“When the going gets tough”

Friends, long time not chat, so here I am, back with a message to hopefully inspire someone somewhere.

life happens

Some of you might remember the words of the hit song “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” from the Michael Douglas film, The Jewel of the Nile. Well this is all about that, when the tough gets going…

It is a fact of life that it is not always smooth sailing. There will be ups and downs and we will experience amazing highs and challenging lows. Life will sometimes treat us well and sometimes, well, not so well. This is the reality of life I guess.

But I have learned that it is not always about the here and now, it is about the journey. As we journey through our personal and professional lives, there will inevitably be periods of incredible frustration and despair. It is during these times, these tough times that we will hit our all-time lows and if often feel like nothing or no one could possibly motivate us to move onward in the direction of our dreams. But sometimes it takes a call or a single message from a friend, a post of Facebook or a post like this to lift us up and steer us back on track again.

Friends, when we hit those lows and the going gets tough, one thing we have to do is trust in the journey even if we are feeling really down or discouraged. We have to let go of what lies behind us and focus on what is ahead. The past is just that, the past. It was Bil Keane who said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”  So, we have to remember that life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. Living live forward means we have to start over again, exactly where we are, use what we have and do what we can to get back on track to continue on the journey. Forward.

I’ve experienced some personal difficulties and challenges recently and so many people told me that one day I will understand why things happened the way they did. Obviously at the time I wanted to strangle every single one of them who kept on repeating that to me, not because I did not want to hear it, but because where I was, I could not see it. In the eye of the storm things look pretty dim when you look from the inside out.

So when the going gets tough, we have to search for those outside sources of hope and inspiration to help us focus again. Friends, remember also, sometimes it’s the journey itself that teaches us a lot about our destination. The ups and downs, the highs and lows, are all part of this life we live and the here and now is all we have, so take it and live your life to the fullest. When the challenges come, embrace them, learn from them. The road of life will always twist and turn and no two directions will ever be the same, but the lessons we learn, the wisdom we acquire, comes from the journey itself, not from the destination.

Go out there and live your life to the fullest. Take it one step at a time, and remember the words of Lao Tzu that the journey of a thousand miles began with one step.

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PwC George Claassen Memorial Road Race 2017 : My Six Year Anniversary Run

This morning’s PwC George Claassen Memorial Road Race marked my six year running anniversary. This is where my running journey started, on the 29th of January 2011.

Let me take you back to that day real quick. There were more than 3000 athletes lining up that morning for the 10km and 21.1km races, but there was also the walkers and more specific, the 5km fun run group; I was lined up there. Although I was already two years into my weight loss journey, I have never done a single race in my life, and there I was, hoping to make the 5km with a combination of running and walking, hopefully no crawling. Well, I did finish with an ‘accomplished’ time of 00:30:20. For me the time was not important, I was just very happy to finish. I loved the whole vide of this event so much that I joined the Running Inn running club, bought my first running shoes, got my first ASA license that very day ( after the race ) and I guess I could then call myself a ‘runner’.

That morning Pieter Venter was also there, doing his first 10km race and also he never stopped. That day marked the beginning of new chapter for the both of us.

Following this event I started doing races on a regular basis and looked forward to every weekend because it meant, like I called it then, ‘races and places’. That gave birth to my current slogan I love to use – ‘Making Miles and Moments Count

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This morning, lining up for this very same event, I was overwhelmed with so much gratitude, feeling so blessed, that I can still do what I love and love what I do, running, sharing the road with so many awesome people and maintaining my healthy lifestyle and in the process encourage others to do the same, to live their best possible lives. Standing there at the start of this morning’s race I was taken back in time for a split moment to thàt first 5km fun run just a few blocks away from where we were this morning ( back then the race started at the back of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre ) and then an announcement by Pete brought me back to this morning’s event. I looked at Christo Lourens standing next to me and immediately thought of the #Road2Comrades2017 we are on, the road to his very first Comrades Marathon, my fourth. I thought to myself, ‘Here I am, six years down the road of my very own running journey and in a privileged position helping a friend to realize his very own Comrades dream.’ On the 4th of June I am determined to cross that finish line at Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg with Christo Lourens next to me.

