What’s Your Why? Inspiring Video All Runners Need To Watch

It’s that time of year again – marathon season – with biggies such as Paris, Brighton and London all within a few weeks of each other. I know marathons happen up and down the UK and worldwide all year round but April always feels more like marathon-month than others so now’s a great time to share this great video, The Why: Running 100 Miles.

I watched this last year when I was training for Snowdonia Trail Marathon and grappling with training that was mentally, emotionally and physically challenging. It was my sixth marathon but my first mountain event (where we would summit Snowdon at mile 23) and throughout the six month training block I was riddled with self-doubt, worry and lack of confidence.

Living in flatter-than-flat east London was not conducive to mountain training, and my inner critic was having a ball by putting me down through every training run and prep-race. I was losing motivation, finding all the training sessions so hard, not enjoying myself and couldn’t understand why.

Exploring why

Luckily, my running coach Luke Tyburski is a phenomenal ultra athlete who has done some crazy big events (such as Morocco to Monaco 12-day triathlon, an event he created himself) so he was great at helping me get to grips with the mental side of things.

I’d ran several marathons before so I was used to the long distance training but CrossFit had come into my life a few years earlier and this had definitely become flavour of the day. So I was fighting conflicting desires and needs and I had to reevaluate my relationship with running. That’s when I wrote Help, I’ve Fallen Out Of Love With Running post.

Like any relationship, dynamics change and evolve over time and that’s part of the joys. And there’s no better time to explore your relationship with a sport, activity or hobby then when you have to tick off big miles on a Sunday morning.

I also kept in mind one of my favourite quote from Luke: ‘It’s only at reaching your limits where you’ll catch a glimpse of your true potential’.

Digging deeper

With long distance events such marathons, 50km, 100km and 100 milers becoming more popular, it makes sense to dig deep and find the sticky or meaningful reasons why we run.

I started reading more about mental side of athletes and sports performance – I had How Bad Do You Want It? on my bedside table – and stumbled on this mini docu film by Billy Yang on why ultra runners do ultramarathon events. Why do they put themselves through so much physically, mentally, emotionally? What’s the pull, the lure and enjoyment in something so seemingly gruelling?

Billy also goes beyond commonly cited reasons such as self-improvement and challenge to bigger questions about our need to seek out situations where we’re challenged to the point of extreme, in a way our modern day lives don’t require us to.

Not only is The Why beautiful and humbling to watch but it helped me see things in a new, fresh light. Suddenly I realised others also suffered in similar ways (with anxieties, self-doubt, fear) so it no longer felt like there was something wrong with me as a runner or that I was failing.

‘When reaching your limits, it’s only there you’ll catch a glimpse of your true potential’.

I realised the conversation of why is one all long distance runners, endurance athletes and probably all athletes have to answer, not just to others but really deep down to themselves. After all, it’s the why that feeds the endless drive and determination needed to smash through these incredible feats.

Watch the film

I watched it a few times before my race as it was so inspiring. I hope you enjoy it and get something out of it too, whether it’s your first marathon or you’re a regular on the ultra trails. It might fire up your own why to help you power through your next event or inspire you to book one. And if you’re running London next week, good luck and enjoy it!

Would love to hear what you think!

Alternative Ways of Being #7 – World Peace Day

world peace day Ganga jata dhara
world peace day Ganga jata dhara
“Peace is the happy, natural state of man. It is his birthright.

 

Many are working today for the promotion of world peace without having peace in themselves. You can elevate others only if you have elevated yourself. This world can be saved only by those who have already saved themselves.

 

Remove the hatred, greed, delusion, selfishness and jealousy, deeply ingrained in human society and spread the message of inner peace.

 

Only inner peace can lead to world peace. That alone is true service to humanity.”

 

– Swami Sivananda Saraswati 
Shared from Tools for Inner Peace – yoga for refugees in UK and Lebanon.

Alternative ways of being #5: Katharine Hamnett

‘The reports were appalling… The environmental issues surrounding the textiles and the pesticides poisoning, the deaths from industrial accidents and workers living in slave conditions… it had to change and it was hard. Even trying to get organic cotton was impossible, no one was doing it.

 

‘Today it’s totally different. We’ve got sustainable recycled polyester, and sustainable alpaca from Peru in natural colours. Swiss mills are making the most beautiful organic cotton. I don’t know why Burberry aren’t using it for all their clothes. They f**cking charge enough!’

– Fashion designer, Katherine Hamnett, 70, on closing her fashion empire in 1989, after she commissioned an impact study into her business and the environment.

The politically driven slogan t-shirt was her signature trademark – George Michael wore Choose Life and her picture wearing her anti-Pershing missile t-shirt meeting Margaret Thatcher is one of her most famous shots.

Katherine Hamnett is now making a comeback with ‘Cancel Brexit’ and ‘Choose Love’ t-shirts and a relaunch of some of her classic pieces (online at KatherineHamnett.com now and then Liberty and Matches).

I love her gutsiness to speak out on issues such as the environment, war or social injustice. She wasn’t happy with the status quo of the fashion industry so she shut down her business and found alternative ways of doing things. We can do the same too by trying to influence small, positive changes in the industries we work in and the attitudes of people we meet. If something isn’t right or should or could be done differently for a great good, why not say something and be bold like Katherine Hamnett.

Quote taken from interview with Mark C O’Flaherty in FT Weekend Life & Arts, 11/12 November 2017.

#QuoteOfTheDay…

“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” – James Madison (1751-1836), US politician and 4th president of United States.

Quote of the Day Sophia Loren James Madison

Thanks to Kay Montano for sharing this on her Instagram feed which I then regrammed on my Instagram). Marking one week since the horrifying terror attacks in Paris, which had followed equally terrible attacks in Ankara Turkey and then Beirut. Not to mention the daily attacks in Baghdad, and of course Syria. Later in the week it was Nigeria and we ended with Mali. Thinking of everyone. Praying for peace.

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Alternative Ways of Being #3

“We’ve become an increasingly harsh world, and when we become harsh with each other and forget our humanity then we end up in these standoff positions. We need to rediscover what it is to be human, and that every human being matters.” – Reverend Trevor Willmott

I’m not usually one for religion but these are wise words, from The Church of England, in response to David Cameron’s stand against migrants in Calais this weekend.

I keep wondering myself where people’s compassion and empathy have gone recently, so glad to hear someone speaking out about this.

A friend of mine wrote a wonderful piece in The Pool about her family’s escape from Vietnam in 1979 – she was lucky as several countries back then opened their borders in response to the crisis and her family eventually resettled in the UK, but others today, have not been so lucky as governments (and people), show less empathy and compassion.

I think whether people are fleeing war, violence, persecution or leaving a non-war torn country simply for better job or education opportunities, why shouldn’t everyone have the right to seek a better life? Not just the privileged. Nick Cohen sums it up in this piece, “If you hate the migrants in Calais, you hate yourself”:

“Human beings move. We are a restless species. If you have never moved to a new country to find work, your forebears certainly did. Go back far enough in your family, my family or any family on this planet and you will find that our common ancestors were migrants. In hating them, we hate ourselves.”

Migrants-in-Calais-Pascal-Rossignol-Reuters
Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

The point I’m trying to make is we don’t have to carry so much negativity in our eyes, minds and heart towards others. However different they are to use. However alien their life might seem. There are alternative ways of being. 

We could be a little more understanding to each others’ struggles. Every single one of us is trying to get through life, survive and make it work. Others have a harder time than others, and some, of course cheat their way round, giving others a bad name. But in general I try to see the human story in each person, not the headline.