What a year it’s been! When they say hard work pays off? Believe it!
I’ve been on cloud 9 this whole year. Not entirely true as I’ve certainly had my share of challenges in 2017 but since the start of the peak training period of the Marathon Des Sables in January I was on a high. I can’t even say on a runner’s high as I was still recovering from an ankle injury and training comprised power walking and hiking with a 10kg bag so more like a walker’s high? LOL!
Every year I take on a big endurance event, something that I know will require absolute focus and 100% effort on my part if I want to succeed. Every year I raise the bar and enter a “so out of your league” type of race. This year was no exception. I had the very famous Marathon Des Sables as the only race on my running schedule. It was a bucket list race that I have been dreaming about doing for a very long time. The last 4 years training and racing was all part of a plan to build myself physically and mentally to survive (and enjoy) this grueling 250km footrace through the inhospitable yet beautiful Sahara Desert in Morocco.
And every year I am blessed with so many beautiful and amazing people supporting me in my crazy adventures. I am often ask how I do it? How do I run all these races and having a family to support and a demanding job? What keeps me going and how do I stay so motivated?
The secret (apart from the hard work obviously… absolutely no way around that!!) is to surround yourself with good people. People that support you. What does that mean? People that love to see you thrive as much as you love pushing your limits. People that challenges you in a positive and constructive way. People that teaches you. People that builds you. People that are patient with you and let you just be (for a while). People that makes you look at things differently. People that make you say “OK, I’ll give that another go!” People that understand that running is a big part of your life and it actually makes you happy. People that understand how much of yourself you are investing in your silly dreams. People that celebrate with you when you achieve your goals and dreams. People that make you feel like real running celebrity and allows you to dream even bigger!
And this year was certainly no exception! The many articles I was featured alone is prove of how widely I am supported. I feel blessed and grateful for all the amazing people I have in my life even strangers leaving comments and words of support and encouragement of my social media pages.
I still can’t fully describe my feelings when I crossed the finish line of the Marathon Des Sables. It was the hardest thing I have done in my life and at the same time it was the most amazing adventure… a dream come true.
This post is really to say thank you to EVERYONE (not just the few mentioned below) that supported me in my MDS journey and made my 2017 AMAZING!!
Cindi King and Yvonne Skerrit – My special friends!! Cindi for always checking in with me and so passionately supporting me in all my adventures. Yvonne for going out of her way to get some of my kit for the race from the UK (what a mission!). Thank you… love you both!
My Twitter Tribe – My #earthathon running buddies. It is great being part of a very supportive running community. You guys all rock and make training fun!
Jo Wilson – My virtual personal trainer Jo, you have completely build my confidence in owning the “gym section” of the gym! I never had any confidence to train in the weights area with the guys, it was the most intimidating thing for me to do but with your help and guidance I had the confidence to walk in there and work out like I own the place. Your training programme with all those squats and supersets (I know now what that is!!) worked. My legs got so much thinner. LOL! THANK YOU!! @xJoWilsonx
Ntseki – My personal trainer who probably thought I had no confidence in his ability as I insisted he use my training programme designed by Jo Wilson. LOL! If ever I had any doubt of the value of a personal trainer it is gone. This man made me sweat! No mercy. Not even a 10K race could make me dig that deep! His answer to my complaints was always… “They are not going to make the race shorter. Finish!”
Lucja Leonard – My running coach. Your knowledge of desert running, training and preparing for the Marathon Des Sables has been invaluable. Your training schedule was spot on… you really know the race so well! All I could think of going up the dunes during the race was my hill training, especially those ongoing small dunes. I wish I was not injured at the time, as I would’ve nailed MDS. Next up… MDS Peru! @Runningdutchie
PinkTaxiBlogger – My dear friend and InnerFight running buddy! I love the InnerFight brand and what it stands for. Thank you for always spoiling me with InnerFight apparel. Your passion and commitment to endurance sport is infectious. You are my daily dose of inspiration. How you keep going day after day after day. #NoWeakness @pinktaxiblogger
Adrian May – My MDS hero!! I can never describe how grateful I am for all your advice and support before and during the race. I can’t get those last 20km of the long stage out of my head. I was on my last legs… your words, not mine! LOL. Thank you for your patience in getting me through a 24h 55min desert shuffle in temperatures over 50 degrees. It couldn’t have been easy!! @MdS_Runner
My Family – You guys are simply the best. I can’t wait for one… or all of you to join me on an ultra-adventure one day!!
Post MDS: Finding My Stride
Without a doubt my highlight of 2017 and what I am most proud of achieving this year is starting my own business (Stride Consultancy Services). Yip, all running inspired!! After spending years in the consulting and corporate world I have finally decided to take that leap of faith and pursue my lifelong dream of starting my own company (build an empire) and be my own boss! Stride is a challenger management consultancy specializing in Strategy, Digital Transformation and Innovation. It is still early stages but I have never been this excited to see what the future holds!