I have done it! This morning I finished the challenge by running the final 10k of the 50k. Just a reminder – the challenge was organised by Maverick Running and was to run 50km within 7 days. Some people ran ultras on one day and completed the challenge in one go. Others ran shorter distances such as half marathons over a few days. I wanted something that would be a challenge but doable, given that I am actually still going to work! So I split the distance into 5 x 10k runs. I also thought my legs would need a couple of rest days so I ran on Saturday and Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with the final run on Friday. I also decided that I would do a different route every day.
Today I was up very early and out of the house at 5.45. I did a route to celebrate the wonderful Ealing Half Marathon, which I have done 6 times. Very sadly they have decided to cancel this year’s event because of COVID-19. I was actually hoping to volunteer this year, and give back to an event that has been so enjoyable every time I’ve run it. So this morning I did some little sections to remember the good times! One such section is quite a long hill. At one point half way up I did think why was I doing this at the end of the week, and not the beginning!!
In fact all the way round I did quite a lot of thinking about why I was doing this at all? I’ve decided – I am a person who likes a challenge.
Challenges. There are those that are imposed on us, like school exams. At the time I probably moaned as much as the next person, but actually I have to admit that I don’t really mind exams. As long as the preparation has been done ( a very big qualification I will admit!) then the exam is half done. That’s not to say I didn’t get extremely nervous. Very, very nervous – one violin exam I did my hand shook so much the bow was actually bouncing off the strings!
However there are also self imposed challenges, and those are the ones that I love best! Last year my challenge was running 12 half marathons (or equivalent) in 12 months. In 2016 my challenge was running the London Marathon. In 2018 I did a great team challenge at work – the Virgin Pulse Global Challenge. My team and I had a lot of fun trying to beat the other teams in our area in terms of racking up the steps and activity levels.
Races and trail runs are challenges too, and that’s what I have missed since lock down. Individual challenges are good fun, it sometimes it’s nice to feel that you are part of a group challenge, and everyone around you is feeling it too. So for the moment it’s going to be virtual challenges instead.
The thing about self imposed challenges is that when an external one comes your way you are prepared. You know you can take it on. It gives you confidence in your ability to prepare and plan a strategy to deal with it. After all what about all those training plans? Those revision timetables? Those index cards….! But the stakes are lower so you can have fun too. With a self imposed challenge it doesn’t matter if you change it a bit, revise the training plan, postpone a run.. Just don’t abandon it forever.
So what now? At the moment I don’t have anything planned. I’ll have a little rest and then get out there for a recovery run or two. And I’ll look around on the internet, and have a think about what challenge to set myself next. Ideas welcome in the comments box!