Young Enough To Learn

Magnificent views...much later when the sun rises.
Magnificent views…much later when the sun rises.

A mere 5 hours into my 43rd birthday and I have already learned 3 very valuable lessons, proving this old dog can learn new tricks:

  1. Dawn may have been at 5:15 a month ago, but it’s a lot later now. Check the sunrise times before leaving home for your dawn run.
  2. Weather happens. A bracing breeze will cool you down on a long run; a howling gale makes it impossible to run, walk and sometimes even stand. Google the weather conditions before leaving home for your dawn run. 
  3. Energy Gu really works, and if you suddenly find yourself back in bed just 40 minutes after eating a whole sachet because it dark and tempestuous outside, and you are not able to run, you won’t be able to sleep, either. Make sure you’ve done step 1 and 2 above and that you can leave home for a dawn run, before eating your Gu.
Dressing the part is not doing the part...
Dressing the part is not doing the part…

© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Heart of Gold

Heart of Gold

As the #SaveDave (from himself) campaign hots up, I find myself in the kitchen removing the yolks from hard-boiled eggs. 

Not only that, but I’m steaming asparagus spears and white quinoa, and roasting extra-trim beef. There will be no rich gravy or thick, sticky plum sauce for the beef – oh no – it’s a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and that’s it.

Gone are the days of bacon and potatoes deep-fried in duck fat, on pasta drenched in creamy mayonnaise in a baguette. No more the lavishly roasted duck breasts dripping sweet mandarin sauce. 

Gone, too, are the days of convenient overindulgence at the McDonald’s drive-through. No KFC family meals. No more Wacky Wednesdays at Steers.

More often than not you’ll find me at the fish deli, picking up a fresh piece of hake or kingklip. Once I even bought trout, but that’s a haddock-tasting travesty I’ll never repeat. Salmon is good, and so is tuna – and both are so easy to cook they’re practically as convenient as any fast-food drive-through you care to mention. Quinoa, on the other hand, is more troublesome and finicky to cook than duck, and less fun to eat, too. 

My work lunch boxes these days are filled with tuna, tomato and lite mayonnaise – with sprinklings of sesame seeds because fibre and roughage are things I need to care about.

I eat All Bran Flakes with fat-free milk, and sweeten my fat-free yoghurt with Agave nectar instead of sugar or honey. 

But mostly, I rip the heart of gold out of hard boiled eggs, and eat what’s left with a light dusting of salt.

In just less than three months, I’ve lost over 12kgs. My clothes fit better and I have more energy. My ulcer is less murderous and sleep – when it happens – is deep and restful. 

I miss cheese, of course, and crisps, and chilies, and ice-cream, too. But it’s all for the greater good and if it means I never have to feel the way I did in December when my ulcer ruptured, then I’m game for this all to be a permanent thing. 


© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Beach Running for Beginners 

Beach Running for Beginners 

A complete guide to the things they never tell you about beach running, but that you’ll soon discover. As a seasoned beginner, I feel compelled to enthuse thusly:

1. Running barefoot: as much as you want the support and stability of your favourite cross-trainers, beach runs are barefoot runs. The sea makes your shoes smell. Mostly of dead seaweed and Athlete’s Fish. A little bit of sand between the toes never killed anyone and on the plus side – no blisters! So, basically, winning at life.

2. Sunrise and tide times: as romantic as sunrise or sunset runs sound, do your research and run at low tide, whenever that is. Less beach camber and a harder surface to run on, see? Thank me later. Also – arriving before sunrise means it is inevitably cold and your paranoid mind will populate the bushes and dunes with all manner of scurrilous miscreants and creatures intent on eating your beating heart out of your chest. Not the ideal cardio workout you wanted.

3.  Ocean ambush: you’ll run along the water’s edge because the sand is more compact and easier to navigate here. But pay attention! Incoming waves (especially of the Atlantic Ocean kind) are colder than that woman from Game of Thrones and if you’re a screamer like me, will elicit squeals that will remove what little dignity you have left. Side note: there is no dignity in running. It is not a pretty or graceful hobby, but you shouldn’t lose sleep over the fact you look and sound like the Elephant Man as you lumber wheezingly into the waves by mistake. 

