Here’s more proof that anything is possible.

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By Megan Blandford

Posted on September 11, 2012

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The Olympics and Paralympics are now over and with it the chance to be constantly inspired on a daily basis by these amazing athletes.

Today Megan shares how she managed to find a little bit of inspiration within herself to achieve something she never though possible.

“When he first mentioned it, I agreed it would be an amazing experience. Amazing for him and some mates, that is. But within twenty-four hours the words, “Let’s do it – I’m coming with you,” flew from my mouth and that was that. I was officially in training.

What changed my mind certainly weren’t the realities of a hike: long days in ugly boots, carrying all my own gear, no showers, and camping in old huts with smelly strangers. It was more an inkling that I was imposing limits on myself and what was I gaining by operating within these limits? And just as importantly, where was the fun?

I guess I was also getting a bit sick of being the wife sitting back while my man had all the adventures. It was time for a change – but it wasn’t going to be an easy transition.

I had never attempted anything like it. I’m not a sportswoman; I struggle with running, hate cycling, and was always the last to be picked in team sports at school. Coordination isn’t my strength and I wasn’t even what one could call fit.

Determination, however, IS my strength.

I trained at every opportunity, built up enough strength to ensure my dodgy knees wouldn’t falter me and my shoulders could carry the weight of a pack. And then I headed off in a rattle of nerves.

It was on the third day of the hike, halfway along the Overland Track, that it all came to a climax. We had reached a point in the ever-changing landscape that was like something out of The Lord of the Rings: dense, dark forest with knobbly tree trunks and a path that was grown from tree roots, making for difficult walking. In a word, it was creepy. And after a few hours in there, it felt as though we’d never escape.

It was there that I had my first real panic attack. My mind raced around and around, until it physically stopped me from moving, or breathing. What if we never got out? And worse, what if we did? Then I’d still have to make it through another fifty kilometres or so. “I can’t do it. I just can’t do it” I thought.

I guess the tinier you feel in a place, the more it forces you to see life for what it is – and to see yourself as you really are. When you’re out of your depth your strengths and weaknesses are blatantly apparent. You can’t escape yourself.

My husband talked me down from my panicky high – and then we held hands and walked on. Within half an hour, the light made itself apparent. We were out. I felt free.

And I planned to make the most of that freedom. Here, at the end of the scary forest was the base of Tasmania’s tallest mountain, Mt. Ossa, shrouded in fog. It was a side trip we had come with every intention of tackling. “No way,” I said, as I threw off my pack and sat down ready to indulge in a lunch of dehydrated ‘food’. He tried to persuade me, I refused, and then I watched as he began walking towards the mountain.

He had barely taken a dozen steps before I was back at his side, remembering that even if I had come face to face with my weaknesses, my strength was still my determination.

I looked up at the peak and knew I could do it. Really, it didn’t even look that bad. It was only as we were beginning the ascent that I looked up again and saw that the fog had lifted, showing me that what I had thought was the top was barely the beginning. “One step at a time,” my husband reminded me. And we did it. I did it.

And I learnt one of the most important lessons of my life: focusing on nothing but your next step is good for the soul.

These days I’m the first to volunteer for a hike or a new adventure. I still have the odd attack of the panic variety, but they’re fewer and fewer. I now relish the opportunity to learn my limits, and then push past them.

On that trip I discovered that physical achievements are a powerful metaphor for everyday life. And that with determination, anything can be done.

Why not share this?

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Megan Blandford.

Megan Blandford is a freelance writer who likes to travel at any opportunity and inflict crazy adventures on her energetic children. Megan lives on the outskirts of Melbourne with her family, and you can find her rambling her way through life at Writing Out Loud blogspot or on twitter.

Website: http://writingloud.blogspot.com

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  • http://www.twitter.com/lipglossmumma Jodi Gibson

    Step by step. It is the only way for everything in life. Megan, your determination is very inspiring. What a great achievement for you in so many ways.

  • http://www.raisingmastermax.com Cherie @ raising master Max

    Congratulations!

    I could completely relate to this.

    I too, was always the very LAST to be picked for any sporting team or event. It’s just not in my genes.

    I suit the solo things, like joggung/running/hiking etc.

    Good on your focusing on just that next step :)

    That’s all you’ve got to do really …

    Fabulous post x

  • Vicky

    Anxiety and panic attacks as you know are bloody paralysing … Hanks for,the reminder that the only step I need to concentrate on is the very one I’m about to take next. One step at a time…. When I feel that overwhelming anxiety clawing at my body I’m going to hang onto that mantra. Thank you

  • http://cakecrumbsbeachsand.com/ Peggy Saas

    That is just brilliant. What an achievement! I am one of those folks that think they ‘can’t run’ (I know we can all run) and I started interval training and seriously thought I would pass out after a minute of running. Over time I increased the minute to two minutes and so on. It is amazing what we can do once we get our mind out of the ‘can’t do it’ mode.

    Well done Megan.

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