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

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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.

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.

Hong-Kong The Rush.

I started the Journey from Manchester – Dubai in which being true to myself I lost my wallet in Dubai airport. Getting in some last-minute training trying to locate this lost wallet, running from one side of the airport to the other.  I am Dreading getting my phone bill due to the amount of time spent on the phone from Dubai to China trying to resolve the fact I had no cards to check in.

With 15 minutes until my connection, my wallet was luckily handed in. Maybe my luck was in?   After my friend, Debbie unfortunately had to cancel.  I was even more apprehensive about this trip than I should have been.  I landed around 3 in the afternoon.

The efficiency in which they process you at Hong-Kong airport is amazing.  Like cattle to slaughter  I tried to figure out how to get to my hotel. I jumped on the airport express to Kowloon northern Hong Kong.  I was again amazed at the simplicity of the service.  After jumping on a free shuttle bus K3* I headed to the hotel the Grand Hyatt. When driving through the city on thing that looked familiar (reminiscing to Beijing) was the haze of smog.

Whilst on the move to the hotel, I thought I would double check my pick-up time for my race Kit on my correspondence. Amongst the info, I spotted a time of 16:00 – 17:00. Surely this was for Saturday? My heart skipped a beat. It was in fact today, WHHHHHAAAATTT??  I had 45 minutes to check into the Hotel, then navigate Hong-Kong like it was my home town. Impossible!

After I finished the check in I ran back down to reception and asked where the pickup point for my kit, that was noted on my letter. I said “how far away is this? “The reply “about 15 -20 minutes”. I was being tested.   Dashing outside, fitting in some last-minute training.  I began navigating the streets of Hong Kong. At every turn being asked if I wanted a Rolex, a suit or something Special.  Somewhere on my map looked familiar Nathan Rd. Hang on! this was the opposite end of where I needed to be. I ran and ran. A fellow runner too k pity on me and directed me to the sports center.  Arriving at 16.57 I had just made it. Flashing my passport and official letter, as if I was at immigration.

The official said you look Hot, at first I was like. THANKS! Then realized he meant hot and sweaty.  Advising I had just landed, he responded by advising I could have just collected my goodies tomorrow.  I pointed to my letter and he advised it was to avoid a rush.

Heading back to the hotel with my bright pink bag, peeling my sweaty T-shirt from my back. It sunk in I was her20170210_093447e alone and doing it. Little old me.  No going back.

As it was getting late I donned on some shorts and t-shirt and meandered down to the harbor. I had heard about the miraculous Light show. On the way down the residents dressed in scarfs and duffel coats, all took side glances.  I was roasting them however, the opposite.   After waiting for the count down for about an hour. I can only say I was disappointed to say the least.

I headed back to the hotel once again, I needed to sleep. There streets where blocked and sirens raging. I thought it must always be this busy. The streets had traffic cops stood directing traffic, Like in the films!

Avoiding the suit and Rolex sellers. I had made it back, totally oblivious what had what was going on , To be Cont  ……………………… The Harbor

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.

 

 

 

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.