When last did you go on a Soul Date?

In Julia Cameron’s wonderfully inspirational book The Artist’s Way, she recommends having a a regular “Artist’s Date”. You can listen to her describe it here. Essentially, an artist’s date is an hour or two, dedicated to feeding your creativity and doing something that nourishes your soul.

I like to think of it as a Soul Date.

soul
səʊl/
noun
1. the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal
2. emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art or an artistic performance.
date1
deɪt/
noun
2. social or romantic appointment or engagement.

I’m not particularly regular with my Soul Dates – they’re more impromptu than organised. I really need to make an effort to be more intentional about taking this time out. Playing with beauty, art and design gets my creativity going and makes me a happier person.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou

Over the long weekend, I had a soul date with with my friend Jeanette and my sister, Jessica and our kids. As we head into autumn, Cosmos flowers are making Jozi look particularly pretty and a public holiday seemed like the perfect opportunity for some beautiful photos of the flowers. And our girls do so love a photo shoot. Connor loved it too – he’s all about outrageously funny faces and photobombing!

Jeanette is a professional photographer  and Jess and I love to fiddle around with our cameras as a hobby. We had the best afternoon, traipsing through the veld, searching for good photo spots, and experimenting with the light and poses as the kids came up with ideas for shots. Of course, their ideas included tree climbing and some action gymnastic shots.  My nieces tried throwing little bouquets of Cosmos that they collected into the air, and trying to catch the moment as they fell to the ground. I didn’t get great shots, but it was fun trying to time the moment.

I love taking photos on my iPhone, and I am still learning to play with my new toy, a Canon EOS mirrorless camera. The pics I took with the Canon haven’t been downloaded yet (lazy me) but in the meantime, here are a couple of my iPhone pics.

I’d like my next Soul Date to be a First Thursday at the Keyes Art Mile. What will yours be?

 

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A writer must write, right?

My little blog has gone through quite a metamorphosis in the last few years. My earliest blogs were on Tumblr. Then I created a WordPress blog entitled “RunRoundGirl” where I chronicled my journey from couch potato to runner (amongst other things). After that, a brief spell of being “In Hil’s Head” and now finally, my blog is at home here on my official business website, www.hilarygreen.co.za.

Time out!

As is typical of a metamorphosis (or so I recall from biology) it might have appeared to be quiet from my side over the last few months. I certainly haven’t blogged in a while! But there have been loads of things happening behind the scenes.

I’ve been considering my career aspirations, crystallising some ideas, adding to my experience and working on my degree. I’ve also been dealing with some challenging family stuff. I’ve been writing a regular monthly column for a couple of community magazines. Oh, and I’ve been learning to ride a horse. More about that in another post!

Writing has always been one of my favourite things to do. I absolutely loved creative writing in high school. I remember one project that we had to do for English class – I think I was in Standard 6 or 7 at the time (that’s Grade 8 or 9 if you’re a millennial). We had to keep a journal for a week. My teacher insisted that I kept writing long after the project was over, and the marks were in. She believed that I wrote well and encouraged me to write as often as possible. On another occasion, we had to write a parody of a fairy tale. I wrote a long, extremely rude and funny poem about Cinderella. It was a huge hit and was published in the school magazine. From those early days in English class at school and sharing my teenage angst with Dear Diary to dreams of being a journalist – words have always featured strongly.

Side note regarding the journo thing: I could never make up my mind whether I wanted to do serious hard news (think Christiane Amanpour and the photojournalists of The Bang Bang Club) or work at a glossy magazine (I loved The Devil Wears Prada before it was even a movie!)

The journalist thing never happened and a career in insurance did. I’m not sure why it took me so long to connect all the dots to realise that maybe, just maybe, I could turn my love of word craft into a career. Now it’s time to put my words into action. I am officially launching my writing career.

Onward and upward

Thank you to all of my cheerleaders on this venture, you know who you are! If anyone needs a good great writer, you know who to call! And please share my Facebook page, my website and my blog posts. Sharing really is caring!

I might not be Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada (although I am sure she would play me in a movie about my life) but dreams do come true. You just have to make them.

