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

39 things

This was going to be a cynical, but funny post about 39 lousy things about aging but since it’s now the end of the loveliest birthday and I’m full of the gratitude and joy, I can’t possibly think of 39 things to be grumpy about! 

Okay, so my hairstylist talks of using colour for “extensive grey coverage” and the facial I had today was an anti aging one, at the recommendation of the beauty therapist… But truth be told, I really don’t mind getting older. 

I know so many awesomely inspiring women over the age of 40. I have the privilege of calling many of them friends. And they’re wonderful. They know themselves and yet are open to learn more. They’ve achieved so much and continue to push for more. They’re wise and funny and empathetic and brave. So bring on middle age. It looks like fun! 

I’m so grateful for all the special people who I saw, or that called and messaged me today! And especially my Nick, Ewie and Clairebear who spoiled me rotten. If the rest of 39 is even half as good as today was, I’m going to rock this last year of my thirties! I’m ready to count down to 40! 

Oh hey – look… it’s my Blog!

Where am I? What’s this? Oh right… my blog… that place where I sometimes dump a load of words in the hope that someone reads them and derives some enjoyment. A little corner of the internet that I’ve claimed as mine, devoted solely to my musings. And I’ve all but abandoned it. It’s a tad dusty in here now after months of being left vacant. Thought maybe it’s a good idea to pop my head in and open the curtains for a bit.

So where have I been? Oh, I’ve been around. Wish I could provide more exciting details, but honestly, the last few months are just a blur of work and home, parenting, chores and the odd playdate with friends. A little bit like being on a hamster wheel. You know the feeling, right?

claire-gymIf you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that Claire had a round of gymnastics competitions which took up a bunch of weekends and she has an armful of gold medals for her dedication.

Ewan was finally accepted into the high school we were all hoping for, so now the countdown to the last day of primary school is on! Each time we have a primary school event, it’s in the back of my head that this is the last time we will do it with him.

One of my highlights in the last few months was buying a new car! After deliberating for new-carages, I finally signed along the numerous dotted lines and bought a lovely cream coloured Renault Captur as a replacement for my Honda Ballade. I am absolutely loving driving this baby. It has all the bells and whistles, and I do like bells and whistles. Even though it’s relatively small and zippy, it doesn’t feel like I’m driving a dinky toy.

 

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Workwise, I’ve had an interesting few months. I went on a fantastic leadership course as well as a great business project management course. The leadership course was absolutely fascinating in terms of the insight it gave me into how I think. In preparation for the course, they did two detailed assessments on the participants. The results affirmed that I really am a creative being at heart, with a strong bent towards people and reasonable organisational skills, but not a whole lot of natural analytical skill.

 

I’ve been given a regular opportunity to use my creative word skills at work and I am loving the challenge. Much like my blog (or a painting – way back when I used to play with paint) I am always fascinated by the process of sitting in front of a blank screen (or canvas) and finding the flow. Most of the time, I love the result. Especially if I leave the finished product for bit and then revisit it with fresh eyes. Maybe I’ve neglected my blog a bit because I am getting a regular writing fix at work? Or maybe I’m just looking for excuses 😉

I can’t say I’ve done a whole lot of reading lately, but I am absolutely in love with Audible. Between the audio books and podcasts, my drive to work is a pleasure. I find that I listen to different things to what I would normally read. My default read is light chick lit, but as audio books, I love biographies and mystery/suspense. And as for the podcasts, I really enjoy listening to the comedy stuff, particularly live storytelling. If I’m not on Audible, I listen to podcasts on Cliff Central. They’re intelligent and irreverent, obnoxious at times, but a whole lot more entertaining than old school radio. Isn’t it amazing how we can pick and choose media content nowadays?

Staying on the subject of picking your media content, we also cancelled our DSTV account at home and we now do Netflix. I’m not a big TV watcher at the best of times, and much rather prefer browsing the interwebz and social media for mindless time out, so I don’t really miss much on DSTV, except maybe the cooking shows… I always loved the cooking shows. I am enjoying a bit of series binge watching now on Netflix. Nick and I just finished watching a really cool Brit crime drama series called “Broadchurch” and we are now on the hunt for the next series to watch.

And then there was the studying thing… Oh boy, I’m battling with the motivation to buckle down and study at the moment. Exams are just over a month away and I really needhil-assignments to focus. I started off the semester pretty well with my assignments – or at least I think I started well, I haven’t actually had the results yet – but I’ve really not been very disciplined in the last few weeks.

In an attempt to gather myself towards myself, I bought a Vit B complex supplement as well as some herbal brain power supplement called Xcel. I told the lady at Dischem that I would come back and buy her a chocolate if these products that she recommended actually work and I pass my exams!

