Strength does not come from winning..

As my previous post outlined, everybody wants to be great. The fact is though that nobody starts out there. The definition of ‘great’ has also become incredibly misguided with the development of technology and social media.. so much so that its probably doing more bad than good.. I see so many Instagram profiles for both men and women filled with images of 6 packs and zero % body fat. I don’t doubt that everybody looks at them and thinks ‘I’d love to look like that’.. myself included. How many of us could realistically get there though? Yes it is technically possible but at what cost? So why do the people posting feel that this is the way to do things?

Having a brother who is a bodybuilder ( @bigfella2901 ) I see the hardwork and dedication that goes into it along with raising 2 young children with his Fiancee.. he manages the balance incredibly well and I’m extremely proud. Does this mean his Instagram pictures will motivate the average person who works a 9-5 and fancies making a change? The simple answer is no it wont. His pictures will motivate the bodybuilders who want to get better at it and perhaps seek advice and motivation.

Everybody has started out as that person who walks into the gym feeling totally overwhelmed and self conscious. The internet should be the same. Yes we look up to that guy lifting 100+kg like its nothing but we don’t need to workout next to him every single day.  That is what the internet is becoming. Not everyone will get to that stage but it doesn’t mean they should be ignored. I know i’ll never be an elite marathon runner but at the same time I know I’m going to try my best every session and I’m happy with that. If people kept telling me my goal was to beat Mo Farah then I’d give up a lot sooner than simply ‘doing my best’. I think this is reflected over social media. So many people will see all these perfect bodies and just consider it too out of reach to even try. If I can motivate even one person to at least do their best and feel a sense of achievement within themselves then I’ll be happy. You don’t need to take your top off on Instagram to feel like your worth something. Yes it may get you a few likes and a cheeky follow from ‘Chardonnay from Brentwood’ but is that really going to mean anything?

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Just do your best. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that isn’t good enough. Not all of us are built to be superstars but that doesn’t make us any less of a person than the one’s who are considered so. Cristiano Ronaldo may be ‘great’ but he got there by ‘doing his best’ and having a little bit of luck along the way no doubt. If you’re doing something you love and your doing well at it then your on the right path. Your best IS good enough and you WILL get out everything you put in. You just have to start..

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strength. When you overcome hardships, that is Strength. (Arnold Sschwarzenegger)

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To be a champion..

What does it take to be great? What is the measure of greatness? These are two questions I seem to have asked myself quite a lot recently. During training, pounding the pavement whilst feeling every step. Gearing up for a marathon is a strange thing. You work hard, you focus, you commit yourself to the cause yet you know your not going to cross the line first.. or even in the first few hundred.. Does that mean you’re not great? Does that mean your measure of greatness is less than those crossing the line before you?

It’s hard to really answer the above questions because whilst I cant stand losing at anything I’m also fully aware that I’m not built for marathon running. My personal achievements will define my greatness. My dedication to getting home everyday, lacing up the running shoes and pulling on my Dre. Beats as I get in the zone for another personal best. It’s turning down that free cake at work or resisting that domino’s 2 for Tuesday offer than helps defines my greatness. Setting that alarm on a Saturday night to get up early and replicate my event start times.

Its true that everybody has the ability to ‘be great’. There are enough motivational quotes on google and instagram to tell you so. How many of us settle with never getting there though? How many of us only consider that 1st place as achieving something so never take part? A ferrari is a ‘great’ car, an Aston Martin is a ‘great’car.. what if everybody looked at the first super car and thought ‘why bother?’.. The world would be a very different place than the one it is today.

Why not change your approach and focus on why you ‘can’ do something rather than why you ‘cant’.. give it a go. You’ll surprise yourself..

With 6 weeks to go I dont feel any different than I did 3 months ago.. but deep down I know I’m closer to achieving what I set out to all those months ago . Getting in after a run now consists of some stretching and an isotonic sports drink. It used to consist of lying on the hallway floor exhausted feeling a minute from death. Whatever happens in September wont define my life but it will define who I am as a person and what I am capable of. The only thing that will be left to ask is ‘what next’..

I guess we will see..

To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are. Muhammad Ali

You’re only given a little spark of madness..

I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty fit guy.. go to the gym, decent run on the treadmill.. eat relatively healthy. I haven’t ever considered myself willing, let alone able to run a marathon.. So what changed?

I don’t think anything truly changed other than my dedication and determination to achieve something I could considered truly rewarding. Something I could look back on and smile about. Something that goes above and beyond all the usual ‘not enough time’ in the day excuses and towards something that may not only inspire me to challenge myself even further but also inspire others..

This year i ran my first half marathon. At the time this was a distance I assumed i could never achieve, having suffered with poor stability, a broken ankle and various calf/hamstring issues. The aim was to complete in 2 hours. 2 hrs 1 minute 47 seconds was the logged result. A relatively pleasing outcome and something to build on.

I now sit here 45 days away from my first full marathon with a strong amount of training behind me and a lot more in front! I’ve pushed my body and my mind beyond what i considered to be my limit and then got up the following day and done it all over again. I’ve started to enjoy ice baths and listened to way more one direction than I should probably ever admit to.. but i wouldn’t change it for the world. Having signed up to complete 3 marathons over 14 days in September means I have a lot further to push and a lot more time to be spent hitting the pavement ensuring I’m completely focused and ready to achieve what I once considered unachievable..

A lot of people have called me crazy.. but as the late and great Robin Williams put it so perfectly, “You’re only given a little spark of madness.. You mustn’t lose it”.

To be continued…

I look forward to you following my journey through the next 6 weeks of training and the 3 weeks of events that commence. I’ll be providing updates on a range of things from training, diet and whether I’m still alive on 28th September…

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