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2018 – My year of ME

New year’s resolutions are so 90’s, don’t you think? In this age of TED talks and enlightenment, we’re all about setting intentions – choosing a word for a year, a theme. It is so much gentler than swearing off chocolate, or swearing off swearing, for that matter. And more productive too.

This will be the third year in a row that I’ve chosen a word for the year. I can’t for the life of me remember my word for 2015. I had to go back and check my blog archives for 2016’s word.

This year is a bit different. This year, my word is ME. A reminder to put myself first in all aspects, so that I can be so much more to those around me. I don’t think I will have to go back into my blog archives to remember my word. Why? – I hear you ask

Late last year, I took some “MEtime” to attend Briony Liber’s “Career Women Moving Mountains” workshops. The information that Briony shared with us and the collective wisdom of the women attending the workshops with me was invaluable for my career growth. There is something so magical about a group of women getting together to share.

My highlight was the final session. We took a little time to explore some tough questions about our experiences in 2017 and our expectations for the year ahead. Then the fun began.

Sitting around a vast table covered in magazines, washi tape, coloured pens and glue and other beautiful creative tools, we began to create a vision for 2018.

Using ME as my inspiration, I searched for images that illustrated what putting ME first meant. Things like making time and space for myself for the things that make me happy, getting on top of my budget, looking after my health, celebrating all victories – big and small, and a reminder to remain hopeful and optimistic.

My vision board is now hanging inside my wardrobe, catching my eye as I search for something to wear each morning. It’s a daily reminder to focus on ME.

I am also trying to turn the intention into action by setting myself a little resolution for each day as suggested by Rich Mulholland here. In essence, instead of grand resolutions, he suggests that we set a few good intentions. Then we think about what actions we need to take to make those intentions a reality. And each day, set a little goals for something that you can do to realise the intention. And if you’re doing this 4 out of 7 days in a week, you’re winning.

Little goals, tiny steps and an awesome year. Cheers!

If you are keen for a 2018 on your terms, check out Briony’s website and her vision board workshops.

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The Hanging Gardens of Walkerville

I haven’t been in the most chipper of moods lately. To be honest, I’ve been feeling quite cynical and disillusioned. But the cloud is lifting – it always does – and there have been been a few rays of sunshine this week. The biggest was a little bit of CSI work I got involved with, through the company I work for.

We have this campaign on the go at the moment about “sustainable growth” and how we are all about building better futures and making positive change. There’s been much publicity internally and externally about the various CSI initiatives we are involved in.

The growth thing began with a tiny little box placed on each of our desks with a plant kit inside. After staring at it for a few days, I finally delegated the planting of the seeds to Claire. We were overjoyed when our little Swiss Chard finally sprouted a teensy Swiss Chardling! Now if only I could remember to water the damn thing!

Plants are so not my thing… I could probably find a way to kill a plastic plant if I tried!

Last week we were invited to watch Bongani Bingwa, of Carte Blanche fame, interview one of our CSI partners. We were also invited to participate in a mystery CSI project during the course of this week. I, being the corporate good sport I am, stuck my hand in the air for the mystery project.

The person that Bongani interviewed was an amazingly inspirational woman named Nonhlanhla Joye and her story is just incredible. And while what she does is seriously clever, it involves gardening. Did I mention that gardening is not my thing?

So guess what the mystery project was?  Gardening, obvs! We were building Mama Joye’s raised food gardens in various underprivileged areas around Jozi.

Yay… I guess.

So off I went to Walkerville with a bunch of colleagues who I barely knew, brimming with fake enthusiasm and trying to ignore the fact that I’m now too fat for my purple volunteer t-shirt ignore the sniffly cold I’d developed overnight.

Well nothing like a bit of charity work put things in perspective, right? Right!

The garden-making was pretty cool. The concept really is very clever:

All we really had to do was hang recycled, soil filled bags on the wooden frames and then plant seedlings in each. I hardly even got a dirty hand.

We finished by giving each newly planted seedling a drink of water to bed it down properly. For that part, we had assistance from some little kids from a local care centre. These kids have very recently tragically lost a fellow learner in a road accident and they are going through a very sad time. The sadness was almost palpable.

