Trying again. On my own terms.

I was giving a good friend of mine some advice the other day. I told her, “Pal, you’ve done everything you can do. You’ve given it all you’ve got. There’s nothing more you can do now. It is what it is…” Days later, as I contemplate whether or not to run the Two Oceans half marathon, I started to give myself some of my own advice.

Family and friends know that I hate this race. It overwhelms me. It’s congested, it’s over-hyped, it’s rated by so many runners as “The ultimate race”. But I hate it. It could be largely due to the baggage I carry of not making the 3 hour cut-off a couple of years ago. Even though I came back and ran a PB on this course the next year. But the pressure is intense and I allow it to control me.

But when I think of the advice I gave my friend, the words seem quite appropriate for me too especially when I look at the facts.

I’ve trained hard this year.
I’ve run five half marathons since January with ease.
In between regular interval training at gym, I’ve run on weekends too.
I’m 10kgs lighter having changed to a Banting way of eating.
I’m more comfortable with my running than I’ve ever been.

Am I still slow? Yeah, but it’s not important to me anymore. That’s my pace, deal with it. I have.

The main thing is that I’ve done all I can do in preparation for the race. There’s nothing more I can do. “It is what it is.”

If the congestion with 16k runners causes me to lose precious time, nothing I can do. If this means missing cut-off, so be it. I have to accept that if it takes me longer to run the first km and I lose time, it is what it is.
If it’s windy or it rains, nothing I can do. That’s just Cape Town weather.
A lot of factors are out of my hands but at least I’ve done everything I could possibly do in the build-up to this race. The rest I can’t control.

So ya, let’s see how it goes. Right now my nerves are killing me!


Believing in myself will be my greatest challenge in 2012

Compared to most December holidays, I had quite a lot of spare time to catch up on my reading and DVD watching these past few weeks. An inspirational book by Tim Noakes and watching one of my all-time favourite DVDs documenting the Apollo 13 rescue left me with lots of food for thought as I enter into a new year, filled with many unknowns and challenges.

I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions. However, a very clear message kept coming through when I read Noake’s book and which was confirmed when watching ‘The Race to the Moon: Failure is not an option’ DVD. The message of believing in myself. The message of accomplishing what my mind tells me is impossible.

Self-belief will be my 2012 New Year’s resolution.

In Noake’s book, called “Challenging Beliefs”, he says, “…it is our minds, and especially our perception of what can be, rather than our physical capabilities which ultimately determine the extend to which we succeed.” 

It’s four years since I started running but I aim to make 2012 the year that counts. No more doubting that running is too difficult. No more worrying that everyone else is faster than me. No more putting myself down. This will be the year that I have complete confidence in myself when I line up at the start of the Two Oceans half marathon. This will be the year that I am not overwhelmed with fears of not making the 3 hour cut-off gun. This is the year that I dash pass all those ‘walkers’ and come home with a medal I am proud of.

The Gene Kranz documentary “Failure is not an option” revolves around the team of very young engineers who ran the Mission Control centre in the 60’s and recounts their story of America’s space flight and man’s landing on the moon. But it’s the captivating story of the unexpected disaster that left the Apollo 13 crew lost in space which leaves me breathless. Faced with the unknown and a problem which at first seemed impossible to fix, the team at mission control managed to use their unique expertise and with the knowledge that “failure was not an option” pulled off an amazing rescue.

With the same spirit of those young NASA engineers, 2012 will be the year I rock at my job. I aim to make it known exactly just how skilled I am in my field instead of hiding in the shadows due to lack of confidence. I believe that I am capable of so much more. No more excuses! This is my year to take on new challenges and to shine!  

Bring it!