Big words for what was, admittedly, a big challenge.

You must be really proud!

After 7 days in my own little bubble running 230 miles and raising just over £4,000 for such a worthy case in Make-A-Wish UK – Why don’t I feel epic, inspiring or well… something?

This doesn’t feel like the normal ‘post adventure blues’, this feels like there is something missing and a hole that just hasn’t been filled. I feel, well, empty.

I feel ungrateful for saying that because I know there are probably people who have seen what I’ve done and would love to be in my shoes right now.

I’m not looking for sympathy – these post and blogs are a process for me. Writing down how I feel is cathartic and it helps me to work through and deal with those feelings.

So, maybe my issue is that, for once, I don’t have a ‘what next’ planned. No challenge or race on the horizon to refocus my efforts on.

Maybe it’s because the shin splints and generally swollen feet are going to prevent me from running or cycling for 3 weeks at least (I don’t do well with being told what I can and cannot do).

Ultimately I think, my overriding feeling is that this was not enough. Saying it sounds mental, I know it’s crazy to feel that way and I am struggling to understand why. Is it because I am not broken, not hurting enough?

I think part of this is my personality – I like coming up with the ideas, creating my own challenge, I like dreaming big, I like overachieving and I love pushing my own limits. Part of this journey has been all about finding those physical limits and using my determination, my drive and my heart to push me beyond them. So maybe I feel like this wasn’t hard enough, that I should have pushed for more mileage and fewer days.

I think I am at a cross roads and I genuinely don’t know where to go next. I love supporting Make-A-Wish and I can’t see me not supporting them going forward. I also love the solo aspect of my challenges, but this latest challenge had 2 days in the middle where I was the lowest I’ve been in a long time and I didn’t like that. The ability to pick yourself up minute by minute, hour by hour, is exhausting and I am not sure I can do that again. Maybe it’s just too soon to think about another solo challenge, or maybe I just need to find a group of people who dare to dream as big as I do and want to create a challenge that is truly epic.

I am clear on the difference the money we’ve raised will make to a wish child and their family, I think that because I don’t have that close personal connection to the Charity it makes visualising that difference harder, so maybe I feel a little disconnected.

I think I am a little fatigued with Social Media too. It’s an added pressure to post and tell a story constantly to keep people interested. I guess I dislike the whole ‘influencer’ thing – I prefer openness and honestly, real people with real lives and real challenges – like me. Not the perfectly crafted picture of a smiling face, or one that doesn’t throw shadows over a product or brand name. I’m not a peacock, I appreciate I’ve done some amazing things but I’m not great at boasting or selling them, to Britishly modest I think. I know this social media game (that’s what it is, let’s be honest) is 50% personal brand, 25% work and 25% knowledge. I’ve always taken the view that being a nice, good person, working hard and believing in what you’re doing is enough – maybe I am frustrated because it’s not.

I’m going to stop, but I’ll end the monologue with a lyric I like;

“I don’t have the right name
Or the right looks
But I have twice the heart”

Turning a negative in to positive action

I need to use my time to come up with something for 2019 – I think I’ve proved to myself that I am capable of almost anything, that when the going gets tough that I have the mental strength to keep going.

I think I need to increase my support network and create a challenge that includes other people – both to do the thing with me but also to use what I’ve done as practical inspiration, to help other people find their extraordinary.

In the short term, I want to blog about my challenge, what I’ve learnt and hopefully that will help me develop the long term view of what next! Look out for more soon.

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