Well, it has been a while since I’ve written a blog so I thought I’d write one to let you know what I’ve been up to since I finished my challenge just over a month ago. To start, here is a 30 day compilation video of the Challenge, created by the legend Dave from Beaum Media! (https://www.facebook.com/beaummedia/)
Firstly time doesn't half fly past as can’t believe it’s been over a month since I finished my challenge. My first concern when finishing was slipping into depression which is pretty common when doing an endurance event over so many days. You spend so much time and energy training for it and before you know it you’ve started and every single day your whole body & mind are focused on the challenge and receiving a dumping of endorphins on a daily basis then all of a sudden………nothing. Every day is filled with the excitement of swim, bike, run and being surrounded with people supporting you on a daily basis then its time to rest up which is the right thing to do obviously but at the same time you’re not receiving that daily natural chemical dump ripping through your body and mind. It’s hard to explain but I think it comes down to going from one extreme to the other and starving your body of what it has been getting every day for 30 days. The last time I felt anything like that was when I ran John O’Groats to Lands End which again was over a period of 30 days and coming home and stopping running I was a bit lost and got really depressed and I couldn't work it out, but then someone told me the reason and it all made sense. Now i understand why athletes etc have to “train down” after a big event.
I told Jeff & Chloe (bigmoose) that I was worried about the depression side of things post challenge so I wanted to keep my body and mind occupied as much as possible. I’ll be completely honest I slipped into a little bit of a downer but I had no time to as my next challenge is on June 3rd so before I knew it I was back training and slowly getting back on track thanks to Mark Whittle’s training programs. To top it off Jeff & Chloe had organised a public speaking event about the challenge with all the Marks & Spencer managers and 2 school visits so between training, speaking visits and running my businesses I had plenty to keep mind occupied before I ended up calling the quacks (laughter).
It’s safe to say, since being a kid in school and being forced to stand up in front of loads of people in an assembly to speak whilst crying my eyes out, that the thought of standing up in front of loads of people and doing it again scared the living daylights out of me. Put me on stage in front of a few thousand people doing Dirty Sanchez gigs or on the mic at clubs and I'm all good but put me in a quiet room with 30 M&S managers faces looking at me then its a different situation altogether. I knew that unless I stood there and faced my fear that I would never get over my experience as a kid and to be honest it was a privilege to even be asked to do it in the first place so I did not want to miss the opportunity. I had an hour to basically tell everyone my story from skateboarding, Dirty Sanchez and how I got into Endurance sports. The day had come and Chloe had put a cracking slideshow and video compilation together and Jeff would ask me questions to stimulate stories and we’d go from there then having a Q&A to finish. We walked upstairs and as soon as I saw the room full of people through the glass window I could feel my stomach turn. I wasn't talking for another 50 mins so I was sat in the office next door waiting and the closer it got the more anxious I was feeling, palms sweating etc, then we walked into the room to start. I was visibly nervous but after about 5 mins I really started to relax more and before I knew it I was actually enjoying it. I came out of that room buzzing and more importantly with more confidence than I did when I walked in. Don't get me wrong I'm far from the best public speaker on the planet but I was better than I was before I walked in. It’ll take quite a few before I fully build my confidence and produce a polished act but with the people that surround me at the moment I feel that its very much achievable.
Next stop was Maesglas Primary school; this was the school I visited whilst I was on my challenge. I got invited to run a mile around the school field with all the pupils by the deputy head James Mahoney who is also a fellow ironman. This time however I got asked to come and do a Q&A with the pupils which I enjoyed immensely. Being able to share my story with the younger generation and hopefully inspire them to take up various sporting activities felt really good. Educating them on what it takes to complete 30 half iron distance triathlons in 30 days was pretty special. I was also invited to an assembly where the school gave me a certificate to congratulate me on my challenge which was very nice of them. To top it off they’d also managed to raise over £160 towards my chosen charities so all in all it was a great day and thank you all for inviting me.
Training is starting to pick up and I'm really enjoying it, I'm back in the groove and pretty much on top of it all apart from one or two days missed due to dare i say it……….hangovers. I beat myself up a little missing training days to hangovers (oh how times have changed) but I shouldn't be so harsh on myself as I think I deserved a few nights out after the challenge. The 30 half irons is a great base for my next challenge (announce it this week) but I still need plenty more hours under my belt in the pool, on my bike and running so Whittle’s training plans have become longer. The next 2 weeks training plans are beauties and I'm looking forward to them before my tapering down begins running up to the event.
