Be Inspired

As we build up to the three big races coming up, Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, Loskop Ultra and then Comrades Marathon, I am sharing various inspirational images on my Twitter and Instagram account. Follow me on @myownjourney_sa and enjoy these.

If you have a special short quote you like to share, please comment below and I can maybe include it in the collection.

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The balance between training runs and weekend races


TeamVitality at Garbie 32km Race

To me there are basically three important races if you are training for Comrades Marathon, your weekend races, then your qualifier and then the biggy, Comrades. Those three, in that order.

I get really nervous when I hear people talk about their personal bests, week in and week out. Your Comrades training runs and weekend races are not to set up personal bests.

It involves a huge commitment when you decide to take on the iconic ultra of all ultras, “The Ultimate Human Race”, Comrades.

We usually meet up with running buddies and get so caught up in the hype of Comrades and before you know it you are onto it, convinced that you have to go all out on every run and run one PB after the other. Not so. Not necessary. In fact, you will gain less by doing that.

Races are an important part of Comrades, but they are not there to see how fast you can go or how many PBs you can run, they are then to keep you focused, they are there to bring that balance between a casual training run and a little more effort and to test your progress.

In my training runs, over the past three years of doing Comrades, I have always believed in a good mix up of runs. During my training runs I do speed work, hill training, some gym work ( although I have to admit, I am lazy with this ) and also do some slow runs and finish off the bouquet with some nice pace runs. PB’s do not make you fast, focusing on specifics during training do. Most Comrades runners will tell you that the only thing you will get from going all out at every single run is probably a good dose of fatigue and burnout and if you are one of the unlucky one, you can and often will end up with some injuries too.

Your training runs during the week should be the more relaxed ones where you get your needed kilometers on your legs and where you can test all your supplements, new running gear, your drinking habits etc. Your weekend races, because it is organised and more structured, will be more intense and ideal to focus on a little more pacing and rhythm and also help you to see how you manage the crowds at the start and on the route off course. It is important to finish your races feeling comfortable and more on the fresh side; not strained and definitely not sore. In fact, when you’re done, you should be able to turn around and do an easy four of five kilometers recovery run.

The weekend races form a really important part of your training and preparation for Comrades and should not be neglected. The training load you get from them is in general higher than what you get from your training runs during the week. Oh and it is a great opportunity to meet up with your team mates and friend and enjoy the time out on the road.

Know this, if you apply variety to your training program, your times will actually come down by themselves as you approach Comrades.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
– Benjamin Franklin

So, to recap, train hard, focus on your speed and stamina and then get your qualifier out of the way. A good qualifier will not only set you up for a Comrades start with a little more peace of mind, but it will also give you a good idea of where you are in terms of training. After that it is a good healthy balance between variety, quality and quantity. I am not going to get into details of how many kilos you should do a week, there are a variety of training guides out there for that and they also vary depending on what kind of runner you are. I do not think there a generic and single plan for all, in fact I know a few people who tried those and got into trouble at Comrades. Use these as guidelines.

Whatever you do, learn to apply self-discipline, be focused and do what is needed to get you first to the start line and then to the finish. And last but not least, do not underestimate Comrades. It is not called “The Ultimate Human Race” for nothing.

Happy training everyone.

Freeze athletes, Cryo Therapy is here !

I had my first Cryo recovery session today. Let me start with this, this is absolutely no spa treatment. The word cryo or cryos is a Greek word that means “icy cold” and believe me, this water is icy cold.


Two brave boys in a 6’c water bath !

If you are a runner, I think you will know how amazingly soothing it is to get into a cold pool or just submerge yourself into a cold bath after a tough race. Well this is the ultimate cold pool experience you can hope for, or not. As part of the booking confirmation I also got instructions on what to bring with, apart from the obvious like a bathing suit of some shorts and a towel, it also tell you to bring a long a whole lot of bravery, and believe me, this you should pack first, because the water is not just cold, it is icy cold. We were lucky I believe because we caught it at around 6°c.

Pieter Venter went with me and we both decided to save this appointment until today so we can go there with tired and maybe sore legs after the weekend’s back to back races; the PwC Half Marathon on Saturday and the Garbie 32km yesterday.

When I got to Cryo Recovery in Old Farm Road Office Park, Altie Clark explained what we can expect from getting into this cold bath for the first time and she was clear, “Survive the first two minutes and you will be okay.” and she was right.

I was first. I got changed and then the fun started. I gathered all my bravery an without overthinking it I just climbed into the Cryo bath and oh boy, it was freezing. A minute or so in, I started to feel dizzy and almost off balance, but I decided to hang in there, stepped forward and held onto the sides of the bath. This feeling lasted for a short while, but then, when the first two minutes of torture were over, things dropped to a point of “bearable”. It definitely helps to chat and focus on other things while in there because I think if you are in there alone, one will rapidly reconsider the craziness you got yourself into.

