Weeks of Training : 11
Miles Covered: 417
Elevation Gain: 14,911 ft
This week saw the arrival of a significant milestone – just two more months to go before I board the plane to Norway. And yet as I sit here, thinking about the impending adventure, I can’t help but feel like I’ve got a long way to go before I am even remotely ready to set off.
However, at the same time, a pleasant naivety lies within me, urging me to be positive, creating waves of excitement and also causing me to look at how far I have already travelled, how much I have already learned, and reassuring my knowledge that this is something I can and will achieve.
Often, naivety is perceived to be a negative description. In all fairness, the definition of naive is a person who shows a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement. In this context, I am perfectly willing to put up my hands and admit to the first two of these statements – yes I have been involved in Sports my entire life, I love the outdoors and don’t really have it in me to let something beat me, but does this really count as experience for a challenge of this nature? As for wisdom, I’m 23, fresh from a two degrees which I pursued for enjoyment rather than practicality, with absolutely no idea of what I want to achieve in life and a relaxed approach which focuses way more on having a good time than creating and maintaining responsibilities. Not exactly society’s description of a wise individual.
The final statement however, one who shows a lack of judgement is where I do not see myself. I have thought long and hard about the journey I am going to take in the summer, despite some people (close friends included) thinking that this is a rash decision, taken too lightly by the more adventurous part of my personality.
As I learn more about myself and the challenges I face, my approach is slowly changing to ensure I am in the best possible position come August. The nature of the journey has also slowly evolved – moving from me being part of something bigger, to me creating something big for myself. Simultaneously, the reality of the work involved in planning such a trip is just becoming clear (trust me it’s a lot). But at no point in this journey have I considered myself to be making bad decisions.
In fact, the more I talk to people, the more I see familiar faces becoming aware of the need to challenge oneself and to make sure one does not slip into a routine which is within one’s comfort zone but not provoking happiness, the more support I receive from family members who are genuinely proud to share my story and to help in any way they can, and the more I learn about myself from an entirely new approach to everyday life, I become increasingly certain that this is one of the greatest decisions I have and I will ever make.
This is not, however, to say that reaching this point has been easy. The past few weeks have been tough – lots of hard work has gone into trying to promote the run, writing to potential sponsors, trying to train as much as possible and generally stay on top of everything without getting too overwhelmed. I have to say, this is not something I managed particularly well, and with the added frustrations of an injury, I’ve been in a pretty low place for the past week or so. The fear of letting down the huge number of people who have offered me support, as well as admitting to myself that I am broken has really weighed on my mind. In addition, I have felt frustrated with myself for feeling so low, when I have an incredible adventure awaiting me.
So why am I sharing all this? This is in no way a cry for sympathy or an attempt to make out I am doing anything out of the ordinary. Anyone could be doing what I am doing – and probably doing it whilst maintaining a more stable mind! What I really hope to achieve is to let everyone know that this isn’t all glamour and adventure (not that I probably paint either of those things particularly strongly), but that it is becoming a challenge for me in ways I hadn’t expected! I am slowly learning about my limits, about the way in which my body works, and when a call for help is required rather than a stubborn reluctance to admit my weaknesses. I want to be honest with those who have offered me support and maybe help others to see that there is no shame in admitting a weakness, and doing this required me first being honest with myself.
So, in light of all these things, I headed home for the weekend, I visited a sports massage therapist this morning (If you are in the Banbury area and have a sports injury/are in need of a massage i can strongly recommend getting in touch with Veronica – details at the bottom) and I am starting to embrace the fact a little time off will do me good! The leg should be good to go again (slowly) in a few more days, I’ve had some really encouraging emails from a few potential sponsors and an amazingly inspirational adventurer, and I continue to be overwhelmed by the incredible support of friends and family. In short, things are looking up. They’re not always easy, but I do love a good challenge and I am so looking forward to this trip.
So back to the naivety thing. Perhaps I am a little naive, and perhaps it is a little ironic of me to say this, but I would argue that this naivety should not be seen in a negative light. A lack of experience can only be overcome by doing something new in the first place, a lack of wisdom can only be vanquished through enabling yourself to learn new things, and a lack of judgement is not possible if you have considered what it is you are doing and have faith that it is for the right reasons.
So today I argue in favour of naivety. Not in isolation, but coupled with a good sense of curiosity, sensible decision making and a strong heart which is leaning in the right direction. Back this up with a reliable knowledge base, a willingness to seek and listen to advice and a degree of sensibility, and naivety becomes a strength which is invaluable and necessary if we are to really push the boundaries of what is possible.
Hauora Sports Massage and Therapy:
T: 07453 280562