I use the hashtag #chasingextraordinary on my social media posts … I thought I should describe what “Chasing Extraordinary” means to me?
For me, it’s all about taking yourself from the current level you are and then dreaming and thinking big, setting that next level as your goal and then taking action to achieve it.
My other hashtag is #thinkbigthendo … I think you’ll see why.
Let me share with you an example of “Chasing Extraordinary”
My first official “run” was at my high school’s cross-country event. We were told to bring our PE kit and we were then set free from the school grounds. It was a 3km run along the local streets and then out into fields, dirt tracks and eventually back to school. I’d never run that far in one go ever.
I can honestly say I didn’t run the whole distance. I ran, I walked to catch my breath and then I ran again. The idea that I could run the whole distance was extraordinary to me.
I made the school cross-country team and from that point on “running” was in my life.
I started training to be able to run the whole 3km distance by running the whole distance around the block of my mum and dad’s house (approximately a 1km loop). That progressed to 2 laps, then 3. Finally, I was able to run a whole 3kms in one continuous go – no walking needed.
I loved running. I loved the adventure it took me on – I could run to places beyond my local streets or my path to school. I wanted to push my boundaries. I wondered about the next level – for me it was 10kms.
Finishing my first 10km race totally amazed me, but I wanted more. I set my sights or my next level of “Extraordinary” – a half-marathon.
I remember my first half marathon, it was part of the Melbourne Marathon. As I crossed the finish line, I saw some people take the other path that veered not to my finish line but to the second half of their race – the marathon distance.
I was truly beat, thinking I’d given everything I had inside of me to run a half marathon. I was ecstatic that I had levelled up to this distance, but … I watched, and I wondered “could I possibly do a marathon?”. It became my next level of extraordinary to chase.
This process of chasing extraordinary in running had taken a while – from a pre-pubescent teenage high school girl to a late twenties party-girl.
My first marathon attempt didn’t happen until I’d reached the ripe old age of 34 and had given birth to my son … but this is a story for another day.
The point of the example is that I didn’t begin my running life as an ultra-runner. When I started, that title was not even a twinkle in my eye. I simply kept wondering and dreaming about the possibility of my next level. Armed with my trainers and a dream, my dream became a belief, which became a goal that became actions that created the result that I can and I did.
How I use it in other aspects of my life
I’ve used running as the vehicle for the explanation of “extraordinary”, but I use it in other aspects of my life too.
I’ve used it to run my property business – I started by buying a house to renovate. I allowed myself to dream bigger, I wanted to create a business from this project. After many investments and many property developments, I now own a large portfolio of properties with big plans for the next phase of this part of my life.
I’ve used it in my writing – I started writing blogs and posts but always had a secret hankering to write a book and become an author. In 2017 I published my very first book about the topic I knew best “running”. It’s a “how to” book taking my learnings and experience of body movement throughout my lifetime – technical but not too technical.
Dreaming bigger I wanted to be an author about running adventures. To do that I committed to making those adventures a reality – running the Jungle Ultra in Peru, the Desert Ultra in Namibia, my 63 marathons in 63 days throughout the UK, my Run around Ireland and the next big one … (can’t tell you just yet, but it is a doozy).
My second book is on its way, with a 3rd etched in my memory and thankfully my adventure diary notes (my memory ain’t as good as it used to be).
This is “Chasing Extraordinary” and it’s what I talk about when I talk to kids at primary schools, teenagers at high schools, adults at running clubs and corporate events. It’s why I use it as my hashtag.
I was once asked if by using the word “chasing” it would mean you’d never succeed. I hope I’ve explained above that by setting new goals and new levels that you will have a lifetime of accomplishments and that the process means you always believe you can challenge yourself.
This means more to me now as I meander into my 50’s. I’m setting my goals that are pushing my boundaries. Each challenge is different and each “Extraordinary” is personal to me and my own criteria.
I know I’ve got a hell of a lot more accomplishments that I’ll achieve before my time here is done and that I’ve got the rest of my life to continue #chasingextraordinary via the process of #thinkbigthendo.
Pic: November 2018, Namibia. Beyond The Ultimate’s – DesertUltra