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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The Benefit of Change. I need You!

So today I am in a better head space.  I spent yesterday at The Christie Hospital. In which I have had ongoing monitoring since 2012.  My head in the afternoon wasn’t in the best of places.  I decided to go out for a run kindly joined by Bev.  After the 10-mile run my head was in a lot better place than it started. Running I suppose is like having a counselling session with yourself. The hard bit is getting out there.

Today saw the devastating news that the research centre at the Christie had caught fire. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-39719574  my time at the Christie changed my view on life.  So many inspirational people walk through its doors.  Each with their own demons they face.  They just seem to get on with life despite the internal struggles they have.  One of the reasons I decided to take on The Petra Desert Marathon to raise funds for the christie.  And more recently decided to take on the 230km across the Amazon Rainforest in 2018  to allow them to carry out the life changing work they do.

The current charity of Claire house I feel profoundly proud to support. After visiting the Charity and seeing where the money donated goes. It was an emotional experience. which is hard to explain to say how I felt. To say I enjoyed it is incorrect , but as close as I will probably get.

The work they do allows the children, siblings and parents to get the most from life no matter how short it may be.  They say they hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  Seeing the facility’s and a few of the children they care for it reassured me what I was doing was for the greater good. Not only was it helping me with my own demons, but helping those provide a lifeline to those in need.

Change can come in many forms in our lives. It may come on all of a sudden, like a tidal wave or creep up on us at a snail’s pace. I may as, as it did with myself. Come in the form of a tragedy of in the form of difficult choices, broken relationships or a new opportunity.

But even though change is often difficult. Many times, it is for the best.  I have many demons. Nonetheless the tragedy that changed my life pushed me to achieve great things.  Things I didn’t thing where possible. Anything great in life often requires a significant change that pushes us way beyond our comfort zones and beliefs.

I am beyond any comfort zone I could ever have dream’t of .   Time and time again I must question every decision I am about to make.  I always think that if I put myself out there I stand a great chance of failing, but if I do not I have already failed.

I do not intend to fail, I do intend to help as many people as I can. When I am pushing through pain barriers and emotions. I remember those I am doing it for! The pain I feel is nothing compared to what people face day to day. I find some courage within myself. Courage itself isn’t always loud and forthcoming. It is sometimes a little voice, that says I will try again tomorrow.

Take the sorrow or pain you may feel and turn it into something positive. I am not saying it will be easy, it most likely won’t be. It will however be worthwhile. I can assure you of that. All though at this very moment I do not see what I have done as achievements. One day I will!

Going from a party animal to a traveler, marathon runner and skydiver in the space on 1 year has meant great sacrifices . None in which I regret. Because I have developed as a person a better one I believe ( though that is  open for debate )   and that’s how change happens.  Change happens though each person, each gesture one moment at a time.

Hope usually begins in the dark, our happiness or unhappiness depends far more on how we deal with the challenge within our lives.  More than the challenge its-self.

All too often I dwell and focus on the bigger things, forgetting about enjoying the little things. Those little things however make the most of. They are the memoirs of life itself.  They are the words to you chapter, your chapter in time. Don’t waste it!  None of us truly know how long we have got so make the most of now. This is what Claire house do,  they make the most of every moment.  They create memories that will last long after these beautiful children have passed. Giving the family’s the most precious gift anyone can. MEMORIE. The treasures these familys get to keep for their lifetime.

This coming month I have the Yorkshire Three peaks.  The Brecon Beacons Ultra (where the SAS train )  and then I fly out to Peru to participate in the world’s toughest marathon upon the Inca Trail.  Even if you can spare the price of the coffee please do.  I have seen the tangible difference your donations make.  Remember it is you that are the life changers and the gift givers. You have been tremendously generous so far. I have had confirmation that the next £800 at least would be matched! Currently standing at £1900  let’s see if we can get it to 2700 at least.  That would mean at least £3500 for the charity.  I can only do it with you !!!!!!!

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/RunMacca

Give It your best shot!

