It’s a week after Comrades and I have what’s informally known as the Post-Comrades Blues. I miss it terribly, and I’m looking back at it longingly (clearly having forgotten the pain, tears and questions of WTF am I doing this for?).
I often look back at things longingly and want to go back in time – in your case it’s so many things, like your birth, your first birthday, your first steps, our holidays. And it’s good to have great memories and reminisce, but it’s another thing being rooted in the past, which is something I sometimes do.
One of the best lessons I’ve learnt on the road is to not look behind at what you’ve run, nor what you have way ahead. Just stay in the present kilometre and focus on that, and take in the experience wholly. I hope you can do that as much as possible in your life Max, and not be dragged down by future worries or past experiences that appear better than today’s. It’s not an easy feat, but one I am trying to work on, and one that I hope we can both use to enjoy the now and appreciate it more.
During my looooong run on Sunday at Comrades, I learnt the following lessons, which I thought I’d share, because I’m big on lessons, and just in case you want to run one the race one day (no pressure, but it would be brilliant. No pressure though – have I said that already?)
- Despite the crap in the world, there is a whole lot of good out there. People who care, people who support, people who share. I saw selflessness and kindness from strangers – from the chicken sandwich from two women at the bottom of Polly Shortts, to the runner who gently eased me to one side as a motorbike approached from the front.
- The mind is bloody strong. Don’t ever underestimate it. Even when you feel like quitting or feel there’s something you can’t do, you probably can.
- Pepsi isn’t so bad. Just when you think the “underdog” won’t win, or that bigger is better, it sometimes isn’t the case.
- Tweeting as you walk up a hill makes the hill go quicker.
- A cheer and a high-five from a schoolboy in a wheelchair is worth more than a medal.
- Pain eventually goes away.
- Bennetts bum cream is not only amazing for you, but to prevent chafing too.
- The Twitter community can be exceptionally supportive and open-armed.
- A milkshake after the race aids recovery. And is guilt free.
- Looking at all the babies and toddlers on the route makes you miss your own child. A lot…
In a few days’ time (six more measly sleeps) I’ll be running the 87km Comrades Marathon and aside from nerves and terror, there’s a bit of excitement too. It’s a day of lots of pain and hardship, but there’s a whole lotta good in it too, and sometimes, it makes me understand the world a lot better.
I like to think of Comrades as a metaphor for life. There are uphills (those difficult stretches that are hard mentally and physically), downhills (easier patches to traverse), moments of strength, times where you want to give up, and instances of elation and demotivation.
There are sweet things along the way (like jelly babies and biscuits), beautiful sights to take in, and the privilege that you’re healthy and able enough to take part in the race. You get happy, you want to quit, you get sad, you laugh, you smile, you cry, you wanna quit some more, and you persevere. And you meet some great people. Sometimes you feel like talking, other times you want to shut down and withdraw into your cocoon. You realise how strong and tenacious you are, and how others around you are fighting their own pain and battles, and are as equally strong as you are.
And there is huge support and a will from thousands of strangers for you to finish, and to succeed. And It’s a day and journey that stand for something even bigger than the long road from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. It’s like a long episode of Life in one meaningful and gruelling and very rewarding day. And I hope to share it with you in some form one day, and wish too that you’ll learn as much from it as I have.
So we cracked the May issue of Living & Loving I pulled rank to ensure we made it into the magazine – again, alongside some fab mommy bloggers (there are hundreds more, but I have a Big Idea with the mag and mommy bloggers – watch this URL!).
This article was also the perfect example of how art triumphs words in many instances in magazines. For example, the moms and I answered many more questions than were featured, but they were cruelly cut in order to make space for layout and pics (Art director: 1. Editor: 0).
So here they are – the bits that got slashed… lest the art director really wins here.
(And by the way Max, thank you for being so awesome and easy to write about, and for always being my blogging muse, in a sense.)
Have any of your blogs ever got you into trouble, or have you had a most controversial blog post?
None yet, as far as I know. I try and be really careful, and bear in mind that my family, boss, magazine readers and advertisers could be reading it.
Do you have advice for wannabe or current bloggers?
Keep it simple, pretty, honest and funny or touching.
What is the one blog you can’t live without (aside from your own)?
What do you think makes a good blog?
Visual appeal, ie great pics, and something different other than what you ate for breakfast. I also like humour and when bloggers can laugh at themselves…
Have you made real-life friends/connections through the blogosphere?
Yes I have, and ditto through Twitter. Some of the people who know me the best and who offer me the most support and camaraderie are either in the blogosphere, or Twitterverse.
What are your other hobbies?
Reading (books, not just blogs), running (I’m training for the Comrades Marathon) and baking. Does Twitter count as a hobby?
What did your last Facebook status say?
One marathon down. One (wo)man down.
What did your last Tweet say?
“Am about to chug two Besenol in preparation for the deep tissue sports massage later. A necessary evil”.
The last SMS you received said:
“Sorbet congratulates you on reaching your threshold. Your complimentary voucher is waiting for you at your Sorbet store. Thank you for your valued support.”
Yours in blogging xxx