Blogger Spotlight: How Many Miles
It has to be completing my first Half Marathon. Didn’t break any land speed records, but given I have only been running (or doing anything really) for under a year and couldn’t mobilise unaided for several years as a child, it is my proudest moment, although completing Tough Mudder and the Spartan Beast were also highlights that I’ll never forget (unless the electric shocks do anything to my long term memory).
Goals for the year ahead:
I turned 40 this month and went event hunting. One of my Tribes and Challenges is “Only Too Much Is Enough”, but my bank manager and girlfriend might disagree. I’ve signed up for the Edinburgh Marathon, the Great Scottish and Great North Runs while I’ll no doubt sign up again for a Tough Mudder and Spartan Race. I’m also competing in my first Sprint Triathlon so an immediate goal is to learn to swim and to get a bike!
But my main goals, this year, are to launch my two programmes to help other morbidly obese and fellow civil servants who want to get more active. I’ve assembled my own team of expert fat and fitness avengers and hope to launch my public programme in the next few months while my Civil Service LiveLife Challenge has just kicked off.
Current Tribesports challenge:
Too many to count. I’m amazed and inspired by all the great challenges that appear and I can’t resist adding them. I even failed my own “Just Don’t” Challenge and I probably should be doing one of my quiz show Challenges “Starter For Ten” I like to reach for the stars so currently focusing on trying to help us all Reach For The Moon and get myself across the monkey bars at my next Tough Mudder by taking part in the BMF Challenge.
Most embarrassing sports moment:
My first triathlon experience. Turning up in my girlfriend’s one (working) gear purple mtb (that weighs about the same as myself) and then proceeding to breast stroke my way through the swim leg, would not have instilled fear in the other competitors.
But, hey, I still didn’t come anywhere near last, which is always a bonus!
Stephen, it's great to be able to feature one of our Tribesports Veterans in our blogger spotlight! What are some of the toughest Challenges that you had to overcome before you joined us?
Firstly, I hope “Veteran” relates to my tenure on Tribesports and not my new race age category (getting tetchy, now I’m forty). My biggest obstacle was me. It would take people a small age to navigate around me. At over 25st, doing anything remotely active was almost impossible and I was more intent on eating courses than going around them.
I love running but there was a time when I couldn’t walk unaided and was told that I’d never be “sporty”. As a child, I was hospitalised and confined to a wheelchair and then crutches for a few years. So, one of my biggest challenges has been to put my past behind me and focus on what I CAN do as opposed to what I thought I couldn’t.
And then, there were the shouts of abuse from passing motorist when I first ventured out running. It stopped me in my tracks and stopped me running for a bit. Although, it did make me all the more determined and I was soon striding back out.
Losing all that weight only for my wife to leave was heartbreaking and it could so easily have sent me spiralling back into comfort eating but exercise (and challenges) came to the rescue and I’m happy to say that I’m now with a wonderful woman who loves my passion and enthusiasm and who has sworn to challenge my supremacy (it’s another boys vs girls challenge) in the upcoming 5x50 Challenge.
You have made some outstanding changes in your life, how did you go about realising these and what qualities and tools did you find the most helpful?
I went from devouring food to devouring books. I researched all the diet plans available, considered what I had tried before and what might work for me and I made a plan, set goals and made myself accountable by proclaiming to anyone that would listen that I’d be an Ironman by 2015. Oh, how they laughed.
I made constant, small changes to my lifestyle. This prevented me from becoming overloaded and helped me evaluate their effectiveness. Firstly I stopped drinking alcohol. I then gave up sweets and crisps followed by all refined sugars. Eventually I gave up eating completely on certain days and now swear by Intermittent Fasting (see my recent Mail on Sunday feature).
I used social networking to get and give support to others on their own journeys and took part in some weight loss challenges (the start of my Challenge obsession).
And, as my girlfriend and bank manager will testify to, I constantly fill my race calendar and seek new challenges. Wherever I go, I pack my running kit and last year I managed runs in London, Paris, Madrid and the Lake District.
We've been keeping an eye on your, Get Published Tribe, how have you been finding the writing experience and what inspired you to get started?
My boss regularly comments that my flexi sheets and performance self appraisals are works of creative genius so when I started on my journey, I decided to write a wee newsletter for my colleagues that would hopefully help them understand what I was doing, give me a little accountability and raise the profiles of the charities I was fundraising for. It now has a distribution list of 7,000 (although probably still read by about 7).
I’ve been really lucky. In the past three months, I’ve been featured in “Men’s Running” magazine (twice) the Mail on Sunday, Jog Scotland’s “Stride” magazine my local newspaper and I’ve even had some work accepted for Australia’s “Wellbeing” magazine.
And to top it all off my blog, which I started just a few months ago, with the aim of keeping myself motivated and encouraging others, is now being featured on Tribesports. ;o)
I hope it is only the start of an exciting new hobby (and one that might even help pay for all my race entries and kit eventually). They say that everyone has a book in them and so far I’ve managed about 10,000 words.
If there was one particular (realistic) sporting skill you could add to your locker, what would you choose and why?
Really has to be the front stroke at swimming or my Triathlon career might end before it gets started and I might end up in Davy Jones’ locker. Time to go look for a new Tribesports Tribe I think.
What is your standout Tribesports Challenge?
I’ve posted a fair few and like to be creative with my Challenges (and a little cheeky and controversial, at times) and I really liked my Squat and have a swiss against a wall and my Just don't but for me, the beauty of Tribesports is about how we all post fun and sometimes crazy challenges that do in fact serve a purpose. So my favourite personal challenge is Run like you stole something, although I really think my Game Show Challenges (that I created in one crazy night) deserve more takers!
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