 

Finally, an update on my running. Or lack thereof. Running took a bit of a back seat in winter. After reality kicked in and I decided not to attempt running a the CT marathon (happening this coming weekend) I took a bit of a time out. I walked at least one session each week, but I’ve been finding running quite painful. My right knee was sore – which seems to have eased up recently. My left foot and ankle however have been giving me a lot of trouble. I feel okay when I walk, but running has been painful. And the hours after running are even worse!

Last week, I decided to enter the Soweto Half Marathon to give me something to work towards again. I committed to a training plan, but after two short consecutive run/walk sessions this past weekend, I realised I can’t and probably shouldn’t try and run through the pain. I was in a lot of pain on Sunday after my 8k run/walk and my left foot is actually swollen at the moment. I’ve consulted Dr Google and self-diagnosed and I’ve finally made an appointment to see a physiotherapist and have an appointment this evening.

All being well, I plan to do the 10k Cape Town Peace Run/Walk this coming Sunday while Nick, Jents, Karen and Lance take on the 42.2k. I am so excited for a grown up weekend away with Nick and our friends and enjoying the scenic 10k route at a leisurely pace, taking loads of pics and just soaking up the vibe.

And that, friends, is my news for now. I won’t promise loads of regular blog posts for the foreseeable future because my focus really should be on studying, but if the inspiration strikes…

Love,

Hils xxx

The Scholarly Edition

Running has taken a bit of a back seat over the last few weeks as preparing for exams took priority. Yes, exams! 

21 years after finishing high school, I am embarking on a journey into higher education! One of my biggest regrets was not getting a degree and I don’t want a life full of regrets. I have actually started this journey a few times before. I’ve even gained a few first year credits but I’ve always quit after a while. I was lacking focus, motivation, direction or discipline. 
Things have changed over the last few years though. Maybe it is because I have grown up a bit. I’ve found a some direction, career-wise. I’m nurturing my love of writing as a form of creative expression and I have opportunities for this expression at work. I do believe that there is a space for me as a creative in a corporate space. 

Running has played a huge role in all of this. For one thing, the life changing experience of learning to run inspired me to start writing – which then reminded me of how much I enjoyed playing with words. And the fact that you guys read this blog and comment, share and motivate me to write more has given me confidence in my ability to craft with words. This has given me goals to work toward in my career. So thank you for that!

The other thing involves the unlikely reality that I went from a confirmed couch creature to a runner. As in a real runner who buys expensive shoes, participates in races, has a CGA running license and medals. I realised that if I could change this most fundamental part of me… the part that couldn’t maintain or enjoy any physical activity, then perhaps I can change other fundamental beliefs about myself, like the self defeating idea that I lack the discipline to see a tertiary degree through to completion. 

So back to those exams. Well, they’re done for now. I don’t know about how well done, though. Just figuring out how to study has been a bit of a learning curve, if you’ll excuse the pun. It took weeks of procrastination, opening and then quickly closing the books again because I didn’t know where or how to start. 

Eventually with the exam deadline looming large in front of me, I had no option but to start somewhere. I didn’t give myself enough time to cover the material as well as I should have and I have been incredibly stressed over the last two weeks about whether I knew enough to attempt the exams. I’m very grateful to my family for putting up with me hibernating in my study and supplying me with endless tea, hugs and motivation. 

I can’t promise I won’t procrastinate next semester but I do think I’ll be a bit clearer on how to get going. At the end of this, dressed in a cap and gown, with a degree in hand, the stress and hours studying will all be worth it. 

Wish me luck as I wait for the results to be released! For now, I need to find some running focus again! 

Knysna : T minus 8 days!!!

Yes people – just over a week to go until the Knysna Half! Eeeck!!!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just completely terrified. If you know me personally, you will know that doing this thing is huge huge huge! It’s my personal Comrades and it has consumed almost all my thoughts for the last three months. Every time I’ve set foot in the road recently, I’ve done it with this goal in mind.

When I decided to enter, the race seemed a very long way away and I had visions of a very different me arriving in the forest on race day. Yes, I know –  I have an overactive imagination! I some how imagined reinventing myself as a lithe, super fit running machine over the course of 12 or so weeks. All with the help of my trusty free half marathon training programme compliments of www.runnersworld.co.za and my supercool new Brooks Ghost running shoes.

Well the weeks have come and gone, and although I have sort of stuck to the plan, give or take a few kilometres, I’m not the lithe super fit running machine that I wished I would become. I still trundle along, albeit a bit further and a teensy bit faster than before.

This training thing has been quite an experience, especially since it’s the middle of winter and early mornings and late afternoons are freaking cold. The recent long runs have been especially challenging.

