It’s always the most random places that I get writing inspiration; I need to carry a Dictaphone as I never quite remember my initial story!
But I wanted to talk about strength & building resilience in life. This morning I was slogging up some tree-rooty muddy and challenging hills. I’d headed out in the dark with 4 other blokes who were too far ahead to catch. I was huffing. I was hurting. I was thinking grrrrr. But I was doing it. I was achieving those stair climbs. I was satisfied. I was developing strength.
People are always telling me to stop and rest, to chill out, to just do nothing. It’s just not in my make up, especially when it comes to challenging my fitness. I live off it; where others revive themselves from a cuppa and cake with friends or a sleep in with a good book (which I also like too), my fix is being in nature, of feeling some elements like sun or wind (or drizzle as today) on my face, of feeling my body move and my stubborn brain tick into gear.
It was while looking ahead at the zigzag climb in front of me, I reflected on a past experience. A fair few years ago (before children) I owned my first kayak, a mountain bike, a road bike and some runners. I entered a 2-day adventure race from Christchurch to Akaroa (Tuatara Race). The first day I biked, ran and kayaked for around 7 hours to be in 2 or 3rd place (I can’t quite remember which). I was shattered. I remember slogging my bike over these horrendous sheep tracks that I actually was faster walking than biking. Lifting my bike over gates, scrambling down muddy banks. God it was awful. But man that feeling when I came in to the finishing chute…
Becoming familiar with physical exhaustion and the strength that comes with recovery.
The second day, although shorter, was even tougher on me mentally, I found myself utterly spent in the middle of the harbour. I was not a confident kayaker. I was novice and couldn’t roll. I was completely in fear throughout my 12km paddle, the rolling swells were taunting me; I was back-slapping my paddle like no tomorrow to stay in my boat. I couldn’t see my destination, all I could see was blimin water, no other competitors. I was exhausted, hungry and thirsty but I was too scared to take my hands off the paddle to eat incase I tipped. I vividly remember screaming “arrrgghhhh”, I was angry. No one was around. But I knew I just had to keep going. Never give up. I didn’t have a choice. When that sandy shore came into site, I literally started heaving tears. I was on the home straight. I was 2nd.
This guy literally walked over and lifted me out of my kayak…I was spent.
What did I learn from this? You may be thinking if it was that awful why do these things? Inner strength. Confidence. Resilience. When the going gets tough, as does life. Scream argghhh like a 2-yr old having a tantrum, slap that paddle, keep eye on the destination, and carry on with life.
Don’t be afraid to give the unknown a go. Do something that makes you feel challenged. Do something that builds resilience. Do something that makes you feel strong! Because your strength however which way you interpret that word dictates how you approach whatever life throws at you.
Have a great day people xx