A rambling update…

It has been just over a month since THE BIG RACE and a couple of weeks of back-to- normal. Normal being work, eat, sleep, run, rinse repeat. And it’s been hectic, which would account for my lack of recent blog posts. This particular post has been in draft form for days now!

I mentioned in my story about the race that I had some thoughts about my performance on the day and my future adventures with running. As much as I was, and still am thrilled with the achievement of having stayed upright and moving forward for 21.1km, I wasn’t all that thrilled by the amount of time it took me to finish. When I signed up, all I had wanted was to finish within the cut off, but as my training progressed and I was starting to feel stronger, I began to hope for a finish around the 3 hour mark. Three hours came and went and so did 3:10 and very nearly 3:20. The competitive, harsh inner critic within me absolutely hated that I was just running to finish and that I wasn’t up there with my fast friends. Miss Defeatist was kind of embarrassed by just how much of a plodder I really am. But I’ve a had a few weeks to contemplate things and I know that I was being a little hard on myself.

As always, I need to remind myself that the only person I am competing with is myself and that I have achieved so much more than physical fitness by doing this. I have proved to myself that I can indeed set and achieve a goal, hard work pays off, and I do have staying power. I have also learned that I have amazing supportive, loving friends who don’t judge me and that I have the power to inspire.

So where to from here?

I very quickly realised, once back from Knysna, that without another goal to move towards, my running would stagnate. I needed to find something else to look forward to and I want to be faster and finish stronger. So it was time to sign up for some more races. I started with the Totalsports Women’s Race this past weekend. It was loads of fun, well organised and lots of atmosphere. And there was a whole bunch of my running friends doing it too – that always makes the races more fun. My time was okay too – it wasn’t quite a PB, but considering the difficulty of the route, it very well could have been. And I just loved the gorgeous purple bracelet all the finishers received. So pretty! The inscription is “Women run this city

I’ve also signed up for two more half marathons for the year. When I went race hunting, my only real criteria was that the cut off needs to be 3:30. I am not confident that I can finish sub three hours yet. The first race I signed up for is the Gerald Fox/Sasfin race in September. When submitted my entry, I did it with much trepidation. Did I really want to commit to all that training again? Did I really want to put myself through that sort of challenge again? Could I even do it. Each press of the “next” button on the online entry was done with a bit of a grudge and a grumble, but once I hit submit, I felt relieved and a little more focused.

The other half marathon is the Soweto half, on the 1st of November. I’m really quite excited about this one. I think it will be a biggie and when I originally started thinking that one day I would like to do a half marathon, this was the one I had in mind.

So there we go… back to early weekend runs… watch this space!

Such a simple equation – not!

One of the reasons I joined RWFL last year was to lose weight and I certainly have lost weight. I am about 17 kilograms lighter than I was this time, last year. It would be awesome to say that I RunWalked the weight off, but it wouldn’t be the whole truth. I have heard it said that weight loss is 10% exercise and the balance is determined by diet. I can certainly attest to that. I didn’t start losing weight, despite regular walking sessions until I got serious about my food intake.

This is the point where I could launch into an essay on my chosen food plan (LCHF) but I am going in a different direction here.

I wish it was as straightforward as eat right and move and the weight will fall off. I guess if you are boiling the ingredients for a successful weight loss recipe down to their absolute essence, then it is that simple. The reality is quite different.

If running were as easy as just putting one foot in front of the other, it would be awesome… but lacing  up my running shoes and going out on the road is a huge head-game for me. Finding the motivation to keep going is a learned behaviour and I have a feeling it can easily be unlearned. I am too scared to stop moving now in case the unlearning happens 🙂

I think the same principle is even more relevant in respect of diet.

There are so many reasons I have used to eat and only one of them is Maslow’s basic need to nourish my body. I eat because I am happy, sad, bored, stressed, celebratory and commiseratory (yes – I just made up a word!) and every emotion in between.

To make my emotional relationship with food even more complicated, I also have an addict’s relationship with sugar. Yes, that’s right – I truly believe I am a sugar addict. A lick of icing, a square of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk or even a single Jelly Tot is a slippery slope into Binge Valley for me.

I am trying to unlearn these behaviours and teach myself new attitudes toward eating and it is hard, relentless work. I am having to learn to feel emotions instead of eat them and I have to learn to avoid food triggers like they’re poison.  Some days I succeed in my efforts and other days I fail miserably. Some days I actually look for reasons to trip myself up… so complicated is my head! But everyday is a new day to keep trying.

keep-trying-a-poem-by-pookyThis was a tough post for me to put out to the blogosphere. It is about an issue that is deeply personal for me and I am a little nervous about putting such personal stuff out for public consumption. But it’s been in my head for a few days and if it’s still in my head, maybe it need to come out on my keyboard. I imagine it may resonate with some readers and seem like complete nonsense to others… either way, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Hil xxx

It’s been a while!

