No pain no gain?

Training and not losing weight? In fact gaining weight? Sound familiar? This was my story whilst training for Ironman a few years back. No doubt I was fit and strong and ready to race. But I was also soft around the middle and carrying 5kgs more than I should have.

Why? I don’t have all the answers, but I’m coming closer…..two key factors stand out for me: stress and nutrition.

Stress: Not enough recovery, insufficient sleep, not recognizing and accounting for daily work and living stress on top of a hectic training programme. Stress also in the form of training intensity – too many sessions done too hard, and the hard sessions not done hard enough.

Nutrition: Eating more than necessary, and fueled predominantly on carbohydrates. Food became my crutch to get through sessions and then to reward the effort.

I’m getting a lot more right – with both the stress and nutrition – and have subsequently lost the pesky 5kgs. But it is a work in progress to stay in tune with what is happening in and around my body, and not just plug myself blindly into a training programme or eating plan.

This is why I found the article below an interesting read…

6 Training mistakes that lead to weight gain – Women’s Running article by Jessica Migala – published 5 Nov 2015; updated 16 May 2016


11 Books by Inspirational Women

I have just read Siri Lindley‘s book “Surfacing: From the Depths of Self-Doubt to Winning Big and Living Fearlessly”. A great read to start the year off! I then came across this article, which lists 11 books by badass women, which you should read…

11 Books by Badass women you should read now! An article by Elizabeth McCourt @ecmccourt as published by the Huffington Post 11 November 2016

Here is her list….

  1. Alison Levine –On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest and Other Extreme Environments
  2. Amy Schumer –The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo
  3. Brene Brown –Rising Strong
  4. Dorie Clark –Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build A Following Around It
  5. Elizabeth Gilbert –Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
  6. Faith Salie –Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much
  7. Gabby Bernstein –The Universe Has Your Back
  8. Katty Kay and Claire Shipman –The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know
  9. Mindy Kaling –Why Not Me?
  10. Shonda Rhimes –Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person
  11. Siri Lindley –Surfacing: From the Depths of Self-Doubt to Winning Big and Living Fearlessly

Happy reading – my you too be inspired!

Park-off? … or not?

  1. Park: to bring to a halt and leave temporarily
  2. Park-off: to be in a passive state (non-active)
  3. Park Run: name given to a collection of five-kilometre running  events
  4. Parkour: Free running – is a training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course training. Practitioners aim to get from one point to another in a complex environment, without assistive equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible.

Which “park” appeals?

Perhaps this video will help you decide? Movement of Three

And for added inspiration to go from “park-off” to “park-on” or even just a “walk in the park”, check this site out: See&Do “Monkey See Monkey Do – Everyone is able. How and where we move reflects how we think and choose to live our lives. See&Do shares stories that inspire; help us to break habits that limit us, and promotes participation and inclusivity.”

For more info about Parkour in South Africa visit: Parkour South Africa

Go get your park on!


Superwoman or just a super woman?

We are what we think. Thoughts from my sister….

So here I am, confined to my beautiful, sanctuary of a home for 6 weeks, recovering from a hip replacement at the tender age of 45. “You’re so young for a hip replacement!”, everyone says. “What happened?” “Nothing glamourous,” I say. “No accident or extreme sports injury. Just bad bones.”

Lying in my hospital bed for the first few days, I started thinking my life over, as one does when one has time to reflect. I have an angel of a husband, whom I do acknowledge, sits too low down on my daily lists. I have two really special kids that give me many happy “lump in the throat” moments, a big retail job that I love (most of the time), a peaceful family home and some great pets and friends to complete the picture. But as I lie – just a number in this hospital factory where I am only a small, temporary part of a very efficient system – I think seriously about my fabulous life and the question of balance comes up again.

The afternoon after my operation when my family came to visit, I noticed things I am not sure I would have picked up a few weeks ago, when my head would then have been full of transactional stuff, to do lists and tasks and, “What’s for supper,” and more. My restless husband, body language so clear – arms folded and pacing, the eternal optimist – willing me to be fine. My teenage daughter, always so gracefully composed yet this time her beautiful, big blue eyes tinged with concern. And my twelve-year-old son, perpetual motion, examining everything to see how it works, but every few minutes coming back to me, touching me with his warm, chunky, boy hands. I don’t think I would have noticed all this had I not been this way – very special things to me, much more meaningful than, “Are your bags packed?” or “Is the table cleared away?” or whether I have made the grocery list for tomorrow.

Back to balance then – the working mom conversation – an old one but very much in play as I recover, quite happily actually, and slowly at home. Much easier than I thought although I needed some discipline in the beginning not to look at my work emails or worry about the girls at the office and whether they were managing fine. Well, in my absence, I reminded myself, again, that life goes on. Sure, I may be missed but the retail cycle ticks along regardless of who’s in charge.

I asked my daughter once, during my recovery period, “Am I an OK Mom?” to which she replied, “Of course but you are much nicer since you have been at home; you’re not so shouty”. How right she is. My life slowed down for a while and so I had quality time and quantity time without the (self-induced) pressure of a career mom’s lifestyle.

