Ch. 1 – Introduction

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Lawrence M. Kaile “Fatman – Ironman”

So here it is… My first Blog.

Over the coming weeks and months I will be getting closer and closer to what, for me, will be a huge achievement – Standing on the start line of an Ironman event.

I will use my Blog as a means of reflection and include all kinds of truths along the way. I will include a variety, from my training, work life and social life and how I manage to sew it all together?

I will also include some race reviews and photographs. Everything will be painting a picture of my Journey “Fatman – Ironman”

I hope it will inspire someone out there to believe and make a difference. Either to their own lives or to help someone else in theirs.

I will start my blog by going back to where it all started, Shrewton Running Club

Firstly, some background; –

I grew up without sport in my life and really didn’t look after myself. I loved the party life and very much burnt the candle from both ends. I drank loads and ate rubbish. I was often heard as saying “Cure a hangover with a fry up” and “If it can’t go between two pieces of bread – It’s not worth eating” or “Do I look like I eat salad?” I certainly was a full time salad dodger and rarely had anything green on my plate.

This behaviour was fine as a teenager, I seemed to be able to burn it all off without the need to exercise.

Around the age of 20 things started to change – I was slowly getting fatter and fatter and more depressed but never knew how to reverse the cycle. I never had the courage to say enough is enough. My friends and family were always too polite and just accepted me as I was.

I did try and get back into cycling around the age of 25 but being unable to ride like I used to as a teenager upset me. When my peddle fell off – Rather than fix it – I gave up. My return to cycling lasted for 1 week!

Eventually I couldn’t buy clothes “Off the peg” and would have to buy online. This is when I knew I had a problem. I had become a “Fatman” I didn’t see myself as depressed but on reflection, I clearly was.

My life would see a huge turn around through the least expected of routes – A works relocation package.

I moved to Wiltshire in October 2015, the following month I would turn 38.

Having registered with my new GP and invited for the “40 year old/thousand mile service” I was given the “You are clinically Obese” Label! I weighed in at 21 stone and had very high Cholesterol. It was seeing the graphic display of my Body Mass Index (BMI), calculated at 44.7, that disturbed me the most.

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“Fatman”

This was a hugely embarrassing day for me but something that had been coming for a long time. The GP was very pleasant but assertive at the same time. She really did lay it on thick and wasn’t going to let me leave until I had signed up to something. She gave me some vouchers and I joined Slimming World.

Moving to Wiltshire was indeed a good thing. Had I remained in Guildford I may never have been given that kick up the arse.

Thank you Dr Helen Pickup, Till Orchard Surgery – Shrewton, Wiltshire.

My next chapter will be about stepping into Slimming world for the first time.

Twitter @withac11

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Ch. 2 – Slimming World

So here it is…

 

My second blog chapter ever!

 

Slimming World

 

As promised from my Blog, the next subject will be all about my experiences with Slimming World.

 

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to follow me and share my experiences with my Journey Fatman to Ironman” I really appreciate all of the positive feedback I have had already. This has convinced me I am doing the right thing.

 

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I didn’t want to be a “Fat” Grandpa

So, after receiving the “Clinically Obese” label from my doctors, I was now in possession of a voucher for a twelve week plan at Slimming World. It was Christmas time and the goose had certainly gotten fat.

 

I remember sitting down at home with my wife and encouraging her to join me. Hoping she would say yes, and that we could support each other. My wife, Sue was nowhere near as heavy as I was. However, she wanted desperately to lose some weight. I eventually convinced her that if we both went along we could support each other, and actually do this!

 

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We were going to “Do this” together!

 

I contacted our local consultant Natalie Fillingham of the Durrington branch of Slimming World and booked our first meeting for early February 2016.

 

We received our booklet, a diary of weighins, and some helpful starter recipes. We signed on to the Slimming World app and waited for our first trip to the scales in a long, long time.

 

 

 

 

I was dreading the first night, all the stereo typical images of these events were in my mind, and none of them were helping. I was very much committed to losing weight, but so image conscious that I had begun to become insular and had lost some of my social skills. 

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I wanted to be this guy – Again! Circa 21

 

The fear of being in a room full of people and talking about my weight was so overwhelming I wasn’t sure how long I could last. Sue has always suffered in this area and shies away very easily from meeting new people. Getting through the door would be a monumental task for both of us, in more ways than one!

 

One strategy I had chosen was to tell all my work colleagues what I was doing, so that I had no escape. My colleagues would prove to be a priceless support mechanism. In particular, Nigel Brown who decided to embark on the same journey, albeit with another consultant where he lived. 

 

No biscuits for your tea Mr. Kaile!

 

Eventually my office space would be overrun with awards and certificates of my weight loss achievement. However, at this stage I just couldn’t see that far ahead. 

 

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Building my “Wall of shame”

 

The first night

I clearly remember pulling up outside the hall in Durrington, Wiltshire, that night. Sue was sat with me and had the books and diaries etc. held in her hand. 

 

We had arrived ten minutes early, as is my usual style. This was not a good thing to do on a night like this. The anxiety and the need to get away and go to my safe place was overwhelming. Fortunately it was a dark winter evening and no one would see us. I needed to be strong for myself and especially for Sue. As I reversed into the parking space I sai“Shall we just go home?”

 

We sat there for those ten minutes watching people turning up. Surprisingly not many of them were fat. Some were actually very slight looking, immediately some of the stereo types were proved wrong.

 

Eventually we plucked up the courage and opened the car doors and faced our fears.

 

 

Welcome to Slimming World

 

On the first night you are in a one to one sit down situation, where your consultant makes you feel at ease. Our consultant, was very nice and reassuring. She took our details and guided us through all the jargon. She insisted we contact her at any time if we had questions or simply needed support. I’m not sure if Sue said a single word all night she was so scared.

 

We then stepped on the dreaded scales, I was horrified to learn I had put more weight on since visiting the doctor a few weeks earlier. We went back to our consultant and set our goals for the weight we would like to lose, or be at, and after about five minutes, were sat amongst the group. 

 

The group session is designed for everyone to share their experiences for the week, good or bad.  Or to get support from other members, and where needed, advice from your consultant. 

 

Our session was a large group of about twenty members starting at 1930 Hrs. Everyone in the group appeared to have been coming a long time and were all very chatty. We were the quiet, shy newbies – Terrified!

 

Some people just turned up for the weigh in at the beginning of the session and went home. Most, including us stayed till the end. 

 

Oddly enough for our first night there was a table of food in the hall, cakes and other such naughty’s I thought I would never see again. 

 

It turns out we had joined on the night where members brought in their slimming recipes “A taster” night. I would later be very surprised to learn that slimming world recipes can actually be very nice. That night I was steering clear – In my mind a diet was about cutting down on what you eat!

 

We had turned up to a dieting event and people were stuffing their faces with cake? Clearly Slimming World had a different approach to a diet. 

