I’d never been particularly active, even at school I’d prefer to sit in a classroom during break times and lunch time drawing and catching up with friends. PE was never my favourite subject – whenever I could, I’d get a friend to write a note from ‘Mum’ and I’d sit on the sidelines chatting and watching the world go by.
The strangest thing about it all was that I could run – fast. Every day, as soon as the bell rang, I was first out of the gates – sprinting at full pelt to the bus stop half a mile away, to catch the first possible bus home.
I was never the fastest on the 100m track – or the 400m track for that matter, I could barely make it around on sports day – having a good reason to run seemed to be the key to achieving speeds and distances I’d never done before.
Without a reason to run, I never ran for fun – ever.
I became quite fit when I left school, my weight was higher than I wanted it to be, and at the start of the summer holidays I decided I wanted to look good for college – it could be a new start and I could rebuild my image.
Sit ups and press-ups were the key to achieving the body I wanted. What I didn’t realise was that I was also losing body fat without realising it, kicking a football around with my friends every day.
By the time I started college, I’d lost all my puppy fat and had a ‘baby six pack’. I continued to play football at break times and lunch time with my friends and I became relatively fit.
When I left college, I started working in a warehouse, lifting and stacking wooden pallets and boxes. Around this time, I discovered a love for lifting weights and I packed on some muscle too.
I had an opportunity to move from the warehouse into a sales job which was mostly desk based – that’s where my fitness went south. Over time, I stopped focusing on being fit and healthy, I lost all my muscle mass and started eating fast food – causing me to gain body fat.
14 years later, I was heavier than I’d ever been, I could barely climb the stairs without having to catch my breath, and I wanted to do something about it. A friend of mine had competed in Ironman a few times and seeing his progress made me want to do something similar.
I thought It would be foolish to start running without losing some weight first – walking would be the best start, so I got a dog – she would be my reason to walk. Every morning, at 5:30am, I would be up and ready to take Gem on a 10km walk. With the Nike+ app on my iPhone tracking my calorie burn, and my music playing, walking became a pleasure. My weight began to drop and I noticed a huge difference in my body shape.
I was browsing Amazon one day when I saw Dean Karnazes’ book ‘Ultramarathon Man’ – I’d seen him on TV earlier that year and thought “Wow! There are guys that run more than a marathon? That’s awesome!”, I’d also seen an article about him in a magazine at the local garage while I was waiting for my car to be fixed. I bought the book and started reading it, a seed began to form.
I soaked up everything in ‘Ultramarathon Man’ and then went looking for more books on running – I found ‘Born To Run’ by Christopher McDougal and ‘Relentless Forward Progress’ by Byron Powell. Relentless Forward Progress appealed to me because of my love for Kaizen. Born To Run really struck a chord with me – I was going to do it – I’m going to run an ultramarathon.
To go from non-runner to ultramarathoner is my goal.
Because it’s MASSIVE. Because it’s something I fear. Because it is going to break me mentally and physically. Because it’s going to be something I can look back at in years to come and say “Hell yeah, I did something most people would think is impossible.”
I’ve discovered recently that I’m an all or nothing guy – when I do things, I plan to go all the way. It’s going to take a lot of determination, but that’s something I have in abundance.
Since my journey from non-runner began (more details to come in another post), I have gone from 0 to 5km runner. I’m not the fastest, but I’m consistently beating my times and am about to increase my distance. My next milestone is 10km before I begin serious marathon training this year.
Have you ever had any insane goals, I’d love to hear from you.