Fun in the mud at Hilton

It was a wet, muddy day of fun at the KZNTR Hilton College Trail Run on Sunday. This is such a lovely route and the cool, misty conditions just added to it’s charm and intrigue. Still relatively new to the trail scene, I first tackled this race last year, finishing up in third place on the 12km. So I was excited, and nervous, to try my hand at the longer distance in preparation for my first upcoming Sky marathon next month.

me

Admittedly, I have been a bit weary about the slightly longer distances, it is something I am still tentatively exploring, but it was reassuring and calming to line up at the start next to so many good friends and familiar faces. The camaraderie and spirit of the trail running community is what makes this sport so special, and there was tons of that going around as we all stood in the rain, waiting for the race to get underway.

Last year, when I first ran Hilton, I was in a completely different place physically and mentally. I had literally just began working with my coach, Clinton Hunter from Racepace Coaching, so my strength and endurance was not up to scratch (he quickly changed that!), and my health was suffering from poor eating habits (I switched over to a plant based diet and my health and performance increased dramatically).

paragon
Paragon Fitness tribe!

With all this in mind, I ran the first half of this race rather cautiously, only kicking it up a few notches by the tenth km. Recently, I have been working closely with Rhain Hoskins from Paragon Fitness, who has been overseeing my conditioning and strength training, and it was really great to run this event with him (although he was way ahead of me for most of the route). He is really inspirational, and somewhat of a mentor, always talking about digging deep and giving 100% effort, and that was what I drew upon to help me through moments of fatigue (I am still relatively new to longer distances remember).

The course was pretty tricky to navigate, with all the mud and some technical sections and climbs at the start. Again, last time I ran this route, I did not have the greatest shoes or equipment with me, which really made it more difficult. This time round I returned armed with my Vivobarefoot Primus Trail shoes and UltrAspire hydration vest, and it made a huge difference.

prize-giving

By the last km, I was feeling stronger than ever and was so excited to come home as the second lady. This was such a wonderful event and I really take my hat off to Lauren and Andrew Booth of KZNTR for putting together such well run events. I also need to give a special shout out to my mom who stood in the rain and cold for hours, supporting us. And to all my wonderful friends for always making this such a fun day out. Massive respect to the podium winning ladies, Puseletso Dladla and Kirsty Bomford who finished in first and third respectively. such phenomenal athletes!!!

Advertisements

Epic finish for trail series

img_4900

Media Release: The KZN Spur Trail Series culminated in an epic finish at the Aloe Wildlife Estate recently as top athletes competed for top spots. Comprised of four long (Championship) and four short (Challenge) courses taking place throughout October at venues in and around Durban, the series drew a strong contingent of runners eager to explore the trails at the four newly selected venues.

win

Competition was stiff in both the Championship and Challenge courses and, with three of the four races counting towards the final standings, it was a close finish. In the men’s Long Course Championship overall standings, Mandla Zulu achieved top honours, finishing ahead of Jonathan Korb and David van der Veen.  Meanwhile, in the women’s Long Course Championship overall standings, national running champ, Puseletso Dladla secured first place ahead of Zoe Papadakis and Kate van der Bank.

Happy runners

untitledDladla is a strong cross country runner who has represented South Africa in track and field 10 000m in 2010 and travelled to compete in Germany, Mozambique and Reunion Island. Speaking about the event, she was full of praise.

“The series were fantastic as usual,” said Dladla. “It was so well organised and the venues were very exciting. I am so excited to have won the series last year and this year again.”

Dladla said she was now looking for a few weeks down time from racing before starting preparations for next year again.

Papadakis, who is a Fry’s ambassador and has been making a name for herself on the trails, was elated with her finish.

img_5430“For me, this series was more about spending time with amazing people and exploring new trails, so I was so happy to have finished second,” she said. Papadakis has been using her performances as a way to promote healthy and ethical living through a plant based lifestyle. She has featured strongly at trail events this year and credited her strong performance to the guidance of her coach, Clinton Hunter from Race Pace Coaching, as well as changing to a plant based lifestyle.

“My coach has been been phenomenal,” she said. “And I also need to thank the team at Fry’s, who have been so amazing in helping me get the message across that you can be healthy and fit and not have to resort to eating animal products.”

Podium finishers

img_5455

In the men’s Short Course Challenge, trail legend, Owen Bengo, bagged the win, finishing ahead of William Dyer and Craig Hallowes. In the women’s Short Course Challenge, Malu Zuma finished top of the log, with Victoria Coetzee in second and Hendrika Liebenberg in third.

