Tiaan & Kim Taute

Once upon a time there was a fair maiden, that had a heart to help others and she became a nurse. While this profession filled her heart with joy, she had so much more love to give and knew that there was a gentleman out there waiting and praying for her.

Off in a distant town was just such a gentleman. A man that had made a promise to the Lord that he would not date in 2015 but keep his focus on his relationship with God. He wanted to share his love and dedication to the Lord with a friend and therefore he reached out in his community via social media for this friend.
Cue the Lord, His impeccable timing and His testing of our sincerity to promises that we make as Kim answered Tiaan’s message. Tiaan met his soul mate.
Their friendship grew in strength as Tiaan kept his promise and when 2016 rolled in, he eventually took the love of his life on a date.
Fast forward to March 4th 2017 when friends and family got to witness their promises to each other before the Lord.

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Frolicking at a Fantastic Establishment – Escapology …

Kim stayed and dressed at the most eclectic and cool (if I may be forgiven for my casual slang) guest house out there, ‘The Warehouse’ part of the Escapology portfolio of guest houses. Nothing encapsulates the photographic spirit more than bold colours and little details everywhere; A playground of opportunity. The only drawback is that there is so much to choose from, where does one start and when must one end?

Warehouse – Escapology

Oh and the bride was there as well…

A festive atmosphere danced through the house as the bridal party readied themselves for the ceremony and celebrations. Make up beautifully applied by Megan from @Peace with skin & Body, allowing for Kim’s ‘outside’ to match the beauty within.

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On to putting on the last dress you will ever where… dum dum duuuuuum… okay maybe not literally but the moment feels just as epic.

Waiting, everyone holds their breath as they see a mere mortal enter the layers of white tulle below and emerge an angelic figure above. Sighs of pleasure as there is nothing more beautiful than a bride.

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Who God has joined in matrimony…

Was the Bride late you ask?  No… they never are, everyone else is simply early.

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The ceremony took place at the AFM Pentecostal church in Noordheuwel where the couple are regular members. There was such sincerity of emotion present, from Pastor Greg Van Der Merwe’s sermon to the couple’s vows; someone pass me a tissue please.

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One Flesh…

Next stop was the botanical gardens where this wonderful couple’s love and passion radiated from them.  Hotstuff…

To end on a high note, celebrating with friends and family…

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Thank you to my second shooter Adrianne Janse van Rensburg for dealing with my crazy all day. 

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Thank you Tiaan and Kim for allowing me to capture this momentous occasion, and may God bless your union always.

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The Wedding Gift. – A short story

“Maaaaa!” I shrieked as I fumbled with the buttons on my ‘over the top’ wedding dress.  There were so many layers of lace, netting, and bows enveloping my body that if I were spotted by a salesman from the oriental plaza, I would be scooped up and placed on a rack.  My frustrated tears delicately walk the tightrope of panic as I grab at my hair and attempt to straighten it.  I had monstrosities of tightly wound curls engulfing my head and my spirit.    How did I let this get so out of hand?

I thought back to the numerous arguments that I had, had with my fiancé Malcolm over his mother Catherine’s demands.  An overwhelming and tenacious woman who raised her son to be a mommy’s boy; sorry love I thought but it is true; which subsequently meant that she always got her way.  I should have dug my heels in.  I mean can love really conquer this?

My eyes drag my sight back to the mirror; I am straight out of an 80’s wedding catalogue wearing Catherine’s old wedding dress and I am not sure what is bigger, my hair or my bitter disappointment.

 

My mom eventually comes in to find me sitting glumly in the corner.  She raises one eyebrow which tells me then and there that I was not going to be getting any sympathy from her.  She grabs my arm and lurches me up.  She straightens my skirts and reminds me that I was about to marry the love of my life.  “God does not worry about what you are wearing while you are making the promise, as long as you mean it and you keep it.”  To her credit, she didn’t even flinch when, while saying this, a bow that she had been straightening came off in her hands.  She merely tossed it into the bin and set about mounting my veil.  Once I was fully assembled, my mom came and stood in front of me, she looked me up and down, and I could see a hint of smile.  I lifted an eyebrow and we both broke out in giggles, hysterical giggles in fact.  My dad banged on the door and demanded to know if we were crying or laughing and wasn’t it time to leave already.  My mom told him to be patient and repaired my tear-streaked makeup.  She proceeded to pull out a hidden shoe box, which inside held the most incredible pair of high heels.  The strap would tie around my ankle and swarovski crystals would checker the bridge of my foot.  My eyes twinkled and a grin broke out on my face as I kicked off the sensible satin pumps I was wearing.

