All The Other Kids……

The recent events at the Boston Marathon have left an indelible mark on the runner psyche. I witnessed this today as I joined my club mates from RAC and a few thousand other people to run the RAC 10km. For those of you who have run this route, you’ll know that it starts on an impossibly steep Jan Smuts Ave in Bordeaux outside Old Parktonians sports club. You continue up for about 1.5km with little respite. I started off fast up the impossible hill because I wanted a personal best for this run. I’ve been running lots of marathons and half marathons recently with my main aims being: don’t die and don’t come last. I had largely succeeded with those two goals. But now, with Comrades 2014 a real possibility for me, I have to lift my game in the speed department. I had decided that I could really push myself on this shorter 10km run. I’d forgotten how shitty the route is.  I swear that I don’t know how we ended up where we started because we just seemed to be travelling uphill the entire way.

Last night I was listening to Foster the People’s song “Pumped up Kicks”. I considered what a cool running song that would be. All the other kids with the pumped up kicks. You better run baby run, outrun my gun. All the other kids with the pumped up kicks. You better run baby run,  faster than my bullet. And so it was that I was humming this to myself as I rounded the top of the impossible Jan Smuts hill and started the descent along Republic Rd. All the friends caught up with me and overtook me on the downhill (as usual). My running buddy, Chrissie and Megan D chatted as they ran ahead of me. I walked a bit. Really hate down hills. As we reached the 2km marker, crackers went off ahead of us. I was acutely aware of how the entire group with which I was running slowed. We slowed, as if our clockwork suddenly began to wind down. A nervous disbelief murmured through the crowd and the chitter chatter stopped. It was eerie. More crackers. More crackers. I thought that this was pretty bad taste to have crackers going off randomly at a marshalling point. I’m all for festivities, but maybe crackers weren’t the best choice, considering the recent events in Boston.

The next thing I saw was Kumar (who is always waaaaay ahead of me in races) waving his arms and shouting for us to move out of the way. We were running on a piece of road which had a grass embankment next to it, so we poured into the ditch hurriedly. I screamed for people to get down and more people poured into the ditch, feeling horrified, but not knowing what was going on. The crackers were still going off and, although still not knowing what was happening, we knew were running into a very dangerous situation. I honestly had no idea what was going on. South Africans know all too well the sound of gun fire and so, as the reality dawned upon us, I became aware that a shoot out was in progress. What frightened me immediately was the realisation that my friend, Chrissie, had sped past me just shortly before and so she could be hurt. Obviously some sort of robbery had been intercepted by guards or other people with guns. The shooting died down and we were given the go ahead to carry on.  I got up with my only intention being to see if I could find Chrissie. (What has subsequently occurred to me is that there were many people who didn’t bail into the ditch when Kumar told us to get down. I’m all for curiosity, but how dumb can you be to hear something like that, get told to get down and get out of the way and still stand staring in the hope that you can witness something exciting. For the love of everything, people! When a person shouts at you to get down when you’ve just heard what could be gunshots, just bloody well listen and get out of danger.) All of us chatted nervously, still unaware of what was going on, as we scrambled out of the slippery ditch. I started walking forward hurriedly, hoping to see Chrissie and Megan ahead. And there they were. I was incredibly relieved. Chrissie was not keen to go on, but the rest of us were confident that the danger had gone away. We started up again and continued on the ridiculously uphill route. As far as the news goes, no-one was injured in the shoot out. A gang of seven robbers stole money from a cash pickup van and highjacked a nearby vehicle in order to get away.

Can you spot the point where I was lying in a ditch?

Can you spot the point where I was lying in a ditch?

