I’ve been an avid runner since I was ten years old. In my younger years I was a sprinter, winning many school races and even setting one or two records. If I examine my physique, I’m built like a sprinter so it makes sense that I excelled at that sport – and most sports that I played. In varsity I started running longer distances. I began with 5km races and when I became confident enough that I could actually finish these races without dying – I moved on to the 10km races. I realised that I wasn’t exactly enjoying these longer races but I still felt an incredible sense of accomplishment when I reached the finish line and received my shiny medal.
I knew from the very beginning that I wasn’t going to be competitive in long distance running, but I was happy to be a part of these large groups of runners who enthusiastically showed up every weekend to take on the challenge of that week’s route. I even enjoyed seeing the familiar faces who would nod in my direction or wave in recognition before the races, and of course the smiles exchanged through hazy exhaustion after crossing the finish line.
When I moved to Johannesburg, I pretty much kept my fitness training inside gyms and fitness studios. Taking on the Johannesburg hills was far too daunting. I had moved from a gentle sea-level Durban altitude of 6 metres, to a whopping 1 753 metre altitude in Johannesburg and my lungs were not accustomed to these conditions. I wouldn’t say I missed road-running exactly, there’s nothing glamorous about panting and sweating in the hot sun while getting sunburnt and smelly – it was the sense of accomplishment and the shiny medals that I longed for.
And so I took to the hills – and it was tough! The combination of the very high altitude and the steep inclines was constantly dampening my spirits. It took a while but eventually I felt confident enough to run my first race, which was the Spar Women’s Race. It’s an annual 5km / 10km run that travels the country and is very popular in South Africa. After this I ran many more 10km races including Joburg 10km City Run and the Totalsport Women’s Race and many others. I was now physically ready to take on my first half marathon. I eagerly signed up for the popular Soweto Marathon 21km race and remained dedicated to my training. It was the mental component of running 21 kilometres that I wasn’t ready for. At some point I just wanted death to come and put me out of my misery. But to my despair, I had already blogged about training for the race, and it would have been just plain embarrassing not to cross the finish line. That basically means that you (yes YOU reading this) got me through that race. So a belated “thank you” to you.
It makes no sense to me, but after that race, after I had forgotten the pain and discomfort, forgotten the anger at myself for putting my body through such insanity – I did the inevitable, I began plotting my next move – the big one, my first marathon!
Unfortunately I moved to the Middle East before I could tackle this next benchmark and conquer my massive 42km goal. Before I left the Mother Land, I managed to run one more half marathon – the Orlando Half Marathon which took place in December 2016 in the streets of Soweto. This time I was more mentally prepared (sort of). The elements that ruined the race for me were out of my control this time. But that’s a story for another day. All I’ll say for now is that I completed the race, got my medal and achieved another fitness goal.
I’m always dressed colourfully when I exercise, it cheers me up because I love colour. And sometimes the going gets tough, so I need as much cheer as I can muster. One of the brands I enjoyed when I was running in the Johannesburg streets is Oi Active. I’m wearing an Oi Active crop top and tights in the photos above. They specialise in fitness apparel and swimwear. The products are imported from Brazil and they only use intelligent fabrics that work to help sport performance and promote comfort as well as concealing cellulite and protecting the skin. Oi Active’s exclusive store is based in the posh Waterkloof Shopping Centre in Brooklyn (Pretoria) but you can order directly on Instagram (@OiActive) or contact Tina via WhatsApp on +27 839628755. To win yourself a pair of Oi Active exercise tights worth R1200 follow these easy steps. The competition ends on Tuesday, 28 November and I will announce the winner at 12:00 on Wednesday, 29 November 2017. You can have a look at my InstaStory for the draw.
How To Enter:
- Follow @NtandoStemmet on Instagram.
- Follow @OiActive on Instagram.
- Answer this question: what was the last race that I ran in South Africa before moving to Doha, Qatar? Write your answer below in the comments section of this blog post.
- For an additional entry into the competition (optional) you can tag two friends on the competition post on my Instagram page.
Congratulations to Marisa Calvert the winner of the Oi Active exercise tights.