I THINK I WAS IN FRANCE; IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN IN SWITZERLAND; CAN’T BE SURE MY BRAIN WAS PORRIDGE.
…. bear with me and I will go back to the beginning. You see none of this is my fault!
It is August 2016 and I am on the finish line of the Mont-Blanc trail race. My friend Pat is due to finish soon. I have been watching him online for over 24 hours. It is lunchtime and he has been running since yesterday 9am. We hadn’t even planned to be here but we were only two hours away at our house near Lyon in France so we high tailed it over to surprise him at the finish. The emotions were incredible. There were tears, proposals of marriage on the finish line, literally blood sweat and tears. I had never seen anything like it. I had to be part of this experience. Halfway through his post-race meal, I was already asking Pat advice on training and tactics, I had been completely caught up in and inspired by the experience.
Fast forward two years and I was there myself on the same start line, with eagles being released into the sky dramatic classical music by Vangelis and helicopters overhead. It was quite the spectacle.
Since I had got confirmation of my place it had been an incredible tough year. Our youngest boy had been in intensive care for nearly 2 months from birth and that is where all my focus had been. On family, not on training. Was I ready? Barely... but with the flight booked, and the hard to come by entry… I went ahead in Ozzie’s honour.
I was doing the CCC, which stands for: Courmayeur - Champex - Chamonix a 101 km route with 6,100 metres of vertical ascent. So… if you know your geography you may already realise it goes through three countries. Italy Switzerland and France.
The race was split into stages, with a feed and water stop at the end of each stage. Also, there were time-limits on when you had to reach these checkpoints in the race. If you are behind the cut off times, you are forced to retire.
THE RACE HAD BEEN INCREDIBLY HARD, IT HAD BEEN VERY WET. PARTICULARLY FOR ME, HAVING NOT REALLY DONE SUFFICIENT TRAINING.
I had probably climbed around 4000m already and run 40 miles at the point when MY BRAIN WAS PORRIDGE and I felt I was going to have to
I was talking to another competitor. He was saying that at this stage that there was really no point in continuing. He was saying that basically whatever we do we will get timed out anyway. He was saying that we may as well stop torturing ourselves and
At least I thought he was. Pat was with me. He was crewing and helping me change out of my soaking clothes and eat and providing moral support. I relayed the message the other competitor gave me to him. He laughed at me.
I thought to myself. Then he explained.
“That isn’t what he said” That is the exact opposite of what he said!
“HE SAID THERE WAS STILL A GOOD MARGIN AND YOU WOULD BE FINE TO FINISH”
Ohh I said slightly disappointed. I picked up my backpack and kit. Pat kicked me out the door and I kept going. I successfully finished the race around 8 hours later. It was not easy, but as they say in the SAS, we can do 40% more that we think we are physically capable of. Finishing this race was a huge moment of pride for me in an incredibly tough year. To get myself through the race I had decided to dedicate my effort throughout to our gorgeous little boy. I know that wasn’t logical in many ways but it was a connected effort for me.
So, what was going on with my PORRIDGE BRAIN when I wanted to quit?
I was kidding myself. I told myself what I wanted to hear. I let myself have negative thoughts, I let myself hear something not real that wasn’t being said, I let myself interpret information in a negative way. How often though do we all do this all the time.
How often do we have thoughts that do not support us? How often do we fail to have our own back and believe and trust in ourselves? Our thoughts are critical to meeting our goals and strong positive thoughts lead to strong feelings beliefs and actions and better outcomes.
If you feel you may need a crew mate to help improve your thinking so that you can learn to be more resourceful get in touch.
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