Like many others my age, I am a man fast approaching 30 years old! I’ve done the maths and checked it twice; that’s definitely right. Next summer I will have been alive on this planet for 3 whole decades…
Now I’m not one of those people that is ‘overly’ concerned with age; it’s just a number really. To illustrate how little my age concerns me: Here is a frankly terrifying image of me from 2007, followed by a photograph from the finish line of a 40 mile ultra-marathon last month.
This first image was taken at my 23rd birthday and acted as the initial catalyst for getting back into shape! How did I get so ‘out of shape’?? I don’t actually remember that happening. I knew I put on a little weight after going to university. I didn’t know how to cook yet, but I knew how to order fast food and how an oven worked. Also beer, I knew about beer.. Come to think of it; it’s really not that much of a surprise.
Okay, so I’d put on a bit of weight; I acknowledge this now. I was always fit as a child however, I swam competitively and trained every day back then. Surely I’m just one of those ‘fit’, overweight people… Nope! The floodgate was open now; I started noticing things. I got shattered having a kick about with mates; out of breath after a 10m sprint to the ball. Crap! Why did nobody tell me!
I dieted for a bit (not brilliantly; I just ate a bit less). I lost a couple of stone until I deemed it ‘impossible’ to lose any more. 12 stone seemed to be the limit. Not a bad effort, but there was still a bit of a gut there I just couldn’t shift.
In 2010 I took up running, and that changed. The more I ran, the more weight I lost. I wouldn’t say I was obsessed with the idea of losing weight, but I did drop down to 10 stone at one point, which was a bit silly. Also, because of my compulsion to run further and further every day, I got injured a lot.
I’m now in my 3rd year of running and I think I’ve finally cracked it. The running itself is not the thing that gives you good health. It’s the lifestyle change it brings; the complete package. In order to stay uninjured, I began researching into allsorts. My diet (eating well, not eating less), gym regimes, flexibility and the fact that this is a ‘daily’ commitment; not just a couple of long runs a week and hope the rest sorts itself out. The great thing about running is the focus it gives you. I’m not even doing this because I ‘have to’ now, I’m doing it because I ‘want to’!
What was I talking about? Oh yeah.. I’m turning 30 next year and I couldn’t care less! It may well be the case that I’m getting older, my hairline has gone back a bit and I remember things like ‘SMTV Live’ on the telly back when there were only 5 channels. Actually that last one was well good; they should bring that back! … Anyway, I think overall I can safely look at my ‘2007 self’ and acknowledge happily that the ‘2013 me’ is winning in every conceivable way..
So that for me is why I enjoy running. It’s the lifestyle that goes with it and I look forward to seeing what I can do in my 30’s. Maybe I’ll be doing another of these “look how shit I was back then” type articles in 10 years time…