It’s a piece of metal, not always pretty, but it’s often the one thing that keeps us pushing through the pain to get to the Finish Line! No race is ever the same and every medal tells a story, sometimes one of disappointment, other times of joy but most times it tells the story of the sheer will and determination to get to the Finish. I did 11 races this year and here is a brief summary of what each one meant to me and what I learnt.
1 – The Gabs Race, 10 km| 25 March. This was my first race of the year and to be honest, I was quite disappointed with my performance. I didn’t do that much better than I had done the previous year and I felt after a whole year of running, surely I would be clocking faster times! But upon reflection, I saw that for so long my goal was simply to finish the distance, strong and comfortably. The big lesson for me here was that now that I knew I could finish these distances; it was time for me to start pushing myself a lot more, both in training and when racing. It was such a critical lesson and one I really tried to practice as the year progressed. Here is the Race Recap. #disappointment #learning
2 – Lady K Trail Run,10 km| 15 April. As usual, this was a fun race and gave us the opportunity to get all dressed up and make fun of ourselves! Not only did it earn us a medal, but for my dress up efforts I got a dinner voucher at a lovely Italian Restaurant in town! Here is the Race Recap. #fun #happiness
3 – Diacore Half Marathon| 13 May. My First Half Marathon. Coach Nicola designed the perfect training plan for me and I ran a happy and strong race. For me though, this race really signified that we can do anything when we put our minds to it. Running 21.1 km, gosh, that was something I would say I would do one day, but almost as a joke or a dream I knew wouldn’t happen. So doing this and realising that you can push your body to achieve something you never thought possible was huge. Our bodies and minds are so much stronger than we give them credit for. At the start of last year, I couldn’t run 10 minutes without walking. And here I was holding a Half Marathon Medal. Now that’s something. Here is the Race Recap. #determination #hardwork
4 – PPC Kgale Hill Challenge, 15 km| 24 June. This was an awesome race experience. The huge hill towards the end of the race throws a spanner in the works and conquering it was just the BEST feeling. I also ran with different people at various stages, some friends and others strangers, but everyone just encouraging each other to get to the Finish Line. Here is the Race Recap. #conqueringthehill #encouragement
5 – Lady K Urban Obstacle Course Race| 28 July. This was the scariest experience – I was so far out of my comfort zone. Give me normal running any day. Jumping over and under obstacles really terrified me. But it was an incredible experience and proof of what can be achieved when you work as a team. There were stronger and more athletic runners out there but I think it would be hard to find a team that supported each other more than we did. We were solid, helping each other over every obstacle and playing on each of our strengths. Here is the Race Recap. #teamwork #keepmoving
6 – BDF Mogoditshane Race,10 km| 26 August. I used this race as a training run and decided not to race it but instead to enjoy running in new territory. It was a good run and I loved the different sights and sounds. Sadly, we lost a runner at this race. I didn’t know him but my heart ached for him and his family. He had set off that morning in the same way that all of us had and to know that he didn’t make it was quite upsetting. It was a reminder also that we need to ensure we get regular health checks just to make sure we are aware of any underlying conditions we may have. Here is the Race Recap. #lifeisshort
7 – Gaborone to Otse Hiking Expedition, 40 km| 08 September. This was crazy, but fun. Elisa and I spent 9 hours walking from Gaborone to Otse. A total of 40 km. But we had an awesome time chatting about everything under the sun. And we also got an incredible workout! I think I started complaining about my glutes 10 km into our walk and as we progressed, the pain slowly moved from the lower glutes to the upper glutes. It was a clear reminder that I need to incorporate a lot more strength training into my fitness routine. Here is the Race Recap. #crosstraining #coffeedate
8 – Magalies Adventure Trail Run, 16 km| 29 September. Some runs are just personal and come from a deep place. This was one of them. Ditiro and I celebrated 10 years of marriage this year and we wanted to mark it by doing a race together. When we got married I was at my fittest, but years on and 2 kids later, that was all gone. So getting back to being fit again has been a really important goal for me. In all the chaos of a career, running a home and having kids, running has made me find myself again and doing this race with Ditiro just felt right. Here is the Race Recap. #love #peace
9 – Soweto Half Marathon | 4th November. I completely overhauled my approach to running when I started training for Soweto. I set six goals focusing on areas like nutrition, strength training and flexibility. I think this more holistic approach to training made this my best training cycle of the year. But the week before the big day, I injured myself and was forced to visit a physiotherapist daily, take it easy and readjust my race expectations. I am so thankful that I was able to run Soweto – not the race I had envisaged but I really dug deep to finish. Even though I wasn’t always comfortable, I listened carefully to my body and I conquered the hills I had set out to. #grit #courage #willpower
10 – Airport Junction Race, 5 km| 11 November. I did this race last year with my daughter Kaia and decided there and then that this would be an annual race for the kids. So when it came round again this year there was no question that we would be doing it with them. This year my 4 year old boy Thiwa also joined in on the fun and I am so proud that he never asked to be carried once. He really held his own and both kids showed us what tough little cookies they are! #family #friendship #forthekids
11 – GSRC 10×10 Challenge, 100 km| 29 Nov – 08 Dec. After running Soweto, I really fell into quite a slump. I was exhausted and to be quite honest, fed up with all the running. But at that stage I had already signed up for the 10×10 Challenge and as there had been such limited spots I didn’t feel right about quitting before I had even started. This was the best thing that could have happened to me. Hands down, probably one of my best experiences this year. The challenge was to run 10 km every day for 10 consecutive days. On the final day, we all ran the last 10 km together. I will write a lot more in the official recap, but this was such a mental challenge. It took everything to get through the ten days but it was an incredibly rewarding experience. #focus #justdoit #grit #determination
There were fewer medals this year than the 17 I managed last year but I feel that this allowed me to be more focused in my training. It wasn’t a frenzied rush to get through all the races and instead I was able to put in a lot of speed work, hill training as well as long endurance runs. In many ways though I think I grew to love running a lot more – last year it was all about the stats, but this year it was about enjoying the ride but also pushing my boundaries and seeing what my body is capable of. Yesterday I joined Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC for the “Year of Running 2018” link up. I wrote about my best race experience, favourite medal and inspirational runners, among other things. If you are interested, take a look here and answer the questions yourself. It was such a fun way of looking back at the year. I am really looking forward to 2019 – I have some great goals and I can’t wait to share them with you. Thanks for following my journey and thanks for all the advice and tips. Start setting those goals and let’s make 2019 awesome!