But whilst they were sad, they were also incredibly sweet and earnest and enthusiastic and they were the highlight of my day! For a while I forgot all my un-chipper nonsense.

We showed them what to do and each child dutifully filled their beakers with water and took turns at watering each bag. Ok, so some seedlings got more water than others – but all is fair in love and gardening. One of the guys who was busy building the frames assured me that once they make the holes in the bags for drainage, the lettuce would be just fine.

I really needed this afternoon of simple innocence to gain some perspective. And I’m almost convinced that I could manage an Umgibe veggie garden in my backyard… almost.

Check out Mama Joye’s website here.

And speaking of websites… I have exciting news about my blog changes. I’m one step closer to the big reveal. Watch this space 😉

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Inspiration Everywhere!

On a very good day, I spend about 90 minutes in traffic on my commute to and from work. That’s an hour and a half of my waking hours staring at cars in front of me and dodging taxis. Last year, I made a conscious decision to be more discerning about what to do with my ears during that time. I’ve always preferred talk radio to music radio. And as much as I enjoy music, I am not much of a music listener in my car. My commute changed, very much for the better, when I started listening to online radio, podcasts and audiobooks.

In terms of online radio – it’s mostly cliffcentral.com. I can’t lie – I’ve been a fan of Gareth Cliff since his early days on 702. He is the same age as me and I was fascinated back then by how he, as a 21 year old, could hold his own, be so smart, confident and erudite on a prime time show on a popular radio station. I guess you could say I have a crush on his brain. I was super excited to pick up Gareth and his team online. His show is clever and funny, irreverent and sometime totally politically incorrect and so much fun to listens to. I reckon that an evening at a pub with the people on his the team would just be the best evening!

I don’t get to hear the whole show in the morning so I listen live while I am driving to work and often pick up on third hour of the show as a podcast on my afternoon drive home.In the third hour of the show, Gareth mostly does interviews. This week has been particularly cool, with both Monday and Tuesday’s interviews being fascinating!

Monday’s interview was with a guy named Matthew Kanniah who has been picked up by the legends of Top Gear – Clarkson, Hammond and May for their DriveTribe project. I enjoyed the chat with Matthew but more than anything, I was struck by his go-for-it attitude. He is a 25 year old petrol-head blogger and he got picked up by the ex-Top Gear dudes as a result of his tweeting and following the DriveTribe producers and then having the guts to share his work with them. Now that I’ve checked out his work on Instagram, I have followed him and I am super keen to see where he goes! I guess the point is just to put yourself out there. You never know where or who might see you and like what you do!

The next awesome interview I listened to was with Robby Kojetin. Another supercool chat with great banter between Gareth and his guest. I’ve never come across Robby before but wow, what a story! He’s an adventurer and is on his way to climbing all of the seven summits. The really, really amazing part is that he spent over a year in a wheelchair after a really silly and horrible accident. He was so down and out after the accident that he literally counted out the Synap Forte’s to off himself! The only reason he didn’t was because he didn’t have the magic number of pills – the number he was sure would do a thorough job. Even more thought provoking and inspirational than picking himself up from rock bottom and literally summiting Everest, was his talking about about bucket lists. Making a list of things you want to do and then actually doing them. This post sums up the idea beautifully! Please click on the link – you won’t be sorry. I think it’s time I started writing my bucket list down. I really want to read Robby’s book now. From listening to him on the radio, it sounds like he would write a pretty good story!

The final “Aha” moment (yes – I just Oprah’ed) that I’m going to write about was a short little podcast that I picked up while I was driving home last night from my stats class. Rich Mulholland is a really rad speaker that I follow. I’ve heard him live – he spoke at the induction training that I attended when I joined Hollard. He is a regular visitor to Gareth’s show. I think I have a crush on his brain too. I love super intelligent people (that’s also why I adore my hubby!) Anyway, Rich was talking about “curiousity boxes” – the idea that instead of thinking out the box, you think outside your own box. How being curious makes you a more interesting person. Taking time to learn about something you know nothing about.

