First things first…I’m pretty ordinary, not particularly athletic and closer to 40 than I would like. I’m prone to saying yes to things without thinking and partial to cake / coffee. Besides the ability to grow an impressive beard I have no discernible talent. That said seven years go I tipped the scales at 22 stone. Yup, 22 stone. Pretty heavy right? This is what it looks like:
Now to get this big it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something that creeps up on you so slowly you barely notice the change. You look in the mirror and its still you, only more round. The problem with being that big, besides the awkward process of buying clothes, is that things start to take more of an effort. Just going around the corner seems like hardwork so you stop trying. I could blame a number of things but the truth is I had given up – I used every excuse possible “I work long hours so can’t eat properly”, “I’m not that big” and worse of all “I’m happy with who I am”. At the time I truly believed this, but I was only fooling myself. I turned to food to resolve most of my problems but really I just pushed myself deeper into a cycle of binge eating , stifling emotion and hibernating. If I want to be really honest I was depressed…
What triggered the change? Actually it was number of things but the defining moment was when my best friends got married. As you’d expect I was in all the photos and it was a brilliant day. When they got back from the honey moon I did the expected thing of sitting down and going through the wedding photos.
I didn’t know the man in the photos. The image I had in my head didn’t match the fat guy I saw. Was this really who I was? How could I let this happen?
It was a slow process to change my habits and had a number influences but was mainly driven by a change in circumstances at work. I moved offices and there was no parking. I was living with another very close friend who had a spare MTB. It was a 5 mile ride which I decided would be my commute during the days I was working 9 – 5. The first few weeks were tough, it took my nearly an hour to go one way and by the time the evening rolled by I was exhausted. There were times when I drove or couldn’t be bothered but ever so slowly it got a little easier and quicker. I stopped being so tired and my friend was super supportive so this helped.
From cycling I decided to run, my first route was 1.6 miles. It took me 30 minutes, yes you’ve read that right 30 minutes!! It didn’t feel like those runs would were ever going to end. Everything hurt and it took days to recover.
Over time things became naturally easier so I increased my distances and decided to start swimming again. I grew up in South Africa, you either swim or drown, so it became part of my weekly exercise.
Now before you think I had some weird plan or strict regime….I didn’t. Some weeks I wouldn’t do anything, others more. I then got persuaded to take part in my first sprint triathlon. From that day I hooked.
7 years on I have been lucky to complete the following:
Arundel Standard Distance Triathlon x 2 (2011 and 2012)
Brighton Half Marathon 2012
Speedo Human Race 3km Sea Swim 2012
Lands End to John O’Groates by cycle in 7 days 2013
Tough Guy 2014
Ran the month of September 2014
Ironman Wales 2015
Chase the Sun 205 mile bike race 2016
Southampton // Manchester // London in 2 days 2016
My biggest achievement to date is completing the The Transcontinental Race 2016 – a unsupported 4000 km race across Europe. Check out the website http://www.transcontinental.cc/
Each of my events have their own unique story and I want to help you create your own so the purpose of this blog / page is to share with you my experiences, maybe inspire you to do your own adventure and how to take on the impossible and finish.