 

 

The group discussion

After everyone had been weighed and finished stuffing their faces we all sat down and began the group discussion…

 

“Hello! My name is….. I’ve lost 3lb this week, or hello…. I’ve maintained my weight. A few had gained and were miserable. We had sat midway through the semi-circle of chairs. It was rapidly going to be my turn! Sue would be right after me, I was not enjoying this moment of my life.

 

“Well tonight group, let’s welcome our new members. Lawrence and Sue”

 

Lawrence, tell us about yourself…. This was my moment, let’s get it over with. I had to be strong for Sue. “Hello! My name is Lawrence…. I’m 21 Stone and here to lose some weight” I probably banged on for a bit too long about my job and hobbies, hobbies I was making up on the spot. Either way, I got the job done. I had walked over the threshold and “Come out” about my weight issue. 

 

I had set a target of losing 5 stone. It was going to be a long journey, but the first step had been made. My wife was next. 

 

Everybody clapped us and gave a huge cringe worthy cheer, not my thing really. 

 

That first night seemed to take an eternity to get through, probably about two hours. We got home and had a stiff drink and collapsed in a messy heap.

 

Traumatic an experience as it was, we went back the following week and thereafter religiously. I hated the group side of things after the weigh in. I would eventually refer to it as the “Happy clapping” and would rather just get weighed and go home. However, I felt it was helpful for Sue and we had began making new friends out of these sessions.

 

 

The first few weeks

I never lost a pound in the first few weeks of going, granted I had stopped putting any on too. Sue on the other hand took to the programmes instantly, and would regularly lose 3 or 4lbs a week. I was getting frustrated and needed another chat with my consultant.

 

It turns out I didn’t really understand the “Free Food” or “Sins”, she somehow convinced me to eat more, that greens were good, and also convinced me to eat breakfast. Something I had skipped for most of my adult life. The weight would start plummeting – I was eating more?

 

 

Creating or changing habits

 

It turns out that Slimming World is very much about changing, or forming habits. I would find this process very useful in my training for triathlons, but more about that later.

 

One of the habit changes was forced upon me. My love of pizza had come to an end. Not through dieting but because where we had moved to – Dominoes did not deliver! On top of that there are no Indian restaurants or fast food restaurants for miles. I had already started eating healthier without realising it. Now I just had to make sure I formed a habit of prepping my meals for work. Ensuring I had breakfast, and avoid snacks. I would also start drinking much more water. 

 

When I returned from work I was now not as hungry and less likely to raid the cupboard. More importantly, if I had planned right I would have a prepped, healthy meal ready to cook or eat. (More truthfully Sue would)

 

 

My first certificate

 

Slimmer of the week! 

 

It wasn’t until the 8th March that I lost any weight, four weeks of maintaining! However, that week I lost 7lbs! Sue was mortified. She had gained weight that week. I took home this huge bag of fruit, fruit donated by the members each week for this purpose. There was so much of it I proudly took most of it to work and showed off my Slimming World carrier bag.

 

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So much fruit

 

I was a changed man from that moment on, pretty much every week I was getting “Slimmer of the week”. Some weeks I would lose a staggering 10lbs and feel like I needed to treat myself. This was a good strategy as it didn’t make me feel like my diet was punishing me, quite the opposite. However, this process usually saw a small gain the following week and the bag of fruit would be awarded to someone else.

 

I Joined in February 2016 and maintained my weight – I would then smash March, April and May with “Slimmer of the month”. I had become a celebrity within the group.

 

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My “Wall of shame” at work – Now becoming my “Wall of fame”

 

I found it a little embarrassing, but would begin to realise I am a stubborn bugger. I refuse to give up on a goal or a dream. Another skill I would later use in the Swim, Bike and Run disciplines of the sport I have now embraced – Triathlon.

 

In the twelve weeks after February I went on to lose 3 stone. I felt great! I had thrown away my clothes and got new ones several sizes smaller.

 

I’m not a fan of those pictures people have “Before and after” where they are in their old jeans! I was ashamed of what I had become and was determined not to be looking back at any stage, another skill I would later rely on for training – The clothes were instantly thrown away!

 

 

Buying a motorbike

 

I had done so well I felt like I needed to reward myself bigtime! I began telling friends and

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“Harley” sits proudly on my monitor.

colleagues that if I lost 5 stone within a year I would buy myself a Harley Davidson Motorbike. It scared the hell out of Sue and, one very close friend, Lucinda Colucci. I had no bike licence but was even prepared to sell my car and PX it for the bike. Fortunately, I would fall just short of this target. I did get a Harley Davidson Mug and Teddy bear to remind me of my “Dream” 

 

Another 12 weeks

 

Because I was losing so much weight my doctor approved another twelve week voucher and we carried on with this journey.

 

During that next block I would mostly maintain or drop the odd pound here or there. This apparently is very common for people on a journey like mine to plateau. I was ok with it as long as I didn’t put it all back on.

 

This is where I was encouraged to go for a walk and become more active, and is where I would first meet members of Srewton Running Club. At that time they were only a running group.

 

Determined as I was not to put back on any weight, I did begin to go for walks. Starting with a walk to the shops, then a walk to the shops – the long way. Eventually I would be walking up to 10 miles across Salisbury Plain – The training grounds for what is now my running club – A group of very welcoming people.

 

They would often pass me as they were on their Sunday “Long run” and always took the time to wave or say “HI”. Eventually we would even have the odd conversation.

 

These conversations would eventually begin to sow the seed – Maybe I should start running? I wasn’t ready for that yet and had no idea how to start. However, the seed had been sewn!

 

By the end of the second twelve week programme I had received the honour of being named Slimming World “Man of the Year 2016” – Anything was possible!

 

Summary

 

I may not have reached my 5 stone goal but I had lost 4.5 and was feeling great. I had a renewed self-belief and my confidence was returning. I was now into another set of clothes, the last lot now donated to charity.

 

I had shrunk before I could wear holes into the inner thighs of my trousers. Not only that, I was now confident enough to buy, and wear a pair of jeans. Something I stopped doing at 25.

 

I also knew I could stop attending Slimming World and still be disciplined to carry on losing weight. I had changed or reformed my habits. I no longer enjoyed processed foods and had a renewed love of cooking. I was a changed man! One about to embark on another chapter of his life. 

 

 

I was about to join a running club!

 

In the next chapter of my blog I will describe how I ended up going from Slimming World to joining a running club. And my Couch 25k Journey.

 

Thank you for reading my Blog

 

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Feeling good enough to buy a suit and go to a fancy dinner

Ch. 3 – Joining a running club

For the third chapter of my blog “Fatman to Ironman” I will describe how I came to join a running club.

https://shrewtonrunning.club

Firstly, I would like to thank you for taking the time to follow me. Blogging has been a
really useful tool for me to reflect on my journey “Fatman to Ironman” and my achievements so far. Knowing you guys are out there, willing me on is just awesome. I am now super focussed and determined to be on that start line.

