Monday, 30 November 2015

Reflections as we head to West Cork this weekend for Clonakilty Marathon.

I think it was early 2013 that the idea came up to run 12 Marathons in 12 Months for Charity. I was getting in the comfort zone of running 1 or 2 marathons a year and had done 6 in total. That's an achievement by itself. Yet it was getting routine.

I continuously keep telling people to try and extend their comfort zones so practicing what I preach I went looking inside for a destination. It became 12 in 12 in 2015.

I went on a very pleasant and rewarding yet sometimes tough and painful journey, running 4 Marathons in 2013 and then setting out to do 6 in 2014 and ending up with 7. I was tired after the 7. The idea of adding 5 was daunting.

So I learned from the 2 years, adapted my training. Adapted my nutrition. Adapted my sleeping patterns. And poured an awful lot of love and energy into the event. I ran the 12th in Tullaroan in September this year and adapted the total to 16.

I have the privilege to run in this landscape on Saturday in Clonakilty!

It's November 30th today and in 5 days I will run Marathon number 16 for this year on the 'gentle slopes' of West Cork around beautiful Clonakilty. AND I have booked a 17th in Portumna on December 27th!!!!!!

I must say to my initial surprise that this year has been the easiest running year so far. Yes I picked up shin splints and dislocated a bone in my ankle along the way yet they became side notes during a fabulous year of running.

I have found a second family with Marathon Club Ireland, kindred spirits with whom I always have a wonderful time. I have ran with Team Hoyt and Team Kerr, two awesome and awe inspiring bunches of people. I have seen parts of Ireland from an angle you can only truly appreciate on foot. Two courses I remember particularly enjoying where Tralee and Connemara.

Running with Team Kerr and Team Hoyt in Courtmacsherry was the highlight of the year so far!

I have so much to be thankful for this year. Thanks to all who supported me and thanks to everyone for being there and being you.

This is not the end of the journey. It is a continuing journey. My intention is to reach the 50 Marathons total in 2016 (Clonakilty will be number 33).

My other intention is to run 3 or 4 Ultra Marathons in 2016. Something I haven't done before and that scares me. In a good way!

Right so, where's the map? It's road trip time. How do I get to Clonakilty again?

Miles with Smiles and have a fabulous week.

Patte xxx

Monday, 23 November 2015

How to practice proactive living!

One of the first things I read this morning on my social media was a quote. It read: 'Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.'

It is a quote that can be understood to try and move people towards changing their reaction to events and take control of their lives. And that our reaction to events is 90% of what makes our future better.

Don you agree? The more we take control of our reactions to events the more we will take control of our lives. And by taking control of our reactions to these events we will be in control of our future. To make it better. Or less painful.

Let's examine this. There is Stuff that happens and then there is a Reaction. Inevitably the 2 together lead to a Result.

Someone cuts you off in traffic on your daily commute (Stuff). You beep the horn at them and get upset (Reaction). They flip the finger at you and drive on leaving you getting angry. You offload at work to a colleague and respond curtly to an email with a 'stupid' question. (Result).

According to the saying we could change our reaction. Let's see.

Someone cuts you off in traffic on your daily commute (Stuff). You feel upset they nearly caused an accident but decide to let go and continue to work. (Reaction). You arrive at work and have a coffee discussing the game with your colleague and respond to the email with the 'stupid' question politely yet with a slight undertone of sarcasm. (Result).

Sounds better already doesn't it? So it works then.

Someone cuts you off in traffic on your daily commute (Stuff). You ask yourself how sitting in this traffic every day is helping you with the intentions you set and decisions you made about your next work related step. (Reaction). When you get to work you greet all your colleagues, respond kindly to the email and during lunch start looking up how you can do what you want to do workwise from a location that doesn't require you to sit in traffic. (Result).

The last way is a proactive approach to life. An approach that flips the equation around. Set intentions and make decisions on what you want from life and adapt your reactions to those and then setting your own results as the 'controlled' field.

In other words try and set the Results and adapt the Reactions to lead towards the Result. The Stuff will continue to happen at a rate of knots but will somehow be less important than it was to both the Result and the Reaction.

This is another insight on what gets me to run more than I did before. Stuff (Weather, Workload, Parties, Matches, Urgent Emails, Phone calls) still happens. Decisions and Intentions (12 marathons in 12 months in 2015) were set. This brought along daily implementation of 5 to 6 runs a week and increasing my weekly mileage from 35 at the start of the year to about 45 now. 11 months later I am at 15 Marathons instead of 12. And I have 2 more booked. (Result).

