Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Major Improvements New Challenges

I have been planning to write this blog for a while now, it will now have two parts the first part is about how I have noticed the improvement's I have made in my running and the second part will be about my last cycle ride on the 28th July 2015 they should sort of link in?

I now feel that I have moved up a group in the natural order of runs no longer do I feel that I am in the back section just hoping to get round and or do the best I can. Now when I run my thoughts turn to weather or not I can get close to a P/B time or not, whilst I am running my head is playing evil mind games with me. It goes something like this and to be honest it really does screw with me.

"Why do you put yourself through this you know its hurting why not just slow down" I'm not slowing down I have only just started the run its only 10K ease up on me. "Ok your not slowing down why don't you just walk go on take a walking break you know you want to" really behave I'm not walking we are not even at the 5k marker yet there's no need to walk I do parkrun's all the time stop messing with me. "Now I'm pulling out the big guns I will sabotage your run look you have done well to get this far without struggling slowing down to much or taking a walking break no one cares if you slow down or just walk in go on give in and just walk in, it will be ok I promise?" I need a natural walking break about mile 5 for one minute then run in to the finish. "See I got you to walk just relax and take it easy you did good up to now" No sod off I need to start running again, I get to the end of the race/run feeling drained and tired I am happy with my time that feeling is awesome knowing I have two victory's in one.

That is pretty much what happen's now at my runs it's always a tough mental battle. Why have I described what happens and did it not happen before?

The answer to both those questions are that in the first 4 years it was always about finishing if I had a bad run it did not matter I still run and completed that was always the goal, if I had a good run it was a great bonus, it was a different mental battle and one that was not so important to me.

So why does it happen? and why does it matter so much to me now?

Good question and one I can only partly answer, when I now run I am able to run in a large group of the same time group of people, I have spent a lot of time recently running the majority of the race with the same people in sight, I am running to the best of my ability to get me round close to a P/B if not beat it, that means I am pushing my body harder and faster than it has before and that is why I struggle with my inner self, "It never gets easier to run I just get faster and/or better."

That is why it matters so much to me now, I care about my self improvement I am so proud that I can see my improvement I feel like a proper runner now, I have a start middle and end strategy for the run I know when to speed up or slow down if I need that walking break or not. What I am really struggling with is my mental state whilst running is this normal? common? natural? it takes my mind off the race a little, what I would really like to happen is just run a race with or without music (my head plays games with or without music) from start to finish with my game plan in place, I struggle to enjoy the run whilst doing it after the run I can enjoy what I have achieved. This is the part I don't have the answer for luckily for me I may well get some help from a few amazing people who understand this.

Change Gear Sportive 100 Miles Cycling.

I posted on Facebook 2 days before this event how I felt, I did this because I'm human, I needed to get it off my chest I did not do it for sympathy or being a drama queen, I was also aware of the challenge I was about to undertake.

"On Sunday I am taking part in a 100 mile cycle sportive, for some reason I am scared/nervous, being scared/nervous is good to a point but today as I was checking my bike out it really hit me. I have read the email details for the ride and there is a front and rear vehicle so getting lost is not to much of a problem the only real concern is getting a puncture I still don't know how to fix a puncture or change an inner tube? Shocking I know but I'm not hands on. As for the distance/route it is a challenge but I have been close to it before so I am looking forward to ride. Just needed to say how I feel"
I completed the ride Sportive 100 Miles (you will need to click on the comments section to read full ride details. There were 3 rides 100, 66, 33 miles, we left first and by Demead I was on own last man for 100 miles that was not unexpected but still a sharp realization of what was in store and the fact I was on my own cycling for 90 miles. I had a little company as the 66 mile group caught me up and left me behind, I have one guy stay with me for about 10 miles or so that was great to have someone to ride with and see, The route split at about 30 miles and I was seriously considering baling out and just do the 66 mile course. After that point I never considered pulling out I was going to complete 100 miles even it was cycling,walking, and a car lift to save time up the 3 climbs I could not manage.

At that junction was Ben the rear car marshal I had a chat with him told him my fears he told me I could go on it was a nice cycle part of the route and that he would leave his post in approx one and a half hours and catch me up and follow me home. That was it on my way knowing I would be alone for over 30 miles as it turned out. I have to say that was the best part of the course I even clocked 44 mph at one stage. Cycling on your own knowing you are last by a long distance is so very tough mentally.