The veteran men’s Long Course Championship division saw Grant Cummings finish first, with Donovan van Gelder in second and Ryan Smith in third while, in the veteran ladies, Anita Pohl finished ahead of Sihle Kraai and Leona Lamont respectively.

The master men Long Course Championship saw Martin Birthwhistle in first, with Rammy Govender in second and Gordon Truluck in third and, in the master ladies, Karen Bargate, Alison Chadwick and Kim Robinson rounded off the podium.

The veteran men’s Short Course Challeng division was won by Steven Gossman, with Kevin Williams in second and Wayne Dos Santos Niz in third while, in the masters ladies, Sharon Geeson finished in first, ahead of Charmain Shandu and Adele Wickerson.

The master men’s Short Course Challeng division was won by Patrick Wynne, with Kurt Landsberg in second and Jacques de Rauvill in third. The Master ladies was rounded off with Suzanne Dos Santos Niz in first place, with Wendy Constantine in second and Adrienne Champion in third.

Tales of a vegan runner

img_3652

“Oh my word… are you VEGAN??!!”

That question always get’s me. I imagine that, if one were to encounter the Flying Spaghetti Monster, they would ask for confirmation of identity in the same, shocked and uncomfortable manner.

“Oh my word… are you the THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER??!!”

Obviously there is not much difference between vegans and the The Flying Spaghetti Monster. We are both really weird creatures that are not of this world. Right? Truth is, vegans are not strange, alien creatures determined to destroy your burger (and happiness) by sprinkling a healthy dose of guilt over your conscience. We are just normal people who happen to believe in a cause.

It is not my job to convince you that we are good guys, or that you must give up meat and dairy. I just wanted to share my personal story in an effort to answer the very simple question… “WHY are you VEGAN??!!”

Four legged brat

When I was a kid I wanted to be a horse. So I did what any self respecting child would do. I started running around on all fours. Teachers were concerned, my parents were concerned and other children were scared.

There was talk about perhaps sending me to a school that could cater to my special needs- but in my tiny mind it made sense. I loved animals so much and just wanted to relate to them. It was kind of hard to communicate this through a series of neighs so, unfortunately, I went misunderstood for years.

After much prompting I started to walk on two legs again but my childlike obsession with animals continued. Shelves were filled with animal toys that were taken to school and confiscated by teachers who wanted to interrupt playtime with learning (so selfish). I was in trouble more often than not for living in a dream world filled with awesome ponies and puppies instead of paiyng attention to maths.

Save the animals

3While I was figuring it all out (was I a horse? was I human?) I decided to also stop eating meat and adopt a plant based diet. I was about 16 at the time. The heartache and guilt of knowing that the creatures I loved so much were being killed to be on my plate was overwhelming and I haven’t looked back since.

Later, that decision was solidly cemented when I started working as an inspector at an animal welfare organisation. The job really opened my eyes to the cruelty of the meat and dairy industry, as well as all the other incidences of animal cruelty common in our country. There were things I saw that can never be erased and, although I had to eventually change jobs because it all became too much, it firmed my resolve to do what I could to help those that cannot speak for themselves. Switching to a plant based diet and vegan lifestyle was the most proactive and logical step for me.

Food for thought

2Going vegetarian, or vegan, is a very personal choice but it is also a really exciting journey that I would encourage everyone to explore. The decision to cut out meat and dairy features numerous health and environmental benefits.  You also get to save thousands of little guys who would not otherwise have a shot at a decent life, which is always great!

The wonderful thing about living the lifestyle in this day and age is that there are so many fantastic recipes and products out there that taste delicious, making this lifestyle so easy to stick to. Personally, I absolutely love the Fry’s brand, which features strongly in my diet to provide necessary protein for sustenance during a hard training week. I also respect what they stand for and that they are actively involved in the community (the Fry’s Yoga Club is a perfect example).

Take the step

Someone once said to me that adopting a plant based diet and vegan living is a process. You can’t just jump into the deep end and eliminate everything all at once. You can start by making small changes and working towards adopting a fully began lifestyle. I really do believe that every little bit counts and, if you have been toying with the idea, then it is definitely something worth further investigating.

A great way to get started is to take the 30 Day Vegan Pledge, which helps you out with simple steps while you investigate and learn more about the benefits of a plant-based diet and vegan living. If that is too much, there is the meat free monday campaign, which is a simple way to start making a difference in the world.

Resources

There is so much information and support out there that make the transition easy and painless. There are still misconceptions out there and, creating a well balanced and healthy plant based diet, can go a long way in saving the animals, the environment and boosting your health. For more information check out the following links

1South African Vegan Society

Vegan Society

Frys Family Food

Conscious Cafe

Chilliplum

Make the Connection