The creative space…

So, friends and fam, I am wholly immersed in the DIY space. Why didn’t anyone tell me DIY is as much fun as it is frustrating, satisfying as it is anger inducing and humbling??? DIY will humble you as you cluelessly navigate your way around a new skills set and will humble you with pure unadulterated joy when you see your vision come to life.

I stumbled into DIY quite by accident after a young lady inspired me when I commented on her newly painted flower pot and asked how she did it (type of paint, how long it took to dry etc) and I expressed my cluelessness about DIY. She responded, ‘It’s all on YouTube ‘. A small flower pot landed me, mind, body and soul into the rabbit hole that is YouTube, Pinterest and DIY.

Its been a fun filled journey so far with a few simple projects under my belt and have learnt some key lessons:

Start with a simple project:

My first project was a floor lamp purchased about a year ago but fell apart soon after. I recovered the shade in new fabric and spray painted the base from rose gold to metallic gold and now I have a lamp I can live with.

Expect the unexpected:

I few weeks ago I purchased a telephone table to explore new skills in (sanding, painting, varnishing) plus, it was the perfect piece to fill a dead space in my home.

Second hand pieces have a story to tell. Especially older ones such as this one; it must be at least 20years old, from an era where landlines where standard in many homes. Once you get up close and personal you see it was once (twice or more) repaired, is a bit crooked, has had a piece replaced. You are exposed to the best of it and the worst. You get to see it’s history and I added my chapter to it.

No surprise here, but our hardware stores are so limited in chalk paint let alone its colour range and white was the best option. I used a couple of drops of yellow food coloring trying to get the off white look that I wanted for the telephone chair and I deeply regret it. The colour ended up with a greener tinge than I expected. In hind sight I should have asked for help instore but having already bought all the items I needed, I didn’t want to make another trip for one paint tint and I honestly thought it would work.

Invest in the right tools:

Using a paint brush is not that easy (or so I thought). The chalk paint instructions said not to use a paint roller but after getting a very horrid looking first coat with a brush, I gave the paint roller a go on the second coat and it was so much more even and faster. Fast forward to a few weeks later and chats with a couple of DIYers opened my eyes to that fact that I was using the wrong paint brush for the paint type hence the uneven coat. Thorough research is vital and listen closely to the YouTubers.

Besides not paying close attention, I had been going El-Cheapo with the tools because of budget constraints and I simply had no idea what tool calibre for a particular job was. I went in blind really. I’m now in the process of acquiring and ticking off my power tools list and in that vein, I’m proud to announce that I now have a sander…and I’ve never used a power tool, ever!

It’s been a fulfilling journey so far. I’m thankful to the young lady and her small flower pot for opening my creative perspective to beyond sewing. I’m on a journey to learning new skills and filling my home with unique upcycled pieces.

Workshops need to be attended, monetizing these talents needs to be had.

Watch this space. 😉

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Describe me in your own words…

I’m a very introspective gal and often have heart to heart conversations with myself; in bumpy phases in my relationships it’s assessing how I could have contributed to the mess and how I can do better, in good times, the focus is on words of affirmation. Through it all I acknowledge my strengths, weaknesses and review expectations and so on. Basically I have regular (what I hope are) objective conversations with myself every now and then. Now, while all this is fine and dandy and has opened my mind and actions to personal growth in recent years, lately I have begun questioning whether what I converse with myself is how others see me; could I have been telling myself a whole set of incorrect truths over the years?

So I asked friends and family to describe me in their own words and the responses I got were interesting. Interesting not only from the perspective of the descriptors they used, which I will delve into shortly but also how different people actually put the words together. A couple of responses were one worded responses and as you can imagine, I scratched my head wondering if this one word is how I was viewed in my entirety. A few had long essays, very descriptive and emotional. A friend came up with six categories (mothering style, determination, focus, ambition, friend and intellect) and described me with one word in each of these in bullet point form, very concise. The majority responded with a few lines which was expected and some didn’t respond at all.

