The Jacaranda stood tall

On a recent Saturday morning training session with Coach Dave, we were instructed to run up to the top of a hill towards an orange bush and jog back down. We were to do this until he said stop. The “bush” at the top of the hill was in fact the most beautiful tree. The Jacaranda mimosifolia. The name stood out because it was signposted on the bark as most of the trees at Emmerentia Dam are.

Hill training at Emmerentia Dam

Hill training at Emmerentia Dam

The beautiful Jacaranda tree

The beautiful Jacaranda tree

Up and down the hill we ran and each and every time I reached the top, I would touch the bark of the tree and repeat the words “Jacaranda mimosifolia”. It occurred to me that I had never noticed that Jacaranda trees change to orange during winter. How odd because their majestic beauty when they are in full bloom during spring paints the streets with their exquisite colours of blue and purple.

Up and down…. Jacaranda mimosifolia. When I did stop to catch my breath at the top of the hill, I took time to appreciate the tree and reflected on the past couple of months.

It’s been a tough winter. I have not been able to get into a proper training routine. My running has suffered. I have missed races, missed track sessions and missed the discipline and consistency Coach Dave taught me from the beginning.

The Jacaranda trees in bloom up my street

The Jacaranda trees in bloom up my street

Worse is that the last 6 months have been really hard at work. Challenging. Maybe because it’s me that has been the challenger for a change. Nobody really likes that. No one likes the orange leaves.

I’ve lost a bit of my sparkle. I’ve lost my shine. I’ve become that orange Jacaranda tree which is still the beautiful tree that people marvel at during spring time, but fades into the background when the leaves turn orange and waits for winter to end.

I am bordering on desperate for spring to arrive. It hasn’t been that cold, but it’s been dry and long. You could see it in the brown dead grass as the sun rose during our training session. The frost melting as the air warmed up.

Soon those Jacaranda mimosifolias will be blooming and showing off their majestic blues and purple showers again. The colours of the leaves may change, but it’s still the same tree. And of course, it gets easier to run.

The purple carpet...

The purple carpet…


Thoughts from my run: Things change

In conversation with some colleagues the other day, we chuckled at the fact that we have been employed at the current company for so long now that it doesn’t faze us when someone resigns, we don’t seem surprised when a restructure is announced and in fact, we generally grow concerned when things stay the same for too long. That’s comforting in a way, but perhaps also a little disturbing.

If there’s one lesson I try to teach my 11-year-old niece it’s that she embraces change and equips herself with tools as a youngster to manage the uncertainty in the world and for her future ahead. I find so many people I interact with on a daily basis see change as a negative thing. Not only do they fear it, but they struggle to see opportunities and potential doors opening when things happen.

On my run this morning, I ran into (you see what I did there?) an old Twitter friend of mine. Both of us have moved into new roles at work and as we briefly chatted, it was great to find out that we both love the work we do and happy for the changes we made.

I wouldn’t say it was an easy route. Change is hard and I have been stressed at most stops throughout the journey. But I’ve been lucky that I have managed to “come out alive?” I’m blessed that things have worked out for me. If only I could find a way to bottle the learnings so that I know what to do next time. Because trust me, change comes whether you like it or not.

Talking about being blessed, how beautiful are these Jacaranda trees on my running route?

Jacaranda trees