This last weekend was the longest of my long runs, at just over 19 k’s. It was tough… physically, and even more so, mentally. I was in a big old funk about whether I could actually go that far, how long it would take me and how much of a frustration would my slow pace be to my running mates, Rene and Jackie.

My running mates were awesome. If they were frustrated by my slowness, they didn’t show it once and were just hugely encouraging, all the way. At one point, probably when I was feeling the worst, Rene reminded me that my biggest obstacle was my mind. I do believe that she is right. Had I approached the run with less Grumpy-Pants and more Can-do, the whole experience might have been far more fun. The only thing I was really looking forward to was getting to take this cool photo on the bridge over the N1 highway ( a little bit of Jenty inspiration)

I ran over this cool #bridge this morning #jozi #RunRevolution

A photo posted by Hilary Green (@hilgreen) on Jun 27, 2015 at 3:11am PDT

I spent the next few miles, doing the “I-Think-I-Can” chant in my head and I was absolutely thrilled to get to the end and say “I Could”. We arrived back at our starting point, to cheers from a few members from our branch, hot coffee and the best bacon rolls ever. I spent the rest of the day, hobbling around gingerly, with sore, tired legs and feet, hosting a birthday tea for a special ten year old.

So can I actually run 21.1 Km’s on Saturday, 11 July 2015? 

I-Think-I-Can, provided you don’t stop me at 19 kms and make me restart for those last 2 kms a few minutes later 🙂

An update, some races and a rant about rude runners

I’m into the third week of the ten week half marathon training plan and with the start of the official training programme came a bit of a bad attitude! I really wasn’t in the greatest headspace… The first session was Hard.Hard.Hard. My legs felt like lead and everything hurt from the soles of my feet to my ribs. I think the fact that it is getting dark so much earlier didn’t help – while I was running back to the field, I was imagining the everyone sitting around waiting for me. I was really surprised to get back and see a few people still on the field and realised it really wasn’t as late as I thought, and nor was I as slow as I felt.

On Mother’s Day Sunday, the tribe participated in the Adrienne Hersch Challenge… Nick did an amazing sub two hour half marathon and my brother and sister-in-law ran the 10k at supersonic speed. As for me…. I was reasonably happy with my result. It wasn’t the amazing PB that I achieved at The Cradle race, but it was an acceptable result, considering what a tough, hilly route it was. I was again ever so grateful for friends to run with – Vikki and Pippa, two run/walkers from my RWFL branch. I was also grateful for the hilly routes we use for our weekly training sessions. The Randburg hills did not seem quite as bad as they could have, were I not used to our Randpark Ridge hills from hell.

The only thing that marred the race was a rude man who decided to air his superiority complex about 2 kms into the race. We had just slowed down from a run to a walk for the first time and this guy ran around us, muttering about walkers clogging up the road. Now had he been an elite runner, or we were in the first few metres of the race, I would understand his irritation about walkers not making way, but elite he was not – except in his own head. The awesome thing about these races is that there is a space for everyone, whether you run, walk, wheel or have one leg. Please don’t ruin it for everyone with your superiority complex!

Anyways… this is all ancient history – this draft has been sitting around, awaiting publishing for days now. I am over Mr Rude Runner, I promise 🙂

We did another race this past weekend – the RAC 10k – and almost everyone from our club agreed to walk the race to score points for the walker’s league. The real runners were slightly reluctant but it was loads of fun to see Sam, who is about to run Comrades, hang back at the starting gun and stroll off with the walkers. And equally funny to hear the superspeed runners complain about their sore muscles the following day!

And now… in this, my third week of training, I have managed to cultivate a big fat snot germ. I didn’t run yesterday and I felt a mild panic rising about missing training with only eight weeks to go until Knysna! Fortunately I came across this article today and felt a whole lot better about skipping a session! Apparently I won’t lose all fitness just because I missed a run last night.

Before I sign off, can I ask you all kindly to send me some good wishes for the snot germs to take up residence elsewhere so that I can get back to my training plan!!!

I’ve entered a half marathon!

Just as I was composing a blog post in my head about not having much news to share regarding running, I went and did something completely crazy and signed up for a half marathon.

Nick mentioned a few weeks ago that he would love to do the Knysna Half Marathon in July. I initially just thought a little midyear break in our favourite spot in the world would be awesome and didn’t give much thought to participating in the race, but then I read the race details and I was intrigued.

The race coincides with the Knysna Oyster Festival. It starts in the forest and ends in the town. They taxi runners into the forest from 4am in the morning, runners shrouded in old blankets and clothing, which is then discarded and donated to the needy in the community. It is apparently one of the most scenic races in SA. The cut off for the half marathon is three and a half hours and a quick calculation based on my current pace told me that if I could train myself to keep moving for 21.1 kilometres, I could actually finish within the time limits. Based on that, it seemed stupid not to just try and participate. You know… FOMO and all.

