So, as a lot of you will know on Sunday the 28th February I lined up to compete in my first half marathon. This would be the longest race I had entered and the toughest. Training had gone well bar a couple of injuries. So off to the start I went ready to face it. Yes I had the big doubts about ‘would I be able to complete it?’ ‘Can someone as big as me run/jog 13.1miles?’
I soon found myself in the final position one of my worst fears had come true I was last and that in my mind meant that they would pull me from the race. At this point the doubt kicked in big style that I wouldn’t finish. However I knew that I wanted to and was determined that I wanted to finish. My running mentors’ words came back into focus – ‘If you think you can you will’ and a phrase myself and Jess use often and has stood us in good stead – Never lose hope. So with the support of the organisers (a massive thanks to Steve who was with me most of the way on his bike and not to forget Gary who’s jokes kept me going around mile 8-9) I kept on keeping on!
As I continued one foot in front of the other; after a few miles I could feel pain in my left foot a few more miles the same in my right foot – who knew blisters could be so big or painful?! I kept going. At around the 8 mile marker I was told they needed to re-open the road… this was it I could feel myself getting ready to be pulled from the race. They said “are you ok on the path?” “yes” I panted “that doesn’t bother me as I will finish.” Steve said he knew as he could see the determination on my face.
There were parts of the race that were mentally tough and I wasn’t fully prepared for that and I had to bite my lip to stop the tears coming; as well as give myself a slap for being so soft. Especially after my family saw me at the 10 mile mark that was tough. I kept going, the last 3 miles were a struggle I was in agony and ended up walking as physically I could not lift my legs. Every step hurt but with my determination to prove to people I could do it and Steve’s encouragement and the thought of the Millionaire shortbread at the finish line I kept going.
As I came into the home straight Jess lifted Michael over the barrier to run with me – no one cared thankfully. As Michael was beside me for those final few hundred meters he told me how proud he was of me. Again I had to try not cry. My mentor John who had finished a good 90 minutes before joined me then Steve said run, so I did; not very fast but I ran across the finish line with my boy at my side. I had done it. I had completed a half marathon.
Completing the race has taught me a lot. It has taught me that at the point where I think I can’t go anymore that I can. When it looks like the easiest thing to do is to throw the towel in it is better to keep going. No one can take away my medal or the memories (I wish they would take the blisters away!) No one can take away the money I have raised (donations still being accepted as my next race is the Lincoln 10k – you can donate by following the link https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/fatboygettingslim).
So please be encouraged by this that you can achieve your goals. You can get through the tough times. People believe in you; even strangers on a bike who turn out to be angels in disguise!
Ps I have said I will run it next year and I am determined to be quicker even if I am last. I just need to make sure I get a place.
Bring it On! Goodbye 2015 Hello 2016
So life has been just a tad busy these last few weeks hence the lack of blogs, something which I am keen to sort as I have received a number of messages asking me when the next blog will be posted.
Before looking forward to 2016 firstly I want to take a look back at the whirlwind that was 2015. When I started the year I was a fat boy trying to get slim and at the end of the year I am a slightly less fat boy getting slim. I had no idea that I would be blogging and that thousands of people would have read my story and hundreds would look at my blog or follow me on twitter and facebook. When I look back at the year of highs my first 10k race, then Knocking circa 10 minutes off that time, to only a few weeks ago running just over 16k for the first time. I look forward to 2016 and a year of firsts from the mundane of a first weekly shop to my first half marathon (at least I will achieve a PB!!) to anything else that comes along.
One thing that has struck me this year and something I am keen to do next year is to be kinder, to encourage people more. You see without the encouragement of Mrs B I wouldn’t have started running. Without Lucy leaving a note this blog probably wouldn’t have started. Without Tracey I wouldn’t have raised (jointly) just over £5000 for Bloodwise cancer charity. Without John I wouldn’t have pressed the enter button for my first Half Marathon (Cambridge 28th February if you are interested I will be near the back). There are lots of people who have made this possible and been there to encourage me especially Team Nose Parker the best Weight Watchers group there is. The UKrunchat online community, The Lincolnshire Runner who are happy to encourage me to part with my cash on another pair of trainers!! 😉
Seriously though to all those who have supported and encouraged me thanks. I look forward to 2016 being a great year. I do not intend to dwell on what may have been but to focus on the future. I look forward to you being on the journey with me.