A few common traits came through loud and clear though the words used varied a little but a thesaurus would classify them the same; perhaps on the opposites ends of the synonym spectrum but on the same spectrum nonetheless. Again I found this interesting because although each word or phrase has a subtle difference to the next, they mean almost the same thing but at the same time each having vastly different undertones, dependent I suppose on the nature of my interactions with the respondents. The key adjectives were:

• Chandagwinyira, strong willed, you can be firm in your views, stubborn, when you commit you commit totally, true to yourself

• Unapologetic, you’re not out to please anyone, have high standard, proud, aloof

• Orderly, structured, stickler to detail, brilliant organizer

• Knowledgeable, keen intellect, witty, smart

• Thrill seeker, not afraid to try new things, ambitious, follow your heart, determined

• Calm

• Principled, honest, sometimes brutally honest, frank, straight talker

• Funny

• Confidant, arms wide open for those who need it, great mentor, life coach (she went on to say she feels sorry for the person I see potential in because if I take a shine to them, I bite and don’t let go until I see positive results)

• Kind, humble, loyal

• Great mum, mother bear

• Eccentric

So in a nutshell, this is how a number of people see me, and a few of these perspectives totally differ from how I see myself.

I’m a very emotional being, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I can rarely hold how I’m feeling in check so when I saw calm, I was taken aback. I have never considered myself to be a calm person, not by a long shot. Perhaps I’ve become more grounded as I’ve gotten older?

Ambitious and confident; are descriptors that I’ve never considered myself as being, me a lover of comfort zones. I see myself as wall flower, reluctant to put myself out there, shy, fearful of the limelight even. So this was a somewhat unexpected perspective.

My daughter described me in two words, smart and funny. Smart is a rather ambiguous adjective. It got me wondering whether she meant intelligent or house proud but I’ll proudly take both. And as for funny, she obviously doesn’t mean I have the best jokes (I don’t do ‘knock knocks’) so I suspected it was more of a ‘Mai ava shem’.

But the one that touched my soul was eccentric. It was one of the two one worded responses and when I first read it, my initial thought was, ‘slightly strange…?’. Eccentric was so off my radar, so much so that I had to probe a little to fully understand why this particular word.

This was so profound, I had one of those Oprah ‘Aha’ moments. The realization that I have been blessed enough to reconnect with life, to be able to do things that bring me pure unadulterated joy and have the support of loved ones to do the same is an intense feeling. And rather sad too because many people never get to experience the joy of doing something they love in life. Many of us go through life just going through the paces and not being wholly immersed in what we do, simply working to pay the bills and not being fulfilled. I feel privileged to have been brave enough to begin my journey to self discovery a few years ago and I have been given the gift of reconnecting with life in the process.

As the new chapter in my life begins, I’m grateful for the gift of renewal.

To reconnecting with life 🥂

Olga

I’ve still got it…

If you’ve been following me, you’ll remember I mentioned that I am reviving a long set aside hobby after a good solid 20yrs. I have started sewing again.

I have a confession to make; 7 years ago when I took back control of my life’s narrative, sewing again wasn’t in the script but fast forward to 2 years ago, my mind started exploring that option. I was getting comfortable in my own skin again, gaining confidence in putting myself first and that lit a desire to revisit activities that brought me peace and comfort from my youth so sewing found itself on the list and machines were purchased. However, a part of me held back and I made excuse after excuse to avoid sitting down to actually sew something, anything. ‘I don’t know how to use an overlocker machine’, ‘I don’t have a working table big enough’, ‘I don’t have the funds to purchase all the necessary accessories’, ‘fabric is so expensive’…you catch my drift. It took my 4 yr old to insist that I unbox the machines; for her it was the curiosity of seeing a machine in action, for me, I took it as a sign to do something and that’s how this journey was resumed. And no, I don’t yet have alI I need or a dedicated sewing table; I use one end of the dining room table and purchase accessories as and when I need them for specific projects.

How did it feel getting back in front of the machine? I’d like to tell you that I embraced it with open arms, that I felt at ease sitting at my dining room table and continued right where I left off two decades ago. Physically; yeah it was easy, it felt right. I was a little nervous threading the machines and testing all the parts but other than that little nervousness, I felt at home. The emotions that followed however were a totally different ball game.

