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29th March 2015:

It’s the day I have been training towards ever since I signed up in early January. Hard and demanding nights covering miles of tarmac, mud and grass have been building towards this moment.

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Two thumbs up if you love cardio: Before the Northumberland Half Marathon

It’s the day of the ‘Northumberland Half Marathon‘, and I am ready to take part in what is my first ever offical run. A gruelling 13.1 mile course filled with barren scenery, icy winds and spitting rain awaits me.

My passion for running had peaked in late 2014/early 2015, leading me to head out in my luminous gear and face the harsh winter elements that the North-East is renowned for, night after night.

I can’t pinpoint the exact time that I became a cardio fanatic, but looking back now confirms to me that I was slightly obsessed. One day stands out in particular: the night I opted to run 13km after a 10 minute bike warm up and 5000m on the rowing machine.

I spent the rest of the night feeling disorientated, even resorting to plunging into an ice bath. Even at this stage I failed to realise how much weight I was losing, as all I was focused on was my increasing cardiovascular endurance.

Fastforward to Kirkley Hall, the picturesque starting point of my first offically timed and recorded run. After a brisk start moving up the pack I began to realise that I might actually be quite good at this whole long distance running malarky.

But, as I’m sure anyone who has ran before will know, the dreaded ‘wall’ was only a few miles up the road. I stumbled and staggered towards the finish, resembling Bambi as I barely crept towards the last stretch of Northumbrian terrain.

 

To this day I have no recollection of the final two miles. My race inexperiecne had come back to haunt me as I had no energy sources on me: only the water the stewards provided every three miles. It’s safe to say I was a mess for the hour after I had crossed the finish line.

The silver lining however, was my time and final standing. I had come in a very respectable 79th place, in a race which contained 394 participants. My time of 1.37.48 eclipsed my expectations and anything I had done previously.

20th July 2015

Time for change. After nearly a year of nothing but treadmill bashing and a steady weight loss of nearly a stone, greener pastures were calling. By greener pastures I mean dumbells, barbells and weights.

The penny dropped after I looked at a photo of myself shirtless, ribs and all. It was something I had failed to see previously which is staggering when I look back at numerous snaps of myself.

I was proud of my running achievements, which included a faster time at the Sunderland Half Marathon, but I was focused and ready for a new challenge. Who knew that switching from cardio to stength workouts would ache so much!

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Trying to stay away from the treadmill as my new challenge begins

After my first session at Lifestyle Fitness in Darlington, I swear I couldn’t move part of my arm for a week. My body was in complete shock, confused as to why my upper body was under scrutiny. My legs were suddenly feeling neglected.

Part of me expected a sudden decline in interest after a week, mainly due to me losing interest in strength workouts after sampling them in early 2014. But I surprised myself as the months rolled by.

Throughout late Summer I trekked to the deserted Teesside University gym where I trained alone attempting to resuscitate my idle muscles.

Little did I know, I would actually enjoy it…

Present Day

So that brings the story too today. It’s almost been six months since I started weight training, and during that time I feel like I have made improvments and changed the way I eat completely.

I have managed to put on a full stone which is a good starting block for my long term goal, which is to be 14 stone by the summer: I currently weigh 13 stone. Calories were once a forbidden word for me, but now I need to get in over 3,000 a day in order to get where I want.

Going to the gym is something which I regard as a hobby now, when a year ago it would have been regarded as the ultimate sin. I have gone from running four to five times a week, to using 5-a-side football for an hour as my cardio intake.

But I know this is only the start of what will be a long and tough journey. Progress is slow but I am determined to keep up what I have done so far, and hopefully inspire fellow scrawny lads out there to stick at it.

 

 

 

 

 

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