Power of Belief.

So my first update for a while. The Brecon Beacons Ultra has been and gone. One of the toughest challenges to date. Mind you I suppose each new challenge is tougher than the last. A whole new element to encounter. I went into the Brecon Beacons petrified.  I suppose I thrive of the feeling. Almost always wanting to give up just before the start.  Then conquering my own fears and doubts.

I often hear things like it must be easy for you or some form of derivative.  All I can say is, it is not!  Each I time I go for a run whether it be a 1 mile or 32 each is an internal struggle and battle to get out there.  Once I do I wonder what all the fuss is about.  And the tranquillity away from my own thoughts kicks in.

We all have our own little battles whatever they may be. I suppose it is tapping into the power of belief that you can accomplish what you set out to do.  Applying it to your current situation. Conquering the seemingly impossible starts with the right mindset.

Its is all so easy to look at someone’s success and think that it happened overnight, but most of the time what you are witnessing is the last part of the journey. You miss all of the work that goes in to where they have got. Part of my journey is Oliver my late Nephew. This is one segment of my journey. The other segment’s are the long lost brothers and sisters (7) that where adopted when I was younger. This all plays part into me strive to be the best I can be. And see how far I can go.

The more I am accomplishing the more I am building up confidence and finding out there is much more to accomplish. I started out with The Great Wall Marathon. An off the cuff idea. One I thought of but one I thought I myself would fail at. I conquered the wall and am now looking forward to the Inca- trail / Everest and the Amazon. These are places I only ever dreamed of when I was younger.  Yet now from working most hours within the day with a bit of hard work and determination they will be seen within the space of a year. I am not going to lie it is stressful, it is daunting and draining. In all senses emotionally, physically, and financially, However the biggest ask is. Is it worth It ? the answer is yes. Running has given me my life back.

It is interesting to think that if you dare to put yourself out there, that fortune will side with you. It appears that if you commit yourself to an endeavour and commit yourself to its achievement, then fortune and providence will be on your side. You will see amazing things happen that you never thought possible.

I say this in the 8 days before Peru and the challenge that faces me as the world’s toughest marathon distance!  A mixture of doubt, anticipation and excitement. A place I never had a reason to see. But one I wanted to. Running gave me that purpose.  I shall also be catching up with a friend Helen from Australia. The people I have met on this journey have become lifelong friends.  I do not need to see them each day nevertheless I see them in the most random and exciting corners of the Earth.

What springs to mind was the fact the other day I was asked, why I ran? I was asked, do you not think you have done enough? Why do you do it to yourself?  I was told to think of the damage to my knees and told what happens when  I can’t walk when I am older!

I suppose the main question is, why do we do anything?  Self-gratification is the main response.  It isn’t in this instance just about me it is about the people I am raising funds for.   The second response in response to my knees :  many people go through their life not living an active life style and still having knees that do not function.  Ailments and old age come to us all. When I am unable to run and such. I shall be able to look back and think what an adventure. As the saying goes, I would rather go into my grave kicking and screaming saying” what a damn good ride”. Rather than being well preserved and never living a day in my life.

The reason I am so open in this journey, is because each part of it past and present has brought me to this point. I have made some bad decisions and some good. I admit I am not proud of them all. Still as cliché as it may be, I am who I am because of these decisions. They will also play there part in who I will be in future (as will yours)  I am deciding who am with each passing minute. Developing as each second passes, like a polaroid photo I get better with time.

Now to you all I say is “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Many people believe they done have the prerequisites or the tools to succeed . As I have said previously it is all to easy to think it isn’t the right place, or the right time, or the right resources in order become a success.  What you do need to do!!!  Get started now!!! From where you are and with what you have, your resources will grow as you go along. So do not waste another minute and get started on what it is you want to do!!

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Day 2 In Milan, The Cathedral.

So, to start the day I got up early.  I had an okish sleep from all the traveling. So up bright and early. I got a wash and decided to inadvertently break the tap on the bathtub. Which made my morning evermore pleasant.  I set to to Sondrio station and headed to Duomo to the cathedral.

My first mission today was visit this amazing piece of architecture. The Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. This was one I was not going to miss. I headed to the ticket booth and made my purchase. I headed through security, passing though the armed guards after being searched.  I entered the main hall. I was awe struck. The sheer scale of the building was immense. The light shining through the stained-glass windows. Was a sight a picture could not replicate.