Jenty reminded me a few days ago that there has been very little blogging activity from me in a few weeks, so I am back 🙂

I’ve been quiet for a couple of reasons. Firstly because life in general seems to have become really busy lately and between work, home and running, I just haven’t had time or energy to put fingers to keyboard. I decided to take today off and make this weekend a lovely long four day weekend and I feel like it’s been just the break I needed to regroup. I’ve slept late, read an entire book, eaten out a couple of times and just generally relaxed.

The second reason for my silence is because I have felt a little uninspired. There are only so many times that I can write about how I wasn’t a runner and now I am and that it is just the coolest thing ever. But since it is so very cool, I am sure you will forgive me for mentioning it a few times more in the future. But since I don’t want to become too repetitive, I think I may expand the subject nature of my posts to include more than just my running updates.

Speaking of updates, here is where I am at. I am going into week 7 of my 10 week half marathon training plan and I have been quite diligent about my training over the last few weeks. I won’t tell a lie… the long runs are hard hard hard and even though I am getting better at them but I do question my sanity and ability while I am at it. And I really have to talk down Ms Defeatist and her very vocal criticism. I do this all very silently though… I don’t want anyone calling men in white coats to collect me.

In other news, I’ve been running on my own a few times over the last few weeks, due to various work functions coinciding with the Run/Walk for Life sessions. What is interesting is that I discovered that I run more than I walk when I go off on my own, compared to when I am at a RWFL session. I think  that it is a bit of a habit thing. A mental shift is required on my part. I have become used to the routes and associating certain parts of the routes with my previous mental blocks about my abilities. I think I need to make a point of pushing myself in the segments of the routes where it has become my habit to walk (and moan about how much I hate hills!)

Oh and before I sign off, a race update. Last weekend, I did the Run/Walk for Life Soweto 10k. It was a bit of mission to get up early and drive out to Rockville, Soweto (then again, all those early morning starts feel like insanity) but the race itself turned out to be loads of fun. Such great community spirit with kids high-fiving  the runners and neighborhood folk shouting encouragement from their gardens. I was kind of amused by how, just after the race started, some young man shouted “Go Sissie” and near the end of the race, I heard another young man shouting “Run Mama” – apparently I aged visibly over the 10 kilometres!

My other amusement for the race – I thought that I was the only person who sets a competitor a few paces ahead as a marker for keeping up and hopefully passing. I had spied a young woman a few metres in front of me when we started running and I decided to try to speed up and pass her. I did pass her relatively easily, but not long after I passed her, I realised she was next to me, and then ahead of me again. We swopped places a few times and I heard her pant “I am not going to lose you!” Apparently, she had decided I was her marker. Eventually we exchanged names and pleasantries. To my delight, it turned out that I was a bit stronger than her and I left her behind on one of the hills and didn’t see her again. Me, competitive? Never. LOL!


An Event-full weekend!

I’ve mentioned before that I have discovered goal setting really helps me keep with this running thing. I have challenged myself to enter a race at least one race a month. Although I would be letting no one down except myself, I have discovered that I am a pretty hard task master and I don’t actually want to let myself down.

Although I procrastinated terribly about actually entering race, and literally entered just before the online entries closed, enter I did and the race I chose for March was the Denel 10k, which took place in Irene, Pretoria this past Saturday.

I panicked a whole lot less about this race compared to the races from a few weeks back. I knew I could do the distance. What worried me about this one was whether I could do it in a better time (which meant running at least a part of the distance) and do it on my own as I wasn’t going to have a partner distracting me from the distance like at the V-night race or setting the pace like the Gift of The Givers race. It also meant another ridiculously early start to the day, so another night of no sleep in anticipation of a 3:30 am alarm.


Sunrise over Irene
Sunrise over Irene

The race itself, once I was up and dressed and out the house, was great! Extremely well organised, good parking, nice route and of course, my rider for any race : a medal at the end (albeit one that is shaped like an army tank)

I coped really well with the distance and managed to run parts of the route with relative ease. I managed to knock about five minutes off my previous PB.


I think that the confidence in knowing I could finish helped, as well as the fact that I made a point of eating beforehand and making use of the water points for a little Coca-Cola boost. Although I try to bant the rest of the time, I gave myself a little leeway for some sugar then.

I spent the rest of Saturday recovering by napping and just generally doing as little as possible and although a little stiff, by Sunday I was ready to party the night away at the One Direction concert with my kids.


I am definitely getting stronger and I am starting to set my sights on doing longer distances… maybe a 15k, if I can find one and then perhaps… a half marathon???






