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…

Out of the mouths of heroes

Staring in awe at the London 2012 Olympic gold and silver medallists at a function recently, I was struck by the fact that they are just ordinary people with an extraordinary drive and passion for their sport.

In between my bacon and eggs and the hundreds of other people who had arrived to catch a glimpse of the heroes, I whipped out my blog book *nerd alert* and took notes as the MC was interviewing them.

In front of me sat Cameron van der Burgh, Chad Le Clos, Caster Semenya and the four rowers John Smith, Matthew Brittan, Sizwe Ndlovu and James Thompson. Here are some of my favourite snippets I managed to write down:

Each and every one of them had that one person in their lives who believed in them. For Caster it was Maria Motola, for Chad, his dad Bert, for rower Sizwe Ndlovu, his headmaster. It’s that one person who never gave up on them and believed in them to the end. It’s important in life to find that person who sees your talent, sees your potential and is with you right until the end.

The sacrifices made are enormous! They are not normal people with normal 9 – 5 lives. They have to watch what they eat and drink, especially the four rowers who needed to ensure they remained at the lightweight under 70kgs level or else they would be disqualified. There is no time for dating, for partying, for holidays or even spending quality time with loved ones. You cannot let your guard down because youngsters are watching you as role models. There is a lot of pressure.

The medallists trained every single day, 7 days a week with every 5th Sunday off. 48 weeks of the year, going full ball and flat out. Most of their days involve training twice a day with gym workouts in-between and physio or yoga or pilates squeezed in there somewhere too. In the words of the rower John Smith, “We trained like slaves but raced like kings”. *This oke was my fav!* After 4 years of hard, dedicated training, it’s all over in a matter of seconds. If you don’t get your medal, it all starts over again.

Best of all is when each of them were asked what they did in their spare time, they all said one thing: Sleep! I guess at least I have one thing in common with them.

Lessons from Roald Dahl: Ugly thoughts

When I was growing up, no author ‘spoke’ to me more than what Roald Dahl did. In my little world, it seemed as if only he knew what it was like to be me. So when I found the Roald Dahl collection of books a while back, I was thrilled. Every now and then I pick one up and read a paragraph or two. The one I seem to go back to the most is The Twits.

Dahl’s account of The Twits has been etched in my memory ever since I was a little girl. The way they lived and how they treated one another and everyone else, including animals horrified me. As a child, I hoped to never come across people that ugly. How ironic that as an adult, I do. To this day, when I see a man with a big beard, I always imagine food stuck in it just like Mr Twit. *yuck*

The story always leaves me smiling. Not only is it filled with clever humour, but also such great lessons about life. Here’s one of my favourite examples:

Thank-you Mr Dahl. Thank-you.

** Reference: Roald Dahl’s Scrumdiddlyumptious Story Collection. 2007.