On the road again !

We are nearing the end of January and it is great to see all the usual faces on the road again. Since mid-January many had returned to the road to start their Comrades training. February is around the corner and you can see runners are getting serious on the road again.

I noticed that the majority are still where I am, getting into the swing of things, slowly picking up the pace after the slight slowdown most of us enjoyed in December. I did not stop with my training altogether, but I did a little less. Resting the body is also part of preparation and after a busy running diary last year, it was good to take some well-deserved time out.

Left to tight: Mercia, Douw & Naomi #TeamJohnsonCrane

For the past few weeks I’ve been doing some pace runs with two friends from Akasia Athletics Club, Mercia and Naomi. Both these girls want to qualify for Two Oceans and Comrades at this coming weekend’s Johnson Crane Hire Marathon at Sahara Willowmoore Park in Benoni, Jhb. We’ve had a few great runs and managed to do the groundwork for the coming weekend’s race. This past weekend we did the last training run and the plan was not to dip below 06:30 min / kilometre as an average and when we crossed the finish line we were exactly on an average of 06:30 min / kilometre. Those who did the PwC race will know that this is not one of the easiest routes, but these two stuck with me and flanked me all the way from start to finish. I was so proud of them. But I once again realised the truth of the quote I posted on Twitter later. It says, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” This is so true. These two worked hard, they were committed and they want this so badly and it shows in their commitment and dedication and the will to succeed. I am confident that they will reap the fruit of their hard work on Sunday and they will qualify.

When you see us on the road on Sunday, please show your support and love for these two ladies as they realise their dream.

One last thought. While I was on the route at the Modern Athlete Bobbies Half Marathon in Edenvale on Sunday, I remembered these words; “Press on” These words have solved and always will solve many problems. We have to learn to press on, to persevere and this we can only so when we realise that things are not always easy. Some things are harder to achieve than others, but it is always possible. Perseverance is a great element of success and we should never forget this.

As January come to a close and February is knocking at the door, I want to encourage everyone who is training for a goal, whether it is your first 5km walk, your fist 10km run, your first half or full marathon, even Comrades, work hard at achieving your goal and when you come across those little potholes of disappointment, always remember, when the world says, “Give up” it is hope that whispers, “Try it one more time.” This is perseverance. This is what will make the difference.

Remember, if you want to remove that mountain that is blocking your way, you have to start carrying away small stones, one by one.



When Life Happens


I always tell people that life will go on regardless; regardless of what happens today, regardless of who said what, regardless of whatever plans you had or may have, life just happens. Life does not stop and wait for you, or me.

When life happens we are often hurt and scared and we ask all kinds of questions to try and make sense of it all. Well, let me say this first, nothing wrong with that, it is okay to try and make sense of life, to try and figure out why certain things happen to us, but be warned, life happens and it will continue to happen for as long as we are here.

One of the life lessons I have learned in recent years is that pain is part of life and ultimately it is part of growing and evolving. The sooner we realise this the better. Sometimes it is life itself that closes doors on us, but we have to see past that, see the bigger picture, see it as an opportunity to move forward. Sometimes that slammed door is all we need to get us exploring new opportunities and move forward. It is important to move on from what hurts you but never forget what you’ve learned from it. There is always a lesson there.

One more lesson, when life happens, remember that everything in life is temporary. After night there is day. After getting hurt there is healing. After the storm there is sunshine and often a rainbow. Unfortunately this cuts both ways, into the positive and negative side of life. If life is good to you right now I encourage you to enjoy it, make the most of it, because also that won’t last. There will be times of trials and tribulations, but that also will pass. See life’s moments for what it is and never seize to live your life to the fullest. Grab every moment and make the most of it knowing that it will also pass. Lost opportunities cannot be relived, so make the most of it.

I spoke with a friend a while ago and we were talking about people always complaining and worrying about things. In December the suicide rate is also sky-high and this is because people do not know how to cope anymore and people worry themselves into a dark hole of depression and that is where they just don’t see a way out anymore. Complaining about things won’t help either because what we say today will not change what happened yesterday and chances are good that it will also not change the course of tomorrow. Instead, practice learning from the past and figure out how you can use that knowledge to shape a better tomorrow.

Another reality of the fact that life happens is that we often get hurt and these bad moments often leave us with scars. That too is part of the reality of the lives we live. Smooth sailing is not always possible, but friends, remember, a scar in fact is a closed wound. Looking at our scars should remind us that we’ve moved on and we have chosen to move on. Healing has begun! When you look at your scars, most of the times you can say, “I made it. I moved on.”

Last year when I did the Comrades Marathon up-run I constantly reminded myself of the words of Comrades coach, Lindsey Parry, “Whatever you do, make sure every step you take is forward.” People, this is also a life lesson for life. When life happens, when you face a challenge or go through a difficult time or maybe are left with a scar, whatever you do, make sure the steps you take away from that are forward, small steps forward. Just say to yourself, “All I need to do is take one small step forward.” Life is not about waiting; it is about living and moving forward. Small steps.

One last life lesson I want to share with you is this. Other people’s negativity towards you, towards your situation, towards life, towards anything or anyone, is not your problem. It is easy to fall in that dark pit where people try to drag us down to, but we have to be vigilant and aware of this very danger and stay away from that as far as we can. When people treat you poorly, keep on being you. I always say, “I am here to stand out, not to fit in.” Do not allow people to drag you down and become who they want you to be. In short, do not change to please or impress people. Only change when you know it will make you a better person, when you know it will make you stronger and happier human being. People become destructive when they are bitter and hurt and they will do anything to drag others down with them – do not conform to this. Believe me, in the past year I have learned this lesson and be warned, it will often come from those you expect it from the least. Do not let a pretty face or a fake smile trick you into compromising who you are or who you are destined to be.

Here at the beginning of a new year where we all have some idea of what we want to do and achieve it is important to share this message. Live your life to the fullest, live your best possible life and let the good and the bad times guide your steps to a better future.

I close with the words of Mae West who said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”