Thursday, September 28, 2017

Family Holiday: Cape Town

We just arrived back yesterday from a family holiday - three of us - to Cape Town, and I have a few thoughts to share.
1: Family holidays are intense. You are with each other, as a unit, ALL the time. We did bicker and rub each other the wrong way, which is probably normal. My partner and I ended up bickering quite a bit. I turned into a grumpy bitch.
2: We were a bit too busy and over-scheduled, but we wanted to see it ALL and do it all. We didn't build in much rest time. We should have.
3: I believe that perhaps humans are born explorers. We were probably meant to be nomadic. I am just musing here, but every day, we had the urge to go out and explore Cape Town. We didn't WANT to be cooped up in our hotel room. We wanted to walk around, to see things, to experience things, to taste things. Which ended up exhausting us somewhat, but we wanted to do as much as we could. The strange thing is, even my partner, who normally naps every day and doesn't want to do much, was on the go all the time in Cape Town. He found his inner child a bit. It was truly wonderful to see.

So maybe this explains why we humans love to run Comrades, and do trail runs, and triathlons. We are probably born explorers.

Wine tasting at Spier. We look super happy but tensions were running high at times during our holiday. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Running time

Just a log for me:

12 Sep 2017
5km Lilicrona - time 29mins 36 secs. I only walked twice, very very briefly, ran 99% of the way. Ran in my pink Vibrams, but straight after I ate something. Legs were still a bit stiff and tired from Sunday's 10km.
Wed 13th Sep 2017
4 km time trial route 24:30
Walked a total of three times, for the count of a few seconds only. Hilly course, tired legs.

Sunday 17th Sep 2017
15km long run.
Around 2hr 45mins. 

Friday 29th September 2017
New shoes, Altra Torin. First time in them. What a noticeable difference running in those to the Vibrams. In Vibrams, my lower legs, feet and calves do a lot more work. In these, it feels as if my thighs and hips have to work more. Shoes feel chunkier. Loads of cushioning. Not sure if I like it, but I like them better than my Asics. So far.

Saturday 30th Sep
5km Parkrun
28mins 54secs
Wore new yellow Vibrams. Loved them.

Sunday 1st Oct
19km training run
2hr 7mins
Wore Altra's - felt very heavy, felt slow, feet hurt - I wore thicker socks. My toes felt like they were rubbing against the socks. Not a pleasant run. Felt ill and very sore at the end, back was sore, everything was sore.

Monday 2nd Oct
no time.
Ran at mom's house, just quick round the block. Loved it. Wore my new yellow Vibrams with the toe socks. Felt free, felt fast, even though I am not sure I go much faster.

Wednesday 4th Oct
5km - Lilicrona
28mins5sec - PB!
Wore yellow Vibrams with socks. Under big toes was only place that rubbed.

Friday 6th Oct
9km (to the beach and back)
Didn't time it

Saturday 7th Oct
8km (ran to gym, did a workout, then ran back home.)

Sunday 8th October 2017
21km with Striders (training run)
Didn't time it. About 2 and half hours.

Wednesday 11th October 2017
7km - 5km PB (27min 3 secs) and hill training.

Thursday 12th October
11km in wet, windy rainy conditions

Sat 14th October
5km - ran, walked jogged - 32mins

Sun  15th October
27.5km Munster run - 3hours, 10mins. Got hot, felt quite thirsty towards the end, battled a lot the last 5km.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

I have re-kindled my joy of running/being active

This post is a reminder to myself.

You see, for ages now, I have lost my gym mojo, my active-lifestyle mojo. I have just been going through the motions, not sure of what  I am doing. I think it's because I have had no fitness goals, and I am someone who loves goals.

So I stopped working out intensely, and then about 2-3 weeks ago I got really sick with the flu and couldn't work out at all. I did nothing for two weeks. I was actually enjoying the break, even though I wasn't enjoying the flu. Doing nothing was ok, until the end of week 2 when I started to feel really "blah". I even felt just as stiff and "tired" in the mornings as I did when I would exercise, and I realised that not exercising was not helping me much. So the next day I went for a run, and experienced that lovely post-run euphoria, and wow, all of a sudden, I remembered how good it can feel to exert myself physically!

And suddenly I fell back in love with activity.

I had been feeling mixed feelings about my exercise for a long time. I was even not sure if I wanted to exercise anymore. I was beginning to think that I should just quit the gym, stop running, and throw in the towel completely.

But my run (5km) had me feeling so good that I changed my mind right then and there.

I am vital and alive, I thought, so why would I just stop and sit around? I mean, I don't have to train like a world champion, but I love nothing more than that post-run euphoria, and I am still young and fit and capable. Why WOULDN'T I want to use my body?

I think that competing in the body-building competitions have messed with my mind. They've made the whole focus of me being active all about how I look, when, really, it should be about how I feel. I should be active because I like how I feel, not because I think it should make me look a certain way. Before I did those bikini contests, I simply enjoyed running and dancing for the sheer joy of doing them. Now, I do things with "weight loss" or "cutting" or "building" in mind and if I am not "getting anywhere" I tend to feel like it's pointless. But when I enjoyed that little run so much I realised that I could be denying myself such joy by not moving.

