Boitumelo Kuzwayo

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

On running…

Running over time has become my form of meditation where I release my happy-cules!
On your First Run...

I made a conscious decision to start running in 2013. I was oversees and I had gained a significant amount of weight in a few months. I had seen my brother go from being obese to an avid, lean and fit runner. I bought my first pair of running shoes oversees when I was shopping for a pair for my brother. However, my choice was based on the wrong decision: the shoes were stylish and there was only one size left which I bought – a fitting size (runner’s rooky error of note!!)

I first hit the streets in 2013 when I returned. I felt as though I had run a marathon but little did I know that it was a mere 5km! I think I stopped running about 800m from where I initially planned to finish and walked the shortest route back home. My body went through 4 distinct emotions that I remember vividly:

· My lungs felt like they had shrunk to the size of a new born baby’s fist,
· My thighs experienced a burning sensation as if they were on fire
· My feet felt compressed by my shoes like a suction machine
· However, I felt that I wanted to do it again

On running culture…

I have always participated in numerous sports (tennis, hockey, squash, basketball and netball) but all of them require at least one other person. Running has become a sport I enjoy because it has become my form of meditation. It’s just me, the open road and my music. In a strange way it releases what I call “happy-cules.” However I am also able to run with other people who have a common interest in the form of the Nike Run Club who, over the months, have contributed to improve my strength and endurance over time. So in essence I experience the best of both worlds. 

Apart from pushing my body’s physical limits, running has tested my mental strength which I feel has helped me grow and push the limits in other aspects of my life. 

On gadgets…

When I initially started the only gadget I used was my cellphone to load music to listen whilst I ran. With time and through education from my brother, I have tracked my runs using different running apps (Nike Running app) and I recently invested in a Garmin forerunner watch because it is light and the outputs are insightful for my post run analysis. 

On injury…

Injury is the most frustrating and debilitating thing an athlete can go through. However, it comes with running and any other sport.

I was officially diagnosed with ITB after running the Two Oceans marathon in March 2016 – the worst running injury I believe one can get. I say “officially” because I experienced excruciating discomfort in my knees a week before the Two Oceans and went to visit my physio to find out what was wrong. However, my brain shut down and I stopped listening to what he had to say when we whipped out his textbook to diagnose what was wrong because I was still traumatised that he was referring to his textbook in my presence!

For those who don’t know what ITB is, I explain it as having an exceptionally buff gym bunny constantly knocking a pick-axe against your knee! This was unfortunately caused by lack of stretching pre and post my runs, poor cross training and a significant increase in my mileage in a short space of time. Despite the advice I received from my podiatrist and chiropractor, I lived up to the typical sterotype that runners are known for… being stubborn. I continued running with the hope of completing my first Comrades Marathon in the same year. 

On achievements…

With the inspiration and encouragement from my brother, my boyfriend and fellow runners at the Nike Run Club I ran:

· my first 21km at the Soweto Marathon in November 2015,
· my first 32km two weeks later at RAC’s Tough One race
· my first 42km 2 months later
· my personal best marathon a month later at the Pick ‘n Pay race and
· my first ultra-marathon (Om Die Dam) a month later and two weeks before the race I had been training for: Two Oceans 56km.

On future goals…
Despite the above, I still have far more goals I would love to achieve… one of which is run and finish the Comrades Marathon. More importantly, I trust that I am able to inspire other women to believe they too can achieve whatever they set their mind to.
On Pink…

Pink is a significant colour in South Africa as it represents cancer awareness

On Pain…

Pain, in any form, is inevitable. My approach is to experience it and let it pass. More importantly I consciously don’t allow it to crush my spirit but rather reflect on how it has contributed to strengthening me.

On women’s running…

Running, for me, has become a fun, addictive and emotional sport. The journey has been phenomenal: I have laughed, cried, screamed, created new friendships and learnt a lot about myself by discovering my capabilities and improving on what needs fine tuning. I think women should give running a shot. It isn’t only a sport for men.

On the Past you…

It was good knowing you because I don’t think I would be where I am if it wasn’t for my excessive weight gain.


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