Posted 18 March 2014 - 10:09 AM
I somehow managed to miss this thread - inspirational stuff, and timely since I'm starting running later today for the first time, well, ever. I have of course run before, but only when doing RL training, playing other sports. I've never run for the sake of running, aside from in P.E lessons at school, where I dreaded the darn cross country run we were periodically made to do. I still have nightmares about that!
Over Christmas, at the tail end of 2012, I decided - in a spur of the moment kind of comment - that I would get myself fit and lose weight. I'd not thought about it much up until that point, though deep down I knew it was something I had to do for my health. I've always been overweight - even when I was more active in my teens/early 20s - but I'd let it slip to a point where I was well over 20 stones (probably closer to 21 and a half/22) and basically lazy. I always used to enjoy sport and exercise but had got out of it. Of course, the longer you leave it and the bigger you get, the harder it becomes to start anything.
However, having made the commitment I couldn't put it off any longer. I took a two-pronged approach. Firstly, I changed what I was eating, and when. I cut out almost all dairy products (bar some natural yoghurt with granola and fruit in the morning), reduced my non complex carb intake in the evenings (I.E no potatoes, pasta, white rice etc) and massively reduced my fat intake. I started eating much more fish(grilled, baked or poached, not fried) and chicken. Oh, and lots more fruit and veg, of course.
At the same time, I started swimming three times a week. To begin with, it was extremely hard. In fact, when I first started I had to stop and have a breather after every four lengths. Within a month of doing this, I'd managed to extend it to 20 lengths without a break. I'd swim for half an hour, and see how many lengths I could get through. By the middle of February I was up to 30-odd without stopping, then later 40, then 50. I signed up for the charity Swimathon and did 1.5k last April. It took me 39 minutes for the 60 lengths, swimming breaststroke. That's not super-fast, but at the time I was chuffed.
Since then I've kept up the swimming and the changes to the diet (I prefer to call them lifestyle changes, as thinking of it as a diet is restrictive, plus if you change for good then it's no longer a diet). I'm not as hardcore as I was about the food side of things, but I'm still keen and apply the same principles, with some additional leeway at weekends.
All the way through the process I didn't weigh myself once, until I recently joined my local leisure centre (I should have done this when I first started swimming, as it's the same place I go for that) and they told me I had to go for an intro session at the gym. Amazingly, it turns out I've lost just over 6 stones since I started in January 2013. Obviously I knew I was getting smaller, as my waist size has shrunk by about 7 inches, but I didn't realise I'd lost that much!
At Christmas I decided to set myself a new goal: this year I'm going to compete in, and complete, a sprint distance triathlon (400m swim, 20k bike, 5k run). I've been writing for triathlon magazines for 5 years and have never done one, so it was about time I had a go. Hence signing up for the gym.
The swimming I've got covered - my times keep coming down - and the cycling doesn't worry me that much. I've been doing combined sessions at the gym - 45 minutes on the bike, followed by 500m swimming at a good tempo - but have largely steered clear of the treadmill, other than a fast walk to warm up. Try as I might I just can't run on a treadmill - it just doesn't seem natural. So, I'm going out on the road instead, and today will start the "couch to 5k" programme (I.E start with alternating between fast walking and running, build up the time and distances over 9 weeks etc), running up and down the Bristol to Bath cycle path which helpfully passes by the bottom of my road. I have ordered a smart racing bike, too, which should be built by the local triathlon shop by the weekend.
The triathlon is in July. Brilliantly, my brother and his wife are also doing it. He's told me we're going to start, finish, and go through the whole thing together, which since they're much fitter than me is a bit scary - better get myself up to scratch!
Oh, and I've also been roped into doing the Swimathon again, though this time as part of a charity relay team. Should come in handy for the training!
Bristol Sonics Rugby League2007 & 2008 West Midlands RLC Champions
2008 RLC Regional Grand Finalists
2008 RLC Team Of The Year
2011 RLC Midlands Premier Champions
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