This would still be the best day of my life.

xxx

Rebecca saw Malcolm’s eyes widen at the sight of her.  She squeaked out an involuntary giggle, Malcolm hated frills and fuss.  Serves him right for not putting a stop to his mother’s interference.  She floated down the aisle with her island of swoosh escorted by her very proud and much hidden father.  Handing her over to her groom was no easy feat for him, not emotionally mind, logistically due to the sheer volume of her dress.  Malcolm leaned over and whispered, “I am not at all surprised at your attire; after all, tarts should be dressed in meringue.”  Rebecca choked on the gasp that resulted from his cheeky remark.  Her cheeks flamed red even though she knew he was just teasing her.  He winked and turned in mock concentration to the Pastor.  The heat in her cheeks spread to her heart, her mom was right she thought while studying his side profile, the attire didn’t matter, the substance did.  She turned with a huge grin and faced the Pastor.

“Now ladies and gentlemen,” the jovial pastor said loudly.  “I’ve come to the portion of the vows that the groom has been dreading.  Does anybody here know of any reason or just cause why these two should not enter into holy matrimony.”  There was chuckling in the congregation as the priest ogled them with mock sternness.  “So no exes come to give it one last try.”  He teased further.  “Very well, let us move on.”  Before the pastor could continue to declare them husband and wife, much to the shock of the couple and the delight of the audience in the pews, the church doors burst open.  Rebecca heard a curse escape from her dad’s lips, and could picture her mother narrow her eyes.  She saw Catherine, feign a faint at the thought of a scandal while Malcolm’s dad, Graham, simply looked bemused.  It was a very surreal moment as the light from behind the figure in the doorway gave the silhouette an ethereal appearance.  When the figure stepped forward, Rebecca locked eyes with the disruption at the door.  He was a blonde, broad-shouldered, tall stranger hosting pools of sea green eyes.  The fear hosting in them transfigured to confusion momentarily as a strange buzz passed between her eyes and his.  A recognition of souls of sorts, an entrancing feeling like she knew this man in a previous life.  The loud wail that shot like a rocket through the church bouncing of its beautiful walls knocked them back into the present.  Next to ‘hypno-eyes’ was a very pregnant lady, panting and breathing like Rebecca had seen pregnant ladies in the movies do.  Malcolm looked at Rebecca for answers but she shrugged her shoulders and stretched her eyes.  The pastor recovered and broke the tense silence.  “Can we help you son?”  The stranger replied in a deep strained voice.  “I am sorry to interrupt but my name is Travis and my wife is in labour.  We were on the way to the hospital when my car just died literally outside the church yard.  Can anyone help to fix it or take us to a hospital or phone an ambulance?”  Panic pitching his voice near the end of the sentence.  Everybody spoke at once then and jumped forward to help.  Rebecca’s mother was already by the pregnant lady instructing her to lie down while the men sorted the car.  “What is your name lamb? She asked the young woman calmly, “Anne,” said the frightened mother to be.  Teresa soothed and coached Anne while Rebecca and Malcolm stared flabbergasted at their hi-jacked ceremony.  Rebecca’s farther directed and instructed guests to move onto the reception, assuring them that he would fill them in on any details they would miss.  “Malcolm!” Rebecca eventually exclaimed. “You’re a vet, let’s go help.”  Although his eyes bulged at her he agreed that of course, he would help at once.  Malcolm addressed Rebecca’s mother politely as he asked her to move over.  She eyed him slightly sceptical but soothed the protesting Anne.  “Now don’t you worry Anne, Malcolm here is not trying to get his kicks from this, he is a Vet and has birthed many animals.”  This only made Anne groan more.  Malcolm gave them all a confident smile but only Rebecca saw the twitch in his right hand, a tell-tale sign that he was nervous.

Rebecca’s nerves just could not take it and she knew it was bad timing but she really had to go wee wee.  She tried to get a lady companion as is normal, even customary among the woman to escort her but she could not convince anyone to leave the action.  The desperate fear of weeing in her dress had her rushing off to attempt the feat on her own.  She eyed the little cubicle she was supposed to occupy and knew she would smother in material or worse, wee on the blasted thing.  She would have to undress.  She twisted and bent her arms and body, cursing herself for not being more diligent at attending yoga as she battled to get her zip down.  Exertion turning her face red and panic of a full bladder caused sweat to coat her forehead.  She eventually achieved her escape and said her prayers of thanks as she made it onto the toilet in time.  Now that her thoughts were able to control her mind again they turned her back to the events of the day and namely to the strange sensation when she had locked eyes with the stranger named Travis.  The sense of recognition was so strong, yet she knew that she had never seen this man before.  She could not escape the feeling that he would be impacting her future.  The question of how was the part that was raising the hairs on the back of her neck.

For a second time that day, Travis burst through a door and now he was face to face with Rebecca.  The electricity in the air, the intenseness in their gaze took Rebecca’s breath away.  He nodded slightly as if to acknowledge that he felt it too and then coughed for her to realise that while dazed in her thoughts, she had forgotten to finish putting herself back in her dress.  Rebecca blushed, an intense pink brighter than her make-up and held her dress to her chin.  “Your husband said I should come wash my hands before I catch my baby boy” he muttered.  She stammered that he could’ve done so in the Gents toilet and he kindly pointed to the urinal that was mostly obscured from her vision by her train.  Her distress had meant that she hadn’t immediately realised the gravity of what he had said.  “Did you say that you are going to catch your baby boy?” she enquired astonished.  He nodded as he made his way to the sink and started scrubbing his hands.  Poor Malcolm she thought.  Travis gave her dress a strange look, smiled at her and left the bathroom.

