When you tell people that you spent almost 13 years in the British Army they instantly think that you’ve always been fit. But in reality it wasn’t like that for me. Whilst I was probably fitter than a lot of the general population I was always at the lower end of fitness amongst my peers.
Some of this I can blame on medical issues. I spent a large chunk of my early career unable to join in with a lot of the physical training and at one point was being considered for medical discharge. After this period was over I found it hard to catch up with the rest. But mostly the blame lies with my own laziness.
I must admit I didn’t always enjoy the enforced training and often malingered at the back. It was a rare sight to see me training in my own time unless there was a mandatory fitness test looming. I can’t put my finger on why this was or why my attitude has changed so much. Maybe it was the fact that I was being told to exercise and now I do it for me. Who knows?
What I do know is that after I had decided to leave the Army I needed to do some exercise or I’d end up a fat, unhealthy civilian and that just wouldn’t do. What I didn’t expect was to actually enjoy it.
I found a group of like minded individuals in the Shenley Striders and duly joined the band of running misfits. I submitted my 12 month notice in February and by October I had entered my first half marathon. I had entered the occasional 10k in the past, mainly after being cajoled by a colleague or superior.
I had never run as far as 13.1 miles before and had no idea of what to expect. People had told me that sub 2-hours was respectable so initially I aimed for this. As I trained more and more I realised the 2-hours was more than achievable so set myself a goal of 1:45. I stormed home in 1:38:32 and I was hooked.
Since then I have completed a further 3 half marathons, 4 triathlons and 2 marathons. In 2016 I have set my sights further and hope to complete my first ultra-marathon in May and 100 miles in one day in August.