Although I’ve noticed how tired I’ve been I didn’t put it down to my health. I’ve always been healthy, full of vitality and energy; it didn’t even cross my mind that I could be ill.
Instead I thought it was my mental outlook. I’m a believer in positive mental attitude, mind over matter and what you believe in you’ll be able to achieve. As I’ve pushed myself physically before, through running marathons, competing in Tough Guy competitions and climbing mount Kilimanjaro. I know first-hand that ultra-endurance events are more of a mental challenge than a physical one. You obviously need to be fit, but more importantly you’ll need to have the confidence and belief you’ll be able to finish the challenge you’ve set for yourself.
The body is capable of being pushed to extreme limits and I believe the body can do extraordinary things. It won’t give up on you, but you may give up on yourself. I believe that if anyone puts in the training and makes a commitment to do a sporting challenge or event, and you’re physically able to do it then it’s your mind you need to convince more.
Before I signed up for the race I knew I’d need to be mentally tough and physically fit. I made a commitment to myself to do all the training I could, to get myself into a peak physical condition and to be able to do the race to the best of my ability. With all the set backs I've had in training, I started to think maybe I wasn’t mentally strong enough?
I felt like I was constantly letting myself down and not performing to the best of my ability. Especially over the Christmas period when I struggled to run even short distances. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do it? I’d run thousands of miles before, running half marathons and marathons for fun and I’ve never been in this situation.
I felt weak, both mentally and physically. I also didn’t know how much was now becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’d be thinking I wasn’t able to run, so therefore I wouldn’t be able to.
I’ve been beating myself up, as I feel I should be able to do more running and training and to not give in or give up so soon. I felt like I was letting myself down every day, every time I trained and when I’m wasn’t able to do what I should’ve be able to.
I now realise now disappointed I’ve been feeling each time I finished a training session! I’d go running and be saying to myself, keep running don’t stop, keep going. I was trying to push myself onwards and get through this barrier, but I wasn’t able to continue and that's why I’m disappointed. It’s like I gave up because I wasn’t mentally strong enough to continue.
Now I’ve found out how anaemic I am, I’m not really sure how I’ve managed to do the training I’ve done and continued to do. I’ve been pushing myself really hard through the exhaustion and tiredness and trying to get the miles under my belt and do whatever training I could to the best of my ability.
So maybe I’m not as weak willed as I think I’ve become and possibly this whole experience has made me stronger in the long run.