Can I keep this up, when I go back to work – protect my balance and still do everything I want to for me and for my family? Of course I can, I have thought about this a lot. But it requires a different kind of discipline, one I am ready for, quite seriously. This is not a new conversation but I have a new solution, thanks to my also new hip.

And here’s the twist in my tale. I need to have my other hip replaced as well in the near future. However, I have a theory I am going to try, one of, “Can brains and good karma beat biology?” If I slow down, take the pressure off, shift my balances and spend time on the right aspects of my life, I think I can stall the coming of a second new hip.

I don’t need to be superwoman; I just need to keep on being a super woman.

Emma Roca rocks!

“If you want it. You’ll do it”. These were repeatedly Emma Roca’s words during her very inspirational and entertaining talk at Sports Science Institute of South Africa in Cape Town recently.

emma roca

What a privilege to be able to hear her story and her message. Thanks to BUFF® South Africa for bringing out such a top athlete. Emma has been a BUFF® sponsored athlete for 20 years. Says something about the integrity of both parties. Both are the genuine article! The real deal.

Not only is Emma an elite athlete, she is also a wife, mother of three, has a PhD in Biochemistry, is a writer and an entrepreneur. Oh sorry I forgot….Emma is also a firefighter!

Emma the athlete:

Her message throughout her presentation; but illustrated here in this video clip of her at UTMB 2013:

“My goals for this edition: First to enjoy myself to the maximum, do my utmost and try to be up there at the front if at all possible. It’s got to be a race that you have set your heart on. Because if you just think of your time, numbers and distance, maybe you won’t finish.”

Emma the scientist:

Take a look at her interview on here: I Run Far…..with specific reference to her focus for her PhD – the effects of Ultra Running on the body.

Some standout points for me taken from the above interview:

“Even today I’m amazed at the amount of people running and ultrarunning. The trend is brutal and every weekend there are thousands of races everywhere. I love that there are many people passionate about the sport and that organisers are working so hard to make their races bigger and bigger, but I worry that people do things without common sense, preparation and, sometimes, to just look good or say what they’ve done on social media. Sometimes it seems like we lose a little of the essence of why we do sport, why we run trails. Then it stops making sense. We have to remember that we move, run, and cycle because we feel alive, because it gives it so much, and because it makes us feel good, healthy, brave, and vital! Now with my thesis project, SUMMIT, I hope to open peoples’ eyes to see the dangers out there associated with ultra distances. I’m talking about if you’ve not previously had a medical checkup, a stress test, a biomechanics study. I’m talking nutritionally and making sure you’ve tried smaller distances before going and running half marathons or ultras. With the results I’d like to make sure that we’re getting people to do their homework in order to fulfill their dreams in the most healthy way possible. With the SUMMIT (health in ultramarathons and its limits) project, we are still studying many parameters associated with long distance, but at a highly summarised level we are seeing:

  • That we’re still easily dehydrated when drinking much more than 2% of our body weight during ultras—so our performance is compromised along with other biochemical parameters.
  • Our right ventricle suffers during long, continuous, and intensive efforts—and that there are hearts that are poorly suited to long distance or many hours of training.
  • That the role of our genes can be greatly influenced by the simple facts of having or having not trained, having eaten well, or having slept well. Not everything is written in the genes, but they have the ability to express it.
  • Our immune systems struggle after ultras and we’re very vulnerable to viruses, getting colds, and generally becoming ill.

The heart is suffering because of the effort they are putting in over many hours. Then there is also bone decalcification—bones lose calcium and can cause osteoporosis much sooner than someone who hasn’t run as much. The studies also show that there is an increased risk of ventricular fibrillation in men, too; not women, though.

So I would tell young people to wait a while before starting to run ultras—your metabolism will thank you in the future. We’re also seeing that exercise can be more beneficial than prescriptions to prevent premature death from almost all causes like heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, hypertension, colon cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, functional dependency and falls in the elderly, cognitive impairment, anxiety, and depression. This benefit is seen in both sexes and increases with the volume and intensity of exercise. You start seeing all these positive effects with only 30 minutes of exercise a day or 2.5 hours per week.”

Note to self: Do it with heart. Do your homework. Know your body. Have a base.

Emma the writer:

emma roca books

Emma the entrepreneur:

What an awesome initiative. Go on…sign up!




Girl power, without a doubt.



Serious about life?

Serious about health and fitness?

Serious athlete?

Just plain serious?

Well let’s not forget to have fun and enjoy the less-serious side of what we take seriously!

Being not so serious in our active wear….

Unleash your inner onion

We’re all onions. Layered with complexity. The real juice and flavour of our souls hidden deep inside, covered by a weathered, papery exterior – giving no clue as to what really lies beneath. Like a diamond stashed within layers of dark and peaty coal.

Why hide the awesomeness? Afraid of the tears when you peel back the layers? But once the tears have dried what about the delicious host of flavours that the inner onion provides?

So, why not peel back that musty display, risk the tears, be vulnerable, and feel the flavour of you.



Did you win? Was it a PB? How fast? How far? How long? Strava? Was it measured? Logged? Recorded? Great! But are you winning? And….How did you feel?

Did you feel like a winner?

Are you inspired?

Did you enjoy it? Did those around you, enjoy you?

In your efforts to be a winner, don’t forget to feel like one.

Go meet some girls and feel their unmeasured inspiration