It’s been hard for me to reconcile my return home from Everest, having just taken on arguably the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to face. I had travelled to a country I’ve never been to before (and did it on my own!) and had competed in an event not only for personal achievement, but more importantly to set an example for, and inspire those around me. From a personal perspective, I felt that I needed to prove to myself that I was capable of doing anything through hard work and perseverance. What I didn’t realise was that achieving this momentous goal meant that I then had to face the prospect of everyday life when I returned home – and that was when it felt like a storm began.
It’s been 6 months since my adventure to compete in the Everest Marathon. As the days and months pass the journey certainly lives on in my heart. The beautiful country & people of Nepal is something I cannot wait to go back to and experience again. In many ways it feels as though having seen and felt the things I’ve seen, I look at life’s challenges through different eyes, comparing the bumps in the road with what I went through to conquer my marathon from the base of the world’s highest mountain. This is the hard part too, as I find myself asking the same question that some of you may be asking… now what!?
If I’m going to be brutally honest, I have really struggled to get consistently back into my disciplined routine. This is the storm I am currently facing. When you see your routine slowly slip away from you you really do begin to do a mental battle with yourself in an attempt to extract that motivation that once sent you to that beautiful mountain! Wouldn’t it be easy if we all had a little re-set button? Having done some reflection on this, I now realise that looking back is one of the things stopping me from moving forward so… what IS next?
Since that realisation I have once again started to look ahead and recently returned to the New Zealand Altitude Training Centre to continue training. Simply talking with Walter Thorburn (who runs the centre) has been a huge inspiration to help me to push on and although he is an expert in all aspects of altitude, event and recovery training – he is also an expert at recognising the need and skills to put yourself first, and to give your body the respect it deserves in order to build back up again. Dare I say it… patience Mel…. patience.
I am truly grateful that I have so many wonderful friends from the Everest Marathon adventure. Friends that I will always cherish and look forward to one day meeting again. I’m so lucky that I was able to have shared my personal achievements with graduates and current students of the college I teach for, as well as with the wonderful students of Sommerville Intermediate. I am also deeply honoured to be a special guest speaker and presenter of awards for Manurewa High School. The inspiration I am able to give our future adventurists and athletes in turn becomes my personal motivator to continue – and so the cycle continues.
“There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living” – Nelson Mandela