Sunday, 8 January 2012

From Blob to Blog

Had to go back to work this week after the last 10 days off over Christmas and New Year and it wasn't a pleasant experience having to get up early again! From a training perspective it has been fairly productive. After my exertions in the Fell Race on New Year's Day it was good to do a few laps around the NSC on Tuesday evening - not too strenuous, but a good workout. I had planned to do the Fireman's run on Thursday, but ended up going down to the NSC again and met Jock and Michael George. Michael had been away on holiday after Christmas and seemed keen to make up for being away, as he really went for it, leaving me in his trail, as we started off doing 200m at pace, increasing 100m per time up to 600m and back down again to 200m.  This will certainly help with the fitness and stamina.

Yesterday was the usual Saturday morning at 8am with Jock, Vinny, Dave W and Marie. We covered about 11 miles, heading out from the NSC, along the promenade, up Summerhill and out to the Liverpool Arms, before coming back through Groudle and back along the prom again. Anyone who was out training yesterday will have appreciated just how windy it was!

Stopping on the prom, Jock and Vinny tried to sell the benefits to Dave and I, of paddling in the sea, apparently giving similar benefits to an ice bath. It was high tide, so they were able to go straight down the concrete steps into the uninviting water. Vinny held on to the rail at the side whilst Jock enthusiastically ran down the steps only to end up sliding on his backside into the sea, grazing his arms and hands in the process, whilst Dave and I looked on providing encouragement and sympathy. To help Jock's recovery and allow him to treat his wounds, we headed off to Mash for sausage and bacon baps. This morning I pushed myself to get out of bed and go for a run on a five mile loop from my house on Bray Hill, out to the Strang and Abbeylands and back home again.  Glad I did in the end as had Sunday lunch at the In-laws and didn't feel guilty about the chocolate biscuits I ate after.

As promised in my last blog I said I would write about what motivated me to do the Parish Walk for the first time. The clue is in the title of this blog, as I was very overweight, was eating and drinking the wrong things and not taking enough exercise. The best way to emphasise this point is to publish a photo from my fat days. I was initially reluctant to do this, as I still can't believe how I managed to let myself go so much and it embarrasses me. However, I looked back through our collection to try and find the worst photo I could and I think you'll agree this one is pretty shocking, so brace yourself!!!!!!!

This is a picture of me on my Stag Do in Brussels in 2004. Can't believe Kyley was so brave to marry that! (Neither can I!!- The Editor)

I was pretty much the same size until 5 years ago when I decided enough was enough. I had always been fairly active, either playing football or running, but a few years earlier had torn the ligaments in my ankle and did little exercise for months after that. However, I somehow convinced myself that I wasn't too overweight and plodding around playing 5 a side football once a week was more than sufficient. It was at the end of October 2006 that Kyley's sister Steph had her 21st birthday and seeing the photos afterwards convinced me that enough was enough. A complete lifestyle change was required, but it would have to wait until after Christmas that year.

I can recall on 4th January 2007 finishing off all the sweets, biscuits and fattening foods in the house (couldn't throw them out could I!), before kicking off the lifestyle change on 5th January. It's all very well deciding to change your eating and drinking habits and start doing more exercise, but without a clear objective or target to work towards it is even more difficult. I had been overweight before, lost a few pounds and then put them back on again and thought I would always be a fat lad. Fortunately, my father-in-law Paul Phillips had taken part in the 2006 Parish Walk and suggested I join him in 2006. He had finished at Kirk Michael, which I thought was pretty impressive, but never one to shirk a challenge I said I would give it a go in 2007. I knew a little about the Parish Walk beforehand, but this mainly consisted of Robbie Callister's amazing exploits and Sean Hands's unbelievable record lap in 2006. I also had a recollection of stumbling out of a nightclub on Douglas Prom and seeing these 'idiots' finishing the Parish Walk. Whilst I respected what they were doing, I couldn't believe that someone could actually walk 85 miles, but worse even want to!

Even so, I did agree to enter in 2007, as I thought how hard could walking be! Kyley started going out first with her friends and convinced me to join them a couple of times. I didn't think walking would be a particularly good form of exercise and felt I would need to do something more strenuous. I soon realised that this walking lark was actually quite hard work, especially carrying significant excess pounds, but that it was ideal for increasing the metabolism for losing weight plus a very sociable activity. My diet changed completely from processed and takeaway food, plus regular visits to the pub, to more vegetables and home cooked meals, replacing snacks with fruit and cutting back on alcohol. The first two or three weeks were very difficult, but once you start to form routines and start to see the pounds dropping off, your motivation levels increase. Over the next 6 months I lost 6 stone and have kept the weight off ever since and would never let myself get back to the size I was before, as I can recognise when I slip back into old eating habits. Also, I enjoy exercise more than ever and in the last year I can't remember a time in my life when I have been as fit.

Whether your objective is to get fitter or lose weight, my advice would be to set yourself challenging but achievable targets and when you meet them, set new ones. Also, find people who can support you doing this, which in my case was Kyley. (This bought a tear to my eye, and he really is the best husband, big or small - The Editor)

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