The support I got from Ben all the marshal's on course was just awesome, I Thank You all for staying out so much longer just to wait for me to get home the cheers and encouragement meant so much to me as I struggled with my quads from mile 65 onward's. If you guys don't realize the boost I got every time help me to dig in that little bit more and made a painful ride at the point bearable. Change Gear Result

The reason I entered this event was part of my training plan for the Prudential RideLondon cycle ride having gone completed the ride and with all the knowledge I now have from this ride I feel at this present moment with the London ride being a timed event must be finished by 17:30 and no idea of start time (last start time is 09:00) that I may not start this event.

Before you say I can, there are a number of important factors to consider the most important is the fact this took me just over nine and half hours to complete, I had help up the two biggest hills with a vehicle so how much longer would it have taken had I had to walk up the hills? My Quads were shot away so walking would have been painful and slow. There is the mental challenge of the time factor how will it mess with my head and body? Do I want to start an event that I may get pulled from, again mentally tough if that happens.

For the record it was only my quads that caused me problems and they kicked in at the start of Quell Lane I made sure that I had plenty of fluids, gels, and food to keep me going, unless some one tells me different I did good on that score it was my quads that let me down.  

This is the second day after the ride and my quads are still painful it hurts to move do I want/need to put my body through this in 4 weeks time? I hurt more now than I ever felt on the York2Pompey ride. I guess I will wait and see what my start time will be it needs to be really early I clearly need as much time as possible to be able to complete.

For now all options are open I don't have to commit until the day before when I can register in London I will be riding in London on the Saturday anyway so I will wait and see, whatever decision I make I will make for what is right for me there can be no failure, I have the rest of the year and my running events to consider as well, as it stands today I could not run even if I wanted to.      

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

York2Pompey Cycle Ride, An Excellent Adventure.

Its been a long time since I have blogged, this is my 100th post and its a special one for many reasons.

Last year I was lucky enough to go to Cuba on a charity cycle ride it was awesome the only down side to that was that I could not do the Ride2Bury cycle ride although I rode out of Portsmouth with them. Cuba is awesome the ride was as well but deep down I wanted to be doing Ride2Bury.

So to this year as soon as the ride was announced I was in signed up and ready it was a no brainer. Never have I been so excited to push myself, 4 consecutive days cycling, hard days cycling at that.

We had a team training ride 45 miles up and down hills, to meet some of the team for the very first time and cycle with was amazing, the session went really well a sign of things to come, we started that ride mostly as strangers, we returned on the 2nd May as team mates and friends all made easier by the 2 common bonds that brought us together our love of Portsmouth FC and Cycling and the 1 we hated those bloody hills mountains!

Tuesday 28th April 2015 Leaving day and the first day we are all together, we get the bikes loaded onto the van and bags on the mini buses time for a few photos and then were off. It was very surreal sitting on a coach being taken to York, it was great to talk and meet new people the main point we all agreed on was that we just wanted to start cycling. Before we knew it we had arrived at the hotel and unpacked the bikes and bags. Dinner, team meeting and bed followed.

Wednesday 29th April 2015 As with everyday that follows always up in plenty of time to be ready with no last minute drama's. We leave the hotel car park and head to Bootham Crescent home of York City FC we are made to feel welcome we hand over a cheque for £1000 and then it time to start the ride.

The weather was a little bit of everything apart from snow we even had hailstones that lasted about 5 minutes the showers were short the wind....it was relentless 13-15 mph's for the whole day (Two and half days before it stopped) My Garmin did not last the whole day but the adjusted time and distance is correct. I made sure that the last thing I unplugged every morning and then turned on was my Garmin it lasted the rest of the week after that.

I was just sat here thinking what to write now about day 1 not that I have forgotten more that the first 65 miles went really well. I spent most of the day at the front and middle of the pack I really don't remember any hills of note just the wind it never let up. We stopped for our breaks lunch was in a pub were we pre-ordered it was welcome getting some hot food was needed.

We had a little problem at the very end of the day, 8 of us and the rear support bus got lost. It was bloody frustrating and not such a major drama, the most important thing for me was that as a team we learnt from it and the team ethic rose to another level. No one else was ever left behind or lost and I hope that the riders that helped out, got out of the day what they needed as well.

