You are browsing the archive for 2010 January.

Second race done and dusted!

January 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

Woo hoo! The second race in the Cape Trail Series is over! Admittedly I only did the short course yesterday, but considering that was still 5.9km I don’t think that’s too bad. I’m sure to veteran runners it will seem like a puny distance, but I won’t let anyone tell me that it’s still not a good accomplishment.


Especially considering that it’s only my second race ever, never mind on a trail.


Although the organisers were a little sneaky when they said on their website “All you need to know is that this trail is flat“. What they so innocently forgot to mention is that it was also mostly sea sand and reeds that had been flattened and were therefore rather slippery and concealed little dips and ditches.


However it was another beautiful evening here in the Cape and the Rondevlei Nature Reserve is a lovely setting. Water, birds – rickety old bridges… :-)


I ran into (excuse the pun) a woman who works at the Flex Ladies gym who is a veteran runner while I was waiting for Aimee to finish. She is an amazing lady who finished the long course (11.5km) in roughly an hour!!! Some low flying going on there methinks!


Anyway, I got chatting to her and she has agreed to give me some expert tips on trail running and how to train for it, what to do the day of the race, things to look out for etc.

All the stuff I could have done with knowing BEFORE I so eagery signed up for all 5 races.


No matter, for you all shall now benefit from my mistakes and once she has given me some more info i will post it up here and hopefully it will help inspire those who are interested in trail running, and encourage those like me who enjoy it but still need a few pointers!


If there is anyone else out there who can help with info on trail running please let me know! As far as I have seen there is very little info out there for beginners and it can be quite a daunting experience if you don’t really know what you’re letting yourself in for!



Weight-loss – not as easy as you’d think!

January 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

FitnessDoc has written three article so far, debunking certain myths about exercise and weight-loss and explaining others. You can read them here.


They really are worth a read – and although at first they might seem a bit technical to us non-scientist buffs, I generally find that if you go back and re-read them a little slower they will start to make more sense and you’ll find yourself going “Oh yeah…”. Well, at least that’s what I find myself doing, you might be a little more discreet in your realisations!


The overall point he’s making is that exercise does help weight-loss. But it’s not as simple as just getting on a treadmill for 45 minutes a day. It’s got to do with how hard you work in the 45 minutes – and more importantly, what you do the rest of the day and what you put in your mouth.


But before you get too despondent at how complex your body is and how everything works together to either get rid of stuff or hold onto it, take a deep breath, re-read the article and you’ll soon see that there is not only a light at the end of the tunnel, but a whole new lighter you!


Right, that’s my motivation for the day, I’m off to torture myself with the second of the Cape Trail Series. Need all the encouragement and positive thoughts y’all can muster though cause it turns out I read the instructions wrong and what I had hoped was the 9km race today is actually 11.5km. Which is one and a half more km’s of torture than last week.


Oh joy! :-(


Will let you know how it went tomorrow if I make it – since my fingers will probably be the only things on my body still working by then….*positive thinking, positive thinking, positive thinking*


January 26, 2010 in Uncategorized


Anyone who has ever done a Power Pump class the a Virgin Active will feel my pain… owwwweee!! It’s certainly not a sissies way to start the week!

My running buddy (henceforth referred to by her real name – Aimee) and I go to the same Monday class every week, although for the last few weeks there have been different trainers as everyone came back from holidays. Yesterday however, the regular trainer Michelle was back.



After the first few minutes i could feel my muscles screaming. But this is why we like her class… it’s mostly all weights with a little cardio thrown in just to thoroughly exhaust you. It’s quite refreshing though because after only a few months of doing this class I can really say that it’s the first time I’m starting to notice a physical change in my body.

Michelle encourages us to use slightly heavier weights every week to challenge the muscles and if I try use the ones I started out on now it feels like lifting air. Not to say I look anything like the hulk – quite the opposite actually. I have slimmed down and a lot of previously wobbly bits are now quite a lot firmer.

I only wish I’d started her class sooner and had more of her classes a week as she is also very good at describing how to perform each move and my technique has improved tenfold as well. 

There is a lot of confusion surrounding weights and toning and women. Should we? Shouldn’t we? I for one really enjoy it. And i quite like the burn the day afterwards and I sleep REALLY well that night. What are your thoughts?

Let me know if you would like a full article on this and we can ask FitnessDoc if he would be so kind.

And while you’re at it, check out his second article on weight loss and exercise. He

Exercise and weight-loss – it’s no myth!

January 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

A few moths ago Time magazine published what turned out to be a very controversial article about exercise and weight-loss, titled ‘Why exercise won’t make you thin’.

The article itself was not really ‘wrong’, but it was the way in which it was presented that got all the exercise and weight-loss fundies hot and bothered. 