The rest of the route was largely uneventful, but today I met a very funny person. Funny, ha ha, not funny peculiar. Although…..she may also be very peculiar. I think she thinks I’m the peculiar one, however.Chrissie and Megan D had a few friends with them at the start. Chrissie, Megan D, Nats (I’m sure that’s not her full name, but because everyone introduced her as Nats, I’ll call her that until I know her real name), Megan H, Lizle and Claudia met me at the start because Chrissie had my race number with her. As it turned out, Claudia had been carrying my number around with her until I saw them. Thank you Claudia. You carried me. I hope I returned the favour. Just after the shoot out corner which was at the corner of William Nicol drive and Republic Rd, there was an abominable hill up William Nicol to the first water point at 3km. I happened alongside Claudia, walking up. I urged her to come along (it’s easier for me because I like abominable hills, it seems). So the two of us trudged up William Nicol and lost each other at the water point. Claudia must have passed me at some point because I happened upon her again up another hill. We chatted briefly. She’s hilarious. So am I, but she’s even more hilarious. I know! Can you imagine? Anyway. We got separated again somewhere and then she sidled up next to me when my legs went on strike on the only flat on the route. Something she said (she claims it was a voodoo-like threat to break my kneecaps) got my legs out of strike season and back running again, and we ambled along chatting. Then I ruined the friendship by saying that I saw a movie last week that I thought she would enjoy. (That wasn’t the part that ruined the friendship, this was!) Movie’s name is Seven Psychopaths.  It’s hilarious. She ran right a bit and slowed down a bit, then claimed she was going to walk up the next hill. All of that would not necessarily have led me to believe that my words had ruined the friendship, but then she yelled at the man running next to me: “Watch out for her Mister. I’m just saying.” This making friends thing is just too complicated for me!

After we had run past, police started arriving on the scene. Picture courtesy of Eyewitness News.

After we had run past, police started arriving on the scene. Picture courtesy of Eyewitness News.

Claudia and I laughed about it afterwards. She laughed nervously. I laughed suspiciously. Then we all ate pancakes and drank coffee and a good time was had by all.

Hey! I almost forgot to tell you! I did run my personal best today even after lying in the ditch for a couple of minutes. On a very tough route, I ran my PB for a 10km. 1:08:02. Not one kilometre was over 7 minutes!   I reckon the shootout creeped me out a bit….although, not as much as I creeped Claudia out….that I was too afraid to walk in case they were coming for me……mwahahahahahahaha

Yours in the love of running.


Manners Maketh the Man. Clean Shoes Make for a Great Run.

I cleaned my shoes! I have owned these shoes since March 2012 and have run 898 kilometres since I bought them. Since I bought them, they have run through snow, fallen in red sand, gathered blood in them from the fall in the red sand, slipped in mud, run around a coal mine, a run which had me coughing up black dust for three days, so I can only imagine how much was on the shoes. They’ve run through sand, they’ve run in rain, they’ve run on grass and many, many kilometres of South African road. Image

Before and After: Which One Has Just Been Cleaned?

It was no wonder, then that my podiatrist, Dennis Rehbock – also podiatrist to some of South Africa’s greatest athletes and Nike South Africa’s podiatrist – pulled up his nose at me when I presented them to him the other day to have my orthotics upgraded. He feels strongly about cleaning shoes, as one would imagine, and so I’ve stolen some info from his website about cleaning shoes and present it to you here. I followed his advice in restoring my shoes to their previous beauty.  If you would like to know more about the science of running shoes and you’d like to meet a really great guy, go to Dennis’ website here and make an appointment with him.

November 17th, 2012 | Author: Dennis Rehbock

A common question I get asked time and time again, is should running shoes be washed, and if so how?


My answer is simply YES they should be washed.

They should be washed, but care must be taken to not damage them in the process, as you have invested in an expensive pair of the state of the art running shoes and you want to get the most value out of them. You also want them to look good and to not smell.

This is how to wash and look after your running shoes.


Undo your laces before you take your shoes off or before you put them on. Alternate shoes from run to run. This will prolong the life of the shoe, which are only designed for 800 to 1200km of wear.

If your shoes are showing signs of excessive wear and tear it is time to replace them with a new pair. Stick to the same brand and model of running shoe if it has worked well for you.


Wipe your shoes regularly with a damp cloth to remove dust and mud.


Submerse your shoes in tepid water and gently scrub them with a soft brush using a mild soap. Shoe shampoo products are available for this or a dash of Handy Andy will also work.

Rinse them well and then place them up side down in a cool place to dry. This may take up to 48 hours. This is a good reason is to have 2 or more pairs of shoes to alternate wearing and washing them.

