Wednesday, 15 March 2017
A Word Of Encouragement
I've been reflecting this week on my participation in the Grizzly. I've been going down to watch that race and support M in it for eight years now. It always filled me with awe, that people were capable of taking on that particular challenge: the hills, the pebble beaches, the distance, the weather. I loved watching the runners gather at the start and come back after a couple of hours and more out on the hills, covered in mud, sweating, red faced, some looking completely knackered but everyone with a real feeling of achievement about them. But I never, in a million years, ever thought it would be me doing it. I simply didn't think I had the capacity, the strength, the fitness or the ability.
And then, a few weeks ago, we were talking about me maybe doing it next year, or trying to find a ticket no-one wanted for this year, and M suddenly said there's an obvious solution- you take my place. And that was that. Without me really making a decision about it, it was decided. I still wasn't sure I could do it but I didn't want to let him down. Knowing how much he loves that race, I didn't want to make his sacrificing his place in it to me a waste.
So I trained. I focused. I set aside all the niggly worrisome voices that undermine confidence and chip away at strength and resolved I would do it. I put together a training programme and stuck to it. And then my knees threw up a problem that put my training schedule into complete disarray. For a while I wasn't sure I'd be able to run the race at all, and only then did I realise how important it had become. I felt gutted at the thought and realised I was completely invested in it.
The knees improved, slowly, and with the right treatment, but by then my training schedule was completely to pot and I worried that I wasn't going to be able to put in the miles or the hills or the intervals I'd planned. My careful preparation was in tatters. There was, by that time, absolutely nothing I could do about so I decided to pull myself together, put all that negative nonsense to one side and stop worrying about it. I had to trust that I'd done enough, that six months of solid training and significantly improved fitness would stand me in good stead for nine hilly miles. I made my mind up that I would finish the race come hell or high water by crawling round it if I had to.
I had no expectations of it going the way it did. It was, unbelievably, an easy run. Obviously it was tough, but I loved every single second of it and wished it had lasted longer. It was well within my capacity and comfort zone and everything on the day worked. I had no pain afterwards and although I was in bed and asleep by 9pm on Sunday night I woke up feeling great and (much to M's disappointment) wasn't hobbling about like an old lady when I got up the following morning :o) I ate masses on Monday to replace used up calories, but other than that I have felt no after effects at all. I've been out for a run this morning and feel really good on it.
So what I want to say to anyone who feels life could do with a shake up, that they'd like a focus, a challenge or something to work towards, or they've seen something they want to do but don't think they can: YOU CAN IF YOU CHOOSE TO.
If I can run a tough race well that I've spent eight years being in awe of and believing was way above my capability then you can do whatever you set your mind to too. All you need is someone who believes in you to tell you it's possible and not to make a big fuss about it. M did that for me, and I'd like to do that for you. So go for it. You really don't know until you try just what you're capable of. And don't let anyone ever tell you different.
With that in mind I'll leave you with one of the quotes out on the Grizzly course which to me says it all: "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."
It's a mantra I'm sticking to.