5 weeks out from my 5th marathon and this time in the fantastic and flamboyant setting of Las Vegas, Nevada.
This is especially exciting for me for a number of reasons. Firstly it’s my first marathon outside of New York and also this time around I am running alongside 13 other people who are all striving for their own personal improvement, personal development, personal accomplishment and building their own personal legend.
Personally I am looking to beat my PB of 3:47 and actually want closer to 3:30 so will see how I get on and I know experience counts when running marathons. To feel the fatigue in the legs is a “normal” sensation, to want the finish line to appear quicker than it is going to is a “normal” feeling and to know that every single person in your vicinity is feeling and thinking the same thing as you is important to know. For my fellow runners competing – I have witnessed you conquer obstacles that you never thought possible, I have witnessed your confidence and self belief grow, I have watched on as you have trained, researched, listened and implemented. I have witnessed not only fitness and strength levels improve but discipline, will power and commitment levels increase also. I point your attention back to the title of this blog when I say you have taught everyone to treat you with respect through your own respectful actions. You have taught everyone to treat you as a person who is disciplined by implementing major discipline into your life, you have taught everyone that you have integrity, that you are dedicated and that you are a person of your word. You shall be treated seriously and with respect by others for you have taught them to.
I’d like to take this opportunity to pay my respects to those affected by the dreadful actions in Las Vegas recently. And rest assured we will run the 26.2 miles with absolute pride through your phenomenal city. RIP.
I have dedicated the last 3 years of my life in the attempt to inspire others through my own actions and to also help as many people as possible get closer to realising their potential through working closely with them on a number of different levels. Two of my core values are discipline and integrity and these two qualities are displayed in my lifestyle day after day through my actions. It is therefore, that people think of me as a person who gets things done, a person who says he will do it and then does, a person who achieves. And of course, as always, I have taught people to treat me the way they do.
I accomplished a big goal of mine in June of this year when I completed my first 70.3 Iron Man! And for those who don’t know what that entails, it goes a little something like this – 1900 meter swim followed by a 55 mile bike ride followed by a 13.1 mile run! This event took place in the coastal town of Pescara in Italy and as you can imagine, in June Italy is a very hot place to be. I had trained since January for this event (which actually co-incided and helped me with with my bodybuilding victory in April as well!) and had barely swam before this other than the occasional casual length in the pool whilst on holiday but swimming was something I had to get comfortable with and certainly improve on. As I always say – set goals, then achieve them – and it had always been a long-term goal of mine to complete a Half Iron Man. So much so that in one of my old journals that I recently reviewed I had written this down somewhere amongst the thousands of other brain storming sessions, gratitudes, goals and ideas, so it was fantastic to see something I had written down so long ago come to fruition. This is also another big belief of mine that if you have an idea or set a goal then commit it to paper – it means so much more when you allow it to be written down.
The training for this event was very enjoyable. The biggest thing, as always, was mindset. I had to realise, accept and actually want to exercise for 3, 4, 5 hours as part of my training. And this could include cycling to the swimming pool, hitting out 50 lengths, cycling home and then going for a run. Or cycling for 60 kilometers and then running a half marathon immediately afterwards. Anything that lasted a long time and involved running, cycling and swimming I was doing! I feel grateful as I had willing friends to accompany me on bike rides and runs so I thank them for the part they played in my training but the vast majority of the time you are on your own – and on your own for long periods of time. This has massively helped me in my development in becoming who I am today and will continue to do so in order for me to become better and keep on improving. When you are alone with your own thoughts for that amount of time it is vital to be constantly thinking the right things. The things that inspire you and push you forward. Any moment of self doubt has to be quashed instantly, no room for self sabotage allowed!
