My collection of medals is growing….

And I can’t tell you how proud I am of each and every one of those medals. From my first 10km race, to my first half marathon, to running the Two Oceans Half ย and now on Monday, completing the Sportsmans Warehouse Cradle half marathon.

If I had to rate my races, I’d say The Soweto, my first half marathon, was by far the toughest and Two Oceans my easiest, with Monday’s racing featuring somewhere in the middle.

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Just after sun rise at the starting line.

Monday’s race had all kinds of extremes. When we got there, it was still dark and freezing cold! By the time we got into the starting pen, my feet were numb and I was battling with cramps in my toes, my hands were frozen stiff and my nose was like a dripping icicle.

Then the starting gun sounded and we started to run and literally within half an hour of the race start, it was boiling boiling hot!

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Magnificent scenery along the route!

The scenery en route was magnificent! I know they call the Two Oceans the worlds most beautiful race, but really peeps, you need to see this route to believe it. We ran past the Lion & Rhino park and spotted lions, giraffes, elephants & baffalo, not to mention getting almost run over by a herd of Brahman cows.

The race was well organized and I really liked the hosting venue, Makiti. There was coffee to buy before the race, the race pack collection was quick and easy, there were clean toilets with loo paper (this is a biggie for me). The finish was also well organized and there was food and drinks available to purchase afterwards.

The race itself was tough guys. I found the route very tough, although it was quite flat, it felt like there was little “push”if that makes sense and I struggled the last few km’s. Thankfully I have a new race running buddy, Bronwynne from Keeping Up With The Walkers, she is the perfect running mate for me, we run at the same pace and she is hugely experience with great tips to keep us going and monitoring our pace. ย We started off alternating running 2km and walking for 30 seconds, when it started to get really hot and tiring, we switched to alternating running 1km and walking for 30 seconds and during the last stretch, on an uphill, when it was boiling hot, we made the uphills by running for 50 paces, walking for 20 paces and so we finished the race. I didn’t run a PB but I did still do a hell of a lot better than I did in my first ever half marathon, coming in 13 minutes faster but still, I want to run faster than I did at Oceans and I was 4 minutes slower on Monday.

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Another one for my growing collection.

I have realized that when I run, I run for me, I compete only with me and I will never be the world’s fastest runner and really I’m ok with that. Being able to run at all is such a privilege, making the decision to drag my ass out of bed, put on my running shoes and go pound the pavement already makes me a winner, finishing a race, already means that I beat my own odds and I’ve won already.

I love to run. I never thought I’d say that, but I do. And so long as I continue to love it, I will continue to do it. I never want my competitive side to ruin my running experience because then I am setting myself up for failure.

I am my own champion.

I compete against myself every time I run.