Last weekend, I participated in my first ITU World Triathlon Series race in the awesome city of Abu Dhabi. I’m unable to race Ironman South Africa this year, so I thought a Maxi triathlon in the region would suffice. In case you don’t know, a Maxi consists of:
– 1500 meter swim
– 80 kilometre cycle
– 20-kilometer run
This and 70.3 is a great distance for me. I’m able to find my groove, and I know how to pace myself accordingly. When it comes to Olympic distances, I tend to push hard on the swim and the first bit of the cycle. So I get a lot slower towards the end of the race. That’s going to change, though, as I build up to the New York City Triathlon in July (WOOOOHOOOO). Back to Abu Dhabi though.
I arrived in the UAE on Thursday evening. I had a bit of drama with the Etihad Airways ground staff in Doha. They wouldn’t let me take my bike bag and a checked piece of luggage on, even though the agent who works for the airline and who booked my package assured me that everything had been arranged especially for us triathletes. Alas after a bit of annoyance and a broken piece of hand luggage later, I got through. When I arrived in Abu Dhabi, I caught one of the cabs waiting outside the airport… A nice little (not so little) Mercedes-Benz took me to the Centro Al Manhal By Rotana.
Sidebar, nice comfortable accommodation on Yas Island if you’re looking for somewhere to stay. It’s close to the Marina, the racetrack, the mall, Ferrari World. It’s perfect!
On Friday, after a bit of breakfast with a friend who came through from Dubai (45minutes or so), I headed off to registration. It was smooth, a breeze. The one weird thing is that the race briefing was held on the grandstands… Standard really, but there was no shade, and for athletes who are supposed to be keeping hydrated and resting, this seemed a bit off. It was about 28 degrees, so it was hot. First world problems, blah blah, but that was one observation. The one thing that saved the briefing was the ever entertaining and awesome announce, Paul Kaye. It’s weird; I almost feel at home when he’s on the circuit giving us our briefings and throwing in some quips and funnies along the way.
True to the pre-race routine, I checked the old bike, packed the bags, got the bottles ready and hit up a restaurant in the mall for some chicken protein boet. I always say I’ll have an early night, but inevitably land up having a late one, and then I don’t sleep properly for fear of missing the alarm, etc. So by 3 am, I was up and at it. I gave up coffee and chocolate for Lent, so a cuppa tea was on hand to wake me up, lol. My other race must-have is my FUTURELIFE High Protein, trusty and now old faithful ☺
Once everything was sorted in bike-check and transition, I headed off to the swim start. It’s quite a walk from where the bikes were, so if you’re doing the race next year, give yourself enough time to get there. The race was supposed to kick off at 7 am, but due to some delays on the cycle route, they delayed it until 7:30. One gent, who was clearly very anxious, was getting rather frustrated, tried to get me involved in his frustration meets anxious tendency, and I was like BYE! I’m one of those characters who gets really quiet. I’m singing songs in my head and analysing the water conditions. I guess you can say I ‘Zen’ myself, haha.
We finally got going, and so did my swimming muscles it would appear. I haven’t been able to swim properly because believe it or not; it has been pretty cold in Doha. It wasn’t ideal because I love my swimming and I usually do pretty well here, so I was a little worried about that. It turns out muscle memory is a winner – I climbed out the 1500m swim, some 22 minutes later. I believe I was fourth out the water too, so I was pleased, to say the least. That success didn’t last long though because of the cycle, once again, was weak for me. I don’t know why but I just can’t get it right. I think it has a lot to do with bike positioning and the fact that I don’t have tribars. I need some cycling assistance, so if anyone is keen to help a brother out with some tips and guidance, holler!
The cycle route was interesting. We got to ride around the Yas Marina Island Circuit, which is quite technical and isn’t short on turns. We cycled around the outskirts of the circuit and through Yas Island too. So at least there was some reprieve too. The Maxi athletes had to do four loops, while the Olympic racers did two. We were all on the track at the same time at one point, which could’ve gone horribly wrong, but luckily for most, it seemed okay. My suggestion to organisers would be to relook the cycle. It’s just a little too boring for the Maxi I feel. I managed to do the distance in 2:31, which isn’t bad, but still, I need to put a lot more work into it to make the cycle count. The run was grand, and thank goodness for good weather conditions. If the sun was baking down on us, I think I would’ve battled a lot more. The run was a double loop of ten kilometres each. At about 11 km in, I stopped to grab some coke and an orange. I walked a bit, then ran and then walked again. A fellow racer, probably in his early sixties came running past me and said there is no way I am to walk. It’s funny, because this always seems to happen to me, and it’s always the ‘wiser’ gents. So I carried on, and he was hot on my heels, so I just carried on knowing he would curse me if I walked again haha. I managed to finish the race in 4:34, which I think is good? I haven’t done the distance before, but I’m pretty happy with that performance.