My message to everyone reading this is simple, ‘Let no one ever tell you that something is not possible, because it is.’ My favorite quote, the quote that carried me through my very first Comrades, are these words by the late Nelson Mandela, ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’ If you dream it, chances are pretty good that you can achieve it. With hard work and commitment the impossible is very possible. It is always within your reach to achieve extraordinary things. Believe it. Always remember, there are always something out there to help you achieve your goals, you just have to find it. For me, joining Discovery Vitality made a huge difference, helping me to stay focused, committed and determined to carry on and then also rewarding me for doing so. Never was it so simple to work out and get rewarded all at the same time.

Let me also take this opportunity to just thank everyone who was and still is part of my journey for your love, support and encouragement. No, it was not always easy and no things did not always worked out as planned, but, I never gave up, never quit, never opted for second best, I worked hard, pushed on, set new goals, leaned forward and reached out for what was ahead. All of you made that possible for me. If I had to do this alone, I am not sure that it would have played out this way at all. I’ve learned to never underestimate the value of a friend of fellow runner, because they are the people who lift us up when we need it most, when we are tired, discouraged and weary.

Happy running everyone and have fun chasing your dreams !

[ Read more about my journey here : http://www.myownjourney.co.za ] and follow me on Twitter or Instagram @myownjourney_sa ( links on my web page )

2017 is around the corner…

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Are you ready to welcome the New Year ?
Are you ready to step out and take a new chance on life ?
Are you ready to push your boundaries and challenge yourself to living your best possible life ?

People, this is probably going to be my last post for 2016 and I want to take this opportunity to first thank everyone for being part of my life and my journey throughout this past year. Thank you for your love and support and for believing in me, even when I didn’t. It is so amazing to always feel the love and support form everyone, whether it is in person or via social media, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I really appreciate all the support.

This year was a good year for me with so many wonderful moments and experiences and the good definitely outweighed the not so good. Thinking about all the races I did, it all went well and I was blessed not to have too many injuries or stuff holding me back.

I did my third Comrades Marathon this year and it was an honor to do it this year for the Bible Society of South Africa’s Run For Bibles project and Cornelia Hutchinson and I managed to raise more than R14,000 for this awesome charity. We were so blessed with the awesome support we received. This was also my best Comrades run to date – it was just a really good day on the road.

I also won the Discovery Vitality #MyVitalityPB competition during September and the trip I won to Athens Greece made it possible for myself and Pieter Venter to not only travel to Greece but also to run the Athens Authentic Marathon, celebrating 120 years of the marathon as we know it. What an awesome opportunity ! Feeling so blessed !

There were many other races, Two Oceans, Forever Loskop, Cape Town Marathon and many more – all wonderful events where I was able to share the road with my awesome running family and friends. Part of the highlights of all these events are always the people we get to share the road with. Thank you guys for making each event a special one.

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#Road2Comrades2017

During this year, a very special individual also entered into my life in the form of Christo Kris Lourens. I single this out because Christo has entered for his first Comrades Marathon and I will be his wing man during this special event. The #Road2Comrades2017 has started and you guys will see us on the road at around 40 official races as we train together in preparation for the big one scheduled for the 4th of June 2017. Together we will take on Comrades 2017 and I trust that we will be blessed with a great race, Christo’s first Comrades and my fourth. Also once again looking forward to share the road on that day with so many other passionate runners from all over – turning ordinary into extraordinary !

This year will be another year of #MakingMilesAndMomentsCount and I cannot wait to share it with you all; lots of races, loads of early mornings, traveling, hundreds of traveling and running kilometers and off course lots and lots of photos !

People, as per my previous post, I hope it will be a year of growing, evolving, taking on of new challenges and pushing on to make dreams come true. Always remember this – this means we will have to make mistakes, we have to fail sometimes so we can succeed later. Don’t be afraid to try new things, don’t be afraid of challenging yourself and don’t be afraid of making mistakes, because this will make the difference between staying where you are and rising from above the rest.

Here is to wish everyone a blessed 2017 !

Visit [ http://myownjourney.co.za ] to link with me form there on all social media platforms

The Impossible is Possible

douw prinsloo it is possible

My Comrades Medals and Badges : Douw Prinsloo

I took this picture this morning, my collection of Comrades memorabilia if you will. I paused for a moment after taking the picture and thought to myself, “The impossible is possible.”