Joining Shrewton Running Club

It’s not every day an obese man joins a running club and it’s probably not wise to do it when suffering from acute back pain. But that is what I did.

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Prior to Slimming World

I had been suffering over the winter months of 2016 with back ache that just wouldn’t go away. To the point that the pain killers were beginning to upset my stomach. I’m an unusual man, in that I tend to suffer without whinging… Honest! I Had been blaming everything from work conditions to my commute, anything but myself. For the benefit of my ever-suffering wife, I eventually decided to do something about it.

On the advice of my brother Andre, I contacted a local Osteopath after Christmas and organised a consultation for the New Year of 2017.

For the first time in my life I was looking after myself.

Caroline Whitehorn, Stonehenge Osteopath clearly had a huge task ahead of her, excuse the pun. I had a lifetime of knotted muscles that had never seen a massage, and in recent years a body suffering the effects of carrying a huge amount of weight. Above all that, my body had just seen an impressive but sudden weight loss. I was broken.

The initial consultation was very much about getting me to relax, I was so tense and nervous. I think Caroline must have sensed this. I would never have been there in the first place had I not lost 4.5 stone beforehand, with Slimming World. I just wouldn’t have had the courage to go. Certainly not the courage to strip down to my pants in front of a stranger, as I soon would be.

I had never been exposed to this sort of treatment before, and only lasted three minutes in a Massage parlour beforehand. I hated my first and only massage (At that time) and got that particular Fijian to leave me alone quickly. Not my finest hour.

Caroline was a totally different experience. The first treatment was intended to give me some range of movement and loosen up my neck and shoulder muscles, it was brutal! We organised the next appointment and allowed my body to recover over the next few days.

I was given a range of exercise and stretch routines, which I kind of stuck to. As a teacher/instructor, I fully understand why students don’t want to do homework. But this time I had to start behaving myself and be a good student.

We had several appointments, where the treatment became less gentle, noisier and always ended in giggles and laughter. I began to stick to the homework better, and gradually over a period of time my back pain was healing. My neck and shoulder muscles loosened up to the point that Caroline was beginning to go through the process of “Discharging” me. I was nearly cured! This was incredible, for most of my adult life I had suffered with back ache, now I was nearly cured and feeling great.

It was at this point that Caroline announced preventative steps I should take to avoid a return to injury. Clearly years of carrying a big belly had taken its toll. I would have to consider stretch routines to improve my core and of course “Lose some more weight”

In one of our treatment chats the subject of running came up. Such a bizarre moment. Just weeks earlier I could hardly get out of my car, or off the loo. Yet here I was discussing the possibility of running?

We had chatted many times about my slimming world experiences and how I had become more active with my walks across Salisbury Plain. I had even considered transitioning to a runner myself. But actually, talking about it, that was different. I was now going to have to make a commitment.

Caroline had been running with a group of Shrewton villagers for a while and they had just had a chat about formally creating “Shrewton Running Club” somehow, I had stumbled across the birth of this at the right time. They were discussing the possibilities of holding a couch to 5K course as their first official club commitment.

Caroline seized upon the moment and suggested I sign up for this event. I was invited to the clubs first official AGM in the last weeks of January 2017 “Just come along and see if you like us” Then see if you want to do the C25K.

Well, I am a man of my word and if I say I am going to do something, I pretty much always do. Caroline had become someone I considered a friend as well as a brilliant Osteopath. Not only had she cured me, she was helping me take the next steps in my journey. She had also offered me a huge opportunity to get to know some of the villagers. The “Fatman” now thinner, was rediscovering his social skills.

It turned out Shrewton Running Club HQ was in the village pub, The Plume of Feathers and the inaugural AGM would be held there. Who doesn’t want to join that club? So off I trotted, bewildered as to how I had been hoodwinked so easily.

I was so nervous that night. The walk to the pub is only about ten minutes, but those ten minutes I had a million negative thoughts going through my mind. I was 17.5 stone (5’ 8”) and joining a running club. I nearly turned around and went back home three times.

Eventually I opened the door and went in.

The early part of the night was a bit odd for me because most of the conversation centred around fitness. Something I knew nothing about. Caroline made me feel very welcome and quickly I started chatting with the founder members. People I would later refer to as close friends and people I am very fortunate to have in my life. When you enter into a running club, you really do enter into a community.

The night was actually a lot of fun, although I didn’t really know how to behave. This was also my first ever AGM I had ever been too. Whilst everyone around me were clearly so much fitter I was never judged or made to feel unwelcome. In fact, I would later become part of their committee.

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Shrewton Running Clubs 1st AGM

That night I went home and told my wife….. I think I have just joined a running club?

Indeed I had, and before I knew it the Par-Q would be posted through my door for the C25K

I would love to hear what you thought of my blog and welcome your comments. I hope at least one of you might know someone who can be inspired enough to believe they can make a difference. Perhaps even take on an epic challenge.

My next blog chapter will describe my C25K experiences and my first ever Parkrun

Ch. 4 – C25k

For the fourth chapter in my blog “Fatman to Ironman” I will describe my Couch 2 5k course.

I am having a great time reflecting on my experiences so far, and appreciate having an audience to share them with. Knowing you are out there reading my blog is helping me to stay super focussed and motivated, throughout my winter training.

2019 is going to be awesome. Thank you!

My Osteopath, Stonehenge Osteopath had been so good at her job throughout January and February 2017, that she was now losing me as a patient. However, I had now gained a very good friend. I knew I would be joining her with Shrewton Running Club on their journey, but first I had to start mine.

Couch 2 5K – February 2017

The last few treatment sessions in February, Caroline and I discussed how I could start becoming more active. She described a course that Shrewton Running Club were about to deliver. A “Couch 2 5K” and thought it would be ideal for me. I’ve no idea how she managed to convince me I could run, but she did. Before that night, the only thing I had ever ran was a bath.

Caroline has a brilliant way of convincing people to do something. She sees the slightest glimmer of an idea in someone, and before you know it, you are planning an event. No point in faffing around.

Caroline! I hold you fully responsible and I cannot thank you enough.

IMG_0224On the 7th February 2017 I was able to declare myself medically fit and able to run. I had signed IMG_0223my first ever Par-Q (Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire) and proudly posted it off to Shrewton Running Club.

I was excited and anxious at the same time. The sense of determination over the next couple of weeks was overwhelming. I just wanted to get it done. The Couch 2 5k course would start on Wednesday 22nd February 2017. I was due to meet the Running Club at the Recreation ground at 1800 Hrs. Where my life would change for ever.

I set about getting my self some “Active wear” and made all the usual mistakes inexperienced people do. Yes, my first pair of running shoes were brought from Sports Direct.

My running shorts were an epic bright orange and lacked any match to the running tops. However, I eagerly awaited my first night in Lycra.

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All the gear – No idea
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My infamous orange shorts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Couch 2 5k Week One

Wednesday 22nd February 2017 had come. I had my 8-week training plan ahead of me. I was going to succeed!

