1. Enjoy the race
I did try my best. I danced at the water station. I high-fived the kids. I smiled at everybody. I joked as much as I could. I waved at everyone and I performed for the cameras. I did as much as I could, for as long as I could. The most consistent piece of advice I received was a suspiciously enthusiastic "just enjoy it." The crowds and FANS were awesome, some called me by my name, some shouted my clubs name “ you looking good, Onias” Comeon UCT its only 30k.m to go. You meet many funny characters along the route that makes the marathon enjoyable. Don’t live a miserable life, you need postive energy to succeed in life. All you need is to weed out all the negative people and start associating with people that spice your life with hapiness, laughter and joy.
1. Enjoy the race
"I was so disheartened to see an old granny over the 70's powering past me like a machine. Never underestimate anyone in life."
Dreams are not meant to be wasted. We all dream of things that we want to accomplish in life. And they all have the same thing in common: They begin by taking one small step. For me, when I am in comfort zone I stop dreaming and I become reluctant. My first step was to run the City of Cape Town marathon in 2009 & it set alight my dreams. It was now 5 years down the line of procrastination, cancelling, whinning, moaning and coming up with endless excuses of not getting a Cisco certification. By finishing my first marathon, Cisco certification became completely within reach and a possibility.
Founding legends are a specialty of Silicon Valley, and none is more appealing than that of Cisco Systems: i/In the 1980s a young Stanford University couple invent the multiprotocol router and starts Cisco in their living room, using their own credit cards for financing.
Best of all, dear reader, she paid £1.25 million for a crumbling English country house and spent a further £10 million converting it into a library and study centre, equipped with all her beautiful, arcane books. Chawton House, Hampshire, once owned by Jane Austen's brother and set in 275 acres, is about to open to the public after 11 years of toil, sweat and village politics. "Not quite the time frame I had envisaged," Lerner notes, drily.
If the Chawton Library project is to be counted as one of her "toys", it has been a very troublesome one, and a less gritty person than Lerner would have dumped it long since. When she bought the roofless Elizabethan house from a bankrupt developer who had planned to turn it into a hotel and golf course, she assumed she would be regarded as "a good person". Instead, the rumour mill got to work, grinding her academic intentions in a mishmash of hysteria and innuendo.
It was said she was setting up a lesbian commune; that she was going to turn it into the next EuroDisney; that Bosack was secretly designing missile guidance systems for the Ministry of Defence. The badger society claimed her plans to restore the 18th-century landscape would interfere with some abandoned badger setts. Lerner, in jeans and with purple toenails, rocks back in her chair. "I give millions of dollars a year to every animal organisation on the planet. I mean, I take flies outside! The idea that I would kill mammals is as absurd as the idea that I would start a lesbian commune. It has been an interesting road."
When I ask her how she dealt with it all, she says her big mistake was trying to answer local people's objections rationally. "That's not what it's about, is it? English people never say what they mean."
In her absurd "rational phase", this straight-talking American with the vivid hair attended a meeting in the village hall. Someone asked a question about field sports. Lerner assumed the subject was soccer. The gentlemanly Richard Knight, whose family owns the Chawton estate, leant over. "They are talking about shooting animals," he said.
With that, Lerner wisely went to ground, leaving matters of diplomacy, planning regulations and local politics to her English team, notably Gilly Drummond, the Hampshire worthy who is her landscape guru. "Gilly has the ability to deal with all this stuff with a sense of humour and elegance that I didn't think existed outside of Jane Austen."
Lerner's love of Austen - whose cottage down the road in Chawton attracts about 50,000 visitors a year - started when she was studying "a pretty hellish computer science-mathematics programme" at Stanford University in 1982. "It was a wonderful escape into a kind of civilised, humorous world, a thinking person's escape, a thinking person's drug."
She has read all six of the novels many times - her favourite, Persuasion, more than 70 times. "The sexual tension in that novel is just amazing." She can expatiate on the social nuance of every different type of carriage mentioned by Austen - and drives many of them herself.
From Austen, her interest in women's writing broadened to take in the 10,000 to 15,000 novels published by some 3,000 women from 1600 to 1830. With money now at her disposal, she built up a library of 6,200 rare books and manuscripts. "All of a sudden, Jane Austen made a whole lot more sense. It wasn't like she'd dropped in from outer space with six of the best novels in the English language and left. You could see her in the context of things she'd read."
To make sense of Sandy Lerner herself, a handsome 47, you have to go back to her schizophrenic upbringing by two wildly dissimilar aunts. Her parents were desperately poor - father an artist, mother a window-dresser with experience as a poodle-trimmer - and they divorced when she was four. For most of the year, Sandy lived with her rural aunt in the mountains of California, free to do as she pleased among the animals she loved. At nine, she was driving a truck.
In the summer, she went to her aunt in the Hollywood Hills, who sent her to dancing classes and tried to make a lady of her. "The farm was a great place to grow up, but I preferred the Hollywood Hills. My aunt looked like Lucille Ball and everything she touched was beautiful and elegant. But I was intelligent enough to understand I would never be like her."
From an early age, Lerner was self-reliant and opinionated. At 13, she joined the anti-Vietnam war protest. Political science was the fashionable thing to read at graduate school but she switched to computers because she thought it was more likely to lead to a job. "I thought: if you can't do what you want, you might as well go make some money." At Stanford, she saw her first computer terminal - an almost religious experience - and fell in with a group of unwashed computer nerds.
Here, she met her future husband, Len Bosack (who did wash), and together, out of sheer frustration that their two networks on different parts of the campus could not communicate, they developed the technology to make this possible. Stanford wouldn't buy their "routers", so they founded their own company, Cisco, charging start-up costs on their credit cards. He was the technological genius and she the entrepreneur.
In 1990, the year they took the company public and so brilliantly sold out, Lerner and Bosack parted. But they are still close friends and business partners and the charitable foundation they set up with 70 per cent of the money is named after their parents. "We were very fortunate to come upon this insane amount of money at a time when it was clear that it was insane. We had seen people we knew either kill themselves or develop tragic drug habits."
Bosack has underwritten half the costs of Chawton Library. Though 3,000 miles apart, the two are closer than most married couples. "We have a bond and a trust that you don't often get in a marriage," she says. "If anyone tried to harm a hair on Len's head, I would tear them apart."
Being torn apart by Sandy Lerner would be terminal. She may be courteous and she may love cats (there are lots of kitsch photos of her cats around the place) but she must be a frightening adversary. Animals, not humans, are her preferred companions.
Isn't she worried that people are interested in her only for her money? Well, of course they are, she retorts. Why else would I be interviewing her? "It's my little defining thing." After a childhood dependent on the charity of relatives, independence is what she values most - otherwise, she says, money buys little of importance.
"I have a few toys," she agrees. "But I live very simply. I farm - there is something visceral about being attached to the land. I am a recording engineer. I do my own laundry most days and I get on with the business of living."
I’m pretty mediocre. I’m ashamed to admit it. I’m not even being sarcastic or self-deprecating. I’ve never done anything that stands out as, “Whoa! This guy made it into outerspace! Or…this guy has a best selling novel! Or…if only Google had thought of this!” I’ve had some successes and some failures, but never reached any of the goals I had initially set.