Sometimes I surprise even myself

I have too many balls in the air, I think. OK, that’s not surprising to anyone I suppose.

Last week Thursday we were building a show house in Philippi and I was expecting to be there for like an hour to observe, take photos, etc. So, being as that I don’t like wearing sunscreen because it’s really not healthy for the skin, I put on the moisturizer + SPF 15 that I somehow delude myself is better for my skin. Anyway, what else is not healthy? Sunburn. I wound up in the sun for 4 hours before concluding that I’d seen all there was to see for the day and heading back to the office to make sure everyone was being productive.

We have a lot going on at the moment between trying to get little things donated, to doing a member drive for the Hub, to reviewing all of our systems, to getting better at planning and tracking the effectiveness of staff, and, from my side, trying to make sure that we all, together, create our plans for what we should be doing. I feel for some of the people in the business; they have just mountains of really hard work. I guess we all do, actually.

Thursday afternoon was spent with potential investors in one of our projects, and then I picked up my harvest share of peaches and figs. This was shocking for two reasons: firstly, this was the most amazing fig I’d ever had in my life. Apparently the figs we get in North America aren’t ripe or something, or are a completely different variety altogether. But wow. I keep “discovering” a new favourite fruit … first it was guavas, then fresh persimmons, and now maybe figs. But peaches are also one of my favorites but for some reason in this country they are picked so early that they never get soft and ripe: by the time they start to get soft they get mouldy! This is a shame because there is nothing, and I mean nothing, like a fresh, juicy, and RIPE peach. Weird. Well, you take the bad with the good I guess.

Thursday night I met up with a friend for dinner. We went down to Olympia Café in Kalk Bay where I had one of the best meals I’ve had in recent months. And fully paleo except for some cheese on the courgette (zucchini) bake. Oh, and the wine. Still, a very chill and lovely evening and a new favourite restaurant I think! Then again considering how often I eat out, that’s not necessarily very hard.

I am not sure what happened to Friday. We had a meeting in the morning with the community running one of our GrowZones, then I went back to the office and I can’t actually recall what happened next. It was just that interesting, apparently. Fridays in Cape Town, what can I say? Oh but the picture above is an example of what I’m always trying to describe to people in America about the random sort of thing you will encounter driving in Cape Town. Usually they are in the form of shopping carts filled with randomly-sized objects sticking out in all directions, but on this occasion I had my camera handy so there you go.

So I can thank the Summer Trail Series for ruining my social life. I think the entire city of Cape Town was going to this Balkan Beat Box concert but it started at 9pm and I needed to get to sleep, so I passed. Lame, I know. Social life can resume once the races are over.

Saturday morning’s beach workout was short but super fun! We started with some Hoover ball, then we did a team workout where one group did partner carries, sprints, and animal runs while the other did burpees and kettlebell swings, then we swapped. I was actually happy that the workout wasn’t too terribly hectic because of the race the next day (yes, my life is seriously starting to revolve around these races!).

That afternoon I took some tourists from Sweden and my co-worker out wine tasting. Neethlingsof in Stellenbosch, and Glen Carlou and Fairview in Paarl. Glen Carlou had come highly recommended and it did not disappoint, even down to the Stellenbosch student pouring our wine. He was studying mechatronics (mechanical engineering and electrical engineering – hectic!) and came out with the best comment of the weekend: “Best traffic law in the world!” when I mentioned being able to turn right on red (you can’t do that in South Africa, well obviously it’s left here but same idea). Apparently you can’t in Sweden, either. Strange. Fairview was also fun because the guy pouring our wine there was pretty well drunk, so he gave us a bunch of wine that wasn’t on the list, including their uber-premium wine. Yup, for R250 (~$35) a bottle it better be that good!

So Sunday morning I actually saw the dawn for the first time in months (I was up at 5:30am), and drove the hour out to Oak Valley wine farm in Grabouw. In the Winter Trail Series my favourite race was at Paul Cluver wine farm (where next Sunday’s race is), so I was pretty excited for this. 7.25km course, undulating hills, and mostly mountain biking paths through the forest, alongside fields, etc. It was super fun, and not for the first time I thought that if only I wasn’t so competitive I should run with my camera and take pictures!

But speaking of competition, I was running along and I thought I was in third or fourth place. There was one girl ahead of me who I passed when she got very tired on the final series of hills. She had been setting pace the entire course so I was sad to pass her but she was going too slow and the guys I was running with were about my pace so it was fine. But then again I was thinking I went out too fast because I got very tired with about 1.5kms to go, and I could feel myself slowing down. With about 1000m remaining (or so I estimated, I couldn’t see the finish) I realized that there was a girl about 100m behind me who had come out of nowhere! So I was quite worried because she was clearly fresher than I was, and unfortunately I had no choice at this point but to kick it up a notch. I mean, I always go around bragging that no one can outsprint me and even though I was quite exhausted I would never live that one down, even in my own mind, to let someone beat me at the end like that. I beat her by 4 seconds, and as it turns out, it was for the win in the race!

This isn’t as impressive as it sounds, all the real competition is in the long courses which I will never be good at. Still, my first win at any distance longer than 400m, so pretty cool I thought! Two things funny about this. Firstly, after I crossed the finish line I pretty much immediately went off to the side and collapsed, a la after a tough CrossFit workout. One of the medics was so concerned he came to check me out and seemed a little suspicious when I said this was normal. After a bit I got up, jogged to the car to get my camera, and came back. He then said he wanted to listen to my breath so I let him: “Not a sound.” “I *told you* that was normal!” The other thing was that I really had no idea I had won until they were giving prizes. I was sitting with my friend talking probably about the evils of gluten, and then they read off third place and it wasn’t me (and the time was slower than my unofficial time I had on my watch), then second (who again wasn’t me), so that’s when I realized I had actually won. I was shocked. Still am, actually!

The drive back was fantastic: gorgeous day, driving around with the windows down, and in a pretty good mood obviously, although tired! I quickly showered, ate lunch, and headed to Muizenberg to discuss the business plan for the competition we are entering. We’re still at the conceptual stage, but we made really good progress I thought. Later on that evening I went out to watch a screening of Zeitgeist at the National Library of South Africa. This was cool, even more so to check the bowels of this building. There were all sorts of doors that said danger CO2 and I wondered at first why this was before I realized what an idiot I am. Whee …

Today was a big day: two meetings with provincial government officials. One went well, one not so much. In both cases we have quite a lot of work to do. I’m finding myself getting quite a bit stressed out and this is exactly what I wanted to avoid. Time to make sure I actually do work smarter and not harder or else nothing good will happen. So I went to yoga, and that has helped a little bit. I’ll get a handle, but something still just feels “off.” Much as I’m loving it (and the competition …) this Trail Series is really taking it out of me. This is a lot of races in a short period of time, and I can feel how it affects me: both at the gym where I am really tired even though I’m taking rest days (not enough apparently …), and at work.

Well, I’ll figure it out. Maybe first I need to stop worrying about it so much and it will come to me.

– “It’s always a good thing when government calls you.” – Max
– “If we want change, we need to take it back.” – Sjon
– “Not that I’m calling you a horse, Minister.” – (not saying who said this)
– “Tick bite fever isn’t contagious.” – Anton

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