“Do the impossible”, words that I have read so many times, and I bet you thought the same thoughts I did, something in the line of, yah, that is easier said than done. Guess what ? It is – it is easier said than done. No arguing there.

However, it says do the impossible. Key word, “Do” !

Looking back on my life, where I was a few years ago, 2008, 2009 maybe, I would have never thought in a million years that I will line up for any race, not even to mention lining up for the Comrades, “The Ultimate Human Race”, close to 90km to  be done in one day, in 12 hours, but I did, three times now.

I remember the moment when I decided that I will do Comrades. It was way back in 2013 when Pieter did his first Comrades. We were at the expo and I bought a t-shirt with the Comrades logo on the front with the words, “Don’t promise, commit”, also on the front. I realised that I will be wearing this t-shirt and I knew at that moment that it was a given, the following year I will line up for Comrades, and I did, and every year so far after that.

I don’t want to talk about my Comrades marathon experiences today, nope, I want to share the simple message, “The impossible is possible.” If you look at the word itself, you can either read, impossible (can’t be done ) or I’m -possible ( I can do it ). Yes, you are possible. I am possible. We are all possible.

Much of the stuff we think about, things we never think we will be able to do or accomplish can be made possible when we summon the will. Fact is, we as human beings have more power than will; and it is often by way of excuse to ourselves that we believe things are impossible.

When you dream about something, when you set out to do something, anything, often it takes only that first step forward to ultimately make it happen. The will to succeed is often all it takes to turn impossibility into reality. Obviously nothing just happens, you have to work on it, you have to not only promise, but commit. To commit means that you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. I have learned this with Comrades, it takes a lot of hard work, commitment and dedication, lots of early mornings, many kilometres on the road and loads of sacrifice on various levels, but all this get rewarded on race day when you cross that finish line and receive that much sought after medal.

Let’s be honest, sometimes things don’t work out, sometimes what we set out to do doesn’t work out, and I think it is okay. By embarking on that journey of commitment and sacrifice to try and make something happen put us on a different path of self-discovery and introspection and we often learn that we are stronger than we think. Chance is good that if things don’t quite work out the way you’ve envisioned it, in any way we have to remind ourselves that we have already done much more than a multitude of others who are still stuck in that place where they still believe in the impossible. Even if we failed, we are already closer to making that impossibility a reality. It is then time to get up, refocus, and try again.

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.”

Sometimes success starts with failure. My challenge to you is to start to underline your failures instead of trying to erase it. Let me quickly explain. Last year I suffered from an injury ( plantar fasciitis ) and my Comrades, I thought, was slipping away from me. Doctor told me to go and do the Two Oceans Ultra-Marathon as a “test run” to see how my foot will react to the long run and oh boy, did it react. It was my worst race ever. In short, I did not make it in time; my first time ever not completing a race in time and not getting a medal. I was devastated. I was angry. I was sore. I was in a bad spot. But I knew this was a test run for Comrades, something much bigger and not any Comrades, my one and only change to secure my back to back medal. I had to rethink my Comrades and there were one of two options, leave it or change my game plan and still attempt it. I chose the latter. I knew that it was going to be a tough day on the road, at a very very slow pace, lots of hours on the road embroidered with a fair dose of pain. But that was my choice; I wanted my back to back medal. The minute when I decided to go for it, I underlined my Two Oceans failure and did not erase it, because I learned from that experience and that enabled me to make a more informed decision about Comrades. On Sunday, 31st of May 2016 I lined up for Comrades and the day played out the way I expected it to, it was slow, long and really tough, but I managed to slip over the finish line at 11:55:40, with only four minutes and twenty seconds before the final 12 hours cut off. Mission accomplished. Impossibility became reality.

Friends, be inspired but this, not by me, but by the lessons I have learned. Recently I read about this guys who do not have a bucket list, he has an impossible list. I challenge you to make your own impossible list; list a few things you think is a little out of reach, a little out of your comfort zone, and start working towards making those things happen, and then,  one by one tick them off as you accomplish it.

I close once again in the words of Nelson Mandela who said, “It always seems impossible until its done.”

Consider yourself challenged !

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