Also wash the innersole in this manner.


Do not wash them in a washing machine (even on a cold cycle). The prolonged immersion in the water may damage the materials and glue used in the shoe. The rolling around in the machine will also damage the shoe.

Do not use and strong detergents or cleaning chemicals such as bleach or ammonia in the washing process.

Do not place then in the direct sun or a hot place to dry. This can cause the materials to shrink.

Do not dry them in a tumble dryer or in the warming drawer of a stove.

This topic of running shoe washing has been hotly debated by runners in general, and it is clear that everyone has their own system of washing their running shoes. Some runners do not even wash their shoes as they believe it is a status symbol to wear dirty running shoes.

Personally I like nice clean running shoes to wear and run in, as can be seen in my Lunar Glide’s in the picture. (He also like nice clean running shoes to work with!)


There’s obviously a lot to be said for cleaning your shoes. I can recommend that you dry them for a few days before putting them back together and wearing them again. I ran a 21.1km today and ran a personal best in my newly cleaned shoes, so I’m all for cleaning shoes after at least every 800km!

Keep ’em clean!

Love in running and life (and clean shoes)


The Chinese Gave Me a Pain in My Ass

“This isn’t chicken,” said Frantz. “Of course it’s chicken. Don’t be ridiculous!” I told him, knowing full well that I had made the better choice by buying sushi for my pre-marathon supper, while he had turned to Ye Olde Chinese Shoppe next door to the sushi place for his supper. Unfortunately for him, he ordered beef chow mein but got pseudo-chicken something or other. I felt so sorry for him, that I let him have the sushi and I took over the pseudo-chicken something or other. (By the way, the best sushi in Joburg is to be found 5 blocks from my house at an insignificant fish delicatessen called My Fish on Gordon Rd. The worst Chinese food in Joburg can be found at the Chinese restaurant next door to My Fish.) Not a good idea to eat something foreign the night before a marathon. A marathon? Yes! I had planned to run The Lifegain Wally Hayward Marathon today. This being the last qualifier before Comrades. At Slow-Mag I came to terms with the probability that I would not be running Comrades this year and I’ve been okay with that. A little disappointed, but I’m a big girl. But I still wanted to try and The Wally was my last chance to achieve that.

You’ll remember that two weeks ago I was limping through the latter part of a 21km which you can read all about here. Yeah. So my physio (and best friend – Clare-Anne Kilroe) said it was an overuse injury so I was to diligently rest. She didn’t advise against The Wally. She didn’t tell me to run like the wind at The Wally. So I used my initiative and entered The Wally. But then I ate the pseudo-chicken something or other and a new journey began.

I wasn’t only looking forward to my first Wally because it was my first Wally, but I was also looking forward to running my first marathon with my running buddy Chrissie and, best of all, my beautiful son, Frantz, was going to come and support me. (it was easy for him, he had the sushi!) Jacqui, Jess and Tasha were also going to be there, cheering Chrissie and me on while they cheered on their hero, Daniel.

Jess and Tasha out early with Mom to support Dad, Chrissie and me

Jess and Tasha out early with Mom to support Dad, Chrissie and me

Centurion is miles away. I left home at 4.20am. 4.20am! That’s ungodly by any measure. My son would agree! I was worried that there’d be traffic and, having started Slow-Mag neurotically because of traffic, I didn’t want the same for The Wally. We arrived there at 5am and I realised that Centurion is the exception to the “Pretoria is always warmer” rule. Sheez! It was frikken freezing there. I collected my number and went back to the car for a warming power nap before I was due to meet Chrissie.