Let me give you a little of my sewing background for context. I did Fashion and Fabrics as a high school practical and I loved it. Not only did I love it, I excelled at it, the win a book prize kind of excelling. I believe we only have a few instances in our lives where we are absolutely certain of some key aspect of our future and when I was in Sixth Form, I knew I was destined to have a career in the rag trade, I knew I wanted to work in fashion. Applications to an international fashion college were made, partial scholarships secured but life happened and I couldn’t take this option up but I held on to hope. I continued to sew and design clothes for myself, interned at a high end fashion retailer, hoping against all hope that somehow I’d end up in the field that I loved. It didn’t happen, I had to move on. You know when you are absolutely certain of one thing and you wake up to the realization that you can’t pursue it and you don’t know what next steps to take to claw your way back? And you look around and wonder ‘what now?’. Life had to go on and I must admit, I lost my direction and settled for second best. I let go of my dream. Swept it under the carpet.

So back to the present, in the past few weeks since I sat down in front of my machine, while I’ve settled in really well with the practicalities of actually putting pieces together, my emotions on the other hand have not been cooperating and have been all over the place;

Terror, terrified that the flame that I’ve reignited in my passion may become a raging fire that I can’t contain

Fear of failing, of not remembering the basics, of not seeing it through

Disappointed at having not been fortunate enough to have someone push me to pursue my dream despite challenges faced

Angry at myself for not being courageous enough to look at alternative courses of action

Regret at allowing my aspiration to die for so long

Grateful that I have the opportunity to start over

Hopeful at the potential to monetize after the rave reviews

Ecstatic because I know I still have ‘it’

Contentment; this hobby has me feeling like I’m a prodigal daughter that has returned home and been welcomed with open arms, like I never left.

Whenever I sit down to sew, all the key lessons I was taught come flooding back like I was right back in class as a teenager soaking everything in.

What have I learnt in the past few weeks? First, identify a life coach or mentor from a young age or dare I say any age. Someone who will push you to pursue your dreams, who will support you when no else does, someone who is willing to bet on your potential when life doesn’t. Not everyone is born confident and courageous, some of us need a nudge. And don’t forget to be that mentor for someone else who needs a nudge.

Secondly, I am talented, like massively, brilliantly talented and and am so passionate about this craft.

This particular journey has just begun but my soul feels like I have already arrived.

Yours truly,

Olga

©️ Photo credit to Wedu Mashiri (11yr old son)

Things moms think but don’t say…

So Whatsapp status rolled into our lives and I must admit I was not an early adopter. I didn’t understand the purpose of this function and I’m not sure I have grown to understand it but as with most people in my circle, I use the function to share memes and pictures about issues pertinent to my frazzled life as a mother, a runner and frustrated Zimbabwean citizen. A few days ago I came across this post and it spoke to me, it spoke to my soul:

For those reading my posts for the first time, my current life is broken down like this: wife, working woman, mother of four (17yrs, 11yrs, 7yrs, 4yrs) as well as a runner and seamstress (old hobby newly revisited); and all this in a dynamic (flowery word for chaotic) economic and social environment. Societal expectations dictate that I parent like I don’t work and work like I don’t have children.

As a society, we don’t allow ourselves to discuss how draining parenting can be. Mothers in particular, who bear the brunt of day to day parenting, are expected to have it all together; to know how to discipline, to counsel, to impart life skills, to teach; to raise well behaved children into responsible adults. It’s assumed that mothers have a bottomless pit of patience to deal with sometimes little terrors of people that society seems to forget have their own will power, sometimes poor judgement and are impressionable but not necessarily impressed by you, particularly as they get older.

Now that many of us don’t live in tight knit communities with support structures close by any more, and yes even in this day and age few husbands/partners are hands on, as mothers we often scramble to simply keep our heads above water. Many of us at one point or another have struggled psychologically to get through a rough patch and for some a rough patch can last a lifetime. Asking for help or time to reboot is often frowned upon. The judgmental people amongst us look at you like, ‘but you’re a mother; mothering is an achievement and the children the award’. If we allow it, being a mother can be an all-consuming state of existence and you can lose your sense of self in it.

Don’t get me wrong, being a mother is a rewarding experience. For me it’s filled with joy, pride, laughter, amazement, a connection to four other human beings so strong I can’t imagine my life without them. And a love for them so deep that I’d lay down my life for them. Despite the many positives that far outweigh the negatives; I have at some points during this journey, felt every one of those thoughts in the picture above.

