Tag Archives: running

The Cunning Beast of a Treadmill

It’s easy to fool myself onto the treadmill. I faff around the house, even going so far as to do household chores to avoid the beast, and then I think “okay, I’m only going to do half the workout and that’s it.”

Lol, one hour later the workout is done. Once I’m half an hour into it, I can’t resist finishing just to see if I can. And of course I can.

I know there are lots of people out there that think “I wish I could just get going, just do some exercise”. You can – tell yourself it’s just for 10 minutes and that you can stop after that. Chances are you won’t. Chances are your body will be enjoying itself and will want to push just a little more!

Matatiele Racing Snakes (or Die Boer en Die Brit gaan Durbs toe)



Well, after practicing NOT drinking wine in the evening, sticking to my collagen supplement or some such healthy thing, my wheels fell off on Saturday evening.

But I can explain. It’s not just a matter of cruising along to Durban – a great deal of intense navigation needs to be done by us sheep in the city. I also had a crash course in parking on a pavement, slap at an intersection. Traffic was held up, a concrete bollard was VERY narrowly missed and a beautiful big aloe plant in full bloom nearly saw it’s arse. No matter, we got our race packs!

Needless to say the Metro Police were in attendance by the time we got back to the car. I was grateful not to be arrested.

What springs to mind at the end of a gruelling day? Wine of course! So I never got to test whether I can do better at races when the evening before is wine-free. Pity, but my mental health was at stake.

I was proud of the run though – I paced my 10km better and took three seconds per kilometre off my pace. My running partner had a fabulous run (she did not succumb to the wine) – nearly two minutes off her previous 10km time!

What is Running Teaching Me?

I fell this morning. I was batting along trying my damndest to do my speed intervals properly when I found myself hitting the dirt HARD, luckily not on my injured shoulder! My front tooth (a crown) was pointing the wrong way and I could see blood. I’m not good with blood.

My first reaction was “Pause the friggin’ watch!” My next one was to feel really pathetic and shed a tear or two. Why do I do this? Why don’t I play croquet while sipping on gin and tonics? Or even bowls for that matter – they have fun there! And they don’t fall and bleed unless they’ve had a shitload of drinks.

I then realised that the only way back to the car was on my feet – and, what the hell, I may as well finish the run. And it wasn’t too bad a run either for a bleeding tortoise!

So that is what running teaches me, over and over again. You can always pick yourself up, metaphorically or physically, whatever you may be doing, and CARRY ON!

Trekking Poles and Arm Slings

A runner who is not allowed to run is a miserable beast. So the prospect of having a shoulder op in August is worrying me. Obviously the first question I asked was how soon until I can run. Two months! The man is utterly mad. This 8 weeks has now been whittled down in my mind to 4 weeks – he must have meant two fortnights.

But 4 weeks is still way too long doing nothing. You can walk, he said. Ha! The poor deluded man was probably imagining a gentle stroll around the block. I have started practicing hiking with a trekking pole in my left hand and my right arm in a sling. I took the dogs for their walk just now like this and it is entirely possible. The mountains are waiting!



Time trials (Or Trials & Tribulations)

We don’t play in East Griqualand. We’re tough. This morning in minus three degrees we did not one but two 5km time trials. The second one was the best one – probably because I had regained contact with my feet. And I just love the way my TomTom encourages me with it’s little messages.

A lot of work still needs to be done – that 7:12 minutes per kay needs to fall to 6:35 and then 6:00. Oh my soul, this speed thing is hard…..in my next life I want to be a skinny Kenyan or Ethiopian man who blasts through a marathon in under three hours. Barefoot.


Keto Favourite

I have found my perfect post-run breakfast. So good it makes me run quicker just to get at it! I found a recipe on http://www.dietdoctor.com for Keto Porridge and with a few tweaks I made it my own – perfect on a winter’s morning when you come in with ice on your beanie!

Break an egg into a small bowl, add 6 tablespoons cream and whisk together. To this add one tablespoon chia seeds and one tablespoon sesame seeds. Sunflower seeds also work if you don’t have sesame and I’m guessing a few pumpkin seeds won’t go amiss.

The chia seeds need to sit for a while so now is the time to shower. Once you’re done it will be ready to cook.

Put one tablespoon of butter into a small pot, let it melt and then turn down the heat to medium/low. Plop the chia/egg/cream mixture into the pot and stir with a wooden spoon while it cooks. It will be ready in a minute or two.

Place in your breakfast bowl along with one teaspoon of xylitol and a liberal sprinkling of three spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Stir this in and then add a handful (30 grams) of raw nuts.

Enjoy and feel good about yourself – your training is done and your post-training routine is perfect. Your porridge plus nuts contains 17.2 grams of protein for repairing and building muscle and 80.14 grams of fat which is enough to keep you fueled all day if need be. It only contains 8,78 grams of carbs – no crazy sugar spiking there, but enough to top up glycogen stores for your next workout.

The story goes that the Tarahumara tribe could run fast ¬†for days on a water and chia seed concoction – if you haven’t read Born To Run by Christopher McDougall get your hands on it now. It’s both fascinating and inspiring.


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.