04 April 2021

Grace and discipline: a life of thirds

Balega Impis Celebrating Life and Friendship
Guinness World Record holder, Sharon Jessop, and energizer
bunny, Dawn Nunes, meet in Gqeberha with me for a Balega
Impi story sharing session... Dawn is aiming at 13-peaks in May. 

2 weeks since the last post... At the start of the year I said: every week, the discipline of a blog will keep me sane and you informed... And I thought about this a lot 2 weeks ago.

But March was stressful at work and sweeping Addo 100 is its own library of stories... which will not be recounted here, because my goal is to get you "involved" in my climb in September (subscribe here and follow me on Insta or FB and make sure you don't miss the news; and see the last picture)!

So last week, after averaging 4.5 hours sleep a night (sorry Ren) and topping it off with 42 hours awake at Addo, with 60km sweeping + 20km running (80km / 50 miles) at Addo Elephant Trail Run 100 miler, I gave myself some grace when the icy wind and rain started; I climbed in with the funnest extraction vehicle out there (thank you Marcus and Bushpig Adventures). And then I gave myself grace when I got home: I cleaned up, spent some family time, and went to bed early... 5-year old early!


It is funny that this is a lesson that 100 miles taught me: there will be good times and bad times... know when to celebrate and when to give grace. Perspective is an education, I tell you.

Addo, like Ultra Trail Drakensburg, like many other ultra trail races have 3 sections (apply own distances below; I've applied Addo/UTD distances here):

1 - the first third: this is "easy" (0-58/73km). You've trained for this. Your body is coping well and your mind is focused.

Keeping the main thing the
main thing with #LancasterLight
2 - the second third: the struggle for success (68/72km - 128/130km). Here the first real demons start to creep in. You go through the night and possibly a day into the next night. Your body feels like its pushing harder than it actually is... and sometimes it lets you down. That's life. 

3 - the final third: slog and celebration "sprint" (128/130km - 162/172km).  Here you either make it or you don't... most races have more than enough time (I'm not talking Barkley!). You will need to have managed the first two thirds well enough to "walk it in" if you've blown. But mostly you can at least finish that last kilometer and "breeze" through the finish line with a sweaty smile.

Know that IF the wheels fall off in the second third, you've probably pushed too hard in the first ;) Take it easy, tiger. Patience is key. So is training. 

For my memories at UTD I have had to give myself lots of grace. I knocked the wind out of myself at 75km with poor fueling, and a fall at 110km and still finished in 2019. I let a friend down at 130km... he did not finish (and it is one of two reasons I really want to go back to UTD). I let another friend down at 140km... fortunately he did finish (excellent sweeps there, too). 

Tobie in his 87th 100 miler and Eloff
tackling Addo 100 miler don't "need"
support, but always lean on their team.
It makes them great people!
At UTD, if you have an opportunity to use pacers for your final third, do it. If you're from out of the area, ask on the Facebook group... there may be a person keen to inspire you, and be inspired by you.

And if you can, apply these lessons to your life a day, a week, a month at a time...: live the first part "easy", but with intention. Live the second part harder, but checking in at the aid stations and making meaningful connections and progress. And finally, finish strong, with a great team around you, and celebrate every little thing.

A hint at my plans. Keep R300 aside for my charity... #PlantATree #ChangeTheWorld

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