It’s just after 6am on a Saturday morning, my heart is pounding, my legs are hurting and I’m feeling slightly dizzy but I must go on…I cannot give up…quitting is NOT an option.
All of a sudden my living room door bursts open and rushing in come two little monsters screaming “Daddy!!! From the treadmill (MyRunTechnogym) I quickly manage to get them to sit down, with a cookie and watch CBeebies whilst I continue for another 5 miles.
It’s day 10 of my personal challenge to run 10 miles every day in September and as I finish, roughly the same time as the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest does on TV too, I post a live video on Facebook and periscope before rushing off to make us all some porridge for breakfast.
I’ve done over 100 miles so far in September and it’s only really now that I’m deciding to go completely public about this challenge. Why? Because I didn’t know how my body would cope and I wanted to almost keep it private until I felt more confident, however now is the time as I am a third of the way through now.
So, why am I voluntarily doing this to myself? I can give you ten very good reasons why…
- Because I can…I know many people who can no longer do this or anywhere near this type of challenge due to illness, disabilities or the fact that they are quite simply dead. Too many people take what they have for granted…you only have one life so I’m intrigued to really find out what I and my body can do. How far can I push me? I’m really interested to continuously find out.
- PUMA Points. The biggest reason why I’m doing this actual challenge is that in doing one 10 mile run I get my team 260 PUMA Points. 260 what? PUMA Points. Since 2014 I have been fortunate enough to be chosen to be a Team Captain for ‘The Running Bug’s summer challenges. In 2014, I led Team Mobium to victory and in 2015-2016, my team (now Team IGNITE) have won 2 of the 3 monthly challenges winning 11 of the 13 weeks of competition so far and all of those weeks have been consecutive. We have 3 more weeks left in September’s competition and I believe we will win them too. The very first two weeks in July 2015 we came bottom and third out of the four teams. The reason? I was in Austria recovering from my Ironman race and said I would be running in the last two weeks…the team were trying but not as well as the others. Even I got criticized by one of my team members for not putting in the effort…that hurt…A LOT. I came back with a vengeance and was running hard from the second week of that competition. Our whole team hated being “rubbish” for two weeks and we vowed NEVER to let that happen again…it hasn’t…BOOOOOOOOOOOM!
- I was skint. I had a very quiet August with a lot of my clients away on holiday and very little money coming in. I am a self-employed personal trainer and was grateful for my mum leaving me some money when she visited recently…41 and getting a handout from my mum…I felt awful but I needed it and was so very grateful (Thanks again Mum!). I cancelled my (already paid) Man Vs Mountain and Coast to Coast race entries as I knew it would be crazy to travel to North Wales and North Scotland. The Coast to Coast race was the main reason I bought the Rat Race Membership so was gutted not be able to do it. I needed something to get my teeth into and that’s when, during my first 10 mile run of the month I thought I’m going to do something that will challenge me and take me mind off of missing out of those races.
- I like a challenge. Who doesn’t? Actually some don’t, but I want people to try to test themselves as often as possible hence all of the challenges I have put out on social media in the last 7 years…#StuIsAPlank, #ShoulderTapChallenge, #LegChallenge etc and the famous #AdventChallenge. In December 2010 I did a challenge called the Marcothon. Run 5km or 30 mins (whichever you can do first) every day in the month of December…it was tough but in doing so I learnt a lot about myself, my body and especially my mind. I have done marathons, triathlons, 24 hour races, 40 miles on my 40th birthday and a challenge that was running 138 miles in 5 days visiting all the homes I lived in, schools I attended and places I worked in Aberdeenshire back in September last year. I fancied a new and tougher one.
- To motivate others. In doing what I do, leading by example, I know many of my friends, family and especially followers on social media have got off of their asses and went and done something that they initially thought impossible…I LOVE THAT!!! They’ve lost weight, gained confidence, attended parkruns, ran marathons, triathlons & obstacle races. Over the years I’ve actually met some of them face to face and they’ve told me that if it wasn’t for me they wouldn’t be standing there at the event, ready to go…It has blown me away! I want this to carry on…forever.
- #FitTeam16. Carrying on from above, the way I’ve encouraged, inspired and motivated so many people on social media is by creating and using the #FitTeam hashtag. A hashtag is a way of seeing what people are saying about a certain subject. My hashtag was originally #FitTeam12. I wanted an original hashtag and I was aiming to create a fit team in 2012. 2012 was also the year of the London Olympics and a very successful year of business for me. FitTeam12 was on fire with loads of tweets from lots of different people doing my challenges or talking about their successes etc. I continued with #FitTeam13 and #FitTeam14 but found it hard to focus on #FitTeam15 as my personal circumstances changed. The amazing Rio 2016 recently happened and we (Team GB & NI) absolutely rocked, I feel happier about my life SO it was the perfect time to start a challenge for #FitTeam16 starting on the Monday after the closing ceremony in Brazil. As #FitTeam is off the ground again I felt I should do something to again encourage people to set themselves goals and have a bloody good crack at them! By me doing the 10 mile challenge I know I’ll create publicity to get #FitTeam16 going again.
