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November « 2009 « James Cunnama’s Blog


Archive for November, 2009

Ups and Downs

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

So after a season of mostly ups and very few downs, it really feels right now as if the law of averages is exerting its force and balancing the scales. The last two weeks have been pretty miserable. It started with what felt like a minor cold. Which, although it is unusual for me,  didn’t seem serious and is common with the changing seasons anyway. But a few days later, it had developed into bronchitis. A course of antibiotics and another few days rest. Then a few days of swimming and easy rides/runs and I figured all was well. But my immune system wasn’t quite with the program and let a stomach bug through. It was only a 24hr stomach flu, but it seriously took the wind out of my sails.

For the first time this year, and the first time since I have been training full-time, I have been unable to train! It is infuriating and frustrating. With triathlon there is almost always something you can do to keep ticking over when injured, so when your best course of action is to do nothing it is hard not to feel like the world is ending. If I put it into perspective, I know that in a months time, when I am training well again this little episode will seem like a minor, distant speed bump that has no major impact on my career, or even my season…

…But right now, that long term view is really tough to see while I sit at home and slowly lose my mind… ARGHHHH!!!!

Remember, remember the fifth of November

Thursday, November 5th, 2009


South Africa doesn’t really get into the occasions around this time of year. Halloween is a non-event for us, besides the odd fancy dress party. No-one ‘trick or treats’ for fear of walking the dark streets at night or knocking on the wrong door! There may or may not be witches, trolls and demons out there, but the real world is a lot scarier!

It is Guy Fawkes Night tonight though. For those not familiar with this, it is really just an excuse to set off some fireworks. It is testament to our colonial past that we even acknowledge it, as its roots have absolutely nothing to do with South Africa – some crazy revolutionary (Guy Fawkes) in the 17th century tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London with gunpowder, but the plot was foiled and the act of treason was never to be forgotten. (For a modern reworking of the story, watch the movie ‘V for Vendetta’ – worth a watch if you can follow the dialogue.)

“Remember, remember the fifth of November

The Gunpowder Treason and plot.

I see of no reason

Why Gunpowder Treason

Should ever be forgot…” etc.

When we were kids this was a big deal and everyone in the neighbourhood would gather at friends houses for elaborate private displays of fireworks and bonfires, which culminated in the tradition of burning an effigy of ‘Guy Fawkes’ – old clothes stuffed with newspaper. Us kids would all spend every cent of our pocket money on all sorts of pyrotechnics, blowing things up whenever we got some free time for weeks after Guy Fawkes itself.

But that was in a more innocent age, where kids (and adults for that matter) rode bikes without helmets and getting burnt just made you ‘twice shy’. These days there are all sorts of regulations preventing any meaningful fireworks display in any public areas and kids are not allowed near them (heaven forbid!). Of course, it is all for a good reason – our pets today are scared of fireworks and big bangs are torturous to their sensitive ears… but I guess all the gunfire in this country is still fine…

So Guy Fawkes passes by tonight with more of a fizzle and a pop than a bang as the kids sit inside and play computer games. And the kids don’t even know what they’re missing. Then again, my fireworks were never as big as the rocket-propelled grenades, bazooka’s and mortars they’re playing with. …Lucky kids.