 Basically it hinted that exercise won’t make you lose weight because the more you exercise, the more you will eat. Which, like I said, isn’t entirely unreasonable – but it’s also not entirely true. I mean if you are exercising to lose weight, then you should also be watching what you eat  -so instead if scoffing a muffin after a workout, you’d be  more likely to chomp on an apple. Or at least you should! :-)


However, Health24’s FitnessDoc, Dr Ross Tucker, says this much more eloquently and with far more enthusiasm and conviction in a series of article’s he’s writing this week on the link between exercise and weight loss. Read the first installment of his series here.




This is the year!!

January 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

Hello bloggers!

I have been the editor of the Fitness Zone on Health24 for two years now and I thought it was about time I got a blog too, so here we are! And what better time to start a blog on fitness and exercise than in the first month of a year that is still full of such promise? :-)


As the Fitness Editor it’s only fitting that I document some of the fitness trends and sports that I take part in and I would lvoe you to share your experiences, suggestions and any fitness tips you have as well. The more the merrier!


I’ll got first :-)


Last year, I decided to incorporate running into my exercise routine. And for anyone who has ever started running you will know that it’s all very well to SAY you’re going to start running. Altogether another thing to put on a pair of running shoes, hit the road – and still be able to walk the next day.


Nevertheless, I had been dragged around a farm in the Karoo for a gruelling 8km and while I had been convinced for the first 5 that my lungs would explode and I’d end my days a crumpled heap on the dusty ground with nothing but confused sheep as witnesses – by the time I finished the run I was on a high like no other.


Sure, everything hurt and for a few days after that it felt like my muscles had all shrunk and were trying to crawl further into my body. But the high that I had lasted me the whole day. I’m not sure if it the fresh air, relief that it was over or pride at the fact that I’d done it, but whatever it was I like it.


Where it all began


So when I got back to Cape Town I wanted to run. Problem is I didn’t know where to start, and not being one to do things the easy way, I decided to find someone who could run with me and push me to run further and faster.


I ‘advertised’ online for a runny buddy in the area where I lived and a few weeks later I went for my first run with a girl who not only lived a few blocks from me but who also shared my name! A sign, no? :-)


I have now been running with my buddy for several months, and although I haven’t entered any races, I could feel my running was getting better. How? Well my legs didn’t feel so rubbery after a run anymore. And I could step it up to twice a week rather than just once.


However, as I mentioned, doing things the easy way has never been my ‘thing’ and somehow this week I found myself driving out to Silver Mine Nature Reserve with my running buddy for my first race in the Cape Summer Trail Series. Now bear in mind I have NEVER run a race. And the most we ever ran was about 7km – on the road.


This was a 10km trail run. It was with 300-odd (in every sense of the word) other people, it was on a very rough mountain trail and it was very windy.


The hardest day of my life


Trail running, I have since found out, is not for sissies. It’s hard. Very, very hard. It is quite simply the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life.


Two kilometres in I wanted to give up and go home. It was so hard that my calves were tight, my heart-rate monitor claimed I had reached my maximum heart-rate – AND STAYED THERE, and I was seconds away from crying. It was horrible, I won’t lie. The only thing that kept me going was that I couldn’t be left alone on the mountain and I figured as long as I kept some other runners in sight it would be ok.


Five seconds later that idea went skipping happily out the window hand-in-hand with all my common sense and rationality. Somehow everyone had disappeared ahead of me and I was alone on a rocky road in the middle of the bush wondering if I would ever not be sore again.


However, just as I was wondering if it would be faster to just give up and head back the way I came or carry on and hope that I made it before it got dark another runner came up beside me and said “Come on, run with me, Slow and steady…”


It seemed like such a simple, reasonable suggestion that it would be silly to refuse. So I started running again. And I ran the rest of the way with this woman and her friends – and I finished the race.


It wasn’t easy and I have never had to concentrate that hard for that long ever. Every muscle in my body ached, my lungs were burning, my joints protesting and my eyes were burning. But I had to just forget about all that and concentrate on not slipping on one of the millions of little rocks while doing a weird combination of running and climbing up bigger rocks.


Every step required a little forward planning, so the screaming muscles just had to take a back seat until I was done. And by then they were done screaming and were in the corner rocking backwards and forwards, sporting a rather stunned and glazed expression.


The Grande Finale… sort of


I came last, but let’s face it, I was never going to be in the top 200 anyway! The point is I finished. I FINISHED!

And I’m alive.

And nothing is broken/twisted/fractured/pulled or otherwise different from when I started.  


And if I can do it, so can you.


However, this is not the end of my self-inflicted torture as there are another 4 of these evens still to come and I have every intention of at least attempting to run them all. Even if I come last in every one. Someone always has to come last anyway, right? And the main thing is that I cross that finish line.


However, I do need all the help I can get, so any avid runners – road or trail or treadmill, I’m not fussy – PLEASE can I have some tips!! Any and all advice welcome! And feel free to share your stories too, the good, the bad and the ugly!


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