Oh, how I've missed this, but like a bear I've been hibernating. Can't say I've had writer's block again (used that excuse before) and besides I haven't as I've had tons of ideas, which I've luckily kept a note of.
Thing is I'm back somewhere special and it has dawned on me that I have just over 100 days before the off. The 'off' being another assault on attempting to run (complete, as I use the term, run, loosely, based on last year's effort) ten marathons in ten days for Brathay Trust, a fantastic charity supporting young people and families. I hope you are as inspired as I am to do something on the basis that you might read this, the something being a donation (or two) on my Just Giving page to support Brathay. Yes, I know we've just come through Christmas and the New Year and Brexit is just round the corner, plus there are so many charities out there to choose from. So two reasons why a donation would be gratefully received, firstly it's a generous thing to do and you'll feel lighter for it, in pounds (physically) and soul (metaphorically) but secondly you will provide me with cumulative reasons and measures of guilt to ensure I start and finish my intended challenge. In a way I guess my promise to undertake this little test is directly correlated to the donations I hopefully receive. Now do you really want to see fail?
Last year, writing helped me gain a degree of head space, to make sense of each day (certainly during the Ten in Ten) and proved to be very cathartic. The last few months when I've needed to get something out of my system, I've restrained myself and admittedly lost some passion for many of the things that were becoming part of who I aimed to be. I admire stable, consistent, passionate people. Unfortunately for me those three adjectives are not often an indulgent threesome, more a lucky one-nighter. So, I have to work hard on achieving and sustaining this relationship within me, having challenges to work towards clearly helps me do this. This year, I've chosen to do not one Brathay Event but two (that's 20 laps of Windermere), sprinkled with a smattering of some other physical tests, which in due course I will explain. Now, I know I've not written for a while, I may well be rusty, even a little off-the-boil (who's to say I was on it), or maybe it just doesn't quite measure up. That said, just so we're clear, I'm writing cause I want to so if you don't like it switch off, turn over or swipe left, but donate first, please (insert cheeky, smiley emoji).
One of the best sources for inspiration is the mother of my children; there's occasionally the odd quip or two, that permeates my thick hide and registers a tremor or two on my 'Woe-is-me Victim' Scale, much like the Richter Scale but with less damage to buildings. Did you know there is actually a scale of Victimization (I googled it), amazing, what will THEY, whoever THEY are think of next? There have been times when I've been accused of being disrespectful yet this is the last characteristic I wish to display as it builds no bridges. I had hoped for myself that I was becoming more selfless and more respectful, sometimes we need a reminder?
There is a point to this story by the way. Last year, I managed to do Kielder Marathon, Nottingham Half Marathon and Langdale Marathon. Now me being me, starts feeling a little bit cocky, not a good thing and I need taking down a peg or two. In November I was lucky enough to win an entry to It's Grim Up North Running Event, part of the 4x4 at Swinsty Reservoir, I needed to register between 8:30 and 9:30 for the official start time at 9:30. Guess what time I rock up at? 9:21. I have no respect. Off I set 3 minutes behind the runners (you guessed it, I missed the start, I was in the loo, doing what you do). Within two and a half miles I'd pretty much caught the majority of the runners and I shuffle past them without apology or acknowledgement, I have no respect. Now, I'm writing, I realise, regardless of how unsociable I can be, a little acknowledgement would not have gone amiss, for which I am sorry. These runners have warmed up properly, listened to the race briefing and are gently settling in to their rhythms for the next 26.2 miles. Me, nope, I'm on a mission. Except for the fact that I don't take a marathon seriously. I've been coasting for months now. I blame my over-inflated ego for thinking because I've completed something slightly extraordinary, I'm fixed, I'm not. Luckily for me I have ex-wife quakes (sound like an interesting Mary Berry recipe) to give me the occasional kick up the backside. Thankfully a physical manifestation of the need to display more respect elegantly passed me by at around 21 miles. I received the jarring realisation that I'm not all 'that', when a fellow runner glides by me apologising because he had arrived about thirty minutes late. At the finish in black and white was the result which ruined my opportunity for a podium finish to a disappointed and deserved fourth place; well-beaten by the guy who arrived properly late but was polite and respectful as he chatted with me before cruising forward and finishing in style.
No New Year's resolution for me I don't believe in them. However, I do need to be resolute in my respect and stop taking 'things' for granted, especially for me (as I can't keep turning up at events late-ish or without the adequate preparation), if I can't take the time to appreciate me who can I? By continuing to work on me I have every intention of giving something back, to do something worthwhile for others, to be a better father, a better employee, simply a better person. I know I must continue to be consistent in my training, demonstrate my passion for a worthy cause and maintain the stability I have been working towards over the last three years. Being back at Brathay Hall this weekend, 11th January 2019, is the realisation I needed to remind me I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. By the way I'm one week away from achieving sobriety for three full years, well done me, I'm a better person for it and I so don't want to lose any of the ground I've covered to date. Still, there's more ground to be covered in the coming months and I've got my kit now, I'm ready to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even if I lose my way a little sometimes...
So have you missed me?