Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Friday, 15 March 2013

Quinn - Cholesteatoma Update 1 year post- surgery #5

This update is a little overdue!

Quinn had his last c-toma surgery almost exactly a year ago now.

It was surgery #5 - #4 to the right ear. It was to replace the TORP in his right ear which had perforated his ear drum and come out, and to try to stablise the mastoid cavity which had continued to produce some discharge and required regular cleaning.

After the surgery we weren't sure how effective the surgery had been and his ear seemed to not be hearing brilliantly, and seemed to still need cleaning. We gave it time and didn't rush the next audiogram and kept cleaning it and drying it out.

WELL now a year later not only is it now hearing better than his 'good' left ear but it is also stable and self cleaning and drying. We had a 3-month break between visits and doc was so pleased that all looked great despite summer swimming etc that we are now on 6-monthly visits! Woohoo.

I just wanted to let you know that if you persevere and keep going with this thing it can and does get better. Eventually. So if you are going through it. Don't give up! 

Quinn is now 13 and the doc thinks his eustation tubes are now draining effectively which is why his ears are staying clean and dry as needed.

Monday, 11 March 2013

ARRGG-us! Take-2

My second Argus is done and dusted. Last year I trained and was doing long rides (45-75kms) every week-end for quite a few months in the lead up to the Argus. So although I had no idea what to expect and was very nervous, I felt ready.

This year thanks to work work work, very little training happened and I hardly rode my bike at all. I am fairly fit as I do still run a lot, but 1-hour running and 5+ hours cycling up steep hills are not quite the same!

Last year I rode it in 5:16. That was with 3x fluid stops and one 5-min rest break where I sat down and had something to eat before tackling Chappies. So this year I decided to see if I could break 5 hours. A bit of a stretch I now realise considering that fact that I as I said, I really didn't train!

And note I am on an old 'donkey' of a mountain bike with no bells or whistles at all. I don't even have toe-clips.
Also this year I was cycling alone. My buddy from last year chose not to ride as he is focusing on his running this year, and my other cycling friends are much faster and all have much better seedings. So it was just me, on my own, with the horrendous start time of 09:40.

Having stayed the night in Fresnaye, I cycled the 8km to the start on the morning, and got there in plenty of time to find my start pen and eat an obligatory pre-race banana, chat the the other's in my group and pee etc. The weather was nice in town and I felt cautiously optimistic. At 09:40 with the usual 'hopla' we were off... I had my iPOD on and got to a nice comfortable start. Which lasted about 1km until the onslaught of THE WIND pumping down Nelson Mandela Boulevard. OMG. It was tough I was down to my low gears trying to get up that hill towards Hospital Bend, and the descent which is usually fast was a struggle against the wind. People were already stopping to walk there!! By UCT some people had given up, other's bikes had broken and some were walking...

I dug in a persevered and thankfully Rhodes Drive down to Paradise Motors was a nice fast downhill and we were slightly protected from the wind. Wynberg Hill although the steepest incline section of the race was not bad at all and the on the descent to Constantia I managed to pick up quite a speed. I noticed myself grinning half way down the Blue Route, where I hit the 30km mark (in my mileage -8km for the actual race distance) and earned my first caramel toffee. :)

It was a nice ride until Sunny Cove when the South Easter hit us full force and I was struggling. I remember thinking 'This sucks, I'm not doing this again!'. I passed my sister in Glancairn and yelled and waved to her which spurred me on a bit. But just before Simon's Town and at 45km I was feeling really fed up and wondering how I could finish with even the 'easy' flat bits being so tough. I ate a cereal bar and pressed on. The section up to Smitswinkle was hard and scary. I saw at least 5 accidents, almost all women and they all looked pretty hurt. I started feeling less confident and was really worried that I would be bumped in the cross winds. I became a bit scared of going fast (above 45km/h) on the descents, and was feeling quite tired already. Meh.

Smitswinkel arrived and I did the first climb. The Smitwinkle water-point was my first stop last year, this year by the time I got there we were out of the wind and I decided to keep going. And at 60km I got another toffee to energise me. With the break in the wind the main Smitswinkel climb was not bad at all, and I managed to pass a whole bunch of people. The straight gentle descent down the other side was awesome and I raced down there passing loads of people and some even yelled encouragement as I zoomed past grinning and whooping. It was great. I started really enjoying it at that point. I remember thinking 'Ok I can do this!'. The whole way from there through Scarborough and Misty Cliffs was just beautiful and really enjoyable. The hill to Ocean View was a bit trying but was over soon enough and then we had to slog along Kommetjie Road again against the wind... At 75km I took out and energy bar and ate that over the next 5-10kms.

I passed by the Sunvalley water-points, and then stopped briefly in Noordhoek for a quick pee and to fill my water bottles and then set off to tackle CHAPPIES. I decided I'd give myself a break after Chappies. Although I  slogged up Chappies it really wasn't bad, and I passed loads of people walking or riding really slowly. When I got to the top I felt great and pressed on. The ride down was fantastic with Hout Bay looking phenomenally beautiful. At this point I though I was doing well. I had 30km to go, and decided to press through to the end without stopping. I though 'I've got this!'. I rode through Hout Bay and really enjoyed the crowd support and steeled myself for the final 'mother' of a climb. Refusing to stop or walk or give up. As per last year I had a GU which I had kept especially for Suikerbossie. I took it out and used it as mental and physical crutch to get me up there. I won't lie, it was not easy. When I got to the top my feet felt like they were flaming. It was really hot! But with 15kms to go, and a relatively easy ride, I resolved to push to the end. 