So I will exercise if I feel like it. And I will move to feel good. And for now I am setting a little running goal of completing a 21km half marathon. Just a goal for fun.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Brasil Cacau Hair Treatment Review: Day 1

Brasil Cacau keratin treatment. My hair looks straightened but is actually just blow dryed here after the treatment. 

My hair immediately upon getting home after the treatment. My hair felt very smooth and was super shiny. 

So two weeks ago I got a Brasil Cacau (the brand name) brazilian hair treatment. It's not actually a straightening treatment, it's an anti-frizz, keratin treatment for the hair. It tames frizz by replacing, or sealing in, keratin, into the hair with a flat iron. Then after that, you go to the basin, get rinsed, get a masque put in for ten minutes, rinsed again and then my hair was dried off. No flat iron and yet my hair came out pin straight.

I am not actually looking for pin straight hair, but rather, for manageability. My ends from about mid length down are so fried from previous bleach, that it get's very dry in winter and hard to comb. My hope was that the Brasil Cacau treatment will help with that.

I can report that it has helped somewhat, but this is not a smoothening/manageability treatment, so it doesn't actually make it easier to comb. That wore off very quickly. I can still see the treatment in my hair in that my hair dries straighter, and looks less frizzy, but it's not all that easier to comb. I would say it's probably a strengthening treatment more. I will see how it goes and see how long it lasts, which will determine if I feel it's worth doing again.

I am using their brand of shampoo and conditioner, as I feel that if I spent so much money and time on the treatment, I may as well not take any chances of ruining the treatment with cheap shampoos and conditioners that could possibly strip out the keratin. At least, that is what the warnings are - that you need to follow the after care protocols to make sure the treatment lasts.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Note to myself: diet related once again. Here we go.

1: Clearly I am a little diet-obsessed. Wish I weren't, but I am a bit. Sorry.
2: I can still let go though, and enjoy a holiday. We just went away for three nights to Cathedral Peak Hotel in the berg, and it was LOVELY and I had a blast and I ate whatever I felt like. I only gained 500gms, over the holiday, so I feel good about that.
3: If left to my own devices, I will not overeat.

4: However, if I start to try to manipulate things too much, like I did yesterday, I will compensate, like I did today.

Here is what happened. We got back from our holiday, I was happy with my lack of weight gain, so the following day, it was my period, and I ate a shit ton of chocolate and some cake. Oops. But so what, right? I weighed myself, which is not the right thing to do around my period, and then felt bad at the weight gain. Then, even worse, I went shopping at PnP clothing, and the lighting and all those mirrors had me feeling really, really shitty about my body. I have gained weight lately and I don't like how I look, and I am feeling pretty miserable about it and seeing it reflected back at me was not pretty. I got a heavy dose of reality. I was zero carbing yesterday in order to lose some weight. I did lose weight - 500gms to be exact. From yesterday to today.

But after zero carbing yesterday, I was craving carbs like crazy today. I had bought a packet mix chocolate cake that I was intending to bake with my son over the holidays. Today is the second last day of the holidays. I decided to bake with him, and eat a tiny bit of cake.

Well, I went bat shit crazy and ate a ton of the cake. You see, it broke up into pieces, because it stuck to the crappy cake tin, and so it was all bits and pieces. We made the icing, so my son and I just iced random bits of cake and ate them. He is a typical healthy child: he stops eating when full.

I could hardly stop. I did stop, eventually, but I must have eaten about three people's serving of cake and icing. Goodness it was delicious. Now I feel full. And a bit sick. But also happy.

I simply cannot diet. I CANNOT diet. I cannot follow any single particular diet anymore. I can't eat high fat. I did it yesterday and it was great, I felt good, but today I just wanted carbs.

I also cannot cut fat out of my diet either. I have learnt that the hard way. I did it quite well during my gym days, but it made me deranged.

My only sane solution now is to eat a balanced mix of fat, carbs and protein.

If I Bant, which is healthy, I have to Bant on the carbier side and eat sweet potatoe, butternut and the like. And not drown food in fat.

I have to unwind my mind, now.

I think I may have stuffed my mind up when it comes to food.

I am not normal anymore.

I go crazy.

I need to stop weighing myself. I need to stop thinking about diets. I need to simply aim for healthy. I know that what I just did now, which it to eat my body weight in cake, is NOT healthy. I COMPLETELY pendulum swung. I know that I need to simply be normal.

I can only follow my own internal plan. I can't keep living with this fucking obsession. I need to stop reading diet and health books and magazines and TRUST my body.

Louise, I am you. If you read this again, let me remind you to trust your body and to listen to your TRUE needs. Your body needs healthy food, not cake. But cake now and again is ok. In SMALL amounts.

Today you read about a mechanism by which the body can store dietary fat. Of course it can. The body can store fat, protein and carbs. I believe it. I believe the body can do all these things.

