Refilwe Mokgosi

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q. Who are you and what you do for a living?

I am is a mother of two boys and a wife. I am an electrical engineer appointed as a Deputy Director in the Energy and Electricity Division at the City of Tshwane’s Utility Services Department. I am also a President-Elect of the Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities, an active volunteer at Engineering Council of South Africa and a member of other various committees in the energy industry. 

I’m very passionate about sports, I’m a runner, cyclist and an aspiring triathlete. I recently started swimming lessons aiming to participate at the half IRONMAN triathlon in 2020. I am a Comrades marathon finisher with 7 medals and a Two Ocean marathon finisher with 6 medals. 

Q. How do you balance your exercise regime and your professional life? 

My philosophy of life has always been “there is time for everything” and that you make time for what’s important for your life. Planning is crucial, I basically have my whole year schedule. I knows which races I will do and when, be it running or cycling. My work is very demanding and it also requires me to travel, so I always have my gym bag with, wherever I go, and luckily as member of virgin active gym, they are everywhere and what I learnt is there are runners everywhere so when I get to any gym I enquire if there are people who run around the area, and I would join them. I strives to train at least 5 times a week including weekends. I trainsanytime in the morning or afternoon depending on my work schedule. So basically my professional life drives my training and also influences my weekly mileage targets and races that are coming up on my schedule. My friends always tease me because every December period I exercise a lot, put a lot of mileage in my legs so when the year begins and work pressures hinders me from training at least I know base millage is covered it’s just a matter of keeping fit. 

Q. When and why did you start running? 

I have always been active person, my focus was more indoor training till after my second child, I picked up a lot of weight and struggled with weight loss, I needed a different activity for my weight loss and a friend recommended running to rapidly reduce my weight, which I despised, I decided to take on the challenge and started running around August 2011, within few months I was already addicted. The next I knew I was an Ultra runner, 2012 I did my first two oceans and comrades marathon.

Q. What motivates you to go out there, when you do not feel like it? 

My weekly targets push me to go out and train even if I don’t feel like. There is nothing more painful than to be humbled by a race, when I think of that pain i just make time and go train. Most importantly i surround myself with active people especially runners, on social media when you’re training buddies post their activities, that on its own just motivates me to go out and run. We have WhatsApp running group as well where we post our daily training to motivate each other.

Q. What is the longest distance you have ran? 

The longest distance I have ran is about 90 km, the comrade’s marathon, which I successfully completed 7 times already.

Q. What gives you the confidence to run in the streets? 

Confidence comes from sense of training, completing races and setting achievable goals. Self-talk while running works magic for me and keeps me going. Most importantly I run with an open heart because I know I have all the support I need starting from home, my husband to kids. And I always ensure that I don’t run alone, if I’m running alone I would have someone escorting me in a support car. 

Q. What do you think about the lack of exercise? 

Studies show that physically active people are less likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who are inactive. This is even after researchers accounted for smoking, alcohol use, and diet. Lack of physical activity can add to feelings of anxiety and depression. I can testify to that because I’m from a family with diabetes, high blood and obesity, I have seen what being inactive can do. Hence I encourage health life style and influence people around me to be active. 

Q. What was your best running experience? 

My best running experience started when I structured my training with a bit of speed training, hill training, easy jogs, and recovery runs and so on. Before it was about how many kilometres and fast I run them. I have seen lot of improvement in my running with structured program and feel I could even do better if I can follow it holistic. 

My comrades 2016 was my best race, I did my personal best, I ran 10hours 16 minutes and still felt good after the run, that’s the season where I started having structured training. 

Q. What was your worst running experience? 

My worst running experience was three days before Two Oceans Marathon 2017, I went for my speed training just after warm up I tripped badly and fell on rocks. The doctor said I should not run but I refused, i ran the 2 oceans marathon with an injury, it was a difficult ultra I have ever ran, as I was limping for most part of the race. I had good training and wanted to do my PB, plan was between 5hours 30 minutes and 5hours 40 minutes. That was it instead had to settle for sub finish. 

Q. How do you push through the pain? 

First thing I tell myself is I am tougher than the pain, put my mind to it and just push through the pain. Having goals also helps me a lot, it the distrust me from pain, goals help me focus on chasing that goal, and that motivates to hold on. 

Q. What advice can you give somebody who wants to start running?

Start building base by taking it very easy, start by doing 30 minute run-walks at least for 3 weeks and from there increase gradually by 5 minutes till you are able to do it for longer. Don’t worry about how many kilometers you cover until you are comfortable. If you not able to run at all start by walk and with time do power walks till to a point you are able to carry your body. 

Q. Which Social media sites are you on and how can one follow you? 

Instagram, @mogalerefilwe Facebook: Refilwe Mogale Mokgosi, twitter @khumomogale3


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