As I write this, one year ago I was just starting to climb Ben Nevis, the first mountain in the National Three Peaks Challenge. I’ve written about this elsewhere, but the anniversary is worth mentioning here because the commitment to do this was the starting point for me to get fit (or fitter). I was 30lbs overweight and unfit at the beginning of 2011, but deciding to do the 3 Peaks meant I had to change all that. And I did! In doing so I discovered a love of running, and I think it’s all because that this time, there was a reason for it. I’d run before, simply to try and get fit. Now I was running to get fit enough to climb 3 mountains in 24 hours.
My daughter wears a tee-shirt that says, ‘The journey is the destination’. And that’s partly true. But if it’s a journey without a destination, it’s no journey at all!
But enough of the metaphors…
I’ve continued running (and cycling, and swimming, and hill walking) because I’m now presenting myself with targets to aim for. The first 10k race. The first half-marathon. The first marathon (and I remember the thrill I had entering that one, printing out the form and walking to the post box to send it and the cheque off at midnight one night …. butterflies!) And in less than two weeks, my first triathlon. Then my first trail marathon on July 1st, first adventure race (keeping my eyes on Endurance Life’s The Great Escape, if they ever post details about it). And next year, longer triathlons, and then Ironman Wales.
After that, who knows? But I do know there’ll be something. An ultra marathon, maybe. Seven marathons in 7 days, perhaps. Watch this space…
I’m really proud of what I’ve done, and equally proud that I seem to have inspired a few friends to take up running and fitness. One thing I say to anyone who asks about it: Give yourself something to get fit for. I started with a 10k race, and I have no idea where it’s going to stop. But having something to aim for means I enjoy every single thing I do, in training or racing. I know people who try to get fit for the sake of getting fit … and they invariably hate it. Sod that!
“People think I’m crazy to put myself through such torture, though I would argue otherwise. Somewhere along the line we seem to have confused comfort with happiness. Dostoyevsky had it right: ‘Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness.’ Never are my senses more engaged than when the pain sets in. There is a magic in misery. Just ask any runner.” –– Dean Karnazes
One year on, I never find training comfortable … but I’m always happy.
(Normal blog posts about roadkill and my spluttering efforts to swim will resume soon, I promise.)