It's amazing what a short bike ride around the Ards peninsula will do for your mental well-being. Fresh from a weekend easing my way around the coast of the Ards peninsula, I found myself wanting to do more. Lough Neagh next time, maybe. Mizen Head to Malin Head?
Of course, once you mention this to someone, things can get out of hand really quite rapidly. My good friend, James, has just completed a half marathon after having shed a quarter of his body weight and is feeling similarly smug. And similarly, he wants to do more. Much more.
And thus, "The Twelve Labours" has been born. Twelve challenges, with the operative word being challenges as each "challenge" must, by definition, be challenging for the participants!
A cycle trip around Lough Neagh is certainly a contender for inclusion in "The Twelve Labours" list. This 80 mile journey around one of Europe's largest fresh-water lakes has been mapped already on Endomondo.
But another cycle journey in Northern Ireland could be even more of a challenge! The "Giant Killer" covers 182 kilometres of Northern Ireland's must stunning scenery along the Causeway Coast. Details can be found on the Giant's Causeway Coast Sportive website.
And then, of course, there is the end-to-end. Either Land's End to John O Groats or Mizen Head to Malin Head. The former is certainly more of a challenge than the latter as far as distance is concerned but both will take at least a week to complete!
And what about crossing the Pennines? The Trans Pennine Cycle route could certainly provide a "Labour".
We can rapidly think of four "Labours" by attempting to climb the 4 Peaks - Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon and Slieve Donard are the highest peaks in each country of the UK!
10.5 miles of canoeing sounds like a challenge, right? Lake Windermere could be the location for another "Labour"!
And then there is the Lower Bann - an ideal waterway for canoeing, though over three times the distance of Windermere! Canoe NI have the details!
And finally, no set of challenges would be complete without some form of running. Half marathon. Full marathon. 10K.
The two of us have egged each other on to the point where we would like to have a go at this. And, of course, raise some money for charity, reduce our waist sizes and have some fun too. It would be great to have company on our journey and ideally that would be for every "Labour".
If anyone is interested in either helping to plan the "Labours" or to complete the "Labours", then please do not hesitate to get in-touch!
Meanwhile, we will have to put together a website to record the event. And soon. This series of events should take place during the course of 2013 which gets underway pretty soon!