Tanya Posthumus-Fox

Monday, August 08, 2016

On who you are…

I am the daughter of two very loving and encouraging parents, the wife to the most supportive and driven husband, sister to a very sweet and intelligent brother, and am also blessed with an amazing extended family and many awesome friends! I grew up in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town, South Africa, but was also fortunate enough to get to experience the beauty of many other countries, especially while living overseas in England for 2 years straight out of high school, and then later living in Ireland for 3 years. I love people, travel, trying and tasting new things, especially if there is sport and/ or wine involved. 

On running… 
When I was in school, the only sport that I was interested in, was Modern Dancing, which I enjoyed for 12 years. My passion for sport and running only started later in life, so I do really embrace them while I am making up for lost time. Before we got married, my husband tried to encourage me to start running with him, and I almost died attempting a 2km jog to be honest. But then about 7 years ago, I was inspired by my Mom, who had started walking daily with her friend, so I also started to walk a couple times a week with one of my friends…walking and talking turned into walking and jogging…and then I returned to gyming with another friend on alternate days…and then one day, none of my friends were available that afternoon for a workout and I had had a shitty day at work, and just felt like going for a run…and so I did! My husband and I then started running in the evenings together, about 10km 4 times a week. 

On your First Run... 
And then we did our first ever road race, the Women’s Day 10km Challenge in August 2008, which we finished in 59 minutes. Following that, I trained harder, and due to time constraints started training alone in the mornings instead, starting earlier and earlier at 05:00am. During this time I was actually a smoker, but had always said that I would quit when I turned 30, as one cannot smoke forever. And with the inspiration of my mom again, I gave up smoking, as she had done, and have been smoke free for over 5 ½ years now. And then as a result, my race times started to improve dramatically to my delight, and the race bug had now seriously bitten, and I was more determined than ever.

I continued to train alone, including weekly fartlek acceleration runs, as well as weekly hill repeats with another friend. And then once I thought that I had achieved all I could alone, I then joined Century City Athletics Club beginning 2013, a really awesome team, that gave me further encouragement and showed their belief in me by presenting me with the Sportswoman Award that year. I never actually thought that I that I was good enough to justify having a coach, but my husband, my biggest fan, thought otherwise, and did his research and arranged for me to meet with a potential coach in October 2013, and he has been coaching me ever since. He is an amazing coach that has a way of getting the best out of his athletes, without being too hard on us, and is always encouraging and supportive in a nurturing way. 

I still train hard, but now I also train smarter, according to a training programme that he puts together in 3 month blocks for me. I usually do speed work twice a week at the Track, and have to get up at 03:40am on those mornings, in order to get to work on time. Track and Cross Country events are also included in my programme, although I am a very keen road runner (racing 10km to half marathon distances), with the Half Marathon (21km) being my favourite event. 

On Street culture… 
I love running outdoors on the road, you feel so free. I am blessed to live in an area that has a beautiful tree-lined running path alongside a horse stables (where the horses are exercised in the morning), which then links up to a cycle path which runs along a lagoon and golf course. Depending on the distance that I run, I either run towards Table Mountain and the Beach Lighthouse or alongside an Ocean with Lapping Waves and Ships out in view, with Hill Lights on return. I do not run with my cell phone, which means no photos enroute (so only post-run selfies to tweet with), but to be honest, I prefer to keep the pace going from beginning to end, as I try not to pause during my runs, so as to improve my endurance. I eat up the view with my eyes while I am running. My day usually starts with greeting cyclists and runners and walkers, during my run on the paths and road, with a laboured ‘Morning!’ (due to my hard breathing) as we pass one another. And of cos the knowing smile is always shared, that ‘we’ are the only people in the world training hard this early in the morning, while everyone else is still sleeping! 

On running culture...
Runners are a special breed of sportsman. Running is very addictive, and there is nothing worse for a runner to hear, than that they cannot run. Road Running is forever growing here in S.A., but Trail Running is booming, as well as Farm Running. With so many beautiful mountains/ hills and wine farms here in Cape Town, we are really spoilt for choice. We just need to be very careful, aware and alert, if running alone in secluded/ bushy areas that are not well lit. During an event there are safety in numbers, but I prefer to stick to the well-lit roads/ paths. I have met so many awesome people through running, and various fitness activities! 

On gadgets… 
My Garmin Forerunner 235 wrist-based heart rate GPS running watch goes with me wherever I go, running or otherwise. I do not run with a phone, nor a heart rate band, as these would just irritate me, and my Garmin data can be uploaded to my phone and laptop thereafter to be analysed, so it’s got all the functionality I need without weighing me down. 

On injury…
For injury prevention, strength/ core work and cross training are imperative, while both are unfortunately underestimated by many runners. I do BodyTec once a week (Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training), during which we also incorporate activation routines for my weaker/ imbalanced muscles as required at the time. I also do explosive exercises at home after my runs, and really enjoy a good spinning class too! When we are injured, it is best to rather embrace what we can do, like cycling/ spinning and swimming, while we are unable to run, so that we can still come back stronger. With that said, rest days are also a necessary evil.

Another must for injury prevention is regular physio and sports massages (as often as you can afford), with an excellent and trusted physiotherapist that knows your body’s history and understands your needs. I actually keep a Body Diary, which I keep updated daily, and go through all the noted points during my physio visits, so that EVERYTHING concerning me can be assessed and treated, before it becomes an issue.

ICE and foam-rolling are the cheapest form of self-physiotherapy. (to be honest, I myself do slack on the foam-rolling side though.) And then instead of ice baths, I choose to Body-board in the Sea without a wetsuit, it’s fun and helps recovery at the same time.