Do something that scares you everyday (or The opening night for BOLD Birth Theatre, Joburg)

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Eleanor Roosevelt US diplomat & reformer (1884 – 1962)

Wow! I can’t believe that after months of talking, planning and rehearsing, we are finally here – we had our first performance for press and birth professionalslast night. It was great!!!

I’ll be honest – I was nervous about how it would be received. None of us are professional actresses and the most acting any of us had done until now was a bit of highschool/uni drama. And that was a long long time ago! We decided to perform the play with our scripts in hand, to help with the confidence levels, make sure the stories flowed and were portrayed accurately. I was concerned that whilst this was clearly an amateur performance, that having scripts in hand would make it look even more amateurish. But I think my fear was unfounded. We all knew our parts really well and while the scripts were there as a comfort blankie, I don’t think they detracted from the story at all!

There were lots of nerves, lots of rescue remedy drops were consumed, lots of calming essential oils were inhaled (don’t laugh, most of us are birthy, slightly crunchy girls who believe in that sort of thing!) and we all had a glass of red wine beforehand to alleviate the jitters.

And then it was time. With the first laugh from the audience, I knew we would be okay. One of the tag lines from the play is “My body rocks” and last night we definitely rocked!

During the interval, we were happy – it was going well and confidence levels were up, but so were my nerves… my “big scene” happens in Act 2. But it went so well – no lines forgotten or skipped… after that it was smooth swift sailing to the end. WE DID IT!

There was an interesting discussion after the play with the audience about the content and message of the play and that was kind of the point of it all – we are all activists for better birth experiences for mothers the world over and this was activist theatre. If you left the auditorium with something to think about, then I believe that we did what we set out to do.  

One of the highlights of the evening was to meet Karen Clarke, the founder of Busfare Babies – they are the beneficiary of all of our performances and they deserve every cent for the wonderful work that are doing with rural mothers in Hamburg, Eastern Cape.

We ended the night on such a high, chatting and hungrily consuming the leftovers from the cheese and wine function held before the event – with the nerves gone, we were all ravenous!

And we do it all over again on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

Some photos from last night can be viewed on Jenty’s blog.

For more info check out our Facebook page and our website… and book your tickets!!!

Being BOLD

A couple of months ago one of my friends from our doula community decided she would like to either stage a performance or a screening of the play “Birth” by Karen Brody. “Birth” is the Vagina Monologues for the birthing world and something about this idea grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. Maybe it was the high school drama club in me that needed some attention but I volunteered to get involved and here are – a few months down the line with venues, performance dates set, a website up and running and publicity starting.

In addition to assisting with the organising, I am playing the role of Janet in the play. Janet is a lesbian woman in her early 40’s who decides to have a baby. She is strong willed and I love her determination in spite of what her peers think.

The proceeds of our performances will go in part to BOLD and in part to Busfare Babies.

Bold is an international movement to make maternity care mother-friendly and there have been hundreds of these fundraising performances of Birth around the world since 2006.

Busfare Babies is a local non profit birth house situated in the Eastern Cape whose aim is to bring gentle, safe birth to local rural women.

Please check out our website and if this is a cause which speaks to you, please support us by seeing our play or donating to our cause or forwarding details on to whoever you think would be keen to help!

A meme to get started again…

Yes, In Hil’s Head has been sadly neglected following my attempt at a blog post each day for a month earlier this year. Which is not to say that nothing has been going on In Hil’s Head – just that Hil couldn’t be arsed to write about it!

So in the spirit of getting things going again… a meme I found over at Jenty’s blog…

Right now, I am perfecting my work avoidance technique.

I’m currently obsessed with loom knitting, low carb eating and yoga
Cannot live without my husband and kids.
I’m reading Fifty Shades of Grey – lousy writing but everyone is doing it…
I’m listening to The Black Keys

Favourite place in Joburg is Parkhurst

Favourite place in SA is Knysna
Favourite place in the world is London
I’ve lived in Jozi and Witbank
Next up on my bucket list is to write a bucket list
The last thing I crossed of my bucket list the heading “Bucket List”
I realized I was an adult when I started doing monthly grocery shopping
I realized I’d never be an adult when my mom gave Marie Biscuits and milk after I had my wisdom teeth out
In the movie of my life, I want to be played by Anne Hathaway
Best invention since the wheel: My iPhoneand iPad
A house is not a home without the trail of mess my kids leave behind as they get home from school
This week I’m crushing on Adam LevineNeed I say more?
I’m currently working on the courage to plan yet another birthday party (Claire turns 7 in two weeks!)
I’m really proud of my art
You’d be amazed if I showed you my handbag and what it holds
I cannot survive winter without lip balm, my electric blanket and my gas heater
My signature dish is Butter Chicken and Chocolate Brownies
Guilty pleasure is Pick ‘n Pay Honeydew’s Bar One doughnuts
When no-one’s looking, I check my phone for a Facebook update
In my next life I want to be naturally skinny
Every morning, I lie in bed for too long and swear that the next morning I will get out of bed earlier
I believe that happiness is created.
I’ve really got to work on my doula business and art skills
Best advice I was ever given was to listen to your intuition
Now it’s your turn…

Great Heart

We were fortunate to be given tickets to see Johnny Clegg at the Lyric theatre tonight. I love his music and the sense of belonging and connection it gives me with the land of my birth. Tonight was the first time I have seen him perform live.