She sat down.  She wanted to be part of the action but could she really watch a lady giving birth?  She realised that, of course, she wanted to see it but more importantly, she needed to support Malcolm.  He was catching a baby for goodness sake.

With fresh determination she got herself dressed and rushed back to the pew that was about to host a miracle.

Rebecca made it just in time as Anne gave her last push and the baby boy entered this world.  Amazement was reflected on each face, love and adoration streamed from the new parents as well as from her almost husband.  Malcolm was her hero and she knew he would forever be, she furiously congratulated and kissed him.  The paramedics rushed in and took in the strange and happy scene; they gave Malcolm a slap on the back and took over.  The new parents thanked Malcolm profusely as they were loaded into the ambulance, apologising for interrupting the wedding.  An amazed and dazed wedding party laughed and cheered them on, waving till red tail lights disappeared around the corner.  “Well, shall we get married now?” Rebecca asked Malcolm feigning non-interest as if she didn’t mind either way.  A huge grin was the reply she received.

 

Once again Rebecca stood in front of God and the pastor beside her groom expressing her vows.  There was so much more depth in them this time round.  The shared experience had added such richness to the day, she had foolishly imagined that her high heels held the secret power she needed but it had been the love experienced in all forms during the course of the day that held the true magnificence.

She briefly pondered the strange connection to the stranger Travis but had a feeling that was for another life and another reason.

Emergency Muscle Seeking – EMS Training

It has been nearly two month since Comrades, six weeks that I have been injured and stagnant.  Why you wonder didn’t I take my lazy bum to alternative non-impact training, well because of the F word.  FLU!  A nasty strain that got its tentacles into me like a tick, and like the bloodsuckers if not handled correctly at first discovery it can lead to a long recovery road full of setbacks.  Now I am way behind my fellow runners in training for the upcoming season, and upcoming races are nipping at my heels, once a pleasant running companion is now a little runt biting at my ankles.  I had to come up with a make-up strategy quickly.

I had a nice long moan about it all to my sister, as one does.  I expected to extract the maximum sympathy that is my due as per the laws governing sibling relationships.   However I received not one tut, sigh or consolatory grimace.  The more I moaned the bigger her grin grew.  Needless to say I thought my sister was broken and mentally added this to my friendship moan share list, to be discussed with my bestie later.  My sister cut me off mid-sentence, grabbed my shoulders and put her face into my face and shouted, “’LISTEN, I HAVE AN IDEA! You need to come and train at my EMS studio, BODY 20.”  I was sceptical because I am a serious athlete (cough, cough, just go with it) and all I could think of was those infomercials with the belt that pulses and miraculously gives you a six pack.

Now if there is something that my sister and I have in common, it is that we have uber and uber amounts of energy and if we direct it into one specific idea there is NO RESISTING or getting away from it.  Picture if you will the Harry Potter scene with Harry and Voldemort’s wands locked in battle, streams of energy with ghostly figures talking in your ear and total pandemonium.  Now imagine all that directed at you.

That’s how I found myself last week at her Body 20 studio being fully accessed.  Now they say the scale don’t lie, but the scale aint got nothing on their futuristic contraption.  It feels strangely Star Trek Voyager  standing there as the machine scans you and reveals your results.

Here am in the picture below, fully exposed, down to the skeleton naked, my results.  I must say, what a relief to see evidence that I have a heavy bone structure, not a heavy butt, ok, well since you caaaan see my results, maybe a slightly heavy butt too.   Check the Body 20 website to understand what all the results mean.  The recommendation for me to be at peak level is to lose 1.9kg’s.

http://www.body20.co.za/emsresults.html

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Some info on EMS training from, the Body 20 website:  http://www.body20.co.za/ems.html

ELECTRO MUSCLE STIMULATION (EMS)

Just one Body20 workout is equivalent to 5 conventional weight training sessions

Body20 Studio EMS (Electro Muscle Stimulation) mimics the natural action of our central nervous system, sending electrical impulses to contract our deep muscle fibres. In just a 20 minute training session, your personal trainer will put you through a customised 1 on 1 program – giving your body over 150 times more muscle contractions than a conventional workout.

 

Depending on your level of fitness and goals, your training session is either low impact (with basic exercises to awaken muscles) or highly intense, with strong contractions and dynamic exercises to activate deep muscle hypertrophy. Body20 trainers customise every program to suit their client, from heavy strength training to fat and cellulite reduction regimes.

 

So back to my Saturday morning, I am strapped into my hi-tech gear and our trainer has our machines set to our appropriate fitness levels, I say a little prayer that I will not give my sister any reason to laugh at me and our training begins.

