Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

Archive for running


…no, no, not the naked kind of streaking. In running circles we also have streakers, people who run every day. Traditionally it is 1 mile, which translates into 1.6km in modern metric terms. So, I know some crazy people, and I know one guy who has been streaking for over 1 year! On the 1st of July this year he marked 1 year, and is still going strong! Unbelievable (in a Burt le Clos voice). BM has chosen 5km for his streaking distance though (3.1miles). So, as things go, every now and again, one needs a bit of inspiration, coming back from this injury, being winter, knowing I have a marathon to run in 3 months time, I was looking for that spark, that push, that story; and in BM’s I think I have found it.

His story goes – BM’s son is a damn fine junior runner who needed to go to training sessions in the early evenings. BM decided that instead of sitting in his car feeling guilty and fat, maybe he should just go for a walk while his son was sprinting up and down the field. So that is where he began; until he started seeing if he could go a bit further, and a bit faster; until one evening, he realised he had gone the same distance as his son’s (easier) session in the same amount of time, so the next week, he joined them. And the rest is now part of his story. He has tackled 5 half marathons, lost more than 30kg and runs really well. And is still streaking.

So, I am 9 days in, I’m not promising a year, but I’m going to do a month and see where that takes me in terms of fitness and head space. I am taking it very easy in terms of pace and challenging runs, so I am minimising my injury risks, and I am maintaining pool and bio sessions.


…so we made a day of it, a trip to the National Arts Festivsl in Grahamstown. And it was pretty damn awesome.

So early Saturday morning we got up, got dressed in our running kit and headed north to Grahamstown. (We made it with plenty of time to spare before the parkrun and checked out the botanical gardens and got ready. It is a beautiful parkrun, one I would definitely recommend to anyone who happens past G’town, running through the botanical gardens which are huge, and giving beautiful views over the city. So worth it, although, rather chilly in winter! Anyway, the run warmed us up nicely, then it was off for a quick brekkie at the local wimpy, where we changed into our civvies for the day, after a quick wet wipe ‘wash’ in the bathrooms.

First up on our viewing was ‘Raiders’. This show has been running for over 30 years, every year is a little different, but it always involves a Raiders of the lost ark- like quest for a missing something in history. Its aimed at young and old alike, and it charmed us all. (I’d had an issue on the website, when booking, an accidentally double booked, but we took our neighbours with us – Neighbour dad was on call, so mom and the 2 daughters came along) Following that, we had a quick wonder around the village green and found a few nice goodies to buy.

Then it was off to our next show, ‘Death of a Donut’ – a slightly more adult show, where the host took the audience through a order mystery, using members of the audience as suspects, and the rest of us had to vote on our choice of whodunnit. That was super fun, but, as I said, more adult.(Charlie in a Yoda beanie, as one does at the fest!)

Stright from that show, we headed across town to our third and final viewing. This was an inspired choice for the kids. ‘The boy who cried ninja’. It is based on a children’s book, of the same name, written by friends of ours. (its a complicated relationship to describe, apologies J&P!) Well, it was a riot, the children loved it – lots of interaction with the audience, great use of set and props. The story is kinda a boy crying wolf, but in this case, he cries ninja, crocodile, astronaut, when things go wrong at home, and his parents don’t believe him, so in the end he just starts confessing to things he didn’t do, until he decides to host a party, invite all the naughty crocs, monkey’s, ninjas etc so that his parents can believe him! The children laughed until their sides hurt!

After another jaunt to the village green, a quite bite to eat, it was home time, and a collapse in bed. So many special new memories made!

Running again

…finally I am starting to run again. I am so relieved! My family is so relieved. It is such a stress reliever, and without running I do tend to cope less well with life’s stressors. My injury is, I think 95%settled, running up hills after about 5km I feel a little uncomfortable, but I am running way better and more comfortably than I was before 2 Oceans. ┬áBut, bloody hell, it’s cold at 5am! Now I know in terms of Europe, or even just the highveld of SA, it’s not that cold, but for me, who is fully acclimatised to this mild weather city in which I live, its cold! Anyway, I was pleased to get 7.5km in this morning, on a relatively flat route, so that was quite nice, and not too stressful, on my hamstring. I’m really hoping I will continue on an upward and onward trajectory now. Because, in just under 3 months I have a marathon to run! Watch out Moscow, we are coming!

