Chocolate & Kryptonite


So there was this situation whereby I had chocolate in my office. Then I went to Joburg.

Apparently it was a thing while I was away: they wanted to steal it, thought that surely it wasn’t for me, etc. It was actually for Sam, because she made me promise there would be coffee and chocolate when she visited.

Of all the people you should be nice to, your lawyers should be at the top of the list. I even bought special mint Lindt for her.

But you know, what goes around comes around. I remember when I was new to the industry and I didn’t know Dominic and Sam from a heap of potatoes. Now it’s another matter.

There is this story I once heard about a guy whose great grandfather in the American Southwest had killed a buffalo (or some such), and kept the head as a trophy, and it eventually became a family heirloom. Then the kind-hearted gentleman lent it to a local gallery owner. Shortly thereafter, his calls were not returned, and when he drove there in person he found that the shop had been closed down, owner long gone, family heirloom and all.

When asked what he was going to do about it, he replied: ‘Nothing. She knows what she’s done, and she must live with that.’

Just snatch balancing.

Just snatch balancing.

Is the story true? I have no clue. Does it matter?

Sometimes turning the other cheek is not the right thing to do. A moral high ground can make you feel good but sometimes you have others to consider.

My Kryponite, such as it is, is surely moral outrage or righteous indignation. It’s the same thing that causes me to fly off the handle when someone condescends to me, or tells me the same thing three times in a row (another form of condescension).

And sometimes bad stuff just happens. Good thing I reserved my poor spirits for last week; this week I needed to stay cheerful despite all sorts of crazy: one staff member’s house being ransacked by robbers; another’s father having prostate cancer; the grandfather of one of my physios dying, etc. Kind of a lost week of productivity; unfortunately. These things do happen, and you have to roll with the punches. Part of what I’ve learned at training only very recently is that sometimes you accomplish more by doing less; and the same is true with people. Sometimes the timing is just wrong.

Oh and then there is the distraction of a partner company acting like a petulant child. The illogic, circular reasoning, intimidation, threatening, avoiding of questions, and unfounded accusations really does remind me of the way I used to argue when I was six, and my mother very politely told me I could not win arguments that way as a grownup.

I don’t know how such people sleep at night; I honestly don’t. Blame the victim, always a great strategy for long-term success. What goes around comes around, I do believe that!

In other news, there is nothing like a hibiscus tree. For reals!

In other news, there is nothing like a hibiscus tree. For reals!

It’s one of the reasons I’ve thrown myself so hard into WAPA; a volunteer role that I didn’t really want but now I’m so glad I’m involved with this, for lots of reasons. One is the experience; another is the networking; and a final one is the way that I can see the ability to not only help the industry but actually shape its future. This week brought another of those meetings where the discussion quickly went into the direction of “X player and Y player are doing this, so we need to figure out how or whether to react.” Yep; interesting things sometimes come to the fore in the Skyrove boardroom.

Maybe I was in good spirits having pushed some things through to (or near) completion. Actually, there are two things that made me very happy: the first was a trip to Joburg (because: Joburg!) even though the important meeting I had scheduled the trip around got pushed out three weeks. But I met with our dev team and practiced my Wi-Fi pitch to people who don’t know the first thing about Wi-Fi. And, ran into a Cape Town friend at Tasha’s Morningside. As one does.

Also, my shoulders are healing. I found that I can snatch again (cleans, shoulder-to-overhead, thrusters and pullups still hurt), and, for the first time in I’m not sure how long, I was able to hold myself at the top of the gymnastic rings without pain in either shoulder.

I was happy though; CrossFit Kyalami has just moved to a beautiful, bigger space, and I just happened to be in town to be able to be there on opening day. Proud to be one of the last ones out. Special day.

With special people. You had to be there!

With special people. You had to be there!

I used to avoid metabolic conditioning when in Johannesburg. The air is thin, so you gasp like a fish out of water; I would always make fun of myself for dying 2-3 minutes into a workout, and it’s just not pleasant. Since my normal programming had me only doing conditioning 2-3 times a week, I could afford to cherry pick, in a way, and do my metcons at sea level.

Recently, though, since I’m in a conditioning phase, I’ve been embracing the suck. I was especially determined to take advantage of the easy access to running (pure metcon, and hard to do on the third floor of Cape CrossFit). And you know what? There is actually something addictive about the altitude training; firstly, and secondly …. I’m not getting crazy winded up there any more.

There is something undeniably attractive about the endorphin rush you get after finishing a metcon. It’s what makes newbies get addicted to CrossFit. I’d forgotten, since I wasn’t doing so much metcon; that feeling when you’re not just strong but well-conditioned, of being able to just go smash anything. Well, almost anything. Make me do a ring dip or muscle up and I might just cry!