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Pre-training selfies 

We are a few minutes into our training when the managing director Bertus Albertse walks in.  Oops I wonder; why are they calling the boss in.  I envisioned him saying “Lelani Jansen you are ridiculous!” *side note: I may have watched Bridget Jones to often and regularly speak to myself in a British accent.  However, he instead took over our training and motivated us to get the best out of our workout and we certainly did.  I felt absolutely exhilarated, like after I have run a particularly gruelling hill and my muscles have worked but instead of draining me it has energised me.  What a feeling, and also what a privilege to be trained by the big man himself.  *On another side note, my butt hurt really bad for days, thanks Bert.

IMG-20160717-WA0002 Lunge it out… 

After the session, Bertus reviewed my evaluation and explained what it all meant.  He also said the magical F word to me…Fast.  That really grabbed my attention.  Could I utilise this training to recover from my injury, get to the level I was before and then improve my running times.  My eyes sparkled reflectively as words like fast twitch muscle activation and explosive training sprang from his lips and glittered the world around me.  I could maybe become the fast runner I was yearning inside to be, faster than now anyhow.  Note to self, even a tortoise has a PB.

So now I have added a weekly EMS session to my training regime and will keep you posted weekly as to my results.  Also see my post coming soon, Drowning after Comrades to read about my harrowing swimming adventures as this tortoise puts on a turtle shell.

 

SUPERFOOD OFF

I would just like to let you all know that I am indeed trendy.  I acquired such status when I frequented an organic produce establishment and bought myself a large bunch of Kale, ensuring that all in said establishment saw my super health conscientious purchase.  I knew to purchase this Super Kale; not to be confused with Superman Kal-El mind; from all the blogs I had been reading lately.  There I was exchanging the noose of society from my purse for the freedom of super health, smiling self-assuredly whilst simultaneously leaning over to my friendie Candice and whispering, “So what do I actually do with it?”  My dear friend patiently and indulgently smiled at me, replying that I should cook it like spinach.  I stared at her while crickets chirped in the background.  Two thoughts came to mind, I have to cook ?! and Then why not just eat spinach?!

There is only one way to solve that Conundrum… A DANCE OFF… uuum no, A COOK OFF…no wait, a SUPERFOOD OFF… Yes! *disclaimer, the word off in the title has no connotation to the state of the freshness the food.

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        KALE                                SPINACH

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ROUND 1 – NUTRITIONAL VALUE

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Info received from http://nutritiondata.self.com/

The winner will be dependant on your individual needs.

My Winner: KALE

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ROUND 2 – TASTE / RECIPES

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Baked Kale and Egg Dish

I made my own variation with what I had in the fridge of a recipe I found on a blog called Kalyns Kitchen.

What I had in Fridge/Pantry:orley

*Kale                                                                                   *Orley Whip (dairy-free version of cream)

*Mozzarella Cheese                                                       * Chicken Breast

*Tomatoes                                                                         *Eggs

*Garlic, Herbs and Spices

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  • My Kale was already in strips, I fried it in olive oil with some garlic,chilli and Himalayan salt.
  • I beat my eggs and Orley whip together, adding some herbs and spices.
  • I topped my chicken breast with a few squirts of lemon juice, salt and rosemary then grilled it in the oven.
  • I then put my ensemble together; I sprayed my dish with spray and cook. I sliced the chicken breast and layered the bottom of the dish.  I added the kale next, followed by the cheese.  Then I poured the egg mixture over it all .  I topped it off with slices tomato on top and seasoned the top.  I baked the mixture till ready.

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Despite a sceptical husband, the dish was a hit and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2012/05/recipe-for-baby-kale-mozzarella-and-egg.html

 

Tomato & Spinach Soup

I wanted to make a dish other than creamed spinach as I did not want to disguise the taste of the spinach and so I attempted a Spinach soup.

 

When I said I would be serving spinach soup, the eyebrows on the male members of my family drew up high and I saw their eyes wander over to the bread bin, no doubt convinced that they will not enjoy it and would have to assemble a sandwich.  However, they ate every morsel that they were served and that says a lot.

I once again used what I had on hand in the fridge and pantry.

What I had in the Fridge/Pantry:spi

*Spinach                                                              *Lean Mince

*Onion                                                                 *Tomatoes

*Garlic, Herbs and Spices                             *Spirit Vinegar

  • I chopped my tomatoes( about 6 large ones) and seasoned them.
  • I chopped my onions (two large ones)
  • I seasoned my mince.
  • I boiled my kettle.
  • I add all my ingredients into my trusty pressure cooker. Tomatoes and onions first,mince and then spinach followed by garlic, herbs and chilli spices.  Then the boiled water, enough to have a soup consistency and a dash of vinegar.  Leaving it to cook for 30 minutes.
  • I stirred and mushed the soup before I served it.

Despite enjoying both meals…

My Winner is:Spinach & Kale because like I said because both meals were delicious.

