Beyond the Finish Line:

Running and Living with Purpose

The NC500 Guide to Life

Don’t Wait for Perfection

For the first 2 weeks of July, I ran Scotland’s iconic NC500 road, 516 miles of coastal roads around the Scottish Highlands, consisting of 15 ultramarathons in 15 days raising money for Mental Health UK, averaging 35 miles a day.

As a passionate runner and someone who has experienced the ups and downs of life, I have come to realize that the lessons learned on the road can be applied to various aspects of our existence.

Just like a marathon tests a runner’s endurance, determination, and spirit, life often presents us with hurdles that require us to dig deep and find strength within ourselves.

This daily blog explores the remarkable parallels between a running challenge, and the journey of life.

I have divided these learnings into 15 lessons, one for each day I ran, so whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or someone who feels faint at the thought of running for a bus, this blog is for you.

Author: Nicky Forster

Day 1

‘Don’t Wait for Perfection’

This challenge was 10 months in the making, dates, timings, travel, equipment, routes, accommodation, sponsorship, training, support, were all discussed and decided upon.

Then it happened, 3 weeks before I was due to start the challenge, my support partner pulled out.

They were due to drive along the course each day offering support in the forms of hydration, nutrition, spare kit, medical equipment, as well as offering company, emotional support, transport all the kit and provide shelter from the harsh elements should they be required.

Due to unforeseen business commitments, they had to cancel, or reschedule until later in the year.

With 3 weeks’ notice it was impossible to find a replacement.

This left me with a huge issue.

Postpone – until later in the year – not ideal.

Cancel – not an option in my mind.

Carry on as planned – unassisted – far from ideal.

As a goal setting and life coach, my role is to help people to identify a vision, create a roadmap for this vision, form a plan and take that to daily tasks.

From there it is my role to help clients to remain consistent and overcome any obstacle that come along the way.

I quickly decided that I myself was in the situation of having an obstacle in my way, what better way to lead by example, practice what I preach, than to adapt to this and overcome it.

So, the decision was made pretty quickly – much to the disbelief of those around me.

I would do this challenge unassisted, carry what kit I needed and adapt.

This created problems, every time I prepared my kit, I filled a backpack, then, realising I needed more kit, I needed a bigger backpack, so sent the small backpack back for a larger one.

This happened again and again and again.

I went from a 32-litre backpack to a 40l and ended up with a 45l model.

I needed to rethink nutrition and hydration as I had to carry everything.

There would be times where I could buy food and drink from towns, but there would also be times where I was totally exposed on the highlands with no civilisation for miles around.

I therefore needed to carry enough water, but not too much, about 2.5litres, and high calorie foods that were light in weight, space food basically.

Dried food where you just add hot water, at 550 calories a pouch, they are a good source of energy but believe me, they are seriously lacking in flavour.

Think about eating shredded cardboard and pondwater, and that was the same for the Beef Hotpot with Barley Rice, Barbecued Pulled Pork or the Spicy Pork Noodles.

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Carrying all my kit obviously adds weight and therefore slows me down, as a supported challenge, I predicted a run time of 6-9 hours of running time each day depending on distance, terrain (hilly or flat), weather and injuries.

Without support, carrying my own kit I reckoned for a 9-12 hour run time each day.

Even though I tried to prepare for a much as possible, as with all aspects of life, there are some things we have little or no control over, like the weather on a wedding day.

We have an amazing ability to adapt and overcome life’s problems if we apply the right mindset. The greater the obstacle, the greater the sense of achievement when we overcome it.

It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of perfection.

We may find ourselves hesitating to take the first step, waiting for the ideal conditions or the right moment to begin, but this can lead to missed opportunities.

Every endeavour we embark upon will have its challenges, learning to ride a bike as a child or remembering all the controls of a car is a daunting thought, but it’s through these challenges that we discover our true potential.

Remember, there is no perfect moment – there’s only now.

So, don’t wait to take that first step and let the adventure unfold.

Be the best version of you

Your journey to a brighter future starts here

Let’s do it!

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