You know how you start watching a TED talk about something completely random and unrelated to your life and before you know it, you’re drawn completely in and you’re kinda sad when it’s over and you want to tell everybody to watch? That. (Or is that just me?)

This little piece really resonated with me and reminded me to download some more podcasts and audiobooks. Apple and Audible have amazing selections. And maybe I need to be more random in my podcast selection and open more curiosity boxes?

Three very cool lightbulb switching talks and it’s only Wednesday. Imagine what I would be like at SXSW or Design Indaba or a TED conference (which, btw, is definitely on my bucket list!)FullSizeRender

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From the other side

I woke up a little stiff this morning, after yesterday’s Adrienne Hersch/Randburg Harriers race. And I didn’t even run. I was there though. My shoulders were a little achy from holding out water sachets for all the runners!

Our Run/Walk for Life branch looked after the 8km water point so a bunch of us crazies woke up early, long before dawn cracked and  a sparrow farted, donned our RWFL shirts to go set up our 10 water tables.

To the non runner, you may wonder why we would get up so early, on Mother’s Day Sunday, in the chilly weather, to hand out water sachets and cups of coke.

Because it’s fun!

We made bacon rolls on a skottel braai and drank coffee from flasks. We worked together. We chatted to neighbours and felt like part of a community. We laughed and joked. We cheered for the thousands of runners as they ran past. Runners who included family, friends and colleagues as well as some of SA’s top runners. We got to see Caroline Wostman speed by, as she tapers before Comrades in three weeks as well as Rene Kalmer, who won the race.

I got to give my hubby a sweaty hug mid-race – he ran the 21k with his brother, Jonathan. And massive kudos to Jonathan who ran and finished the 21 k in a great time, despite having not run further than a 10k training run in months. It was fabulous seeing the two brothers running together.

The kids were with us and loved every minute, hanging out with their mates, cheering the runners on, handing out drinks and stomping on the left over water sachets at the end. Without a doubt, most runners would much rather grab the water from the little ones! I loved my niece’s squeals of excitement every time she “sold” a water to a runner.

Without wanting to sound too precious about this whole running thing, I think that it is really important, if I am to be part of a community, to give back a bit. It’s fun as well as valuable to experience the water tables from the other side. To witness and be a small part of the hard work that goes into organising these events. It gives me so much appreciation  and reminds me that a smile and a joke with the workers and the marshals makes the whole experience more special for all!

And finally, a note on the event organiser, Graham Block. This man is such a hero in our running circles. He organises amazing weekend long runs from Virgin Active Randburg, with refreshments, each and every weekend! He also organises weekday shorter runs from the Boskruin Shopping Centre. He has a heart of gold and never fails to inspire us with his kindness, dedication, humour and warm laugh. Thank you Graham!

So with that, I will leave you with a few photos from the morning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Anti-Diet Project

It’s Sunday, the 1st of May. I’ve spent the last few days contemplating how I would restart my diet food plan for life today. Debating whether it was viable to start today, considering it’s a Sunday and a long weekend and all. It would have been so much better if this first day of a new month fell on a working Monday…everyone knows it’s better to start a diet way of eating on a Monday. But August (when the 1st of the month does actually fall on a Monday and that’s three months away, by which time I may have put on another ten kilograms by eating last suppers before the diet healthy way of life begins. images

I wish I could say I was just trying to be funny in that first paragraph, but that really is how my head works. I plan to start my diet eating well almost each week and sometimes I succeed for a few hours or days and sometimes I succeed for a few weeks and even months. Sometimes the will is strong and sometimes it is non-existent. Sometimes I try to make the changes holistic and I journal, support group etc etc. Sometimes I toy with the idea of a quick fix, a crash diet kick start. Even though I have learned my lesson and gotten the XL t-shirt from those supposed miracle cures, I still catch myself looking twice at an advert, or pricking up my ears when I hear a conversation about how great Mary looks after trying *insert wonder obesity cure here*.

