As we’re already more than a quarter of the way through the year of challenges for Do It For Dan, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at what has been achieved so far as well as what lies ahead. There have been plenty of ups and down so far and even though I’m not as far on as I hoped I would be I’m still proud of what I’ve achieved so far.
The build up to the year didn’t start as well as I would have liked due to illness and that put things back a bit from the start. When it came to the first challenge – Le Tour de Dan – and the cycle ride from Drighlington to Welton it was time to see how far a bit of persistence and effort could get. Overall, the ride went well and I made it through the 55 miles despite not spending much time on my bike prior to the ride. It had taken me a bit longer than I had hoped and there was little chance of me winning the Tour de France travelling at that speed but I made did it. The cold weather and the rain hadn’t helped along the way but there was an overwhelming sense of relief when I pulled up at the finish and could get off my saddle. I was pleased with how it had gone and whilst I was glad that it was over, there was plenty more ahead that were going to be even more of a challenge.
Things took a bit of a step backwards after the cycling as I struggled with myself and getting anything done. When I started thinking about doing the challenges I don’t think I had fully appreciated everything that it entailed. As well as trying to fit in training around work, triplets and other commitments there has also been all of the work in trying to raise awareness through the website, Facebook page and Twitter feeds which have all needed running as well as trying to get sponsors from various sources. All of that has been much more time consuming than I ever imagined and has at times been draining as it’s hard to take being knocked back all of the time and feeling like you should be further on than you are. It has resulted in me putting far too much pressure on myself at times which has then brought back my own mental health issues. Looking at what has happened so far I wouldn’t go back and change any of it but I’m now starting to get back on top of things again. It’s been a tough couple of months but I’m hoping I’ve come out of the other side now and need to make sure I look after myself as well as trying to get everything done.
The first of the mud run/obstacle course races seemed to come round a bit too soon after the cycling, especially after the lull I had following Le Tour de Dan. It also proved to be much harder than I was expecting. I seemed to use all of my energy trying to stay on my feet and as the course was so muddy and hilly it was energy sapping. The obstacles were difficult mainly due to the tiredness and the cold water swim came as a particular shock to the system after it took all of the air from my body as it was so cold. I was so relieved to make it to the end and couldn’t have done it without the support I received on the course.
After finding the mud run so difficult it provided motivation to get fitter before the next event which worked well for a while but unfortunately I picked up a virus in the week running up to the X-Runner Wild Thing Mud Run. There were points during the week where I didn’t think that I was going to make it to the start but after some prodding from Elaine, I made it to the start. It was 5k of hard effort especially given how I was feeling. I kept moving, albeit not very quickly, but I made sure that I didn’t stop. I made it over and under the obstacles, through the swamps, over the logs and walls, down the slide and finally to the finish line. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relieved or pleased to have finished an event! I was equally proud that I had made it given how I had felt and collecting the medal at the end made it all worthwhile.
In the other challenge that is still ongoing (the health and weightloss challenge), progress has been much slower. I’ve been managing to stick with some of the goals but the weightloss hasn’t really started as I would have liked. That said there’s still plenty of time to go so hopefully I can kick-start it after we’ve been on holiday. Overall, the progress with the year of challenges has been pretty good in that I’ve completed all of the ones so far but I’m still a bit behind the curve in terms of fitness and weightloss. There’s still a long way to go and a lot still to achieve but I’m on the road now will get through the challenges ahead. So far we’ve managed to raise around £900 towards the target of £5000 on our Sponsor Page which is good progress so far and we’ve also managed to get more than 200 likes for the Facebook page so the word is starting to spread.
There are a number of people I would like to thank for getting me this far. Firstly I’d like to thank Elaine for putting up with all of this and me as I haven’t always thought it through as much as I should have done and for always telling me that I can do it. I’d also like to thank Simon Ross for his support and for getting me through the Endurer Dash. I know it can’t have been that pleasant dragging an unfit fat bloke around the hilly course but that was part of what got me through it. He’s also been a great support generally at keeping me motivated. Next I’d like to thank Jayne Hardy at the Blurt Foundation for all the support she’s given me along with all the plugs and praise on social media and all of the fundraising advice. Finally I’d like to thank all of the lovely people that have been in contact with support or who have sponsored me. All of your comments have been greatly appreciated and have kept me going when things have been tough and the sponsor money will go to help try and break the stigma of mental health problems and help those who are struggling. If it can make a difference to one person then all the effort will have been worth it. It has been hard so far and there are much harder things to come but when it does get tough the support helps to pull me through. I’m determined that I will make it through all of the challenges no matter what and that I will reach my targets. It’s not going to be easy but nothing worthwhile ever is.
If you want to try and help raise awareness and reduce the stigma of mental health problems, why not head over and like our Facebook page or if you’re on Twitter follow @doitfordan. If you’ve already done that, why not tell your friends and invite them to like it. Even the smallest thing could help someone who you might not know is struggling. As one in four of us are affected by mental health problems, there is a high chance that someone you know will be struggling but they may not feel able to tell you or reach out for some help. Telling them about the page might prompt the conversation and help get things out in the open. I found it difficult to tell people and still do. It was particularly difficult when I told my parents, especially after what had happened shortly before I did. I’m glad I did now though and that it is out in the open as it doesn’t say that I’m weak, it just says that I have an illness that I am trying to sort out. It might take some time but I’m still the same person that I was before.
Thanks again for all of the support and bring on the Tough Mudder! That will be a real test as it is 10-12 miles which is much further than all of the others and the obstacles look hard but the important thing is to make it round the course.
Onwards and upwards