I enjoyed the race. I thought it was fun, tough but good. I love pushing myself too. So perhaps that why I felt so shattered afterwards? There’s always a lot of room for improvement, and I’m ready to keep moving forward. I wish I were doing Ironman South Africa on the 2nd of April, but alas this year it isn’t meant to be ☹
Gallery: #AVonVoyage to Abu Dhabi
We didn’t have a lot of time to explore the city too much, but post race, and a delicious burger later, myself and a few tri club friends decided to head off to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque… It’s one of THE most raved about Mosques in the region, so we had to check it out. What a marvellous piece of architecture, culture and a beautiful, calming place. It was busy, full of people from all over the world. It’s a place you need to visit if you’re in Abu Dhabi. As I said, time was limited, but next time I’m keen to hit up the theme parks, and also see more of the city, the souqs and eat more local food. Hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later.
Stay tuned for #AVonVoyage to Oman, and more races, coming soon. Who knows where to next after that? Well besides Dubai this weekend 😉
Last Thursday I hopped on board an Emirates plane en route to Dubai in the UAE. I had a bit of a scare at the airport, with my exit permit not being issued in time, but luckily after several frantic calls all before 5 am, I managed to get it. The mission for the trip? Well firstly, to complete the Standard Charted Dubai Marathon… My first real marathon, really. The last marathon I did was in April when I participated in my first IRONMAN event. Yip, that was my first marathon. What a way to introduce yourself to marathon running, huh?
The last time I was in Dubai was in 2012. I had no expectations when I got there, and so my time there was a lot more than I ever imagined it would be. The city was vibey, fun and my friends looked after me real good. It was enough for me to start looking at any working opportunities there. It wasn’t meant to be, but now being based in Doha, Qatar, it’s a lot easier to visit the city. So upon my return to the city, I was absolutely blown away by how much it has changed. For one, it’s a lot ‘taller’. There are so many more buildings, so many skyscrapers. The Dubai Canal is a new addition to the city, and the Metro is fully functional too. This city is truly world class, and they aren’t playing games when it comes to proving how much they want to be considered as such.
I headed off to the race registration. Now usually you find a big expo with loads of stalls and brands showing off all their latest trends and products. So I was a bit taken aback by the lack of exhibitors there. In fact, I was disappointed because I was hoping to get myself a new pair of running shoes there. I mean, in my head there’s no better place than the number one hub for runners, right? Alas, it is what it is and the one good thing is that I didn’t have to stand in too long a queue, which is always a bonus. All wrapped up, all registered and now officially ‘poeping’ myself, I headed off to my hotel. If you’re ever looking for a central place to stay, I would definitely recommend the Metropolitan Hotel. It’s newly refurbished, it’s a short walk from the FGB Station and it’s very affordable too. The room was comfy and it’s close to the Burj Al Arab…. So it comes highly recommended. It worked very well for me too because it was about 3kms from the start and finish of the race. There’s also a really nice grocery store down the road (it sells biltong). PLUS if you’re South African, there’s a Mugg & Bean in the centre too… A little taste of home never hurt. Gosh, was that necessary. I vowed to get myself a banana muffin after the race, but that didn’t happen this time around. So I’ll just have to go back I guess 😉
On race morning, I got up early, enjoyed my High Protein Futurelife and then headed to the start. It was supposed to be pretty chilly, but to be honest the humidity kept it quite warm. Perfect for running really. After checking in my bag, I made my way to the start – EEEEEEEEEK! I’ve come this far, the only thing left to do now is to run. And that I did. I managed to find my rhythm quickly and I slowed my pace down too. Sidebar, I recently did a 21km training in Doha and I managed to do it in 1:38, which is my fastest. Granted it’s flat here and the weather is perfect. I didn’t expect to keep that pace for the marathon. In fact, I knew I had to slow down, and that’s what I did. I found a group of runners from Dubai, who were running a really nice pace, and so I hooked onto their bus and ran with them. At around 19kms, I need to use the little boy’s rooms, and so by the time I was done (like literally 2minutes), they were gone. I tried to catch up, but they’d upped their pace and I couldn’t keep up. I kept it steady, though and found another group to run with. At around 30kms in, the wheels started coming off. I think I’d pushed a little too hard. That coupled with old running shoes and too little distance training in the build up. It was possibly the longest 12kms of my life. I battled through, but I came out on top and managed to sneak in a time of 3:48… Super stoked about that one, seeing as though my marathon time in Ironman was a long 4:50.