Runners need protein to repair and build muscle, and I would recommend sugar free/ low carb type recovery nutrition. Stay hydrated before, during and after your run (I have a water bottle with me 24/7), and get enough sleep too! 

On achievements…
Top 5 Road Achievements 2014 - 2016 Listed below:

- Winner of the Century City Athletics Club Victrix Ludorum Trophy in 2013 and 2014 and 2015.

- I am a proud brand ambassador and sponsored athlete for Century City.

- Podiumed 3rd place in the Koeberg Nature Reserve 15km Road Race 2014.

- Winner of the Weskus Langebaan Country Estate Half Marathon 2014.

- Podiumed 2nd place in Total Whale Half Marathon in October 2014.

- Podiumed 3rd place in the Onrus Cashkows Milkwood 10km Road Race in December 2014.

- Podiumed 3rd place in the Take-a-lot Peninsula Half Marathon in February 2015.

- Achieved 5th place in the Weskus Langebaan Country Estate Half Marathon in April 2015.

- Shortlisted for Western Province Athletics SA 21.1km Squad 2015.

- Podiumed 3rd place in the International Mauritius Half Marathon in July 2015.

- Winner of the Total Whale Half Marathon in October 2015.

- Podiumed 2nd place in the Tableview AVBOB 15km Road Race in December 2015.

- Podiumed 3rd place in the Onrus Cashkows Milkwood 10km Road Race in December 2015.

- Podiumed 4th at the Constantia Village 15k Road Race in March 2016.

- 17th in the Two Oceans Half Marathon (4th WP Athlete) in March 2016

- Winner of the Weskus Langebaan Country Estate Half Marathon in April 2016. 

I am currently ranked 7th in the 15km and 21km distances for WP Performances. I achieved my track WP Masters Colours this season past, and although I missed my SA Masters Colours by 8 seconds in my second event, I will certainly be back to achieve them in the new season. 

On future goals… 
Currently competing in the 2016 Cross Country Leagues.

Road Time Goals Listed Below:

- 10km @ sub-38

- 15km @ sub-59

- 21km @ sub-85

And I really hope to represent WP in a national event.

One day, when I have squeezed out every last drop of potential speed left in these legs (whatever age that might be at), I will turn my sights onto the longer distances like the Marathon and perhaps Ultra’s, but for now, my legs do not yearn for nor have they a clue what lies beyond 25km, but it’s exciting to think that there is still plenty of unknown territory ahead of me in my road running future. 

On your social media… 
Twitter and Instagram: @foxyrunner21 
Facebook: Tanya Jean Posthumus-Fox 

On Pink… 
(assuming that you are referring to Breast Cancer Awareness) Sadly, I and many of those close to me, and still so many others out there, have lost cherished ones to the big C. To the survivors, you are an inspiration to us all, keep fighting. And to everyone, get checked regularly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On Pain…
 There is ‘pain’ (like the kind when you are injured, which you should not run through, otherwise you could cause permanent damage), and then there is ‘pain’ (the kind where your muscles are burning from the lactic acid build up, your lungs want to burst while you can hardly catch a breath and that knife stabbing stitch is killing you slowly, and your entire body is extremely fatigued almost to exhaustion, and your mind is telling you to quit). For the first kind, go to your physio ASAP! And for the second kind, dig deep (in Afrikaans we say ‘Vasbyt’), relax your shoulders, slow down your breathing, pump your arms, focus ahead, and chant whatever you need to in order to keep going till the end (my chants are ‘Light as a feather, Fast as a Fox’ or ‘Relax, Focus, Push’), because the famous saying is true, ‘Pain is temporary, Victory is forever!’ No matter how finished we think we are, you still have something left in the tank if you still have the energy to think about it.

For me, the occasional disappointment is actually worse than any pain endured.

Great coaching/ guidance with a structured programme, quality physiotherapy, consistent strength training, cross training, clean nutrition, ample recovery, quality supplementation, and correct trainers/ racers/ spikes, have all played a vital role in my running performance improvements. Century City Athletics Club and Century City Property Owners Association have also been wonderful sponsors and provide excellent encouragement all the way. However, it is the never ending support and motivation from my husband that keeps me going when disappointing results or injury occur. 

On women’s running...
I strongly encourage all other women, no matter their age, to get on the road where they might find talent. Hard work gets you the rest of the way! If someone had told me 7 years ago, that I would be capable of achieving so much as a runner, I would never have believed you. With consistent hard work and a couple of healthy lifestyle changes (like quitting smoking and cutting out sugar), I have gone from not being able to run 1km, to winning 21km races. Besides the obvious physical benefits of weight management and muscle tone definition and strength, there are also emotional and mental benefits from running. 
Running is energising, a very good stress reliever and a huge confidence booster! Do not under estimate yourself, it just starts with going for a walk, and if you keep at it you will experience the ‘Runners High’! Running is so rewarding, and you will learn new things about yourself, as well as meet so many new and awesome people along your running journey. Fellow runners are very encouraging and motivating, and fit and healthy people are really happier people, and we in turn can then spread the kindness. And that amazing feeling after a run, when you feel like you have achieved so much this morning, before anyone else has even started their day, then it is bound to be an amazing day! 

On the Past you...
If I could go back to being a kid, I would of put so much more effort into attempting the various sports that I tried out when I was younger. And with the experience that I have now, I would of gone for the Cross Country opportunity that presented itself when I was in Primary School, instead of stupidly declining. And later I would of run races in all those countries that I visited all over the world in my teens and twenties! But like I said, I am already making up for that lost running time, now, and am loving it! 

When I die...
Well, this shall hopefully not happen before my hundreds, as I hope to live a very long, healthy and fit live ahead, and want a go at attempting all those age category records that await me of cos!!!


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