Last weekend, I completed the Fan Dance along with some friends from my British Military Fitness group at Heaton Park. Organised by the SF Experience, the 24km hike across the Pen-y-Fan (and back again) whilst carrying 35lbs is described by the SFE as 'the first major indicator to assess if a candidate has the physical and mental determination to pass the UKSF selection course.
Certainly, it was tough. Very tough. And I was really grateful that I had John and Adele with me; keeping each other motivated to keep going at different points throughout the challenge definitely made a huge difference. Even still, this was Definitely the hardest physical challenge I've faced yet.
Physical... And mental. It's something like this which really bring some home that there's more than one meaning to the word 'stength'. We were well prepared for the fan dance with 6 months of specific training behind us - walking with the back pack, running with the back pack, eating scones with the back pack (don't ask!), he'll, Bert and Ernie even have names we became that attached to them!
Our bodies were well prepared - physically strong - and capable of doing whatever we asked.
And there was where the real strength lay - mental strength. This challenge required the 'mental determination' to keep going when everything hurt - and believe me, a lot hurt! It required a positive mindset - to keep going and believe you can do it, even when you feel like you can't.
I love that. I saw it in everyone who passed us, in the winners who hit enviable times, in our friends who hit their goal times, and in us as we completed our own personal goal - to finish without dying!
The Fan Dance is the sort of challenge that shows you what we are all capable of - in fitness and in the rest of our lives - if we just apply the right mindset and prepare.
Strength is more than just physical.
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