Why not start with a brisk walk down to the Recreation Ground”

I am fortunate to live five minutes away from Shrewton Recreation ground, so the embarrassment of walking down there in my Lycra would be short lived. I had to convince myself that everyone else would be feeling just the same.

Having plucked up the courage to leave, I promptly set about my “Brisk walk down”. I had read on my training plan to do this as a start of a warm up. I was determined, and I was going to do everything they advised.

I was met by the lovely Karen Mills, of Shrewton Running Club at the Rec. Car park. There was a small group of people I recognised from the inaugural AGM just weeks before. Caroline, my Osteopath, and a few people I would be doing the course with. In that five-minute walk to the Rec. I could easily have turned back four times. But seeing those friendly, welcoming faces convinced me to stay.

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Shrewton Running clubs c25k programme

The training

I knew the goal! The goal would be to run 5 kilometres without stopping. Tonight, I had to focus on the process. I would use this tool later with my Triathlon training.

We entered onto the football pitch and Roxanne “Roxy” Foster began a guided dynamic warm up/stretch routine. I was laughing throughout, I felt so silly. I would later learn that warming up is crucial to avoid injury, but that night it was hilarious. Roxy and I would later go on to have some epic finish line kicks in our league races. I will beat you next time Roxy!

We then set about “Running” We all stood on the goal line and then ran for one minute. I was off like a rocket! Wow, where did that come from. I hadn’t planned to do that. Looking back, I was just so stoked and determined not to fail, but on the night, I was amazed. I had just run for a whole minute! We then walked for ninety seconds and regrouped. Karen was amazed, and kindly reminded me I was supposed to be a beginner.

We repeated the one-minute run, ninety seconds walk eight times. Each time I was off! Like a Duracell Bunny. In my mind, once I had started running I was not going to stop until I heard that call. I had no idea I was going too fast. I would later learn the importance of pacing the hard way.

Before I knew it, the half hour session was over, and there we all were again in fits of laughter at how I was stretching.

The twelve of us had completed the session and we all congratulated each other. Karen reminded us we had homework and we all went home, elated.

I would make sure I got that homework done, and on the Sunday morning at 1100 Hrs. I returned to the Rec and repeated the session, alone. I was just as elated, but somehow it wasn’t as much fun.

I couldn’t stop talking about my experiences with my wife all week. Sue would have to suffer this burden many times, and was experiencing some rapid changes in my wellbeing. Both physically and mentally.

I couldn’t wait for the next session.

Couch 2 5k week two, onwards

For the next seven weeks, I would start my Wednesdays thinking of nothing other than my training night. That is all I wanted to do, and the day at work just wouldn’t end soon enough.

Every time I turned up to the Rec. Super stoked, and determined to run for longer than I had the week before.

For each of those weeks, going home to tell Sue how the training had gone was just as exciting as the C25k course. I was never disappointed in the sessions, and religiously did my “homework” runs on the weekend. The C25k programme is perfect for someone like me, someone who had never ran before.

During this time my brother Andre had heard what I had been getting up to. A seasoned half marathon runner at that time, he was always encouraging me to get fitter during my “Fatman” days and maybe join him on a jog somewhere. I never once committed. I was happy to cheer him round, and was proud of what he was achieving.

Back then I never saw myself ever being able to participate. The task just seemed too huge.

Andre phoned me up one day, and told me all about the history of Parkrun and how he had run them many times, but never Salisbury. He knew I would love the atmosphere. He was so excited that I was actually “Doing” this, that he offered to run with me on my graduation day. He was going to be a “Parkrun Tourist”.

I now had a new goal. I was going to run with my brother! I was not going to let him down.

This focus was very important for me during those seven weeks, I may have given up if it wasn’t for the fact I was going to run this with Andre!

Couch 2 5k week 2

I approached week two of my training knowing I would be running for a whole two minutes. I was pretty sure I could do this! Yes it was twice as long as I had ever ran before, but the previous week I had surpassed even my wildest expectations. Could I do this? Yes, absolutely!

I had studied the programme on the Tuesday evening. There would only be seven intervals this week, as opposed to eight. We would also have our 90 seconds walk period in between. I was stoked and super excited. I got home from work and got into my running kit quicker than the week previous.

I left the door and walked down the lane to the Rec. This week I was buzzing from my achievements, and would walk proud and tall.

I smashed the training that night and managed to hold the same pace from the week previous. I had more homework and began to prepare for the bigger challenge of week 3 – Running for four minutes.

Couch 2 5k week 3

My first two weeks of training for my first Parkrun had been awesome. I had amazed myself and the people I was running with. However, week three would up the ante.

Looking back, running for four minutes, is nothing. That night it seemed like a monumental task! I would be running twice as long, and the walking period was now reduced to 60 seconds. I would have to do this 6 times.

On reflection, I made it more difficult that night because I approached it with negative thoughts. The two previous weeks I was very focussed and determined and I thought of nothing other than smashing it! Tonight I over thought things and allowed the negative chatter to affect my mind set. I would later use this experience to successfully complete my first open water triathlon, On race day you must avoid negative chatter!

I went on to complete week three without any problem, I was worrying over nothing. The training had begun to make me feel fitter and gradually my body was getting used to it.

Couch 2 5k week 4

Week four was made up of 4 repetitions of a 6 minute run with 90 seconds intervals.

We had transitioned now as a group of people running lengths of a football pitch, to venturing out beyond the cricket pitch and navigating the perimeter of the recreation ground. This was a lot more fun than running to a line and back. Although, I do recall the focus of running to a destination, something we later trained with when doing speed intervals at the club training nights.

We stayed as a group as we ran around the recreation ground, our run leaders engaged in conversation with us. I was focussed and chatter was distracting me. I later learned that this is a great tactic to keep you at a healthy pace. If you can run and hold a conversation, albeit short. Then your heart isn’t being over worked. We were not training to be 100 meter sprinters.

My tactic had always been to be at the front of the pack, I didn’t want the pressure of being at the back and having to catch up. However, six minutes of pacey running without talking began to be too much.

I had to drop the pace that night and learn to chat and run at the same time. It was a brilliant tool, and one I continue to use today. I was now running on feel, and being at the front was no longer important.

We were given the usual homework and advised that the following week we would be venturing out into the village. Hi-viz and head torches please!

Couch 2 5k week 5

This was an unusual training session for me, fortunately the nights were dark. It turns out I am a heavy sweater. A real fat burning machine.

Tonight I would be running for 8 minutes and my heart rate would be through the roof. My body would deal with this by drenching my entire body with water, salt, and the kind of stains I hadn’t seen on my clothes since the all night raves of the 1990’s.

This too would be useful later in my triathlon training, I was learning about my body.

I smashed that session, and have a very fond memory of challenging Roxy to a sprint finish as we re-entered the rec. I then promptly froze my arse off as I walked home in my own sweat.