While in there Altie shared some testimonies of people who have benefited from this treatment and also shared some info in other studies they did overseas on the whole idea of low temperature treatment. Very interesting.

The journey to Comrades 2017 started and naturally this means a general increase in training and obviously in kilometers on the road. The kilometers increase and time for proper recovery decreases. Unfortunately, long runs also come with their own set of hazards and the main one is that we as runners risk injury and this usually results in unwelcome time off from training. One simple way to offset this risk is what we as runners know as an ice bath, but be honest now, how many of us go through that whole process of actually doing this. Right, not happening. Well, this is where Cryo treatment will be the answer to your needs.

Basically what happens, while you are in this bath, is that the cold water, together with the added pressure of the Epson salt, plain salt and aerated water, makes your blood vessels smaller and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling, possible spasms, inflammation and tissue breakdown. Once you get out of the bath, the underlying tissue warms up again and trigger faster blood flow, which helps return the by-products of cellular breakdown to the lymph system for efficient recycling by the body. So the ice bath does not only reduce inflammation, but it also help to flush harmful metabolic debris out of your muscles. Quite nifty hey ?

I also suffer from piriformis syndrome that can sometimes really hurt, especially after long drives of flights and when piling up the kilometers on the road, running, like this past weekend. So Altie challenged me to sit on the upper step in the bath with my lower body totally submerged, and I did. That was pushing the envelope, but I thought I am already half way there and can just as well try it. Yes, it took a little extra bravery to do that, but so what, if there is a possibility that it will help, why not.

Well, finally ten minutes was over and I was allowed to get out. When I stepped out of the pool, I could hardly feel my legs when I started to dry myself off with a towel, in fact, it felt like drying off someone else’s legs. It was just kind of numb. A rather strange feeling. The pain in the piriformis was gone, like in totally gone and my legs felt marathon ready. After a few minutes, as the underlying tissue started to warm up again, there was a strange but pleasant sensation in my legs. I also felt cold after a few minutes, like when you shiver in winter, but it came from within.

Later in the afternoon I started to feel the pain in my piriformis again, but not half as bad as before I got into the bath. I also had a spinning class this afternoon, maybe that was not a good idea, but I did it, and right now, as I type this blog, I am feeling fine. My legs are feeling okay and I can honestly say that it does not feel like I did 53.1km in races this weekend and that is a good thing.

So, with all that said, the experience was not that bad. Yes the water is cold and it is not a very pleasant experience while you in there, but you definitely feel revived afterwards. So if you want to shorten your recovery time post exercise, get faster healing of soft tissue injuries, reduce fatigue, lower the risk of new or recurring injuries, treat muscle or joint soreness and fight off inflammation or just boost your neutral and cardio vascular system recovery, then maybe you should also pack a big bag full of bravery and head over to Altie for your very own Cryo treatment session.

You will find Cryo Treatment at 881 Old Farm Drive, Faerie Glen, inside the Old Farm Road Office Park. You can also visit their web page at or email

Disclaimer : This is just a write-up of my own experience and anyone doing this will do so at his or her own risk. Some medical conditions might also exclude you from being a suitable candidate to try this so check this first.


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


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 : ] and follow me on Twitter or Instagram @myownjourney_sa ( links on my web page )

2017 is around the corner…


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.



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 !

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Anytime is a good time to run

Good time to run

I saw these words before, but did not really pay attention to it. Only recently did I realize that it is actually true.

This afternoon I got home from work and between taking a call, get the washing in the machine and installing Outlook on my PC, I also managed to get dressed and in no time I was out the door and onto the road. I had to go for a run. I had no plans to run today, but the trip from the office to home was just hectic and when I got home I was so tensed up and that is when I realized that the only way I was going to unwind was to hot the road. And I did.

I just started running and ended up doing a nice fast paced 7km run at an average pace of 5:21 per kilometer. For me, as an average runner, that is fast.

Fact is, we live busy lives so it is not always possible to get a good workout fitted into out busy schedules, but the main thing is that we have to make time for it, we have to make time to get that balance worked into our busy lives. Get your workout in, no matter what, whether it’s before work, during your lunch hour or after work. I really recommend a workout at least three or four times a week, and for the serious, ever five times a week. As a runner I try to hit the road at least three three times a week, excluding the races we do.

Just remind yourself again that anytime is a good time to run, or workout, if you are not a runner. Just do something and live the best possible healthy life that you can. Remember the words of Steve Prefintaine, “To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.”

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