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Why take on a challenge?

So I got to thinking the other day whilst on a particularly long run with a friend, about what it is exactly that keeps me coming back to challenges. Initially it was to prove, if only to myself, that I was in fact physically capable, something precious and that I try not to take for granted.  Then there is the beauty of being outdoors, getting amongst it, experiencing views and nature that most town and city dwelling folk don’t see all too often. The camaraderie of coming across others doing the same thing and the shared acknowledgement that it’s not quite a normal pursuit is a brilliant feeling. However let’s face facts here, this stuff is painful at times!  There is almost always a low point where I swear to myself never, ever again.  Maybe it’s ridiculously hot, wet or cold, there is tiredness, hunger, blisters and weary muscles to name only a few of the dubious joys. Yet I find myself almost as soon as it’s over searching furiously for the next adventure. The very definition of insanity some may say.

I know that I enjoy the challenge of facing up to something I am uncertain as to whether I am capable of finishing.  Whether it’s faster, longer or higher than before or a first time unknown experience. It’s never the same and though you can plan the journey it never transpires quite as expected.  At one time in my life a five-minute jog was a challenge but the goal posts continue to be moved. Whether it’s one mile or one hundred, doesn’t really matter.  It’s all about just giving it a go, stretching out of your comfort zone and taking a chance.  Testing your limits and feeling the fear and doing it anyway as they say.  We are stronger than we think when it really comes down to it. This stuff is GREAT even when it doesn’t feel like it and the glory of the finish words can’t describe.

Last weekend coming to towards the end of my run, cold, tired and in darkness I turned to my friend and expressed the fact that I didn’t even know why I wanted to get to the end anymore.  Her response summed up perfectly for me the reason why if nothing else it’s worth carrying on; “because that’s where we are getting picked up from stupid!