Reaching New Heights Despite Major Disappointment
Making Every Second Count
I received disappointing news last Friday that momentarily deflated my normally upbeat spirit. As you know I travelled to Tilburg, Holland in June to attempt a Guinness World Record. The time I was told to beat was 49 minutes. I did the 5km in 44 minutes 21 seconds and was delighted with my time. I returned home, submitted my evidence and sat back confidently waiting for my official certificate to arrive. Unbeknown to me an American elite runner by the name of Anna Beck-Lee attempted the same record as me in March. Anna managed to complete the 5km in 44 minutes 20 seconds. One SECOND faster than me. Due to a delay in processing records, Guinness did not update their website therefore making it impossible for me to know that a new time had been set.
I have been kicking myself since I found out. I actually slowed down slightly on the last lap to concentrate on making sure I kept my right leg elevated. One of the main rules was to ensure one leg remained off the ground at all times. If only I had have gone two seconds faster, Anna’s record would not have made a difference.
Although this has been an extremely hard pill to swallow I was determined to learn from it and ‘make every second count’ by moving forward with a new challenge.
My ‘August Challenge’ consisted of teaming up with internationally acclaimed climber, Iain Miller of http://www.uniqueascent.ie/ to climb ‘An Port’ sea stack in the wilds of County Donegal.
Iain has played an important role in my previous challenges and was the ideal companion on the day. Using an inflatable boat to get out to the stack meant we were limited to carrying the basics with us. A water proof rucksack, a pair of crutches and a single oar were the only items taken.
The climb was carefully planned by Iain as this challenge contained a high level of risk for me. The chance of slipping on wet rock or losing balance on the narrow grass verge on the summit was a real concern so he took no chances.
Once we disembarked from the boat we made our way to the top with surprising speed. When we reached the summit it became a balancing act. I have an 11cm leg length discrepancy caused by multiple surgeries and usually stand on my left leg with just the toe of my right foot keeping me balanced. This can be difficult on land let alone on the top of a narrow sea stack! I’m surprised at how little fear I felt while swaying in the wind. I was attached to a rope which had an Iain Miller on the end of it though, so maybe that helped!
I was determined to ‘get back on the horse’ as quickly as possible after the set back with Guinness as I felt there was a poignant message to be found in what occurred. The past week has taught me to ‘make every second count’. I am still disappointed with what happened with my record but I learned a long time ago that life can throw a curve ball at any moment. Finding a way to bounce back is the key to staying on top. I could have easily spent the week feeling sorry for myself but I see that as a waste of my time. It won’t help anyone, least of all myself so why bother. Ploughing my energy into new and exciting things provides more satisfaction so I choose to do that instead. I am already planning my ‘September Challenge’ and hope to involve Iain again as he has the ability to take me out of my comfort zone.
My take home message is; ‘Don’t Hesitate’. If there is something you want to do, then do it. Otherwise Anna from America could sneak up behind you and beat you to it!