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…

Running with the horses: a race review of Kaapsehoop

We’ve never run Kaapsehoop before but had heard many reviews of the race itself. Fast, easy, downhill all the way. Great for a PB. Running with wild horses. It sounded magical, so off we went.

The race profile. Downhill all the way home.

The race profile. Downhill all the way home.

My highlights of the race:

  • Race number collection was super quick and easy. It’s the first time I’ve seen the Mbombela Stadium & it’s stunning. KK got so caught up in the excitement, he decided to upgrade to the 21km.
  • Busses on the morning of the race were on time & made the run even more adventurous being driven up to the start of the race. Doing “my business” in the forest because the port-a-loo queue was so long is another story!
  • The water points were excellent! In that boiling hot sun, the water was ice cold at every stop. They even increased the water stops closer to the finish, knowing full well that this is where runners would need it most in that heat!
  • Snacks, such as bananas, oranges and even koeksisters (yup!) were on offer at the water points. Even Vaseline.
  • Ice in cups of Coke as you crossed the finish line. What a delightful experience! It’s the little things…
    Race entries at the Mbombela Stadium. Is it just me or can you see the giraffes?

    Race entries at the Mbombela Stadium. Is it just me or can you see the giraffes?

    Running club tents erected at the finish

    Running club tents erected at the finish

What I thought would be an easy race because it was mainly downhill all the way proved to be quite challenging for me. I know that I dislike hate flat races. But downhill ones aren’t exactly easy either. I was consistent in my pace but not that much faster. Running downhill felt like it took loads more energy.

The road had an uncomfortable camber for almost the entire way and I woke up the next morning with blisters between my toes but only on my right foot. The heat made it pretty tough too and I take off my running peak to the marathon runners who battled it out on the road in those temperatures!

What I lacked in speed on the downhills I certainly made up for on the hills. The last three km’s were hell but I felt strong. I’m quite happy with my time. I had hoped to run under 2:40 but came in at 2:44 (my Pick ‘n Pay & Vaal PB) which is great considering I’ve struggle to run under 2:50 since picking up with 21km runs at the end of winter. I can only improve on this and Dischem is coming up in January.

I was so happy to see that finish line!

I was so happy to see that finish line!

So did we see any wild horses? Nope, which means we must go back, right? And besides, with such a well organised race in such a beautiful setting, it’s an easy decision.

We stayed with friends at Pine Lake Resort and woke up to this spectacular view every morning

We stayed with friends at Pine Lake Resort and woke up to this spectacular view every morning