There's no way around it — Kathmandu Coast to Coast is one tough adventure race. You'll need rigorous training to conquer the run, cycle and kayak sections over 243 kilometres across New Zealand's rugged terrain.
But it's more than physical to endurance athlete, Hollie Woodhouse. To get to the finish, you need to really want it.
You’re crazy! I could never do anything like that.
When I tell people about a challenge like Coast to Coast, that's often what I hear. But to me, it’s not about if anyone can do it, but if you've got the want to do it — that’s the key to succeeding.
Endurance events are funny things, but like anything that scares you, they appear impossible until they're done. You see others who have the same ability as you out there doing it, and you think, "If they can do it, surely I can?"
The hunger to learn
When I first decided to do the Coast to Coast, there seemed like nothing I could do that would be bigger. It consumed my life, but in a good way.
I was hungry to learn, to push my body and to try new things. I had given myself a year to train, which involved learning how to kayak. I would regard myself as someone who is competent when it comes to sports, able to be competitive to a level I am happy with.
But I quickly learned that kayaking was a whole new ball game. And after falling out in flat water, without even attempting to move forward, I quickly learned that this was going to be my biggest challenge yet.
I joined a kayak group, put in the hours and managed to get myself to a point where I was confident that I could get down the Waimak relatively quickly.
The drive to train
Race day is where the culmination of hours and hours of training, mentally as well as physically, finally come together.
The race is the result of every early morning training session on the river, countless miles out on the road and the excitement of exploring new landscapes you never knew before. It's researching and testing the right gear for your event, eating the right food, learning new skills to get you there and meeting like-minded people along the way. It's setting a goal and smashing it out of the park (or mountains in this case).
I am no super athlete, and for many of us with day jobs and family commitments, the drive to put in enough hours to get you to the start line becomes both a juggling act and a sacrifice. Not to mention the cost.
The belief in yourself
There will be days when you question if it's all worth it, but that goes for any challenge that you believe is beyond reach. Because the hardest part is creating the belief that can cross the finish line.
Over the years, I have learnt that the body is an extremely powerful tool. You have to trust in the ability that you can keep going when your mind gives up. And if your mind is strong, you will almost always achieve what you set out to do (aside from an injury or something specifically stopping you).
Who knows where you will end up? For some it might be your greatest achievement, for others, it might be the stepping stone you need to take you another place. There is no such thing as failure — you either win or you learn.
You must ask yourself, "How much do I want it?"
This article was first published on www.kathmandu.co.nz.