The challenge ahead

When it comes to pushing your body to the limit everyone loves a challenge. How far we’re willing to go is down to the individual – but often its also down to the challenge itself.

I’ve only ever run one marathon and to be honest it was enough for me. It was the first time that I had really encountered physical pain. Leg cramps, tight muscles and fatigue were all significant factors during the race. I’d only reached 19 miles at that point.

I’m not sure how I got through the other six or so miles which took in the Embankment and run towards Buckingham Palace. Perhaps it was the roar of the crowd, or the person running alongside me ushering words of encouragement. Either way a sudden burst of adrenaline and the pain was gone – at least until after I’d crossed the line.

Since that day running had felt like a chore. I turned my attention to shorter more manageable distances where pain was not likely to be an issue. I started running 5km and then pushed to 1okm. All seemed to be going well, I was hitting a decent pace but still couldn’t beat my PB which became frustrating. Still, I persevered.

It was the first time that I had really encountered physical pain

A torn knee ligament put paid to any more running for a while and when I ventured back out I was lethargic and slow. Was this an age thing or was I just out of shape? Next year I turn 40. Whether I’m approaching a mid life crisis or not is unclear. What is clear is that I needed a challenge to ignite the fires once again.

Having been hooked on Channel 4’s recent reality series SAS: Who Dare Wins I had great admiration for those who took part. This was the definitive fitness test, both physically and mentally. Now, I’m not saying I could do it or would ever want to take part, but a piece of me wanted to experience it some how.

So I hunted for SAS style challenges and one came up. The Fan Dance, a non-navigational route march in the Brecon Beacons which covers two sides of Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons.

This was going to test both my physical and mental strength. The ideal challenge for 2017 and to prove to myself that at 40 years old I was not yet over the hill. The training would have to be regimented and targeting the right areas. I would need to eat right and avoid the indulgences that a casual glass of wine and some chocolate during the week allowed.

There could be no time for procrastination, my kryptonite. I would have to battle the cold, the elements and fight the will to want to collapse on the couch. Beat these and completing the challenge was a possibility.

It could and would be done! So, here is where it all begins!

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