It’s been a long day my…

I have been contemplating writing this post for about a month, it’s been a long time since I have last posted anything. So much negative has happened in my life over the past year, it still is happening really, that I have not known how to deal with it all. I am still trying to recover from everything, I have always been that guy that bounces back from everything thrown my way, no matter how bad it was.. This time was different though, when you walked into my life I couldn’t believe my luck. To have one person become so important, become such an integral part of your life.. It’s more than words will ever be able to express. I know it’s more than anyone could have wished for. When you left though, you didn’t just take a part of me.. It was a whole lot more! The funny thing (or sad thing depending on who you ask) is to this day I haven’t loved you any less.

Back to why I’m writing this, I don’t have many (if any) ways to express everything I feel so I figured why not relate my writing to my love for music. We often listen to music but how often do we hear the lyrics as well, how often do we hear the story being told? This song resonates with me so much I just had to share it, there is so much emotion, so much truth in these lyrics. Loss comes in many different forms.. I think it’s expressed nicely here and add in the video and all the memories come flooding back. Do you hear the story?

Sunset at Strand

So I was in Strand, WC, yesterday evening to go and visit my dad. While I was waiting for him at the beach front I was fortunate enough to be there as the sun was setting.

The 2 below photos were the first ones I took, I think they came out the best. The first one is without HDR, the second is with HDR. They are posted from instagram, no filters were added though.

The 2 below are from a few minutes later, I love the glare the first photo gives off. It kind of just lights up everything, the second one is a HDR photo.

The last photo is just a panorama shot of the beach.

Yes there are a lot of sunset photo’s out there and will be thousands more to come from everyone all over the world. In all honesty though, how often do you take the time to stop and appreciate the simple beauty that it creates?

Bush Thinking

There is just something magical about the bush for me although Buffelspoort is not quite what you would call bundu bashing but for a city slicker it is pretty close. The thing I love most about it is the fact that there is well nothing, nothing but you and nature. It’s absolutely quiet and this gives you time to reflect on your thoughts. It’s peaceful which refreshes your soul. It is nature in its purest form. I’ve always said and I still standby it, you could drop me off in the middle of the bush and I would be a happy chappy. We live such busy lifestyles that there is always just so much going on at once that and even though we don’t like to admit it we lose track of ourselves from time to time. It really is amazing what a little time away from the city can do.

The other great thing about it is, is when it is a weekend away with friends or in our case our so called Farm Weekends. Of course being out in nature would not be complete without the traditional camp fire and as happens around most camp fires – stories. As this story went (or roughly went) a couple in the UK had sold all their worldly possessions, bought motorcycles and decided to travel the world. In the 4 years odd they had been travelling they had crossed over 100 countries and ended up in small town in KZN where one of my mates just happened to be. As it turns out they currently manage the bar there and saving some money before heading off to who knows where.

This story however brought up an interesting conversation. What does it take for a person to just pack up everything and travel the world? What drives a person to chase their dreams? What holds them back? I think the most limiting factor for most people is fear, what if I where to go and it doesn’t work out? Fear is and can be very crippling and it can quite easily squash the biggest dreams into nothing. The thing is though we cannot live our lives in fear, as I believe doing so just attracts more negative things and circumstances into your life but if you overcome that fear – nothing becomes impossible and everything becomes possible. You just need to take that first step! Responsibilities – that is another thing that ties most of us down whether it is financial, family, friends or anything else really. For most of us including myself we feel and sometimes are obligated to our family, to our friends, to our financial responsibilities. The truth is though that we live in an age of technology – family and friends across the world are available to us at the touch of button – calls, texts, video calls all at instant. If you do have dreams that you wish to achieve these are the people that should be supporting you, helping you to achieve it. For financial responsibilities plans can always be made, there really shouldn’t be an excuse not to do something, if there is a will there is always a way. Yes sometimes they may take longer than planned to sort out but the important part is not to lose sight of your dreams/visions in the process. Do not let the limiting factor of money be a challenge, I always believe where there is a will there is a way.

I like to think that the person who takes this chance, this risk, can be likened to that of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs take them all the time sometimes they are calculated risks and sometimes they are just that a risk, if they didn’t they would not be where they are today. Another driving factor would be the spirit of adventure, you get these souls (personally I think we all have this built in) that just want to travel, just want to achieve, just want to go wherever the wind blows them. Most importantly though you have to have the right mind-set and this is probably the hardest part. I think what drives people like this is not just the sense of adventure but more along the lines of making their life a story. You don’t want to go out into the world following someone else’s dream / story, yes you might get somewhere but definitely not where you should end up. You need to go into life knowing that no matter what challenge comes your way you will overcome it, you don’t need to know how until the time is right but as long as you know you will. You don’t have to apply the above to just packing up everything and traveling, you can apply it to just wanting to travel in general, wanting to chase down your dreams, your goals.