My belly is getting fat and flabby and I believe it's from messing about with my diet. I believe it's time to clean up my diet and get healthy now. I know what healthy eating looks like. Time to implement it.

Friday, June 23, 2017

My current headspace: Quit Social Media

I am quitting social media. For how long, I have no idea. But for now, I have saved my Instagram pics that I wanted to keep and I have deleted that account, and am going to do the same with Facebook. I watched this simple, yet powerful video but a guy called Dr. Cal Newport, who has never had a social media account of any kind. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. He makes a good case for quitting social media.

The point that hit home for me was this: social media is designed to be addictive. It's meant to keep you scrolling, to keep you on that screen for as long as possible.

This hit home for me, along with an episode of Carte Blanche I watched a couple of weeks ago which makes Facebook seem quite creepy: even if you have never used Facebook in your life, it has collected information on you. Scary. It has some profile on you.

Here is a freaky thing: I deleted my Facebook account around three years ago. I was off it for about six months. It was great. Then I found I had all these photos on my phone and didn't know what to do with them. So I reopened a Facebook account because it's so easy and convenient to upload pics directly to Facebook from the phone. I was using it as a sort of photo storage thing. Same with Instagram.

But now with Google photos, my photos all get stored automatically, in chronological order if they are dated, and it's private and easy. Well, they are private to me.

I google searched myself and the images that came up were from my blog. So my blog pics are all public. Which is fine. Cos I obviously chose to share those.

The main point and reason that I, personally, am quitting social media is so that I can focus my mental energy on things that really, actually matter. I keep talking about writing a book. I have started many books. I have never finished one.

I want to actually finish writing a book in THIS LIFETIME.

To be honest, even blogging is a distraction, but it's also a form of writing practice.

I already feel clearer being off Instagram, and I have deactivated Facebook until I can get my pictures downloaded.

Lastly, I feel it will be setting my son a good example to be off Facebook. He already talks about "posting" pics and videos. It's not entirely healthy, I don't think. If I want to share a pic of him with my family, I can email it to them or I can whatsapp them.

So long Facebook.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Comrades, and a get together.

Taken by my son
I am staying with my mom in Durbs for a night so we can go watch my brother run the Comrades. This will be his second run, and it's an up run this year, meaning they start in Durban and finish in PMB.

It's always nice to see my family and for them to see my son.

Yesterday afternoon I caught up with three of my closest, lifelong friends from primary school - we stayed friends during high school too, but we all met at primary school. The four of us catching up together doesn't happen that often now that I live in a sleepy coastal village, but now and then, when we do catch up, it's great.

I couldn't help but notice how we all are aging. The wrinkles. The grey hair. The extra bit of weight on all of us. The stress too, etched in our faces. I can see that we are all at the most stressful point of our lives. Three of us have kids, one is a single career woman who takes on far more work than she should. We all have pets and homes to look after. We all have huge financial loads to carry. I mean, we ended up talking about finances - life insurance - for goodness' sake! On what planet do four women get together and talk about the benefits of life cover? But we did.

It's a sign of our age and I just thought "I am really and truly middle aged now."

Our parents are aging. Two of us out of the four have deceased fathers. Two of us (not the same two) have three children each! Not me, clearly and I once again knew in my heart that having one child was, for me, the right decision.

Not only is education ludicrously expensive nowadays, but life in general is so costly. And things break and don't last, so now, you get families who constantly have to factor in buying new cars, new laptops, new appliances, all the time. I mean, on what planet do people replace their cars on a yearly basis? But one friend's husband wants her to do that.

In my dad's house is an old fridge/freezer that he had since he moved in to the house 28 years ago! Where do you get that nowadays? Modern life is crazy and greedy and too busy and nuts. It's also beautiful and vibrant, but mostly, it's nuts.

My one friend told the tale of her cousin, a gorgeous blonde woman, mother to three kids, who is going in to rehab for a cocaine addiction. I mean, what the....? And none of us were that shocked. This is the tale of modern life.

My other friend likes her wine. Heck, I like my wine too! I even know women who drink in the day.

I just thought to myself "We all have our coping mechanisms," and some of us cope worse than others, but at this stage of our lives, we really are all just coping. I don't think any of us has it easy.

I think the only way to stay sane is to realise that we are ALL going through the same shit. Different shit but the same, essentially. We need to be super kind and super gentle with ourselves. We need to throw judgment out of the window. We need to also let go of a lot of "stuff" we carry with ourselves.

It was so, SO good to see them again. These are the women I measure my life by. Not in a judging way, but in a marking-of-time way. As time moves us on, I see that we are all the same and none of us can escape the stress and the aging and the shit that life deals us. And yet, it was beautiful too. The one friend had her brand new four-ish month old baby with her, and his fat chubby cheeks and Gerber baby mouth were such a reminder that out of our old tired bodies comes new life.

And we reminded each other, in talking about the passing of a friend who is our age, 39, that our lives are fleeting but so precious.