Thanks for visiting (or perhaps re-visiting) my blog! It’s traditional I gather to ‘tell your story’ on this sort of blog. You might want to get a cup of tea and somewhere comfy to sit. You could be reading for a little while! Maybe we will have some things in common?
First some ‘house rules’
- – This is not going to be a sanctimonious holier than thou site – it’s just chronicling my foray into triathlon which perhaps some people will find interesting. Maybe you are doing something similar? Tell me…
- – I loath and detest the expression ‘healthy eating’ and ‘healthy choices’ – I will write more about this another day. But I promise to never write about ‘healthy’ food choices.
- – If you are easily offended, believe in political correctness, are a bleeding heart Liberal or worse a member of The Green Party, you are welcome to stay but frankly you are in the wrong place!
- – Occasionally I will go off topic, but this blog is about swim / bike / run and all that goes with a triathlon lifestyle. It chronicles my quest to become a Triathlete. If that sort of thing interests you then hopefully we will be similar and perhaps we will get to know each other a little.
- – Finally the underlying motive was / is to lose weight and shed fat. Not for any perceived health benefit and certainly not because I thought I would feel better… No purely for vanity!! Nothing more than that. If you are looking for deep and meaningful ‘healthy living’ tips you really are in the wrong place!!
Fat Child Grows Up Into Obese Adult
It’s a common enough story and pretty much summarises the first 48 years of my life! I was the fat kid that predictably came last every year in the Egg and Spoon and wanted to die when it was PE day. But as every fat child knows you develop coping strategies. Mine were grounded in Maths and Computing. Both skills that would serve me well in later life.
A sedentary corporate life style. Learning to love comfort eating through every crises that life could throw at me. Avoiding any form of exercise. None of these things made me unique… In fact they probably meant that I could conform and be part of what society considers normal.
As the years passed by I grew ever larger. Never truly astronomical – but certainly well into the morbidly obese camp. And of course once you are heading into that territory you absolutely stand no chance of ‘exercising’ your way out. Obviously I went to the gym… Who doesn’t. It’s part of the Corporate lifestyle. And of course as was exercising so hard I ‘needed’ to eat vast amounts of pasta. I think I put on more weight than ever BECAUSE of the gym!
But life was good and presented me with many unusual opportunities.
Learning About Learning
I love to learn new skills. Start form zero knowledge / zero competency and then see how far I can take things. Perhaps in a separate post I might write about some of the more unusual diversions in my life…
Hot Air Balloon Pilot and Instructor, Professional Magician, Corporate Speaker, Entrepreneur… It’s amazing what a fat child can achieve when they grow up into an obese adult 😉
The Day I Didn’t Die (circa 2009)
It turns out that if you are a long term morbidly obese adult and you go to see your GP (or at least my GP at the time) describing chest pains you can be prescribed GTN. Indeed without so much as a randomly placed stethascope. After all it’s obvious isn’t it? GTN… a marvellous drug if you have Angina, not so marvellous if you have a plural cavity chest infection! But the effects of taking GTN when you don’t need it are quite exciting… You go grey, palpitations, feel dizzy, feint and throw up (nearly). To others around you (wife for instance) who thinks you have been diagnosed with a heart condition… Well you look like you are having a heart attack.
A blue light ambulance ride later and having been fast tracked into A&E, I was feeling much better thanks! But no chance of being let out… After all I might have had a heart attack! The lady in the bed next to me did have one. She died. Right there in the bed next to me. Have you ever had an Oh F**k moment? I thought that I should do something about losing weight… I didn’t want to be her…
Now you might expect that is where my story into Triathlon starts? Not a chance!! It was going to take a lot more than a brush with death to make me decide to shed fat… In fact I carried on getting fatter.
The Age of The MAMIL. (circa 2010)
Middle Aged Man In Lycra… That was me. I found a bicycle shop and bought the cheapest bike I could. I was going to lose weight by EXERCISING… Not a chance!! Not even remotely possible.
First step was to be able to cycle non-stop to the next village and back…. Three miles. It took several months to achieve that. Then of course I had to ‘learn’ cycling. 2011 saw myself and three intrepid neighbours tackle the Oxford Cambridge 90 mile sportive and that led into full on MAMIL behaviours.