The training had been done, I was ready for the event and ready to push my body into unknown territory. Included within the training I competed in my first Olympic distance triathlon in Leeds (1500 meter swim, 40 kilometer bike, 10 kilometer run) which was also the first time I had swam in open water. So taking into account that I had never swam in the ocean before and the Half Iron Man was only my second ever triathlon I think it would be safe to say that I was out of my comfort zone! A place I enjoy being! The day of the event arrived, I was anxious yet excited and knew I had done the training but there was one thing I had no control over – the weather! Not only very hot the wind was up and the swim course had to re-routed for safety reasons as it was in the ocean and the waves were enormous! This threw me a little but I had to keep my composure and trust in my training and determination to get through the first discipline of the race. As I entered the water I was getting thrashed by waves, for every bit of progress made a wave would come and push me back towards the shore – “shall I just catch the waves back to the beach?” I thought. Like I said before that thought was instantly quashed and I powered through. With great relief I made my exit from the water into the transition zone and onto the bike. This part of the race was magnificent, the Italian vineyards, olive groves and quaint villages made up a huge proportion of the bike leg. With some challenging inclines and rewarding declines the sun beat down on my shoulders yet I felt extremely comfortable as I benefitted from the breeze as I cut through the Abruzzo air. After 2 laps it was off the bike and onto the half marathon – my legs felt good – my head felt better. I broke the run down into smaller increments, kilometre by kilometre I chased down the finishing straight. This was again two laps and as I began my second I could see people crossing the finish line, part of me was envious of their position yet the other wanted to feel how it felt to hit the latter stages of the race. Obviously I was travelling at a much slower pace than when I had been cycling and now I could really feel the heat and regularly throughout the run leg there were hose pipes being squirted on you and plenty of drink stations to keep you hydrated. As I started to progress into the late teens I kept saying to myself “5 kilometers until you are a (half) Iron Man, 4 kilometers until you are a (half) Iron Man” etc. And this gave me a big push, I’m the only person I know to have completed an event of this magnitude and that was extremely motivating and guaranteed my completion of the course. With a kilometer to go I was taking in the surroundings and as I saw the Iron Man arch getting closer and closer my sense of pride was through the roof. I crossed the line – I was, and always will be, a (half) Iron Man!
When I look around at modern society and specifically the majorities’ attitude towards their health I feel saddened. I was recently in Costco (a wholesale warehouse) and I was purchasing a few crates of water for my gym. The amount of people who were taking advantage of the “free samples” positioned through out the store was shocking; without actually shocking me. The busiest of them all – the free doughnut stand! Everywhere I looked overweight people were eating and snacking on garbage and then on my way out of the store the queue for the café was enormous. Not surprising when some of the cafes specialities include pizza and hot dogs. I feel very strongly about abusing your privilege of owning a fully functional human body, when you have a choice what you do, a choice what you eat and a choice how you conduct yourself then why would you do anything to cause a detrimental affect to your miracle machine? Especially when there are millions of others out there who would do anything to be able to make their own choices but are in unfortunate positions. I completely baffles me but it also motivates me further to keep sending out positive messages and vibes to those who need it most. Don’t get me wrong of course I enjoy the odd burger, chocolate cake or ice cream yet I respect my body enough that the majority of the time I feed it with nutritious and healthy foods that it craves. The foods that were placed on this earth to fuel our livelihoods and the foods that are less likely to cause unwanted disease. Do you want to be known as the person who abuses their health? Do you want to be known as someone who cares for their body? You are teaching others how to treat you with your actions! Put it this way I know for a fact no one will be gifting me a bottle of alcohol this Christmas!
I wanted to leave the last part of this blog to pay tribute to someone very special to me. Around 8 months ago she revealed to me she was pregnant, this was fantastic news and I was delighted to hear it. Being so close I wanted to ensure she maintained her health and continued to look after herself instead of “giving up” in terms of eating junk and not exercising just because she was expecting. She actually completed a half marathon in February before we even knew about the pregnancy, how awesome is that? And although her bump is huge now she still attends my fitness classes, taking it very easy and slowly and works to her own level. There are some obvious “no go” exercises but she does what she can whilst also still enjoying a weekly yoga class as well. Not only still keeping up with the exercise she has been working tirelessly to get her new house ready for the new arrival. Project managing whilst cleaning, sweeping and some painting as well – I didn’t think her and her partner would have their home ready in time for a new baby but against the odds it is. An amazing person displaying amazing determination. Has she taught everyone to treat her with respect and as a person who gets things done? Absolutely!
Your actions speak louder than your words, what you do sends a more powerful message than what you say you are going to do. Ask yourself; how do I want to be treated by others and are your actions teaching others how to treat you?
Thank you very much for reading,
Best Wishes to you all,