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UTCT Chronicles: My Own Sacred Story

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Hey, resilient warriors! I've spent a week wrestling with my thoughts to capture the rollercoaster that is my UTCT journey. Brace yourselves for a tale that's less rainbows and unicorns and more of a slow burn, with a dash of frustration, and downright challenging trek through the peaks and valleys of my own body. But hey, at each step, I found more gratitude for my body's quirks and capabilities as I trudged on.

Exactly a year ago, I was drowning in MRI results, a memento of a bike mishap that slammed the brakes on my world. December hit, and so did the harsh reality – no running, cycling, or even the solace of Pilates. I practically became a professional at living vicariously through everyone else's adventures (happy, not happy haha!), navigating this setback felt like an eternity... until I surrendered to the progress!

Come January, no land-speed records were shattered. Instead, I cautiously reintroduced slow walks. February, the month of hope, had me celebrating 1 minute of running in an entire hour! Tears flowed from sheer joy! March, April, and May unfolded like a slow-burning drama – testing, eliminating, and adding movements painstakingly and including a lot of positive self-talk about getting stronger every day (If not physically, at least mentally!).

June meant another MRI. Ready to up the training, I needed assurance that I was doing more good than damage! It revealed an increase in cysts, but the Specialist assured me it would do me good to "get out of my head." So, there I was in July, walking a tightrope between pain and progress, clocking my longest trail run at 17km at Bastille Day.

August, brought a new 2023 achievement of 24km trail “running” with 2000m vert. Shattered and gasping for air, recovery took days. Trekking poles had been my quiet blessing this past year, and we became besties as I faced the uphill battles – both metaphorically and literally.

September, the month of solitude and self-discovery, saw me conquering Race to the Sea – 166km, a relentless solo endeavor. Little Puffie, with its 24km, became a therapy session of relentless talking to numb the (good) pain. September 30th, I managed my first 30km run at Maxi race and in the rain.

By October 1st, I'd decided I was going to race the UTCT 35km with 2000m vert on technical terrain. But it wasn't a leap; it was a carefully measured step! November, the grand finale, was UTCT. Boiling, brutal, beautiful – more than a race; it was a showdown with my limitations, putting my fears to rest, and an overwhelming love and joy for being in the mountains. 13th South African female, 21st female – numbers that tell a tale of persistence through the grueling grind. But more than that, an ending to a year of putting one foot in front of the other and trusting my body and mind that I can recover and that I can be a runner again.

Life's a journey, always has been, and always will be. Injuries bring not just physical but mental hurdles. Every small win, every step has led me here. Grateful for a body that, despite its imbalances, continues to show up. Here's to the grind, the struggle, and the victories that are hard-earned.



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