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The unexpected story of girl who did literally nothing and how she changed that.

Walk Down Memory Lane

When I was growing up, I didn’t do anything. Like, literally. I didn’t do sports.  I didn’t study much.  I was pretty much always in my head.  Dreaming up alternate realities where life felt better.  Looking back, I wish someone would have told me that I was in the early stages of becoming a storyteller, but it felt like nothing. And in thinking about who who I want to be, I wanted to do something.

Enter Running Stage Left 

Currently, I am a working mom and wife, a part-time law student, blogger for The Vinazine, and full-time lover of running.

How did I get here? Let me tell you.

Last year, after I had just turned 31, a friend of mine suggested that we join Parkrun.

It was awful.  I hated it.  Sure, we got to hang out and talk for about the full hour and a half it took us to complete the 3.1 mile trail.  But I hated every minute of it.  I was never good at running, and I wasn’t good at this.  At this point, all I was amazed with was the people who do the trail twice over.  As in 6.2 miles.  That is 10 kilometers.  And what amazed me more is that, by the time we were still on our way to our 3.1 mile finish line, they were already coming back from round number two.

Fast forward a few months to the day before my daughter’s birthday party in March 2017, I was supposed to meet a friend at Gillooly’s for the run… but she didn’t show up.  I decided to see how fast I really am and pushed forward.  I ran when I couldn’t and sprinted when I could.  But mostly, mostly I just walked.  I did.  I am not even gonna lie.  I make it sound heroic, it wasn’t.  I was sweating ice blocks by the time I crossed the finish line.  My eyes were blurry for a week.  About as long as it took me to get my breath back.  But, I got a time.  42 minutes – 5km (3.1 Miles).  I was amazed.  Exhausted, but amazed.

FnbEnter My  Runner’s High Stage Right

I loved the feeling.  I felt invincible.  I had done it.  The thing I said I would never be able to do, I have done.  I wanted to push myself forward.  Push myself further.  I wanted to see what else I could do.  What else did I have in me that I didn’t know I had?  I started keeping track of my goals.  For three weeks I could not break the 42 minute time limit I set.  Then, for motivation, I decided to change the distance goal, and not the time goal.  On 24 May 2017, I ran 7.2 km  (about 4.47 miles) in 58 minutes.  I was on top of the world.  My confidence was at an all time high.  I spoke better.  I studied better.  I felt like I could do anything.

I was on that high for a few months before I decided to take on my first 10k run.  The FNB Joburg City Run.  In the heart of Johannesburg.  Up and down hills, through the inner city, passing lots of hobos.  It was time.  On 24 September I set out on my own for the first time in a commercial race and for the first time double my “regular” race distance.  I was scared and emotional.  But I knew I had to finish.

Grand Finale

It was cold.  It was early.  But we did it.  About a kilometer before the finish line, I made a live video for Facebook.  Mostly because I was feeling really lonely.  I did just run 9 kilometers on my own.  But also because I felt like the moment needed to be documented.  For myself, so I could have something to remember the day.  Right after I crossed the finish line, I was absolutely overcome with all types of emotions.   Just thinking about it now gives me goosebumps.  The feeling of having run 10 km for the first time on my own, after believing for 31 years that I was not a runner, was exhilarating.  It was the best feeling in the world.  By far the most proudest I’ve been of myself in all my life. #ladybrag

Taking a Bow

Currently, I am on the lookout for a run crew (or cru, depending on where you’re from) to join.  I’m also looking at new ways to challenge myself.  I realize that it will be a long while before I will be able to run 5 km in under 30 minutes, but I am looking forward to 1) my training to get me there and 2) the day when I finally do it.

I’m also looking forward to running at least 2 commercial races per month in 2018.  And apparently, people who win first place, win money.  So that’s definitely a good carrot to dangle.

So, if you see me in the Hey! VINA Runners Community, swipe right, and let’s go for a run!!


One thing that I want to share with everyone I know is this:  Do one thing you’re scared of this week, this month or heck this year! (Not much left of it, so get on with it.)

Trust your gut when it tells you to do it again.  You might just become the 2.0 version of yourself you’ve been waiting and hoping for. Because if a girl who’s never done anything can become a woman with family, a career, friends, and hobbies that bring her joy, you can too.



  1. WOW!!! The student becomes the teacher…. Motivational, Inspirational…. I love it. I’m soooooo proud of you Leely. Jy is pragtig!!!


  2. Great job L! All it takes is one step. We are born to run, everyone can do it. Just going out there is amazing. I am so glad you are in the cult now! haha
    I have been a runner since age 15 and it never gets old. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved your story, I loved to run and got away from it for awhile. I mostly walk and climb hills and stairs. I’ve always wanted to run a race, so hello track here I come!
    Thank you so much for being such a great motivator!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the inspiring story. Learning to live life at the edge of my comfort zone these last few years and it’s scary but even more rewarding when you succeed.


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