The journey then began up the stairs to the roof.  The narrow passages eerily worked into the building. The thought that so many had passed before me.  A small glimpse of light at the top, opened into one spectacular view. I spent a while taking it all in and chatting to a tourist from Hong-Kong. Funnily enough we had quite a bit to talk about recently departing from there last month.

After leaving the cathedral I wandered through the Milan streets. Caution to the wind no knowing where I would end up. The walk was like walking through the pages of a high-end catalogue. Everyone had sass. It’s a good job I had sunglasses, as the police men were quite distracting : ).

Heading to Sforza Castle built in the 15th century. This was a anti-climax compared to the cathedral but nonetheless an amazing piece of work and a must see. This lead to parco Sempione a beautiful park and landscaped gardens. This I took at a much slower pace enjoying the sunshine. Reflecting on the events that led me to get to this point. The loss of my Nephew and all the events that followed.  I sat by the Arco della Pace requested to be built by napoleon. I enjoyed my lunch, I sat and I pondered for a while before moving on.

After overhearing someone’s conversation I decided to head to  Santa Maria al Paradiso a quaint little church  in the center of Milan.  This site seeing was making me hungry. I headed to the McDonald’s  to grab a quick bite to eat. (healthy I know, things not to eat in Milan, again I know ! )   I rang my friend Bev to update her on the Travels and see how things where back home.

Much of the evening I meandered through the shopping streets, through buskers and beggars.  I sat in the shadow of the cathedral and soaked up the rays. I followed my google maps to many local landmarks, enjoying a fruit salad on the way. Upon returning I headed to an Italian and appreciated some Italian cuisine. Which was delicious to say the least.

Before the evening was out I met up with a local Italian Andrea, who shared a extremely interesting conversation and enlightened me in regards to Italian life.

Anyway time for bed as I am up tomorrow bright and early to meet up with Marco at the airport and head to Tel -Aviv.

The Day was here

The day of the run. After getting to bed around 12:30 in the evening I was up bright and early at 03:30 I was so so tired. Tempted to stay locked away in my hotel. Out here all alone the furthest I have been outside my comfort zone. This was not an organised tour, just a trip on a whim in which the circumstances changed at the last minute.20170212_062230

I got on the foam roller to loosen my dreaded IT Bands. I then got my kit together. Much of which had been laid out the night before. So after a strong coffee I ran downstairs to the reception desk to ask if they knew how far away the start was. They didn’t know. I asked for a banana in which she happily obliged.  I stepped outside in the pitch black, and freezing Hong Kong air.  I saw a stream of wind breakers – following these like a lost sheep I located at least the start of the marathon route.  I didn’t have any extra baggage to pick up at the end of the marathon I just had my trusted camelback.  My bits and bobs and just in case of the runners trots a loo roll.

Limbering up I realised I was really here this was really happening. The thought of going back to the hotel was a more appetising option. The porridge gurgling in my stomach. The nostrils filtering the carbon out of the air Blocked. Why do I do this?  I Then think of everyone who ever doubted me. The people in school that told me I would never do anything in life.  Well this is where the fire ignites and the fun begins.

Whilst warming up a local resident shows up in skinny jeans. Maybe she was just a spectator?  No, she was limbering up and had the knee straps on over her jeans. What was she thinking?   I was counting down it was like waiting to be sentenced (not that I would know). I started taking a few videos the realised the people goin20170212_110611g past where in my wave.

I met a runner from the UK who resides in Hong-Kong. She was exited even after a year of living here advising of the excitement to see all that she would see today. She asked how long I was here for. 4 days I replied. She gave me an odd look. A long weekend to Hong-Kong who does that? As I reiterated this earlier, I just said I know right! The briefing started the atmosphere was electric. Off we went.

The sun was rising as we meandered through the sky scrapers. This was why I was here all the apprehension, fear and doubt. This was now.  Seeing the ships in the harbour and running on the highway. This run had claimed its first few casualties.  Gashed knees and face. The ruby red glint off their bodies fresh blood. Nicceeee.