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FINAL ROUND – AVAILABILITY

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As a work day draws to the close, you pack up and make your way home, on route you are struck with a craving for the greens, as one does.  Any grocer or shop will offer you spinach but Kale is still a novelty green in these parts.  You will have to go to specific markets for your Super Kale. The upside to that is the experience, the choice and the fun you can have at the market.

My winner is: Spinach

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I choose not to choose between Spinach or Kale.  I enjoy both and I will have either or at least once a week.

 

The Ultimate Human Race…

A Comrades Poem

Twas the night before Comrades, when all along the coast

Not a runner was stirring, not even to boast;

The race numbers were hung on club shirts with great care,

In hopes that come morning, you are prepared;

 

The novices were nestled all snug in their beds;

While visions of Bill Rowan medals danced in their heads;

Repeat offenders, with race plans in their lap,

Knew sleep was elusive but praying for the odd nap.

 

When out at a B&B arose such a clatter,

Barely past midnight there’s Lani trying to sort out an injury matter.

Stretching and pulling and downward dogging away,

Begging her feet to not ruin the day.

 

The moon on the breast of fierce determination,

Thoughts of strong running and perhaps some precipitation,

When what to her horror did then appear,

Lack of breathing born out of fear,

Falling to her knees lively and quick,

She knew where to draw strength, she knew the trick.

 

She prayed, and she cried, and she called on his name:

“Please my Lord, here I am and humbly I pray!

Hold me and guide me and carry me all the way!

To the top of Inchanga! To the Comrades honour wall!

May a bail bus not entice me or catch me at all!

To Arthur’s seat so I may doff my hat and lay down a flower

To charging into the stadium displaying the works of your mighty power.

And then she knew she would finish come what may,

As the peace descended there was only one thing left to say;

 “Happy Comrades to all, and to all a good day!”

 

Comrades nightmares had the bogeyman sulking as his ratings dropped in May.  Night sweats induced by chasing cut offs and night screams echoing off 1000 hills.  Novices ignorantly fearing fitness levels and fatigue, not a clue about the pain we were about to be schooled in.

I had no such nightmare, however.  Grinning like a lunatic every time the C word was breathed out loud, I was just excited and had been ever since I had entered.  I was convinced that I would absolutely love it, that I would train hard and therefore have a wonderful race.  I did train hard(see training blog) and I enjoyed all my races leading up to the big C; even though I didn’t do as well as I would’ve liked to; however, I can now say that Comrades lived up to its slogan, It will humble you.

 

It was only the week before Comrades that fear finally settled in.

My Top Fears:

Injury

One thought that plagued my mind was that Lindsey parry said that most people that start the ‘down run’ Comrades with an injury would not finish.  I bought my new shoes just before my ultra marathon, Loskop, but I hadn’t realised that I had accidentally purchased the incorrect model, Cumulus instead of Nimbus.  I hoped it would not matter but the pain in my feet by the end of my race told a different story.  The pain was quite intense but I did not want to give it any credence, I just massaged my feet and kept training in those shoes.  I thought my feet and legs would adjust.  A week before Comrades though I was still having trouble and decided to run Comrades in my old shoes.

The Distance

Then there was the fear that I had not trained enough, tapered too soon or that I did not have the mental and physical strength to complete the distance.  A year of absolute faith in myself had disappeared.  I had to turn to family, friends and fellow runners to be my confidence.

Old Haunts

My friend got hit by a car on the 12 October 2014.  We were running early morning and a car oversteered and hit my friend.  He sustained injuries to his left arm including a shattered elbow and was in ICU for several days.  He recovered and still managed to run a 09:58:50 Comrades 2015.  I walked away from the accident physically unscathed but a day later I suffered a panic attack.  This was the start of months of terrifying panic attacks.  I am a happy-go- lucky-nothing-gets-me down type of person and I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me.  Suddenly a fearless lady was irrationally scared.  It took faith, love and one day at a time to slowly recover from my Post Traumatic Stress.  Remnants of its nasty breath however still whisper in my ear and breezes on the nape of my neck when I’m in a stressful situation.

 

What I didn’t realise as a Novice

It hurts, It hurts a lot. 

You are told it would but you just cannot comprehend what they mean.    Yes, I had feet issues but besides that.  Your body hurts.  I did cross training and running and really thought I would only have some slight discomfort.  Arrogantly, Ignorantly Novice…

 

It is Lonely

You are surrounded by the most amazing people.  Enthusiastic runners, buoyant and magnificent supporters.  The cheering, the call of your name yet they cannot stop the pain in your legs.  They cannot do the distance for you.  You need to pull it out and do it.

 

Where I am

I kept asking people where we were.  I wanted to know when I was running on a famous hill or a prominent landmark in the race.  I discovered that most people didn’t actually know where we were either.

 

You can do more than you think.

The shear distance seemed impossible until I did it.  (I can’t help grinning as I say that. I did it). YOU CAN DO IT!