Angry, because it is sometimes so darn hard and takes too much out of me.

Ashamed to ask for help, because I’m expected to have it all together and almost all the time I don’t.

Lost, because when things go wrong despite my good intentions, I don’t always know where it went crooked.

To be left alone, because it can be exhausting having to deal with little people problems for years on end (you know; the tattling on each other, the whispering loudly unintelligible things while spittle rains on your ear drum and pretending it all makes sense, the daily arguments over whose turn it is to bath first. I think you get the gist).

To drink to forget, all the never ending demands of parenting.

Some find it a breeze. I don’t. I find it hard.

It was only a few years ago that I began to address the hostile takeover of me by four other beings. The running and recently revisited sewing hobby have both been healthy avenues to alone time. They allow me to focus on activities that typically do not involve any other member of my family and I like it like that. The running allows me to clear my mind, reboot and see things from a less frazzled perspective. With the sewing, I’m yet to review the benefits in my current life in full but I anticipate that it will provide at the very least a creative outlet.

So let me remind you that you are more than someone else’s something. You are more than your parent’s daughter, your husband’s wife, your children’s mother. You are a whole individual with interests and dreams up and above the key people in your life and your aspirations deserve as much support as your spouse’s and /or your children’s aspirations.

Happy parenting 😉

Olga

A Beginner’s Guide to Running…

I’ve been running for about 18 months now and during that time, I have regularly interacted with accomplished and professional runners. These interactions were initially intimidating and in some cases overwhelming to the point where I seriously contemplated quitting. These runners are trained, proficient, knowledgeable (think runners jargon here), dedicated and yet here I was, just starting out and couldn’t manage running just 200m without stopping to catch my breath. I feared being left so far behind at events, I worried that my then largish size would be viewed as joke and I assumed (wrongly) that I was expected to enter the sport with a decent level of proficiency.  And I suppose that is how many other new and wannabe runners feel when thinking about starting on the running journey so this blog post is for the newbies out there 🙂.

With this in mind I thought I’d share some of the individual aspects of running that I have learnt along the way through interaction with seasoned runners, being part of a running club, reading and my own experience. 

Progression

In talking to accomplished runners, I learnt that our journeys are at different stages. Mine was just starting whereas theirs was miles ahead, but at one stage, they were in my shoes; just starting out. So don’t compare yourself to others. My solution was to start slow, and by that I mean walking. I began my journey with early morning walks. These walks allowed my body to adjust to the idea of exercise and movement after years of being sedentary. It allowed my muscles, heart and lungs to get stronger gradually without the pain of sudden intense cardio exercise, which minimized muscle pain to manageable levels and consequently reduced the desire to quit. 

Clothing

Running is an inexpensive activity and comfort is paramount if you want to stay in it for the long haul. First things first, invest in a decent pair of running shoes (think Nike, Adidas, Asics kind of investment). When I started out, I used a random pair of running shoes and I developed rather painful blisters after one long walk and it was in that moment that I understood why specially designed running shoes are relatively pricey. So get yourself a good pair of running shoes, this is the only major investment that you will have to make.

Cotton tends to get heavy and clingy once damp or wet. You can get away with wearing cotton t-shirts for short distances or on cool days but for your ultimate comfort, purchase a couple of sports tops/vests and leggings/shorts. There’s no need to purchase the top brands in this case; if you can afford the top brands, then by all means go for it, but if not then MrP Sport in South Africa is a good place to start. They stock very affordable sporting gear. 

Key considerations

Safety is key. Ensure that you map a route that you are familiar with, is safe, has good lighting and has relatively good roods. While this is not always guaranteed given the state of Zimbabwe’s roads in all neighborhoods, some roads are marginally better than others. Use the better quality roads to minimize the risk of injury.

Morning runs are ideal not only because your body continues burning calories throughout the morning from the workout, but also because it is so much cooler and there’s less traffic on the roads. Begin your run when the sun is rising or is just about to rise. You may want to run in the evenings but take note that evening runs mean that you are running alongside heavy traffic and unfortunately not many drivers are considerate enough to slow down when they encounter runners.  