To all my fellow riders that were able to help us out at the back from the bottom of my heart I thank you all very much you decision to do that from Day 2 made the whole ride and ensured we really were Team York2Pompey. York2Pompey Day 1

Thursday 30th April 2015 Day 2 Oh my Oh dear, lets be very clear this was always going to be tough, but today this was something else the hardest day of the last 5 years? How did I cope with the day? So glad you asked Vern (Team Joke) Two things got me through, first up my sense of humour I know I can go over board sometimes but I really hope I got the balance right and never upset anyone (Bob pipe down you don't count)

Secondly my bloody mindedness again those that know me would not be surprised. I choose the bike to take on this trip based on the hills (I still hate hills) I know that bike will get me up the hills my road bike needs a better gear ratio. The first big hill mountain came the riders went just me and Thunderbird 1 (support vehicle) and I just kept going and going and going I really did surprise myself reaching the top and the applause from the team waiting for me was awesome but we all did the hill it does not matter if some walked we all did it.

There was one rather cruel senna s bend hill this was the only time my body let me down, my quads seized up, again the support crew knew I was in trouble and they supported first and had a laugh after. My victory is my powers of recovery a couple of years ago I would have been in the van for the rest of the day. Within 5 minutes I had walked to the crest of that hill and rode my bike again, sadly a short while we had another big hill common sense had to prevail try the hill and knacker myself for the rest of the trip or take the van. I really am not an idiot (Bob and Vern stop being chirpy) in the van for about 5 miles. then crack on riding the rest of the day with no worries.

When I was a big boy my nick name at work was / still is pies. As we got closer to Melton and I had no idea we were the team started shouting out pies I looked around thinking how do they know that? what a relief when I saw the sign. Never have I been so glad to see the end of a day. As always afterwards you look back and enjoy it,at the time it was such a tough day. York2Pompey Day 2

Friday 1st May 2015 The longest mileage day. As much as yesterday was so long and brutal and a shock, today turned out to be the biggest nice surprise. I checked my Garmin notes and chuckled to myself "The mountains become hills" how far I have come. There were a few hills but mostly the day went quickly we made amazing time all day long. I loved that we drove past Silverstone and there were cars racing round the track the noise was awesome and you could hear it for miles.

I have to be honest and for the only time of the whole trip from about mile 70 I just wanted the day to end it was like I've broken the back of the ride, also I knew I was getting a well deserved massage from Amanda (Pompey Pummellers) when we reached Basingstoke to make the last day better. Its worth noting that at whatever point today my legs are running on empty I have no pain but also don't have a great deal of power, I love that I am able to just to keep on cycling. Bring on the last day. York2Pompey Day 3

Saturday 2nd May 2015 The shortest day, So we start with mixed emotions its only 40 miles but its also our last day and there is something special about seeing the whole team in our cycling jerseys. I have a serious chat with one of the support crew if I struggle and fall back let me finish the hill then chuck me in the van. It will be near on impossible to catch up today.

We leave the hotel, ride round the big roundabout then go straight into a long bloody hill as always its always better when you reach the top what a tough start to the day and a few more hills to come as well, we get to our first stop in good time which is a bonus, I inform the crew forget plan A were on plan B I will get to the end and in good order. Before I know it were approaching Hambledon we are almost home then through Denmead to Purbrook before we turn right onto the London Road to The George Pub at the top of Portsdown Hill.

The last climb of the week, the proudest climb of the week I cried all the way up that hill tears of pride not only for what I have done but the team as well. I caught up with a straggler just before the last bend and steep up hill section having got to the top I waited for him to catch up and we rode the last couple of hundred yards together so fitting to not finish on my own. We have made excellent time and get to spend 1 hour in a warm pub before the glory bit of the ride starts.

