2014 a game changing year.

As the year draws to a close it’s time to reflect on what has been achieved and set some goals for next year. A year ago I had only done a few sprint tris, had never swum outside in the UK and my only really long distance running event was a marathon 25 years ago in which I had been reduced to walking the last 6 miles. I weighed in at around 75 kgs – way too heavy for my smallish frame.
This year at the age of 57 I completed my first Olympic distance Tri at Wantage and also my first competitive open water swim triathlon at Reading. I bought a wetsuit and now feel at ease in the lake at least.
I did a couple of cycling sportives in the White Horse Challenge ( where I knocked 48 minutes off the previous year’s time) and the Bath Sportive.
Most challenging of all, I completed the Race to the Stones, a 100kms foot race, as well as the Salisbury 50kms 3 weeks later and most recently the Abingdon Marathon. The Race to the Stones was a massive challenge requiring some serious preparation and attention to nutrition.
I can safely say that this was one of the defining moments of my life. From the early days of training when 20kms seemed like a challenge to finishing this event in reasonable shape I learned so much about what it is possible to achieve if you set your mind to it and the extraordinary power of the human mind to drive the body far beyond what seems possible. I will never fear distance again because I know that endurance is limitless because it comes from the mind, not the body.
I was also helped by the fact that I lost around 10kgs of weight in preparing for this event by changing my nutrition to enable my body to burn more fat and less sugar. I massively reduced the amount of sugar in my diet in all forms, including starchy carbohydrates, avoided nearly all processed foods and cut out alcohol and fizzy drinks.
I finished the year by passing the Diploma in Personal Training to make fitness an even more important part of my life. Self- development, both mental and physical is now the main aim of my life and to enjoy every day as if it is my last.
So what are the goals for 2015? The main aim is to conquer the Ironman distance at the Outlaw Triathlon in July. I first became obsessed with this about 4 years ago when I started getting myself back into shape. In those days it seemed like an almost impossible dream – the people who achieved it were superhuman to me, not ordinary mortals. Now when I look at it, I reckon it’s well within my grasp, especially if I can get better at open water swimming – the bike and run hold no fears for me any more. I know I can do this and I will do it. I would also like to do a 100 mile run if I can find one that’s not too close to the Outlaw. Finally, I would like to build a successful fitness business and earn a living from it.
So 2014 has indeed been a significant year for me personally. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I heard today that I had been awarded the ‘Run Performance of the Year’ trophy by the Abingdon and Vale Triathlon Club for the Race to the Stones event. I know I’m a very self- absorbed and focused person a lot of the time and consider myself to be very self- sufficient. However, to have your achievements recognised by your fellow athletes is the ultimate compliment because these guys know from experience just what it takes and I’m immensely grateful to them and my wife for all the practical support and encouragement they give.

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