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6th January 2015

Yesterday or Yes-to-today

achievements, endurance mind, extreme marathons, running

Extreme Energy sponsored athlete Nathan Montague shares his first blog of 2015. Follow and learn from one of the countries best ultra runners as he prepares to win the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon in October 2015

Welcome to my first blog of tales, titbits and wisdom from my life as a full time 100mph father, ultra-runner and teacher. Even before I started I got myself stuck in a bit of a dilemma. I’m sure it’s an athlete thing, while harboring an innate ruthlessness, when it comes to everything else I am full of indecision. What to have for lunch, what clothes to wear for the day or what to put in my trolley in the weekly supermarket sweep. I am and need to be a man of routines just to balance my time effectively, minimizing the decision making processes in a days of run at break neck speed. This certainly helps with two little girls who won’t allow any amount of timewasting before they are demanding you move onto the next task.

I digress. Back to my dilemma. Was this to be a closure blog of 2014 or an opening entry for 2015? I’m up with the best of them reliving past glories or dwelling on times when things have gone wrong even if due to external factors. When I first started writing training diaries back in 1996 when I first started to think seriously about running while moonlighting as a dreaming footballer, I thought we wrote them to help us look back at past successes and recreate what we did in order to achieve further success. It is with this blissful ignorance and naivety I have also been guilty of making the same mistakes and also not responding to change or trying things different in order to make steps forward. While we must not forget the past as we learn from our negative experiences such as tough races, injuries and upheaval in our personal life we must leave these behind in order to move forwards. This is the same with our celebratory moments. Living our lives in moments of glory, success or heightened emotions can sometimes blur our transgression into the future and either add pressure to the moment we live in now as we try and replicate the past and in turn dampen future potential success. As an athlete we need to respond to change. We need to stay on toes and constantly learn and adapt if we are to improve, stay fit, healthy and most importantly maintain our motivation and love for our sport. What is amazing about the ultra-running community, and yes I believe it is a community, is the camaraderie and willingness to share our own experiences whatever your level. I think we can learn from everyone whether you are aiming to finish your first ultra or pushing on at the front for a personal best. My apologies in advance if I am speaking out of turn but from my experience as you drop down the distances this kind of freedom to express our training, experiences and advice seems to be more cagey and hard to come by. Learning from positive experiences is vital. And this is exactly what I intend to do.

While I look back on 2014 with a smile and on the whole a successful year, I believe 2014 was a huge learning curve as an athlete, father and person and there are many things I could do better. I will look back and smile at 2014, my course record of the Ridgeway Challenge 86 only weeks after pulling out the day before the Lakeland 50 with injury (in tears!); getting lost on the Cotswold way century 102; not once but ‘again and again and again’ to quote Damien …..; pushing out at the XNRG Druid and Round the Island races as I aimed to beat ‘myself’; missing the start of my final race of the year as I sprinted a mile down the sea front of the Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon and playing catch up for 26 miles; and crawling along crib Goch in snowdonia as I began to make friends with the Uk’s mountains. I think I have answered my own dilemma. My first blog of 2015 and the future. I have taken so much from both positive and negative experiences in 2014 and will take this forward into what is an exciting and ambitious year ahead. With the support of Neil and Anna Thubron and the XNRG team I have some ambitious targets for the next three years and am excited both in terms of training and races ahead including the UTMB, KAEM and maybe gaining an international vest again. We don’t know what’s around the corner but what we can do is control the controllable. I will continue to look forwards and will continue to learn. We are small fishes in a large pond. Swim with the tide once in a while and you will find others who will help you on your journey. Who said distance running was lonely? Bring on 2015! Nathan Montague

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