I rode fast and strong after that and was really enjoying it. I felt good. I passed many people who had stopped due to cramps or fatigue and was relieved that I was fine. I had not wasted any time or flagged at all. I was chirping people on the side-lines and had a good chuckle at the guy by Le Med with a sign saying 'Ride like you stole it!' :)

Finally after the 'Cramps' Bay climb it was downhill to home. I pumped to the end and finished... Still thinking I'd done well, but not sure as my timing watch had somehow stopped at 3.5 hours and my bike computer had measured my entire ride from long before the race start.

I was a bit bummed when the results sms came through letting me know that I finished in 05:22 - a whole 6 mins slower than last year!? WTF!? :( I have no idea who that happened and feel a little robbed. All I can think is that the wind really slowed me down.. and well the lack of training took its toll... So no sub-5 for me sadly.

Despite that I feel great today. No stiffness or soreness at all. Not bad for having cycled a total of 123kms.  Also I see I finished 11 mins faster than Richard Branson, so that's something at least.

It really is an amazing experience, incredibly well run and so worthwhile!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

#Moonlightmass 2.0 of 2013

Last Monday was full moon which means it was #Moonlightmass!

I have blogged about #Moonlightmass before as I attended few of the events last year. Each one being memorable and great fun. Last Monday was also an info evening for the Grade 7 parents about High School and also #Moonlightmass had arrange a FREE train on the Southern Line for cyclists to use to get to town. Yay no bike rack and heavy lifting and schlep (ASSIDE: why is it that driving seems further and more effort to me than either running or cycling does? It's a bit odd hey?) Anyhoo I thought I timing was going to be tight because the train was scheduled to arrive a mere 15 min after the meeting was due to end and I thought we'd have to rush there. Quinn and I cycled to the school meeting and Quinn waited with the bikes ready to up and GO the minute I got out of the meeting so we'd not miss the train.

As it turned out the meeting was quick quick and over in under 30 mins. So we had PLENTY of time. So much in fact and the evening was so beautiful that I convinced Quinn to cycle to Observatory instead of waiting for the train in Rondebosch. It was an awesome cycle in a perfect evening and by the time we got to the Riverclub in Obs we decided to sommer cycle the WHOLE way to town (about 15km). So we did. Through Obs, Salt River, Woodstock (yes past the infamous Gympie Street), past the Station and on to Greenpoint. Where we arrived around the time the train would have arrived in Rondebosch. As a reward I took Quinn to McDonalds for a dinner date. Which he of course LOVED. At 9 we went out to the Circle and joined the rest of the #Moonlightmass mob – including A, and did the ride. It was a wonderful still and balmy evening and was really enjoyable. Afterwards we went to the Mexican Kitchen off Long Street for Beer, margaritas and fajitas. We had such a good time we nearly missed our 11pm curfew to catch the train back!

Quinn and I dashed (the wrong way) back down long street and zooted through to the station where we rode right onto the platform on our bikes. The station and train was staffed with really happy, friendly and professional Metrorail staff who were really helpful. They took and stowed our bikes for us and ushered us into a carriage (very clean, neat and comfy) and we bumped into some friends. The train journey back was festive and efficient. We jumped off at our stop and our bikes had been taken out and were ready for us to hope on wave good bye and cycle the 3km home. The streets of our neighbourhood were dead calm and quite. Not a car was to be seen or heard, not a dog was barking, or even a leaf rustling. It was a perfect moonlit evening.

Quinn and I had such a lovely time chatting and bonding. It was fabulous!

Scout's Honour

My boys have both been through the ranks at cubs. Griffin has been a cub since he was 7 and in Grade 1. He has watched Quinn move up to Scouts and has been looking forward to being able to become a scout ever since. Although both really enjoy Cubs and it was really good for them, it turns out Scouts is even cooler and they LOVE it.

So Griffin has been attending Scouts since the beginning of this year, now that he is 11. This past Friday was his investiture, he is now a fully fledged Scout. 
Well done Riff Raff!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Cadiz Milkwood 10km Run

Yesterday saw my début as a club runner. I have been running since late 2005 and resisted the pressure to join a club until this year, when it almost seemed silly NOT to. So as part of an entry special for the Gun Run in Oct I joined AAC . I finally went to register and got my license and kit a couple of weeks ago, and even went to a social - which was admittedly fun. I entered 3x 10km races once I had my license number.

The first of these being the Milkwood 10km in Kommetjie yesterday. I shied away from the Half Marathon because it's quite a drive to get there and the Half starts too early (I am lazy like that!) and opted for the more civilised 10km at 7am, off I went and managed to get there just i time. I was not impressed with the horrendous wind. It was about 30km/h and pretty relentless. It was one of those races where I wonder what I am doing there because nothing about it seems like a good idea or fun. Still I had no real excuses and told myself I'd be glad I did it in the end. So off I went. I've done this race 2-3 times before (when it was in May) and this time they reversed the route. So we had to run 2km into a howling head wind and then UP a mountain with a howling cross wind! Thankfully there is also a nice downhill section to get off the mountain again and then the last 2-3km was again into a howling head-wind. Argh. 

So although my goal these days is to break 50-mins for  10km it was not to be, but I was satisfied with my finish of just over 50 mins, deciding it was 'decent'.

Until I checked the results this morning... WooHoo! Lookie here... I was 9th female to finish the 10km. I had no idea!

Athlete Details
Over all
Final times
Van Der Heever
Cadiz Milkwood 10km Top 100
04 March 2013

I didn't think I had done particularly well at all! But that winning time is way slower than usual (top female is usually 33-35 mins) so seems everyone was slower than usual.)

Spam Alert

My blog has been targeted by spam bot commenters for a while now. It has got quite bad and beyond annoying having to find and delete all the stupid comments so I have changed my comment settings so that some are moderated. I know it's annoying not just being able to comment quickly freely and/or anonymously. But it needed to be done.