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Lodelia kombrink

Lodelia Kombrink

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you first got into running?

I am Lodelia, 39-year-old mom of 2 teenage boys, happily married to Divan and living a trail runners dream in George. I started running at a young age on the farm, hated running on a track and completed my first half marathon the moment I turned 16. I did my first ultra at the age of 19 and that was when I knew the long stuff is what I am going to go for.

What motivates you to lace up your shoes and hit the trail every day?

Besides the fact that you know there is goals lined up and the drive to perform to your best abilities, for someone who works an 8/9-hour office job it is the best thing to get out there and appreciate nature – whether it rains, or the wind howls gale-force or even if it is 35 degrees! Just the mere fact that I can still run and enjoy the outdoors gets me going.

What distance races do you mostly enter?

The longer the better! I love any race 100km or longer.

How do you handle the mental and physical challenges that come with being a long-distance runner?

Physically one can train your body to cope, and it is just absolutely amazing what your body can achieve if you look after it while pushing the limits (proper sleep, nutrition, and care). The mental side is more of a challenge specially when you are trying to balance the everyday life and challenges with training, not even to mention when you are peaking. The most important thing for me is to keep focusing on the end goal, meditation, going through every single emotion but to eventually get back up and re-align my thoughts with a positive mindset to reach my goal. It is just so important to time-out and really give yourself and your mind some space.

What do you hope to achieve in your running career, both in the short term and long term?

I would like to put my name out there as one of the best milers in our country. Obviously, that is going to take some time, but I am patient to work towards that goal. I would love to compete in a variety of milers not only in SA, but also abroad. And wow, ultimately to do UTMB.

How do you balance your training schedule with other aspects of your life, such as work or family commitments?

It is a proper juggle! Working full time, having to get home and do chores, planning weekends around kid’s sport is a challenge. Throw the Eskom crisis and the insane winter we have had in the mix, and you get a proper daily planning going (When I open my eyes I first check yr-weather and then Eskom-app 😊). I must admit I have the most amazing support from my husband who is there for me and understand if I sometimes only get home after 19:00, from 07:00 in the morning. It is a lot of sacrifice one makes. I think that is also why I want to make every race count because of what you sacrifice (like the kid’s rugby games or family lunches).

What has been the most memorable race or running experience of your career so far, and why?

This is difficult! There is so many races having the most amazing memories. But If I must say, it would be my 2 Addo 100mile races. My first one was my first miler ever in 2022 and the support from the George community at the race was amazing. I still get goosebumps if I think about that last kilometre with all my friends cheering me on and my coach waiting at the end. This year, there was not so many known faces, but I had my husband waiting for me at the end and to see him with open arms after a tough 25hours out welcoming me back to a back-to-back 100miler win was a moment I will always treasure. Both races I have cried so much – from the few minutes before the start, throughout the race and specially at the end 😊

How do you approach setting goals for yourself, and what steps do you take to achieve them?

Self-discipline is key. I like to be realistic in my approach in what I like and what I know works for me. Once I have set a goal, I will literally go through how many training blocks there would be, how many hours I would spend. I prepare myself mentally way ahead for all my long runs so that I am not overwhelmed after a tough week at work. I would make time daily to think, to reflect and to go through my program. I would visualize myself reaching my goal. And that makes going into action just so much easier.

Can you share some insights into your training regimen and any specific workouts or techniques that have been particularly effective for you?

There are a few things that specifically work very well for me and things I focus on. Firstly, I am a strong believer on running on tired legs. Those days where you feel you can’t, or after a proper 5hour training session, the best is to get out there the next day. I believe in runnable hill repeats, a proper climbing session, an interval session, a nice endurance run and cross training to get the strength going. I love my Pilates and mountain biking as variations to my training programmes.

How do you stay focused and maintain a positive mindset during tough times or setbacks in your running journey?

I do believe that adversity builds character, a strong one! As a person who have had my fair share of struggles, physically, emotionally, and obviously mentally, it was the intentional decision to rise above the situations time and again that got me through. You can either stay down and ponder over the situation, or you can get back up and figure out how you will avoid these situations going forward, and how you will handle them. Focusing on the comeback instead of the set back is key if you want to excel. And – for me it is the fact that there is an Upper Hand who says who I am, and I prefer to believe His word above those of men. And that gets me through valleys and up mountain tops.

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