This requires a small paradigm shift in thinking yet it works for me and it has worked for my clients in all areas of their lives. What do you think?

Do you prefer to get Results proactively or reactively? The choice is yours.

Miles with Smiles: 42.56 miles in training this week after a Marathon the weekend before!! 1,849 miles so far this year and on course for reaching the 2,015 miles in 2015!!

Have a beautiful day!

Patte xxx

Friday, 20 November 2015

How Madonna helped me with my issue with goal setting.

Those who read this blog regularly know of my personal aversion to goals. I have nothing against them as useful tools for others by the way. They really work for some people. They hardly ever worked for me.

Even though they were SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time based) goals, and aligned to my values, and good for me, and I could picture them. And all the other good stuff that no doubt works for some people.

It wasn't working for me. And when I was hitting the odd goal or target, the satisfaction was very short lived. I often wondered what was next before I even got there. And the getting there was cumbersome. It was peppered with phrases like 'If I want to achieve I HAVE to' 'for my next step I HAVE to' 'Patrick, you can't go to the party, you HAVE to'

It took me a while but eventually I just accepted the fact Goal based living wasn't for me AND also accepted that there was nothing wrong with me NOR that anything needed fixing!!

Was there another way of figuring this out?

What do I do when I get stuck? I like to flip things around and look at it from a different perspective. What different perspective can I look at in relation to Goals for life?

And then this line came into my head from my Life Coaching diploma course about 8 years ago: 'Everything you want is on the other side of fear.'

What is on the other side of fear? Joy. How can I make this joyful? By making every day towards my achievement joyful. What is more important, the achievement or the joy? The joy.

That understanding that the every day joy of doing something will lead to natural achievements was an aha moment for me. It is possible to achieve while enjoying the steps towards achievement. In fact the steps become primary objectives and the achievement secondary.

Here's a summary of how the conversation went in my head:

'Let's do this!!

Hold on, how will I know I have achieved?

By doing what you find joyful every day and checking in at the end of the day if you did!

So all I need to find is what I enjoy doing and then do that and more of that as often as possible?

Yes, how does that sound?

Brilliant! Yet how will I know I have achieved?'

I got stuck again. I was looking forward to doing what I love more often but needed a solid reason to back me up for days it wasn't going great. (And there are those, less often now as I do more and more of what I love, yet they still exist).

So I went looking for answers. I went looking within myself for answers. I know I have the answer somewhere. Flip things around. New perspective. MMMMMM.

A lyric from a Madonna song popped into my head (Yes, I know. My head is a weirdly wonderful place). It is from '4 Minutes', a duet with Justin Timberlake. The line goes: 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions'.

Flip that around. What if intentions are turned into decisions and the decisions get broken down into daily segments? All I need then is to set the segments to a level I enjoy and Madonna's your Aunty. (Bob's your Uncle didn't seem the right thing to say here).

And that's how the whole world changed for me. Find what you love doing most. Set intentions of where you would like to take this. Make decisions based on the intentions. Set daily segments you enjoy.

That's what I did with running. The Ultra's for next year, getting to 50 career Marathons in 2016, the run to Brussels & Back in 2019. They are decisions based on my intention to stay fit and healthy while doing what I love with running. So now every day I set segments I enjoy. Whether those are a 10K run, a 13 mile run, a veggie meal in my favourite veg restaurant or buying a book on ultra running. Whatever it takes to make the journey about love and enjoyment.

And that is the single most important reason I am at 15 Marathons this year when the initial 'goal' was 12. It came naturally. In the Flow. Joyful, happy and loving it!

My business is next. I have set an intention and made a decision to assist change in 5,000 peoples' lives in 2016. I have found ways to segment that so I will enjoy every minute of it.

Simply because having joy and fun in what you do leads to better results. For the future, yet more important in the NOW!

What about you? Any luck with goal setting? Want to try a different way? Thanks for reading and feel free to get in touch!!

Miles with Smiles and Love to you all!

Patte xx

Monday, 16 November 2015

(Twenty)Sixmilebridge Marathon Report.

Every year Mid November the slightly bonkers (in a very good way) ladies and gentlemen of the excellent BMOH AC in Sixmilebridge, County Clare run a superb running event known as the Eddie Murphy Memorial Run.

The organisation is great, the volunteers numerous and good humoured, the bling class too. There is a Double Marathon (52.4 Miles), a 30 mile, a full Marathon (26.2) and a Half Marathon (13.1).

