Embracing the Challenge

January 30, 2017

I was born and raised in Westerham, Kent in England. My father was a very good cross country athlete (at least he told me he was!) so during my schooldays I followed in his footsteps and ran cross country and mostly middle distance track. It all stopped pretty quickly though, my real love was motorcycles and as soon as I was allowed, that was my passion. The world of road racing at my level wasn’t conducive to the clean living uber fit lifestyle; it was mostly guys with vans traveling all over the country at the weekends, drinking beer and hurting themselves. So the fit 18 year old very soon turned into a not so fit 26 year old who then turned into an even less fit 36 year old.

 

The slow journey back started at Snetterton race circuit in mid 2009. My wife was pregnant with our first and only child and at a race meeting I had an epiphany that my life had more meaning now that it used to and a switch went off in my head. Racing days over and time to be a grown up.

 

That said, I wasn’t that serious about getting fit and making a change, I did a little but only on the treadmill in the garage and without any real fitness goal. In 2011 we relocated to Tampa, Florida and although still commuting to our business back in London I adapted easily to having a pool in the yard and as much sun as I wanted, with the sun and pool came sitting around the pool and the associated cold beer in the hand. It took about 10 months before I looked at myself and said “ this has to stop”.

 

I set myself a goal, it was June and I wanted to be 185 lbs before my birthday in November. I was too scared to even weigh myself, so for the first 2 months I didn’t. I ran because I could do it in my exercise room and nobody would laugh at the fat guy going slow. Between June and November 27th I dropped around 65 lbs. I say around because my start point was somewhere around 250, but I don’t really know.

 

With that goal hit I didn’t want to be the classic yoyo person and pile it all back on so I started doing a 5k every month - just to have a goal - it meant I ran 4-5 times a week and raced once a month.

 

In Feb of 2014 we relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina having sold our business in London. We arrived in a huge snowstorm and I was struck by how much more English the winter was. I loved it; running in the rain and snow is one of life’s pleasures. A friend in New England was training for her first marathon that winter and she decided to challenge me to run a half. It was further than I had ever run before and I wasn’t sure I could make the jump from 5K’s, but never being one to ignore a challenge I started training.

 

In June of 2014 I ran a 1:56 half marathon and things really took off. Since then I have run around 25 half marathons and 3 full marathons. I struggle a little from the injuries I received racing bikes - 56 broken bones over the years doesn’t help - but I think that if I didn’t run it would be way worse.

 

 My second full marathon was New York City in 2015 and I was Running for Dylan. Ian was kind enough to allow me a place running for the team after I took my time deciding if I could hit my fundraising goals. I am so glad I did that race, it really spurred me on to be involved with the program. NYC was my first bucket list marathon and it was a honor to do this for the charity.

 

So now the next challenge is on, my usual long run spot with my buddy Matt is Umstead State park here in Raleigh, trail running and lots of elevation changes. They have a 100 mile and 50 mile ultra challenge that happens here in the spring. I swore I wouldn’t ever run further than a marathon but hey, go hard or go home right? So I am signed up for the 50 mile ultra on April 1st 2017 and can’t wait for the elation of finishing an event of that magnitude. 

 

Who knows what the future brings?

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