As I was sitting at home the next day thinking back on previous evening’s conversation it hit me (in case you were wondering what my epiphany was, this would be it). It’s worse than following someone else’s dream; it’s not chasing a one at all. For me it was sitting on this roller-coaster that is called life and I’ve just been coasting, coasting down the track until it comes to a stop. The thing is I was that soul that wanted to explore, wanted to achieve, make dreams happen! I’m pretty sure I’m not the type of person to just pack up and travel the world flat (not right now at least) but there are many places I wish to travel to. There are many goals I have set for myself this year and lately I just haven’t done anything to achieve them. The fun part about roller-coasters is all the twists & turns, all the loops , the up’s & downs and that is exactly what life’s challenges are. Every now and then life throws in a twist or two that you do not see coming and sends you down a different track. For most of us, including myself, we slip into a routine where every day becomes like the last and time just drags on – days, months and sometimes years pass us by. We all at some point realise this is not the track we want to be on but at the same time we have fallen into a comfort zone, it’s just easier to do what we have become accustomed to doing. As the saying goes “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. You are always going to get these twists though and it is up to you what you decide to learn from these experiences and how much time you want to let pass you by. If you had to ask me 2/3 months ago where I would be today, I would have given you a completely different answer.

Yes I do see myself as an optimist and I do try to see the positive in every situation (well at least I hope I come across that way). I don’t like negativity, it always breads ugliness and that well… just never ends well. After reading a section from “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” I like to see myself as an optimist with a difference, I don’t see the glass as full, half full or half empty, I see it as empty. In the book the author mentioned if you see your glass as full there is no space for anything else. So what I think you need to do with the glass when it starts to full is that you need to drink from it, drink in the knowledge, the life experiences, the challenges and that opens you up to more learning.

What mind-set are you looking at life with?

Race Report – 2012 Cradle Half Marathon & 10km

What person is crazy enough to set their alarm for 04:30 on a public holiday, I mean seriously one should be catching up on sleep? Sportsmen & women that’s who, no rest for the wicked as they say. The past week of training for me has been non-existent and I’m pretty sure I strained my hip flexor on my first 10km run in Krugersdorp just over a week ago. I rested my muscles for a few days after race then did another run last Sunday, needless to say I aggravated the muscle again during the run and have been resting it up until the Cradle run on Friday morning. I have noticed it starts acting up from just after the 5km mark, this may have been a case of going too far too soon with regards to the distance I am running. I also now know which muscles to focus on more in the gym in my strength training. My next road race is only in 2 weeks time so I have some time to rest and hopefully recover properly.

Ok so for the race (Cradle Half Marathon & 10km) roundup:

The start was cold (about 9 Degree’s) and the sun was still hidden behind the mountains and everyone was still hiding in their cars to keep warm. The race was scheduled to start at 07:00 but due to all the cars streaming in at this time the organizers decided to delay the start 20 – 30 mins. Once the race started everyone set off, jogging at this point was almost impossible as there was just so many people taking off at the same time, it was more like a walk / jog / walk / jog until everyone had the opportunity to disperse. Not sure why they decided to start the 21 & 10km runners together though? Given the fact that the start headed straight into quite a steep hill and that there was so many people trying to run (or in this case walk) up this hill I added almost a full 2 mins onto my pace. After we got out the main gate (about 2km later) and onto the main the road, the group was able to open up fully and everyone was able to find their pace that they normally run at.

The route the organizers had planned is one I know very well as it is where I do nearly all my cycling. The race proceeded to head downhill from the main gate right up to the 5km point where the 10km runners turned around and then were forced to run back up the hill which we had just run down (I swear races were they plan this is just evil!). Looking back at my pace for the first 5km I must say I was very happy with it and my running up to this point definitely seems to be improving. As I mentioned at the start after the 5km point is where all my trouble’s start, as running from this point turns out being more of a run / walk / run / walk depending on the pain. I have discovered that I am a rather strong hill climber(all 410m of it) and am able to keep quite a nice pace when they pain wasn’t too intense, hopefully once my hip has recovered fully I will find out just how long I will be able to hold that pace.

The hill going back up to the lodge is not one of my favourite hills, even when i’m cycling I sometimes dread going up it. The last stretch from the 9km was quite nice as it was all downhill right up to the finish line. Looking back it was not such a bad race even with all the walking I did I came across the finish line with a time of 01h17m12, my pace for the race wasn’t too bad either finishing with a pace of 7:30 min/km.

Until next time

J

I don't reach limits, I set them! Well I used to…

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