Here's the twist that makes this race unique. It is run on a 1 mile loop through the village with a hill half way through the loop. In other words yesterday was 'Hamster Time'. :)

An injury last year meant I ran the Half Marathon in 2014. I enjoyed it. So I returned this year to do the Full Marathon for number 15 this year and number 32 in total. Upon arrival at 11am the Double Marathon runners were on the road for 4 hours already, the Marathon walkers had started at 9am and the 30 mile race was just starting.

Our race was due to start at Noon with the Half joining us at 2pm. That way there are always runners on the loop which is really encouraging when you are climbing that hill for the umpteenth time.

My utmost respect goes out to everyone who took part yet to those who did the 30 and 52 mile races I say thanks because you are part of my inspiration to check how long I can go and I am including some smaller ultra's in my race schedule for next year as a result of watching you.

A couple of things of note. 1- Vincent Guthrie was MC for the day and stood at the Finish Line with a mike and talked incessantly, encouraging everyone completing another loop by name and making us all smile. Brilliant stuff. Thanks Vincent. 2- Multiple Long Distance Running in Ireland is a family of about 500 people (educated guess) and when we meet at the races it is like an extended family. The support, good humour, positivity, energy and love is all encompassing and infectious. For me it is the best possible way to spend a Saturday or Sunday and I am so privileged and humbled to be part of it. Amongst them Marathon Club Ireland rocks solid!!

And that is yet another reason why I have trained myself to achieve a level where right now I can do this in average every 3 weeks without taxing myself too much.

The race itself was a combination of chatting to and running with lovely people. I was also lucky enough to run 2 laps with Team Kerr. TEAM KERR is an assisted running team from Northern Ireland, consisting of Mum (Sandra), Dad (David) and the main man Aaron!!. Their main aim is to promote assisted running and inclusion for all. They have the first Hoyt Running Chair in Europe and hope to inspire others to join their community and even come out with them for a run/jog/walk. These are truly inspirational people. They pushed their son inclusive of wheelchair up that hill 26 times. Amazing. It is an honour to know them and share the roads with them.

The wonderful Team Kerr

It was also great running through the Finish Line every mile and get the crowd support. And yes there was wind and wet conditions. And yes climbing the same hill got to my head after 22 miles but it didn't defeat me. I looked it in the eye and left my fastest ascent for the 26th visit.

Thanks Carl Ashley for the Finish Line pic.

So I finished my 15th Marathon of the 12 Marathons in 12 Months challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa. You can donate to the challenge here

I will hopefully return to Sixmilebridge next November where it is my intention to tackle the third distance in my 3th year there, 30 Miles!

Those who are good at counting know that 3 weeks from now is the weekend of December 5th and 6th. That's my next Marathon. The 6th edition of the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon. There is a 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon all around the 'gentle slopes' of gorgeous West Cork and you can still register for those at

We also have our club end of year party that night so Clonakilty better prepare for an invasion of love, laughter, positivity and the endurance of hardened long distance runners.

Miles with Smiles, a Life of Passion and Love.

Patte xxx

Friday, 13 November 2015

Is success in achievement or in doing?

Most people I meet are target driven. Whether it is the target of an impending holiday, the target of raising the children through the leaving cert, the target of making the team, the target of growing the business, the target of paying the bills etc.... etc....

So we should not be surprised to see Success equally measured against targets. The flash new car, the holiday travelling Route 66, the mortgage paid of, the dream job, the professional sports career, the children in college, the Million Euro turnover in business etc.... etc....

And yet....

I meet so many of these 'successful' people who are not happy. They want more. They want bigger, better, easier, more relaxed, quieter, promoted, further, faster. And when they achieve, they already want something else.

The moment they arrive at a destination it has become a mere stopping point for the next want.

So they never arrive, and never will. Yet there is always a want to arrive. And that's where the system breaks down.

If you go back to all the targets we mentioned before, you will see the achievements itself are all brief moments in time. As mentioned before we are already thinking of the next moment before we arrive at this one. Let's now look at what happens to the time we spend en route to those moments! Actually most people I talk to mention 'have to' a lot.

I have to study. I have to work harder on the business. I can't make the party as I have to go training tonight. I have to make them understand the leaving Cert is vital. I have to work overtime to get that project out the door.

I have to, I have to, I have to. How does that sound when you hear it said 3 times in a row? Does it sound like a chore, something you are not really looking forward to?

And therein lies the anti climax. You hate getting to the point you 'have to' get to in order to be successful and then when you get there it never lives up to the expectation.