4. Chafe vs. beach sand chafe: runners’ thighs chafe. If your thighs have chafed because you forgot to lather them up in Glide or Bertram’s Baby Bum Cream, then beware the added joy of beach sand chafe which is a dreadful thing to have happen to any part of your body, but most ‘specially to the bits close to your Unmentionables.

5. Leopards, blue bottles and Surprise Labradors: you will encounter a whole range of critters on your beach run. Just this morning I trampled a blue bottle hiding out in the tide line. We’ll call him Eric. Eric’s ignominious death caused much pain and whining and a vague memory that the cure involved having someone pee on the wound. I stopped whining and pretended it never happened. Once I was also running merrily along with music blaring in my ears and setting the pace, when a Surprise Labrador bounded up at me from behind, thinking my Herculean efforts were a game of tag. I squealed much like I do when cold waves surprise me in the same way that dog did. There are also Cape Leopards in this part of the world, and possibly on the very beach I run, as evidenced by the dry white critter poop I found on the trail back to the car one morning. Dr. Kelly Marnewick, famed animal scatologist, confirmed as much. Could also have been poop from the Surprise Labrador, she says, but I like my life a little more dramatic, so we’ll opt for leopards until proven otherwise. 


6. Runners’ High: you don’t have it because it’s further than you can run and takes more energy to achieve than you can give while running on the beach. That ’90s rave laser show in your head as you’re beach running is just a mess of endorphins hitting you harder than Thai White at the after party.

7. App-solute distraction: you will lose focus on your running while you try interpret all the data streaming in from your heart rate monitor. Ignore it. It’s almost impossible to run and stare at your phone without falling over and looking like a pratt. 

8. The Surreptitious Dune of Death: when your run is over and you’ve managed to catch your breath and regain some composure, you’ll suddenly discover that the car park is at the top of a steep dune that somehow wasn’t there when you started your beach run. At this point you will also discover that your calves have already had all the workout they’re prepared to allow, thank you very much, and you’ll hobble back to your car like your granny hobbles to the loo.

9. The Strava Rule – Reality Bytes: if you didn’t record it on Strava, it never happened. 

10. Beach sand and bed sheets: always shower after your beach run. Always! Even when you’ve gone out at a ridiculously early and god-forsaken hour of the morning and just feel like falling back into bed when you get home, take that shower – because once beach sand gets into your bed sheets, it’s there for life. Even if you change sheets, burn the bed and move to another country. It Will Follow You! 

11. Fifty Shades of DOMS: after my first run I had painful legs. And a sore bum. And aching sides. “Ah! DOMS!” said Samantha Perry to me. “Can’t be. I haven’t been to a warehouse BDSM party in a while.” I replied. There followed an awkward silence until Sam explained DOMS is an acronym for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, a result of exercise – and not Doms-as-in-a-Dominatrix-flogging-your-ass. Still, the thought of a leather-n-PVC-clad woman chasing me down the beach with a flogger in each hand is not a bad idea, but I don’t think it will catch on. For now, keep those hobbies separate. 

No doubt you’ll make your own discoveries as you start beach running. Just get out there, get active, and enjoy it!

© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Image: Summer Running by Avery D’Allesandro at Unsplash Free Images

Sacred Spaces

Sacred Spaces

I want to share the room with you, the people, their voices and stories. But I can’t.

I want to tell you all about the things they said and what I said to them in turn. But I won’t.

I want to reveal epiphanies and all our fears. I want to uncover the secrets and the scars. But I can’t.

I want my inner child to shout out all the feelings that I keep hidden and let him whisper the insecurities that shadow the others in the chairs next to me. But I won’t.

I want you to know that this is real, this group is real and we have real reasons to be here; real victories keep us coming back. 

But I can’t tell you anything about anyone in this space, because this space is sacred. Just like the promise I have made that if today I did well, tomorrow I will do better. 