So the last part of the ride we have no support crew they are making their way direct to Fratton Park we are cycling down Portsdown Hill to Cosham left onto Havant Road right on to Eastern Road then round by the Milton Arms and the Shepherds Crook what a welcome so glad the lights were red just to take in the atmosphere then we cycle up Goldsmith Avenue and turn right into Frogmore Road PO4 we can hear noise as we turn in and cycle down to be greeted by the support crew family friends and the press. I find Hazel and give her a massive hug and cry again. York2 Pompey Day 4

I want to end this blog about our Support crew 7 amazing people who put up with the mickey taking  the dramas and all the other little bits that no one sees. They have without fail known when to give out the banter and when we were digging in that line never got crossed once which just goes to show the team spirit we had, what some of the new crew did not realize was how hard being the passenger was (and why would they) follow the cyclist it ain't hard is it? Wrong they spent every second           checking mirrors looking for us making sure they knew where were are we alright are we safe what are the cars behind trying to do is it safe to let them pass. They are the true hero's of Team York2Pompey because without each and everyone of them we could not have ridden that distance. I hope this link works Fratton Park Reception

I have made 34 friends, most I did not know before this ride we all had a common bond which has grown over the 5 days we spent together we all have amazing memories and stories to tell and no one can ever take away those 288 miles or the 24 hours and 5 minutes spent in the saddle. I am proud to have ridden with you all, you are all hero's we all had our demons to conquer and we did. Lets not leave it too long before we have another get together. I love you all. Big Pompey Ride  

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Feelings of Starting Again

As you are aware I have come a long way since I started my journey from the weight loss to exercising including all the amazing running and cycling achievements I have completed and plan to do in the future. I have had many ups and downs and they still continue which is the reason for writing this blog. Let me try and explain where I'm at right now.

Before and after my trip to Cuba I had made the effort to lose the weight I had put back on and start to lose some new weight this I managed to achieve getting my weight down to 94kg (lowest before this was 95kg) I am sitting here writing this blog extremely disappointed with myself, in the past 3 or 4 weeks I have fallen off the wagon on a massive scale far worse than any of the previous downs I have had. My weight is 98kg I am mortified that for the last 2 weeks I was aware I was eating all the time worse still eating crap bland tasteless rubbish but still I could not stop myself.

Have I come out of the other side? truthfully at this moment no I have not, I am hoping that writing this blog will kick start me to get back on track and take control of food rather than it controlling me. I am listening to my pods everyday I just have trust they will kick in very soon, they always kick in so I'm not worried about failure. So that's where I am at the moment on the food side a successful failure.

Again as you may be aware I am still having problems with my legs, getting them/me stronger to be able to cope with what I require them to do will be a slow and as I have just found out a painful process.I have a two pronged assault to this problem. The first one is core exercises, I need to strengthen my core muscles as this is the cause of my leg problems my core muscles are so weak that my legs over compensate thus causing me to break down. The second one is Pilates my body is clearly not the temple I believed it to be (more like a two up two down that needs renovating)

As always when I go looking for something (lifestyle related) that I need I tend to find what I'm looking for, waiting asking questions not rushing in seems to pay off for me which is good as I have had a life time of throwing good money after bad, my aim now is to spend it wisely and correctly the first time thus saving money at the same time. I had a couple of options only one seemed to meet my needs but require's travelling out of town to achieve it, I have been twice in 3 weeks (shift work still gets in the way) and it feels right and comfortable I feel I will be able to achieve my goals.

So I have been twice I do a 1 hour core circuits session followed by a 45 minutes Pilates, the first thing to note is how hard they are to do, I can do a couple of the core circuits no problem but most I seriously struggle with, this just highlights how weak my core muscles are and how hard I will have to work to see the major improvements needed to make me run and cycle faster and longer. As I look around the room watching people do new exercises that I am learning for the first time I can see that whilst they are better at them than me they are pushing there own boundaries and fighting there own battles, I still feel like a complete beginner with no experience which if I'm honest I am a little shocked by.

As for the Pilates I have always known my body is not supple at all I don't feel such a novice doing Pilates solely because I knew I was starting from way beyond the start line. I have enjoyed the Pilates its very hard I struggle to hold some of the positions for the time required but I do know I will get better as time goes on. I have the knowledge and experience to know that these feelings of being the newbie of learning new exercises I will not only benefit from keeping going I will also get better as well. Both sessions are very very hard at the moment I hope that over the next couple of months they will just become hard.

