2 minutes reading time (400 words)

THE GIFT OF THE GOAL (part 1)

This picture (photo by Ruud Overes) is so very special to me. It is the finish of my 1st 160 km ride in 2013. I was the only one to finish, we were 6 combinations starting out and I just had a few minutes of the maximum time allowed left to finish.

The horse is Shadiya, a Russian bred power mare with plenty of stamina, but not a great recovery in her heart, even though it was as big as a lion's to do 160 km for me. Getting to the finish in the dark at nearly 23.00 (start at 06.00 I believe), after extra km's because of missing markers, long recovery times and riding alone in the dark with a rider without night vision and a huge deadline looming was so special. The headlights of the car showing the finish line, the cheering of the people that stayed up to watch us finish, and my amazing crew that had helped throughout the long day. It will stay with me always. Not only because it was my very first 160, but also because I never hope to have to do a 160 like that again!!

Finding a goal in your life or your hobby is a gift, it gives you something to work for, a purpose. For many people doing endurance, the goal is that 160 km, a 100 miler. And that is some goal! The road to it is long, 4 years or more, and some have to stop on route because of mishaps. And when you eventually get to start on that 160 km ride, the day itself is full of adventures and challenges.

But any new longest distance is a goal, an achievement to work towards. It requires planning, taking steps on the ladder towards the goal, and being realistic if the target is achievable at all. It needs self-discipline, motivation and a lot of reflecting with the right balance of being realistic for your horse, but not being too insecure to abandon all if there is a minor set back. Whether it is 40 km, or 80 km. A 100 km or a 100 mile.

The journey to any goal really is on a rocky road at best, but the elation when you have made it is something else and worth the sacrifices. 

And it will have made you stronger getting there!

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