Is the sun going down on you?

Call it a midlife crisis, inspiration from a TED Talk or just mid-year review, but I've been on this mission to make time for more quality in my life. Notice that I said "make time" and not "find time". You will never find time, trust me on this one.

In order to make time, you need to do a combination of the following:

  • Plan your day. Make sure you know where the gaps are and which meetings at work will be productive or not.
  • Be selfish with your time. When you say yes to every meeting, every interruption and every invitation, you don't have anything left for you.
  • Make sure you're allocating enough quality time towards doing the things that enrich your life and make you happy.

To force myself to make time, I've been committed to getting home before the sun sets. I've taken a photo every day to prove that it's possible.

I've made time to bake in the middle of the week.

I've walked the dogs when I've arrived home from work.

I've even ensured that I look after myself physically and get my hair done on a regular Friday afternoon. There's no better feeling after a busy week to kickstart the weekend feeling fresh and beautiful!

More importantly I've made time to run and stick to my training programme. That's the single thing that I didn't sacrifice. Guess what? I ran a race on Saturday and was thrilled with my time! Just 2 minutes off my PB!
It pays off and the rewards come.

Make time for yourself and the things that matter in your life!

Reflecting on this year’s Two Oceans race

It’s long overdue and regular readers of my blog might have noticed that I haven’t yet published my annual account of my Two Oceans half marathon race.

In previous blog posts, I’ve mostly bitched about the race and vowed (every time) never to return. It’s been a love hate relationship. However this year, everything fitted together like a puzzle and it turned out that I ran the race with very different eyes.

The race was a few days after a friend had let us know about the cancer moving to two parts of her brain. Her regular WhatsApp messages popped in and out of my thoughts sporadically & my mind flashed through what she was going through.

The night before the race, I had said to myself, how can I moan when I know how much Susan loves triathlons and swimming & would love to just get out there and run? So I didn’t moan and woke up on race morning looking forward to the race.

I started in race category D which kinda felt like I had golden circle tickets at a rock concert. It also meant less time waiting compared to category E and loads more room to stand in.

10 minutes before the race started, my mind flipped into panic mode. But instead, I thought, scared? Bron you don’t know what scared is. Susan is scared.

When it hurt near the 17kms mark and my legs were tired, I thought you don’t know what tired is. This is not pain. Not like what Susan is going through.

And when I wanted to quit, I remembered that quitting was not an option for her.
Finally, when I crossed that finish line, I said “this is for you Susan”. But somehow, the message was really for me. I had come through 21.1kms having learnt something quite humbling about myself.

two oceans half marathon medal and photoI moan about my running way to often. I criticize my pace and point out all my weaknesses. I blame the race, the race organizers and my training. It’s the backbone to my blog. But I need to stop. I am a runner and incredibly grateful to be able to cross those finishing lines at road races.

I am good enough. My body is good enough! There are so many people out there who don’t have the opportunities or the health that I have to be able to run. So from now on, every time I don’t feel like running, I’ll think of those that wish they could. I’ll think of Susan. Because what she made me realize, that every time I put my running shoes on, I need to be grateful that I am able to run. It doesn’t matter how slow or fast or even how far. We seem to forget that.

Parkrun taught me *this* about going into 2017

I knew how much I hated running cross country so the thought of waking up on a Saturday morning to run parkrun did not appeal to me at all. When all my running friends were clocking up parkrun milestones, I kept a low profile.

But it was the incessant nagging from another Running Junkie, Francis, which I simply could not ignore any longer and decided I’d run my first parkrun, but also to celebrate her 50th one.

And did I enjoy myself? Will I be back? In thinking of answers to these questions some things stood out for me from my parkrun experience.

Some positives and negatives which I’m calling “parkrun lessons to take into 2017“…

1. Don’t knock it ’till you try it: It wasn’t fair of me to have made up my mind about parkrun without ever having run one. Often what stops us from doing something is a preconceived idea which prevents us from giving things a chance. I’m going to take more chances in 2017 and be braver.

