As my training has now tapered off, I have had time to look back and really reflect on where I have come from to get here. I frame this by admitting upfront that I am not a runner. And definitely not an ultra runner! I never have been and never will be. That may seem like a strange statement considering the difficulty of the ultra marathon challenge I am about to embark on! However, whilst I never be a real runner or the fastest/strongest person in any room, I am always the one willing to rise to any challenge and do what I have to do to succeed. In particular, my physical strength lies in an innate ability to successfully endure during tough situations or adventures, particularly those in testing outdoor environments.
Getting myself successfully prepared to undertake something I don’t excel at (read: ultra marathon) has been a massively difficult, but ultimately rewarding journey. To put this in some perspective, 11 months ago I could not run more than 20 minutes without having to stop from calf pain. Since then, some 114 running and 61 gym sessions later, I have patiently and progressively built my strength and endurance to some of my highest levels. I have hit Personal Bests on all my big lower body lifts (Front Squats/Deadlifts), can run strong for more than 4 hours, and most importantly have got myself pain free! And I’ve done 99% of this training on my own in a foreign land.
To get to this point is a pretty satisfying feeling. I never doubted that I would make it. Whilst some others have doubted my ability to be prepared for an ultra using my approach, my motivation has not been about proving them wrong, more about ensuring I have done everything I can to be ready.
I’ve said before that big events or adventures are really all about the entire experience and not just the end result. Like life, the journey to any goal is always full of many ups, downs and struggles. It is on the journey to the goal that you learn the most about yourself, not just what it means to you when you cross the finish line. Anyone can turn up to the starting line for a race, but there are very few willing and disciplined enough to do everything that’s needed to ensure they are 100% ready to compete on their race/event/adventure. If you are willing to do those tough yards and make the sacrifices needed, then come race day when you toe the start line, you already have proven your worth and your strength of heart. You have already won regardless of the outcome.
With 14 sleeps to go, I am ready!