This week has seen Autism Works submit its second round application to the Deloitte Social Innovation Pioneers Award and I have also submitted my entry form for this year's Bupa Great North Run. The latter represents a quite significant step in my life, not least because for much of my life the idea that I would take on such a challenge was unthinkable!
A busy last few days had seen me doing much last-minute research to add weight to Autism Works' application to Deloitte to give a strong case. On the subject of weights, this week I have had a fitness consultation at the gym where I have adapted my training programme to meet my needs for taking on a half-marathon. Obviously, it is not possible to train for such an event entirely in a gym, as one would have to spend quite some time running on a treadmill, not to mention it isn't possible to recreate outdoor conditions in a gym. So as part of my commitment, I am going to make it a goal over the next few weeks to do some more running outside with the weather starting to get a little warmer.
As well as the stamina required for distance running, I found out during my consultation that it will also help to keep the weight-lifting aspect of my training going, as well-tuned muscles provide for more flexibility, greater endurance as well as aiding mental health, thus providing a good foundation on which to run. To aid my mental health, continued mindfulness practice, including some basic yoga stretches should reinforce this. An Asperger quality that helps with such preparation is attention to details such as these, which can make quite a big difference.
The big challenge for me though is to put such details into practice, as at the moment, I still have a tendency to 'procrastinate' a little before starting a training session. I did used to experience this with my meditation and mindfulness practices exercises when I was relatively new to it. It took me quite some time to be able to open to it effectively and go straight in to it, but I am hopeful that I can overcome this over the next few weeks with a little effort.
As I have said, it is a significant step that I have taken in entering such an event. To complete it though will be a giant step for me. Reaching Everest Base Camp to raise funds for the National Autistic Society back in 2009 enabled me to realise that it was possible for me to take on physical challenges, as well as opening me up to a new vocation in life, undertaking physical challenges for charitable purposes. Preparing for the Great North Run to raise funds for Daisy Chain this time represents a continuation of this. I am not aiming to do it within a particular time, but just to complete it will be a major achievement for me. But to make that possible, the hard work starts now.
In the meantime, at Autism Works, work will continue as normal.