My plan now is to get control of the food again lose the weight I have just put back on and some more I may even take some time off work on a Tuesday night to get some extra sessions in and to make up for a couple of football games as Pompey play a on a Tuesday evening. My long term goal is to complete all 3 Duathlons next year and the York2Pompey cycle ride. They are great goals that will keep me focused on working hard and help me to get fitter stronger and faster. I'm sure that for a few more weeks or more I will do these Tuesday sessions I will push myself harder than I should so I give myself the best opportunity to stop the pain from lasting 4 days as my body screams at me whilst it recovers from my endeavors.

As I have always said Patience is the key nothing will improve overnight I have to remind myself of that every Tuesday because the easy option is just give up this week I had those thoughts they did not last long because I will never give up, I will always challenge myself no matter how hard the obstacles may be.      

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Golden Goal Achieved

When I started my journey 3 years ago my goals were to reach 13 stone or 83kg and reevaluate when I reached that goal Goal Post and too stop taking insulin and injecting myself everyday. Both goals have not been reached until now, a lot of reevaluating has been done in that time, over the weight compromise's have been made as I have run and cycled trained hard raced hard and recovered /recovering from injuries along the way.Everything I have done and achieved has had either a positive or negative effect on my weight, believe it or not running is not the pathway to weight loss having learnt that lesson I become comfortable with my weight yo yoing between 98kg-104kg it is still frustrating at times but I am comfortable with where I'm at.

About 18 months I was given some devastating news for me and that was it was very likely that I would be on insulin for the rest of my life, I remember sitting with Dr Lorraine Albon crestfallen with that news and Lorraine trying to be positive and lift me. At this point life carried on, the highs and lows starting to accept the bad news and moving on. 

I am not a good diabetic by any stretch of the imagination but am a lot better than I ever have been. over the past year I have been hit and miss with my insulin because I am only taking small amounts, so whilst my HBA1C is a little higher than it needs to be it has still been coming down which is good. When I saw Lorraine just over a month ago she put me on a new drug this tablet makes me pee more but importantly it pees the sugar out of my body it also uses up 300-400 calories a day. This drug is so new it has only been on the market for 6 months.

So today as I write this blog my first 28 days are up for this new tablet, I have had no side effects I clearly have been peeing more often (I wont go into any more details lol) but its all good news on that front my weight has come down from approx 103kg -104kg to 97.1kg today thats a weight loss of 6kg or nearly a stone which has been my up and down weight band, whilst always wanting to be lighter as long as I run and cycle I have accepted that weight band. This is weight I have put back on not new weight loss, when I hit 95kg I will then be losing new weight.

Whilst I had my appointment with Lorraine at QA Hospital I was also seeing the practice diabetic nurse at my local surgery, I have had so many blood test's in the past 2 months its unbelievable but when the results are so good then its worthwhile its worth noting that some of the bloods were to make sure I am good for Cuba, that is a major challenge and its important that we are all now happy that I can undertake this challenge without failing ill. I have everything I need to look after myself I will have plenty of water, isotonic tablets and energy bars and gels to make sure I get through the day and recover afterwards as well.

For the past 3 weeks I have not been taking my insulin (as requested) I have been checking my blood sugar levels twice a day everyday!!! (at least once a day at the very least!!) the results have been good my HBA1C has fallen steadily and is now down to 60 from 65 since the start of the year, the aim is be steady between 53-55. The confirmation came on Thursday just gone, I could also stop my other injection as this clashed with the new tablet so was not now needed.  

I can now say that a long term goal that at one time was unattainable has not only become attainable because of the ground breaking research has now happened. I am a DIABETIC it is controlled by tablets and diet  (hate that word) lifestyle. I am not insulin dependent anymore nor will I be in the future. 

The lesson here is to not give up when you get bad news but to digest that information by all means have a little blow out (but know your boundaries) then reset your goals to something manageable something smaller build up the little wins so the bigger win becomes achievable. 

As Trevor Silvester says "things are not meant to be easy just possible" Many of you have followed my journey read my blogs seen my run/cycle reports to know that I have not found this easy that it's required a lot of hard work to get where I am today. I have heard people say that I'm an instant/overnight success if I am its taken 3 years to become that and I am still not at the end of my journey.

