Setting a challenge that is sufficiently difficult and committing to it 100% is a sure way to learn more about your failings and yourself. I’ve been taught not to be proud and to accept help. Others seeing you visibly struggling know who you really are, rather than a controlled persona. If people accept you when you fail, when you are weak, then there is reassurance in that.
If experience is the best teacher, then we learn most when we are vulnerable and exposed. The light always looks more attractive from the shadows. I like most am reluctant to discuss my weaknesses and vulnerabilities but have gleaned much from times like these. Whether or not I’ve eventually achieved what I set out to do, the darker times reveal the most.
I learnt a bit of French, and read a few books when running from John O’Groats to the Sahara and learnt how to look at myself more honestly in the mirror, to embrace the lessons that difficulties bring. How can we be most resilient when this is needed? I enjoyed the good days but the bad ones were lessons. They helped me be more sympathetic when other people are struggling, and gave me perspective – my problems were only really sore legs when it came down to it.
I can’t guarantee success with RunTheWorld. We’re aiming to give prominence to the message of Physical Activity for Health, and raise some money for SAMH. I’ll aim to complete 7 Ultras on 7 continents in 7 days, after the Ice Marathon in Antarctica. There is a decent chance of achieving these things but there is close to 100% chance of me wanting to give up at times. I guess this is standard when normal people try and do things that are relatively hard.
Following any challenge, perspective becomes skewed – and the rose – tinted spectacles go on. We usually remember the good times. I guess the memories of good times and the prospect of more to come is why I run but difficult experiences can bring their own gifts. There is comfort in knowing what you are not, and how you can learn.
Thanks for your support,