Jump on the bus

You can hear the bus coming down the road. The rhythmic shuffle. The feet pounding in unison. Sometimes a whistle. Other times a tambourine. The leader shouting out to the runners behind them.

If there’s one thing I love about road races, it’s the buses that pace runners! These angels ensure we run the time we’ve set out to run but also to get us to that finish line. I encountered my first bus during my first Two Oceans half marathon.

That’s me in the red top, next to Dave, coming up University Drive.

A newbie to races and unsure how to pace myself in those final few kilometers, pacesetter Dave took all that stress away and helped me walk and run when I needed to in order to save my energy. He sang songs, told stories and made me believe that the race was in his hands and I didn’t need to worry.

Those last few meters coming up University Drive are still imprinted in my memory when he shouted out to me and others, “You’ve done it! Run like horses to the stables!” LOL

He was right. I have the medal to prove it too.

Hanging with someone who has your back, who only wants you to succeed and gives you the right guidance along the way is something special. In the races, these buses have flags so you can see them.

But it’s worth looking for those “flags” in other areas of your life too. Find those buses in your life, not just on the road.

Find them at work where it’s particularly tough and you need the extra support to reach your goals. Ignore toxic people who have their own agendas.

Find them among your friends, the ones who lift you up and tell you what you need to hear, rather than what you want to hear.

Running this race called life is tough. Jump on those buses and finish your race!

Two coins to win a race

I wanted to give KK something special for his Comrades race, something meaningful. But he’s not the soft, fluffy teddy emotional kinda guy. A rather introverted engineer, he’s not into deep quotes. He’d rather watch cat videos on YouTube than a motivational TED video and Hallmark cards aren’t his thing.

His face went blank when I even suggested that we watch Chariots of Fire together the week before Comrades, so I really was torn as to how I showed him my support & that he knew I understood the significance of his race and what it meant to him.

I knew he wanted his back to back Comrades medal more than anything. This is a medal only given out to those who run the Up run and return the next year to run the Down run (or vice versa). It wasn’t even about beating his previous time. All he spoke about was these two medals and ensuring he finished in time because this would be his only opportunity to get it. Comrades medals and coins

So the night before the race, I packed two coins into a tiny plastic bag which I gave to him to run with. The two coins symbolized his two medals and I told him that each & every time he felt like quitting or when it got tough out there along the route, that he should reach into his running belt and feel the two coins. Feel and envisage what he was running for.  

KK finished his race and got his medals! He didn’t say whether or not the coins helped but I did notice that he never threw them aside. When we packed up to go home, I caught a glimpse of the coins, still in the packet, tucked away neatly with the rest of his running kit. That said it all…

It’s (mostly) all in your head #quote

My Coach has managed to teach me that yes, running is all about consistency and discipline. On the days I get home from work and crash on the bed, I know that heading out that door for a 30 minute easy run will do my body and mind a whole lot more than a half an hour snooze.

I’ve come to realise that it’s my mind that needs the extra training some days, not so much my body. Running, home-life, at work. Believing in myself. Pushing myself out of comfort zones and stretching myself. I know I can do it. I need to train my mind to believe it!Your mind

Running three hours through life

Running a race mirrors life in more ways than you realize and has always been the main theme of my blog. This morning’s Pick ‘n Pay half marathon showed me why in so many ways..

When we woke up at 3am, it was pouring with rain. I secretly leapt with joy, hoping to jump back in to bed to go back to sleep, but KK refused to let his plans of running his marathon be dashed, and so off we went. As we arrived at the race venue, the rain disappeared and we ran in the most glorious cool weather.

~ Goals. Stick with them through rain or shine, no matter what gets thrown your way. There will always be distractions. Remain focussed.

As I stood at the start line, my mind was not right. I had still allowed the weather to throw me and so my mood was stressed, anxious and negative. Not a good start and the first couple of kays were the most difficult.

~ Attitude. Pick your attitude and ensure it is right or else it will set you on a path to failure.

At the 10km mark, I caught up with a friend who was “coaching” another runner. Her strategy: “run two street poles, walk one”, a similar strategy to the one she used on me to run the Deloitte half marathon last year. I joined in. BEST decision of the race. It was not so much the street poles, but being pulled along by someone who ‘believed’ in her strategy and who kept motivating us. Her energy was boundless and catchy. I “wanted” to keep up with her and be fuelled by her motivation.

~ Coaches/Mentors/People who encourage. Find these people and stick with them. They want you to succeed. They believe in your abilities and they will help you reach your goals.

I must admit, I was not fit enough to keep up with my running friend and she did start slipping further and further away.

~ Friends. They come and go. They pop into your life for reasons when you need them most, then pop out. This is life and it’s okay. It’s how life works.

As I got to the 18km mark, my feet started to ache really badly. This is where I started to hate everyone. I wanted to cry. I blamed others for the pain. I was irritated with the photographers on the road and I just wanted to quit.

~ Don’t give up. When times are tough, it’s easy to throw in the towel. It’s easy to blame others when things don’t go your way. Don’t.

I finished my race. Aching feet and all. I have the t-shirt to prove it and I got my medal. My third Pick ‘n Pay half marathon race under the belt. Three hours of tough running.

~ The Finish line. To get there, you need to go through the ups and down and endure what life throws at you. You will get there, stick it out. Because the rewards are awesome!

Shoes