So now is the time to take a deep breath take in the shock good news about my diabetes and reset my goals because the goal posts have shifted so much in the past month. As I always do I will make then now in public so you can see how my journey goes. I still have two goals one is ongoing and the other will be staying in range goal, so lets do that one first. 

My goal is to never have to go back on insulin I will manage my lifestyle in such a way that my blood sugars stay within the band set by my Diabetic nurse. I will have to work hard at this and learn how to do this properly I have never been in a position where I have reached a health target before, I have said many many times how much I love learning new things about myself, this opportunity just opens up so many new learning experiences for me. I am very excited about this stage of my journey.

Goal Two, I was surprised when I read back that first blog (see link above) the weight goal was based on if I had surgery that would easily have been my weight goal if not a little lower. I will still stick by that statement for now but as always with big long term goals you have to break them down in to smaller chunks. My goal now is to reach 89kg or 14 stone (that's a scary target) I will then take medical advice at that point about my next steps. I do not have the weight of my Diabetes to fall back on because I have reached that goal, I will not use my running as an excuse not to achieve this goal. I have come to the realization that to help make my calf's stronger if I carried less weight then this MAY help.

So there we go goals reset with the issues I have to fight along the way, I will no doubt at times take some backward steps as long as I learn from them I will succeed in the long term. I would like to make two statements so we all know exactly where I an at this present time, the first one is I am still Diabetic and will be for a long time to come. 

The second one is the problems I am still having at work I was hoping that they may have been fully addressed and a pathway forward found, this has not happened yet as I leave on my Cuba Cycle Challenge I know I have to return to work and it will not be easy addressing the problems. To help deal with them I will leave you with another Trevor statement that I live by "Be the the best you can manage"                     

Friday, 21 March 2014

Portsmouth Duathlon Series 2014

I blog about my journey, adventures and record my runs and races for two reasons, the first one is for me so that I have a record and I can see how I have improved over time and the second more important reason is to inspire others who wish to change there lifestyles, what can be achieved if you believe in yourself and push your boundaries. Not everyone has to run or cycle long or short distances to be successful it can just be doing more than you did before. Taking the dog for a work more often and for a longer time is just as rewarding as me running or cycling long distances. Its all about doing more than we did before.

I am very lucky that I get a lot of help support and encouragement from many quarters, I am sure that without that support network I would not have done half of what I have achieved in the last 3 years. Last Sunday I took part in a local Duathlon race this is the second year of the the 3 race series and my only goal this year is to complete all 3 races, last year in race 2 I twisted my ankle on the beach section and had to pull out. its worth remembering that last year I had problems with my calf's.

Three weeks ago I took part in the Portsmouth Half Marathon sadly my calf's gave way and I had to walk the last 6 miles, so doing the Duathlon and just having a goal of completing is a major goal. I manged to complete the Duathlon by doing the last 5K slowly but allowing me to run in the last 1k without my calf's seizing up. 5k Run 15K Cycle 5K Run I am going to see my Doctor and Podiatrist next week to discuss what other options are now available for my calf's, on the positive side I can still run shorter distances like 10K without problems and I can cycle long distances just like yesterday Cycle Training

The next Duathlon will be 7.5K run 15K cycle and 5K run with a 4 week gap I am confidant that I will complete the course but hopeful my calf will give me a chance of doing better in the last 5K run. I would like to thank Hazel for coming out with the camera and taking great photos of the day. It was only because Dame Kelly was there I asked Hazel to come and stand in the cold for over two hours Hazel has done her time standing in the cold and wet for me so I appreciate her efforts Thank You.

Now for the main reason for blogging about our little Duathlon series and my amazing day that even now 5 days later I am still buzzing about. We had a sporting great and one of 3 sporting hero's of mine taking part in this race Dame Kelly Holmes. Dame Kelly is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of her Double Olympic Gold Medal triumph by doing a Duathlon a month for the year.    

Dame Kelly Holmes 
Dame Kelly spent time with other competitor's allowing photo's to be taken and quick chats to be had, Dame Kelly also spent time after the race doing the same thing. Sadly I was to slow to see Dame Kelly at the end (even I would not wait around for me to finish!!!) But I managed to have a couple of chats and photos at the start

I was also lucky that in the bike transition that being a back marker its a nightmare finding somewhere to put the bike I found a small space and hung my bike up I had to take off helmet etc and get ready to run my last 5K Who happened to be right there having just finished her run yep Dame Kelly how lucky was I? I had another very quick chat with Dame Kelly upset that I did not have a pen to get my number signed. Dame Kelly is a brilliant athlete a kind and carrying person with a radiant smile and a love for people like me to be taking part in these events. It's not all about winning or being at the front, I know that the first 2 thirds of the race were good for me I did what I hoped I would do (we always want a little faster) the last section I have to work on.