 

The Actual Race

A wide-eyed grinning novice, I found my seeding pen F and I looked around in disbelief.  I was really here.  I strolled around, blanket wrapped around my legs just giggling.  Probably hysterics but hey.  Eventually, my pen started filling up and I was surrounded by nervous excited energy.  There were tons of 0’s on the race bibs around me and I felt rallied #teamnovice!  Being a shorty I could not see much once we were penned in but I could see the clock on City hall, lights playing off of the building.  What an amazing ambience.  Then the national anthem started, tears flowed down my face as I sang with a full proud heart.  I say ‘Nkosi ‘as loud as I sang ‘Uit die Blou’ and so did the African girl next to me.  We locked eyes on “UNITED WE SHALL STAND” and grinned.  Thereafter we sang and danced on Shosholoza, the energy of the 16000 runners moving like a Mexican wave from pen to pen and back.When Chariots of Fire started my roller-coaster of emotions took me back to teary status.  I couldn’t wait for the legendary Cockcrow that announced the start gun was about to go.  “BOOOOOM” and we were off,oh no we weren’t.  We shuffled like awkward penguins making our way to the start line.  Seven minutes later I crossed the mat and I officially started running the Comrades.

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photo credit: Comrades website

The body takes over and does what it does.  I was running and in my happy place.  As I said the body takes over and does what it does so I found myself making a porta potty stop within a few kilometres.  Stressing out my avid supporters as my little dot on the tracker stagnated.  My friend Cherie found me there and we happily embarked on the first 10km’s or so together.  So I ran on and slowly met up with other club members, said hello, did a few km’s with them and then moved on.  I was not sure when to walk and when to keep running so I followed my fellow runners and soon I was through the first checkpoint.  The niggles in my feet started soon after and by halfway, I was in a lot of pain.  I loved reaching every new milestone was thrilled to find myself on iconic hills, places I had heard of so often since childhood.  My fuelling was perfect and I never ran out of energy but by 30kms to go I was in agony.  I starting praying for courage and strength.  Help came in the form of angel in green, a fellow runner from my hometown wearing green cross earrings, and I remember thinking as I saw them, oh it will be ok, God has sent me a friend.

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Photo credit: Ben Burger

Although I still had to do the hard work to get to the end, she was at my side all the way, gently guiding me.  Our last three km’s we were running zoned out, a cool breeze blowing and people cheering us on.  My mantra, keep moving and the road will end, keep moving and the road will end.  When we turned the corner and I saw the stadium, I already started crying, as I cried I laughed running in,I also realised that I hadn’t looked at my watch at all and had no idea what my time was.  I had wanted to do a sub 11.  The fact that I was now running into the stadium despite my agony with the applause and the cheers, I didn’t mind if the time was 11.59 as long as I made it to the finish and completed this journey.  I could not even imagine the feeling of entering the stadium.  It was beyond amazing and I was once again grinning like an idiot.  I was grinning and laughing and crying and eventually I saw the clock at 11.03 and I was over the finish line.  I had finished.  I had  completed the Comrades marathon and on that road, I left behind my self-doubt, fear and the last of the hold that my post-traumatic stress had over me.  I then knew, I am strong and I need not fear anything because “ I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me”

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On a side note, we stayed in a wonderful B&B in Howick.  The Mulberry Hill Guest House.

Click for the website as I definitely recommend it…

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What are you running from?

 

“Don’t you own a car?”  “I get tired driving that far never mind running.”  “You are crazy!”

And I say to you sir, “Yes I own a car; perhaps your lack of energy whilst driving is attributed to the inhalation of car fumes or low blood sugar; and Yes I am very aware of my mental state so there is no need for the tone of alarm when you declare this.

Being a runner, I have heard all kinds of jibes from the lazyman, oops sorry the layman I mean, regarding running.  Never more so than when I announced that I am going to partake in the Comrades marathon, or “I’m doing Comrades” as we say.  For those that don’t know what Comrades is, it is the ultimate human race.  An Ultra Marathon in South Africa that is 89km long and was started in 1921 by Vic Clapham to honour his fallen Comrades in the war.  It is run one year from Pietermaritzburg to Durban(down run) and from Durban to Pietermaritzburg (up run) the subsequent year.  It is notoriously known for bringing out the best in the human spirit as people help each other on the journey, even if it is just dragging carcasses out the way so your weary legs don’t have to trip over them.  Please check out this prodigious event on their website.  http://www.comrades.com/.  Anyway, Back to my delirious announcement to friend and foe that has brought on my current quandary.

I am doing Comrades.  Gulp Let me set the scene when these words first burst forth from my maniacal lips.  I was watching the 2015 Comrades Marathon and I was hooked on the performance by Caroline Wostmann.  Now I have been watching comrades since a young child and never imagined having the urge or capability to do this race myself.  But as I was watching this awe-inspiring lady run, she stopped for a wee-wee break, took the odd short walk before bursting off again and ran in the most incredible way.  The thought dawned on me, she is human.  She is talented for sure but her training and determination are the reason she is doing so well.  I could barely breathe as I followed her progress and I got caught up in the excitement of her potential victory.  By the moment, her Champion Chip hit the timing mat and the victory ribbon swirled around her sweaty middle, I had jumped from my chair and was already at the 2016 starting line.