We hit the first bridge an immense structure, made me realise what a massive challenge this was. It was just one foot in front of the other, taking in the sites. Through the haze of the smog. The journey in 20170212_075732which took me 1 hour on the MTR the day before was the first leg of the journey.  The first 10k done and dusted. We hit the underground tunnel. They reminded me of Tokyo drift, and all the PlayStation games from young.

It wasn’t until 33 km until I started to feel it. I stopped to walk a little, the pain was unbearable. I didn’t chkm-2017-marathon-course-map ome all this way for nothing.  I felt the blisters build in my trainers, the fluid erupted through my toes. Why do I do this again? This question never fails me and is one I can never answer.

The tunnel into Hong Kong approached. The cheers filled the city – the atmosphere and the adrenaline detracted from the pain.  35 km hit. I just wanted it to be over it was excruciating.  all he runners from all the runs, fun run ,10 k , half and marathon the amount of time I nearly tripped up went uncounted. It was like dodging bullets.  The 40k sign was like the gate way to heaven. however, the last 2 km seemed to last longer than the previous 40k.  I saw the split for marathon runners to split – the adrenaline kicked in all the pain was temporary. I managed a sprint to the finish.  I was elated – this was the only run that towards the end I nearly cried. although the others where tougher. This one I had done alone on the other side of the world. I could not believe I had done it. The funny looks from not being able to walk commence and now the long journey back begun. 20170212_112836

The Buddha, One Day To Go

Cont…..  So today I got up relatively early as a must for me was to go and see the Buddha.  So I set of to the concierge to work out my travel arrangements.  Went out side and jumped on the I jumped on the MTR at Tsim Sha Tsui  station( ill come back to this later) I was surprised at how swift this service was.  I headed to Tung Chung on Lantau Island. This is where I alighted in the hope of getting the infamous cable car. I jumped of the MTR with my octopus card (oyster card) and spotted a Starbucks By god did I needed one. I sat and enjoyed my cappuccino and hunted for the Cable car.

There was a set of people with similar looking jackets, one of whom advised the cable car was under maintenance. Disappointed to say the least.  Spotted the ticket booth and purchased a ticket Friendsunfortunately just missing the first ride, so that gave me hours to play with. I wandered around some little markets and entertained myself.

I put on my sticker like in preschool to board the coach to Tai O,  the home of the stilt houses and the Tanka people, a community of fishermen and women.  I boarded a boat to get the best view of this place. What a rough ride that was. It was amazing to see these little unstable stilt houses on the tidal flats. Using the toilet was another matter and not a site to behold.  Wandering around the village there I spotted bunch of local dancers putting on an exquisite show . Dancerstai-o-stilt-houses_03

 

 

 

 

Wandering round the streets looking at the local food, the aroma hit you. The dried octopus and entrails thrown around on teppanyaki plates was quite site. Fish swimming in buckets ready to be selected fresh for picking.  Mixed with the stench of the street food was an experience to say the least.

Jumping back on the coach , listening to the local guide tell us about the history of the area.  We headed to the Tian Tan Buddha, completed in 1993, and located at Ngong Ping. On the way to Ngong Ping I got chatting to some show jumpers from Australia. They asked where I was staying. I confirmed the hotel. They asked if I had heard about the MTR being attacked. I was a little bemused. Then all the sirens and traffic cops made sense the station attacked was Tsim Sha Tsui  station the one in which I was due to jump on at the time I was watching the light show instead. I had a lucky escape. That and getting my wallet back my luck was in! this was the station I got on in the morning and no signs of any damage.  Here is a link for further reading

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/2069900/five-injured-fire-breaks-out-hong-kong-mtr-train

We learned about Buddhism and the fact all the cows where wild due to the fact they believe in reincarnation and they may come back as a cow. There was a population of around   200. How they controlled this they never stated. However, I believe they went on vacation to the city where there was a lot of steak on offer. How do you like yours?The Cow

Walking up to the mountain I encountered the first cow, it was remarkably tame. It was like cow paradise. Trekking up the steps to the Buddha it was an astonishing site. Pictures did it no justice. Although the lighting was poor. We enjoyed all it had to offer. Wandering down to the temple where there where people lighting massive sticks of incense and praying, the aroma was one on its own.

