What's this all about?

A new adventure beckons, and this is once again about my personal journey to make it happen.

It might make you laugh; it might make you cry, but by 'eck lads and lasses, it will be worth a quick skeg every now and then, tha's for sure.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Self-doubt and the small matter of a 'flag' to premiere

Good evening, good morning or good afternoon (whenever you're actually reading this).

Six weeks on Tuesday and I take off from Heathrow on my way to Svalbard (via Oslo); blimey it's getting close and the nerves are starting to tingle just a little as that little thing called self-doubt starts to chatter away in my head. Not that it's a loud voice that's constantly nagging away but it was hugely evident after this Friday's tyre-dragging. Let me set the scene.

Lucia had recently returned from a visit to her parents house; newly built on the outskirts of Breszno (yes the photo below is the house). I'd been busy at work and tyre-dragging (and going to the gym) so we decided to have a weekend away in Oxford.

I tell you Oxford is SUCH a bad place as it hosts the best sweet shop in the WORLD. There was everything there and I'm sorry to admit it but we spent £49 in a flippin' sweetshop !!

This is only about 25% of the total shop

Yes she filled the basket (not me, oh no honest. Well maybe a bit).

Anyway we had a great weekend and last weekend I was so ready to train that it didn't surprise me when I completed 6 miles on the cross-trainer (Friday), a PT session (Saturday) and dragged 22kg of tyres for 4 miles on Sunday, stopping only once at the 2-mile point for water and a cereal bar. Admittedly the cold weather and the snow/ice helped.

Yes I look dopey, or cold ... or both
I also completed a pretty healthy cardio PT session during the week (Wednesday) so all in all I was feeling pretty positive. Then came the Friday just gone.

I can't really use the sort of words I'd like to use on a public blog like this but it was DREADFUL and primarily because the snow had gone and I allowed my mind to think about failure, giving up, taking a break, other things that were 101 excuses as to why I wouldn't complete the 4 mile circuit ... and I didn't !!! I was hot, my feet felt uncomfortable in my newer boots and I knew when I started that I was going to find it hard.

At least a photographer shooting me going up 'Hamstring Hill' broke up the 'drag'. Photo courtesy of Rothwell Record

So I went home after a tough and disappointing 2 miles and spent the rest of the afternoon packing for a short weekend with Lucia, chased the last contributors to go #ontheflag (I'll come onto that in a moment), wrote three VERY important emails and then left for Manchester and what turned out to be a fun Saturday afternoon in Southport, where it really wasn't very cold (oh no it wasn't Lucia it was just a strong breeze).

By the way I have to say I made a huge 'find' at Southport; BOVRIL !! I just would NOT shut up about how great it was and how I'd be taking it to the North Pole too so if you know someone at Bovril, tell them I think it's fab!!

Anyway back to that voice in my head. I dropped Lucia at work this morning and headed back to Leeds. I knew I had to shut that little voice up in my head and avoid failing today, so instead of 22kg of tyres for 4 miles I took just 15kg of tyre and went in shorts. I dragged it for 6 miles, stopping only twice for water and a cereal bar and completed the 6 miles in 3 hours .... PLUS could have done more if only I'd known the time.

Don't feel great about taking just one tyre but feel much more positive about the training ahead, what's left of it. No doubt Norway will be a final dose of reality just as Dartmoor was a dose of reality too.

I could go on further about the psychology of my Trek and where I am with self-belief after today, but I know many people have logged-in to this blog as they are one of either 78 companies who have donated to have their logo #ontheflag, or 6 individuals who donated to put a personal tribute to loved ones on it.

The #ontheflag opportunity is now closed.

If you follow me on Twitter (@northpoletrek) you'll probably already know the following three statements but, for those who do not, here they are: -

a) The flag represents £5 000 of donations by companies and individuals to get on it, recognition to those who have donated a little over £3 000 of goods/services to help with my fundraising and PR, the £31 000 of my own money to prep for and go on this Trek ..... and a whole HEAP of emotions.

One of the entrants #ontheflag will win it when I return from the Pole but I'll have a duplicate made to display at the Yorkshire Mafia Conference in March and then to hang in my house along with the other memories from past and future challenges. The actual flag will be vacuum-packed, safe and ready to fly out with me.

b) As you look at the design and as you think (maybe fleetingly) of the trek I'll be completing, NEVER EVER underestimate the support, patience, skill and passion of Rushfirth Creative (@rushfirthcreative on  Twitter or http://www.rushfirthcreative.co.uk/ on the web) - I am TRULY indebted to them and will never forget their kindness and professionalism.

I also acknowledge those behind the scenes who I am unaware of that will be turning the PDF below into an actual flag, resistant to temperatures that can get as low as -40.

c) All those #ontheflag are supporting a variety of the 10 charities I'm fundraising for; charities who I hope take the time to say a silent thank you for their generosity and a public thank you to everyone involved in the flag via their tweets as well as by their Facebook and/or web pages. If the charities want a PDF copy of the flag that can be provided.

Okay, well that's enough words about the flag, guess you want to see the design now huh?

You ready?

Are you sure?

Alright then, you asked for it ....

Here it is then ......

And so that concludes this blog entry. Not a hugely expansive one nor something I'd class as a favourite but it does represent the closing of the #ontheflag activity and that, for me and Rushfirth Creative, is just huge.

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