For every woman who has said: “I could never”, “I’ll do it when”, or “not in this lifetime”. 

It’s often a shock to people when they find out that I’m not naturally sporty. “Being fit” was only something I acquired in my early university years. All you’d have to do is throw a ball at me to realise that I have the ball skills of a 7-year-old girl. Likely because it was around then that I formed the belief that I wasn’t very physically capable. A belief so strong it took me 29 years and 4 months to break for good. 

Overcoming the fear of being bad at stuff. 

I used to believe it was my ADHD that made me averse to uncomfortable situations. Turns out it’s a symptom of being human. There’s nothing scarier than being bad at something, especially around people you want to impress. Because I know this feeling so well, I’m so compassionate to responses like “I’ll join a gym when I’m fitter” or “I’ll come running with you when I can run 2km without stopping”. 

That compassion has, however, been replaced with a new fire. A feeling so much stronger than fear, inadequacy, and humiliation. The feeling of possibility, of REDEFINING what is possible. Feeling what so few people will dare to push themselves to feel — invincible. 

Everyone starts somewhere.

Fuel to my fire.

This fire was sparked years ago when I first felt INVINCIBLE. This was the leap I took entering for a 10km trail at a time when I could only run only 2–5km (or so I thought). That was one of the first experiments I remember saying “yes” to and planning on figuring it out later. Spoiler alert, I could indeed run 10km, but more importantly I could do something I didn’t think I physically could. 

I’ll never forget running along the side of the mountain, grinning like a mad woman on a runners’ high, thinking: There’s nowhere I’d rather be. I felt like I could run forever. I can still feel the cool air with the sun warming up my back. I can still hear the river rushing on my right and the birds flying into the backdrop of the mountains of Dullstroom. “This is what feeling truly present and completely alive must feel like”, I thought. 

Addicted to Invincible.

I couldn’t stop there. This snowballed into my entering my first 21km run. Not just any 21km run, but the Oxpecker, which is a trail run AND a stage race (21km on day one and 18km on day two). Another spoiler alert, I was also capable of running further than I ever had on day one. Only to wake up terrified and stiff to do my second longest run the following day. 

To this day The Oxpecker is probably my favourite trail race, not only because it’s just a brilliantly organised and run event — but because of what it represents. The ability to do so much more than I ever thought possible. 

The Oxpecker Trail.

Picking myself up — Literally.

My next venture was deciding to enter an InHouse Crossfit competition — before attending a single crossfit class. This one seemed slightly more dangerous so I did decide a few months of preparation was needed (keeping mind throughout all of these I remained active in different ways, once I started exercising I was so scared of regressing that I’ve just decided to never stop and rather just keep transitioning to what I enjoy in different seasons). 

That first Crossfit Competition goal took me from deadlifting a 5kg training barbell with great form, to 15kg, to 30kg. Then on competition day all the way up to one rep of 60kg (with questionable form but I did it none the less). 

Notice that I never place or even rank in terms of being “good” at these events. Without the fear of being bad at stuff I’ve felt so free to just try stuff that looked interesting and fun. 

My first CrossFit Competition.

In 2023 I managed my heaviest ever deadlift of 105kg. Not only that, but I managed to be able to push my body weight overhead. I move around gyms with confidence, I can climb ropes and do double under skipping. This all happened over years of attending classes when I could and wanted to. My exercise journey shows me time and time again that the whole game is showing up when and how you can without sweating the small stuff. 

Dancing with the tweens.

2023 was also the year I decided to conquer one of my greatest fears to date. Dancing competitions. Like with all my ventures it started with entering a competition with no idea how I would find the time to practise. That first competition, was indeed terrifying and awful. 

But I didn’t die from the humiliation of coming last in my sections or having children and tweens be obviously better than me. 

I decided to go dance with the tweens. To get caught up in the nervousness and excitement that lead up to dance comps and camps instead of believing I was too old or had better things to do. 

In 2023 I also got my first ever Gold Medal and performed my dream role of Jasmine in a production of Alladin. 

Dancing competitions.

Fitfluencer — Athlete Journey

If you’ve followed me you’ve seen how I became somewhat obsessed with fitness ever since starting BBG all the way back in 2015. This lead to me competing in my first body building competition and placing Top 6. Then competing for a second (and probably last) time in 2019 where I competed in South Korea and placed second in my category. Among all of this I also entered for FitnessMag and Biogen’s Face of Fitness in 2022. I didn’t win but I did come scarily close.