The Lifegain Wally Hayward is a 42.2km, a 21.1km, a 10km, a 5km and a 1km race. Masses of people descended on the start to be part of this and soon after the start, those masses were in front of Chrissie and me. Obviously that was my doing! Chrissie is like a damn pitbull. She just doesn’t let go once she starts. The Couch Potato, however….I’ll admit that I did quite well this time. I went 4kms before I felt the need to walk. I was quite surprised and I was happy. It was lovely to have a friend with me that I knew had no objective other than to spend some time running with me. Chrissie took, what has been described by those who witnessed it, a spectacularly Ninjarly fall at the Two Oceans Marathon when she encountered a legendary catseye. She broke a couple of ribs in the process. Although she seems to think it’s really just bruised muscles, but 4 weeks on she’s still in pain and can’t cough or sneeze or, as I later found out, laugh without discomfort. I’m no doctor, but that sounds like something more than bruising. So she was coming back from injury and I was doing my first Wally and half-heartedly trying to qualify for Comrades 2013. I hadn’t given up altogether, but I am a realist. We kept ahead of the sub-5hour bus for a few kilometres, but at 8km, that Chinese food reared its head and I got a pain in my ass akin to that which I experienced at Birchwood 21km two weeks ago. Okay, so maybe the Chinese food wasn’t to blame for the pain in my ass, maybe just the wind! At 9kms I did a good stretch which had a similar effect to a hip replacement (I’d imagine). I felt much better and could run a bit without limping. Chrissie was doing plenty of patiently waiting. At 9kms I got my usual grumpy self. I’m not sure if particularly irritating people always happen upon me at 9kms and then I get grumpy or I get grumpy at 9kms and then ordinary people just irritate the crap out of me. 2 assholes came running up behind us telling everyone to get a move on and gloating about how they had started so late and it felt great to be passing all the slow coaches at the back. I hope they get cramp in their toes tonight. Shitheads! At 10kms I wasn’t grumpy any more, but I was sore and the sub-5hour bus motored past us as I limped up a hill. This was a really pleasant route. The pain in my ass (and I’m not married, so I’m talking about the real deal here) was making the race unpleasant. Oh ja, Chrissie is also not the pain in my ass. And I say it reluctantly, but the Chinese food wasn’t the pain in my ass either. It was something else.
My brain was a bit slower in the second part of the first lap because I only started crying at 15km instead of my usual 13km. I wanted to run the marathon, but I knew this time, there could be a will, but I’d do long term damage if I did two rounds. And I knew that Frantz had got up at a ridiculous hour to watch me run a marathon and I was going to disappoint him. That spurred me on a bit, but I was very sore. I was making Chrissie and I go so slowly that Mike passed us and then, horror of horrors, even Dean and Myer passed us. Holy shit! Was I going backwards here? At the split for the marathon and the end of the 21km, an apparition appeared in the form of my Frantz and Jax and the girls, cheering us on. I had managed to muster up a pathetic limping shuffle so it looked like I had been running. We stopped to talk to them and I confessed that I was going no further than the 21.1km. I felt a bit tearful as my son gave a somewhat disappointed smile (although I think he was relieved to not have to wait for Chrissie and I to shuffle around the 21 again which would probably mean his having to wait for another 7 hours, the rate I was moving.

And then I was going backwards! That’s because at the end of this rather pleasant little course, there’s a sonofabitch of a hill. About 1 kilometre of 60° hell. (lol! My brain just typed hill, but my fingers typed hell!) hahaha! I was in so much pain that I ascended the hill backwards to give my butt and hamstring a break. The pain in my ass had descended up and down my body into my lower back and down into my hamstring and my calf was starting to complain too. Chrissie was so underworked for the day that she was going up and coming back to fetch and going up and coming back to fetch. Ag! How humiliating! And then we were finished. Not a metre too soon. My ass was on fire and the pseudo-chicken something or other was ready for an encore. Blech!

My body is slowly metamorphosing from a couch potato into an elite athlete (my easy to impress chiropractor – Clifford Mead – claims that I am already an elite athlete. And the crowds fell down laughing!). The pain started in my foot and toe. Then it moved to my ankles then my shins got it. Then my knees got it. My hamstrings and quads. Now my glutes. Clare-Anne, the physio says I can look forward to pain in my back next. Yay! The pain medication has progressed from Panado to Mypaid. By Comrades 2014 I’ll only have my head to worry about and of course the heroin addiction! Lol! Just kidding. I know I can’t take heroin if I want to win Comrades.

Hey! I’m a realist, but a girl can dream can’t she?

Lots of love from the slow coach.

Always good to remind myself

Always good to remind myself