Today I am feeling a sense of achievement. I am a little proud because I pushed myself through some pain barriers to achieve a small fitness challenge I had set for myself. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all talking about anything quite as challenging as say Kurt Fearnley’s Kokoda walk… well, in fact it wouldn’t even rate on the radar of that. Not even close! But, it was my own little challenge, and it will be the start of some much bigger ones.
I had challenged myself to run the beach between Merewether and Bar Beach on the sand (almost a couple of kms). Now, I don’t like running much. I used to once upon a time, (I was a pretty good runner in fact) but I don’t think I have run more than 1km in the past 15 years. I think that maybe it is because I became mentally scarred from all the running training I did at school. I was a middle distance runner and competed at state title level for a few years. I think though that the thing that tipped me over the edge and created a dislike of running was a footy coach I had who had a penchant for long distance road runs. Man I hated those things...
Anyway, I have noticed that someone has put a bit of a beer belly on me over winter, and now I have to do something about it. The gym sessions and the morning walks aren’t quite cutting it, so I have to step it up a bit. Thus, for some stupid reason I came up with my little beach run challenge.
If you aren’t used to running, running in sand is ok for the first couple of hundred metres or so. Then the legs start to burn. The calves feel like they are going to explode. By the time I got to Dixon Park (about a third of the way along) I was seriously struggling. Buggar it I thought. I will walk. So, I slowed to a walk… I was sucking in some serious air. It was harder than I thought it was going to be. I walked for a 100m or so, and then for some reason, I had a thought pop into my head which immediately got me running again.
My thought was of my Uncle Daryl. Uncle Daryl lost his leg in a car accident back in the 70’s. He was helping someone out one night on a highway when their car was broken down, and someone smashed up the back of his car and pinned him between the two cars. They had to take his leg off. He didn’t handle the loss very well and it affected him in all sorts of ways. But, Daryl did make some good out of it and he did something that was an astonishing achievement. He decided that he would walk the 75 mile Beach on Fraser Island on his one leg and crutches to raise money to buy a bus that could transport people with disabilities around town. So, he set out and he did it. Keep in mind that this was in the early eighties, before the super high tech training regimes... I don’t recall him doing much training at all. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure he hopped straight out of the pub and onto the beach and just kept going (just joking).
So Daryl hopped up the beach, and completed the trip in about a week. Can you imagine doing that? The crutches would have been just digging into the sand the whole way. It must have been so difficult. Anyway, so as I was walking and feeling like I was doing it tough, the image of Daryl hopping up the beach and how he would have been struggling came into my head. How the hell could I complain? It was the kick in the arse I needed to push myself harder. I started running again and I pushed myself to Bar Beach, and turned around and ran the whole way back without stopping. Every time I wanted to stop, I thought of Daryl. I thought about what he must have gone through, what he must have been telling himself.
So, the point to this post is… we are all going to do it tough along the way to the achievement of our goals, or our challenges, running our businesses etc. My bet is that there is someone out there (related or not) that you can draw inspiration and strength from to keep you going and to help get you through the tough times, the times you want to quit. Find them.