Writing a blog post of any sort always fills me with some sort of anxiety, regardless of what the topic may be. I’m sharing my personal thoughts and opinions, as well as my images and creative outlook. I’m basically putting myself out there for all who stop by, to place their judgements on me – good or bad. However, writing a blog post relating to the topic of fitness and healthy living definitely places a high 8/10 on the anxiety scale (my personal relationship post will always be sitting pretty at the top of that list). I’m in no way an advocate for what to eat, how to train and living that healthy lifestyle, but that will never stop me from attempting either one of those things. Anyway, two months ago I ran my third Two Oceans Half Marathon and here’s what happened.
Doom, gloom and misery. The end.
Just kidding. It wasn’t all awful, the training process was rather enjoyable compared to my previous experiences training. I grew up watching my Dad run the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, year after year. I think his current standing is 13 races or something. I had always wanted to follow in his footsteps but I’m not the best long distance runner there is. When I was in University I decided I would do the Two Oceans Half (21kms) to start getting into the swing of it all and hopefully go from there.
My first race wasn’t bad at all. I ran relatively slowly and made my way to the finish with ample time to spare. As it was my first race I didn’t have a time that I wanted to finish it in or anything, I just knew i wanted to finish. At the end of that year I moved back to Durban (I had finished studying in Stellenbosch) and only entered the Oceans Half again last year when I moved back to Cape Town – 2 years later. I entered the race with the best intentions but really struggled to fit in the time to train before the race and landed up running my second Oceans Half with little to no training, still somehow managing to finish. I was beyond stoked! I ran the race with no intention of a good time or or the thought that I might even finish, so as tiring as it was, I really enjoyed the race and being able to experience it all again. Did I mention my Dad ran with me this time? Well he did, also making it way more enjoyable than running solo.
With that being said, I now felt determined to make a comeback the next year and be super fit and ready to take on the Oceans. I started training months before; I ran a few 10km and 15km races to help prepare me, which I never did it the past, and worked on getting a little faster each time I was on the road. Now that I had experienced the Oceans twice before I knew what to expect and wanted to run the race in my personal best time. I convinced my Dad and Boyfriend to run with me this time round and knew that would help push me to run a good race. It was all very positive and I felt fairly confident everything would go smoothly.
So where did it all go wrong?
5km’s into the race, running down one of my favourite roads in the race, I felt my leg give way. 5km’s in! Meh. I had been struggling with a hamstring injury during training but had really thought it was better by race day. I was pretty painful to run with from that point onwards, physically in my case and metaphorically for my Dad and boyfriend. To summarise the situation they both suggested I call it a day and stop the race, due to being almost incapable of running or walking. I got mad at them, cried a bit, sulked a bit and continued on at snails pace all the way to the finish line. We made it with 1 minute to spare (cringe). I just remember thinking to myself, “I woke up today to run this race and to do so in my personal best time. If I can’t do that I’m going to at least finish it. I can’t not finish.” Not to toot my own horn but I’m in no way a quitter. This applies to all aspects of my life really, even in situations when I probably should quit.
We millennials are all about having our wants and needs met instantaneously. See something you like? Click on a link and have a sent to you a few days later. Wanna chat to your friend? Text, call, FaceTime or DM them and within seconds they receive it. I could go on with these examples but you see where I’m going. This mindset is what causes us to give up on hardships at the first sign of struggle. To quit jobs, end relationships, stop dieting – whatever it may be that we face we can’t seem to sit tight, persevere and see it through to the end. There is no grasp of reality, which is that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Of course I’m generalising and understand that we aren’t all like this, I’d like to think I don’t fit into this category, but we all have elements of the ‘millennial mindset’ in us.
A whole bunch of clichés are coming your way so sit tight.
Nothing worth having comes easy. Thanks to the social media sphere we are constantly reminded what that person has, where this person is travelling to, who that person is married to, what a great family that person has and and and… Take a step back from this for a second. Stop comparing your life to someone else’s version of reality (social media is no one’s reality) and you might just find you are happy with what you already have. Sure there are things you would like to change, situations you would like to be different. But that’s fine, it’ll come. Commit to whatever it is you are doing/want to try do in your life right now. Don’t put a timeline as to when you need to have achieved said goal by or when you expect x y and z to have changed, just stay the course. See it through. Life is wonderful in that way. Somehow, someway, no hard work goes unnoticed. Your time will come where it will pay off. Whether it be training for a marathon or putting up with a job you hate, it will pay off.
When I crossed the finish line at the Oceans I remember thinking, “I’m done. No more running for me. I really tried this time and look what happened.” I was so disappointed in myself and the outcome of the race, the prospect of starting my training all over again was thee least exciting thing to me. Yet here I am, two months later, getting back on the road, starting from scratch and planning my next Two Oceans Half Marathon. I’m sure I’ll run plenty other races before then, but the Oceans will always be the big one. I had a goal, to run the Oceans and to do so in my personal best time. That didn’t happen this year, so next year it is!
I’m so sorry that this post was as cliché as a ‘motivational’ blog post could ever be, but hopefully there was someone reading this who thought, “Yep, that’s me. I’m exactly like that.” And maybe this was something you needed to hear today. Heck, I know I could use a daily reminder as to why I shouldn’t give up. If you didn’t feel this applied to you, hopefully you can use it as affirmation that you are on the right path and to continue on with whatever you are facing. If you feel like you don’t fall into either of those two category’s, I got nothin’ for ya ? Come back next time and I’ll try again.