Reality took a while to slap me in the face as my husband should have done before my words were cold but there you have it, now I had to have a real hard look at what would be required physically and mentally to achieve this feat.  How far and how often I should run, what cross training I should do and most importantly, how much extra I could eat!

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Catch my next blog as I delve into my training, nutrition and mental preparation for Comrades.

I am running the Comrades Marathon on 29 May 2016 and will surely tell you all about my adventure once completed…

Guilt, The side order we serve ourselves with every dish.

When I sat down to write this blog, I had it in mind to write a piece about a Superfood and the most delicious meals you could make with this said Superfood. However, I found myself pondering about what makes a ‘food’ a Superfood. This then further led to the thoughts of how food preparation would affect its Super properties and ultimately I thought of the weight of responsibility that lays upon our scales.
I can not remember the last time I ate a meal feeling totally guilt free. It was perhaps when I was a child being served by my mother and all the worry regarding my health was hers. I was blissfully unaware that there could be any possible health implications from the meals I was served, as to some extent I am sure my mother was as well. Now that we are well within our Knowledge Era and we are bombarded with new information daily, every bite taken seems to be tainted by knowledge. There are now so many factors to consider when putting a meal together that it is no wonder we search the internet for already ‘put together’ meal plans. Too much advice and too many options, please just tell me what to eat, at what time, how to prepare it and where to buy it. It is also no surprise to see companies popping up with ready-made healthy meals that are delivered daily or monthly.
So if I were to plan a meal plan for the day, what would I need to think about:

Then still more I need to think of;
Breakfast:
• Shall I start the day with protein or fibre or both?
• Shall I have dairy or no dairy? Full cream or Fat-Free?
• Shall I have eggs? Are they organic? Do the chickens roam free? Are they full of hormones and things that they are not supposed to be full of?
• Shall I have a big breakfast or small breakfast?
• Can I drink coffee? Is it good for me or is not good for me?
• What do I use to replace sugar, sweetener, honey or just go without?
Mid-Morning Snack:
• Should I snack mid-morning?
• Shall I snack on protein, fats or fruit?
• What portion size is considered a snack?
Lunch
• I will have some salad, what will be in my salad?
• May I use a salad dressing? What type of dressing? Is it better to make my own?
• What protein shall I have with my salad? Is it organic, free range and free from hormones etc?
• Shall I have carbohydrate? Which one?
Afternoon Snack
• Same questions as mid-morning.
Supper
• What is the latest time that I may eat supper?
• Are my vegetables organic? Free of pesticides etc.?
• Again all the same questions about the meat I add.
• Shall I eat carbohydrates with my supper?
• Can I have pudding? Is there a healthy version that doesn’t consist of a medley of chemicals?
• How many cups of tea or coffee may I have, if any?
• May I snack later if I feel peckish?

It all gets too overwhelming and eventually we just pick products wearing the right labels. As we eat each bite, however, there is this tingling sensation brewing in our insides which is not indigestion. A little tingle referred to as Consumer Mistrust. Compound this with inadequate time to prepare our own meals along with the need to reward ourselves after a busy pressured filled day and we have the recipe for shame.
Well, I don’t know about you but I have grown tired of the taste of the Shame Pie. I will no longer serve this to myself, but now I have to wonder, how to from here?

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Firstly, let me decide why I am eating and let me separate my superficial needs from my deeper needs. If I feel a physical pain in my stomach then I am physically hungry, should I feel I want to eat with an absence of physical symptoms then I am only mentally hungry. My friend Candice told me that with a mindfulness technique you can overcome mental hunger to which I very maturely replied “But I don’t wanna”. You can refer to her blog on mindfulness to assist you with this. Okay, so only eat when hungry, got it.
My superficial ‘want’ is to be thin but my deeper need is to be healthy, so I should choose a product for health over beauty, for example, honey, instead of sweetener. The sweetener may not have calories but it is full of alleged harmful chemicals. If my need for a calorie deficit is of such importance then I should rather just leave the sweetening altogether.

