For the greater good
Why I am doing this...
Why I am doing this...
At school i was a skinny weakling type kid, generally ok at most sports, and middle distance running came fairly naturally, although i was nothing special. As i got older and stockier i was more into my footy and didn't bother with much jogging.
By the time i reached 30 I’d had a desk job for a few years, and sitting at a desk snacking did not do my waistline any favours. Gradually i grew outwards, and in 2002 i decided to take up the running again. I managed to maintain what i had, although the weight didn't really come off. I felt like i was doing enough and was too cool for calorie controlled diets or anything like that. I'd reached that age where I’d settled down with a nice lady and we were content in our eating habits. We had dual income - the chocolate naughtiness ensued.
In 2004 i took part in 3 races - 2 x 10ks and the Great North Run. From then onwards i was hooked. I was a "plodder" content with a 2.15-2.20 finish at the half, and beating 1 hour for the 10K. Over the years, i raced more, but i ate more rubbish. We married and had children, tiredness and snacking on sweet things go hand in hand. Too tired to cook - order a pizza etc.
By the time i was nearing 40, i had friends and family saying I’d "put on weight" - i was well aware. The once skinny 10-stone fifteen year old was now more like 14-15 stone with a middle aged spread. I felt sluggish and can’t say i was at my happiest.
Meanwhile i was faced with The Big C coming into my inner circle. My dear mother was (late) diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in the summer of 2010. That year had been a great year so far for me - i had run the London marathon raising for Help The Heroes, but now i had to take on something far more difficult than running a marathon. It was tough, my dear mother Jenny - was brave, she did chemo, she had sepsis and we nearly lost her during the chemo, and into early Feb 2011 she passed away only 6 months after being diagnosed.
I'd already started raising for LLR while she was still having treatment, but in my grief i felt the need to run lots more races and fundraise. In a slightly obsessive way i did more and more races throughout 2011, fundraising along the way, and this helped the process of grief for me. I couldn't bring her back but i wanted to contribute to try and help other sufferers. She would want me to do that as well. I also had a work colleague suffering non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during this period so LLR was an easy choice for me.
While i was doing all this, i took the grief counselling, which i wholeheartedly recommend in these situations, and decided to pull myself together - look after myself a bit better. Losing mum had reminded me of my own mortality, and when i went for an appointment with the doctor in May 2012, he pointed out that i was 96.7kg (15 Stone 3 lbs) and my cholesterol was "a little high".
From that moment i flipped a switch. I renounced Chocolate, cheese and biscuits! I went to the nearest supermarket and stocked up lots of healthy food, fruit and general healthier snackage.
With the work ethic for my running training already pre-installed into me when i was “big” – the training felt a lot easier, the weight started falling off and i started taking off with my running speed. I had run heavy for so long that suddenly i was running without having to carry 20 bags of sugar round my waist! My PBs kept tumbling and i kept up the healthy lifestyle change. I felt liberated, i felt 20 years younger.
It was one year ago (March 2013) and i was racing at the Reading Half for LLR in the pouring rain. I knocked my half down to 1.33 and despite the awful weather i was flying. This had been a warm up for the Paris marathon which i had originally targeted 4 hours for, Suddenly i was around that in 3.23 and still improving. I went on to run another 4 halves in 2013 all in the mid 1.20s and 2 more marathons both at the GFA standard giving me automatic Boston/London qualifying times with the most recent in November in Valencia in a time of 3.05. My weight has now settled about 73kgs.
Since November i have joined a club and have 3 marathons booked, and halves and other distances for 2014.
My main reason for doing this is Health. I don’t really care what i look like – i want to feel good on the inside. I want to give myself the best chance of being healthy for the longest time. You never know when things will come, and when it comes you have to face it, so in the game of chance i want to give myself a better percentage.
My heart is always with this charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research – they have given me great support over the years and i’ll always try to help them in memory of my mum. She always encouraged my running because she knew i was passionate about it. My work colleague pulled through the Lymphoma with treatment, so this a testament to a charity like LLR who are always looking for new techniques and treatments. They need the help and we should not stop helping – if we want to help our loved ones beat these blood cancers ....