About Bo

Dog lover. Runner. Although very slowly. Keeping up with the stresses of running and life...

The sun setting later can only mean one thing…

My nose was hit by the most amazing scent of jasmine on my run this morning. I love jasmine. It’s one of my favorite shrubs. Not only because of the strong scent of the flower but because it signifies a change of season; of new beginnings. Spring.

I know what you’re thinking – Bron, it’s way too early for spring. It’s only mid-July. But I’ve noticed it flowering earlier and earlier every year.

Jasmine picked on my run in 2013

My winter hibernation is coming to an end too. I’ve started to run more regularly. Not far – maybe a 4km run here and there. Running my own business has allowed for more freedom with my time and I’ve managed to run during the day when there’s less traffic and much warmer weather.

We’ve entered the popular Discovery Vitality Run Series and I hope to be a tad fitter when we run those races. The first race is on the 11th of August which is only 3 weeks away.

The other exciting news is that I’ve also joined a fitness group! A stone’s throw away from home, I’m enjoying that delayed feeling of stiff muscles after each workout. As the website puts it, “… classes incorporate functional body-weight movements and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to develop fitness and burn fat faster.”  Sounds good to me. What appeals is that there’s no pressure either. Everyone trains at their own pace.

Post-workout grin

We recently went on a weekend away trip to the Drakensberg and I hated that feeling of weakness in my body. I struggled to keep up on the hikes. I felt exhausted and knew my weight gain had become uncontrollable. I was miserable.

So I have set myself a goal of losing 5kgs in time for summer. For the first time in ages, my headspace is right. I’m a lot more motivated. I know I can do this.

The smell of jasmine. Sweaty afternoon faces after a run or a FabFitSlay workout and watching the sun setting later and later. It’s time!

In the end, the distance never really matters

Wikipedia will tell you that the Amphitheatre in the Drakensberg is widely regarded as one of the most impressive cliff faces on earth. I would agree.

I would also add that it’s the perfect place to reset your body, mind, and soul, and be reminded that the so-called big issues you worry about back home pale in significance when you’re engulfed in those magnificent mountains.

We arrived at Thendele Lodge in the Royal Natal National Park for a weekend away with car boots overflowing with bags of crisps, boxes of wine and warm blankets. And thank goodness too! It was ffffreezing in the evenings.

On Saturday morning, we hiked up to The Gorge. The dry grassy path wound its way into lush forest terrain and out onto sections of boulders.

At one stage, I was peeking at my Garmin every few meters because the 7km halfway mark had been passed almost 2kms ago by the time we had reached The Gorge.

Cheese and ham rolls, next to the stream, sitting at The Gorge… Hashtag bliss!

Having nearly fallen into the ice-cold almost translucent stream, I admit to having flashbacks of my Run-The-Berg trail run which also promised to be one distance but turned out to be much much much further. Was this hike really only 14kms?

While I’m fit enough to handle the distance, my legs felt like jelly after my near-fall and unlike road running, trail running and hiking require a hectic amount of concentration, of which my mind is untrained.

Deceptively, the hike downhill back to the lodge wasn’t easy. My jelly legs were joined by butterfly ankles and my legs ached. My watch recorded 20kms when we finally arrived back at the lodge. Boy was I ready for a hot shower and a glass of wine!

The rest of the weekend was downtime and the instruction was for “everyone to do exactly what they wanted to do.” (You gotta love holidays with friends like this!)

For some, it meant more hiking up to Policeman’s Helmet on Sunday…

For others, a snooze on the couch in the sun…

That was my choice. And while I did get through a few chapters of my book, my mind wandered to other thoughts…

  • How on earth was KK able to attempt over 30kms of hiking a mere week after finishing Comrades?
  • A stiff body and refreshed mind feel absolutely amazing after hiking 20kms up to The Gorge, in one of the most spectacular places in the world. Ironically the 20km hike felt shorter than any half marathon I’ve ever run.
  • That I am so lucky to have such interesting, caring and adventurous friends in my life.

KK and I agreed on the drive back home that we really do need more weekends away in our lives. And yes, maybe even another hike or two 😉

5 lessons from the Two Oceans half marathon for new business owners (aka me)

Let me dive right in. This year was tough. Not only for me but for KK running the Ultra with a last minute route diversions through Ou Kaapse Weg. Here’s what 21.1kms taught me about running my own business.

Lesson 1: You can’t predict what’s coming.

Route changes, rain, water stations running out of water, niggly ankles. Nothing prepares you for hard times. And there’s nothing you can do about them either. They will be there. Deal it and move on. You will get through whatever it is!

Lesson 2: Training is important.

Those long Sunday runs with Tamryn made the difference to my race. When I got to the 16km mark and knew I had 5kms to go, I didn’t stress. I had enough fuel in my body and energy in my legs to keep going and even ran the last few kilometers where I could.

Preparation, learning, up-skilling is everything! And you owe it to your clients so that you both win.

Lesson 3: Sometimes it hurts. But don’t stop.

The argument in my head about quitting when it rained, crying because my ankle hurt, the fear of missing cutoff was intense. Was I really cut out for running?