Running paraphernalia

We have all seen runners that are fully kitted with running apps, GPS watches, hydration packs, Bluetooth head phones, phones ready and loaded with running playlists, phone pouches and belts…you get the picture. Don’t worry about them. Your legs and mind do the running, everything else that you see are add ons, nice to haves. They do come in handy but are not critical on your journey and are therefore not a priority as you start out. Invest in them over time to help you be accountable and to join networks with fellow runners. 

Consistency and discipline

What is critical however, is consistency and discipline. Running requires consistency in order for you to see and feel results. It requires you to be disciplined enough to get up several times a week and go out there for +30min on your own and just put one foot in front of another. It requires you to go out there again even when the weather is not friendly, even your calves are protesting from the previous day’s work out. It requires you to have the discipline to not listen to the voice in your head telling you that you ‘can’t do it anymore’ or the random strangers you meet along the way that snicker at your effort (this is when the nice to have ear phones come in, to filter the external noise). You need to consistently set small targets and make efforts to meet those targets. This is why many say that running is not a physical challenge, but rather a mental one. It is the convincing of yourself that you need to stick with it that is the most difficult. 

Sense of achievement

The mind games can get intense but once you cross the threshold and conquer the internal and external voices, that’s when you know you are hooked and are now a running addict. At this point running will cease to be a workout and transforms into a hobby. When we start out as newbies, our end game is usually health or vanity related but once running becomes a hobby, it stops being about getting your blood pressure in check or looking good in that bikini you bought 5years ago. It becomes an enjoyable activity that you look forward to participating in regularly. You will focus more setting targets; whether it’s going out running 4 times a week, completing your first 5km without walking, increasing your network and many other non health related goals. You will feel a sense of accomplishment each and every time you meet a goal. 

Running expands your view on life, you get immersed in a totally different circle and gel with like-minded people that you ordinarily would probably have never interacted with.

Is it going to tough? Darn right yes, some days it will be.

Will it be worth it? Definitely yes!!!

 

The journey to a 1000km running and counting…

I was quite athletic when I was young, more sprinting and team sports but as an adult I never exercised at all and for many years, I felt I had no reason to. After my first two children were born, my weight didn’t change much, and my key health vital statistics were in the healthy range. Fast forward to two additional children later and my family’s slim genes refused to kick in. My weight gradually crept up and those previously good vital health statistics responded negatively. I found myself being diagnosed as hypertensive and on medication a few years before I turned the big 4-0. I had to do something, so I decided to take up running. I must admit that this this decision to get moving did not happen overnight. I had been trying to ‘jog’ since 2013, so my running app tells me. Excuse after excuse later, 4 years went by with no activity.

I’d like to tell you that I was inspired by my love for tasty Pinterest worthy salads and looking good in trendy running gear; but alas it was fear that motivated me. It was the fear of leaving my children motherless. What if I suffered a stroke, cardiac arrest and departed this dear earth because of a blinding migraine sooner than I was ready to? It was fear that motivated me to get up on that morning of Tuesday 25 April 2017 and walk 2.04km which I had initially planned to be a run, but my lungs protested breathlessly after only 150m, so much so that I resigned myself to my first walk.

Every Saturday thereafter, I began walking short distances 3, 4, 5km gradually progressing to long distances with my longest walk being 23 km, then moved to running short and gradually longer distances. I added mid-week sessions along the way and the more I walked and ran, the more my body asked for, so I kept moving, in whichever form it took, walking, trotting, running. The only thing I haven’t done yet is crawl and I just may need it do it one day, who knows. What I do know for sure is that I am now hooked.

It’s been just over a year since I started running and the results have been amazing:

Health and nutrition

My blood pressure is now in the normal range, though still monitored regularly. The terrible migraines I used to experience are now few and far between. My appetite has reduced and cravings for sweet foods and junk food have disappeared, but I do admit that I indulge occasionally. I have mostly cut starch out of my evening meals, increased vegetable intake and have lost 3 dress sizes.

Attitude and approach to life

My approach to life is upbeat and positive. I look for silver linings in every situation and make the most of what’s in front of me. Running has truly given me ‘me time’. It’s my thing that no one else in my home does. The 30min, hour, two hours or weekends spent away from home on some run somewhere allows me to think, re-energise, to dream, plan and to sometimes just block out reality for a moment.

