You are more beautiful than you think. (Sometimes)

Have you seen the new Dove campaign? If not, in a nutshell, Dove posted a three-minute ad on YouTube that teaches a vital lesson about how we view ourselves compared to how others see us. The tagline of the campaign is: “You are more beautiful than you think.

It made me giggle. Don’t get me wrong, I totally ‘get’ the campaign. It moved me and like others, I shared the clip on various social media platforms. But it did remind me of an old video clip of myself taken 5 years ago. The clip was an eye-opener for me and reminded me that how I view myself is not always how others see me.

You see, I entered the Two Oceans 8km fun run in 2008. A close friend managed to take a video clip of me running to the finish line. When I watch this video, I can die of embarrassment!

It’s weird to see just how odd my running style was (and is still today). It’s a shocker! As a newbie runner, I had no proper running kit so I ran in my gym pants. I’m slouched forward, terrible running posture. My running pace looks like I’m taking a Sunday stroll through the park but yet 5 years later, I still run this slowly. I would never have realized this unless I had seen that clip. In my mind, I thought I looked like any other professional runner.

It’s so good to look back and see just how far I’ve come…

The message of the Dove campaign has one thing in common with running though. It’s how I love the look of my face after a run. No make-up. Red cheeks. Flushed and sweaty. Big smile on my face. Medal around my neck. I practically glow!

It’s the one time when I don’t wear make-up that I truly do believe I look more beautiful than I think.

(If you receive my blog via email and the video doesn’t play, please view this post via the web. Thanks!)

Two days, Two Oceans, two races, this is how I experienced it…

So even though I decided not to run the Two Oceans Half Marathon, it was a spur of the moment decision to partake in the 5km race, held on the Friday before the big races. The weather in Cape Town had started to turn and so, instead of heading down to the beach, we went through to UCT.

At 14:30 in the afternoon, the race started and approximately 3 000 runners /  joggers / walkers / prams (and a Bokkie) ran out of the beautiful UCT grounds and down University Drive on what was aptly named the Two Oceans Fun Run.  The weather couldn’t have been more perfect! The vibe electrifying. The laughter contagious. What a fantastic afternoon and run! I had so much fun! My time: 39 minutes. I’m thrilled.

          

Turn the clocks a mere 19 hours forward and as majority of the field were approaching the half way mark of the 21.1km race, sheets of rain, mixed with nasty winds, started to pour down! 

I sat on the grandstand, waiting with clean, dry towels for KK and the rest of the running gang to come in. But as the rain came down harder, and the spectators scurried for shelter, I somehow missed KK’s finish and spent the next 45 minutes trying to find him. Drenched and freezing, when we did find one another, he proudly announced that he had managed to run a PB! 1:49 … Awesome babes! 

                      

I guess this year’s Two Oceans was one of those that runners will never forget. One that is so gruelling and tough for some (who really feel that they earned that medal) and yet refreshing and invigorating for others who sailed through and achieved fantastic results.

But between you and me, as we drove home in the rain, passing the unlucky few that had missed the 3 hour cut-off, in my heart I was somehow relieved that I did not run. My heart broke for those who did not make it as I’ve experienced that disappointment before. But I knew, with all that congestion in the E-batch, the rain and the lack of mental mojo, I would not have gotten over that finish line in time. 

I was thankful for the fact that I ran my 5kms, I enjoyed it. And I’m learning that with my runs, that’s what matters most.

But I will be back. I know I will…

Running a simple fun run taught me lessons a half marathon never did

A week ago, I ran the Pick ‘n Pay Fun Run out at Saheti School. I haven’t run many fun runs before as my focus has been on running the 10kms and half marathons. What I thought would be a quick, simple, unorganised race turned out to be so much more. Not only did I enjoy it more than I thought I would, but I’d like to share three things that stood out for me.

1. Nothing beats watching the sun rising whilst running through lush green suburbs on a fresh Sunday morning. It’s beautiful. I’ve never really taken time to stop and take in that warm sun as it falls on my face as I line up at the start of races. How blessed I am to experience it almost every weekend when we run a race. From now on, I’ll be making a special effort to stop and appreciate it.

2. A fun run is filled with the biggest mix of people I’ve ever encountered, all running towards a common finish. Grannies, children as young as 5, pregnant ladies, runners with dogs on leads, wheelchairs, prams, you name it, they’re there! Even a runner with one leg and on crutches. When people tell me they can’t run, I wish they could see what I saw. There are seriously no excuses in life.

3. I arrived at the start of that race with a charged Garmin, GU’s and butterflies in my stomach. After 10 minutes into the run, I felt kinda silly. The race is just that – fun! Yes, you can speed ahead and get a PB, or you can mill at the back and chat to your friends. It doesn’t matter. No one really bothers with what you’re doing, or your time or how you finish. There isn’t that competitive vibe you feel on the other races. Everyone gets on with their own race in their own time. This was a big learning for me and exactly what I needed to experience. I find I am way too obsessed with my time and everyone else in the half marathons. This was fun!

Sometimes the simplest things in life, like a silly fun run, can make you stop and appreciate the things around you that have actually always been there, but you’ve never really made time to notice before.