Most 21 k training plans available online work on a 10 or 12 week programme and as luck would have it, we are 12 weeks from the big race date. I am big on signs from the universe, and I am taking that as my sign!

Since I am already doing the basics, 5 or 6 kms, three times a week at RWFL, I figure if I start upping my distances gradually for the next few weeks, I should be fine… right? Right.

I am also using the race date as a goal date by which I want to lose another 10kgs. I’ve been battling to focus on my eating over the last few weeks so I think using the race as my motivation and eating clean and upping my distances on the road will be just the key to get my weight loss back on track.

I admit that I am a little terrified by the reality of three hours of run/walking but I am also really excited to have a big goal to work towards and a little holiday to look forward to. I was even more excited when I realised that a couple of friends have also signed up, including Jeanette and her husband. I have a feeling it will be a fabulous trip. Champagne, oysters and a little run through the forest – what could be better?

Two Oceans and a Parkrun

No… I didn’t do Two Oceans (yet) but Nick did! It’s only his second half-marathon and he’s absolutely rocking the long distances. The circumstances surrounding his entry were rather fortuitous – he won a competition at his work for an all expenses paid entry, with the only requirement from him being that he raise money for a charity of his choice. 

He successfully managed to raise a total of R10250.00 and he finished the race in the amazing time of 2:04.



I won’t tell a lie… I had some serious FOMO going on, with Nick and Jenty, as well as a friend from my office all in Capetown for the event. There is something really cool about being part of such a big race and I wanted to be a part of it. Although it’s a very long way to travel for a race, I would love to be a part of it all in 2016. 

While they huffing and puffing around Table Mountain, I was envisioning a weekend off from running. Our group was closed for the Easter weekend and I was planning to enjoy sleeping in and doing very little. But after skipping Thursday’s run, I was feeling a little antsy and realised I would need to squeeze in a run some time on weekend for my sanity. On Friday night, my sister-in-law suggested we do the Delta parkrun on Saturday morning and I jumped at the idea. 

After waking up at the crack of dawn to watch the start of the Two Oceans, Jess and I went off to our parkrun. It was loads of fun. I bumped into an old friend two kilometres into the route and chatted the rest of the three kilometres. 

It occurred to me after our run that it was probably a year since the first time I had attempted a park run and I went to my old Runkeeper records to hunt down the details of my previous time. The comparison between the two runs, 50 weeks apart proved to me, yet again that I’m definitely fitter and stronger than I ever have been! 

I love seeing stats like this. They keep things real and are hugely motivating for me. 





Racing Stripes – Part 2 – All about the bling!

I mentioned here that I participated in two races in February. The second race was quite a different experience to the first. It was the Gift of the Givers 10k walk. The deciding factor for entry for me was the fact that there was a medal and a cool goodie bag. After being awarded a mug at the KFC race, getting a medal was my main requirement for my next race.

The race took place in Eldorado Park and we had to leave before the birds to get to the race venue in time to pick up our race numbers. I seriously questioned my sanity on the night before the race, when I realised I would be setting my alarm for 3:30 AM. As it happened, I did not need the alarm because I did not sleep a wink that night. After realising I was okay with the distance in the previous race, I had replaced that concern with a whole new set of worries, like would I be holding back the walkers in my team especially since this was specifically a walking race and I pictured everyone doing that funny speed walk thing that I am yet to try. Yep – Miss Defeatist has an over-active imagination!

Despite my misgivings, I did get up at 3:30am and drove off in the dark of the night to meet my team mates. The hardest part is getting out of bed – once we were all together en-route, it became fun. While waiting for the starting gun, they played the Chariots of Fire theme and I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a tad teary. I can be such a sappy girl at times!

Sunrise Over Eldorado Park

I walked the race with a friend from the club, Kathy. She is a whole lot stronger and faster than me and I am ever so grateful for the fact that she pushed me all the way. I was amazed by how consistent our pace was. We finished in 1 hour 35 minutes, a whole 10 minutes faster than the Valentine’s night race and I felt quite emotional for the second time that day, as we approached the finish line.

Aside from receiving the medal and shaking hands with Dr Imtiaz Sooliman (the founder of GOTG) at the finish line, the highlight of my day was undoubtedly the iced coffee stall in the stadium. Never has anything tasted as amazing!!! Iced coffee will now be my go-to drink after a race!

I was very grateful to get back home and collapse into bed for a few hours after a hot bath and although I hobbled around for the rest of the day, it was all worthwhile as I had achieved my first precious race medal. It was all about the bling!

All about the bling!

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