AS you sit down to read this the Gadolinium contrast dye will be running through my veins as the droning noise of the MRI machine rattles every bone in my body.

Not the nicest place to be on a Saturday morning and as always, stepping through those hospital doors is like getting hit by a truck head on.

I am back in what feels like my second home, or maybe my first home? It’s such a huge part of my life now it’s hard to actually separate from it.

It feels as though since coming back from Jamaica everything has basically been a count down to this MRI.

It hasn’t helped with my back going and having to return to the use of my walking stick, unable to train. I need my sport to not just help with keeping my body strong but keeping me mentally in a good place.

The letter for this scan came months ago so it’s no surprise. It’s been rattling around in the back of my mind for some time and as I write this from the comfort of my bed I can taste the dye in my mouth and it’s only Thursday night.

The scan is a reminder that we don’t own tomorrow. It reinforces my philosophy to live where my feet are, to be present all the time.

This has been difficult the last three weeks with my back, as every time I move I can feel my back saying “don’t move”.

When I sit I am in constant pain, so I’ve been closing my eyes and taking my mind to another place as far away from the present as possible.

It’s not how I want to live my life but it’s helping with the pain.

As much as I work on the mental stuff everyday it’s hard not to drift into the mind-set of fear as scan day approaches.

It reminds me of my karate days in Aberdeen in a pretty tough dojo. Training was at 10am every Saturday, the same as this next MRI scan. I used to sit in school on a Wednesday and start to fear Saturday’s training with the guys in Aberdeen.

I will never forget one session when I was getting punched full force in the face by a guy who was visiting

from Glasgow. As I pulled myself up off the floor, I basically had tissue stuck up my nose to stop the blood and was told I was back up after the next fight.

I spent that day getting knocked down and pulling myself back up off the floor.

As a 15-year-old fighting grown men this was a tough traditional Shotokan karate dojo and might sound too much for some. However people ask me all the time these days how I keep fighting? How do I continue to get knocked down yet get back up?

Well, those trips to the Torry dojo in Aberdeen taught me about resilience, persistence and courage, all the values that now keep me fighting.

The taxi today to my MRI will be no different than the journey I used to make in 1993 to karate. I won’t lie and say I am not scared, the truth is I am terrified.

But after chatting to Dr Steve Peters on the phone this week about that fear, he yet again worked his magic.

I learned about the “what-if bridges”. What, I hear you ask, has a bridge got to do with a scan?

Well, it’s back to how the mind works; we all build bridges in our minds related to all things in life.

Steve calmed me down by saying: “Dave, don’t build bridges around what might happen in the scan. You have no control over it. And when the day arrives you will deal with anything that happens on the day in the moment and in a logical way based on facts not emotions.”

I wish I had Steve with me 10 years ago to have guided me through this journey.

Working on our mental house-keeping is one of the hardest things you can do.

I would like to think I am an expert around MRI scans now but the more I have, the more of a mental beating I get, and the more important it is to stay on top of the mental work.

We can only train three things in life – our body, our craft and our mind. Each take repetition and to get the most out of life we need to work on all three daily.

Psychologists talk about focusing your mind on what matters, like your attitude, rest, diet, and on the present, rather than giving energy to irrelevant points of focus such as what if my MRI goes badly? Or what if I get sick?

Like Dr Steve says, these questions are us building the “what-if bridge” in our mind. Why do we give energy to this?

As my back is recovering I will return to the gym on Monday and get my head down to get into shape for the Trans Alps race in June. This goal is key to giving me purpose and keeping my mind off any MRI results until I need to cross that bridge.