- It’s good for business. You never know who is watching you on social media or in your circle of friends. For me, talking about what I’m up to can and often leads to new clients using me as a personal trainer. I’ve been thinking about what has worked for me in the past and working on the aspects that have been successful. This is why #FitTeam is back, the challenges are again circulating and I’m doing crazy sh*t again. I’m looking to start some more classes but this time in the Walton, Hersham, Weybridge area. I also do private group sessions so you and your friends split the cost of my PT session and arrange the session at a time and place convenient to you. I’m a very active 41 year old, single father of two training for all aspects of physical challenges with 11 years’ experience as a personal trainer and 10 years’ experience as a physical training instructor in the RAF… I can definitely help you achieve your goals.
- My own goals. Now doing the same thing every day is NOT good for your body…there I’ve said it. Seriously, it’s not. Your body only really improves with rest after a bout of exercise…I am not allowing my body some proper rest…hence why it’s a challenge. Aspects of my body will strengthen but most will weaken…I am aware that I’m at risk of injury and that does worry me. I had a bad calf injury in May of this year and I missed another planned race on my Rat Race season pass, The Wall, because of it and I don’t want to be injured again. However, I did the 5km every day for a month and was fine, I actually had less DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) doing that than running every so often. The thing that I am strengthening is my heed, my swede, my brain. I have failed at my 2012 goal of running a marathon in under 3 hours quite a few times and WILL succeed at Brighton 2017…this challenge will help. I am down for the 2016 British Obstacle Course Racing Championships in November and I aim to be mentally and as physically strong as possible. By having to run 10 miles every day I will have to dig bloody deep. I rarely quit…this will top up my “Never Quit” tank for these two challenges in the future. I need to endure tiredness, pain & muscle fatigue if I aim to achieve my goals. 10 miles every day in September should do that.
- For charity. I regularly do things for charity but I wouldn’t say I do a lot…although it’s usually 3-4 events a year. With this one I haven’t gone into it with the aim of raising money for a charity but now I’ve started to go more public I am going to set up a “Go Fund Me” page. I want to raise some funds for three causes and one of them is not a charity. The two that are charities are firstly a courageous client of mine, Dave is currently doing an epic walk from one side of England to the other in a tough time of 11 days. It will test him physically more than most, no, not just because he’s recently turned 50…it’s because he has been suffering from Parkinson’s for 5 years now…so whereas you and me may find what he’s doing tiring, imagine doing it with a disease that actually makes you feel fatigued doing your daily chores. You may recognize Dave as he’s been a Sky Sports presenter and this is relevant because Sky Sports will double the amount he raises…so let’s make them cough up!
The second charity is FND Hope because I was touched by a friend of mine’s video that she posted when I had done my 7th or 8th 10 mile run of September. Please have a watch and I’m sure you’ll agree with my choice to donate to help fight people suffering from a similar disease. Sophie is a lovely upbeat girl and contacted me a few years back for some advice after I taught a British Military Fitness class in Aberdeen on a visit home. The third one is not a charity but a cause. A friend of mine is a bearded personal trainer who is heavily involved in obstacle racing. He has two children, the eldest is a boy and the youngest is a girl…sound familiar? Yes, it could easily be me I’m describing…fortunately for me it’s not, It’s Richard Pringle. A few weeks back Richard posted on social media for us all to pray for his little boy Hughie to pull through a seizure he’d had, that had Richard and his family rushing to hospital late in the night. I saw this post on Facebook in the morning and shared it amongst my friends…my gesture was too late, Hughie had already left us and made the journey into the sky to shine down on us for evermore. I’m currently crying on the train to Newcastle for the Great North Run as I type this…it’s heartbreaking. Since this happened, there has been a huge wave of support for the Pringle family, I with the Dirty Dozen Races team held a minutes’ silence and a minutes applause for Hughie days after he became a shooting star, I attended the workout wearing red in Hastings which raised approximately £5000 and there was even a parade of sports cars (which Hughie loved) before his funeral. As I’ve said the money is not going to a charity but to help build a play park in Hastings in memory of the weeman who touched so many people’s hearts and will continue to bring joy, to parents and children alike when they play in his play park. Obviously it’s such a shame that he won’t be able to use it but I will definitely take my kids down there one day to play in honour of Hughie…we will, of course, be wearing red.
- My kids are watching. I am their role model…along with their mum, Kirsty we are their role models. We are both go-getters and have done some crazy sh*t in our lives so far. We are active and we love our kids. One bonus of not living with my children (apart from having sole use of the TV control) is that when I do spend time with them, it’s quality time…it’s our time. Work stops when I’m with them but exercise doesn’t. Sam does junior parkruns, full parkruns and Eva, as Sam did when he was younger accompanies me in the running buggy. They see it’s part of my life and I enjoy it which rubs off on them. Some parents will moan about having to exercise whereas I moan about not. This is normal for them and it will be normal for them when they are older…
So going back to the story earlier…due to this challenge, I am motivated, I am making exercise fit into me and my kid’s life, I’m promoting myself and my business to others, I am motivating and inspiring others and I will be raising money for three good causes so the question should be…Why wouldn’t I run 10 miles a day in September?!