That night I began to change the way I thought of my self.

I now thought of myself as a runner!

Couch 2 5k week 6 & 7

The next couple of weeks were really exciting for me, at this point I had lived in the village for over a year and I was exploring places I had never been to. I was running with new friends and life was getting better and better.

We were all getting really anxious at this stage and the feeling of camaraderie was strong. Some of the “runners”, as we know called our selves, were finding these sessions tough now. People were conscious of their heavy, or noisy breathing, I was conscious of my sweating. We all had a genuine fear of failure and needed to be strong for each other.

The run leaders were always very chatty and supportive, and often changed their position in the pack. No one was left behind.

A couple of people had dropped out by this time through injury and the task ahead of us had suddenly become very real. I too had begun to feel a “niggle” at this stage. I refused to give in and didn’t listen to my body. I was on a mission.

I remember all of us looking forward to the walking intervals during this time. Week eight was looming and the date in my diary of 22nd February 2017 was firmly in my mind.

I have never been so focussed and committed to anything as much as I was to this course. I had come this far now that giving up was not an option. I will be on that start line for the Salisbury Parkrun.

Couch 2 5k week 8

“Thirty-minute jog, just walking on hills”

I knew this was going to be a challenge and before we were due to run it as a group, I tried it as “unofficial” home work on the Monday beforehand, after work. It was a mistake.

I was unable to do it, and it left me with a negative mind-set going into the Wednesday training night. I would later learn that sometimes you just have bad days, and to just simply reset, and move on to the next session.

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I had just been introduced to the world of Strava and would have this final C25k session recorded as my First ever activity.

I now have mixed feelings on the training benefits of Strava, but that night I was simply proud to be broadcasting my achievements.

That last Wednesday of our training, we were all super focused and excited. Karen was clearly excited and proud of our achievements so far. She didn’t know about my bad day and I kept it quiet.

I later learnt that Karen had only completed her C25k with STAR – Stonehenge Tri and Road just the year before and herself had gone through an epic journey. Running had given her a year of going from strength to strength. We would later engage with England Athletics, and together become qualified Leaders in Run Fitness. Thank you Karen…. Run Leader!

However, Tonight was about the twelve of us completing our journey.

We all did our warm up routine, which as ever was hilarious. Then promptly set about running around the village. We had done this for the last few weeks as a run walk. I was loving the fact that I could run around my village. I was proud that my neighbours would see me. I hoped to run non-stop.

I was really afraid that I wasn’t going to able to do it. All the sessions before hand I had done so well. I had set the bar high, and I was beginning to struggle to keep it up.

It turns out that training with a group is so much better for me. I seem to work harder and enjoy it more.

That night I smashed the run and proudly ran back into the Rec. having not stopped once. We had all ran just over 5k and it was the week before we would be doing it for real. At Salisbury Parkrun, along with another 400 or so runners, joggers and walkers. More importantly with my brother. Andre.

I would later run this route many times, with Shrewton Running Club and on my own. It takes me to my happy place.

That Wednesday night in February twelve people would start their journey along with sharing the start of mine. Ten of those people would go on to complete the course and run a successful graduation at Salisbury Park Run, nine weeks later on the 22ndApril 2017.

I have remained friends with everyone who started that night and am eternally grateful to Karen for bringing those friends into my life.

Karen is someone who deserves a huge “Chuck up” for what she has allowed, and encourage people to achieve. A person devoted to promoting fitness and well-being in the lives of so many. Yet so humble at the same time. I am proud to consider her as a close friend.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and being part of my journey as I go forward.

For the next chapter in my blog, I will describe my first ever Parkrun – Salisbury

I would love to hear what you thought of my blog and welcome your comments. I hope reading this you are able to believe in your own goals and take on the next challenge knowing you will be successful.

The body achieves – What the mind believes!

Ch. 5 – Salisbury Parkrun

For the fifth chapter in my blog “Fatman to Ironman” I will describe my first ever Parkrun. My Couch 2 5k Graduation day at Salisbury, 22nd April 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed recalling my experiences with my C25k training and hope you enjoyed sharing with me. Blogging is a brilliant tool to reflect, and has allowed me to focus on my goal in June. It has also reminded me of the huge amount of support I am getting as I go forward. Unlike my “Fatman” Journey, where, prior to Slimming World, (Ch. 2) I felt alone and unable to achieve weight loss. My “Ironman” journey is far different – You are fully supporting me and willing me on!

You are awesome. Thank you!

Salisbury Parkrun

Our day had arrived, it was the morning of 22nd April 2017 and I couldn’t wait. I was awake at 0600 hrs and having breakfast. We weren’t due to start running until 0900 hrs. I was excited and couldn’t sleep.

I didn’t want a big breakfast as I knew it would sit heavy on my stomach. I had no knowledge of pre race nutrition at this time, or the need to digest well before your event. Today I was simply over excited and couldn’t sleep, so I got up and had some Weetabix.

I had arranged to meet my brother, Andre in the car park of Churchill Gardens, Salisbury at 0830 hrs. Sarah, his ever suffering wife would be yet again widowed to one of Andres running events. This time she was there to support me. My wife Sue, and Sarah would suffer together.

I’m not sure any one had ever doubted I would be at Parkrun that day, but nonetheless, stepping out of the car was a hugely nervy experience for me.

Together we made our way to the Parkrun start area. Clearly identifiable by all the other excited runners, walkers and joggers and the Parkrun flags. Salisbury Parkrun is a short walk from the car park, through a Skateboard park and over a small river. It was a particularly warm morning, but I was shaking with fear.

I wasn’t as afraid/terrified as I was when Sue and I first went to slimming world. Neither was it the same fear I had when I first went to meet Shrewton Running Club, for their Inaugural AGM. Nonetheless I was afraid. Despite all the training I had had over the last few weeks. I now had the overwhelming fear of failure. It was short lived.

At the Parkrun Start area I quickly identified the friendly faces of Shrewton Running Club. Before long, the first ever C25k graduates of Shrewton Running club would be huddled together, wishing everyone good luck. There was no negative chatter here. We were going to smash this, and being back in with this awesome group of individuals removed any doubt of that!

Some of the guys were sporting the newly purchased Club “Colours”. I had opted not to buy one of these vests at this time, I thought I would hold out until I was a bit thinner.

Nick Sage, our Club Chairman presented me with a “Spare” he just happened to have and said I could give him the money later. Well, I couldn’t turn his offer down – On went the Club “Colours” for the first time. It was a snug fit, but I was hugely proud of myself. The feeling of putting that vest on instantly allowed me to forget the pre race nerves. I was now even more motivated – The Club “Colours!! Bring it on!!

The warm up

After a few minutes of wishing each other good luck, the “Newbies” were invited to the pre run brief, followed by a warm up session. The brief was difficult to hear, being part deaf didn’t help, but the noise of all the excited voices made it very difficult. I would be passing the play park three times. I had clocked that much from the brief.

