It seemed like a good idea at the time

A year ago this week one of my members and I embarked upon a challenge of the like we hadn’t attempted before
We entered the Macmillan Mighty Hike which was advertised as a marathon distance hike along the coastline and in the countryside of Dorset
It seemed like a good idea at the time….and that’s going to be the theme of this email ;-)
We planned well for the challenge and trained as much as we had time for in the 6-9 months before the event
It transpires that the hills of Leicestershire (Bradgate Park, Croft Hill etc) are not a patch on the hills of Dorset (OMG)
On the day of the event, we were feeling fairly confident that we could complete the distance but apprehensive of the other factors that impact on a long walk (weather, blisters, energy, terrain, hydration, injury etc)
We were smart to be apprehensive….the weather gods were not on our side that day! (the photo above was taken later in the day – when we did this bit the winds were almost gale force and it was lashing down with rain – we genuinely thought that we were going off that cliff!)

So lesson number 1 – be wary of advertising ;-)
We began the challenge around 8am in fairly mild conditions but it quickly turned into those near gale force winds and the sheet rain that left us soaked to the bone and feeling fairly put out (British weather eh!)
Added to this was the unexpected (and extensive) queues that built up at every single gate and stile that meant we were standing still (getting pretty chilly) and exposed to the elements in the heavy wind and heavy relentless rain!
This went on, and on, and on, and on, and on …. for 10 miles until we reached the lunch tent and were able to get a bit of shelter from the elements which in a savage twist of events had become relentless and blazing sunshine!
We both admitted (post-event) that we were ready to quit at that point and if the other had said so, we’d have called in our cavalry and jacked it in – but what a mistake that would have been….
Despite being soaked, with heavy bags (we packed enough food to last for a 2 week hike), with insane blisters from saturated walking boots rubbing relentlessly on our poor feet, AND the prospect of 16 more miles – the lunch stop wasn’t even at the halfway mark (crying face!) we changed what clothes we had, wrapped up our blistered feet and soldiered on (too stubborn and competitive to quit)
I can’t say that the day got worse from there, it just got harder because the blisters refused to quit too, and the sun was beating down on us which fairly quickly led to us running out of water with no ‘official’ water station for another 6-8 miles
Our very real worry about dehydration was assuaged somewhat as the organisers quickly inserted a makeshift water station and enabled all of the bottle carriers to fill up – sadly we both had water bladders which wouldn’t fit under the water taps – but our knight in shining armour brought us some much-needed water AND Pepsi max – hello caffeine!
After what felt more like 100 miles, handfuls of jelly beans, many swear words and internal tears, I limped over the finish line like a lame dog and my lovely comrade had the grace to smile and we pretended to be happy to finish the event (which raises an awful lot of money for charity – I think that’s what got us through the tough times) when in reality the only thing we were happy about was to see our support crew who was on standby to drive us home and feed us pizza!


We still look back and grimace, the rose-tinted specs must have been crushed along with our spirit…
However…..the point of sharing this with you is to show you that we can draw lessons and positives out of even the most challenging situations…
The experiences that you have, the things that you go through, the trials, the challenges, the tribulations…
All of these can teach us amazing and valuable lessons about what we are capable of and how we want to live our lives in the present and future
We agree that we are stronger, more resilient and more confident as a result of completing this challenge
We also agree that we’re never doing to do anything like that again because we only needed to learn these lesson once…
  • You ARE capable of doing amazing things
  • You ARE capable of pushing beyond the boundaries that you set yourself
  • You ARE capable of incredible feats of endurance
  • You ARE capable of climbing that mountain (whatever your personal mountain might be)
  • You ARE capable of overriding that voice in your head that tells you that you CAN’T
That voice was my constant companion on that walk (alongside my real-life comrade!)
‘You can’t do this’
‘You don’t have to do this’
‘Just call the cavalry and they’ll pick you up’
‘You don’t need to prove anything’
‘You’re going to seriously hurt yourself if you carry on’
‘You aren’t going to make the cut off time’
Blah blah blah
It often seems like a good idea to write yourself off and just take the easy option OR to carry on in the status quo never really experiencing what it feels like to step outside of your comfort zone….
I get it
Your comfort zone is comfy, it feels weird and obtuse to think about doing things that make you feel uncomfortable…
But if you’re living your life right now and hoping that things will just change for you – you’re living in a fantasy
You have the power
You have the control
You can do more
You can be brave
Things don’t just change by accident
Weight doesn’t get lost without making an effort to alter your habits (consistently)
Mountains don’t get climbed without training and dedication
Channels don’t get swum without someone dreaming of achieving something epic
What are your dreams?
What are your goals?
What do you really want to do with your free time? (I don’t think a Netflix marathon is the same as a real marathon ;-) )
What is on your bucket list?
How many things have you got left to tick off….?
I hope that this email has given you a sense of inspiration
And at the very least, show you that just because someone appears to be fit, strong, healthy and capable, doesn’t mean that we stop trying to push and improve
For me as a person (and as a personal trainer), I look at things differently now and I approach it with my best effort ….and then I keep coming at it until I get there
That’s what the mighty hike taught me, fundamentally to keep going and give it my best shot
Beyond that, let the chips fall where they may!
It did sound like a good idea at the time, and despite a challenging middle section (the entire event) the lessons learned will far surpass any memory of pain that I held onto
Pain (in this regard) is temporary, pride, resilience, achievement and self-belief are FOREVER!
We are taking on new online members at Rossell Fitness
If you are interested in becoming an online member (don’t worry, no more Mighty Hikes – unless YOU want to) you can drop us a line here ->
And we’ll chat about you and your goals and dreams and get you introduced into our online member’s community
I think you’ll be right at home :-)
Stay safe and healthy