A few lessons learned on the run:
– Don’t drink too much
– Get your nutrition right. All I wanted were some baby potatoes (my mum will be happy)
– Slow it down in the beginning, and pick it up for the last 10kms
– Do more longer, slower distance training in the build up
– Make sure your running shoes are conducive to running long distances like this
– Have fun
If you have any tips, please feel free to share with me too.
I really did enjoy the experience and I’m keen to do more marathons now… I’m a global runner and I love this ish. Between running, swimming, cycling and a combination of all three in the form of triathlon, expect more travel and race reports from me. I’m longing to go to Ironman South Africa, but it’s looking unlikely. New York City Triathlon in July is definitely on the cards – entry was paid for last year and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Plus it’s New York City… My home away from home 🙂 As for the city of Dubai. Well, I do love thee. The pulse, the people, the forward-thinking types, the infrastructure, the cleanliness, the services, Dubai stays winning. I’ll be back there soon, but first we prep for ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi 2017 in March.
I think many of you know that my lifestyle has changed quite a bit in recent years. It’s not as a result of anything major or some massive shift, but rather just a choice I made. I decided to trade in the late nights for early mornings, opting for healthy nutrition instead of fatty midnight snacks, and swop my dancing shoes for running ones. I started with a few 5km runs and mini triathlons. Those quickly developed into half marathons, 70km cycles, and Olympic distance triathlons. I thrived, I got fitter, healthier. I completed a nutrition course through the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and I began my partnership with Futurelife. It’s been quite a journey. One that has lead me to this point… That being Ironman finisher.
I don’t know what it is that made me want to do triathlons, but I’m so grateful I started. I think for many years I’ve watched people crawl across the finish line at the Comrades Marathon. I’ve watched cycle races here and there, and I myself have completed nine Midmar Mile open water swims. So how did the thought of combining all three of these disciplines come to be? I think it’s because of that exact reason. You’re not ‘suffering’ the whole day, distance, duration, doing one discipline, but rather breaking it up into three. Your training is a mixture of the three. That with some strength training (I say some because let’s be honest, I don’t know many gym bunny triathletes).
Last year I put my mind to participating in the 70.3 Half Ironman in East London. If I’m honest, I went in blind i.e. doing what I thought was right from a training perspective, but not actually having the foggiest idea. I remember the overwhelming sense of terror and emotion when I arrived in East London. The weather was miserable, to say the least, and I was horrified at the thought of having to swim in the sea. I love swimming, but looking at those swells made me super nervous. I recall saying to my mom there is no way I’ll be able to make it out of the swim in conditions like that. Mother being a mother put my mind at ease and brought me back to earth by saying “yes darling. Nobody is going to swim in weather like that.” Lucky for me, the wind direction changed, the swells subsided and the weather was but magical. The race briefing was also quite an experience. Paul Kaye, a regular MC on the Ironman South Africa fixture told us all that the Buffalo City 70.3. was rated one of the most difficult in the world. There I was thinking mkay, it will be hard, but really that hard? He was right. Especially when it came to the cycle. It’s kak, it’s horrendous, grueling, brutal. It’s worse than a gory episode of Game of Thrones. Jokes, I’m being dramatic, but it’s really not pleasant. Especially when the wind isn’t at your back. Alas, I completed that leg and the entire course in under seven hours. Not bad for a novice. I knew what I’d done right (the swim) and I knew what needed to be improved… the bike, the run, the transitions, the nutrition. So I signed up with the Team Tissink, opting for their programme to get ready for the 5150 series, as well as East London’s race (for my sins).
