• Tom Crossland

Day 49 - Playing by the rules of someone else's game

Abersoch - Glan-y-Wern 50 km (1588.7 km done)

Start Time - 7.16 am

Finish Time - 3.21 pm

Moving time - 6 hours 16 mins

Vertical Gain - 368 m

Garmin Temperatures

Average - 30 C

Min - 25 C

Max - 34 C

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The strangest things get stuck in my mind whilst I am running, some thoughts are fleeting and some stay around for a while and I never know what will trigger some learning or reflection.

"Something has changed within me, Something is not the same, I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game" "I'm through accepting limits 'cause someone says they're so, Some things I cannot change but 'til I try, I'll never know!"

These two separate lines have been playing around my head since I heard them earlier on. They triggered a reflection on the expectations that other people have for us and I wondered what people's expectations of me where when I was younger. I find it very unlikely that anyone expected me to run 3000 km, but I do wonder what people thought. I know for certain that I am lucky that my parents never set limits on me and let me find my own path. Sometimes, like everyone else, I made unwise decisions, but they were there ready to pick me up and set me back on my feet on the new path. I am not sure where my desire to challenge expectations and the status quo comes from, but I am well aware that I have 'always' been contrary. At 7, when asked to 'clear the table' I took everything off the table and placed it carefully on the floor, sorry mum.

It appears as though, throughout life we are expected to play the game of life by the rules that have been made up by someone else, whether or not this makes us happy or contented. It seems to me, that it is when we don't conform to these expectations there are social mechanisms to encourage us back in to the 'right' lane. I think it is only by being comfortable in your own skin and knowing yourself really well that you can resist this pressure. There are lots of ways to become comfortable in your own skin, of course I would say, one way is through therapy, but I also think another way is to spend undistracted time in your own company. This could be through meditation or yoga. I also think endurance sport is another way to achieve this. Whether this is through running, walking, canoeing, rowing or cycling. I think that anything that forces us to disconnect from the distractions of life is important for our emotional and psychological wellbeing.

To help resist the pressure to conform it is also important to have a strong support network around you and to find your tribe that will enable you try walking a different path. It goes without saying that if I hadn't found ultra-running I would not be doing this. As well as giving me the time to really get to know myself and realise that 'Wherever I go, there I am', it also introduced me to a group of people whose idea of normality is very different from most peoples. This enabled me to think big and I was also lucky that I had team of people around me that when I said 'I'm going to run 2000 miles from Athens to London" simply said "okay" and asked what needs to happen to achieve that. No one close to me said that's impossible or you can't do that. Without these two things coming together there is no way I would, firstly have thought about doing something so big and secondly, had the courage to make it happen.

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