Happy Valentine’s run to me!

5 years ago, I ran my very first 10km road race. It was the Randburg Valentine’s Night Race at Randburg Harriers. My time: 87 minutes.Valentines Day

Since that very first night in 2008, I’ve run over 17 half marathons, over twenty 10km races and numerous 5km ones. Last week I went back and ran the race that started it all…

Running through the dark streets, I was filled with emotion. I was over-whelmed at the fact that I had come so far. But a part of me was also angry because I realized that I have forgotten about the journey that I have taken to get where I am. From never having run before in my life to being able to manage running 21.1kms.

It dawned on me that I am so hard on myself and so unforgiving when I don’t make a cut-off time or run as fast as I’d like to. I have stopped giving myself any credit. I have stopped being proud of my accomplishments and I’ve only focused on the goals instead of the achievements.

Running the race again was much needed therapy because it reminded me that I am capable of doing this. Of running. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and stop making excuses.

Yes, I run at 8 minutes/km. You damn right I do! And I can do that for 5km, 10km and even 21.1kms straight!

Remembering Valentine’s Night Race 2008

On Friday night I was trawling through my Twitter timeline and started to see tweets from people who had just finished the Randburg Harriers Valentine’s Night race.

I was suddenly overwhelmed with such emotion as I remembered the race that got me hooked onto running 4 years ago.

I remember that night like it was yesterday. The hot afternoon when we arrived at Randburg Harriers, sitting on the grass with friends watching the field fill up, walking to the start, the sun setting as the gun went off, the funny costumes people were wearing, the streets getting dark and then the final 300m when KK and other friends stood waiting for me as I neared the finish line. (I also recall the KFC burger on the way home!)

My time: 87 minutes!

Reflecting on the race has made me realise something…

I have spent the last couple of years obsessing about my running pace and the fact that I run so slowly. I have even gotten to the point where I have hated races and dreaded running just because my pace is so slow. I started a blog to document how slow I run!

Yet, on that night 4 years ago, nothing could take away that feeling of immense pride and self-accomplishment that I felt. I was on top of the world and felt incredible. Victorious. After completing that race, I felt as if I could conquer the world! But look at my time! Did I care? Not a chance!

So what happened?

How and where did I lose my passion and love? Where did this obsession come from?

I know the answer: Two Oceans 2010. Missing that 3 hour cut-off broke my spirit. I felt like a failure and since then I’ve been on a mission to ensure it never happens again.  In a way, it’s become the focus of my running and I’ve lost a bit of that passion that fuelled me that night. Yes, so I did go back and conquer Oceans, but the stress of it all still overshadows the victory.

These past couple of weeks, I’ve started to relook my priorities and decide what’s important. I’ve been doing some soul searching to understand exactly why I run, why I am so hard on myself and what I enjoy about running.  

Because right now, I’m not sure if what I’m focussing on is right. It sure as hell doesn’t feel as good as it did finishing Valentine’s Night race 4 years ago…