The discipline one learns throughout a process like this is remarkable. I’ve heard many triathletes say the training is the most difficult, and that when it comes to race day, it’s all about bringing all those elements together. It’s true. Very, very true, but more on that later. Training through winter requires a lot too. Leaving the comforts of a warm bed to get up for a half marathon, a four-hour ride, or worse, a 2km swim isn’t the easiest, but when you’ve invested time, money and a lot of energy to this, you damn well get up and you go. So when August rolled around at the first of the 5150 races snuck up on me, I believed I was ready to go. I was for the most part, but for some reason at the end of the race, my time wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. Sure the conditions were challenging, to say the least, but I’d trained, how could I be slower? I put on my big boy pants, I stopped sulking and back to training I went. East London was approaching. I continued with my runs, my longer cycles and squeezed in my swims here and there. The next race was the 11 Global race in Sun City. I’d never done that one, but I was encouraged to attempt it. So I signed up and readied myself for the race. That one was tough too, if for no other reason than the heat and that dreaded hill up to the Palace. I thought I’d done relatively well. I congratulated my family friends, and then went back to my room to pack up and head out. On my way back to Jozi, my friends called to say I’d actually come third in my age group and that I’d missed my podium moment. The one bloody time I don’t stay. This was amazing and it showed the training was starting to come together.
GALLERY: BECOMING AN IRONMAN
Training continued into December and let me tell you, this is very hard. For one, you’re tired from the working year. Then everyone is going on holiday, eating and drinking up a storm and you’re not. You’re training and a lot. Why? Because come the new year, it means you’ve got some twenty days before 70.3. This year, I was done in KZN for a few days and the in the Eastern Cape. I decided I would use the two weeks to train long and hard, but what I didn’t expect was to get sick. The doctor booked me off for a week, put me on a course of antibiotics and told me not to exercise at all. Super frustrating, but perhaps the break did me the world of good! I managed to get back into it in Jeffreys Bay and that put my mind at ease. Also, training at sea level is amazing. Gosh, the air is so light and clean. Do I sound like a tree hugger? Haha.
I won’t bore you with the details around my race in East London, but what I will tell you is that it was just as hard as last year, but I managed to knock off a good twenty-seven minutes. So it worked, and I was happy. Done, thanks for coming… Said no one. Ever. My friends had planted the seed of full Ironman in my head at our year-end function, but I wasn’t keen. I mean really? They kept saying it’s the best race you will do. I think in the back of my mind there was a little voice encouraging me to enter. I chatted to the coach and after some (not much actually) convincing, I entered full Ironman. Are you actually joking, Von Berg? Have you seen the distances? Have you actually lost your mind? Those were some of the questions I asked myself, but hey, the entry was in and there was no time to chill.
And so began some of the most challenging times I’ve ever experienced. Double sessions in the week, a minimum of nine hours over the weekend. Lots of training, not so much sleep. A lot of eating, and not a lot of socialising. That was my existence in the build-up to the big race. And all of that on top of a demanding day job, including preparing for a conference, which almost ended me. Again, your mental strength is tested to no end, and I’m so happy I had that in retrospect. The excited nervousness mounted and when I boarded my plane to PE, along with some other very fit looking Ironmen, I realised how real shit had actually just become. I had two days to chill, acclimatise and ready myself for the biggest challenge I’d ever set myself. My uncle and I headed through to PE via the cycle route, which was great and really scenic. Maybe not the type of response you would expect for someone about to embark on an 180km cycle, but hey anything to take your mind off the task ahead 😉 Registration was a breeze, everything just seemed to go quite smoothly. The vibe was great too. Old mates catching up with one another, racers brought their families and I heard the accents of loads of international athletes. Simply put, there was a great energy in Port Elizabeth, which really helped alleviate the nerves somewhat.
On Saturday all, athletes get the opportunity to do a practice swim. For anyone who lives inland, or who doesn’t enjoy swimming that much, I would highly recommend this. You get a feel for the water, the temperature, your markers and the like. It really is a good idea. It’s also extremely well organised in that only athletes with timing chips are able to swim. If you don’t have your chip, you are not allowed into the water. Are they strict? Yip they are. So much so they didn’t let one of the delegates from the Prince of Bahrain participate in the swim because he didn’t have his tag. He tried to pull the “do you know who I am” card, but the officially wasn’t having any of it! After that, the day really just flew by. It was a matter of checking the bike, going for a ride, changing a flat tube (FML), packing bags, packing special needs bags, rushing to drop it off in transition, finding out where everything goes and then remembering where it all went. It’s a whirlwind, and your stomach really does start to do all kinds of acrobatic moves as the hours tick by and as the race approaches.
