Monday 4th June I turned 46, frankly I still find it hard to believe I'm that old, but there you are, the calendar doesn't lie and 1972 was a long time ago!
Very soon I'll be waking up as a 50 year old, but before I do, those that know me best will not be surprised that I have a list, a list of (physical) goals to achieve!
Maybe you're reading this and wondering why I feel the need to constantly try and push myself, to be honest I often ask myself the same question (as does my wonderful wife), especially as even getting out of bed now comes with sound effects. The truth is I need goals to focus on, if you've followed my social media or blog, you'll know my reasons and if you read my post, post Milton Keynes Marathon you'll have an even greater understanding as to why.
However, in addition to that, being a good role model for my son, is more important than anything. I never had my father around whilst I was growing up, I had to find my own way, and whilst I'd like to think I turned out ok, I want my son to be able to look at me as a measure of the man he'd like to be. I don’t want him growing up and me not be able to keep up with him, especially if he turns out anything like me!
Obviously that doesn't come from pushing my boundaries (but there are lessons in there for him, which I’ll come back to), it comes from giving him my time. Of course giving him everything he needs to blossom into a fine young man is the minimum a father should be aiming for, but as a minimum I also need to be the best I can be, not just for me but for him too. Somewhere in between the two I need to find that balance that means he's part of it and not on the periphery.
That's not easy when I train first thing in the morning and once he's gone to bed. Furthermore most of the events are long and involve weeks and months of preparation. But, he’s been with me now on all three international marathons and was the show stopper on the final day of The 100 Peaks last year, and he loved being part of that. When I’m on the floor doing Press Ups, he often appears at my side ‘dry humping’ the floor and we count his reps together until I get “I’m tired daddy.”
It’s amazing to think he’s watching what I’m doing and it’s catching his imagination and sparking his fire, and whilst he might not understand that concept fully yet, I hope by watching me push my boundaries and by sharing in that with me, that as he gets older, it will come naturally to him to believe he is capable of anything and ensure he has the opportunities to excel in any way he chooses.
Which brings me back to why I still continue to push myself, despite what I've achieved up to now. The opportunity to take on the sort of events I now aspire to be part of, never really existed or indeed I wasn’t in a position to consider them when I was younger. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m hobbling downstairs on screaming achilles and my knees are clicking like a field of crickets, I wish in my younger days, I’d had the inclination to pursue these challenges. However, maybe then, they wouldn’t have meant as much, because now I do them for a reasons, that goes beyond pushing my perceived limits and I have to give everything I’ve got to conquer them, except maybe all of my time.
My priorities are very much my wife and boy, which means I have to work harder and smarter with the time I have. Being nearly 50 and maintaining a high level of fitness and indeed trying to get to the next level is a tough gig, fraught with massive bouts of self doubt, not to mention the confidence knocks when I look in the mirror and think, how the fcuk am I not 75kg and 9% body fat with all the effort I put in!?
Well I guess the short answer is I need to be honest with myself and accept the reality that maybe I’m not as disciplined as I was, and that’s why I come back to the notion that I need goals. I need that focus to drive me, to help me realise and commit to the best version of me, both physically and mentally.
A good friend offered me some great insight at the weekend to the 'think, plan, do' analogy and as I reflected on that during the numerous laps of Endure24, (which will be the subject of my next blog post) it became obvious to me, that since The 100 Peaks, I've very much bobbed along just 'thinking and planning' or 'thinking and doing' but have never really joined up the dots and recreated the process that I adopted when pursuing The 100 Peaks. I guess as well, that doesn't just apply to training and events it applies to all aspects of our life, and everything we are trying to juggle as normal working, nurturing human beings. We have to think about everything, plan what we're doing and get on with it, if one of those aspects is missing, physically we fall down, mentally we become stressed!
So what are my #PROJECT50 goals?
- Complete the Abbott World Marathon Majors, I'm 3 (London [x 3], Berlin & Boston) down with Chicago to come taking me to 4 in October
- Run a Sub 3hr Marathon
- Run the Marathon Des Sables
- Run the Ultra Great Britain
- Become an Ironman
- Run Comrades
- Complete 50 Marathons/Ultras
- Create a special tribute to Lloydy on the 10th anniversary of his passing
- Prepare for Spartathlon
- Continue to grow The 100 Peaks legacy with Be A Black Sheep
What do I need to do to accomplish them?
- oh and learn to swim!
#PROJECT50 is not a bucket list, because frankly I'm not planning on going anywhere anytime soon, it's more over a 'you're not slowing down yet' list, so by way of a Disclaimer* I'll suggest, some of the goals might change, especially if Mrs Rushen reads this and decides to put an end to my knees for good! Some might not get done, but the thought process and the plan has got to start somewhere.
However, although this might be a list to aim to accomplish by the end of my 50th year, there is no finish line when you're trying to be the best version of you and certainly not when you're trying to show your son that anything is possible. The Dreamers of the day are (indeed) dangerous men!
There's always a but with these things, so here's 'the but', I'll be honest, I won't have achieved anything if indeed during that time my wife and son feel like they've missed out on me and whilst age is just a number, not a limit, there is a limit to what I'll sacrifice, and my time with them is precious and we never get that back. So I'm off to think about how they might enjoy getting involved in what I do and plan ways that they can.
So, if you see me 'dry humping' the ground in the very near future, you'll know why!