I wrote about my tendency to self doubt, and about how fourth year of medical school was going to be a tough year for a self doubter: the hardest year to date, and the true ‘sink or swim’ moment on the way to becoming a doctor. I wrote about running and racing, and how I don’t always believe in myself when I line up to start; did I train enough? Did I push myself hard enough? Am I going to be able to make myself proud today?
Belief was a big theme throughout 2014 for me. I kept it in mind as I took on some races I’d never have thought I could do before; a 24-hour relay race, a 30 mile ultramarathon, the crazy Red Bull Steeplechase. I surrounded myself with the right people, and I didn’t stop believing, and as a result had some pretty amazing experiences. Running through woods at night, alone but for the sound of my breathing and footfalls, and the distant twinkle of other runners’ head torches. Crossing the finish line of my first ultra hand in hand with a good friend, having laughed for almost the entire race. Bombing down steep hills in the beautiful Peak District with aeroplane arms and not a care in the world.
Belief took me further when I made the leap, recklessly entered a triathlon and then was faced with the scary task of learning to swim. As I slogged up and down the pool, coughing and spluttering, chlorine burning my nose and the back of my throat, I told myself to believe. And bit by bit, it came together, until before I knew it, I was in the pool for my first triathlon, minus nose clip and swimming quite passable freestyle.
And after all of the worrying, nervous eating of endless quantities of peanut butter, and obsession with coloured pens and mind maps, I’m proud to say I safely survived 4th year exams and am now half of the way through the clinical placements of final year, and as of Monday, will start preparation for my final exams, ready to hopefully start work as a junior doctor on the first Wednesday of August 2015.
So believing wasn’t a bad idea.
With 2015 just around the corner, I need a new word. I’ve been giving some thought to it, and keep coming back to one word: try. This year brings with it a lot of new things, both career-wise (final exams, becoming a doctor), and in terms of sport (two longer triathlons, potentially my first 100 mile bike ride, potentially an autumn marathon and another ultra). There will be other challenges along the way, challenges that I’ll potentially fail, but from every one I will gain something and learn something. So here’s to having a damn good try, and some wise words from JK Rowling (because a Harry Potter quote is always appropriate).