Okay, so back to my pondering about the best way and day to start my diet way of life. It may sound a bit hippy trippy (my friends know know that I am a bit of a wannabe hippy anyway) but I’m a bit of a believer in the universe sending me messages. This week, as I searched through my Kindle app (which I haven’t touched in a while) for something new to read, I came across a book that I had bought and never read called “Intuitive Eating”. I found an unread novel too, but this book caught my attention and I kept thinking about it… that maybe I should actually try reading it. This morning, I read the prologue and a bit of the first chapter. And then I decided to do some internet research… and came across the anti-diet project  and got to reading some of the many blog posts and I suddenly feel inspired, and a little, no actually a lot, terrified.

The basic idea is re-teaching yourself the very basic, and what should be obvious, skill of eating instinctively. Eating what your body craves, when it craves it, and as much, or as little as it craves. It sounds pretty straight forward, but when you have spent over half your life dieting, it really isn’t. It’s a complete paradigm shift – away from the legal/illegal foods, the cheats, the points, the good carbs and bad carbs, the good fats and bad fats.It’s not about losing weight. That is probably the most terrifying aspect of all. I want to be thin. There! I said it. Yes, I want to be healthy and wise, but I also really want to be THIN. And this is not about being thin. It’s about being at peace with yourself, your body and your mind. And that… that is just so appealing!

I have no idea whether this new idea will bed down, take shape, grow and no promises about whether I will ever even post about this again, because it is a mere seed of a plan at this stage, but I am going to hit “Publish” on this post, and go to bed and read a bit more of the book. And for tomorrow, there will be no diet, no legal or illegal food. Somehow, I feel a little more peaceful knowing that.

If you have any thoughts on this, I would absolutely love to hear them.

 

 

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Hello 2016!

New-Year_Resolutions_list
Enter a caption

My first work week of 2016 is done. Another festive season done and it’s time to pack away the tree and it’s tinsel. Smokey the cat will miss the baubles to play with!

So I guess it’s time to think about what I want from 2016, right? As I said here, I am not big on serious resolutions, but I do think the beginning of a new year is a great time to sit down and think about what I want out of the coming months.

Mostly, these are things I strive for every day of every year. But I guess it’s good to remind myself of the goals every now and then.

Actually, having looked at the dictionary definition for “resolution”, particularly the synonyms, maybe I am big on resolutions, after all:

resolution
rɛzəˈluːʃ(ə)n/
noun
noun: resolution; plural noun: resolutions
1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
“she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”

So without further ado:

My house:

  • Spend some time and (a little) money each month on prettifying my house – especially the outside areas. Even if it’s just a small purchase each month, I want the outside of my home to be an extension of the décor inside that we have been working on for the last few years.
  • Spend a little time each week doing small organising jobs to maintain some control on the clutter.

My work:

  • To be positive and upbeat wherever possible.
  • To look for opportunities to excel.

My family:

  • To be present and in touch.
  • To communicate well.

Me:

  • I am hoping to begin something that I have wanted to do for all my adult life. I want a degree and although I have started studies before, I have never seen them through. I labeled myself as a bit of a quitter. My experiences in the last two years of running have proved to me that maybe I am not so much of a quitter after all. Which means maybe it is time to start again and achieve the that one goal that has eluded me all these years. More on this to follow.
  • Run… just keep running, get my pace to under 8:00 min per km, finish Two Oceans (dare I hope for under 3 hours?)
  • Carry on with my LCHF/Banting lifestyle and hopefully say good bye to a few more kilograms.
  • Find time to be a little creative everyday. I’ve started a #drawsomethingevery day challenge – I am hoping that I manage to keep it up and produce something little each day. More on that later!
  • Read more
  • BE GRATEFUL and AWARE.

Over to you – what are your thoughts for the year ahead?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s your reason?

You know you’re a runner when you listen to podcasts and read loads of articles about running. Earlier this week, whilst on my dreary commute to work, I listened to a couple of podcasts by Comrades Coach Lindsey Parrie. You know you’re a South African runner when you know who he is!

