So as it turns out, I’m not running the Virgin London Marathon this year after all.
Things started out well. I began training in October, but unfortunately something* happened in November, the consequences of which are still ongoing. I stopped running on January 1st, and didn’t run again until February 11th. A mixture of physical and mental fatigue, ill-health and other issues robbed me of any motivation.
My training plan reset itself to the point where I would only be running one-third of the distance by the time of the race, whereas my long runs alone needed to be about two-thirds of the distance. Plus there was no chance of me achieving the fundraising target, especially as half of it needs to be raised by mid-March.
After taking advice from the Mind fundraising team, and the personal trainer that they have contacts with, I have decided that it is for the best to withdraw and concentrate my efforts on the Tough Mudder in May.
Disappointing, but ultimately for the best, for me, for now.
*This something will be spoken about when I am able…
Waaaay back at the start of 2014 I revealed I had signed up for a Tough Mudder, a half-marathon length obstacle course from hell. Unfortunately, that got postponed, initially due to knee, hip and neck problems which turned out to be early onset osteoarthritis (fun!), which threw rather a large spanner in the whole idea.
Undeterred, I postponed it to October 2014, failed to train due to unemployment, re-employment and laziness, postponed it again to May 2015, switched jobs and failed to train, and postponed it yet again to 26 September 2015.
I really can’t postpone it again, so here we go; I am actually training, you’ll be pleased to know. Started running with a group of colleagues at the College, and have started some weight training to get my strength up. My friend Aamir has (finally) joined, meaning my League of Ordinary Gentlemen now has more than one member.
But since we’re not going to get any more members at this point, our team is now called Paul & Aamir must die! which is both inspirational and accurate.
After all, when else are you going to get a chance to see me dive through fire and electrocute myself for no damn good reason?
I haven’t been feeling 100% for some time now. Mental health issues, physical health issues, stress at work etc have all contributed to me becoming sedentary and somewhat resembling “the Blerch” (and please do read that Oatmeal strip because it pretty much sums up my reasons for running too).
I haven’t gone running since the BUPA 10,000 in May 2013. And aside from the odd bike ride here and there, until the start of June I wasn’t really doing anything that remotely resembled serious exercise. To get out of that, I signed up for the London West Tough Mudder in April of this year. But then the injuries started, and the pain, and the sickness, and the stress, and the Ofsted inspection and the arthritis and in the end I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. As much as anything, I was in too much pain.
My arthritis is not at the stage where drugs will do any good. But what will do me good is to lose weight. And my GP is strongly encouraging that. So I’m making changes. An array of technological devices monitor my daily steps, distances, calorific intake, activities undertaken, amount of sleep I have, volume of water consumed. I take part in the NHS Exercise Prescription scheme, visiting a local gym twice a week for personal training. I’m cycling more, walking more, and trying to be good.
When I ran regularly, my depressive moods were easier to control. I had an outlet. But I don’t run any more, so the depression gets worse. And one thing I feel bad about is my weight, the way I look and feel. Being unhappy with that makes me further depressed, less likely to exercise and more likely to binge on junk. I have photos, and they aren’t pretty. They were taken as a spur to me so that I can see what I honestly look like now in order to motivate me to change. They are embarrassing and a little upsetting if I’m honest, and I certainly don’t have the confidence to show them to anyone.
I didn’t do the Tough Mudder in April because I wasn’t ready for it. But I did postpone it to October. 96 days from now. I intend to be ready. As of today I’m starting a half-marathon training plan to get me back to a level of fitness where I can run a half-marathon again. At the gym I’ll focus on improving strength so I can tackle the obstacles along the course. Provided of course I stay fit and healthy. This didn’t get off to an auspicious start when I tripped over my own feet on Saturday and wound up scraping my left hand, left knee and left toes into a bloody mess.
I’m writing this at 1.25am so it’s likely a bit disjointed and confused. This is part confessional, part motivational. Keeping myself honest be publicly saying “yes, this is a problem and I’m trying to do something about it”. In 14 weeks I’m running this thing and I need to be fitter, faster and stronger in order to do it.
So I’m going to put the information out there so that people can help me stay on track, encourage me when I’m feeling low, and keep me moving forward. Here’s where I am at the moment. Over the next 14 weeks I hope to see this all change…
Figures correct as of 4 August 2014
Body Fat Percentage: 39.5%
My last post was in January (Christmas Holidays) and a new post can only mean we’re in the Easter holidays! Such is life in education.
It’s been a busy term, thanks in large part to an Ofsted inspection of March of this year. The official inspection report hasn’t been published, but when it does I shall have more to say about it.
There are a few other things embargoed from being mentioned at the moment. One I can talk about from Wednesday, the other? Not for a while.
Last time I talked about doing a Tough Mudder this month. Unfortunately that is not going ahead now, and I’ve postponed my entry until October. For the past few months I’ve noticed stability issues and pain in my right hip and left knee. Things came to a head when I began having bad neck pain which got progressively worse. The doctor sent me for blood tests and x-rays, and while the blood tests came back fine, the x-rays have revealed I have the early stages of osteoarthritis. So that’s nice. I always get the best presents at the holidays (root canal at Christmas, now this good news!).
It feels very odd to not be marking the final controlled assessments for GCSE portfolios this year. I’m hoping my former students do well. I still see them around the College, usually to a chorus of “Paul, come back!”. I’ve heard good things from their new teacher though, so I shall keep my fingers crossed.
Back on Wednesday.