In this latest blog, Amaris once again demonstrates how running is a perfect metaphor for life in general. She explains how getting through tough times, and achieving what you set out to do, is basically the same process, whether it's a run or another aspect of your life.
It was an honour last year when our Brooksie asked me to be the Bash's Race Ambassador as someone who has taken up running as a tonic through experience of mental distress. Having said that, I've been quite quiet this year... at least I feel like I have.
I completed a 100 mile ultra marathon about 6 weeks ago, I felt like I found myself somewhere on that journey. However, the past few weeks I've experienced a turnaround; I've been inside a mental nightmare; I really feel my head has reverted about 10 years. It hasn't, but it's felt that way. This is what mental stress can do; it tells very believable lies. The same lies it tells in the enduring 'hanging on' place in a race. Not to be believed in either case because this too shall pass.
A situation is happening in my life right now, but I'm not going to waffle on about details because in life, stuff just happens. I talk in principles rather than particulars because we can all relate to those. Stuff happens, we learn an important lesson and we later refer back to this point.
For me, that anchor has always been 'this too shall pass'. I've always known that no matter how horrifying or joyous the head, it all passes and morphs into something else in the end. The good, the bad and indifferent; everything changes, all the time.
I have no idea how I completed a 100 mile ultra marathon AND I have no idea how I gained some insight after experiencing a mental breakdown. There are a lot of parallels and that's what I want to talk about today. It's not really about running 100 miles at all – its about attempting a challenge beyond oneself. I love this stuff we can relate to anything in life.
Ultimately, for me, that challenge was about living a life in the real world that had features like other people, situations I have no control over and embracing fear featuring quite heavily in it. Why chose to take part in a running event that I had no idea was possible? Because why the hell not!? All I've ever done in life is my best; I've been suicidal and I've survived. So why not run twice as far as I ever have previously, what's the worst that can happen!? It's important to think on the lighter side because it open us up to possibilities; nothing is lost if we just have a try. Having a try isn't so hard really, is it?
It's all about a dream, a goal, an aspiration... that unlabelled desire to try. It doesn't matter. Just get on with it in tiny steps, that's all that is required. I figured out the steps I took to find recovery and I figured out the steps I took to run beyond myself (SUPRISE! they're the same):
1.Focus on a goal and aim for the stars
2.Ask for help and take suggested action on everything doable today
3.Get comfortable with pain and just keep going
4.Don't let the bastards grind you down
5.Believe you can achieve
Not so much just like that; it's a huge thing but that's been my experience. Pitfalls can be huge, but so can self belief and the ramifications of that are immeasurable. I've needed both of those to become this me and that is what has recently reminded me that this too shall pass. We are all lost, found, lost and found again as long as we keep taking tiny steps. 100 miles or 1 mile, aiming beyond ourselves is the true start line.