Have you ever signed up for something and then as it approaches you begin to doubt yourself and wonder why on earth you said yes? Well that was me. Months ago I signed up for walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks (25 miles, taking in 3 impressive fells, all walked in 12 hours). I signed up for it with a group of dedicated friends and neighbours, some who had walked the National three peaks last year. Easy peasy.
After, I am a Yorkshire lass and my dad knows these hills like the back of his hand. He used to run them for Petes sake! I walk the dog daily (for half an hour), but at a speed, not to forget that I make a mean flapjack. I had this covered.
As the months whizzed by, the rest of the group got lots of training walks in. Due to so many factors, we couldn’t join them. This left my husband and I feeling rather nervous about the whole event. But then he had walked the Nationals, and I hadn’t… suddenly I felt like I was going to let the whole group down. Doubt was creeping in and I was listening.
There was also the little question of footwear. Mine were very painful on my daily walks and the guide would not allow us to walk in trainers. So being as organised as I am, my good friend Anna at ZeitmyGeist leant me her old faithfuls. The day before. I walked a quick lap around the dog walking to check for niggles, came home and made my hearty flapjack and that was me, I was ready. Who am I kidding?? I was the most unprepared I had ever been for anything in my life. And I was crapping myself.
Then I realised that I needed to not doubt, but believe. Doubt is a confusing thing. It is there to protect us, to prepare us for the what is to come, to pave the way. This is all helpful, but if doubt is holding us back then how helpful is it really? About as helpful as a really negative friends who takes pleasure in voicing every reason that you should not do something. I know I wouldn’t listen (or have) a friend like that, so why are we tempted to listen to our inner doubt, and allow it is strike fear and stop us in our tracks?
So instead of finding all the reasons I shouldn’t be doing this, I focused on all the reasons I should. The commitment I had made, the money that we had already raised, the fact that my dad would not be fit enough to ever walk those tracks that are so close to his heart. I changed my mindset.
We drove up to Yorkshire and all had a couple of drinks to steady our nerves. We woke at 4.30am, made our breakfast in the dark and filled our camelbacks. Trying to eat porridge at that time of day is a task in itself, but we were all aware that we had to set our bodies wheels in motion and that you can’t ahem… carry extra baggage so to speak.
And so we set off. It was a hazy, misty beautiful morning with little visibility, but we were all shocked when we made it to the top if Ingleborough in what seems like no time at all. This may actually be achievable. The boots were great, which were celebrated with a round of flapjacks.
We then walked to Pen-y-Ghent which was our favourite mountain, and then walked the very long stretch towards the Ribblehead Viaduct and the start of the final climb, Whernside.
By now the sun was streaming down and time was ticking away. The combination of having to speed up, in the heat, and having to carry more water took its toll on some of the group. Although visibility was great, the sun caused quite some suffering. As a team, we made it to the top, and the views were stunning. We could see the path we had trod and even better the that, we could see the pub which marked the end of the walk and it didn’t seem far! Except it was… much, much farther than it looked, but we made it. A little jog at the end brought us to the end with ten minutes to spare.
So I guess my post today is about not letting all the doubts get into your head. I could have easily pulled out believing I was too unfit, that I would let the group down or that the boots I had literally worn for just over an hour were going to cause major problems. But I didn’t, and I am so pleased about that. It has inspired me to take on more challenges, to eat better, drink less and be more active. Although I doubted myself, I managed it, we all did. So don’t listen to those doubts, or if you do, only listen to them to prove them wrong. Find the reason you should, rather than the reasons you shouldn’t. You are capable of so much more than you think. I will certainly be sticking two fingers up to my doubting self in the future.
I would love to hear if you have you ever turned down a challenge because doubt got in the way?
Thanks for reading, Bec. x