Didn’t even remotely lose any weight. Managed to consume more calories than I burned as obviously I had to eat more… I was EXERCISING! And so life as a morbidly obese adult rolled on. In fact at my peak in early 2016 I managed to weigh in at just a smidge under 19 stone. That is proper dedication to eating a huge amount of calories each day… Be active? Count steps? At 19 stone you are in no danger of doing anything active I can tell you!
Mirror Mirror On The Wall (2016)
Forty Eight years old, 19 stone, and the strangest thing happened. I saw myself in a full length mirror and thought “I don’t want to be fat anymore. I don’t WANT TO LOOK LIKE THIS”. Let’s be clear; this was not about wanting to be healthy, avoiding a heart attack, being able to go for a walk in the lake district, actually being able to keep up with people on my bike or anything else. This was pure vanity. I just decided I wanted to look different. So as you will now appreciate – I had to ‘learn’ and take it as far as I could. How different could I look… It was no more profound than that!
For me the process was simple. Weight Watchers App on my phone. I had no desire to attend a humiliation class, to be publicly weighed like a prize Heffer, and patronised with a badge. The App is simple; record EVERYTHING you put in your mouth and in effect manage a calorie budget. And the Weight Watchers system works really well. Many better qualified people will now disagree with me – but my experience was (IS!!) that if you eat less calories than you consume you lose weight. Do it the other way around and you gain weight… Essentially it is that simple.
OMG I Can Run (2017)
As the weight started to go I was eventually able to do some light short jogging and with the help of a treadmill and the couch to 5k App (spot the App thing?)… I decided to become a jogger. I was never going to be a runner (my wife is an awesome runner, so I knew how fast real runners go…) But maybe I could run 1 kilometre none stop? Eventually I could run 5k! I could not believe it. To “celebrate” I decided to enter a charity 10k run with my neighbours… I was in endanger of becoming a runner! Well the amount of training that went into running that b*****y 10k you could be forgiven for thinking that I was training for a marathon… That of course came a bit later.
October 2017 that was the day it happened. I finished my first ‘race’ and didn’t come last! I ran, so I was a runner. And above all else I had lost weight. For the first time in my life I could say I was not fat!!!
The Accidental Triathlete (2018)
I write this in the December of 2018 and what a first year I have had! Raced in several Triathlons, a few running races and even the odd bike event. But triathlon came into my life purely by accident. As it happens probably one of the best things that has ever happened. I had been thinking about joining a running club, but having been rejected by my local one thought it was probably not for me…I was part of a Strava club and I quite liked seeing what real runners, and even Triathletes, were doing in my vicinity. But then in March 2018 the ‘real’ club decided that if people wanted to remain part of the virtual Strava club then they would need to be members… And that included me 🙁
Barely a runner, and although I had a secret desire to have a go at Triathlon, I had no business going to a Multi-Sport club. Dear reader – I refer you to the Egg & Spoon race! I sent an email, explaining that I had just started running but perhaps one day I might like to have a go at swim / bike / run… And did they cater for complete beginners? To my astonishment I not only received a reply (!!) but it was helpful, encouraging and welcoming. That was my first experience of Wootton Tri – a great bunch of boys and girls that have led me astray, taught me no end and always encouraged me.
October 2018, one year from my first 10k race and with masses of help, support and encouragement from my pals at Wootton, I completed the Long Course Weekend in Mallorca. A full distance triathlon over three days: 3.8k swim, 172k bike and then run a Marathon on the third day. Apparently I had become a triathlete…
At The Start Line (2019)
What next? 2019 promises to be an even more awesome year and of course I have some ambitious plans. Now you know me a little better would you really expect anything else? I’m sure I will look back at the end of 2019 as I am doing now, with equal disbelief… And 2020? Yes plans are taking shape for then too!
When I looked in that mirror in 2016 and decided it was time for a change… Well suffice to say I’m f***ing glad it was there for me to look into 😉
Ed - “The Accidental Triathlete”