The last week has brought home the reality of what an epic run the 1800+ mile trans-Europe dream has become. What started as a whimsical idea whilst having a cup of tea, has now turned into a real, exciting, and (in case you were wondering) scary challenge. 60 miles a day. Every day. For 30 days! That’s a huge and colossal feat for anyone; let alone a bloke with Parkinson’s. It’s the scale of what my co-runner, Dave Clamp, and me are about to attempt that (for me) evokes a blend of all emotions that one can have.
I’d like to discuss these emotions because I believe they directly relate to success. I’ll explain what I mean by that in a short while. However, I’d like to discuss the emotion the most of us would rather not, and that’s fear.
Now, I believe that unless you are completely inhuman, at some point, somewhere, you will be scared. A natural reaction to protect oneself is always a benefit and fear does this. That benefit, though, needs to be tempered with the ability to ignore the fear and reach for a target, probably higher and tougher than you have ever encountered before. This is the way that I feel about my 10MillionMetres campaign.
Honestly, I will be the first to admit that I’m scared. I’m scared of the future in respect my disease, scared of water through almost drowning when I was five years old, and perhaps other factors of which I am yet to be made aware. But the fear I have only makes me want to push back harder and overcome. I truly believe that triumph against what makes you scared can only bring success. Let me give an example:
Last week I went swimming in open water. The lake was dark and in places cold but my resolve to conquer my fear of water came to the fore and (in my humble opinion) I was swimming like a fish. Suddenly, I got cramp. My leg froze and pain shot from my calf right up the length of my leg, making any movement impossible. My mind raced as I was still 300m from the jetty and safety. The panic set in; a slow wave of emotion building in intensity to become cacophony. Now, had that occurred a month beforehand I would have been in trouble. But in my mind, I was damned if I was going to be beaten by cramp. I told myself that I was not going to drown. I would finish and reach the jetty.
I don’t deny that it was a hard swim and my abilities of ignoring pain and staying in control were severely put to the test. However I did triumph! I made the jetty and swore (a lot). Will I be going back to the lake? Absolutely!
How did this make me feel? Beating my fear allow me to be stronger and more in control. It also gave me access to all those other emotions that are often overshadowed by fear. The happiness in achieving something that, for me, months ago would have been impossible, and the pride in getting a job done!
So turning back to 1800+ miles across Europe, I will take the fear that I have and use it to push myself, further, harder, and beyond what I have done before so that I can achieve the goal that I have set. I can visualise crossing the finishing line at the Circus Maximus with Dave Clamp. I so want to that to be a reality! If I want it hard enough and I can face the fear that I have, and triumph, I will make that reality happen! I am sure that the same goes for Dave.