want me to rush off to doctors, dentists, pharmacists etc to be “screened” and for that you will award me big points. No thank you. I only go to doctors if I am sick – and if you glance at my records you will see that happens very seldom, again in your interests. I certainly do not need people squeezing my boobs between sheets of metal or inserting cameras up my bum, or anywhere else for that matter.

Yours in fitness,

An Extremely Disgruntled But Healthy Person

PS  You need to update your health questionnaire and your take on cholesterol – low fat is so last season, and just plain unhealthy. Have you not learnt anything from the “Noakes Trial”?


Fast and Furious

It’s so very hard not to be jealous of all the Comrades runners as they count down the days to the Big C. Yes, I even get jealous of their taper madness. The way they cringe when someone coughs near them. The way they furiously rub their weary legs with weird smelling stuff. The way they imagine they are coming down with the Black Plague or some sort of muscle paralysis.

So when I managed this run on Sunday – “fastest long run” according to TomTom – I was really, really chuffed. Maybe by this time next year I can join in the madness!