Friday 21 December 2007

Holiday feeva and good cheer

As of now, I'm officially on leave for the next week-and-a-half. Hip-hip-hoorah! This has been an unbelievably speedy year (as we say each year) and it's about time the pace got slower. My mission for the next 10-days is to run, read, watch DVDs and catch up with friends; and join Darron on a Swazi Xtreme 2008 scouting adventure.

I've found the past 6-months especially exhausting... I took on the position of Gear Editor for Runner's World magazine in June with my first gear section making the August 2007 issue. It's a part-time position, on top of my day job, so weekends and nights get bogged down checking out fabulous goodies. The two weeks leading up to deadline are chaotic and stressful. But, receiving a fresh copy of the magazine and seeing what I've written in print and full-colour... nothing beats it!

Within the first two months in this role I got roped into writing the running section for the annual Men's Health Buyer's Guide and I've just (today) finished a Buyer's Guide for the Feb08 Runner's World issue.

Since July I have been in contact with every and any company that has anything to do with running products. They have been so supportive and enthusiastic; sending products for testing and photographing on tight deadlines. There is no way I could even contemplate putting together these columns without their "drop-everything-and-send-goodies-right-now" attitudes. I've also got a great photographer, Ben, who manages to make underpants look fabulous. Thank you.

I've been doing a regular one-pager for GoMulti this year - on any aspect of adventure racing. Deon gives me the freedom to write on anything that catches my attention. GoMulti has always been a fantastic supporter of adventure racing - and that's why they're our "journal" for AR Club next year; an annual subscription is part of our club membership.

What else has happened? (I always get contemplative at this time of year)...
I started taking part in AR sprint races again - for the first time since 2002. For years I've been taking photos, marshalling and helping out. This was the year for action! I had the good fortune to race with Tim, Ian, Lobby and Gerrit.

The Joburg SPUR sprint in April was bigger and more successful than last year. I'm the Joburg event organiser but I have the most fantastic support from Ugene Nel and the SPUR people with the actual event logistics (catering, branding, music, kiddies stuff and such). It's a great team. Our 2008 event will be on 2 March.

I helped Darron at Swazi X this year, ran Mnweni Marathon in the 'Berg(great race - 38km in 7h50!), Salomon Nite Run (with Tim) and Xtreme O in Cape Town, Gauteng & SA Orienteering Champs, the mountain stage of Wartrail (in a girls team with Lobby and Daleen), Rhodes Ultra, Golden Reef 100-miler (as a 4-person AR Club team; wonderful fun) and recently, the 5-day 100-mile Himalayan Stage Race in India. There have also been Sunday morning orienteering events during the year and too few road races.

My theory is that it's all the events that turn your year crazy? More weekend mornings spent lazing in bed may help to slow the year down? Then again, taking part in events, meeting and mingling with friends, is brilliant, active fun.

Now, truth be told, I am t.i.r.e.d. I have been craving some time at home doing stuff and staying off my computer as much as possible. Over the next week I'm creating a website for a friend, painting my room (need a colour change), taking tons of photos of my cat and meeting friends for runs. And I've got the customary family lunches and dinners. All in all, this is a good setup.

On the 28th I'm heading to Swaziland to hook up with Darron and Anita. Darron and I will be playing on the Swazi Xtreme 2008 route. A few months ago we discussed a number of fabulous ideas for the event next year, none of which include scary jumps or cable-tie ladders. You can be assured that SX08 will offer a whole lot of adventure wrapped up with cunning strategy and new elements. Yes novices, you can do it and finish successfully and happily - trust me.

As for my action and adventure plans for 2008... I'm still thinking about this. My one definite is taking part in the World 24hr Rogaine Champs in Estonia in September 2008. I'll be running in a women's pair with my friend Heather Graz. I've got a lot of training to do to be able to keep up with her!

As you all wrap up work for the year and head off on holiday, I wish you rest and relaxation, a period of calm, time spent with friends and family and safe travels. And a dash of training on the side to ward off those festive gains.

Looking ahead... I do wish that you achieve your goals and desires over the coming year.



Monday 10 December 2007

Eating your cake

Time is a limiting factor to the number of things that you can do. There is a point when taking on something new means compromising, or giving up, something else.

If you'd like to study part-time, on top of your day job, those all-day weekend braais with family and friends have to be reduced or eliminated. If you sign up for ceramic classes on Wednesday evenings, your usual 2-hour training session will be compromised.

I'm often juggling a number of projects and commitments at one time and I've often wondered just how much I can take on without letting something slide.

For some time my training has not been as consistent or lengthy as it used to be. Sure, I get out, but I'm just not putting in as much preparation and cross-training as I want to.

This reflects the one area of our lives, "me time", that is so easy to neglect in favour of other more demanding commitments that need a lot of effort to develop and maintain.

I recently gave up one commitment and with it gained the realisation of how much space I made in my life by compromising on other activities.

This past Saturday morning I went to my first yoga class in almost 2-years. I have needed - and wanted - the stretching, focus and tranquility of the discipline but I just have not been able to commit to it.

I also have not been to step aerobics classes for almost the same period. Prior to this lapse I had attended the most of the weekly advanced classes for 12-years.

These two things sound small but they are linked to others that are important to me.

The lesson in all of this is that we all have a limit to what we can commit to. Taking on new hobbies or activities requires the drastic reduction or deletion of an existing commitment. And usually the things eliminated are personally important and beneficial. They usually make way for tasks that revolve around other people; and your gran probably doesn't even realise what you have to shuffle to take her shopping every Saturday.

It is good to again enjoy these activities - and others - that are good for both my body, mind and spirit.

Tuesday 4 December 2007

New AR photographic book

Talented adventure photographer Peder Sundstrom has published a book of photographs from his experiences at adventure races around the World.

The book "Endless - A Portrait of Aventure Racing" is "a collection of photographs gathered from a decade of documenting the international races. The book consist of 160 pages, printed on environmental friendly paper".

The photographs are emotive, beautiful and they convey the spirit of adventure racing and its participants.

"As a special addition to the book, a number of the premier international journalists and athletes have participated with stories and thoughts from personal experiences of their adventure racing careers."

Contributing writers:

Niclas Sjögren, Karen Lundgren, John Jacoby, Nathan Fa'ave, Lisa Jhung, Pascal Bahuaud, Paul Romero, Mats Andersson, Robyn Benincasa, Richard Usher, Emma Rocca, Travis Macy, Mikael Lindnord, Rob Hovard, Fredrik Ölmqvist, Geoff Hunt, Ian Adamson, Martin Dreyer, Shirin Rådby Djavidi, Lisa de Speville, Björn Rydvall

This is a coffee table book of exceptional, aspirational photographs. Between the pages you'll spot our own Martin Dreyer, Sakkie Meyer and Garth Pienke (side-on pic). There are also a few photos from the Richtersveld Bull of Africa 2005.

The book can be ordered from the book website at (link on top left for English).

Peder's photographic talent and extensive experience is well in advance of his age. This book is a wonderful reflection of Peder's achievements.