2011... Wow, what a year!

From the vibes I've been getting over the past few days, I know that a lot of people reading this may not have had a good year. A lot of my close friends have had a horrible 2011, and for you I sincerely hope 2012 marks the beginning of a new dawn.

As far as my life is concerned, I wouldn't necessarily say that it has been good or bad. I am grateful for every single experience of this year, because it has taught me valuable lessons about myself and others, about people in general, and most of all...about my friends and who the true gems are.

Some of the things I will never forget are:
  • The amazing achievements of my friends & family. Some of them have completed their first ultramarathon, some their first Two Oceans 21km, some have started running (included here is my Mom who started running 3 months ago and has since lost a whopping 10kg), some their first cycle race, some their first Ironman, some their first 5km or 10km race, some have started their own fashion line, and some a combination of the aforementioned. I am so extremely proud of each and every one of you!
  • The strength of amazing people I am honoured to call my friends. From overcoming cancer, to coping with debilitating illnesses in the silence of their own privateness (I don't know if that's a word!), to being the support and strength for family members who are going through life-threatening illnesses. I draw strength from the amazing people you are despite whatever hardships you endure.
  • Running alongside legends. Legends of the international arena and legends of my own life... I appreciate the latter even more than the former. This year I have had the honour of running alongside people and friends who have been my inspiration for a long time, and to be 'coached' and assisted by them in a huge way. That has played a major part in where I am in my sporting journey today. I am honoured to have had that opportunity.
  • Meeting AWESOME people. I have had the opportunity to meet people I've met online in real life, and it has enriched my life enormously. I never thought that an online platform life Twitter would play such a huge part in my existence. I cannot begin to explain how much I love you guys!
  • Knowing whom I can depend on. There have been a few very rough patches this year, and those are the times I was shown who I can depend on, who will come through for me and who I can trust to be there for me when I need a friend.
  • Appreciating my health. I've missed out a few goals this year because my health wasn't up to scratch. Some of them have caused my most heartbreaking experiences in a long time. Despite usually following a very healthy diet and supplementing, I was reminded again that my immune system is inherently weaker by nature and I need to take extra care of my diet, especially since I put my body through a vigorous year-round training programme. Drastic measures...they have been taken! My cupboard is stocked with superfoods and I have now become accustomed to the taste of green juice :)
  • My running achievements. I have stayed injury-free and I cracked 2 of my major running goals this year, namely: running a sub-2h30 half marathon and running a sub-60min 10km. I am by no means a fast runner. These feats have been achieved through a huge amount of discipline, consistent training, a structured programme, and MOST of all...amazing people who support me and had unfaltering belief in me. I urge you to also surround yourself yourself with people like these, they are critical to your success in any endeavour.
  • Career. The financial crisis has hit SA, and retrenchments are a-plenty. A few of my friends have been affected as well. If you have a job that you enjoy, appreciate and look after it. If you have a job that you hate, look around for something else. Better yet, start building your own future that is independent of working for a boss. Life is too short to spend most of your waking hours unfulfilled. One of the things I am most grateful for is that although it has taken me a while to reach this point, I am now in a job that makes me happy.
  • Give back, but be careful ... Giving back to society is a very important part of fulfilling the human spirit. So get involved, not having money is not a reason not to. The great poet Kahlil Gibran said: You give but little if you give of your possessions. It's when you give of yourself that you truly give. The feeling you get afterwards bears testament to that. BUT be careful who you give your valuable and precious time to. If you end up feeling unfulfilled and used, you were in the wrong space.
I wish you everything of the very best for 2012. May it be a year that, when you look back upon your life, it stands out as one that you will never forget. Go live the life you love!
 
To 2012...upwards and onwards...