The Mother City is ready to welcome us !


With just over a week to go to the 2016 edition of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon runners from all over will decent on Cape Town to be part of this iconic event on the South African running calendar, the race we all know as “The most beautiful marathon in the world.

On Saturday the 26th of March I will once again be one of 11,000 runners who will line up at the start to take on the long run of 56km from Main Road in Newlands, Runners will once again line the streets though areas like Claremont, Kenilworth, Plumstead, Diep Rivier, Bergvliet, Lakeside, Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Sun Valley, and Noordhoek. From there runners will run along the stunning Chapman’s Peak Drive to Houtbay, then over Constantia Nek, though Constantia, Kirstenbosch, Bishops Court, Newlands and Rondebosch and then the final stretch to the finish at UCT rugby fields at Groote Schuur Estate.

Last year I had a really bad run at Two Oceans. It was by doctors’ orders that I did the Two Oceans Ultra-Marathon and this was purely because I was dealing with a severe case of plantar fasciitis I had to see how my foot would react to the long distance and hammering. I ultimate goal for 2015 was to secure my back to back Comrades medal and this was only going to be possible if I knew how to deal with my injury. Doctor was clear about this, “Your best shot at this medal will be if you can deal with the pain…” I finished seven minutes after the 7 hour cut-off time, but the lessons learned during this run enabled me to change my “game plan” for Comrades and I know for a fact that my bad day at Two Oceans enabled me to finish my Comrades, securing that very special back to back medal.

This year I am far better off than last year this time. The plantar fascia issue is not something of the past, yet, but I can confidently say that I am not even close to where I was last year this time. I am looking forward to going back to do the Old Mutual Two Oceans again. I told my friend Two Oceans this year is a given because I have to go and pick up the pieces from last year, but it is not that bad. We learn lessons with every run and yes, although it is really not a great feeling not to finish in time, it is then the time to get up and try again. I see my bad day at Two Oceans last year as a welcome stepping stone towards my Comrades success.

This is taper time for most of us who are going to take on the Two Oceans Ultra-Marathon. Tapering is crucial; it allow runners to be as rested as possible to maximize race day potential. I have learned that tapering is one of the most important aspects of the marathon training cycle and yet, it is also one of the most difficult to implement because we “fear” cutting back on training. In theory, tapering sounds great- cut back on mileage, sleep in, and eat. Some runners however find this to be really difficult and even stressful because they fear losing fitness and gaining weight. Be assured, reducing mileage is vitally important for full recovery now and for peak performance later.

To everyone taking on #OMTOM2016 next weekend, good luck. Give your best, run your best possible race and most of all, enjoy every moment of it.

Happy running everyone !

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In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity

difficultyIt was Einstein who said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

I have read these words a few times and keep on thinking about it and evaluate how it has meaning in our lives. Time and time again my mind goes back to last year’s Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.

A quick recap. This time last year I was in a really bad spot, dealing with a rather severe onslaught and good dose of plantar fasciitis. Doctor advised me to do a proper long run before Comrades, to see how my foot will react to the distance and the hammering. Well, I lined up for OMTOM and although I expected it to be a difficult day on the road, nothing could prepare me for the bad day that was going to unfold. In short, the race was tough, the road was long and the pain was severe. Although I did not finish in time, I did finish the full 56km, but came in 7 minutes after the official cut off time. I was devastated; I was disappointed and needless to say, very very upset. But in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.  If it was not for this really bad race, if it was not for this very difficult day on the road, I was not going to know what to expect from Comrades and I think it is maybe a bold statement, but if it was not for this middle of difficulty situation, I was not going to finish my Comrades to secure my back to back medal. OMTOM 2015 gave me a proper reality check and amidst that very tough moments, the challenge of difficulty made me think differently about Comrades and forced me to rethink my strategy for race day. It worked.

I guess this “lesson” can apply to all areas of our lives; work, relationships, friendships, whatever. When we end up in a seemingly bad spot maybe we should make it a priority to immediately remind ourselves about these wise words by Einstein, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” If we find ourselves in the middle of a difficult time, let us try and look beyond the dark clouds and seek out that silver lining. Let us look and look hard for the opportunity that might be waiting for us just around the corner.

I really hope that if you find yourself between a rock and a hard place right now, that you will find the way out, the answers to those obvious and difficult questions, so you can lift yourself out of that bad spot and carry on living your best possible life. And remember, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going!

Be blessed everyone!

What do you want out of life?

It is strange how many people have these wonderful ideas; plans, goals, dreams and aspirations, but often they honestly don’t know why they never get to realize it. The secret lies in the answer to a simple question, “What are you willing to do to get it…?

When we can figure this out, when we realize that having a dream or a goal means that you waitingactually need to have a plan of action, you actually have to do something in order to get there, that would be one step already in the right direction. We have to constantly and purposefully move forward towards out goals and dreams. Action is needed to narrow the gap between where we are and where we want to be and this is not going to happen by drawing it to you – you have to move forward, towards it. In other words, “Go get it!

There is a well-known quote by Benjamin Franklin I love to use, it says, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” How true is that? You cannot want something and not be willing to do the work to make it happen.

Right now many of us runners are preparing for the Comrades marathon, the “Ultimate Human Race”, a long run of 89km, this year between Pietermaritzburg and Durban happening at the end of May. Every training run and every race we do is part of the road to Comrades 2016. We plan our races in advance, when to do shorter runs and when to do our longer runs, when to run hard and when to take it easy. To run Comrades you also have to qualify and secure your race day seeding and all this we plan ahead and think through. Things sometimes don’t work out, we sometimes have a bad day and things don’t play out quite the way we want to, but then it is back to the drawing board. The road to Comrades even include other ultra-marathons, for me, for example, Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon (56km) and Loskop Marathon (50km). This is part of the planning, part of moving forward to go get it. If we fail to prepare, if we just sit back and relax and think things will just work out, we are in for a big surprise and we are almost guaranteed a disappointment.

Friends, when you have a dream, a goal, then I can just advise you on two basics you need to get in place in order to start moving in the direction of success. First of all, have total clarity of what it is you want to achieve. Make sure you know exactly what it is you want. It is also equally important for you to understand what it will take to reach it. Secondly, take action! For you to reach your goals means that you have to take proper actions at the right time in order to close that gap I referred to earlier on. There will be an almost natural sequence of events and actions that will drive you towards reaching your goal and soon you will see how the reality of your dreams will unfold in front of your very eyes. The gap will become smaller and smaller with every step you take forward towards your goal. To have a plan of action will not only keep you moving but it will also help you to constantly evaluate your plan to make sure you are still on track. Remember, when things don’t quite work out the way you anticipated, it does not mean you have failed; it just means you have to do something maybe just a little differently. Don’t be scared of change and don’t let a little mishap derail you.

Friends, I want to encourage you to have a dream, have a goal, have something that can drive you forward towards a better life and always strive to live your best possible life; it is so worth it !

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