Family

A number of fellow running colleagues have shared with me how their running journey has inspired their friends and family to also become more health conscious. Passion is infectious and inspiring and makes those around you feel like they too can be do it. And this is applicable for anything that we love and enjoy. Love what you do and your family will love it too, join in and get involved. I have gone on runs and exercise sessions with my son, daughter, husband (he’s not as willing a participant as I’d like but I’ll take what I’m given), in laws, sisters, and exchange students. If you come to my home for a few days or more, rest assured, you will go for a short run with me at some point.

Friendships and connections

My running buddy, Tambu Mukunde, can attest that, if it hadn’t been for running, we probably would have lost out on a fabulous friendship and support pillars that we are to each other. We have travelled the country and beyond together and we plan to visit more places in the future together. Running has allowed me and other running colleagues to make connections, business and social.

The world around me

Running has allowed me to see the country through a different lens, think domestic tourism; Kariba, Vumba, Vic Falls, Bulawayo, Mutare, Nyanga. 2019 will be my second year running the ‘World’s Most Beautiful Marathon’, the Two Oceans Cape Town Half Marathon. My running buddy and I have plans afoot to run in Europe; we just need to train and save up for it of course, but it will happen.

Networking and skills development

Have you ever realised that as you go through life, you notice others in similar circumstances? This is the same with running. I have gotten to know neighbours from frequent meet ups early in the morning, runners from other organisations and event organisers amongst others. Your circle of contacts grows exponentially when you put yourself out there and get involved in something new and stick with it.

It’s easy to make excuses, ‘I’m too busy’, ‘I don’t have the time’ and ‘The children this and that’. What I have learnt is that if you love what you do, you will create time for it and other aspects of your life will often adjust.

Running for me has moved beyond getting my health in check. It has become a hobby and below are some of the key lessons I have leant along the way:

Put you first

Very few people will put you first, so you have to make that conscious decision to go out there yourself and do you. Find an activity or hobby that allows you to focus on you, on your hopes and dreams. Invest time and energy in yourself and your growth, be it career, health, spiritual, social or side hustle.

Set targets small and grand

My set target for total running distance for 2018 is 750km. Broken down into weekly targets it translates to 15km per week which is a much more digestible figure. On the grand scale, I’m thinking big and plan to run an international marathon in two years, think Boston, New York, Berlin, London, Tokyo type of run. Each run over the next two years will be a build up to that.

Acknowledge the difficult days

I had set a target of running 750km this year but winter is not a running friendly season so I fell behind. The tummy is stubborn, it’s flatter, much much flatter, than it was 12 months ago but there’s still a muffintop that needs to go, so for both challenges I have taken up high intensity fitness classes that run 3 time a week for an hour each session to make up for the shortfall.

Recruit a buddy

Identify and on-board someone that will go on your journey with you either as an active participant, a supporter from the side-lines or a mentor. This buddy will help to keep your spirits up, make you accountable when you fall behind and to filter the negative noise that you will face.

Filter the noise

Make no mistake about this, you will be discouraged along the way. It can be the little voice inside your head telling you that you can’t do it, a very loud voice of loved one or colleague or the sheer difficulty of the activity. Filter the negativity. Learn to compartmentalise and place that noise in a mental box in your mind and lock it. Block it out and focus on the end goal one step at a time. Use this negative noise as a motivator to overcome.

Surround yourself with like-minded people

In running circles, runners support each other, build each other up, are willing to stop and help you should you get injured, offer you transport to a running event, donate old pairs of running shoes to less fortunate runners and many other acts of goodwill.

This kind of support is unfortunately rare in our daily lives. To fully transform your mind-set from negative and derogatory thoughts about yourself and others, surround yourself with positive, supportive people that are able and willing to support you as much as you are willing to support them. This creates a sense of family and camaraderie.

Celebrate the small victories

I remember when I completed my first 3km non-stop run (slow but non-stop). I was on cloud nine the whole day and looking back, I don’t think I got much done on that day because I was so in awe of myself. These small victories/milestones provide you with the energy and focus to keep going and set higher goals. A few months later, on Sunday 19 November, I completed my first half marathon, 21km.

