Cocktails & Coco

Posted on June 26, 2011


I sit and write this from my hotel lobby in Singapore, fresh from a BBQ with my wonderful family, suitably hydrated thanks to a few chilled glasses of Cloudy Bay and looking footloose and fancy free in my favourite LBD.

It’s hard to imagine already that just 24 hours ago, I was in the midst of running the Sundowner 100km Ultramarathon, a tough race on unforgiving tarmac, undulating for 50km or so, through the night and in the harsh summer humidity here.  Unlike it’s namesake, the cocktail to sip at sunset, the idea is to begin running at 6pm and try to complete the distance by sunrise.

From an event point of view, you can read all the facts and figures on the website ….and from an organisational point of view, I have to say, it was second to none.

But from a Tori point of view?  You’d have to visit for that!

Over a 12+ hour race, so much goes through your mind and I won’t bore you with the minutiae detail.  Some things stick though … some things leak over into your every day life … and some things act as a realisation of the things you rate as great.

My top three from this event?

  • Family is family

Prior to the race starting, I spent an hour or so playing and laughing in the sunshine with my family, drinking champagne and chatting over each other (somethings will never change!!). Everyone wished me so much luck and love and this would have been the case whether I was running 5k or 100k.

The point? It’s so easy sometimes to get wound up by the dramas of family lives, the politics and the differences … but forget them … forget them all.  Family is family and I would die for every single member in mine. It’s times like this, when we reach out to new challenges, that we realise their importance and their unconditional support that can’t ever be replaced or duplicated.

  • Mums are mums

At 85k, I was tired and sore.  The humidity and slight rain had all but washed off the thick layer of Vaseline placed to protect my body from chaffing.  My bra lines and underarms are still bleeding as I tap. But what kept me going, (other than deciding in perfect detail what to have for breakfast and dreaming over the cool cotton bed sheets that awaited me) was the thought that my mum might be there at the end … and as it so happens, she had no idea when I might finish and wasn’t there at the end but this didn’t matter when I actually got to the finish line because I knew she was rooting for me from start to finish (amongst so many others) and she pulled me through my darkest hours.

The point? Whatever our age, whatever our stage, mums are mums and no one can ever replace that feeling of being utterly cared for.  Age five, I would run home to have her clean up my battered knees, post scrapes, falls and urban adventure.  Thirty years later, I ran ‘home’ with her fixed firmly in my mind for exactly the same reason.

  • Style is style

I was having the p*** taken out of me before the start of the race for looking far too glammed up before running a 100km.  ‘Have you been to get a blow dry?!?’, my little sister asked … ‘Is it necessary to be wearing mascara and lippie?!?, my big sister continued … made better by my mum for saying that I would be without doubt the most stylish 100km runner at the race. Thing is, I wasn’t being vain … nor a lush.  I’m just a firm believer that when we make an effort with our outward appearance, it nurtures our inward appearance which in turn fuels our self-belief and esteem.  Strategy then you might say! (This is helped of course, by my adidas keeping me kitted out from head to toe!)

And as I was running, I listed on audio to ‘The Gospel according to Coco Chanel.’ Coco was a fascinating woman albeit complex and difficult. She had a take on style that every women has drawn lessons from and for that alone, she is a legend.

She was strong-headed, elegant, opinionated and passionate …. she had amazing individuality, confidence and determination and most importantly, she knew how to stay true to herself and how to problem-solve in any given situation.

And really, all these characteristics are needed, in varying degrees to get through an ultra marathon … so this post, I title for you Coco …. and for this same reason, I put on your iconic creation, the LBD tonight!

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