... and just like that, we are into March! Wow, where does the time go? I've been officially training for 74 days in preparation of May's Smileathlon Challenge. As each day passes and we edge closer to Monday 14th May, I thought it a good idea to provide a monthly training round up, in addition to the weekly update videos.
If you are just interested in the stats for the month of February, you can scroll down and bypass my reflective spiel. Don't worry, I won't think bad of you. I'd likely do the same.
Training for any endurance event can quite often be a solitary affair. In truth I actually love the solitude, and I often refer to swimming, cycling and running as informal meditative practices. An opportunity to be with oneself, to process the experience and glean any wisdom it may or may not provide. That's one of the main reasons why I don't run to music. I don't want to be distracted, as I firmly believe it's a fast track opportunity to strengthen my mindfulness muscle.
That said, February has been a month of friendships. Due to the strict nature of the challenge and the specificity of track running, it's been a wonderful opportunity to provide open invites to anyone keen to run a few laps of Goldsmith's with me. I've been over the moon to run with many friends, some long term friends and others who I feel as though this Smileathlon pursuit is helping knit the start of a long term friendship with others. It's felt great to connect in this way.
I'm someone who likes deep and meaningful conversation, surface level chats never really peak my interest. I've found that by passionately pursuing mental health advocacy and fundraising has also enabled people to be open with me and to provide a great platform for conversation of substance. The fact I've been able to not only run with friends but also connect with meaningful conversation which leaves your soul feeling happy is something I'm particularly grateful for.
Love the Process, Forget the Outcome
This 7 Iron Triathlons in 7 Days pursuit is as much a spiritual journey as it is a physical and mental one. I've found a deep connection to my inner self since starting out on this endurance pursuit back in 2015. I wrote the following after my 7 and a half hour turbo trainer session this past week. I wanted to include it in these February reflections.
I can’t help but feel deep gratitude for the capabilities of my mind and body after a workout like this. 7 and half hours on a turbo trainer doesn’t provide the joy of being on the bike in the great outdoors. I’m constantly finding myself redefining what I believe is possible in myself. Not just in a physical capacity, but equally if not more so in a mental capacity. I must sound like a broken record as I constantly repeat this but I am in love with ultra endurance pursuits because there’s no greater way to mimic the ultimate endurance pursuit that is life. What voluntary adversity provides me is experience. What my love of reading and philosophy in particular provides me is knowledge. When these two intersect; knowledge and experience, we obtain wisdom. There’s no greater pursuit in my eyes than that, and the many virtues that result as a by-product. Very grateful and proud of today’s session.
We live in a society where we are more often than not fixated on the outcome and the result at the expense of the process and as cliche as cliches get 'the journey'. But what we lose when we only concern ourselves with the result is EVERYTHING. I've made peace with the fact that I cannot 100% control the outcome of The Smileathlon Challenge. If I knew right now I can guarantee the successful completion of the 7 Iron Triathlons in 7 Days, it would lose its appeal because it would no longer be a challenge. A proper challenge is one which excites and scares in equal measure. This is most certainly the case with this challenge. Maybe I've bitten off more than I can chew, but the beautiful thing about setting a big challenge; it's the person I become each day. It's the challenge that propels me to train when its snowing, when its wet and windy, when I'm tired, when I'd rather be sleeping. Yes I want to successfully accomplish the goal, but whether I do or I don't. I've already won, because I've applied myself, I've left no stone unturned and I've become a better human being in the process. That's the real win. Falling in love with the process. Falling in love with doing everything in my control. The small daily actions that snowball. The contentment and satisfaction that seeps into my inner being at the end of every day when I know I've left everything in the pool, at the track or on the bike. The result? I've let go of caring. I've let go of wishing, and praying. I'll show up, do my best and do everything in my control. Just like I've done from day 1 to day 74. Nothing will change. The 7 days in May are just an extension of the character I've shown since December. That realisation slows my breath, and calms my mind. By loving the process, I'll love the result whatever it shall be. I've already won.
The Real Winners
February has been the month in which I finally went public with the challenge too. I explained the specifics and started the fundraising page. You can visit the page here
At the time of writing, the generous donations of friends, family and members of the public has reached £1,710.00 (£2,045.00 inc Gift Aid). I've been absolutely blown away by the generosity thus far. To be 10 weeks out and to have reached 28% of the £5,965.00 is simply remarkable and I'm beyond grateful.
I have a number of personal why's as to why I do ultra-endurance challenges, but the biggest why is in knowing it can help make a difference to other peoples lives. Every donation gives me greater strength in mind, body and spirit and to know that I am part of a Smilinggg team that is trying to help those in their time of need gives me a strength in spirit that I just couldn't obtain alone. It's hard to put into words.
I'll leave it there for my reflective thoughts on this past month. It's been a month where I've gained a little more confidence that maybe, just maybe I can accomplish this task. As always, I'll continue to focus one day at a time, and give monumental thanks to the powers that govern my health and fitness.
As promised; below are the stats from this past month.
I use Instagram Stories to document my training each day. You can follow me here
Lastly I post to Strava every single workout. You can follow my progress here
- 75 Hours - 1,706 km / 1,060 miles - 36 Training Sessions -
- 18.38 km / 11.4 miles -
Cycling (Turbo Trainer):
- 1,440 km / 895 miles -
- 247 km / 153 miles -