Today I am excited as I have my first guest blogger; the wonderful @emfalump
When I asked her to blog she said
"But I haven't achieved anything yet - who wants to hear about someone in the contemplative stages of change"
"That's exactly why I want you to blog". How many stories are of people that have achieved their amazing goals yet as I sit on the couch reading about their adventure there is a disconnect between the epically hard thing they have done and you sitting their reading about it. It's difficult to visualise that at some point that person was also at a place of doubt wondering if they could do it which is why I want to share with you @emfalump's story about the London to Brighton bike ride.
So! It’s just over 2 years until I turn 50….. that great motivator, the mid-life wake up call. I am overweight (some may say obese), I have active Crohns disease, arthritis due to said Crohns disease, a hernia due to a previous bowel resection and chronic fatigue…… in short, I feel like I’m falling apart.
But, I have a dream! Which like many dreams, until now, has remained firmly in the realm of fantasy (and been fuelled by endless hours looking at pictures on Facebook). After all, how can I possibly fulfil it when my body keeps letting me down? ......... or does it?
Recently, I’ve become very aware that though yes, things can be a challenge for me when my physical health needs appear stacked against me, often the bigger challenge is not listening to and believing my own internal critic. The often deafening voice that reminds me how I wasn’t picked for teams in PE, was chased around the cross country course by a seemingly sadistic PE teacher trying to stop me and my friend from walking the course and how I was told, aged 4, that my “jumps were a little on the heavy side” in my ballet exams. In short, that I am not a “natural athlete”. And yet, here I am, about to start training to cycle from London to Brighton. 54 miles of cycling which will inevitably include facing my nemesis- cycling up hills. Some people might think this is enough of a challenge. However, this is just another step towards the bigger plan…. The dream! Which is, cycling the North Coast 500 in Scotland.
This route involves cycling 516 miles around the coast of the Highlands of Scotland. Which yes, by its nature involves some pretty big hills. Ever since I first heard that this was something that other people did, it has been something that I want to do…. Something I have spent hours planning, pondering and checking out B&B’s en route and reading other people’s blogs about their own progress. I am now at the stage where even if it takes me far longer than the suggested 8 days (and around 65 miles per day of cycling), I will do it. After all, the route also includes the opportunity to go whale watching, to try to spot the Northern Lights, explore the beautiful deserted beaches and go wild swimming, so taking my time will hardly be a hardship.
Strangely, on this topic, my internal critic has been remarkably quiet…. Being drowned out by the slightly gobbier rebel in me which is shouting at me to show the doubters that I can and I will do this. Like most people, I am nothing if not a contrary so and so.
As I am sure that @moodlifter would advise, it’s now time to break those goals down. Which brings us back to London to Brighton. A girl's got to start somewhere and where better than telling everyone that you plan to ride your bike far further than you ever have before. Nothing like a bit of accountability to get you focused. And nothing like the horror of cycling over the South Downs to make you consider taking your training plan seriously which includes the horrible weekly hill training session. Well on that I have made some progress in that I have found a hill. I’ve also learnt how to use the gears on my bike (something I rarely had to do in Cambridge where I started cycling!). I have even bitten the bullet and bought some cycling leggings from “Fat Lass at the Back”. This would bring me onto a bit of a rant if I had time- I mean come on clothing manufacturers not everyone can wedge themselves into a size 14 so please be a bit more inclusive! Though thank you to “Fat lass” – you have made the cycling a far more comfortable experience. Any lesser woman who was looking for signs that cycling was not for them might have taken the lack of “off the shelf” clothing as something of a sign. Not me obviously…….
Though I do still have to get the bike out of the shed more than once every 6 months, get the tyres pumped up and get cycling. If we believe that the journey is just as important as the destination then it’s fair to say that for me part of that, is now believing that I can give this a go.
Follow @emfalump on twitter to see how her adventure continues.
But to anyone reading this the 5 points to achieving your goals are:
1) Identify the statement or goal that you have made and ask WHY;
For Emma it will boost her confidence and make her bigger goal of cycling beautiful Scotland seem more achievable.
2) Identify steps and activities that will have benefit to you;
She's filling in the paperwork to do the Bike ride, booked her hotel and got the bike out of the shed, the next 3 Months involve getting more active day to day as well as building up endurance and core and leg strength.
3) Know your barriers;
When something like actually buying the clothing can be self conscious it could get in the way. If you know this about yourself you can find ways around it and utilise your strengths (Or skills in shopping!).
4) Start in a place of safety;
A cycle in the park and utilising your support will get you going.
If you need support or a plan for how to get you on your adventure get in touch with me.
5) Stretch physically and mentally.
Going out of your comfort zone can feel scary, but the only way to make changes it to do this (And @emfalump is going to need lots of stretching!)
I can't wait for @emfalump's journey to be one that I am reading about! What will your adventure be?