I love Amanda Butler because she reminds me a lot of myself. “I tend to agree to things and worry about the consequences later.” YEP! “I am an ambitious person and always trying to do more than I’ve done before, be it run quicker, run longer or trying something new.” That’s exactly what she’s doing taking on 185 miles in five days – a distance way beyond anything she has done before.
“I enjoy pushing the limits of what I am comfortable with. I am also drawn to the idea of leaving my day to day life behind for a week and focusing purely on the task at hand. It is rare to be in a position to do that, for me at least.”
Amanda has been running in some form for around 22 years. “My road and trail running experience is much newer and I started getting into it about 8 years ago” she says. “This will be the furthest I have run or travelled on foot. I have hiked 100km across the Yorkshire Dales and completed my first marathon race last week as I thought I should probably get one in considering the challenge ahead of me!” Yes reader, she completed her first marathon race LAST WEEK. Did I mention this challenge is 37 miles a day for 5 days? Absolute badass.
Amanda has all the same excuses that everyone else uses. “I am guilty of letting work and life get in the way and overtake. I need to make a solid attempt at improving this balance and spend more time getting away from the day to day. This is a good start. For me this is a complete unknown. I have no idea if I will be able to finish. I have completed things in the past that I thought I wouldn’t be capable of, and yet I did manage them. For me this is all about pushing myself further than I have before and if I can succeed at something like this, the feeling of achievement will be just amazing. I thrive on that feeling, and I believe it keeps me sane and happy in other areas of my life.”
Despite only having raced her first marathon distance a week or so ago, Amanda is confident heading into the trip. “I know I am in a good place physically, and that helps me to feel more confident and mentally prepared when taking on something hard. That being said I do believe that the body is always capable of doing more than you think, it is usually the mind that puts a stop to things, so it does need to be a real focus on a challenge like this.”
“For me it is important to just keep going. When things in life have become really tough, and I’m not just talking about a challenge I have taken on or a difficult race, but real life situations, then I take a moment to feel sorry for myself but then I have to make myself just get on with it. I recommend drawing on past experiences that were tough but which you survived. That helps. Those experiences are proof that if you keep going, you will get through it. Recently I have also started to try and focus on the positive rather than the negative.”
Amanda’s mental coping strategies are admirable and there is a lot to be said for drawing parallels between running ultras and ‘normal life’ struggles. Amanda’s message to other women is to say yes to more things. “Accept the challenge” she says. “Once you have it’s harder to pull out, and in the end, you will be pleased you said yes!”
Even super confident wonder women have their doubts. “The thing that scare me most about this challenge is failure” says Amanda. “I don’t want to fail and disappoint myself. I also don’t want to let the team down in the process. There is no doubt this will be a challenge for me, and the question at the back of my mind is am I capable of taking it on.”
Amanda – you’ve already won by even coming on board. Onwards!
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