I began 2010 the same way I’d been through life to that point, I pretty much did what I pleased when it came to food and drink. I ate as pleased, and the most exercise I got was a bit of mild weight lifting at the gym. I hadn’t ever really considered that all that healthy eating nonsense even applied to me. Aged 22 I was in pretty bad shape, I was always concerned about body image, but didn’t have the motivation or reason really do anything about it, and I’ve since realised I was in denial. When I did go to the gym I only really did weights, which made me looking even bigger than I was! I always palmed off cardio work, and chalked it up to having had an ACL reconstruction a few years earlier, and the excuse that “I can’t run”. At my heaviest I remember seeing 107kg on the scales (I’m 5’10”, so a BMI of 33.8).
In early 2010 something changed and having realised I really was in denial with myself, badly out of shape, and pretty much obese. I’ve seen a lot of people attempt lifestyle change and attempts at weight loss, with generally something in common throughout. When people talk about it non-stop, it generally never seems to happen for them (Happy to be proved wrong!) Rather than making a fuss to my friends about how I was going to change everything, I decided to just get on with it. I realised the only way to attack this was to get my diet into a manageable but sustainable level, and then really go to town on the exercise to create a strong calorie deficit. This was helped by largely cutting out any alcoholic drink too. My exercise of choice would be running, I’d seen my sister run, and complete a few 10k races, and had always wanted to do something similar. So I started out, and ran most days, at the beginning I couldn’t even manage a mile without stopping, it was seriously tough. Over the months I slowly built up my fitness and the weight was falling off, I was getting compliments everywhere I went and I felt amazing, and weighed only around 85kg by christmas 2010. Luckily during this time I had a couple of friends that were also running which was so helpful in motivation.
Up to this point, I’d gotten so much into my running that I was now entering events. Cardiff 10k, in 2010 with a 55 minute time, then my local 10k in 49 minutes which was a personal highlight as my first sub 50 time. My next big goal was Plymouth half marathon in May 2011, and my longest run to date. This came and went, and I ran it in a 1:46.00 which I was pretty happy with. Training for this was very unstructured, pretty much just running 10k’s a couple times a week, with the odd sprint 2-3km thrown in for good measure. It seemed to work though.
At this point I was fairly happy with how I looked and my fitness. So much so that I became a bit lazy throughout 2011, and I ended up going from being around 78kg and my leanest, at the time of the half marathon back up to 85kg by Christmas time. Probably due to a summer on holiday, on the booze punctuated with not a great deal of exercise. I’d grown complacent, and probably a bit arrogant. This made me pretty unhappy as I soon realised what was happening.
Beginning 2012 I decided on another step change (I’d done it once before, why not again), partly spurred on by being told my lifestyle of exercise was unsustainable during 2010 by a friend, I do take enjoyment from proving people wrong. During the end of 2011 and into 2012 I was cycling to work, which I was enjoying a lot. I then decided to invest in a road bike and got a lot more into my cycling when it turned 2012. I’d cycled a lot as a child and in my teenage years, so had an entrenched love for the activity already. It was then that the idea of a triathlon popped into my mind, as a friend had completed the London triathlon in 2011. I’d swam for a club in my early teenage years, and cycled and ran already so I had the raw ingredients. I entered in January 2012, and had the successful results of the entry ballot by February. By May 2012 I was embarking on my own training plan, this was taken straight from the web. Halfway through this process, and having gotten thoroughly into triathlon (without having done one yet!), I was absolutely loving the training. Triathlon gave me the freedom of running which I love, the speed and distance of cycling, and the swimming, which I find strangely relaxing. This variety helped keep my short attention span motivated. With sole running training I could quickly lose motivation.
It was during my time running up to the London Triathlon I decided I was going to go for an Ironman in 2013. Having vaguely heard of the event, I did some investigation about what exactly it was. My first thoughts about it were just pure disbelief. I couldn’t believe that people could actually cover that distance, let alone race it. The initial idea of myself doing it just seemed stupid, I wasn’t cut out for this! However the more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t shake the idea of entry. My training for London, was progressing well, and I’d just cycled 170 miles in one day, so had a good idea I may be able to cover the distance. I began to believe in myself more and more, and eventually entered Ironman UK for August 4th 2013.
The rest as they say is history, I dedicated 2013 to training, and was successful in crossing the line in 13 hours and 40 minutes. I was exstatic at the time, so much so I entered again in 2014 and subsequently did a 12:40 on (in my opinion) a tougher course.
However in doing the 2014 race, I’d pretty much used up all of my motivation, and by the end I was really struggling, so I needed something new in 2015. Tied in with a move to London at the back half of 2014, I decided to concentrate on cycling. My strength in triathlon, and easily my most enjoyable sport of the three. I’d planned to start road racing, and some TT’s. The rest is a summary of these races to date!
Hopefully you enjoy reading, and or get something out of it, as I certainly have!