The imposter syndrome of claiming to be this great half marathon runner is quite similar to the feelings I’ve experienced as a newbie entrepreneur. You have to push through those feelings of doubt and negativity! You are and will be successful, believe it!

Lesson 4: The rewards are phenomenal.

I found my run was a mix of ups and downs. When I felt like quitting, I’d rise above it and get to the next kilometer and rejoice. The victory of getting over Southern Cross Drive, the success of making the 3:20 cutoff, the medal I could finally hang around my neck.

If you take the time to look, you will find that there are many successes along the way. Owning your own business is incredibly rewarding.

And finally,

Lesson 5: There are supporters along the way.

The support and belief in me from my family has been incredible. The work that has come through friends via word-of-mouth has totally surprised me. It’s been touching and has meant the absolute world to me.

When you’re running (or crawling) up Southern Cross Drive and someone shouts out, “Go Bronwynne, you’ve got this…” it’s just the best feeling in the world.

I realized that after 5 months of being a new business owner, nothing will ever prepare me. It’s a journey. A moving target. A hard one. A fun one. Ups and downs. Highs and lows.

But the reward at the end is priceless! And this is only the beginning. Many races still to come…

Celebratory drinks

One Panado pill and 4 other race highlights from Two Oceans

In my previous blog post, I declared that I was ready to take on the Two Oceans half marathon. I was fit, trained and my head was in the right space.

But life has a funny way of teaching you that you’re never quite in control and so, a day before the race, things started to fall apart…

On Friday morning, just as we were about to call the Uber to taxi us to the airport, I “accidentally” deleted my entire work mailbox. All emails were just gone! I managed to recover them all while boarding the plane emailing the support guy at Host King, but by that stage, I was a wreck.

Two hours later, arriving at Cape Town International airport, First Car Rental declined my rental car booking because it was booked with a cancelled credit card – the one Uber defrauded me with a few weeks ago. FFS man. That took forever to sort out.

Arriving at the apartment we booked via Airbnb, it dawned on us that the owner had taken shall we say “some really great professional pics” of the place and added a beautiful filter on each image. We were disappointed.

My stress levels were peaking… I was weepy and exhausted.

Nothing an early night couldn’t sort out, right?

Arriving at the start of the race, I was semi-confident. I was astonished that a runner standing right in front of me suddenly recognized my name from my blog! OMW! What are the chances with 16 000 other runners in the street? I was close to tears at this point! Highlight number 1.

start of the two oceans marathon 2019

Then the rain came down. It’s okay, I thought. Nice and cool! (Keep it together Bron.)

At the 7km mark, the wheels (or the Wiehl…LOL) came off. My right ankle started to twinge. I slowly edged forward a few 100 meters and zing, there it was again. I panicked.

Pulling off the road, I rubbed my ankle gently and tightened my laces. The rain clouds were still lingering above me.

The voices inside my head started nattering:

  • I’ve never felt this before. Why now? Was it still from the 2017 injury?
  • Oh wait, I know why. I’m old now. Yup, turned 44 last week and it’s downhill from here on. Am I a veteran or a grandmaster in running labels?
  • What if I can’t finish the race? I’ll die! I’m not mentally strong enough to go through that failure again!

I carried on until out of the blue, a woman stopped to ask if I was okay. No, I’m not okay, my ankle is sore, I cried.

She suggested I stop off at the upcoming Caltex point for strapping but I explained to her quite frantically that if I stopped I’d miss the cut-off. I had to forge ahead. There was no way I was missing cut-off again.

I made my way towards Southern Cross Drive and suddenly I heard her behind me. “Here, I found you a Panado!”

It was music to my ears. What an angel! Now normally I don’t take pain killers during a race but I was desperate. She waved me goodbye and ran on her way. Julie. Or Julia. A lifesaver, so thoughtful and kind. Thank you. Highlight number 2.

The rain started to pour down and I was getting soaked. Oddly enough, my ankle was worse when I walked so I kept running jogging.

We turned into Rhodes Drive. This is normally the worse part of the race for me. It’s where I usually have zero energy and struggle to carry on. But not this time. I still felt strong. I kept running. I thought wow, Tamryn my Sunday running partner would be so proud of me! Look at me go! Pole to pole! Highlight number 3.

My ankle would twinge every few steps but I knew I had to keep going. My lower grade matric maths had calculated that I had plus minus 10 minutes to cut-off. And so I ran and ran and ran…

3:16. I had made it! I beat the gun! Highlight number 4.

It’s the first time my ankle has given me any hassles since I injured it in 2017. Oddly, a few days after the race, it stopped hurting. Was it race stress? Nerves? In my head? I’ll see how it goes when I run in the next few days.

I’ve now run 7 Two Ocean half marathons. I swore never again. But now, that Blue Number is close. I can see it! And it looks like we run on my birthday next year, the second time that’s happened. A sign, right?

Thanks to all the angels that supported me along the way. Tami Madikoe. Panado Julie. And my sister who ran Gillooly’s Parkrun back home in support of me. XXX