I said earlier I had 3 sporting hero's they are Dame Kelly Holmes I remember her two gold medal runs Dame Kelly was not favorite to win both races but hard work and determination got her home. I admired that motivation and focus more so since I started running 3 years ago.
Mo Farah what a great athlete and role model as Mo was inside my 3 years I understood better what he managed to achieved I also had the pleasure of being in the same race as Mo last year the Bupa 10,000 Now this is a bigger event with VIP tents so I did not get to speak or get photos with Mo. Just being able to see him on the other side of the road running so fast was amazing and again something to cherish.
Paula Radcliffe is my last sporting hero and someone I have yet to meet or be in the same event as, As someone who has and is struggling with injury free running I have felt Paula's pain for a long time as she has battled against injury and sadly failing in the end bringing her career to an early end. I trust that Paula can still run for fun and enjoy herself.  





Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Long Distance Running.

                            Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon Completed. 

That is a massive statement and something I am very proud to have achieved. This was my second half marathon to go with my one Marathon, so that's 3 long distance race's I have completed, again I'm very proud of each of these achievements because it takes something very special inside someone to train for these events. But.......... I have finished each of these races with serious calf problems. I spent the majority of 2013 recovering from the Marathon and I have sought and received medical advice. I have a sports massage as I need or when I can afford to have one so the preventative side is in place and I have been running injury free for at least 8 months now so I am clearly looking after myself and able to enjoy injury free running.

So I was talked/encouraged to enter this half marathon, when it was mentioned I spoke of reason's why I had not entered and whilst talking I realized that I had a choice, I could enter and see what will happen or do nothing maybe never know or even worse enter a marathon start training for that and then breaking down in training or the race itself. In that respect I was confident I would complete the race. I had a slow time target of 2:45:00 so I was under no pressure to do anything other that run the first part of the race, enjoy myself then settle down to run/walk the rest to get home in one piece and be able to say I can do that distance again.

So let me run you through the race Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon . All was good up to the 5 mile mark then we turned into the wind to go back so this was a natural slowing down up until mile 6 then I get the bubbles going up and down my legs (lactic acid I believe) this is the warning sign that things are now going to be bad. I take a deep breath and run/walk straight away slow everything down just like in training and I will be ok wrong. Yet again in a long distance race situation the calf's give up on me completely the despair at this point with 7 miles still to go is all consuming. I have a good hour and a half by myself with my thoughts this is not a good place to be trust me, I know I will finish that is not in the equation at all I just have to march hard looking after my calf's making sure they do not cramp out that is the easy part.

The hard part is in my head battling away with the demons making sense of what is happening, coping with the huge disappointment I am feeling and also coping with the fact that the enjoyment of the day has evaporated, this is now not fun. I have to cope with the fact that I can now only walk, that people who are out and about can see me with my race number walking. You cannot tell that I'm injured (a few times I pulled up with cramp but not many). I also hobbled/run the last couple of hundred yards why? I don't know. I know it's stupid and I always tell others not to worry what other people think, but there you go. I am gutted that a part of my body is not nor will not do what I require of it. This is not a knee jerk reaction this is a result of a lot of hard work to repair and heal the one thing I have given is time and plenty of it.

So it is with regret and a great deal of sadness that I will no longer enter long distance running races. The longest race I will enter is the Great South Run at 10 miles. I will concentrate on the positives and will look to improve my 10K times to chase the dream of being able to run the distance comfortably, and to also chase the 5K dream of a sub 30 minute run. Time will tell if both of these goals are achievable. If they are both achievable it may take a long time to achieve but I will have a lot of fun and enjoyment trying to get there. I also have my little Duathlon Series this year the plan will be to go one better than last year and finish all 3 races uninjured.

