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.



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