We went for a really chilled dinner at one fo the restaurants near to the place we were staying. It started out nicely but then my nervous energy really kicked in and unbeknown to me, my leg was twitching to the point that my mom pointed it out to me. It was time for bed. It was also just before 8pm, but you know. Ironman. So this was it, a good few hour’s rest before the race would be grand. Sadly I didn’t sleep much. I kept thinking about this, that, all them scenarios you can imagine popped into my head, but then it was time to get up and go! The calm before the storm really. The very last bit of your prep is to grab your bottles, nutrition and stick them in where they’re needed for the race. It was still dark, but the nervous energy was actually quite light and jovial. Even on the back where everyone waits for the buzzer to go off and the race to start. Honestly, it felt like I’d stood there for hours on end waiting. You heard such random conversations too. I quietly stood there with my goggles on and ready to roll, but I did enjoy a chuckle or two before we set off. When the anthem played I cried man tears. Shame, poor little emotional me haha. And like that, we were off.
Let me tell you, one of the most magical moments of the race happened in the water. We swam out towards the sunrise and for a brief ten seconds or so, I looked up, admired such beauty from 300metres or so off shore and realised that this was actually happening and that I was actually going to do it (goosebumps moment). Okay epiphany moment, okay, now swim son! That swim was long and rather rough, but I managed and in the time I’d set out to do it in. Good start. Look I took my sweet time in transition, which is a little silly, but perhaps it helped too because the 180km was going to take a while, to say the least. Again I won’t bore you with all the details of the cycle, but let’s put it this way, it’s long. Very, very long but it’s nice. The conditions were incredible and the vibe along the route was magical. For those of you who haven’t done the race, you might be interested in this ‘special needs’ bag story. So basically you’ll pack two bags for your cycle and run leg. You put whatever you absolutely need in there, be it more liquid, a proper meal (sandwich, baby potatoes, a shirt or top to keep you cool or suncream). On the cycle leg, you can collect your bag at the 92km mark. So that’s what I intended to do, but when you’re in a daze and you see what you want to see, I thought I’d missed it. And that would’ve been dire, as my bottles were in there. Luckily I calmed down to a mild panic and all was under control. If you’re looking to do the race next year, note that whatever you don’t use in that bag, you lose! So think carefully about what you put in there.
After another ‘tea party’ in transition, I decided it was time to head off on my maiden marathon run. How bad can it be? WELL…. I’m usually a decent runner, but off the bike I’m weak. So running into the sun, on tired legs and it being my first marathon didn’t make for a pleasant experience. Add four loops to the equation and my sense of humour was officially gone. But you make friends along the way, friends who become your bests but you’ll probably never see again. The support along the route is amazing. When you really need a push, these people do so with their words of encouragement. It was on this run that I felt like I’d really pushed my body to its limit. I was tired, physically, but my mental strength was what got me through this. I was in pain, but I smiled and I made it through. The moment I hit that red carpet, I was overwhelmed by an incredible sense of accomplishment. It was amazing, exhilarating. It was without a shadow of a doubt, the best moment of my life. I’d done the impossible and made me realise that is ANYTHING ACTUALLY IS POSSIBLE.
My friend, Cherry-Lee told me this is the most amazing race you’ll ever do, and boy was she right. It was and I while it was the most difficult day out, it was also the most amazing.
Here comes my Oscar winning speech:
I’d like to thank my number one supporter, my dear mom. Through thick and thin, erratic mood swings, countless breakfasts, brunches and the like, my mom has been so amazing. My family, my friends, and colleagues have all been so damn patient with me. It was a long journey, but without their patience and understanding, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get through this. My Futurelife fam, who kept me healthy, happy and content. The perfect pre-race food, post-training smoothies and during training bars, snacks etc. So honoured to be working with such a strong brand. Natalie and Raynard Tissink, I know I’ve been quiet, but without your training programme, I know I would never have made it through this race. I also know what to expect now and what I need to improve on, so I’m keen to work on next year. Yip, if it isn’t clear, I am definitely doing this again. I need to #ChaseTheSun and I’m officially hooked. Oh yes, and I have bragging rights for life. I am an Ironman!
On a random Tuesday evening last year, I saw an advert on TV that caught my attention. It was for a competition called Ranger Odyssey. The advert was looking for those in search of an adventure of a lifetime and for those who was bogged down by a pretty dull and boring routine. It kinda lit a fire under my ass, but as fate would have it, I missed entering because of this routin and stalling. I kicked myself when I realised I missed it, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles really. It wasn’t meant to be… Or so I thought. Fast track to May, a new job and a new adventure ahead. Luck was on my side and it looked like I would be involved in the Ford Ranger Odyssey, but just from a different angle.
