Wow. Just wow. What a crazy few weeks it has been! I actually don’t even know where to start.
I started my first PROPER 8-5 as a quantitative analyst for a company called RiskCafé that does risk valuations for the hedge fund industry. They are based in Joburg, but have just opened an office in Stellenbosch (seriously, could they have chosen a better location?). While it is a great job that I am very grateful for, I miss my old (flexible) life SO much. These hours are seriously restricting my training. Okay I’ll be honest, very little training has happened since I started working, but I can’t blame work entirely.
I have just completed 3 weeks of antibiotics – firstly for a chronic sinus infection and then for an ear infection which I developed while on the first course of antibiotics (I personally think this is quite impressive). I have a knee injury, cracked a tooth and needed a crown, have had to find new accommodation at very short notice (thanks Steve for taking me in) and had to have a CT scan of my sinuses. So my first few weeks of work were packed with doctors, dentists, ENT and physio appointments – all quite draining on one’s first salary!
Throw in a work trip to Joburg and 2 Xterras and I’ve had myself quite an eventful and stressful few weeks. A huge thanks to my family and friends for putting up with miserable Robyn and helping me through this relatively rough period of adjustment! The no training thing has also been getting me down. I’ve realised that it a serious endorphin releaser and stress-management tool!
I was in Joburg for a few days for work at the end of January and decided that there was no way that I could be up there and miss out on Fedhealth Xterra Buffelspoort. So of course I flew with my bike, cycling shoes and high heels, dragged the whole load through airports, onto the Gautrain and across Joburg all because I didn’t want to suffer from FOMO.
The 12.something km run marked my longest run since June last year (!! – yes, this knee injury has plagued me since then). But, Russell Looms from EPT strapped my knee up and off I went. And I managed to finish. Which was the goal. I will say that I really struggled on the run – again not being able to breathe and getting incredibly sleepy (I’ve seen a physician and ENT about this issue. Next up is a pulmonologist at the end of the month).
Did I mention that I really wanted to finish because those hardy few who do all three Stillwater-organised Fedhealth Xterras are going into a draw to win a trip to world champs in Maui? I’ve qualified for worlds 3 years in a row now and have never been able to afford to go. Yes I want my name in that hat!
The following weekend I flew to PE for the inaugural Mandela Bay Xterra. Stillwater had set out an interesting urban jungle route that included man-made obstacles, beach sand, train tracks and singletracks. A sea swim was a first for a South African Xterra event and made for an interesting 2 lap swim with a long run back to the start in between laps.
I was absolutely drained and just had no vooma for the demanding sea swim. In retrospect I don’t think I should have been too surprised as the hectic weeks must certainly have taken their toll. On the plus side my breathing on the run was better! I finished 8th which was an improvement on Buffelspoort.
Stillwater really do organise the best events. The lap format run in Happy Valley was fantastic with a great water point, music and cheering at the turn around. I didn’t even mind trudging through the sand as the Fedhealth cheerleaders were there shouting me on.
Quick little story – during the race I fell off a bridge and into a river on the bike route (please don’t ask how I managed this). By the time I had dragged myself and my bike back onto the course I realised that I had lost my Joule GPS+ in the fall. I spent the rest of the race stressing about how I was going to tell Bicycle Power Trading that I had lost my beloved device. After the race I did tell them, but they were more concerned about me after my dumb fall. Even though I thought it was a lost cause, I couldn’t not go looking for it, so after prize giving I tried to make my way back along the course to find the bridge where I had fallen. Of course they had already taken down the route markings. Luckily Matt has a better sense of direction than I and was able to get us to the right spot where we found the Joule where it had been floating in the reeds for the past 6 hours. And it still works! Hardy little thing!
I flew home on Sunday morning at 8:30, my dad picked me up at the airport at 10:00 and we went straight through to Stellenbosch to move me to a new place. Back at work at 7:30 the next morning. Fun times.
I do not for a second regret having studied for a full 7 years. In retrospect I should have gone on to do my PhD just to avoid working for a bit longer. This work thing is tough right now and I have a new respect for those who “balance” work, training, family and everything else. Not sure what exactly “balance” means just yet, but I’ll continue on my quest to achieve it.
I really must say a huge thank you to the people who make my crazy lifestyle possible – I could not do without my family and friends and some awesome sponsors. I am thrilled to be riding the ladies-specific Era Expert this year. Huge thanks to the Specialized family for backing me again!
Bicycle Power Trading, Virgin Active, Skratch Labs nutrition, TYR, Enduro Hub, G-Form and Syntace – you guys rock!