Understanding The Void – The Reasons Behind #RunE1Trail – #GetOutside @TheUltraMag @GetOffTheRopes

The phrase ‘Pursuing the void’ was a good set of words when I first set up this blog page.  It was set up to give me an outlet, someway to note down the thoughts and feelings that I wasn’t able to make sense of and put things into context.  I’ve realised before that transferring the demons and gods that rule us into print reduces their hold on me, but I realised that I didn’t understand this concept of the void.

Literal meaning of void, as defined but the Oxford dictionary is:

  1.  Not valid or legally binding
  2. Completely emtpy
  3. To be free from; lacking

The truth is that with nebulous statements like ‘pursuing the void’ we create our own meaning, based on our own emotional, social and historical references.  I’m realising something about this idea of a void.

I’m not seeking the emptiness of zen (a bit of an oxymoron as I understand it since you are not meant to empty, but ready to allow thoughts to flow as they would in a river) but I’m relishing a different void…

 

 

“I have no idea what is going to happen once I arrive in Norway.  That’s the truth of it.  Questions float around with no actual defined answer, as though they are being cast in the direction of a hungry information sponge.  The whats, hows, wheres and whens don’t seem to have any meaning since the genuine truthful answer is I don’t know.

I’m standing on the edge of a precipice, deep and able to absorb any and all light I try to shine into it, hiding everything and anything that is beyond my immediate vision.  I can taste fear, apprehension, anxiety and an odd sense of loss.

But amongst all these, acting like a sweet syrup that binds the ingredients of a wondrous gastronomic delight, there is the taste of curiosity.  I can sense the void and I want to see beyond its even horizon and be aware of what I am experiencing.”

 

I guess what I realised when I wrote those words, was that I was petrified of my own curiosity, but like an addict I find myself drawn towards it time after time, catalysed by even the slightest hint that I may not be able to complete what I’ve set out to do.

Fear of failure is the biggest driving force we have and maybe curiosity as to the outcome is the way to realise its strength.

 

Thanks for reading these ramblings…  They are just the words of someone trying to make sense of need to jump into the unknown without the romantic attachment to the image of an adventurer.

Have an awesome day  😀

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Fun On The Fells – #RunE1Trail Training @trailrunningmag @pledgesports @ordnancesurvey @lunasandals @alpkit #GetOutside

Decided to test some Alpkit gear today and surprisingly it survive some stupidity cultivation. Was awesome getting out and showing the newly repaired training buddy a route I ran in the winter. These things are a bit more fun when someone else shared in the stupidity 😜
Here’s a video that hopefully answers the questions about running on rough terrain in sandals :)​

Training On No Fuel Day 2 & 3 – Preparing For The Reality Of Running Europe #RunE1Trail @Pledgesports @trailrunningmag 

 

Day 2 involved the same rule…

500 calories in total for the day and a 50km run, but I made it slightly more difficult by picking a flat and unchanging trail to run along.

 

Simply put it was mentally difficult.  Physically my legs felt tired but they didn’t ache.  I stuck to that one simple principle of being ruled by your heart, and it seemed to work.  I slept for 5 minutes at 21km and realised that I seemed to be struggling to stay warm, but that’s why I had extra layers in my pack.

There’s not really much else to it…

I welcomed the rain that started with around 12km to go, I admired the misty views the rain created and felt that sense of achievement that I did during the summer month as I reached the end of my 50km.

The simple side of this is that my body was generating glucose using fat stores as well as some muscle.  Using fat is a good thing and generally happens under low intensities.  All that needed to happen was to have enough oxygen getting in to my body, and by keeping the intensity down, walking when I needed to and even that little nap I had, I managed to supply enough oxygen to my cells to carryout the magical process of gluconeogenesis.

So, so far it’s day three, my cold is still here, I’m not dead yet, I feel ok (other than the cold) and I do want to eat!

The reality is that on the run I will be taking on board around 500 calories during the run and then a 500 calorie meal at the end of the day and I wouldn’t really expect to maintain this for more than 5-6 days at a time. The other part of this is that this is preparation for a worse case scenario, but the likely hood is running on a calorie deficit for quite some time. The trick will be to manage the route schedule is to know where they are so I can prepare for them with some big feeds a couple of days before.  The other thing that is important is having food to hand that are high fat, so I can get the best calorie/gram amounts and having some basic knowledge of what I can forage as food.  

For now, I’m gonna start eating properly so I can be rid of my cold sooner, rather than depress my immune system and stay I’ll for ages.

Who would have thought that planning such a long trip would be so technical 😉

Training On No Fuel – Preparing For The Reality Of Running Europe #RunE1Trail @Pledgesports @trailrunningmag 

I decided yesterday to start a new phase of my training.  One that by all accounts is deemed risky and stupid, but here’s the point…

There are lots of sections in Norway and Sweden so far where getting food as we do in our everyday lives and outings is not going to happen.  I will have to carry it all and with that comes the risk of injury and the inevitable need to slow down.  The other issue will be the additional calories needed to carry this extra food so one solution (maybe not the best but..) is to carry less food but cover the same distances.  