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The un-mistakable Green and white stripes “The Club Colours”

Andre came to the warm up session with me, despite being a seasoned runner he did the “Newbie session” a series of dynamic warm ups. In my mind I thought I was wasting energy I could be using in the event. However, I really did get involved and even got a slight sweat on. I was ready.

The start line

We made our way to the start line and my “Running Buddy” Andy Hartfield, suggested we get to the front of the group. The start brief had said the 30 minute+ runners are to head toward the rear of the pack.

Andy Hartfield had trained with me in the C25k course, and I guess, as an analyst, he knew I would be in or around 30 minutes.

I had never considered where I would be starting from, and would of preferred to hide away at the back of the pack. I hadn’t even considered the finish time I should be aiming for. For me this was all about getting over the finish line, and hopefully without stopping! However, there I was amongst some elite looking chaps and we were all eager to get going.

The event

IMG_0052As soon as I heard the start I was off, that Duracell Bunny had returned, the rocket was off! The feeling of having people overtake me was unpleasant. So, as they passed I would dig in a bit more, and put the hammer down a bit more. I hadn’t even got to the 1k mark.

IMG_0015Andre was amazed at the speed I was going at. He kept a gentle chatter going and suggested I rein it in a bit. I wasn’t thinking of the long term goal, I wasn’t conserving energy – I was chasing the next man down! This would be an effective tool for later on when on the bike leg of Triathlon. Today, I should have been focussing on my own race.

In hindsight, I had been dragged in to everyone else’s race. I was burning energy far too soon. I would later learn about race strategies and the importance of endurance.

I had no idea how fast I was going, somehow the fact that Andre was staying behind me didn’t register that I should slow down. In fact the opposite, I was being spurred on by just how quick I was.

Before long I had passed the play park for the first time. I had to slow down here as its on a hairpin left. The amount of space I had around me was now limited as the group bunched up to get around the bend. I dug in again and got my speed back up to where it had been before.

This change in speed hugely zapped my energy stores and before long a very gentle incline became an epic challenge.

I had become exceptionally warm and was blowing up. Time to take on some water.

I was heading toward the 3k mark in no time, but somehow I knew the last 2k would be a very different experience.

The Last 2k

I now had a monumental task on my hand, I was refusing to give up and continued to run at an all too fast pace. My breathing had become dangerous and erratic and I was sweating profusely. The added layer of the “Club Colours” wasn’t helping the airflow and eventually I was beaten!

I had now passed the “epic” incline and the play park twice and was somewhere on my final lap. I guess it must have been just shy of 4k.

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My first ever “Pain Face” – Fran Gay of SRC Clapping and cheering me on

This was a new experience for me. Until now my training had been structured, yes I would go a bit fast, but there was always someone controlling me. I had ballsed this one up today, and would have to walk for a bit.

Andre was brilliant here, he knew I was in a world where the demons in my head were winning. The body needed just a few moments to recover, my mind was winning the war.

Andre kept me walking at a fast pace, and kept me talking. We got back up to a gentle jog before long and continued taking on water. My body temperature was still high but I was now more comfortable with what I was doing. We continued to “Chat” until the finish line.

This chat was mostly Andre convincing me “You’ve got this” and me convincing Andre “No I haven’t”

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My 5k PB to this day (Strava records)

I learnt a lot about running that day. I was a successful Park Runner, and the time I got that day still remains my 5k PB, eighteen months later. (Official time is a bit slower). A year on from that day I raced my first Triathlon, but more about that later.

Having got over the finish line I quickly went back to the funnel area to cheer the other C25kers over the line. I was elated and knackered at the same time. Andre was encouraging me to keep moving and do some stretching but I was taken up in the moment. I would suffer the following day.

We then reformed and got the cakes out! As with any decent race event there is always the lure of cakes at the end. This time we had Prosecco too. Hence, the photo of us lovely C25kers has us all brandishing a huge smile and a glass of wine. Awesome!

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1st Shrewton Running Club C25k Graduates – 22nd April 2017

Shrewton running club, in its few months as a club, had created ten new runners. Another C25k course was ran later that year, and I hold close friendships with all those that shared the same experiences as me. I look forward to mentoring the next group of C25kers in March 2019, when https://shrewtonrunning.club/ are due to run their next course.

Well done to my fellow C25k Graduates – Left to right – Vicki Harris, Sam Hill, Eddie Lilly, Anne-Marie Trott, Jane Butler, Rachel Wilkinson, Myself, Andy Hartfield, Tammie De-Maria and Sue Parrish. You are all amazing, and form a very important part of my life.

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Proudly displaying my achievements at work
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My “Wall of shame” (At work) becoming my “Wall of fame”

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and being part of my journey. The ten C25kers mentioned above have all gone on to achieve amazing things in their running careers already, after just eighteen months they have ran many league events, and continue to smash their Pb’s. All of them have improved their endurance from the 5k distance to 10k. Their achievements include Half Marathons, Marathons and 24hr Endurance events, along with countless fun runs and charity events. You are all truly inspirational people.

For the next chapter in my next blog, I will describe my first ever road race – Trowbridge 5k, A Wiltshire Road Race League event and a chance to earn some points for the club.

I would love to hear what you thought of my blog and welcome your comments. I hope reading this you are able to believe in your own goals and take on a challenge of your own.

If it doesn’t challenge you – It wont change you!

Ch. 6 – My first league race

For the sixth chapter in my blog “Fatman to Ironman” I will describe my first ever League race.

Trowbridge 5k Colourific 7th May 2017

Recalling my experiences with my C25k graduation day at Salisbury, has not only reminded me of what a huge success my journey there was, but also just how determined I was to achieve that particular goal. Goals as epic as that, are only achieved with the support of those around you. Ultimately those close to you suffer as you go through the highs and lows of training. It is important to remember that it is your wives, husbands or partners that are there for you as you stumble over the line. We do the fun bit!

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My 2nd ever “Pain face”

Trowbridge – The build up to race day

Having completed my C25k Course I was overwhelmed by a need to give something back to the club. I was also heading fast toward injury, but I didn’t know this at the time.

The feeling of elation was fresh in my mind, I wanted more. I had decided that I was going to enter a league race for my club as my next challenge. I would be earning points, and I would be wearing the club “Colours” in anger. Bring it on!

I wasn’t ready to step up into the 10k arena, and was fortunate to find the next event in the WRRL (Wiltshire Road Race League) was a 5k event. The club had already earned a good few points in their first year, I was proud to be making a contribution. We fell just short of promotion in that first year as a club. The following year (2018) we would nail it!

The “Colourific” title had put me off at first. I had heard all about these fun runs, bubble runs or runs where you are covered in paint. Whilst all that sounds fun, I wasn’t doing it for fun. I seriously wanted to stay on my journey, I was serious about getting fit.

The website would assure me that it wasn’t that kind of event. The title was merely to encourage people to come in all kinds of bright colours. I already had that sorted, my infamous bright orange shorts would be going on an outing. Perfect.