The aroma

 

We all headed back to the coach as we had to be back for 18.15.  The count commenced and 2 were missing. The guide (Joyce – English name) advised at 18.16 they were late. She advised they had 2 minutes then we were setting off. It hit 18:18. True to her word she left, leaving 2 people stranded far out with no idea to get back. They wait for no one. The best way to be!!!!
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Journey so far!

This is just a quick post part way through the journey. What a journey it’s been. True to me it’s been as stressfull as possible. I’m just waiting game to board at Dubia airport. On to Hong-Kong.

I have just spent the hour before my connection running from one side of the airport to the other. Having to go through security numerous times. The reason being a lost wallet. The reason I was so concerned was due to the fact the hotel in china  requires a credit card for a safety deposit. So on top of the palava I have been on the phone, at an extortionate rate. Trying to resolve the issue before I arrived.

Going from lost and found to the police. Even browsing the toilets to try and locate the missing goods.

Some guy was adding to the whole situation screaming because he was drunk. Being floored by many officers. Not a place where I would want to be reprimanded.

Anyways good news it’s been located I’m on my merry way. Let’s see what unfolds moving forward.

BTW im wired on coffee to keep me awake. So apologises for the rant.

 

 

 

Yesterday is History, Today is a Gift, Tomorrow is a Mystery.

Hi guys, by the time tour reading this I’ll probably sat on a plane to Dubai. About 4 pm yesterday, my friend from san Diego had a family emergency. So unfortunately, cannot come. I will therefore be doing this trip alone. Very last minute and means all my plans have been thrown by the wayside. I shall be flying to Dubai first and then connecting to china.

To say I am apprehensive is an understatement. A long weekend in Hong-Kong who does that? Haha.  I will hopefully be able to access the internet via a VPN so if I manage to keep hold of my phone I shall be updating this as much as I can.

To my work colleagues and friends, thanks for getting behind me. No pun intended J. If you have got the time to drop a sponsor, please do so. It is greatly appreciated. Those that already have thank you once again.

This journey is going to be one long ride, trials and tribulations. I am already being tested before I have left the UK. That as you all know is being true to myself.  Now let the fun begin. (although I believe fun to be the wrong word).

BTW is anyone in Hong- Kong last minute I know but a friendly face would be good to see.

Yesterday I was just looking back at old picture and thinking. I used to live for the weekend. Going to places like Tomorrowland!  And festivals and probably hanging around the wrong people. To now traversing the world. My life being enriched with so many different walks of life.  Achieving so many amazing things.

Now just remember Yesterday is HistoryToday is a GiftTomorrow is a Mystery.

The Final Count Down

Ok so I am sat here sh***ing myself before I fly out to Hong-Kong lately.  My motivation hit rock bottom.  I have been getting out as much as I can.  Trying to overcome my runners Knee and Shin splints.  Then working every hour god sends to help fund the next year’s adventure.

It is taking every ounce of what I have got. I knew it would be tough emotionally, financially and Physically. But by god is it becoming real. I think back to last year when I thought what I was planning was impossible. I proved myself wrong and learned everything is impossible until it is done. I have picked up my travel monies and been liaising with a friend Debbie from San- Diego, who I met out in Petra.  I will be joining her in Hong-Kong and conquering the Marathon.

All be it not in the time I want, however this year I shall be grabbing every opportunity to learn and reach PBs. As shortly after I get back from China, I will be jumping on a plane to meet Marco from Milan (who I also met out in Petra) to complete the Jerusalem Marathon. Another opportunity to learn from the best. 🙂

To say I am scared is an understatement, filled with doubt maybe!  Knowing what I achieved last year and how familiar these feelings feel. Makes me think it is only natural. I do not ever think I will feel ready. Do any of you? I am excited to see what this year brings.  From the lifelong friends I will meet and the experiences I will share with them. Hopefully you will to. Only if my travel insurance gets me back in one piece ha-ha.

I will be putting myself out of my comfort zone in many ways. In the hope, I can raise all I can for the fantastic Charity Claire’s House Children’s Hospice.  Furthermore, keeping Oliver’s memory alive.  Running from one corner of the globe to the next. going from month to month, Challenge to challenge.  Experiencing every emotion life is going to throw at me.   I welcome any advice, as again I am relatively new to all this.   Following your blogs for advice also. There is so much inspiration in each and every one of you.