Today I ran 31 miles in a fasted state, with no fuel being taken on board at all and then only 500cal of food after running.  I feel no different to racing a 50k but there is one thing…

Mentally, the thought of having to repeat today’s run distance and on next to no fuel has destroyed my motivation to move.  This is going to be the thing that pushes me to my breaking point during the E1 run.  The reality of hardly any calories and an incomprehensible distance.

This stage of training makes perfect sense to me.  Even though I’m sat here battling with the want for more food and refusing to eat anything else today, despite having a few slices of pizza about a meter away from me.

The other thing is I’ve realised this must have been what my grandparents faced during WWII!  I can’t even begin to comprehend their hardship, but if they managed it and came out as some of the most incredibly strong people I know, I think I’m gonna just run 30 miles tomorrow and be greatfull I have 500cal of food.  

A Parting Message – The Reasons Behind #RunE1Trail

The Reasons for this ridiculous adventure are varied.

I think I learnt something really important first hand when I ran the UK.

I had never taken on anything quite as demanding mentally as the whole LeJog thing and like I’ve commented on before, I inadvertently jumped head first (I believe this is called a dive) into those dark spaces in our heads.  The same dark spaces that don’t really exist and are just our way of dealing with a fear of failure.  And there it is…

The reasons I am doing this, or at least one of the reasons I am doing this.

I have just sat and completed my tutor reports.  Words about the progress of 30 young people, who I have looked over for 5 days a week for the last 4 years.  Seeing them develop for children in to semblances of adults.  Not quite adults, but at the same time not quite children anymore as they make the final move as secondary school students

As I typed, as I used the words that are expected of me, I thought about what would actually be a better way to say my final goodbye.  What would I say to try and make them understand what the true importance of their time in school was?  I think given the opportunity, on my final day in school, I would share these words with them…

“I stand here about to take a step into a world I am not familiar with and a life that fills me with a sense of fear.  I know that the chances of failing in the task I’ve set for myself is high, moving away form the familiar and comfortable routine of a life I’ve known for over 7 years to a way of living that has absolutely no certainties.  Don’t misread this and think he’s just quit and off he goes.  This moment comes after month of moving away from comfortable choices.  Purposefully making my life more difficult and removing those things that we take for granted and all to share one important lesson.  Your time here, in this school has one true purpose.  The subjects you learn, the exams you will take are all pointless if you miss this truth.  You are here to learn to cope with failure, to make mistakes and to learn from them and their discomfort.”

This is the part that people will misunderstand.  I’m not referring to the discomfort of not having a comfortable bed or being cold.  I’m referring to the mental discomfort of facing and realising failure.  The bitter taste it leaves as you realise that you weren’t quite as good as you thought you were.  But that’s the point.  You are all in an environment where you can make mistakes and there are those ,that regardless of outward appearances, will stand and help you make sense of those failures if you chose to face them.  It is in this discomfort that you realise who you truly are and learn the most important lessons you need to learn. The lessons that will prepare you for the future that is ahead of you.  So, I will share my experience as I struggle to find enough food, make mistake after mistake, learn as I go along, see things that I never dreamt of seeing and find out that as humans we are capable of incredible things.  But I’ll stand there as just an ordinary person who did one simple thing…  chose to acknowledge failure, look it in the eye and shake its hand so that others will hopefully learn that it’s an irrational fear that is hampering our true capacity to learn and be alive.”

Maybe some of you will read this.  Maybe most won’t, but if this has an impact on just one student it will have done its job.

#NoDemonsNoGodsNoMasters.

Things That Will Be Missed Part 2 – #RunE1Trail #GetOutside

When you think about it…

Really focus on the idea of ‘what can I I’ve without’…

 

I will miss some things.  Other things will leave me wandering why I ever bothered with them, but there’s a scarier side to these thoughts I only realised over the weekend.

Let me explain…

Speaking the Bruce Fordyce over the weekend, he spoke some words that I already knew but hadn’t realised the import of until then…

When you take on a challenge…  Something that really pushes you to the extreme ends of your comfort zone…  When it is all over, you will meet the most amazing person you have ever met.  When you look at that persons face you struggle recognise them, but something in the eyes gives the persons identity away.

The face you are looking at is your own.

I’m standing at the edge of a new and dark abyss.  It petrifies me and feels me with an odd sense of nostalgic melancholy, but I know what’s going to happen next…

I’ve been here before and that same sense of dread changed into source of strength that still leaves me in awe when I see it in myself or when I see it in the acts of others.

So it’s time to stop these posts.  The thought process was leading me to a place that although I feel strong enough to enter and exit safely, the sense that I was writing my final words left a bitter taste in my mouth.  Instead, I’m going to turn and face it and jump in.

58 days to go….

 

 

Things That Will Be Missed Part 1 – #RunE1Trail #GetOutside

 

I once had someone to spend my time with.  Someone who I thought would be beside me for the rest of my life, but that wasn’t meant to be.  The gap that should be there however, is filled with a love for the Lake District fells.  Their unpredictable temperament, their harsh terrain and the beautiful simplicity of moving around them.

To all the fells of the Lake District…

I will miss you!