So this is my first update for a while. I stopped blogging on day two in Milan.  I hit a low, motivation wise. A struggle I cannot seem to shake. The daily challenges that come along with all I have chosen to do. I was debating whether to upload this. I did however say I would be open and honest about my journey warts and all.

I quite openly battle with depression. It is something that the running has helped me with. I admit it isn’t for everybody.  Each person is an individual, each person is different and therefore it isn’t a one fit solution for all.   The running gives me a focus.  After the loss of my nephew and battling with sleep deprivation due to sever tinnitus, it seemed my coping mechanism failed.  Depression/anxiety is something now and again that raises its ugly head. Running itself to some extent gave me my life back it is the best anti-depressant for me that I know. I admire the people that do the #runchat running groups, you are angels in disguise.

I know that life is filled with highs and lows, valleys and peaks that will test my resilience. Now and again the valleys are the deepest I have ever known. It is in these lulls that I remember why I set out on this journey. Among the other challenges I faced. I set out on the journey to live my life and do Oliver proud. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I sit between a rock and a hard place.  I have the battles and the doubts in my mind. I on the other had sit here booking ultras across the Amazon and contemplating Marathon De Sables.

I know that booking these challenges I will have the lows and highs. Testing the resilience and pushing me to overcome each of these barriers. I know the lessons learned along the way to the top will only make me stronger and better.

I suppose the question of whether I fail or succeed lies within my own determination. My determination is drawn to do Oliver Proud. Not just Oliver but all the charities I aim to raise funds for along the way. Running for those who cannot, creating a voice for those who don’t have one and raising awareness along the way.  This is what, in times of despair keeps me on the right track.

The Quote “if you only walk on sunny days you will never reach your destination” made me realise that that I am on a journey. One in which I will finish. To do so I must take the good times with the bad and keep on moving forward. Moving forward into the unknown and growing as a person. Or remaining where I am in safety.

I the lowest of lows I find my greatest inspiration. A week or so ago in tears I dint know who to speak to or what to do. I decided in this moment I would put myself forward for the Jungle Ultra. 230km across the amazon.  I don’t know what makes me think I can complete this challenge. But if I don not try I will never know.i will only know by putting myself on the start line. I will hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  In life, you are either moving forward or moving backwards even if I fall on my face, I will learn and use that knowledge later down the line. When you don’t attempt something for fear of falling on your face, you don’t move forward, and you end up shriveling into a version of yourself that is not as great as it could be.

I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. I will falter along the way.  It is however how I pick myself of and dust myself off that will determine how far I will go. Running is developing me as a person. I have not set out to change myself. I have as cliché as it may be, been finding out who I am and who I am to be.

In the past I have always been too quick to walk away or to quit. Quitting is the easy way out, but it doesn’t produce anything of value, I used to wait for conditions to be perfect. I learned that I would be waiting for ever. I decided after the loss of my nephew to have faith.  To hope that in the end everything will be OK and that I will land on my feet.

This came about as with the loss of my nephew and learning of the challenges that others face in day to day life. I learned that the future is not guaranteed. The only time you have control of is right now. This very moment. If you have had anything you wish/want to do. Do it! Find a way. Put wheels into motion and see what you can achieve.

Now I always did nothing. I lived for the weekend. I wore head to toe designer gear. I felt great for a short while. But what had I achieved what stories could I tell. No one was going to stand at my funeral and say what a fantastic shirt I had. Therefore, my promise to myself was one that I would live an adventure. I would walk my own path and create my own destination.

Remember Nothing leaves nothing. It’s better that you have an idea. That you act upon it and try your hand at greatness. I expect to fail or stumble. If I do I will learn. And if I do fail so what. I will have tried and given it my best shot at least I will have amazing stories to tell. Those that stand in the side lines and try to pull me down or those that attempt nothing (whatever it may be) will have nothing to show for it . How boring! At least if you try you can say you gave it a go. You may achieve something great. Leaving your mark upon the world or something for the history books.

So, from here on out. Through the good time and the bad I will update my story. If for nothing other to look back and think “ what a damn good Journey”  thank you for being on the road with me.

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