I have two great stand alone cycling challenges this year the Cuba Cycle Challenge which also happens to be in the middle of Duathlon 2 and 3 so a bit of warm weather training then. I have also signed up to do the iconic London to Brighton Cycle Ride in May. Any plans I have during the year for endurance training will be done on the bike as this allows me to push myself without having the impact on my legs which means I will stay fitter have less injuries and as I said already enjoy myself which is the most important thing.

I also plan to volunteer for the longer races in Portsmouth, being towards the back of the field I appreciate the efforts of all the marshalls who give up there time for free so that these races can go ahead. I love to be able to give something back to encourage people who are making a tremendous effort and also see the front runners effortlessly running something I normally miss. I feel a little defeated for making this decision but I'm making it for the right thought out reasons. So as one door closes more than one invariably opens up. New opportunity's and challenges will come my way I await them with open arms as I say goodbye to half and full marathons and cherish the marvelous memories of the London Marathon, Brighton Half Marathon, and the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon.


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Unofficial Happy 3rd Birthday

On this day 3 years ago I traveled to London to meet Sandra Roycroft-Davis and Trevor Silvester a broken, demoralized man, someone with really only two options to completely give up on myself or find a way to get my life back, I choose the second option I also choose Thinking Slimmer they found me they offered to help me, I read their website I thought about what they said to me, I felt that they understood me that they really wanted to help me, so it was with a mixture fear,trepidation and dare I say it a little bit of hope that someone could help me after 46 years. I was very scared that day I really had all my eggs in one basket I had to hope that it was the right basket.

I firstly met Sandra who kindly met me at Victoria train station then we went to Harley Street to meet Trevor the only way to describe what happened that day was that the person who walked into that room that day was not the person who walked out afterwards. It was a very emotional time I spoke of things I had never spoken of before I never ever thought I would speak about these things/feelings. it was not only emotional it was a life changing moment. The best way to describe it was like jump starting the battery on your car everything then comes to life and starts working again.

You have all seen or read my journey the other posts are there to see, so I won't go over to much old ground. I have decided (Mum and Dad I hope you understand this and don't take offence) that as I really don't celebrate my birthday that I will now be like the queen and have two birthdays and that Today the 18th February 2014 I stand before you to celebrate the fact that I am 3 years young today, I have achieved so much more in these 3 years than the previous 46 years put together.

I have lost and kept off 5 stone I am in awe of myself for this fact alone because if I'm honest I expected to have put it back on by now. I am a runner and cyclist I am still finding new challenges to keep me focused I am getting ready to run my 2nd half marathon on Sunday I am looking forward to my 2nd year of doing the Portsmouth-Duathlon-Series I have also signed up to do the London-Brigthon Bike Ride.

I also have been extremely lucky to have been asked if I would like to take part in the Cuba Cycle Challenge this opportunity would never have been offered to me if I had not made the choice to change my life and lifestyle so if your struggling thinking nothing good ever happens to me like I did then 3 years down the line you too can be looking back at all the good things that have happened.

Yes Thinking Slimmer helped me but like each and everyone of you, there is only one person who can want to change and that is ourselves without that one choice nothing will ever change. Is it easy? will it get easier? what will I learn about myself? will I ever stop learning about myself? I have 46 years of baggage to get rid of not all of it is bad I will cherish the good bits of those years and will continue to lose the bad parts of them. In the last 3 years I have changed from being the victim to being in control of my life, I make the decision's about how I feel, about what I do when I do it other people can have an opinion and they can give it but I choose my destiny. I am in control of my life, I am in control of food, I love being in control.
I still have bad days when I struggle but they are only that bad days I know I will survive them, it may take a little time but I will always always fight for my right to have the happy healthy life I deserve, as for some of my bigger issues (bullies) they are still there they are causing me problems but I refuse to go back to that way of life. My name is Darin McCloud I am proud of who I am I am proud of who I am trying to be, go away and leave me alone this man is for bullying no more if you keep trying I will keep defending my rights to be treated like a normal person. I will challenge your behaviour to treat me with respect and dignity.

Today is a day to celebrate my new life, to my life parents Sandra and Trevor thank you for believing when I did not have the courage or belief to do so. To my Mum and Dad thank you for supporting me unconditionally I hope that the 4 of you are just as proud of what we have achieved and where I am today as I am.