When I found out that I couldn’t do the marathon I had prepared for this year in Nepal I could have decided to give up. I could have decided to stop training and simply throw in the towel – but after a brief period of disbelief I picked myself up and recognised that despite the horrible circumstances under which it occurred – I had been given another year to fine tune my training for this monumental event.
Every day people are out there redesigning their lives and setting new and exciting goals. It could be a 10km fun run or perhaps a half marathon or marathon. Irrespective of how big or small the mission may seem I wholeheartedly believe that the act of creating a goal and setting out in search of achieving it is hugely important to anyone who wishes to grow and develop both physically and mentally/emotionally. No matter what you set out to do, if it stretches your capabilities even a little it is worth the journey. I see people setting out on personal journeys all around me and at times I know they are hesitant to express their enthusiasm, as though my Everest challenge casts a dark shadow over their personal challenges. Honestly – I believe every event along the way to achieving one’s individual goal is its own Everest. Those who achieve their goals constantly inspire me, regardless of how big or small the goal may appear.
It’s quite normal for most people undergoing training to need a support mechanism to make sure they function to the best of their ability. I started to notice at the beginning of my training that there was only so much that I could fit in. The balance between kids, training, work and family at times made me feel like a one arm circus juggler! My natural personality is to be the ’energiser bunny’ but that type of persona is very hard to maintain when so much energy is put in to all of those areas in life. Not only parenting but teaching is something I like to put 100% into at all times. So I thought I would share a few things that have made this all easier. I always get asked ‘how do you do it?’ Well here is a little of how.
I made the decision when I began my training at Spec Force Fitness in 2013 to quit caffeine. This was upon the advice of someone I’ve grown to really respect & look up to – the CEO at the time Scott Cottier. Giving up coffee was something I thought would be very easy. I was wrong. The strangest thing when your body relies on this temporary pick me up is that you eventually have to go down the other side of the slippery slope if you decide to cut it off. Initially I had headaches and found it very difficult to find the energy to continue training however after day four I started to feel better and now, months on – I’ll never look back.
Next on the hit list were sugar and starch. These two things are what I’ve removed more recently from my diet. The first few weeks involved a lot of reading packets for hidden ingredients (and you won’t believe how many things contain sugar). It was interesting learning how to make my own version of a chocolate treat whilst respecting my new eating regime. Everyone is human and I have always had the NEED for a chocolate fix so I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to cut this out to reform my diet. Along the way one thing really stood out – It’s amazing how much sugar and starch is hidden in the products I used to think were a healthy treat!
Four weeks of eating like this and my body was changing. I felt lighter and even the strength in my training increased. The social events and nights out with friends will arise and yes I will be able to enjoy a drink or two but definitely feel the difference the next day. Treat your body as you would like it to treat you. I’ve come to understand this more now that I’ve needed the best out of my body to achieve the Everest Marathon next year.
Next on the list is to listen to your body. I have had knee issues for some time, which started around the time of my very first Rotorua Marathon. After seeing a knee surgeon I was referred to a Physiotherapist. My trainer (Walter) from the Altitude Training Centre referred me to Trevor Montgomery from Golf Works. I have to say that I had never gone to a physio before nor had I experienced acupuncture and I can highly recommend Trevor! There were muscles being worked that I didn’t even know existed. I was also given exercises to complete and my advice to anyone who gets given these after treatment is to DO THEM! I didn’t consistently complete my exercises, which caused a relapse of the same issue only this time the condition was worse as my training intensity had increased. Whilst my speed had increased at altitude my knee still wasn’t coping. The hardest thing in an athletes mind is that you know you can do better, push harder and be stronger but your injury won’t let you. Frustrating to say the least.
I went back for a visit to get it corrected to find my pelvis was twisted (again). My left leg is actually a whole inch shorter than the right causing knee irritation. After over a dozen needles I had never felt so much pain. I knew it was for the better and to be honest my knee has been incredible ever since and yes – I have kept up with my exercises this time. One of the most important things about any personal journey is not to avoid making mistakes but to avoid repeating them! I hoped no one else was in the waiting room that day as the number of four letter words exiting me was almost unforgivable. I even apologised to Trevor in advance as I was convinced that my leg might accidentally swing up and collect him. Safe to say that driving a manual vehicle was an error in judgment that day.
Lastly food is good but unfortunately unless you have access to the best organic fruit and vegetables then you need something else to support your body. I use EFS (Electrolyte Fuel System) pre and post training along with an amazing Multivitamin from Walter at the Altitude Training Centre and have noticed a massive difference. If I accidentally miss a dose (or worse – run out) I feel a huge difference in the way I function. I will be using USANA probiotics when I’m getting close to going to Nepal. Mike Allsop the expert on the products is what inspired me to take this.
My advice through all of this is that I am giving my body every opportunity to work and function to the best of its ability by investing in it. Invest in your body, treat it with respect and believe me the mental and physical rewards you get are well and truly worth it. That sure is better than anything the doctor might prescribe you for feeling down in the dumps or anxious. I’ve always wished the prescription pad at the doctors had more than just pharmaceutical drugs written on it.
For what ever you are looking to achieve I think it’s awesome. Go climb your own Everest I say. Get out there and try something. Give back to your body so it can give you it’s all and live the gift of life the best you can.