After some initial preliminary judging, I thought that was it, but then I was asked to head to the Karoo to be part of the Bootcamp experience. That I did happily, obviously. It was there that I got a crash course in 4×4’ing and I got a little taster on what the would-be contestants would be doing in Namibia. I spent four days there and helped choose what I thought was a very strong group of twenty contestants from South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Nigeria and Ivory Coast. I really thought that was that. To my sheer delight, I was asked to attend the actual Odyssey… for eight days… What? Really? From being a hopeful contestant to actually driving the route and being part of this experience was pretty damn cool to say the least.
My long weekend in the African bush was replaced by eight days in the Namib desert; in tents, a Ford Ranger and an awesome group of people. Sounds awful right? 😉 I am often reminded how lucky I am to do what I do – and this experience was just another one of those reminders. I set off for Windhoek in the wee hours of Monday morning. A quick two hour flight and we landed in the Namibian capital. Customs officials were on as usual on ‘fine form’ making us feel uneasy and somewhat unwelcome, but whatever. We made it through. The nine of us then headed north-west to the camping spot of Purros in a very small and dinky plane. Not my favorite pastime, but the two-hour trip allowed me to catch up on some sleep, which was very necessary.
The experience itself was incredible -exactly what I imagined it would be. The scenery, the various locations we found ourselves in, the food, the content we produced, the people… This really was a career highlight. I think I’ll stop rambling now because I want you to see what I saw.
The winner of this year’s Ford Ranger Odyssey will be announced tomorrow evening. Can’t wait to see who takes top honours.
Have a vision board, or take a nice big piece of paper and write down your plans for the year. I did that on the advice of my friends and I’m happy to say I ticked off all but two of the things I wanted to. One is slightly delayed and may become a reality at the end of Jan, let’s see. The other is a work in progress and that will resume in 2015.
Empower yourself. If you feel like you aren’t learning, growing or being challenged enough, do something to change that situation. I enrolled to do a nutrition course through the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and it opened me up to a whole new way of thinking and also in terms of my next career path. In addition to the nutrition course I enrolled to do a German course. While I’m not fluent, I am on my way to conversing and hopefully come this time next year things will be quite different when it comes to my international language skills. I haven’t had enough studying though. There will be more and if it helps my earning potential, my job satisfaction and the like, I’m all in 🙂
I’ve learned that in order to do the things you love, you need to DO THE THINGS YOU LOVE. It sounds obvious, but how many of you are actually following through? Take a second to think about that and then make a plan of action and DO IT! I work with some amazing people at Cliff Central and at Futurelife and I’m honoured to be associated to such powerful brands. I turned thirty this year, a massive milestone and it’s strange to say, but I love it, despite what many may say. I decided to let go of a lot of crap, keep those nearest and dearest close and to let the rest go. I love New York City, as I’m sure many of you know by now. So I decided to go there for my birthday. It was everything and more and my relationship with that city is very much alive. It will happen, I know it will!
Do something to help someone or something. I ran the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon for the Put Foot Foundation and in doing so, I raised over R12,000.00 for them. I then participated in my second 947 Cycle Challenge and this was done in aid of the amazing Smile Foundation. R20,000.00 is what I raised for them and I couldn’t be more proud to be associated with these two organisations. Their work is incredible and if I can do my bit to change the lives of some of our youngSTARS in SA, I’ll climb Everest or ride and run many more races to do so 🙂
What I look forward to in 2015:
More traveling – and blogging, vlogging to accompany it
Functional food brand, Futurelife together with well being site, HealthInSite have been hard at work putting together the South African Health Review. Over 6000 participants from different walks of life formed part of the sample, in which the researchers aimed to to find the correlation between healthy behaviour and multiple healthy habits. I’d love to get a copy of the review to read the full report and findings, but for now I’d like to share some tips and tricks that Futurelife Dietician Lara De Santana has put together. The purpose of these tips is to ensure that healthier nutrition can improve one’s lifestyle significantly.
· Choose dairy – Not only is dairy a great source of protein and low GI carbohydrates (making for a great snack on the go, effective for weight management and even a post-exercise recovery meal), it also contains tryptophan, which as it is metabolized is converted to mood-boosting serotonin. Plus, its calcium, magnesium and potassium content may help keep blood pressure down. Yoghurt is also a great option as its’ added probiotics aid in gut health and therefore immune support. Futurelife High Protein and Futurelife Zero already contain a milk powder, ensuring that you get the benefits of dairy but keep in mind that the entire range can be enjoyed with milk or yoghurt too.
