With the Run the Peaks challenge ending early, it’s left me with a lot of questions about what next, where to go from here and if I want to continue this journey. For me the blogging has been a cathartic, healing process – it often helps me to figure out the big mess of thoughts going around in my head. So I figured I’d try and make some sense of where I’m at.

Continuing as Miles for Wishes

Miles for Wishes is me, its just a name, something to call this thing. But the name is, obviously, very closely linked to the Charity I’ve been supporting over the last 2 and a half years – Make-A-Wish UK. I’ve always felt that they very much go hand in hand.

Guy Stapleford, Miles for Wishes, at the summit of Snowdon
At the summit of Snowdon, during 2018’s Pure Three Peaks challenge in aid of Make-A-Wish UK

However, fundraising is hard and its only got harder as this has gone on. I’m no expert, I’ve just done what feels natural and right and tried to talk honestly and passionately about a cause I believe in. The more I push myself the more I feel I can and want to do – bigger challenges, bigger mileage, just BIGGER – I’ve ended up feeling that this becomes the only way to reach a wider audience.

Should I stop fundraising? I mean, my friends and family can only support me for so long! If I do, am I still Miles for Wishes or should I be just plain old “Guy”? Does it matter, it’s just a name after all!

Run the Peaks…again?

I know the team want to go again and feel that with the lessons learnt we could complete the challenge and break the record – it is worth remembering that it wouldn’t have ever been a challenge if it was easy to complete. You can see that in the fact that the record has stood for 38 years and only a very, very small number of people have attempted it as a 5 person relay team in that time. 

The 1981 Team and below, the Run the Peaks team on 22 August 2019

Initially it hurt – the huge investment of my time and money not being fulfilled. I’d accepted we may not break the record, but I had no doubt we would finish it. It was a hard hit to take. But with time and perspective I can see what we achieved and I made some great memories on that challenge and I’d still love to break that record – I honestly believe it is possible!

I feel a little scarred by the challenge, can I and do I want to put myself through that again? Am I physically good enough to complete it? Can you realistically plan it, manage it and run it?

Managing my physical health

Run The Peaks was another challenge where my IBS affected my performance – my abs are still sore from the stomach cramps and dry heaving. I’ve felt like I’ve been managing it well for a time, however this year I’ve had 4 significant attacks which is the worst its been for a long time. Its depressing, demoralising and ultimately it impacts on my training and subsequent performance.

While I think stress is a trigger for IBS, something in my diet or the way in which my body copes with the endurance challenges is not working and I’m ended up more frequently ill. This needs to change.

Can I really be an endurance athlete? Is my IBS going to keep holding me back? Do I need to scale it back and stick to short, organised events?

Dealing with feelings

I am extremely competitive (particularly with myself) and I crave perfect results and overachieving. I set incredibly high standards for myself, and those around me, as a result I am rarely ever satisfied with the things I achieve.

I consistently put too much on my plate, over commit and rarely ask for help.

I know all of this, its not new but I think this has reminded me about my personality and how the challenge and the desire to achieve can be detrimental to my mental health. I’ve been here before, when my marriage broke down and if I carry on like this my life is destined to be full of disappointment and at it’s ugliest it’s going to make me a very hard person to like.

How in the hell do I find a balance between wanting to take on these epic adventures without making myself ill or unhappy?

Loads of questions, some of which are incidental and some of which are intrinsically linked. In the very short term, while I talk to Coach Pav and my girlfriend about long term goal setting, here’s what I’ve decided to change over the next few weeks.

I have to evolve to survive

Re-find the love

Training had become hard, a chore that was no longer fun. So I’m going to sign up to a few events that I can do for me, for the love of it. For me in the short term, this means either organised events that challenge me without piling on the stress or getting out and running / riding with real people. Ultimately, I see loads of people who inspire me though a little square on my phone, why not try and get out and meet these people. 

Fancy a run / ride – hit me up!

Remember to do things that put a smile on my (and your) face!

Social Media

So I’m going to try and use social media, Instagram particularly, more mindfully, more actively. What I mean by that is that I’m going to read more, comment more and engage more with content and people who are doing awesome things.

Watching my watch

My brain is always on, always thinking, ticking – much like my Garmin.

I love my watch but I’ve started to take it off more and more. I worry that the constant feed of data, notifications, messages and alerts are getting in the way of me seeing the world and my training beyond what’s on my right wrist.

All the other stuff, I’ll continue to mull over – no rash decisions required.

Lastly…

If you would like to support Run the Peaks and one of the Charities for whom we were raising money – Make-A-Wish UK, Mind, DNRC, Run 4 Cancer and Brain Tumour Research – the please do continue to give generously here

www.gofundme.com/run-the-peaks

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