This was probably the first time I experienced heartbreak over not winning. I was so used to not winning and not expecting to — that I hadn’t considered what it would feel like to believe I could win and not. 

I realised I had a choice to disappear or to make the most of the opportunities the competition afforded me. More than that I decided that what I enjoyed through all of my journeys was the connections I was making along the way. What if I just focused on that to get me out of the dark places I was finding myself in. 

First vs. Second Bodybuilding Competition.
Face of Fitness Competition.

Fast forward through many years of “saying yes and figuring out how later”, of letting go of the fear of being bad at stuff, and focusing on having fun along the way with the relationships, community and connections you make and you get the chance to do a 1/2 Ironman. A once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Underprepared and overenthusiastic.

I didn’t have a training plan. I didn’t have a plan. I’m a busy girl at the best of times and a hectically busy one at the worst. I decided that I was going to enter and fail forward. I would fail and fail and fail until I got to race day where I would pray for this to be the day I didn’t fail. 

This preparation journey saw me through highs and lows. It saw me refusing to show up some days. And deciding to show up when I really didn’t want to on others. I showed up scared. I showed up excited. I showed up grumpy. Many times I didn’t show up at all. 

I did feel the shame and guilt when I didn’t. I didn’t always give myself grace and sometimes I gave myself too much grace. I’m realising that every journey I embark on mimics this life journey. Nothing is black and white. Nothing goes how you think it will or plan for it to go. Every single time though, you’ll get exactly what you need. That is the common thread through it all. It won’t go how you think it will. It’ll go how it will, and that’s always the way it was supposed to. 

You’ll do what most won’t to feel what you wish more people could feel. 

I thought I’d feel disconnected doing something like this. Instead, it just opened me up to my humanness even more. Not only did my community show up in the most wild and wonderful ways imaginable — like I talk about here. But you realise just how very human we all are. Through meeting all these people in various disciplines and walks of life you realise we all experience fear, loneliness, imposter syndrome, and feeling inadequate.

I felt every high and low so deeply on this journey. Depsite how hard the actual journey and experience was (and is) I’d do it all again for the lesson that came from it. 

You think you’ll feel on top of the world the week before but really all you’re filled with is terror and dread. You think you’ll feel like a new person after you’ve completed this, which you do. You do redefine possible. But you’re also still the same person you meet each night before you fall asleep. You’re still the girl who struggles to get her invoices out on time and overcommits to the point of burnout. But now you’re also the girl who can train when she doesn’t want to. Laugh through the hardest workouts and days. Do things she never imagined possible to learn the greatest lesson of all: 

That we don’t have to, and shouldn’t, do this life alone. 

Self talk.

On race day you’ll start with: “You’ve got this girl”.

But that motivation runs out pretty quickly. Soon you have to start digging deeper. By hour three, some deeper stuff might start surfacing. I think about the times I’ve said to myself that I’m not athletic. By hour five, I start chanting the names of the people I love. I start believing the statement “you’ve got this girl.” By hour seven I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. By hour seven I’m realising that I can do anything I put my mind to. By hour seven I’m laughing at all the ways I’ve held myself back in life.

By hour seven I realise that each small and big step forward gets to be proof of what is possible not just for me, but…

For every person who says: “I’ll start when…”
For every woman who feels nervous in the weight section.
For the little girl who doesn’t run onto the field to play soccer with the boys like she wants because she knows at that time she’s not as good as they are and doesn’t want to get laughed at.
For every person who believes that there’s some experience reserved for others and not them. 

I challenge (and implore you) to do what many won’t and show up before you’re ready. Show up scared, show up tired, show up ready to learn and show up ready to connect. Only good things lie on the other side and while I’ll patiently listen to all the reasons why you can’t and won’t, I won’t let you say “I’ll start when…: in front of me anymore. 

We can and we will.

Against all odds we can and we will. Because you have never and will never be alone when you follow paths of passion. Cheers to finishing a 1/2 Ironman and cheers to losing ourselves in all the things we jump into before we’re ready to find exactly who we are on the other side. 

We can and we will.