I quickly paid the £5.00 fee and eagerly awaited the day. I had become an affiliated member of England Athletics just days before and used the discount immediately.

With the exception of Parkrun I had never ran in amongst a large group of people, I had never ran competitively. I had ran away from neighbours and the police as a cheeky teenager, now I would be doing it for the club. I had no idea how I would feel.

I offered to take some of my fellow club members up to Trowbridge as a car share. That day, Roxanne “Roxy” Foster and Helen Sanderson would have to suffer boys talk all the way to Trowbridge. Andy Hartfield and I certainly do like a chin wag. On the way back we were buzzing and talked about nothing other than the race.

In the build up to this race I had asked Sue if she wanted to come and support me. She wasn’t keen, as her Parkrun experience had made her feel like a “Running widow”. After some considerable persuading, I had convinced her I needed her to be there to support me.

The weekend of the race we had invited our old neighbour down from Guildford. We are very fond of Dawn Murrell, and since moving down to Wiltshire, have remained good friends. I had double booked. I had gotten so carried away with what I was doing, that I had forgotten Dawn would be staying overnight on the Saturday. The race was on the Sunday at 1100 hrs and we would have to be driving up there.

Fortunately Dawn was over the moon that she was asked to share the experience with me, and form part of my support team. Sue was not so amused.

We headed off to Trowbridge, Wiltshire after having a lovely Saturday evening with our old neighbour. She was so pleased to see us both and very impressed with how much weight we had both lost.

We found a “suitable” car park, which turned out to be a fair walk from the start line. This was Ok for me and my fellow running buddies, But the other part of my support crew were less than impressed.

My running buddies were keen to get to the venue, register and put on their race numbers. I needed to stay with Sue and Dawn.

We got to the race venue, and it turns out race HQ, just like Shrewton Running Club was also in the pub. Weatherspoon’s had been taken over by a sea of my competitors.

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In the pub – Sue and Dawn are having a pot of tea

This was perfect for me, I had managed to wind my wife up with my bad admin. Then taken her on a walk she was not expecting, or enjoying. On top of that Dawn had been struggling with a return from ill health. Now I could relax knowing they had a nice pot of tea and a comfy seat.

My first “Tour” with Shrewton running club would turn out to be a fabulous day. Despite my bad organisation in the build up to race day.

Another focus I had that day was Nigel Brown, he had promised to be there. A work colleague, who I had a lot of respect for, someone who would form a crucial role in my swim development. More about that later.

Nigel and I had formed a close working relationship over the years. He had been off sick for some time, recovering from a recent hip replacement operation. I had only seen him once since this. He had promised to be there and hurl abuse at me. He wasn’t at the pub, so I wandered down to the start area with my running buddies, Sue and Dawn.

Even though I knew Nigel had promised to be there, I was still amazed when I saw him. He was walking with the support of a stick and also his wife Petra. This moment had a huge impact on me then, and has stayed with me to this day. Despite being very uncomfortable, clearly still in pain, Nigel made the effort to get off the couch.

A support team is crucial to success, you really do need to appreciate the people who are there at the start, and wait for you to stumble over the line – We just do the fun bit.

Trowbridge – The race

For this part of my blog I will refer you to my first ever race review. I was so pleased to be asked by http://shrewtonrunning.club/ to jot down my experiences for the day. The club is very good at promoting run fitness, and I was only too glad to share my views as a beginner. In hindsight, I would have written a better review, this is a skill I have now developed.

I absolutely love the process of writing down my experiences of events I have been in. Just like my blog. It is important to reflect.

Please take a look at my “First ever” race review….

Trowbridge 5k

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L-R Roxy, Andy, Helen, Me, Jerry Abel, Jane Baxter

For the next chapter in my next blog, I will describe my first running based injury and how I did all the wrong things!

I hope in reading this blog you are empowered to believe you can achieve.

There is no such thing as failure – Just giving up.

Ch. 7 – Broken Tibia (My injury story)

for the seventh chapter in my blog “Fatman to Ironman” I will describe my first ever running based injury, and how I did all the wrong things! To an epic degree!

I thoroughly enjoyed blogging about my first ever race experience at Trowbridge. It has been a really useful tool to allow me to reflect on how far I had come, at this point in my “Fatman to Ironman” Journey.

At this stage I was barely a runner!

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Barely a runner

Looking back at the pictures of that event, I do see a big guy. But I also remember just how proud that guy was to be doing what he was doing that day. Reflecting on the experience has reminded me of the importance of fully embracing your support team.

Your wives, husbands and partners need to be involved in the process, so they can fully understand your goal.

Above all, it has reminded me of the importance of “Listening” to your body and to the people around you. They usually do know better!

Shin Splints & fractured Tibia.

Even before my first ever Parkrun in Salisbury I was beginning to feel a “niggle” it was nothing a bit of Deep Heat couldn’t cure!

I’m sure we have all been there right? I know on the day of my first ever race, I wasn’t the only one with this all too familiar odour.

Looking back I should have eased off straight away, perhaps even taken a week or two off. This is the beauty of blogging. Reflecting on your experiences, resetting, and focussing on how to do things better.

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Compression socks??

 

 

I remember doing my last two C25k training runs in compression socks, I had read somewhere that this would be a good idea. I had self-diagnosed a “niggle”, applied Volterol and Deep Heat. Then proudly stepped out and smashed my runs. I was overcome by seeing weekly improvements and was focussing on the goal.

What I should have been doing is focussing on the process, and accepting that something was not right. The goal could be achieved later, after I had allowed my body to recover.

 

The beauty of hindsight, and humble pie!

As you have read, I went on to be very successful in my Parkrun. Soon after this, I entered into a road race. Again, I had set myself a goal, and was not looking at the process.

The training runs were uncomfortable, but not hugely painful at this stage. The Volterol and Deep Heat got me through.

When I look back at my Strava feed, I am admitting that I have an issue. Yet, I am so determined to carry on, I fail to “Listen” To my body. At this stage it is only a “niggle” and there would have been no sign of injury to my running buddies. The pain would be mild to walk on and then sore after running. Usually the next couple of days the pain would have reduced back down to residual, when walking.

Ridiculous as it may sound, I was even beginning to increase my distance during this period. Psychologically I was strong, determined, perhaps even stubborn or bloody minded. (Strengths I would rely on later, in triathlon and winter training) at this time these strengths were my weakness. I was tunnel visioned.

The reality was my body had not yet caught up with its self. Cardio-Vascular wise I was dealing with it well. I wasn’t as fast as the other runners, but I could hold the distance. I would later learn that muscles take a while to adapt and heal, tendons and ligaments take longer, much longer. My shins were taking a hammering.

Onwards-Regardless

I remember going on what was planned to be a 4 mile (6.5k) run, one hot Sunday morning late in May 2017. I was so proud to now be running with the Sunday Run.