Don’t compare yourself to others

There will always be someone better than you, someone faster, and someone reaching their milestones sooner. But remember as with anything in life, your journey is not their journey and their journey is not yours. Do you. My pace/speed is not the best, I know I can never compete with elite runners and that’s not my aim. My aim is to simply be better than I was yesterday, to push my boundaries. I set myself small goals and challenges to keep me going. I am a work in progress.

Support your family in the change that you go through

Any new long term activity will create shifts in the home that some families may not be able to handle well. Get them involved either actively or as cheerleaders so that they understand your motives and experience. Many, once they can see things from your perspective, will provide you with necessary support.

End each year on a big note

2017 ended on a good note as I had /progressed from being sedentary in April to bagging my first half marathon mid-November. This year I aim to complete the 20miler (32 km) in early December. The festive season can hit me with whatever drama it wants after that because nothing can spoil the high of a major accomplishment as the year draws to a close.

It has been tough and I have often thought of giving up but looking back now, it’s been worth every 430am alarm ring, every drop of sweat, every aching muscle and every dollar spent on registration fees, travel and expensive good quality running shoes. This year I turned 40 and for the first time in a long time I truly feel alive and in control of my life. I’m just a regular mum and wife with a full time job who just happened to have taken up running to be healthier and found a hobby she’s passionate (some say obsessed) about.

While my story relates to running, the lessons I have learnt along the way are applicable to anything that you set out to do; be it a career change, learning a new hobby, getting more involved in the church structures, starting and growing your side hustle, developing a new skill, studying as a mature student or whatever it may be. 2019 is going to see me taking on new challenges outside my comfort zone in areas that have nothing to do with running…..watch this space.

Go out there and conquer….

The journey continues…

It’s been a year since I started running 🏃🏽‍♀️. And the results have been amazing:

– My hypertension is a thing of the past (I haven’t been on meds 💊for a few months now, just regular monitoring and yes, these are my doctors orders).

– My appetite has reduced and cravings for sweet foods 🍬🍫and junk food 🍟🍔have disappeared. Though I indulge occasionally 😜. I have mostly cut starch 🍚 out of my evening meals.

– My mood is upbeat and positive 📈. I look for #silverlinings in every situation 🌦 and make the most of what’s in front of me.

– I have lost 3️⃣ dress sizes now…I’m now beginning to hover over the size 34s again down from 40. My tailor is not happy with me right now (too many alterations he says 🙄).

– Running 🏃🏽‍♀️ has allowed me to see the country through a different lens🔭 #domestictourism (Kariba, Vumba, Vic Falls, Bulawayo, Mutare, Nyanga) and beyond #twooceansmarathon ✅, #sowetomarathonloading

– Running has truly give me ‘me time’ 💆🏽‍♀️. It’s my thing that no one else in my home does. The 30min, hour, two hours or weekends spent away from home on some run somewhere allows me to think, re-energise, to dream, plan 📝 and to sometimes just block out reality. When you are a parent (especially if you have 4 kids 👭👬 like me) every minute alone is precious 💎. Cherish it.

I still have some way to go though before I reach my goals and get into maintain mode.

– I have 5kg to lose to reach my weight goal (my target was to reach 65kg by end of July but I seem to have plateaued at 70kg). I have been advised to ignore the scale ⚖️ and focus on the waist, hip, upper arm measurements as they show the real leaning of the body and gain in muscle which is heavier than fat. I suppose that explains the dress size drop and yet weight has remained the same over the past few months.

– I have a target of running 7️⃣5️⃣0️⃣km this year but winter is not a running friendly season so I’m falling far behind (trying to make up for it with gym sessions 🏋🏽‍♀️) and will increase the kms come summertime.

– the tummy is stubborn, it’s flatter, much much flatter, than it was 12 months ago but there’s still a muffintop that needs to go so hopefully the gym classes will help #beachbodyloading 👙#summerbodyloading

– I’m thinking big and plan to run an #internationalmarathon in two years, think Boston, New York, Berlin, London, Tokyo type of run. I need to start saving🤔…..and training😩.

It has been tough and I have often thought of giving up but looking back now, it’s been worth every 430am alarm ring ⏰, every drop of sweat😓, every aching muscle 💪🏽and every dollar 💸spent on reg fees, travel and expensive running shoes👟 .

Aluta continua…..