Wishing you a fantastic 2016
So today I posted that I had been for a run this morning and a couple of people commented that they wished they had my motivation. This got me thinking about what motivates me. As I blogged about a couple of blogs ago (Why am I doing this) I have found the past few months difficult from both a personal view point and a weight loss perspective.
So as I thought about why do I get up at about 5am each morning to get ready to go for a run, what keeps me going when it’s minus 1 and when its chucking it down and no matter which direction you run there seems to be what feels like a gale force wind. Here is a brief list of what motivates me. Some you may be able to identify with. The process of thinking about them and writing them down as helped remind me of how far I come. This can be applied to anything we are doing not just with exercise.
1. Me- I want to be me and to be me I need to be in better shape both physically and mentally and the journey I am on helps that.
2. My wife and son- as I have written before I want to see my son grow up and do fun father and son things like play football, go for family bike rides
3. Exploring new places- I try and vary my route so as to explore but also by entering races I go to new places and explore.
4. The best is yet to come.
5. Life is short. If we look at the news we see death on a daily basis, we see sections of society be marginalised for being different for being disabled or being poor I whole variety of reasons and the truth is we just don’t know what the future holds so grab the opportunities that present themselves.
6. Life is too short to keep having a pity party and say I can’t do this I can’t do that.
These are just a few of the things that motivate me. Why don’t you make a list of things that motivate you this could even be things you would like to do. I will leave you with a favourite bible verse of mine which sums up what helps to keep me motivated.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18The Message (MSG)
16-18 So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
Choose To Bloom
This may seem an odd title for a blog post but this morning I didn’t really want to go for my run. My bed was nice and warm and comfy. However as I have a half marathon coming up at the end of February I dragged myself downstairs and went out for my run. I hadn’t decided how far (well in my mind I was thinking just a short run). As I was running my mind began to clear from all the business of the week and as I have a day off today this is useful.
The route I was running has an underpass that runs under one of the main routes into Lincoln. It is surprisingly quiet. This morning I noticed some graffiti which looked newer than the other graffiti already there. I could see it said something and it said in big black writing
CHOOSE TO BLOOM
This got me thinking about some things as a family, we have been through. Of situations we are going through. One of the biggest battles we have faced and in all honesty continue to face is that of infertility. We have been told that we will never have kids the natural way (for those who love Friends think Chandler & Monica). As we walked through those early days we had a choice. We could let it get us down and stay down, we could let it kill our hope, our dreams our plans or we could choose to bloom. We made the choice to bloom, to become stronger as individuals and as a couple. We have a fantastic son who is ours.
I’m not saying that it was easy and each day we make that choice to bloom, to grow yes there are days when things get in top but we choose to learn and grow. So whatever you are going through look for the opportunity to grow.
Why am I doing this?
I haven’t blogged for a while. My weight loss has been erratic losing and gaining the same few pounds each week. If I am being honest (and I always said I would be) I have struggled since getting injured in August. I have struggled to stay motivated. Struggled to stay focused. Found myself wondering why I am doing what I am doing? What is the point of continuing?
I have felt down. I have struggled with the feeling of worthlessness. Feeling that I am not good enough. These are thoughts that I have often struggled worth. I have been afraid that I am not needed, that I am not wanted. A lot of this stems from childhood and every now and then it resurfaces. The last few months have been like that. This combined with some difficulties that adoptive parents often face have come at once and well I had kind of accepted the lies in my head that I wasn’t worth it, that what would it matter if I stayed the same size. Could I do this? People wouldn’t miss me if I didn’t do what I do.
So the last week I have been ill with my asthma and been on steroids. When I weighed myself at home I had put on a few pounds and immediately said well that’s a gain this week. I accepted it. I didn’t fight it. I didn’t really want to fight for the loss. My mind was set to that of accepting it, and subconsciously that I wasn’t worth it.
