Friday, 2 October 2015

2015 Running Goals: Check-In II

With three quarters of 2015 officially behind us (what?!), I thought this a good time to report back on progress made with my running goals for the year to date.  As you might remember, I dubbed 2015 my year of running fun, which, in hindsight, was genius: I feel strong, rested and super motivated, plus I haven't had this much fun with running in a long, long time!  I definitely think I'll be doing this more often in future - perhaps by taking a little running sabbatical of sorts every seventh year to simply focus on having (running) fun...?  We'll see.  But whatever I decide, I've now experienced first-hand how good a little break from all things competitive can be - and I highly recommend it.  

So without any further ado, here's a recap of my fun running goals for 2015, and an indication on how I've progressed with each one:

1.  Complete parkruns at five new-to-me official parkrun venues  

100% complete, wahoo!  I've had the privilege of visiting the Rondebosch CommonHartenbosParys and Big Bay parkruns this year, plus the (not-so-new anymore!) new local Kimberley parkrun, and it's been a blast!  I'm a parkrunner for life and can't wait to visit even more parkrun venues in future.    

Rondebosch Common parkrun with Lisa.

Hartenbos parkrun with the family.

Kimberley parkrun with besties Tanya and Annemarie. 

Parys parkrun [photo by Parys parkrun].

Big Bay parkrun [photo by Kevin from Lisa Olivier Photography]. 

2.  Do one international run or race in a country where I've never run or raced before

Zero percent complete.  Buuuuut, I have a sneaky little surprise up my sleeve towards the end of the year, so watch this space!

3.  Get a local parkrun up and running in our new home town

100% complete - hooray!  This was honestly my biggest goal for the year and I cannot even begin to tell you how much I'm enjoying Kimberley parkrun: It's steadily growing and seeing how much others enjoy something that you're truly passionate about is just incredible.  I absolutely love Kimberley parkrun and always will.      

The inaugural Kimberley parkrun.  [Photo by parkrun tourist extraordinaire, Jaco van der Walt.]

4.  Complete our first race as a family of four

Zero percent complete - and this could sadly also be the only goal for 2015 that I (we) end up not reaching.  When compiling my goals for the year, I didn't anticipate stroller running to be something we'd outgrow in 2015, which, sadly, we have.  Although we still do stroller runs and walks, they've become the exception rather than the rule and I'm afraid that a four-man race isn't going to happen anytime soon.  But you never know, right?          

5.  Do a fun costume race (a first for me!)  

100% complete!  Miss K and I did the Spar Women's Race in Pretoria in August all dressed up in tutus and tiaras - and what an experience!  We did, however, get very little sleep the night before the race, plus poor Missy K was really sick on the day of the race, so we'll have to schedule a redemption race when everyone's healthy and well-rested, right?  

My little fellow fairy!

Three down and two to go...!

How have you progressed with your running goals for 2015?

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Five mouth-watering healthy chocolate treats

This post contains some affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

If you've come here looking for carob-covered cardboard, you're in the wrong place - I like my chocolate treats rich and satisfying!  I have, thankfully, discovered over the years that the real deal doesn't necessarily have to be bad for your health - there are plenty of healthy(er) options out there that curb those cravings and taste every bit as good as its sugar- and preservative-laden counterparts.  Here are my current favourites:
1.  Antonia's Vegan Chocolate Fudge Brownies

I'm just about the furthest thing from a vegan you'll ever meet, but these brownies are fantastic!  I shamelessly hide away in the cupboard to devour them alone.  There's nothing watered-down about these beauties' chocolatey, nutty and satisfying fudge-like taste and texture - they totally hit the spot and are well worth the R59 price tag.  You can find them online at Faithful to Nature here (but be warned: They sell like hotcakes!).
2.  Honest Raw Organic Slab with Maca Root 

I'm a big believer in maca root with its well-known hormone balancing properties, and to have it conveniently combined with organic dark chocolate is just perfect!  This chocolate bar has only three ingredients - raw organic cacao, organic blue agave nectar and maca root - and its 60 g size makes it a completely guilt-free indulgence.  Available from Faithful to Nature here.

3.  Fresh Earth Smart Cookie

I'm not normally a cookie person, but these completely won me over: Moist and chewy, with crunchy chunks of dark chocolate in every second bite...  What's not to love?  They're gluten free and sweetened with coconut blossom sugar - a road trip staple in our home.  Find them at your nearest Dischem for around R17 each.            

4.  Woolworths Organic Dark Chocolate


We all know that good quality dark chocolate has health benefits, but why not kick it up a notch by going organic?  Woolies' Organic Dark Chocolate is fruity and spicy and completely melts in your mouth - find one at a Woolies near you. 

5.  Oh Mega Chocolate Almond Butter


I initially bought this as a healthy, yummy spread for the kids to enjoy, but Will kept on sneaking spoonfuls straight from the jar, ha!  Not that I mind: With only a handful of ingredients (almonds and 71% dark chocolate, containing organic cocoa paste, sugar and organic cocoa butter) and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, it satisfies his sweet tooth and I can rest assured that it's much better for his health than other well-known supermarket brands.  You can buy it online from Faithful to Nature here.    

Friday, 25 September 2015

Sanlam Cape Town 10 km Peace Run

I received a complimentary entry into the Sanlam Cape Town Peace Run.  All opinions are my own.

The morning after my excursion to Big Bay parkrun, I was up before sunrise once again - it was time for the Sanlam Cape Town 10 km Peace Run!  I must admit that my feet dragged a bit as I got ready: Somehow my neighbours thought it appropriate to fight and shout until after 02:00 a.m - ugh!  Not even my trusty pink earplugs could block out all that anger.

Anyway, I was dressed and in my starting pen by 06:20 a.m. (the race started at 06:50).  I somehow ended up in the very last starting pen once again (my story of 2015, haha!), but had a blast nonetheless: Music was pumping, Deep Heat fumes were wafting and selfies were being snapped all over the place.      

It took me and my fellow Corral C occupants a good five minutes to cross the starting line after the race had started, slowly inching our way to the big, blue starting blimp.  I took the opportunity to look up and appreciate the weather: Cool and overcast, with no wind or rain - perfect!   

Inching our way to the big, blue starting blimp (top left).

Once over the starting line, the field spread out pretty quickly and I was able to run at a decent pace.  The route was stunning - Cape Town, I love you!  Flat and fast, with unbeatable views - what more can a girl ask for?  My two favourite portions of the route were: a) The small portion of the race route that overlapped with the Greenpoint parkrun route - such good memories!; and b) The blue carpet stadium finish - I felt like an elite!  

I must also add that the one comment I heard over and over again from fellow runners, was that the race's organization was superb - and I must agree.  From the marshals, the starting pens and the water tables, right through to the finish area - everything just worked.          

A blue carpet finish!  [Photo by Jetline Action Photo.] 

I ended up clocking a 56:14 (Garmin time - I only pressed start once I crossed the starting line, which was five minutes after the race officially started) - not too bad for a back-of-the-pack seeding in a big city race (5 794 participants), right?  

Thankfully my noisy neighbours had run out of steam by the time I returned to my room, so it was breakfast for me, and then straight back to bed.  

A perfect morning in my books!