Below is a press release in which some of interesting findings functional food brand, Futurelife and well-being site, HealthInSite found in their SA Wellness Review.
We cannot change our genetic make-up, our past experiences or many of our circumstances but we do have the power to make better choices in order to shape a healthier future for our loved ones and ourselves. The South African Wellness Review, a study just released by leading functional food brand Futurelife and employee wellbeing services provider HealthInSite, has drawn fascinating correlations between our dietary choices and other health-related behaviours. This is the first study of its kind in South Africa. Based on a broad demographic sample of 6 000 South Africans surveyed over a period of one year, the research indicated that there is a strong likelihood of a single “healthy” behaviour being associated with multiple healthy habits. Continue reading “The SA Wellness Review”
Today I officially leave my twenties and I get acquainted with being 30. Obviously I’m not the only one who has ever experienced this, but I’ll share my feelings anyway. 30… Excuse my French, but what the actual fuck? When did this happen? How did it happen so quickly? I got a message from a friend from school, a mate I’ve known for a good fifteen years. He said it feels like just the other day when we were sitting on the matric bricks at King Edward VII, chatting about getting our drivers licenses, the chicks we were interested in and what we were going to do with our lives. That was twelve years ago. Now, here I sit, in my 7-4 job looking back and moving forward. Here are some of the significant moments I experienced and people I met/ lost in my twenties – and I’m sharing because I choose to do so 🙂
I got my Bachelor of Journalism from Rhodes University. I specialized in TV; got the campus radio experience I wanted to and found some of the best friends a person can ever ask for while I was there.
I lived and worked in one of the most amazing little resort towns in the world, Aspen Colorado. It was incredible. I met some amazing people and I got to visit the city I’ve always wanted to, on my terms and with my budget. A massive achievement. I’m heading back to NYC next week, again on my own terms J
I was one of the founding members of the first online converged newsroom in the country… My first job. Ray Hartley and Carly Ritz, I’ll forever be grateful to you for this opportunity. Many people told me I couldn’t sustain a career in entertainment. Eight years on and I’m still doing it, integrity in tact and all. Suck on that haters.
On that tip, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to meet and interview some amazing people. Morgan Freeman, Annie Lennox, Keri Hilson, Gerard Butler, John Legend, Lira, Jeannie D, Claire Johnston, Hugh Masekela, Mi Casa and many others. Such wisdom, so down to earth. Many of whom have been supportive of my craft, my vision so thank you.
I’ve met some amazing people in the industry too and I can’t mention them all. I do you need to say thank you to a few of them though. Natasha, right from the moment I stepped into this industry you’ve been supportive and willing to work with me. From giving vegetarian Joss Stone (my first international celebrity interview) biltong, to stopping smoking; you moving to Cape Town and us still being tight, we’ve come a long way. You rock. Dionne, Dee… You are such a special and amazing friend, colleague, mentor to me. Working with you throughout the last eight years has been so fulfilling. I’ve learned so much from you and Benj and I’m forever grateful to you for your advice, patience and support. Love you long time. Laurice, you’ve been amazing to me too. When we left The Times, I was pretty uncertain about what was to come, but you gave me an opportunity to work on such a groundbreaking project and for that I will always be truly grateful. I look forward to working on many, many more exciting projects with you.
I’ve traveled to places I never thought I would; Brazil, Dubai, Turkey, Nigeria, Zambia, Ibiza and many more. It’s a real blessing to be able to travel, see the world, experience different cultures and I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process. I’m very stoked I get to do that. Tips to you all – do it. Get on a plane in your twenties, rough it out… see the world. You don’t need luxury, you need the experience and that’s something I will take from my twenties.
I lost two very special people to me in my twenties. My uncle and my gran. My gran was ill for a long time, and so we had time to prepare for her death. It doesn’t make it any easier though. My uncle died very unexpectedly and that honestly was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal/ still dealing with. It has almost been four years, but not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and the impact he had on my life. His legacy lives on and whenever I’m uncertain of something, I think about the way he lived his life to the fullest and I’m reminded how important it is to do that. I’m not a risk taker, but I’m definitely feeling like I need to focus on me more and that will be the biggest focal point for me in my thirties. There’s only so much giving you can do before you need to take and receive. I’m ready for the latter. To Bevan and gran, I love and miss you everyday.