The podcasts were about final preparation for the Soweto Marathon. One of the tips that stuck out for me wasn’t about physical preparation at all, but mental preparation. He spoke about getting to a point in a marathon, somewhere around 35 k’s, where you have to rely on your mental strength to push through. He suggested that for this point, that you need to have absolute clarity about why you are doing this crazy running thing and further, you have some sort of tangible, visible reminder of that reason. He suggested a card with the reason written on it, or something written on your arm… something that symbolises your reason for running.

If you want to listen to the podcasts, they’re available here.

So I’m not doing a full marathon, nor am I likely to ever try, but I know from my one little half marathon experience that at around 17/18 k’s, I hit a similar wall where I was so tired and emotional and just wanted it to all be over. I thought that Coach Parrie’s tip would be a useful one to employ for my next big race.

Last night, after our training session, I heard a story from one of the members who is a cancer survivor and is building up her fitness from scratch as she waits anxiously for her one year remission results. She was visibly emotional as she told us about how a year ago, she didn’t know if she would be here today, and what a miracle it is to be around, walking and how we need to just make the most of each day. I got a bit teary, listening to her. I was inspired and so immensely grateful for my health!

I started walking because it seemed like a the right thing to do for my health. “They” say getting exercise is important and the structured RWFL sessions seemed like a good place to start. My reasons are different now.

You know that slow kid at school athletics days who comes last in all the races? The one who never chosen for the team. I was that kid! I stopped doing sporty stuff as soon as I could in high school and opted instead for drama, debating and public speaking. I didn’t suck as much when standing in front of a room full of people as I did on a sports field, so the nerdier cultural stuff was the safer option. As I grew up, I added “fat girl” to the “slow kid” label. Years of overeating, wrong eating, and emotional eating helped the kilograms pile on.

22 months back, when I joined RWFL, at my heaviest weight ever, I identified as slow and fat! It has been months of consistent run/walking and real efforts at improving my eating and my relationship with food and I can finally see visible progress. On a gentle (read not uphill) stretch of road, I can now run a kilometre or more in a go. I have lost a few dress sizes but mostly I’ve discovered that there is joy in pushing my physical and mental boundaries.

I run because I didn’t think I could.

I run to say I can run.

Oh and I run because it  gives me something to write about and I really like writing!

What is your reason?

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I did it… And got the medal (and t-shirt)

Nick had a little idea, a few months back to run a race in Knysna, and his little idea somehow turned into a whole bunch of us traveling down to do this together, with supporters!

The runners:

  • Me
  • Nick
  • Jonathan (Nick’s brother)
  • Jeanette (RWFL friend)
  • Lance (RWFL friend)
  • René (our RWFL branch manager)

The supporters

  • Ewan and Claire
  • Jessica (Jon’s wife) and their kids KD and Rachel
  • Bradley and Connor (Jeanette and Lance’s kids)
  • Nick’s mom, Denise
  • Belinda (Nick’s sister, all the way from Dubai)

We arrived in Sedgefield on Tuesday after an awesome overnighter in Nieu Bethesda. The drive through the Karoo was beautiful!

 I was determined not to overthink the race and just enjoy my holiday. We did all sorts of touristy things in Sedgefield and Knysna for the next few days.


For the most part, I succeeded in not thinking about the race , but the nerves caught up with me on Friday and I spent loads of the day very much in my head, stressing. I was hoping that the excitement would start to build once we collected our race packs, but I think I felt even more scared once we were registered.

 

There was one very funny moment when we were out to lunch with everyone. I received a whatsapp from my friend Debbie, asking how I was feeling about the race. I replied, except it was out loud instead of by text and everyone heard a random declaration of “terrified!” from me.

Friday evening was all about prepping for the race. We ate pasta for dinner and pinned our numbers to our shirts and did lots of pottering around, checking and rechecking that we had everything ready for our trip into the forest the next morning.

At bedtime, I had a cup of chamomile  tea in the hope that it would induce some sleep. I actually managed about three hours of uninterrupted sleep before I started waking at regular intervals to check my watch and make sure we hadn’t missed the 3:15am alarm.

At 4am, we headed off to Knysna, where we parked our cars at the taxi meeting point. Lines of white minibus taxis were waiting to ferry the 8000 odd participants into the forest. I can’t quite imagine the logistics that an exercise like that must take!