I want to go back to basics so I wonder to myself, what did Adam and Eve eat? Genesis 1.29; ‘Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’ Adam and Eve ate fruit and plant that grew naturally but then Adam and Eve were cast out of The Garden of Eden and had to start growing crop to feed themselves.Genesis 3 18-19; “It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Then after the flood God gives man permission to eat animal meat. Genesis 3:2-3 “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3″Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.…”
This tells me that vegetables, fruit and meat should be on my menu. Despite all the information available to me, all the Pinterest recipes, you tube videos and healthy lifestyle websites, I still find it intimating to buy fresh produce and cook from scratch. I also find that I am not sure what to buy at a market and I purchase too much that ends up rotting before I have had a chance to use it. My solution to this is to find a basic course to attend (I will let you know how that goes) that will just assist with the basics and then to take the time to try, even when it flops, try again. It will take discipline to go to a market to buy fresh organic produce, not the local grocer and more so to take the time to learn how to prepare them correctly. It also takes time to reset the taste buds so that you enjoy your food in a more natural state. I grew up having sugar added to my pumpkin and white sauce over my cauliflower, I would never have imagined that I would learn to enjoy the taste of raw broccoli. I may never embrace the Brussel Sprout but I am finding that there are many other vegetables that are delicious. I only discovered this however once I kicked up sugar, old preparation methods and sweetened and processed foods. For example, I have never liked the taste of Paw Paw and in fact I did not count fruit as a treat at all. It was something healthy to add to your diet and treats would be in the form of chocolate and cake, rewarded to myself for eating so healthy. However, after going a few weeks without sugar and processed foods, I happen to have a bite of a Paw Paw. I was in love. I now thoroughly enjoy this fruit. So if I am going back to basics, It would seem that fruit should be my pudding and to be treated as such.
When it comes to the eating of meat, I waver in my feelings. My logical and emotional selves clash. I love a good medium rare steak and have one often. This is because my steak is just steak, I do not have to look the animal in the eye before my steak is prepared and I eat it. By going to the store and purchasing my meat it is easy to forget where it has come from. My dear Pastor preached a sermon one Sunday morning where he had some Kentucky Fried chicken on one table and a live chicken on another table. My heart sank as I thought, well, I probably won’t be eating chicken anymore after this but his message was not that at all. It was ‘Eat your chicken but don’t forget to be thankful to the animal that sacrificed its life in order for you to have a meal’. That is a very powerful message indeed as it can be applied to more than one aspect of life.
So far, I have established that I must enjoy fresh produce in the most natural of ways I can, I should treat fruit as my treats and that I must have a heart of gratitude when I am eating my meat. That can only have positive results on my health, mind and body surely. Until I have the ability to have my own veggie garden and chickens (for eggs mind, I could never eat my pets), maybe a cow for milking, I will take a day and find someone in my community that is established as such and find out if they are willing to supply some of their extras to me or a real organic market with reasonable pricing. I would love to be established as well one day and set up a bartering system in my community. How idealic it sounds to trade my excess tomatoes for handmade cheese and so on.
To take this process step by step, I will start there. I will implement the basics of my nutritional needs. I will then slowly start addressing the other supplements i.e. condiments, to my meals and factors of my daily life that have an overall effect on my life.

I am blessed and privileged with great health, why ruin it for the sake of convenience. 10 minutes of extra effort now could mean 10 minutes of extra quality of life later on.

 

Enthusiastic Salutations

What a wonderfully adventurous life we lead.  Things may go right, wrong, up, down, squiggly and mushy but it is always moving.  Life is the outline of a drawing and the hobbies we take up, is how we colour it in.

There is a saying in Afrikaans, “Wat die hart van vol is, loop die mond van oor.”  Translated it means, whatever your heart is full of, will spill out of your mouth.  So you speak about what you are passionate about.

I am passionate about several activities and topics, I am no expert mind, but I am having such an amazing journey learning and attempting to master them.  I want to share my experiences and thoughts.  What I lack in elocution, I will make up for in enthusiasm.

Health and Nutrition – Master Chef Star

They say “we are what we eat”.  There is so much advice and Do’s and Don’ts out there on nutrition.  I would like to sift through all of this information in an attempt to have a healthy wholesome body.  I will try recipes, explore new ingredients and try to navigate the daunting task of ‘cooking from scratch’.

Running and Exercise – Serious Mileage

Being blessed with a healthy body, I want to utilise it to its maximum while I can.  Running and other forms of exercise are my way of doing this.  I started a journey two years ago, then I could only manage a 4km run and now I am attempting to run the Comrades marathon.  I would like to share that journey and the lessons I have learnt along the way with you.

Photography – Flash Bulb

I cannot draw, I see beautiful pictures all around me and I cannot draw it.  My obvious solution; photograph it.  I would love to share some of my favourite photos with you.  God is the artist and I am the witness.

DIY projects and Creative Tasks – Handy Mandy

I love to decorate and create.  Giving old furniture new life, creating new things or simply decorating.  I will do step by step projects so we can share the experience together, the successes and the failures.

Dance, Worship and all things positive – Soul Song

Dance is the physical substance of the spirit of the music.  The means for some souls to communicate in a language their intellect could never comprehend.  I have always had an intense love of dance, I have not had much formal training but the body doesn’t care.  I, however, did not know how fulfilled it could make you feel till I started dancing for the Lord.

There is always a silver lining, something to be thankful for or a reason to praise the Lord.

While we are at this living thing, let’s have some fun along the way!

DISCLAIMER: The videos, posts and comments contained on this website is not medical or professional advice but merely a fabulous opinion.