When we look at the concept of a journey, simply put it is a passage from one place to another, or a journey through time. As a creative I’ve always found inspiration through living an active lifestyle and seeking out new challenges. Bringing this balance to my life grounds me as person, feeds my soul, and ignites my spark! Something I have learnt in myself over time is that I work best when goals are in place and there is a date in the calendar. Structure and a well thought out plan, moving at pace I am comfortable which assists me in achieving the best results mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
I’m on my own personal journey in life, I’m completing winging it and doing the best I can with the tools I have. The journey I am on terrifies me because it’s something I have been passionate about from a very young age and it brings with it a lot of fear and anxiety. It’s not easy being out of your comfort zone facing your fears. An understanding is acquired that failing is only being human. What we don’t realise in this heightened emotional state of vulnerability is that we are attempting to do the hardest thing by challenging our self.
We are ultimately overcoming an inner obstacle and moving into a new and life-enhancing territory. The more we learn to respect and welcome fear the more we will recognise fear’s intelligence. We will hear its wisdom and grow along the journey. Fear is a funny thing, it has this way of throwing us off balance, making us feel uncertain and insecure, but it’s not meant to discourage us. Its purpose is to notify us that we are at the edge of our comfort zone. Poised in between the old life and a new one. There is a real sense of re-birth through the power of its ability to transform you. If you do experience feelings of failure, be honest with yourself and recognise you haven’t failed. Believe the experience was the best thing that could have happened because they are discoveries of what works and what doesn’t work. It’s an opportunity to learn new information.
I’m at a stage in my life where I am curious to know more about myself and discover what I am capable of. In 2017 I competed in my first marathon, entering myself in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. This was a goal I set for a life experience I had on my bucket list. Known to be one of the most spectacular courses in the world, taking in all of Sydney’s iconic landmarks and providing all runners with a unique opportunity of crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge with no traffic, and crossing the finish line at Sydney’s Opera House. At the time it was honestly the hardest challenge and the most liberating experience of my life. I learnt that no journey in life is straight. Linear may be direct but in a funny way it makes the goal or destination less significant. I never thought I would attempt to run another marathon again.
I had an appetite for a new challenge to conquer hitting age 31. There was something in my life that was missing. So, I set myself the challenge of ‘Marathon A Year to 40.’ My intention of this challenge I have set myself is to run for different charity organisations each year, and run a marathon of choice in a different city and country. I’m passionate to accomplish this goal because inevitably each new year will bring with it different challenges. I want my journey to empower other women to make the commitment to themselves in health and fitness, or to invest in a hobby or interest that they love. I don’t want women to feel like they have lost their own identity or sense of purpose because of what stage they are in life. It’s important that a woman is made to feel worthy and knows their self-worth. I’ve worked with inspiring women, and I’ve observed and learnt from these women what they ultimately sacrifice to be able to be the best versions of themselves for their spouses and families – these women are saints!
This first year of my challenge I ran Blackmore’s Sydney Marathon on Sunday the 15th September 2019. Running to raise awareness for Beyond Blue Foundation, raising awareness to make a difference in the lives of people affected by anxiety, depression and suicide. It’s a growing problem in this world, and I want to play my small part to reduce the stigma and break down the barriers that prevent people from speaking up and reaching out. This year I raised over $1,500 in donations. 1 of 6,453 individual fundraisers of an event that now boasts 33,000 participants from over 66 countries. I couldn’t be prouder of my efforts to be among the participants who have helped raised over $1.6m for charitable organisations.
I knew the marathon was going to test my mental toughness and it was inevitable the run would be different from my last. Committing to the training and the event, I knew there were elements I had to come to terms with. I had to accept I was older. I had to accept my body was different. I had to accept I may not be able to beat my PB. All I could do, was just do my best.
In the first 25km, I was making good time but knew once I hit 30KM my pace had tapered off and I was falling behind. It’s around this point I was feeling most vulnerable and overwhelmed, my joints were aching, it was difficult pushing through the heat, but ultimately I felt throughout the course of the run, I was learning something new about myself.
As I continued to run I just wanted to tear up (I think I was at one point) I was struggling. My inner critic had stepped in and I was battling out my own negative thoughts. I had no cheer squad, no husband running alongside me. This was foreign to me. I knew what challenges laid ahead from running the course back in 2017. The reality is, the run is so much harder when you are running solo! It’s not easy to motivate yourself when you’re this far invested into the race. At this moment it’s about finding your inner strength and mental capabilities to fight your way to the finish line.
When I reached the 40KM mark I knew I wasn’t going to beat my PB. This was difficult for me to swallow mentally but I knew I could determine the outcome and I was in control. I still had the opportunity to give it my all in that last 1 km running through Circular Quay to the finish line at the Opera House. In that moment, when the crowd is cheering I thought to myself I am proud of how far I have come. I committed to the intention I set out to achieve. I raised more money than I thought I would, for a charity I think is making admirable milestones to improve people’s quality of life and I enjoyed what I learnt about myself along the way.
What I believe is if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. How many obstacles have you overcome that have changed you? It’s never the destination that brings the greatest rewards it’s always the journey and the knowledge acquired along the way that makes the journey what it is. We must remember it’s natural to sometimes feel overwhelmed in certain situations we put ourselves in. In these moments we need to take a deep breath. It’s important to remember that learning to understand yourself and your world is an ongoing and active process. Every lesson is intended so you can become more of who you are. Competing in a marathon is not everyone’s first choice but I encourage people to do something that is hard, and do something that completely terrifies you as the learnings you gain along the journey are transferable to other areas of your life. No experience is ever the same as the person next to you, it’s what you make of it that makes it truly unique.
Beyond Blue Foundation is still accepting donations, and Alexandra Marie Interiors fundraising page will be open for three more weeks. Please follow the link to support our efforts…