January 11, 2024 in Courage, Health & Fitness, Mindset

There were loud noises coming from the master bedroom of Rose Cottage the other morning, and not in a sexy way. 

Kev and I were still creaking and groaning after an attempt to conquer the 5K assault course at Mike’s Gym in Marbella. 

Our group didn’t make it all the way around because there was so much to do, but we all felt proud of ourselves nonetheless. 

I feel like Kev and I did pretty well considering we’ve never done anything like it before, and we definitely pushed ourselves to the limits of our strength and bravery. 

One of the tests I didn’t expect to affect me quite so much was climbing over tall obstacles. 

On a couple of occasions we were required to climb Big Things - either up rope walls or wooden slats. I mean, they weren’t dizzying heights - perhaps about 15 feet up, but flopping my body over from one side of a wooden rail to another at that height really spiked my adrenaline, and I was shaking when I got to the bottom. 

It would have fecking hurt falling that far, especially if I’d got tangled up in ropes or bars on the way down, and my brain was playing all kinds of catastrophising tricks on me including ending up in a Spanish hospital and being told I couldn’t fly home for weeks because my bones were poking through my skin.

It’s quite amazing the terrifying, detailed stories of pain and horror your brain can quickly concoct when you’re teetering at the top of an obstacle. 

I dipped out on two obstacles completely: the first one was monkey bars about 12 feet up in the air with no crash-mat underneath (not sure if any UK gym would get that past the health and safety regs!), and the second was jumping from a tall platform onto a 45 degree ramp with a single rail at the top you had to grab in order to stop you sliding down. 

I saw one woman jump and hurt her ankle as she landed, and all I could imagine was face planting the ramp and sliding down the grippy tread like a fried egg, grazing my arms, knees and cheeks (and ending up in a Spanish hospital for 5 weeks, communicating only by blinking, returning home to find Kev has sold the house without telling me and ending up selling the Big Issue…) 

I just couldn’t make myself do it. 

Is that a bad thing? Maybe. Maybe not. 

Of course, I have the understandable regret, “If only I’d just made myself do it I’d have felt even prouder of myself today”.

But the way I’m choosing to frame it is that I’m proud of putting myself in a situation that took me to the limits of what I could handle. 

I didn’t do all the obstacles, but a couple of them really bloody scared me and made me use every ounce of my strength, so I’m chalking that up as a huge win. 

You can’t grow if you’re always comfortable. 

And it’s OK to fail at things as long as you’re doing your best. 

Whether it’s a physical challenge or a mental one, occasionally putting your pride and self-belief on the line is a good thing. 

It’s one of the reasons I love setting myself new goals every quarter. I never achieve everything on my list, but I give it a good effort. 

The lessons you learn about yourself from not achieving goals are just as useful as the great feelings of accomplishment. 

The author 

Vicki LaBouchardiere