2. There’s always admin: If I must be honest, the whole barcode story of parkrun irritates me. With everything online nowadays, I wish parkrun had an app that would sync automatically with the likes of Strava, Garmin, Nike+ etc. to record your runs. But I guess in life, not everything is that easy. There are and will always be bloody admin; the stuff we all hate to do. Just do it!

3. Allow people to carry you when the going gets tough: A man ran to the finish line carrying his dog on his shoulders. Classic move! In chatting to him afterwards, he said the little guy got to 1km and was tired and couldn’t go on anymore. I don’t ask for help as often as I should. I carry around my stress and anxiety and don’t allow myself to acknowledge that some days, I need help. I know that I am surrounded by the most amazing family & friends who will gladly, and without hesitation, lift me up on their shoulders and carry me. Figuratively, of course! Don’t panic loved ones!

4. Push through the uphill struggles because the downhills come. Eventually: Delta Park parkrun starts with a crazy uphill but as you reach 3kms, it’s all downhill to the end. I kept hearing Coach Dave tell me this as we ran. I didn’t believe him, but when that downhill arrived, man it was glorious and I picked up my pace. When the going gets tough, be patient, the downhills will come Bron.

5. Make time to celebrate: To celebrate her 50th parkrun, Francis arrived with bottles of bubbly and cake. Dressed in her well-deserved red 50th parkrun t-shirt, it reminded me that we don’t take time to celebrate our successes anymore in life. We don’t stop to acknowledge what we’ve accomplished and we don’t reward ourselves for the hard work we put in. We need to do more of that! And we need to celebrate with our family & friends more often!

Here’s to an amazing 2017 year ahead, and yes, more parkruns!


If anything, 2015 taught me this…

There are three races that I ran in 2015 which taught me incredibly valuable lessons which I’ll be using as a guide in 2016.

1. RAC 32km Tough One – Lesson: Set big, hairy, audacious goals

RAC 32 km road raceI had never run further than 21kms and this distance frightened me! I had sleepless nights worrying that I’d fail. In the weeks leading up to the race, it consumed my thoughts. But I did it! And loved it! I experienced moments of pleasure as well as extreme doubt & pain on the day. There were blisters. But wow, I floated on air pretty much for days after the race.

I realized this:

  • I must set goals that are so big, they fundamentally change my life
  • I need to ensure I surround myself with people who believe that I can achieve my goals
  • Always believe in myself! I proved that day that I can achieve anything I set my mind to
  • I also learnt that in life, the journey is not always easy and there will be uphills. But each & every step will get me to that finish line! It’s the rule of running.

2. Kaapsehoop 21.1km – Lesson: Write your own story

Kaapsehoop half marathon FinishI had heard the stories that this race was easy, flat (downhill) and a piece of cake. In fact most people spoke of PB’s. I believed them and repeated their stories with confidence. But on race day, my experience was different. The race was tough. The weather was unbearably hot. The camber of the road was painful and I did not manage to shave off the time I had expected to.
I know now that:

  • I shouldn’t believe everything I hear
  • I need to get the facts for myself and not blindly follow the masses
  • Make up my own mind. Have my own opinion
  • In every situation, everyone has a unique story to tell. What’s mine?

3. Two Oceans half marathon – Lesson: Sometimes in a race what matters is who runs along side you

Two Oceans Half marathon 2015If you’ve followed my blog then you’d know that Two Oceans and I have not had the easiest of relationships. In fact I’ve hated the race since I missed cutoff a few years back. But last year I ran the race with my Dad. We ran together the entire way and as the light drizzle came down and we chatted and laughed at stories along the way, my fear and anxiety of the race disappeared. I didn’t care what my pace was or what my finish time would be. Nothing could take away that special moment.

This wonderful memory showed me that I should:

  • Focus on the right things in my life. Look around and appreciate what really matters
  • People who matter will always be there for me
  • Realize that the reward is not the medal. It’s the family & friends in my life that run my journey with me each & every day!

All in all I’m truly blessed that I am able to run. It’s not about how fast or how far I run. It’s the fact that I’ve started 2016 fit, healthy and happy. Here’s to a wonderful year ahead! Enjoy the run…