My name is Dave and I am a compulsive overeater. 

© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Image: Room, by Philipp Berndt @ unsplash free images

Overthinkers Anonymous

Overthinkers Anonymous

Do I obsess about food, or do I eat mindlessly? 

Do I eschew control or relish it to the exclusion of making good choices? 

What is moderation, really? Boring, pedestrian frailty, or lightning in a jar? Can moderation actually be acute control over my more wayward compulsions or is it merely the negation of life’s peaks and troughs? Prozac to living. 

Why do I primly eat like a pious believer during the week and gorge myself like a death row agnostic on weekends? 

Can I overlay what I learned at Narcotics Anonymous on this programme and replicate that success? Why not? Why NOT…??

There are so many questions and I not only want all the answers – ALL of them – I want them to be quick fixes with minimal emotional cost. Is this possible? Why not? Why NOT…???! 

Well.

After tonight’s Overeaters Anonymous meeting, one answer I do have is that I don’t have any of the answers. None at all. Not one that fixes any of this. 

And that’s ok. Because what I do know now is that there are answers out there, I just need to know which questions matter, because not all of them do. Many of them just get in the way, or are that conniving inner voice, Slick, undermining all my progress. 

Slick, who tells me that moderation is bereft of any validity as something that engages me. It is the single bite of a cake. It is the heavy petting instead of the rough, anonymous sex. It is the driving at 110 instead of 140. It is safe in the way that safe is dull, dreary and unappealing. It is boring and it is mundane and it is a blight and the end of personality. That has become my default understanding of moderation.

Not only do I eat too much, I think too much. 

I think I need Overthinkers Anonymous right now.

I think…

© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

…and I am…

 “Hi. My name is Dave.”

“Hi. My name is Dave and I am …”

“Hi. My name is Dave…” and I am at this meeting for the first time.

The meeting starts and everyone takes turns in introducing themselves and reading from the meeting’s preamble, steps and traditions.

I don’t belong…here. Whatever “here” is. 

“Are there any newcomers?” she asks. I raise my hand.

“Hi. I’m Dave…and…I’m a compulsive overeater.” 

There. I’ve said it. I’ve given it a name. This condition. This disease. This…compulsion. I have it, and it is me and I am it.

Tonight I learned this is not about food. This has never been about food. Not for me nor for any of the others sitting in a circle here in Kenilworth. 

This is about responses, and relationships. It is about self-care and self-love. It is about being present, in life, and being witnessed, noticed, affirmed. 

And it is, finally, about witnessing ourselves, with honour. 

I expect I will be doing a lot of eating, through this journey, but the dish being served is mainly humble pie.

My name is Dave. I am a compulsive overeater and I am starting again because I belong here. 

© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

Farewell, George! 

Image: Mirror.co.uk

My alarm clock woke me with “Wham! George Michael is dead!” – well, I did ask him to Wake Me Up Before He Go-Goes. 

It was his Last Christmas and now he won’t get Older. Sorry. Shouldn’t have said that so softly – it was a Careless Whisper and I’ll take the Freedom to say a little more. With a bit of Faith and Patience you’ll find that like George, we’re all just Praying For Time. 

Looking at the last pics of him, no Father Figure was more ready to Move On to The Edge Of Heaven for a bit of Fastlove.

I Knew You Were Waiting for these dreadful puns and it’s not The Strangest Thing that I tried to come at this tribute from A Different Corner but I am ready to give it One More Try, ok?  

Will you Listen Without Prejudice?

Amazing. Let’s go Outside because I am Waiting For That Day to Heal The Pain. 

George, just know that You Have Been Loved and it will take all the Songs From The Last Century to get over your death. Your music was Flawless, Round Here, despite the media in earlier days making you out to be a Freeek!
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Rest In Peace, George Michael. The only way I know how to honour you and your incredible talent is through humour. Your songs were the themes of my youth – of so many people’s youth – and a little bit of us died with you yesterday. 

Go in peace.

25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016.

© Dave Luis 2016. All Rights Reserved.