It's Saturday morning, 21 July 2018. I'm awake before my alarm and about to set off for a running training camp in the Brecon Beacons. If you'd have told me even a year ago I would have been doing this I would have laughed.
Sure running is okay but a weekend full of running with people who might only talk about running, that's probably not for me.
The thing is I haven't particularly even found a new passion for running. I like it just the same as I always did. Running is time that I love to keep my head straight. So what am I doing heading off to a running training camp?
Well a few months ago I agreed to join a team of women to take on my first ultra marathon, a multi-day event, in the desert. Yep you read that right. It's going to be one insane challenge created out of the desire to show that women can, to elevate the profile of women in endurance sports, not to say that they are better but just that they too can toe the start line. You may have only just found me and if so let me start by saying that I am not a "burn your bras" kinda girl. I just want everyone to believe that they can.
So how did I end up agreeing to take on this challenge?
The thing is, I'm not your usual adventure athlete. I work full time in an office and so my adventures are mostly weekends and in my 4 weeks of annual leave. I've always loved being outside and being active but I've also always loved nothing more than getting in from work on an evening and not leaving the house again. I enjoy going for a run but I also love lazy weekend mornings pottering around my house with my dog Gatsby whilst my boyfriend is upstairs and sitting quietly on the sofa with a lovely warm brew.
There was a time in my life where I would have been too frightened to say yes to this challenge. Before I would have been able to give the challenge much thought my mind would have jumped on it and asked, what if I can't do it? What if I don't have enough time it fit the training in? What if it really hurts? What if I'm the worst and I'm right at the back holding everyone up? What if I'm not good enough? I would have dismissed the opportunity as something that women who were much better equipped and experienced than I am to tackle and watched from a far, wishing I'd said yes.
Now you might be wondering how I've managed to answer those questions, how I've silenced the mean girl in my head. The truth is, I haven't, those doubts are there. I know that on this challenge I am surrounded by women who have summitted Everest, rowed the Atlantic, raced Ironmans and Ultras all over the world and I have to stand alongside them and I will. I know that I have a lot to contribute to the team too. I also know that really there is no difference between us. If it's possible for them then it's possible for me. The thing is you don't need to be perfect, you don't need have all of the answers and be the best to give it a go. You just need to show up. Instead of letting fear take over and stop me I've trained that voice in my head to ask other questions.
What if this is the start of something much bigger? What if we inspire other women to run further too? What if people use this as inspiration for making their own dreams come true? What if I make it to the finish line? What if I can? What if I am good enough?