The other thing that I’m happy and unhappy to admit is just exactly how much better I feel with getting enough sleep (8-9 hours most nights), eating properly (for the most part), and not drinking. I think my conditioning improved about 10% just from lifestyle changes, and I was already living a decently healthy lifestyle. But the foundations of life are the foundations of training.

What’s the point of training 2 hours a day if you’re going to sleep for 5, or drink a half a bottle of wine every other day? Well then again, looking back at my numbers from last winter I’ve gotten a lot better even with all the “shoulda coulda wouldas” with my shoulders and living a lifestyle that is not exactly the athlete ideal. Heh; well, a person’s also gotta live!

But I’m as pain-free as I can recall being, which makes me happy. I’m also just deliriously happy with the general way things are going, they are finally coming together. Sure, some are slower than I’d like but that’s always the way.

The truth and personality always comes through. The silliness of laughing at a boy playing kickball with a plyometric ball and a pullup rig; the look of determination when I shout to go just a little bit harder; the pleasure of completing a gasser of a sprint workout in a fast time without getting too gassed (shoulda gone harder I guess … ); finally feeling comfortable in a handstand; doing 90% power snatches having not snatched in six months; and dropping into 50kg snatch balances with very little trouble: these are the little things that make me excited to train.

I must admit, the workout looked pretty brutal. Even for him!

I must admit, the workout looked pretty brutal. Even for him!

Whatever fun I was missing when I didn’t want to get out of bed last week, I seem to have found again.

I’ll admit to one thing though. I may be getting addicted to the air in Jozi, but I’m still too scared to do a 2K row time trial up there.

Interesting conversation with my dear friend Cat; about expectations of males vs females in the workplace, aggression, and related items. It’s fascinating to me the degree to which I often find myself in positions where I’ve got to behave like a calm, rational adult because everyone around me is freaking out or acting emotional. I think I was born this way.

Sometimes the Jesus approach (turn the other cheek) is the right one. Sometimes the Hammurabi approach (an eye for an eye). Sometimes, you just have to cover your ass even if it would be more effective to be doing something else. Sometimes, you need to get stuff in writing.

Righteous indignation may be the one thing that sets me off, but anyone who knows me knows that I would never win an argument at the expense of the war.

You may go into a business deal wanting to win, but you learn even from a loss. Some fights are unfair; sure.

And war is like a higher-stakes version of competition: you don’t go into war to lose.

So, choose your battles.

  • “Top 10 things not to say to someone who’s about to get on a plane: ‘You know that airport you’re flying out of? There was a plane crash this morning. Three people died.’” – Ellie
  • “I think I am losing it slowly but surely.” “Yeah. Probably.” – Rudolph & Ellie
  • “You mean they did reinvent the wheel. Just put lipstick on a pig.” – Ellie
  • “What’s the plural of ruckus?” – Ellie (apparently, there is not a consistent answer to this question)
  • “I’m sure he had it planned all along.” – Jen
  • “Just tell them you can optimise their menu mix.” – Piers (brilliant!)
  • “I’ve discovered I can snatch again. I’m like a kid with a new toy!” – Ellie
  • “We were going to send the Nigerian to steal the chocolate.” – Jade
  • “I do think it’s unreasonable that for R104,000 you are not entitled to know the status.” – Sam
  • “He likes putting arrogant people in their place. Especially Americans.” – Sam
  • “I’m going to stick needles in those okes.” – Mark (trigger points. Not muti)
  • “They are moving!” – Ian
  • “I mean; he scares the living daylights out of me! And he likes me!” – Ellie
  • “SMACK him the F*CK down!” – Cat (context is everything!)
  • “They’re already not playing ball.” – Dominic
  • “When do you sleep?” – Dominic (haha, fooled him!)
  • “And This? What is this?” “That’s our bandwidth bill.” – Tim & Ellie
  • “Don’t we have alcohol in the store room?” “We have chocolate.” “That’s not alcohol!” – Ellie & Anita
  • “I back you all the way. You know that, right?” – one of my bigger fans
  • “Get burned and then you learn fast.” – Jalal
  • “People who can’t apologise when they do you wrong always wind up making the fight about something else.” – Latoya
  • “And they are Scientologists but we don’t care.” – Cedric


  1. Kelvin Honey · · Reply

    Ellie – I thought you would like this one –
    Addiction: ‘Any substance or behaviour that takes you away from an intolerable reality’
    For me its all the the things I do to silence an unkind inner voice..
    Hope you are well – with love, K

    1. I am doing great, thanks! Never better! Nice to hear from you!

      ‘Intolerable’ is an interesting adjective as most things, you can, in fact, tolerate. ‘Unpleasant’ might be more apt.

      Metcons are good for that. You’re in so much self-induced pain that any external anguish vanishes. Makes yoga more attractive than meditation if times are rough!


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