Okay Two Oceans, clean slate, here I come!

If you’ve been following my blog for a few years now, you may recall that the Two Oceans half marathon is not one of my favourite running races (understatement). I find the anxiety of the congested start, the hype around the race, and making the race cut-off all contributing to it being a very stressful run. I’ve even documented my feelings in various blog posts throughout the years:

Yowzer! I’ve realized I’m clearly obsessed with the race and focus on pretty much all the negative things about it. So I decided to look at the positive side this year. Instead of analyzing all the negative things that stress me out about the race, I’m going down to Cape Town focusing on the positives.

  • I am one of the lucky ones who managed to get an entry.
  • An Easter holiday down in the fairest, most beautiful Cape. I can’t wait.
  • I am blessed to report that I am fit and healthy while there are others, such as KK, injured and having had to pull out of the race. Sorry KK.
  • My Dad will be running the race too! This might be the most special thing about that day and I’m going to try and run at least some of the way with him.
  • There are so many of my friends and Running Junkie training friends who will be competing. It’s been an honor training with them and I can’t wait to see them reach their goals.
  • I have trained hard. I have covered the distances and done the work I need to do.
  • My Championchip times show that I am able to run a 21.1km race in under 3:00 2:50 minutes. I no longer need to stress about that 3 hour axe cut-off over my head.
  • I am able to run a distance that majority of people have never even tried to run. I am a runner. I can run 21.1kms! Me!OM2015

The Two Oceans countdowns posted on social media still take my breath away and give me serious *goosies*! It’s going to be fab! It’s going to be epic! Two Oceans, here I come!

Are you also running? How are you feeling about the race?

Holding on to (false) hope

I love this time of year! It’s mid-December and everywhere I look, I’m surrounded by wonderful Christmas decorations, the traffic is a breeze because the schools have broken up and my brain is fuzzy as I try desperately to focus on those last few meetings at work before closing the door on yet another (hectic) year.

But this year is different. A scan of any Twitter feed or Facebook timeline will reveal a lot about the state of the country with rolling blackouts and scheduled load shedding. It’s as if we’re stuck so deep in this situation that we’re unable to see beyond it. It feels like a national depression and as the negativity dominates the conversations, it’s very difficult to remain positive. In fact, it’s draining.

Load shedding candle

I’d like to think that everything about me is positive. My attitude, the way I view the world, my reactions to situations. But I must admit, even I am tired of being positive. I don’t know how much longer I can remain positive when reality sets in. I’m sitting on that fence between denial and anger.

As we passed the four hour load shedding mark on Sunday, I sat confidently on the couch, saying to KK that the electricity would go on at any second. I trusted the Eskom schedule. But as the doubt crept in, I knew I would be receiving the dreaded, “I told you so” remark which would crush my spirit. But I did not allow him to see any sign of my despair and smiled back. When the microwave beeped as the electricity was restored, I almost burst out crying. I’m tired. I’m done.

Yes, it’s that time of the year that I love so much, but in a way, my heart is not in it. My head is far, far away… holding on to hope.

(ps: Out of interest, have you changed any of your habits to try help the situation? Switching off non-essential appliances? Planned for load shedding?)

(Image credit: Google images)

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!


My left foot

I’ve recently been part of a team interviewing potential candidates for a position in the department. Scanning through CV’s and watching how different people use different skills to ‘sell’ themselves has been quite interesting to observe.

Some people pride themselves on their qualifications. Others attempt to impress with future plans of obtaining MBAs. But then there are those that have caught my attention just because they are so down to earth and ‘real’ that its easy to see how they have gotten to where they have, simply by having the right attitude.

I know everyone has heard the lessons about having the right attitude. But it’s when I came across some old photographs of my High School netball courts that some valuable lessons were remembered.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t exactly the strongest or best player in the team. I think for the majority of my high school years, I was the reserve for the B-side! But hey, I never gave up. I landed up playing quite a few games and that’s all that mattered.

We once played an away game at another school and I went with as reserve and landed up being asked to play. When we were changing in the locker rooms, I realised that although I had packed in my takkies, I had accidentally packed in two left shoes (yes, I had two pairs of takkies that looked similar).

My heart sank!

There was no going back and I had to play. The only person I told was my best friend and she giggled herself silly throughout the game as I ran around trying not to look like a total spaz with my two left feet. Nobody noticed (or if they did, no one said anything) and we went on to win the match.

In my humble opinion, sometimes the degrees and certificates you have are great. But often, it’s your attitude that determines how you approach life and see the world. It’s your attitude that makes you a winner.