A lot has happened in my life in the last 10 years. In November 2004 I was diagnosed with stage IV testicular cancer. After high-dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant I had my major cancer operation on 7/7/2005, the same day as the London bombings, so that day was extremely emotional for me in more ways than one. A month after I started back at work in October 05 I was told the company I was working for was being taken over and I was no longer needed, So I lost my job. So there you have it…. within 2 years I was told that I was going to die and I lost my job.
So what next??
Well I won’t lie, the next 2 years were a real struggle. Finding a job in catering was really tough with people knowing what I’d been through. By 2006 I had found a solid full time position in a completely different part of the hospitality industry. But then within the first 2-3 months of working there I had to end a long term relationship with my girlfriend through being cheated on.
So what next??
Well, finding a new place to live while still settling down in a new job in a high tension environment was a challenge. I went to live with my sister for a bit while I was finding somewhere more permanent. The next year or so was spent getting my life back in order and getting over what had happened in a very short space of time. By 2009 I had my own place and had had a steady full time job since 2006, Things were going ok, but there was something missing in my life, something I wanted back, something I had missed from my teenage years.
IT WAS SPORT !!!!!!!
That one single word means so much to me, It means life, freedom, community, meditation, zen, excitement, determination, loyalty. So I started to run, small distances to start with just to ease back into it as I was not that fit and my lifestyle wasn’t great, plus I was working 60+ hour weeks and not eating right, There needed to be a change and running helped me realise this.
When I started to get back into an active lifestyle it was hard, my diet was not great and I used to go to club/bars a lot as I worked in them as well. I was in a bad place after my break-up, my whole life needed a change, My first run was a real struggle and it was only 5k around the local park in London! I was sweating loads, breathing heavily. My god was this going to be hard or what! But I loved being outside, away from the drink etc, it was a nice change, a really eye opener.
So I had found what had been missing from my life and I was so happy that I was back and involved in it. I had got my sports Mojo back and was loving being free in the great outdoors.
In 2009 I entered my first event which was a duathlon, a run, cycle, run event where you run 10k then jump on a bike, cycle 20k then run 5k, one after the other without stops. That was very interesting. To start with, the bike course was a looped course and I was concentrating so much on my speed and pedal stroke and trying to avoid falling off at the dead turnaround points and it was pouring down with rain so I ended up doing 2 laps too many and ended up in the bottom quarter of the finishers. But a finish is a finish, something I would come to realise is a bigger achievement than I had once thought!
In 2010 I thought of setting up my own website to raise awareness of testicular cancer. I wanted to try and help people understand the illness better and make it less confusing and try and push home the importance of self- checking on a regular basis. I had found a mission in my life. I wanted to make people stand up and take note what I was doing and why. I made a promise to myself to dedicate my spare time to raising the awareness of testicular cancer and to help motivate people to get involved in sport.
Everyone goes through issues and problems in their life. It is how we choose to deal with them that makes us who we really are and what we are truly made of. Life can be as stressful or as easy as you want it to be. Ok let’s say you have a big problem in your life at the moment. Is it really as big as you’re making it out to be? If you try looking at it from a different angle it may not seem as bad . Be happy with what you have and make the best and the most of it. Stop complaining about what you haven’t got and be thankful for what you have got.
I find that when I do exercise, especially running in the great outdoors, I completely lose myself and my mind . I will think about things that are going on in my life for the first part of the run, then I go into some sort of zone and then my mind is completely blank. It is an amazing feeling of relaxation. Like meditation if you like. Even if I’m going at a steady pace (7:5-8 m/m) my mind is free and that is for me one of the best feelings in the world, Then if I have issues in my life they come back during the run at a later point and they are much easier to think about and I have a clearer focus on how to deal with them.
Living in the city has it’s perks but I’m truly happy when I’m out of the big smoke somewhere like the South Downs, North Downs, and generally any country trail. There are great parks in London too like Richmond Park and Hampstead Heath where you can feel like you are in the country away from the city bustle. My favorite places to run though are the Lake District, Peak district or the Brecon Beacons.
A lot of my friends ask me “How do you find running relaxing ? I get knackered in the first 1-2 miles!”, I tell them that firstly It takes time to build up what’s called a base fitness. Nothing happens overnight. Just be patient and It will come with time. It all depends how long your fuse is.
I hear a lot of people say “I really don’t have the time”, or “I’m just too busy with other things”..
OK let’s work this out……
How many hours are there in one whole week? Answer 168 hours.
Now work out how many hours you spend doing the following …. Sleeping Working Eating Commuting Watching TV Time with family/partner/kids etc Socialising (this includes social networking)
Now you have a time for each item, total it up and then take it away from 168. That is your spare time! Time that you could be exercising!
GO DO IT!!!!