I was invited onto the Gumball this year but I had a huge war with that devil & angel on my shoulders one telling me to get on it and the other telling me to not be so stupid as over 7 days away from training could jeopardise my next challenge. For once the angel won and not only did she win but I also knew that the Carten 100 (100 miles cycle from Cardiff to Tenby. more on that later) was on at the same time and I’ve always wanted to do it so it all made sense to stay away from Gumball this year so I just went to visit them all at the start grid and say my hello’s. It was good to see them all, have a few drinks and wave them off.
I had a second school visit but this time at Winsley Primary school in Bath. I was invited by the head Becky Wilson who I’ve known for many years. I used to do 70’s disco nights at Cardiff students union in my early 20’s and that’s how I got to know Becky and we had some great laughs back in the day. As i was on my challenge Chloe told me that Becky had got in touch from a school in Bath and said that they had been keeping up with my progress at assembly every morning and when I’d finished my challenge if I’d come and see them all. Becky came to see me at the finish line and it was the first time I’d seen her for almost 20 years we chatted and I agreed to come and see them when everything had calmed down. Winsley Primary school have started a project where the children, teachers and parents (if they wish) can come to school early every day to run a mile before lessons. I personally think its a great idea and its proven that children learn more by doing so too.
I joined in on one of the classes who were doing a project on my challenge and each team had to come up with words that would best describe what I did and if they got it right I got a point which I could add to my score on the new posh blackboard (thats what they were when i was in school) that hung from the wall. If i reached 20 points i’d get my certificate. All the teams came up with some really good adjectives and one even mentioning my coach Mark Whittle (laughter) so i got my 20 points and in turn they gave me my certificate which was nice of them. I then went and did a Q&A at another class and then went to kick off the mile run which had a great turn out even being joined by some of the parents. It was great to see them all running, one of the children ran the mile in under 6 minutes, fair play!! Future Olympian right there maybe????? One of the children, Alfie is in an electric wheelchair so he also had the opportunity to join everyone zooming around on his chair so i joined him for his mile lap too, he can definitely drive that thing thats for sure! The speed is turned down for him when he’s in the school for safety reasons but they speeded it up for him to do his mile. He said to me with a huge smile on his face “This is the fastest I’ve ever been!” which in turn put a smile on my face too. The support that he had off his fellow class mates all shouting his name was good to see. Thanks for the invite, what a great day!
Saturday 7th May was Carten day and we had a good group of people with us for the 100 mile journey to Tenby. The weather for the Carten is historically dreadful but today you couldn't have asked for better to be honest. 15mph tail wind, 18c and more or less sunny all the way. Phillip Lay (phil supported me on a few days of the 30 day challenge and is an all round good egg) was kind enough to offer his support and was there for us for the whole 100 miles if we ever needed him for food, water, puncture etc. It’s always good to have support like that when your going so far plus Phil even stayed down, came out for a few drinks with us and drove us home the next day. We had Richy, Dyl, Evo, Leigh and Rod rocking with us for the day. The ride all the way down the A48 was pretty good, the tail wind helped and we were all in good spirits. My brother has ridden to Tenby on many occasions and has always told me about the hills as you get about 15 miles away. He wasn't far wrong as we were greeted with many a hill but there’s nothing like finishing a 100 miler with a hard finish! We all finished and for Evo & Leigh it was the furthest they have ever ridden so it was great to see the smiles on their faces at the end. We all stayed at Tenby house and went out on the town to celebrate. Until next year.
Whilst training for my challenge Gav (funeral for a friend) went for a training ride with me around his home town Bridgend. The band have been around for a long time and have been very successful worldwide but he told me that they were all calling it a day and doing one last farewell tour and would like to do something for my challenge. They offered to do one last intimate gig at Club Ifor Bach and donate all the proceeds to my chosen charities which ended up being £3,000 which was amazing and very generous of them. Rob from Fuel bar & nightclub also offered to put on the after party and in the process raised much needed funds too so we had a good night ahead of us. The tickets sold out within 20 mins so as I walked into the club it was packed so I went to sit with the boys back stage and have a few drinks before they hit the stage. You could hear everyone shouting for them to come on stage then on went the boys and rocked the roof off. We packed up then went opposite to Fuel to finish the night off. Big thanks to Funeral for a Friend and good luck with your futures, Rob at Fuel and Club Ifor Bach.
I have started writing a blog about my challenge month which I’ll have finished soon.
Thanks to all that have donated up to now its very much appreciated. I’ve still got a long way to go but I’ll get there