This week is the week I begin training for the most daunting and physically demanding challenge I have ever taken on. In the past, BC (before children), I used to enjoy running and ran a number of 10ks and completed the Bristol Half Marathon. Running 13.2 miles was a huge challenge, but it was one I enjoyed and one I felt was within my comfort zone.
Deciding to undertake the ‘Mind 3000s’ – a 24 hour challenge where I will trek 50km and ascend 4 peaks in the Lake District, all over 3000ft, couldn’t be much further out of my comfort zone. The thought of trekking up mountains through the day and the night, in challenging terrain, whatever the weather decides to do, is nothing short or terrifying to me. I will admit that I am not that keen on the dark; I am clumsy, badly co-ordinated and highly likely to fall over; I have dodgy knees and a dodgy ankle; I like my bed and my sleep; I hate being cold; and my physical fitness is currently dubious. I am seriously worried about this challenge for so many reasons. Yet I am determined to complete it.
I am of the school of thought that if you are going to undertake a challenge for sponsorship and ask people to give you money then you need to be committed to REALLY stretching yourself and REALLY earning that sponsorship. I could have jumped out of a plane, but I would have rather enjoyed that actually. I could have decided to do another 10k or even stretched myself to a Half Marathon again… but again, I would have enjoyed it and it would have been a familiar, achievable goal. I am truly, genuinely worried about what I am taking on… so I feel that I really do deserve the sponsorship which, so far, people have been so generous in donating. What a sadist I am.
I am going to complete this challenge – come hell or high water – because I am raising money for Mind. I lost my dear big brother Ian to depression in 2011, after he battled for many years with his mental health. His story ended with him taking his own life. I couldn’t be more passionate about mental health for so many reasons. Obviously my main inspiration is Ian, but, having suffered with depression and anxiety as a result of Ian’s death, I also now have a personal perspective on mental illness. I am deeply concerned by the lack of understanding, gravity and insight which, in general, is awarded to mental health problems. The stigma is rife – even in 2015, in a civilised, educated society. There is the feeling that those with mental illness need to snap out of it, pull themselves together and stop being weak. I often ask myself when will we realise that an illness is an illness, be it of mind or body.
Anyway… back to the training. I am going to complete a weekly blog to record the progress I am making (fingers crossed?!), and to motivate me to get off my bum and get ready for this enormous journey. I have been overwhelmed by the support of family, friends and strangers and have currently raised £1055. I can’t let those lovely people down by avoiding the nightmare that is just 4 months away! I have received my training pack from Mind and will follow the training schedule they have included. This week therefore will see a gentle start with a couple of 20/30 minute fast walks / runs and some strength work. My main challenge will be to convince my 21 month old daughter to comply with what I need to do. Now that really IS tough. Wish me luck!
Here is the link to sponsor me…