Winter is here

…so I have to love the city I live in, we have the mildest weather, but I have to say, winter is here! I chose this morning to join my running group again for the first time since early April. It was 6 degrees C! Man, that is cold! (qualified to say, I know it is not cold in terms of a global picture, but to be out there in lycra and all, in my neck of the woods, it was cold!) Typical that I would chose our coldest morning thus far to get out there. But I did it, and can I just say, I love endorphins! I have missed them these last 8 weeks. It will be a long slog back to fitness, but I am ready for it!

In other winter news, I have made the change to a heavier duvet for the colder nights now, and I am loving my new/old winter wardrobe! It’s nice to be able to haul out some of those warmer clothes I haven’t looked at since last winter faded away. I hope the rest of you are all keeping warm; and for those in the Northern hemisphere, enjoy your light summer days!

A start

…I did it!

Slow, lots of walking but it was good to get out into the autumnal air for some freshness and rejuvenation. I now have lots of fitness to regain and kilograms to ungain, but it’s a start.

This morning my body knows I did more exercise than it has become accustomed to, and I’m a bit achy, but so far my hips seem to be holding up. Today I meet my biokineticist again and hopefully that goes smoothly too.

Watch out! I’m back and motivated!

A promise

…to myself, and I’m hoping you guys, my readers will make me accountable. For the last week I have been threatening to go for a run, my first since my start at the 2 Oceans. I have found every excuse in the book – I’m too busy, too tired, too late a night, I’ll upset the family, I have too many chores. This morning I had committed to a run, but after a late night at bookclub I cancelled. Not good enough Birdie! So expect news of a run on Monday. (it won’t be pretty, it will be slow, it may be short, but I will do it!)

An Opinion

…on the IAAF and Caster Semenya

Ok, so it’s been a really long time since I last felt so passionate about something – after vomiting out my thoughts to Charlie yesterday, I realised how excited I was to feel strongly about an issue! So, here goes, my thoughts about this matter. (bear in mind that I am only human, and these are just thoughts – I have made some assumptions, maybe I am wrong…t’s and c’s etc…)

  • I am extremely uncomfortable with the wording of the IAAF report that essentially shares Caster’s diagnosis with us. What happened to doctor-patient confidentiality? Unless, of course, she has consented to the world knowing her diagnosis. From the report we can assume that Caster is a 46XY female; which means that she has male genetic material, but has a problem with her testosterone receptors, which means that at 6-8 weeks of gestation when sex determination happens, her body did not process that testosterone she started to produce and she defaulted to female form. For all intents and purposes she looks and appears female, she has girly bits, but no uterus; and her ovaries are not really ovaries.
  • What does this mean for her performance? Caster produces more testosterone than the average woman, because her ovaries are not really ovaries. Testosterone means that she has better muscular development and is physically stronger than the average woman.
  • The IAAF used a very poor study to look at the performance of 46XY athletes. It was a poor study because they made some facts up and the data analysis was flawed. What they said was that this elevated testosterone level means that she has a 1-4 second advantage in her performance. They also said that this advantage was relevant to distances from 400m to the mile (1.6km). (covering Caster’s races) They claim they do not have enough evidence to decide on other distances. (The Council for Arbitration in Sport(CAS) have said they cannot confer this assumption to the 1500m, and they should retract their restrictions from this – whether they will or not is anyone’s guess)
  • So their conclusion was that she needs to lower her testosterone levels to be able to run these races. This, they said, could be done by using the oral contraceptive pill. This in itself is controversial, and the World Medical Association has recommended that NO doctor should be prescribing these medications for this kind of off label use.
  • Caster is an anomaly, the same as Bolt, Phelps, Jordan. No-one has ever suggested that these dominators in their fields should be curtailed. There are other women who are competing who share her diagnosis, who may not yet even be aware of that diagnosis, and therefore the rules do not apply to them.
  • While there is no doubt that testosterone does enhance her performance, but the extent to which is does is definitely unclear. And since we have established that it does enhance performance, why are only the distances Caster runs targeted (because their biased study said the effects were only there, but we know this is inaccurate)
  • It is too simplistic to equate her testosterone levels to her athletic ability. She is talented. She is an incredibly fast athlete. She is that even sans her testosterone. She has trained hard and works with determination.
  • The way the IAAF has reacted to this situation is horrific. This case should have been dealt with with sensitivity and maturity. Like I said, even the breach in confidentiality and revealing her diagnosis to the world is just atrocious! The fact that this whole affair has played out on the public stage is something I will never be comfortable with. When an 18 year old is dragged into an OBGYN’s office in a foreign country for gender testing, under public scrutiny smacks of gross bias and inhumanity. It is quite frankly disgusting.

Caster, I wish you all the best. Rise Cobra and show them you remain a force to be reckoned with! #IstandwithCaster