So along to fat club I went and sure enough I had gained. I had a chat with my leader (it helps that she is a friend) and had a good chat. She pointed out a few things and asked why I hadn’t been blogging and that since I had stopped blogging my weight loss had been static. Grace also picked up on the fact that my mind-set had changed. In group we had a chat about what changes we wanted to make in the lead up to Christmas. I was in a group with Mrs B and as my boy comes along he was there as well. So as we discussed I slowly in my head started repeating some positive phases in my head.
I had to remember why I started the journey. To remember what has kept me motivated. Think of the challenges I have next year (first half marathon is just over 3 months away). I had a quick look at some old pictures, I had a look at the medals from the 4 races I have completed this year. I also choose that this was the time to draw a line under the last couple of months. To start believing in myself again. So why do I do this. Well simply because I am worth it and I want to be the best I can be. So if today you are struggling with your battle/journey whatever that may be then please remember why you started and that you are worth it.
Enjoy the journey
First of all apologies for the lack of blog posts over the past few weeks. This has been due to life being busy, dealing with a few issues and also due to not being able to exercise and feeling sorry for myself.
I have struggled over the past few weeks and have gained a bit of weight nothing drastic and now heading in the right direction. I found myself getting frustrated that as I approach my 2 year anniversary of my journey that I wouldn’t have lost what I had in mind and found myself beating myself up about it. After a maintain the other week and having a chat with one of the ladies at fat club I came home and looked over some old pictures. You see, I was too focused on the future, I had forgotten about the journey from the past to the present.
I also realised that as it took me 30 years to get to my biggest that it wasn’t going to be quick to get down to where I want to be. So I took the time to appreciate the journey. You see in life we are often too focused on where we want to get to we forget about our journey.
I have been on a number of journeys in life some good such as getting married; others not such as good- infertility but each journey has taught me a valuable lesson some I have realised at the time others years later and some that I have still to realise and understand. I want to encourage you that when you find life tough remember about the journey but more importantly enjoy it.
The other news that I want to share is that I have signed up for my biggest challenge yet with my running!! I have signed up to compete in my first ever half marathon at the End of February in Cambridge. I shall of course be updating the blog with how things are going with training and life in general.
Fun or fear at the fair?!!
So today I had a gain. I put 2lb on and in fairness I was half expecting it. I started to think why me?, but I quickly caught myself. Yes I was feeling sorry for myself, mainly due to being frustrated that I can’t run. I am really struggling with the fact that I can’t go out in the way I have become used to. I have got used to it running is now part of my DNA.
As I sat there before group started, I was in my own little world thinking. I noticed that I was thinking of some great things that I have achieved on the course of my journey. I have raised along with a friend just under £5000 for Blood Cancer research so am half way to the £10,000 target. I have run 3 10k races, to do that is something I didn’t think I would ever be able to do and I am looking forward to some new challenges next year. I can buy clothes in normal clothes shops. I am no longer out of breath walking up stairs. There are so many things that I have to be thankful for. From having a roof over my head to a wife that loves me, you get the idea. By now I was smiling, as on Wednesday my 7 year old said “Dad let’s go to the fair and go on the dodgems.” “We will see” said I suddenly panicking that I wouldn’t fit into the car or that I would get stuck if I manged to squeeze myself in. As we went around the fair I had managed to avoid them for a good amount of time then it was time. Nothing was going to stop him going on so I handed over the money and waited.
As we stood waiting to go on I was sure I could hear people pointing and laughing at me such are my insecurities about myself even though they weren’t. So it was time, as Michael ran to the car with the Welsh flag on it I took a deep breath and went to get in. In my mind I could only picture myself getting stuck and the fire brigade having to come and cut me out. As I stepped in and went to sit down something happened… yes there was plenty of room. I realised that I wasn’t going to get stuck. There was lots of room, my boy had lots of room to. I started laughing to myself and then as my son looked at me a big grin came across my face- “I told you that you’d fit dad” he piped up. And you know what I had a great time. I even managed to have a sneaky selfie. I didn’t want our time to finish.
So as I write this I want to encourage you, when you feel down because you have put on or you’ve not landed the promotion or work or your dream house has been sold and not to you… to stop for a minute and think. Think of the things you do have, think of the things that have made you smile. Life is too short to dwell on a little bump on the road.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.