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.

Arrival in Milan

Ok so a slight Delay on the Blog, I have been a little run down with all the planning and activities.

So today I got up at 4 am to pack the remainder of my things. Which basically means that I did all my packing a few hours before I set off! True to me it as always has been left to the last minute.  I was debating on whether to ring a taxi or to get the tram and train. To try and keep an eye on funds.

All in all, when push came to shove the Taxi cut out all off the swapping and changing. So, this is what I opted for.

The taxi came and I shut my case. All this time thinking to myself I cannot believe I am off again. It was only one month ago, I was flying to Hong- Kong for a long weekend. Its surreal over the last year after my Nephews passing at how dramatically my life has changed.

The traffic on the way to the airport was horrendous.  At the airport, I was due to leave at about 11 am after a frustrating delay, as the flight was overbooked. I was on my way. In the line, I reflected about how apprehensive I used to get just to go out of the house alone. Battling with my demons in order to get to the shops. It’s become the norm to just jump on a plane to a foreign land. Almost like just jumping on a bus.

After landing I collected my luggage and jumped onto a coach to Milan central.  The sun was beaming lifting my spirits.  It was now about 2 pm.  I made a quick phone call to Audrey to thank her for all her support and belief in me. This made the journey pass relatively quick.

Now the fun was to begin after alighting the coach, it was now my job to locate the hotel. In which I had booked last minute the day prior.  What struck me when roaming around was the spectacular architecture of every building, nothing like back home. I jumped on the Metro and purchased a 2 day city pass for €8.00. I boarded the yellow line and hopped of at Sondrio.  I tried following google maps to locate the apartments, going from one street to the next. Eventually reaching the destination, I made the call. The lady however said the reception was outside the station in which I had just arrived. 20 minutes’ walk away. Whattttt ??? I trundled back collected the keys and was on my way to the apartment.

It was around 6 pm I needed food. What better place to eat than Italy. I threw caution to the wind and headed back 3 stations to central station. I located a Pizzeria and ordered what I thought would be a delicious pizza. It was in fact quite the opposite. It tasted fishy!  With my tummy rumbling I was going to head to the apartment.  Most of Milan however stopped about 10 or 11pm. I decided I
would head to Duomo to try and locate the cathedral ahead of tomorrow.

I jumped of the metro at Duomo expecting a long walk ahead of me.  I shortly realised however coming up the subway steps. That the majestic building was just as you arrived.  I was in awe.  I took in the building for all it was. Catching a glimpse of the shopping district. At this time, it was relatively quiet.  Upon roaming around the galleria I noticed there was a  Léonard de Vinci exhibit. For € 12.00 I thought I would give it a shot.  The level of history and culture was amazing. It made me happy I decided to go for a random jaunt around town.

Just before heading back to the apartment, walking back throw the gallaria. I heard a familiar song. Mamma Mia!!!!  It was a lady dressed all in red busking . with a scooter (like for old people) lit up with lights the sound resonated off all the building and the atmosphere was something really special.   As with every area of the world. It had its local drunks who all sat round enjoying the ambiance. Each of which would get up and dance now and again.

I took one last look around before jumping back on the metro. Watching the palaver was a group of the hunkiest policia personnel you have ever seen : ) what a way to end the evening.  Sweet Dreams !

 

The Impossible!

I have just been thinking about the challenges ahead. Can I crawl under a rock and come out when they are done? A while back I came across the saying in which I now use quite often “everything seems impossible until it is done” A year ago, I only just started contemplating my first marathon. Something I had never dreamed of. A change in my personal life made me make this change. Thus, to this day I believe this made me a better person.
With the bigger things in life, apprehension and fears leads to a feeling of not wanting to try. When it seems impossible, I am the first to admit I get into a defeatist mentality. Which in turn adds to the initial fear and impossibility of the task at hand. The best thing to do in a situation like this, as was explained to me by a friend. Is to look back upon your history to a situation that seemed impossible, that was eventually overcome and accomplished.
So, I look at the year ahead and some daunting challenges. I then look back at the great wall marathon. On top of this again 2016 seems to be my year! I look at my first solo Skydive. The sleepless nights, the trembling before the jump. The fear in my eyes. Then I look to the jump, on the edge of the plane 15,000 ft. I looked out to the propeller, gulped and threw caution to the wind. “Leap, and the net will appear” The sense of freedom I had was like nothing before. The adrenaline surged through me and the feeling of being alive. Soaring through the sky’s. I was my very own little action man. The thing I most feared became a hobby/ accomplishment. This allows me to look ahead, although with fear and apprehension and as the question. What if? What if I can do it? What next?
Its excites me to even comprehend some of the things I may be contemplating. It is however the mindset above that will allow me to achieve success. I need to tap into that belief, to create the right mind set to achieve what initially was the impossible.
People may see me as flamboyant, deluded and everything in between. I don’t set out to prove them wrong or portray a different version of myself. I set out to prove myself wrong. No one fears these challenges or doubts me more than myself. I am a doer. My determination will always prevail. I always say “it’s too early to give up, it’s too early to quit”.
I dreamed a dream and I began living it. Have faith and branch out into the unknown. I surprised myself. Maybe you can surprise yourself?

 

The Future Is Promised to No One.

After a few days in which I lacked motivation, I believe today I have my mojo back.  I had a pretty good day in terms of the bike rides and the gym on Sunday. I am beginning to quite like the biking. I am try to strengthen this glass knee of mine.

I’m sat here after an enjoyable run with Radcliffe AC, I think I reignited my passion for running (a bit late now I know) I really enjoyed plodding along with the drizzle of the rain. Thinking what else would I be doing? Some really interesting folk talking about plans or previous experiences. Truly inspirational and motivational.

After a positive day at work and a fantastic article in the Liverpool Echo it gave me the boost needed. The first article below.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/marathon-man-travels-world-raise-12642960  

This coverage reminded me why I set out on this journey in the first place, Oliver Nuttall!oliver

I always went out every weekend and waste life and funds. I now have been to a few the 7 wonders and have got an amazing year lined up. The little mite put up a very courageous fight. One in which he sadly lost. It did make me however decide to get the most from life and urge others to do so. This doesn’t mean running a marathon as per say. It just means don’t put of that thing you have been waiting to do. You never know what’s around the corner.

The reason I set out on this journey and to challenge my own boundaries was due to him. I owe him a lot, and hopefully will do him justice. Keeping his legacy alive. No matter what continent/ mountain or canyon I may be standing on/ in. It just goes to show what impact you may have on someone without realising it.  I hope I do him proud I know he’s with me every step of the way.

I am doing this for him! I’m doing this for the people who cannot run or have never had the chance! That’s the reason I choose to run.  Everything I have set out to achieve always seems impossible until it is done and I always remember it is always too early to quit.

 

So whatever your plans is : Do it, the future is promised to no one!

The only time you have complete control of is right now, so that’s the best time to do all of the things you’ve been wanting to do but have been putting off until some vague future date. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing now, so don’t wait. Put some things into motion and see where it leads. You may be surprised to find that this brings your goals and dreams faster than you ever thought possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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