I changed my lifestyle and became a lot more involved in outdoor activities again. I’m officially a triathlete, a runner, a long distance swimmer and a dabbler in cycling. I’m a Futurelife lifestyle ambassador, I have a certificate in nutrition and I look forward to what is next in this new and exciting adventure of mine. It’s the future, watch!
One of the most significant moments happened only two weeks ago. I was having dinner and drinks with my dear friends, Sim and John. We were talking about random stuff and then out of the blue, they asked me to be a Godfather to their beautiful daughter Ava Grace. She is one of the most gorgeous, special little beings I know and her little personality is developing so nicely. It’s an honour to be even considered, let alone trusted to play such a significant role in this little being’s life. I love all three of them and I’m very honoured!
My family and friends are my rocks. My circle of friends has decreased in the last few years and that’s not a bad thing. You keep those nearest and dearest to you and I’m happy with the company I choose to keep. No offence to the rest. You’ll always be a part of my story, but we move on and we move forward. I wish you the best! To my mom; my best friend and confidant, I love you to the moon and back. You’re always there for me, no matter what and I wouldn’t be who I am today without your love and support.
To my future, I look forward to sharing more milestones, life experiences and fond memories with you. I look forward to more travel, more adventure, love, health, wealth, triathlons (I’m obsessed) and hopefully mini VBs. Cheers to my twenties, hello to my thirties.
In case you haven’t realized, the weather is warming up, the sun is coming up sooner and setting later and the vibe is just getting a whole lot more jovial. Why? Well, because summer is around the corner, which is never a bad thing. I’ve noticed a lot of frantic people, hitting the gyms at this stage because they have the “I must get my body back in shape”. You might be one of them who has enjoyed the comforts of the couch with carbs on the cold nights, but now it’s time to change that routine and get yourself summer ready.
So here’s something I feel a lot of you might be interested in. The Sports Science Institute of South Africa, together with Futurelife High Protein Smart Food presents Boot Camp. If you’re in Cape Town, you might have already ‘witnessed the fitness’ but now SSISA and Futurelife are bringing Jozi residents boot camp too. The programme runs for four weeks at a time. What makes it different to other boot camps?
– It’s fun-filled outdoor training that works the body, mind and spirit.
– It is geared towards the currently active, who are looking for new ways to challenge themselves physically, whilst enjoying exercise in beautiful natural settings.
– Participants undergo comprehensive health and fitness assessments – informing them of their health and fitness at the start.
– The three weekly boot camps are run by biokineticists, so members are in safe and professional hands.
Boot Camp in Johannesburg and Pretoria kicks off this month, with two other runs in October and November thereafter. Dates as follows:
8 September – 3 October
13 October – 7 November
10 November – 5 December
For more information call (021) 659 5600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
And here’s something pretty cool about this whole thing… I have one spot to either the Jozi or Pretoria Boot Camps to give away. Do you want to witness the fitness, get in shape and have a jol while doing so? Then all you need to do is either tweet me (@JasonVonBerg) or leave a comment below and tell me who is bringing this Boot Camp to you? Simple ne? Get involved, get fit and let’s train.
NOTE: This is only open to Gauteng residents. The decision is final and the prize cannot be redeemed for cash.
I’m pretty excited and a little nervous about my next half marathon. In nine days time, I’ll be tackling the world’s most beautiful race – the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon. I’m not quite ready for a full on marathon, let alone an ultra, so 21kms will do just fine. I’m running in aid of the Put Foot Foundation, a organisation dedicated to putting @ShoesOnFeet on the youngsters in our society. Often so many children will have to walk several kilometres to get to school and many of them are doing so barefoot. With winter coming up, you can understand the need to get shoes on their little feet and so I’m very happy to be helping them out alongside Old Mutual.
The team set me a challenge of R10,000.00, which I’ve already raised. SUPER STOKED about that. In fact, I’m now sitting on R11,670.00. That’s about 58 pairs of shoes. I have 9 days to go and hopefully I’ll be able to raise a little more. If you’re keen, click here. It’s quick, easy and it really is for a good cause. R10 is good. A little bit goes a long way and I would be very grateful too!
If anyone has done the half marathon and you have some tips for me, holler. I’m no pro, so your tips/ tricks are most welcome 🙂 If you’re running, I’ll see you on the road!