The start to a journey – the Two Oceans Half Marathon

Last year, when the runners started crossing the finish line for the Two Oceans, I was excited for them. The Two Oceans is a race I am very aware of, and for many years I have been supporting the race, often on the side of the road, cheering on friends and family.

But if you told me last year that I would be one of those runners in 2019, I would have laughed and told you, “I don’t run.” And I could have said that with all honesty, as only 2 days earlier, on 29 March 2018, I walked a little over 3 kilometers, and was not so sure I would ever do it again.

I grew up in a household were the boys did sport, and the girls did culture. So, while my brothers played rugby and ran all over the place, my sisters and I were encouraged to play music and perform in school theatre productions. This was simply the norm, and I didn’t really consider exercise as a part of my life.

Of course, as the years passed, I realised that I do not have a body that can be described as “small” – and that misguided eating habits and the lack of exercise probably had a lot to do with this. I had exercised and dieted a few times in my life, always with the goal of losing weight, and had never thought that it could be anything other than self-inflicted torture, with the main goal of liking what I see in the mirror. And I always gave up at some point, not liking myself at all…

So, when I took those first steps, a little over a year ago, I did not have much hope that it would last. The main reason I even put on running shoes was because a friend of mine pitched up at the door and said, “Let’s go.” I didn’t even put on exercise clothes, but wore a long skirt because I was too ashamed of myself and did not want people to realise that I was exercising.

But my friend kept on knocking on the door, and we kept going for walks. Later those walks became shuffle-jogs, and later still, jogs. In November I realised I could jog for 6 kilometers. Slowly, yes, but for the complete 6 kilometers. That was the first time I thought – maybe, just maybe – I can take up running as a sport.

A month or so later my running shoes (which I had had for years and had used for all kinds of things, other than running), got to the point that they needed replacing, if I was going to give this running thing a proper shot. My running friend and I went to the store, and she asked the sales person, who was holding a pair of running shoes, “can those do a half marathon?” I giggled! A half marathon was crazy, that’s 21.1 kilometers! I had done walk/runs of up to 12 kilometers at that point, and a half marathon seemed a very far way off… The sales person confirmed that a half marathon could indeed be done. I still thought it ridiculous, but a seed was planted…

The idea stuck, and since my running buddy had entered for the Two Oceans Half Marathon, and I had been supporting the race for so long, I decided to go for it. I would have nearly 4 months to train, and I had people who believed in me.

As the race entries had already closed, I had 2 options, wait for substitutions to open (where you take over the entry for someone who cannot take part anymore) or, run for charity. I liked the idea of running for a charity, as the extra motivation of doing good while attempting this challenge seemed like that extra little push I needed. I choose Sakhikamva as I believe education is key in the future of South Africa, my hubbie has a dream of learning to fly, and my kids have a very strong chance of turning into computer geeks, just like their dad.

Now, with just over a week to go, I am thrilled that I am almost half way to my fundraising goal, my training has been going well, and feel ready to take on the road for Sakhikamva.

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