As he started singing “Spirit of the Great Heart”, tears started streaming down my face. You know how it is when you’re crying in a movie and you don’t really want people to see? The first tear falls and you surreptitiously wipe it away and hope that no one noticed, and also that it’s the last tear. But then another falls, and another and trying to hide the tears becomes futile…

It’s a moving song, but there is a little personal story attached to that song for me. It was 1986 and I was about 8 or 9 years old. My parents had taken my sister and I to Top Star drive-in to watch “Jock of the Bushveld”. Spirit was a song on the soundtrack to this movie about a brave loyal Staffie.

We all came home a little sad about Jock. My mom put the kettle on for a last cup of tea for the evening and my dad went out to take Jessie, our aging Boxer for a quick walk. He came in just a moment later, in shock, telling us our lovely white dog had passed away. I remember us all sitting at our round kitchen table, drinking tea and crying. It was the first time I ever saw my dad cry. My big,strong, strict, sometimes scary dad. Crying. There are defining moments as you grow up where you realize that your parents are just human. That was one of those moments.

“Spirit of the Great Heart” will forever be tied up with Jock, Jessie and my dad’s tears and I will probably never be able to hear or even think about it without feeling a little weepy.

I found my spirits of the great heart.

What’s a doula to do?

I am getting ready, mentally and physically, to be a doula at a birth soon. I don’t take on many births so this is a challenge for me.

I am refreshing my knowledge of the practicalities, accupressure points, aromatherapy oils.

I must gather the contents of my doula kit – it hasn’t been used in a while and the important bits have been relocated elsewhere – for example, the rescue remedy is in my medicine chest and the tea tree oil next to my bath, the rice bag is next to my bed.

It will be a home birth – I need to get my head around that. Most of my experience is birth unit based births. I need to consider all new aspects of birth that I may be faced with when helping to deliver a baby at someone’s home.

Most importantly, I need to get into the right headspace to be of value to the expectant couple.

I need to build up my confidence levels – know that I was chosen for a reason and they will appreciate my presence. Thicken my skin in preparation for dealing with a challenging midwife. 

And then I need to empty my cup

24/31 Is there anything new under the sun?

“Originality is the art of concealing your sources” ~Benjamin Franklin

Last night I introduced my husband, via the wonders of YouTube, to an singer he was unfamiliar with. His comment was that he liked her general sound but she was not particularly original. I got to thinking then… Is anything ever original? And should we dismiss artists if we consider them unoriginal?

I can’t comment much with regard to music – I am not the audiophile my husband is. I simply listen and either like or dislike. I rarely remember names of bands or musicians, never mind song titles or lyrics. But I can comment as a visual artist.

I paint from references. It was the way I was taught at school. Sometimes the references are mixed up. A face from here, a hand from there and a pattern from somewhere else. I have often had people ask me whether I paint from memory or where I get my ideas from. They seem almost disappointed when I tell them that I paint from other pictures – mostly photographs, but occasionally other artworks.

I have a Jack Vettriano painting hanging on the wall in my lounge. Except it is not Vettriano’s work, it is my my own. I copied one of his paintings, as an exercise in technique. I was pleased with the result and had it framed. The lady at the framing shop tutted in disapproval as did a visitor to my home. I wasn’t trying to pass the work off as someone else’s. I was simply trying to learn the technique of an artist who I thought to be talented and was proud of my attempt.

Sometimes, my ideas an art piece are more abstract or I want to try working with different media. I then scour the Internet, searching for artists who may have tried similar techniques. I like to see their methods and results. At the moment, I really want to attempt a stylised picture etched onto canvas. I have seen it done and loved the effect. The only way I can imagine doing it is to paint Polyfilla onto canvas and then carve or etch into it. I am searching the web to find examples of this technique before I attempt it myself.

Perhaps a fear of failure or criticism makes me hesitant to just experiment and play? As a (mostly) self taught artist, I know no other way to create.

I often doubt my artistic talent and I wonder whether my concerns about lack of originality has something to do with my self doubt?

I would love to hear what other creatives think about this?