Thinking Big – Grand Slam 2019

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.

Pablo Picasso

The planning has begun….

Why the Grand Slam?

I was tempted to in 2017, then didn’t. I have seen friends take it on, some ending in triumph and others in frustration through bad luck, injury or otherwise.

Running 4 x 100 mile races on less than 6 months always seemed a daft idea. Then again, so did running a marathon, then a 50 miler, and then a 100 miler as I completed one distance for the first time and then contemplated running further.

2019 was going to be about me going back to the North Downs Way 100, the race I did not finish in 2017, to complete it and secure the #BuckleForBob that I so wanted last year as I grieved for my Dad and sought to honour his memory by getting that buckle only 5 weeks after he passed away.

There are many reasons why I have finally taken the plunge and decided to take on the Centurion Running 100 mile Grand Slam in 2019.

Here is a poem which might help you to understand why I have decided to take on this particular challenge:

Making memories through adventures

Appreciating what I might achieve

Recognising self-imposed limitations

Knowing the influence of what we believe

Trying to push myself with a big goal

Having the courage to say I can and will

Owning my thoughts and making them positive

Realising there is more in me still

Nullifying the doubts that have affected me for years

Benefitting from stories of those who have gone before

Envisioning completing the challenge

Resolving to go for all four

Respecting the distance and what lies ahead

Yearning to prove to myself what I can do

Inspiring others to set the bar high

Seeking another personal breakthrough

Admitting I am nervous and that is okay

Learning from others and not succumbing to fear

Enjoying the thought of securing a big #BuckleForBob

Giving thanks to my Dad with a finish line beer

Enduring unforeseen events with good humour and a smile

Not giving in when the going gets tough

Deciding to take on the Grand Slam after much consideration

Determined to give it my best rather than just enough

Why 2019?

Taking stock of my life as I entered the last 3 years of my 40s and wondering how much longer I will be able to run (hopefully until my very old age, but who knows?).

I appreciate my continuing good health and the fact that I have the opportunity to push myself in this way. I recognise the fact that none of us know what is around the corner (I’m not referring to my lack of navigational skills here) and how quickly long term plans can be dashed.

My plan to take a step back from 100 mile races this year to rebuild my fitness and refocus has rejuvenated me and restored my confidence in my own ability to complete these long challenges.

Do we ever feel ready to take on new challenges? I know that I am not alone in standing on the start line at a race and feeling like I am not as well prepared as everyone else or am not ready, even if my training has gone well.

Scott Jurek, one of the most successful ultra runners of this century, wrote in his book “Eat and Run” that his Dad used to answer his questions about why he had to do certain tasks with the following statement and this often helped him to push through tough times during races:

Sometimes we just do things

I have decided to take on the Grand Slam. The outcome won’t define me. My actions will.

I’m excited, scared, determined and nervous. It’s the biggest challenge I’ve ever taken on. Resilience will be needed. A lot of it. Luck may also play a part. One thing’s for sure. I’m going to give it my best shot. Onwards.

The countdown begins…..