The long road to success

Posted October 2022

I was inspired in 2013 when I ran a half marathon in Marrakesh by a friend of my sister who was running his first marathon TWO years after having starting his own running journey. It might have been the loveliness of a long weekend with my sister in an amazing city where we breakfasted on roof tops and enjoyed warm sun in February. #lovemarrakesh Whatever it was I did nothing other this thought, except listen to my sister tease me that ‘if I was going to run a half, shouldn’t I run the whole?’ (What can I say, she’s my baby sister and she thinks she’s funny ;) ).

That said the seed had been planted.

In 2015 I left a company where I'd been working for almost 7 years, started a new job, AND started a MSc. If you’d asked me me I would have said that I still really, really wanted to run a marathon but it wasn't the time as I knew I couldn’t commit to the training programme that I knew would be required to train properly for a marathon. In my head running a marathon went on the list of ‘fun things I’m going to do once I finish studying’.

March 2022 I spent the weekend with a friend who has racked up 30+ years of friendship time served. She asked me a question to which I meant to say 'no' and yet the word 'yes' came out of my mouth (slightly very unexpectedly). I am also fairly sure she has magic powers because this isn’t the first time this has happened. The result;

2nd October 2022 Chester Marathon
15th October 2022 Ladybower Reservoir Ultramarathon

For those of you who might be wondering, this is no humble brag!!!

I’m ok with owning my own awesomeness and uniqueness. I cannot be more proud of what I've achieved, the strength, resilience, determination and sheer stubbornness that I have discovered I have and can call upon. This year alone I don’t think there is a weather condition I’ve not run it! I have run through every start line of every training session and practise race I did and I have run, hobbled, cried and/or walked across every finish line. I’ve even run in nature- running through mud, fields, grasslands, up hills and along trail, none of which is my comfort zone.

My dream has been germinating for 10 years. I wanted to start many times but did not or could not. I've also spent the last 6 months being focused on putting the miles in, running different types of runs to build strength, endurance and speed. All of which came after years of conditioning my body to the joy that is running.

Oh, and almost everyone has called me 'crazy'.

It has all got me thinking though. When we talk about success, usually of others, we are so often just focused on the outcome or end point, what has been won or achieved.

What we don't often have sight of is what was lost, given up, let go of, the internal fights that have been fought and lost and fought and won. We don't often get to hear about the self doubt, self criticism that are all too often amplified by the voices of others. We don’t see the micro-learning moments and it not going well, the relearning, reframing, personal growth and personal transformation that supports us when we go after those big, hairy assed goals and dreams.

I didn’t fall out of bed on Saturday and decide to run 50k. Nor did I fall out of bed 2 weekends ago and decide to run 26.2 miles. It’s been hard work and it has hurt.

It has also been SUCH fun. It has helped me be less fearful. I have been able to manage my anxiety better.

I will never forget one training run where I was really laying into myself. I had to a distance run at a pace I was so not sure I could sustain. Me talking to myself was not working. So I channeled the voice of a lovely friend of mine, who was had been unfailingly encouraging. She and I had a conversation in my head and the run started to feel completely different. It was filled with compassion and kindness, there was no big stick being wielded to beat me up. Just a confidence and belief in my and my ability to do anything I set my mind to and an assurance of love regardless of the outcome. Let’s just say as hard as that training session was I nailed it.

And that’s the other thing we don’t often see in the face of success, those who have stood on the personal sidelines of the seemingly successful person and been the voice of encouragement, compassion and kindness. The voice of reason and perspective when all sense and perspective has been lost.

So if you’re trying something new, different, that requires you to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and maybe leaves your comfort zone as a speck in your review mirror this post is for you.

Take some deep breaths, be your best and most supportive cheerleader and put one foot in front of the other.

You’ve got this!!