Until now I had only felt confident with the shorter village runs on a Wednesday. Today I would be out on the vast expanse of Salisbury Plain.

I am blessed to have such a beautiful part of the country to call my training grounds, and feel for those of you riding or running around city expanses. Cross country wins every time for me.

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My first ever 10k

That Sunday in May would be the making, and breaking of me! We got to a cut-off point where the option of the longer run was available. I chose to carry on, back then my mind-set was all about improving. Everything had to keep going forward, I would not allow myself to fall back on my progress. Yes of course I can do 8 miles (12k)

Indeed I would go on to crush my first ever 10k. I would go home and rest up feeling very much satisfied with my run. I couldn’t wait to post it onto Strava and boast to my friends.

This is why I now have reservations about Strava, perhaps I was showing off and allowing my ego to get in the way of rational thinking? The goal of smashing my first 10k could have waited. I should have focussed on the process and stayed at home that day.

img_1230I would go on to run the following Wednesday, in what I remember being blisteringly hot. Not a good day for compression socks. The run was at a good pace, but I remember the pain was now coming earlier in the run. By the end of the run it was quite sore. As I pushed gently up and down my shin bone I knew something wasn’t right.

I would run the following Sunday regardless, and stay with the pack. I had been out on a heavy night previously and would learn just how unforgiving the plains can be when running with a hangover. A particularly bad decision to make, I was dehydrated before I even set out.

I would now return as a patient to Stonehenge Osteopath Caroline Whitehorn had cured my back and I had broken my body.

After a lengthy discussion, my friend and running buddy Caroline, had now switched to professional “I was getting told off”. Caroline also has an uncanny ability of spotting the blinking obvious, I had been an idiot!

The very fact I was walking with pain, albeit mild. Today is a sign to back off. Again, the beauty of hindsight.

Caroline had diagnosed me with Shin Splints, and I was off-roaded! We set about a treatment plan and I entered into the Clubs “Rehab”. I was alone, My C25kers were out on the plains, I was back on the couch.

During the treatments, Caroline and I had many discussions. Whilst she was freeing up my muscles, I was freeing up my mind.

In one of these chats, Caroline enquired if I had any athletics background, or history in the family. I roared with laughter, the only person doing anything fitness related in my family was Andre. The rest were heading towards the Shot Put, at best. She was curious of where my determination was rooted. Clearly her powers of perception had spotted something deep within me. I have an overpowering will to succeed.

That particular chat had a profound effect on me, and has stayed with me to this day. I now had someone who believed I could achieve great things.

Injury rehab

I had three weeks completely off of running. Caroline had set me a recovery plan. There was to be no pain when walking, and the Deep Heat would stay in the cupboard.

During my “Rehab” time I started reading a book by Dean Karnazez about his “Confessions of an all-night runner”. I was given the book by one of my management team at work. They had heard about my situation and thought I might like a read.

The core subject of this book is about his obsession with running and Ultra Marathons. I actually found it a fascinating read, I never once thought I’d be stepping in his footsteps. However, I could relate to how he had gotten to a point in his life where he needed to change what he was doing. He had got to his thirties, put on a bit of weight and wasn’t enjoying life. After taking up running his life was never the same, he never looked back. My life had become the same and I was desperate to get back out there, on the plains. I have since read that book three times.

During this “Rehab” period I stayed in contact with my running club, and would often walk up to meet them at the start of their run sessions. I wasn’t taking part, I simply missed being involved. I loved being part of a running club!

I remember a few of the ladies suggesting ways of keeping up the fitness in the meantime. The suggestion of swimming came up. I disregarded that as ridiculous, not only could I not swim, I was fearful of water and especially the dark end of the pool. I had nearly drowned as a child in Frensham Big Pond, Hampshire. This formed one of my earliest memories, and I could easily recall the feeling of being unable to breath, as the water got darker and darker.

Rehab release

My rehab release, and return to running would be the 19th June 2017. I was allowed to run for 2 minutes, then walk. I had strict instructions to stop running immediately if I felt ANY pain.

I would do this as soon as I could! I ran after work on a Monday, a particularly long day at work

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Injury recovery?? My First and last run until September “Muppet”

for most people. I just had to get out there!

I felt great at the beginning, but then the back ground pain returned. I ran on, the pain became sharp and constant. Ultimately I pulled up, the pain had returned with a vengeance this time, and I walked home in shame. I had ran solid for nearly 2 miles.

In that moment I became a regular muppet, and a regular customer at Stonehenge Osteopath I had learnt the hard way.

This was my last run of any significance until September 17th 2017. Some 3.5 months later.

I did try the odd return, strictly sticking to Caroline’s advice! Each run would be short lived. I was now back at the beginning of my C25k programme. I would be running for a minute and walking for 90 seconds.

After a few more therapy sessions with Caroline we decided something much more serious was to blame. Despite her best efforts, and my disciplined approach to her advice, I was unable to shake the pain. We needed to get a scan.

An X-ray would eventually show a shallow fracture to my left Tibia. I had been running to the point I was about to break my leg. I certainly had been a first class muppet!

With hindsight, it would explain why after a couple of weeks I would be pain free and then be able to run. I was fracturing the bone just as it was fusing each time.

I had not turned an ankle, there were no stumbles in my runs. I had not fallen down the stairs, drunk. I had simply fractured my Tibia by over stressing it.

A combination of weight bearing and a recent sharp increase in activity. An activity my muscles, tendons and ligaments had not caught up with.

I had potentially been running on a fractured Tibia since my Parkrun Graduation day.

In this time I had entered a few more league races, including a 5k League event in Bath “The two Tunnels”.

As a guy fearful of heights and enclosed spaces, I had entered this to face my fear! Achieving what I had in running, had opened many doors to other challenges and possibilities. I would have to give up my place to fellow C25kers, or other club members. They would go on and score the points for the club, which was great. But they were my points. I had let myself down.

My challenges and fear facing moments would have to wait!

Eventually I plucked up the courage to send an email to Durrington Swimming Pool. I was not going to put the weight back on!

I sent that email on the 10th July 2017. It was several weeks until I would find the courage to be poolside and in my trunks.

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”
Dean Karnazes

Whilst I loved reading this guy’s book “Ultra Marathon Man” Confessions of a midnight runner, whilst injured. I’m not sure how much I embrace the “Crawl if you have to” My experience is different. I became a Triathlete

Thank you for taking the time to continue to follow my blog. I hope you agree that I was a Muppet and do not make the same mistakes I did. However, if you do, don’t become negative. Find a way of turning the situation round – Be positive and focus on the process. The goal may change, it may even become greater.

I hope in reading this blog you believe that there really is light at the end of tunnels, and that there really are clouds with silver linings!

For my next blog I will describe how I plucked up the courage to learn to swim.

I would love to hear what you think of my blog so far, and welcome your comments. Stay safe out there and “Listen” to your body and those around you – They usually do know better.