Thursday, 26 June 2014

It worked out in the long run (sorry outdoor buzz for stealing your title ;) )

Ok, so I haven't posted in here for quite a while; never seem to find the time nowadays for such things as blogging, which could either indicate an extremely busy life or merely nothing to blog about. Maybe even both.

Well this is just a little post about what long runs have done for me. Well without wishing to be overly dramatic, I just don't know how I might have coped with elements of the past few years without being able to get out and run long. Simply put, just going out there and running long when I never had showed me large pools (I won't say vast oceans as that may be a little OTT) of strength and determination that I never knew I possessed. It's not an original thing to say, but knowing I had the determination to keep putting one foot in front of the other when my body was begging and pleading me to stop by firing up pain receptors in a number of different places allowed me to believe that I would be able to keep putting one foot in front of the other in life too, and deal with whatever could be thrown at me. I have two perspectives to share on this that can help back up my experience, the first is from a little tome known as The bible - you may have heard of it. This is from James 1: "For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."

Whether you read the bible or not, the above verse speaks a truth that is surely relatable to any ultra runner - we have all been through those lows in races that seem like they might derail our chances of getting to the finish, but invariably if you push through them you will come out the other side and find new sources of strength to keep you moving forward. Having the knowledge that the lows will come but you can deal with them as long as you keep looking after yourself and putting one foot in front of the other is enough to bring any challenge into the realms of possibility.

The second sentence I would like to share is from the late Caballo Blanco; I saw a talk he gave in Bristol a few years back, around six months before he died, during which he said (not word for word): - "The way to cope with the challenges of life is to have faith in something. Look at running 100 miles; you will inevitably have times when you suffer, but you get through it. It's the same in life; you have low points, but you get through them. All you have to do is believe."

That is what I am getting at; once upon a time running a marathon seemed like an impossible dream for me. There came a time when I would think nothing of doing a marathon length training run. The long run allowed me to make the distinction between 'Can't' and 'Won't' and is still an analogy that helps me to realise I can get through the challenges life presents. Ok, so maybe I can't literally have a few hundred pounds taken off my debts by running long (oh how I wish it were that simple), but knowing what I have achieved by pushing through the lows in a running sense shows me what is possible, and is part of what stops me from spending each day freaking out about things I can't change with a click of the fingers.

My book 'Everything Will Work Out in the Long Run' (signed copy) is available via this link.....