Another year comes to a conclusion and time, once again, to reflect on the last twelve months. On the surface 2022 has been a quiet year that climaxed in the middle but what a highpoint that was! A year that exemplified less is more.
A synopsis of 2022:
- One ultra-marathon waddled along the Moray Coastal path doing my best Jemima Puddleduck impression.
- One brutal ultra-marathon challenge thrashed out on the arctic tundra.
- A conspicuously quiet blog with the exception of the indulgence that was three posts covering the final stage of the Global Odyssey 100: the above tundra experience. Thanks to anyone who had the stamina to read all three.
- Five months (and counting) of injury.
- And the relatively unsung apex of my achievements to date: becoming the first known person to run 100k on all seven continents.
I was reminded recently of the words of Andre de Shields which so eloquently encapsulates how I feel coming out of 2022.
The year has split into two distinct and very different halves. The first six months focused upon the preparation and training for the Greenland 100k, the last stage of my seven continents 100k Global Odyssey challenge.
In May the ignominious albeit pleasant waddle around the Moray Coastal 50 ultra was my last long training run before Greenland. Pretty much the entire race was spent in the company of the sweepers whose generous support and encouragement buoyed me along and kept a smile upon my face. I possibly do myself and injustice with regard to my ‘ignominious’ performance because even though I finished 2nd last I was twenty minutes ahead of my predicted time.
I came away from the event knowing that I had the strength and the distance in my legs, but also that I needed to work on my posture to ensure that I run tall and efficiently. Less obvious, but equally important the smiling, happy, bright-eyed support that was around me that day nourished my soul building mental and emotional strength too.
June arrived and I was off to Greenland for the culmination of the Global Odyssey about which I have written extensively in my previous posts.
What did I learn in Greenland?
Covid-19 is an extreme way to get out of support duties and apparently it is possible to do 100k with covid!
However, with perseverance, it is possible to make a purse from a sow’s ear. The challenge did not go to plan and was far removed from my naïve expectations, but I dug in and turned it around to reach my goal.
The strength you get from surrounding yourself with people ‘whose eyes light up when they see you coming,’ is beyond value.
It, and the whole Global Odyssey 100, was the embodiment of “Slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be; the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing.”
The Global Odyssey took nine years to complete. It took a while to take shape and for me to find my own dream, my own way, and to overcome the obstacles thrown in my path. I kept climbing: continent by continent. Soem several times. As I took the last steps of the Global Odyssey 100 on that remote isthmus of arctic tundra, I knew that being the first was not what mattered most to me. It was self-validation and the joy of sharing with it with those whose eyes light up.
To paraphrase another quote; don’t publicise your success. Someone will always come along and spoil it. I am by nature inclined to modesty. Self-promotion does not come easily and does not sit comfortably with me. I have bitter experience of earlier successes and plans being tarnished; and so, have over recent years have tried to maintain a low profile.
But now it is time to acknowledge the value of the achievement knowing that I do not need others to validate and that I have the courage and strength to ignore the nay-sayers.
In 2022 I became the first known person to run 100k on all seven continents. Yes, me. A woman. The sport hating school girl who took up running in her mid-thirties and who is nearly always trundling along at the back of the field. A woman, a runner, defined by consistency and longevity.
As with everything there is a price. The price of my success: five months of injury. Since July I have been struggling with knee pain. As I write I await the results of an MRI scan. The plans for my next Odyssey, my 2023 adventures on hold. This has shown me just how much I value running and how it benefits and enriches my life. More than ever, I value that consistency and longevity that I have had and want to keep. I remain positive that the 2023 All About 60 Odyssey will happen.