There is an alternative I know of. It consists of finding what you love doing by trying loads of new stuff in your life. When you do find something you love doing, immerse your self in it. Do more of what you love. Then make a decision of what direction you want to go with it. Let that decision exist on its own. And then do every day what you love to the best of your ability.

What if we measured success in doing more and more of what we truly love? Every moment in every day that we do what we love, we are successfully living. How does that sound?

Honestly, what does that daily success sound like compared to a success driven by brief moments of material or positional gains? What if by doing what we love each day, we got better at it each day? Just 1% better. That's more than 3.5 times as good in 1 year! Like it?

I know what I choose. I am removing goals and targets from my life and replacing them with decisions based on what I love. Then I set the direction I want to take these decisions to. The fun and living is in implementing these decisions on a daily basis doing more of what I love.

That's how I got to 14 Marathons so far this year. I am loving my running that much every day that running more than the target of 12 in 12 became a natural result. Unforced, in the flow. Out of love. In each day, in each moment. This weekend I'm running the Eddie Murphy Memorial Marathon in Sixmilebridge on Sunday for number 15. Lovely people, lovely event!

What about you? What do you love doing? What if you became 1% better at that each day from now on? How would that change your live in 1 year?

Have a wonderful weekend filled with stuff you truly love doing and is good for you!

Patte xx

Friday, 6 November 2015

A different way to look into the future!

I was reminded yet again this morning that what I 'impose' on people continuously, holds massive truth within it.

Everything in a human's life happens in one day, and in that day it happens in one moment. Live that day and that moment to the fullest of your ability and you shall be 'free-er' than most.

And in those two sentences lies more than just a quote or a life mantra. It also helped me to release myself from the 'Goal' driven agenda. Because all goals live in the future. And I'm not sure I want to live constantly in the future. Not that there is anything wrong goals as such. I believe however that there is an extra layer or level to this.

I now make Decisions based on a few small yet vitally important criteria:

1- Is the decision congruent with my core values?
2- Will I love implementing the decision?
3- Is it good for me?
4- Has it the potential to make other people's lives better?
5- Is it in the few things that I know I am good at?

5 times Yes means go ahead whether I think I'm ready or not.
4 times Yes and 1 No means I look whether the sacrifice is worth it and for how long
2 times No or more is No!

Whatever gets the go ahead then gets implemented daily, weekly or monthly. At whatever rate required. And the emphasis stays with the love of regular implementation of the decision. Not with the target.

If the decision is value based, I love doing it, it is good for me, others benefit and I'm good at it; I will feel less attachment to the target. The target will meet and reinvent itself! One Day, in One Moment.

That's how I got to the decision to attempt the run from Limerick to Brussels and back in 2019 via Dun Laoghaire, Holyhead, Dover and Calais. 5 times Yes! 1,170 miles of Yes!

I'm going to have some fun implementing everything around that every day from now on!!!

Every Day, in the One Day, in the One Moment I am in!

Patte x

Monday, 2 November 2015

Do you love yourself enough?

I love this Mark Twain quote: 'Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.'
As my awareness levels grow steadily through the practice of conscious self love I find myself at odds with the majority most of the time. Not because I have a desire to be at odds, rather because I have a desire to 'be more like me and be less like you'. (I poached that last line from a Linkin Park song 'Numb'.)
Self love and taking care of self is not counterintuitive. In fact it is part of our self preservation instincts. We have however been conditioned to make it feel like it is counterintuitive. It is seen as selfish. And selfish is bad. Right? Or is there 2 kinds of selfish?
I love myself. (I can see your reaction to this as I type it, ye are a funny bunch!) I love myself enough to do just the things I love doing as much as possible. And more of that each week.
Carrie Bradshaw agrees with me :)
I love myself enough to live a life that is destined for continuous learning and for contribution beyond myself. Learning to become better and helping others to become better.
Not better in the sense of richer, faster or more successful. Better at loving themselves and doing more stuff they love.
It is my premise that if more people re-individualised their care, our world would become a better place to live in. In contrast to the globalisation of the economy and the collectivisation of society.
I am for reintroducing the individual as the pillar of society. Individuals that love themselves enough to do more of what is truly them. And in that way help others at truly being themselves.
That's why I love running. It is part of what I love doing so I'm doing more of it. 61.66 miles last week. That's 99.23 kilometres. Not because I planned to do that much. But because I love myself enough to do more of what I like.
I am writing this for those who like me don't feel like belonging to the current majority anymore. And to make the others think about it. Start loving yourselves a bit more and do more of what you like rather than what 'you have to'.
Have a wonderful day full of self love.