We were dropped off in the forest at about 5am, where it was pitch black, but surprisingly not terribly cold, yet. An enormous pile of furry red blankets was available for the first few thousand runners in the forest and we each grabbed a blanket in anticipation of the chill. We were most grateful for them as the temperatures seemed to drop in the few hours that followed.

I did think that the sight of hundreds of people walking blindly into the dark, dank forest, cloaked in red blankets would seem just a little creepy and cult-like to the uninformed onlooker!

After our dark trail walk to The Glebe, we were greeted with bonfires, Toilet Town (a flush of portaloos) (Yes, I just made up a collective noun) and an incredible snack station, sponsored by Pick ‘n Pay.

Knysna half! Crazies together. Cold but warm under our blankies sponsored by Momentum #running #RunRevolution #knysnahalf

A post shared by Sam Curley-Young (@curley_young) on

We huddled and chatted for the next few hours, trying to get comfortable and stay warm and dry. The forest floor was a wet, muddy mess and we were thrilled when we remembered that we had a roll of black garbage bags in our tog bag. We had packed them to wear if it rained, but they turned out to be extremely useful for sitting on!

By this time, the nerves were replaced by excitement and I was looking forward to getting going and the euphoria that I knew would follow once the race was complete. 

Finally, at around 7:30, it was time to make our way to the start line and take loads of start line selfies. Photos clearly are a very important part of the whole experience!

Just look at all those people! It took at least 5 minutes to get under the start banner!

People were clothed in a crazy assortment of old and tatty clothing which was discarded in the skips at the start line or tossed to the people along the road side, chanting “Knysna Mara-tonn”. For the first while, the chanting seemed fun, but by kilometre 3, I thought I might strangle the next person who I heard chanting anything!


The race started with a couple of hilly but very manageable climbs. I was feeling optimistic about how things would work out. That optimism lasted for about 9kms and then things got tricky. My plan was to take it easy for the first half of the race and speed up for the second half but the race got decidedly more difficult as we got further along. The road was narrow and rocky and there was absolutely nowhere to just run for any decent stretch.

Between trying to find the side of the road where the camber wasn’t too hectic or too many stones or the sand wasn’t too soft, it wasn’t a fun run. And when we finally got out of the forest, we had a very short patch of decent running and then the Descent-from-Hell as we ran through the Simola Estate. Words cannot describe that downhill. No matter what I had heard about it, I naively thought that a down hill meant I could gain some time. I was so wrong!  The only way I could manage was by going really, really slowly!  I can’t remember the exact point but somewhere around kilometre 16 or 17, I became really emotional. I was tired, it was damn hard and the end was still a long way away. I talked myself out out of the tears and promised myself that I would have a good cry if I actually finished the damn thing. Right then, I ran past a water point where orange quarters were being handed out – they were quite the most delicious thing I’d ever tasted! I’m not sure if it was my little pep talk to myself or the energy boost from the oranges and water, but  I had the strength to continue.


The last few kilometres were a blur of sore feet and excitement that the end was in sight. I was eagerly looking out for my family and friends. As I crossed the finish line, I  saw them and simultaneously, burst into tears. Nick and the kids were waiting to hug me and I buried my sweaty head in Nick’s sweaty chest and sobbed and apparently swore a little 🙂 And then I had to reassure the kids that I really was okay, just extremely emotional!

Apparently everyone got a little teary when they saw my exhausted tears. I’m so grateful for my awesome running family and their amazing support!


I was also amused to find out that Ewan’s friend Bradley had set a countdown timer to the cut off time just to create a touch of drama!


After the race, I went on a hunt to buy the race shirt which I had not ordered when I entered the race and then we all went home for showers and food. And naps. Oh my word, quite possibly the best nap I’ve ever had! And we rehashed the race over and over and over again. And rehashed it some more the next day.

So that was the story of the race. Three months of preparation, anticipation and excitement and all over in 3:19:51.

I do still have some thoughts on my performance on the day, where I’m at with my running and where to from now, but I will save that for my next post.  For now…  I did it. And it was something I never ever thought I would be able to do!

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