When the weekend comes around, are you one of the first people to put the trainers and head out the front door for a run? Do you throw the kit in the bag and head to the gym? Or are you someone who seeks out the next big challenge and trains hard for it? The possibilities are endless! It is not uncommon to hear friends or colleagues talk about entering an obstacle race this winter or perhaps give their first triathlon a go in the summer. This desire brings people together during their free time, motivates and gets the heart rate going. There is also a phrase for anyone who tries to cram all their weekly exercise into the weekend, that is a ‘weekend warrior’. So, with all this in mind, am I a weekend warrior??
I love to exercise. Doesn’t matter what it is, it could be lifting weights or a martial arts class, a yoga session or playing cricket, I love the feeling it gives me afterwards. When I was younger, much of my time outside of school or university was taken up with team sports.
Rugby, hockey and cricket were my focus and l wanted to play them as much as I could. I owe a lot to my parents for ferrying, not just myself but also my brothers, around the country in the evenings and at the weekends to play for a particular team.
But as life got busier and the career kicked in, the time commitment towards participating in team sports became harder. As the old saying goes, “if you want to do something, make time for it or it doesn’t happen” was never truer. I had fallen into the rut of using an excuse you may be familiar with:
‘I don’t have time, is the adult equivalent of ‘the dog ate my homework’.
To reverse this trend, I decided to surround myself with people of a similar disposition – those who enjoy a challenge, want to be active and enjoy getting a bit competitive. I think I’ve always had the competitive streak, I’m sure my folks would be able to prove or disprove this. Whether the story my mother would tell about my head banging in Peter Jones as a child when I didn’t get my own way, counts as being competitive (or headstrong) or just a little brat (!) remains to be seen. Either way, I enjoy the thrill of a competitive game.
At this point, it’s probably worth pointing out that I had a change of direction. In my younger years, I was a team sports man through and through. I love the comradery and team building of the sports I was involved it. Being lucky enough to captain sports teams at all levels and play representatively was an honour. I made some great friends and even had some good performances! I didn’t, however, like the fitness elements to it though (surprisingly).
Running was over-rated. I was a cricketer not an athlete. Hockey was all about the fitness and I hated it. There are times looking back when I realised I was a chump. By being fit, your body copes with all the stresses and strains placed on it much better. I don’t wonder what if, but I think it’s a good lesson to learn. If the body is able, the mind can be willing.
It is with this in mind, that it brings me to the subject of today’s post. Am I a weekend warrior? And why do I do what I do?
Let me tackle the warrior question first…
In all honesty, I probably have a foot in the warrior camp but not entirely. The reason for this, is that I try to be active during the week and not just to leave it all to the weekend. I love the challenge of getting out on a Saturday or Sunday and pushing the boundaries. It could be the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest back in 2011 or completing a long cycling sportive in Wales. Either way, I do try and cram exercise into the 48 hours in which we are not at work.
That said, why do I do it?
In the past, I felt compelled to do so. I had an inner motivation that meant I couldn’t sit still. I don’t like to back down and once I’ve made the decision to go to the gym or go for a ride, I find it really difficult to rationalise not doing it. This meant I would just do something!
These days, it is much more structured and is in pursuit of a specific goal, including:
- I trained for the summer back in 2012 for the Ride Across Britain (970+ miles in 9 days) from Lands’ End to John O’Groats.
- In 2015, I completed the Miami Half Ironman triathlon in November of that year
- At the end of 2016, I went through a body transformation over 10 weeks and lost 4kg and reduce my body fat to sub 10% (see previous post).
So, what are you doing at the moment, you may ask?
2016 was a tumultuous year for the family as my younger brother was diagnosed with bowel cancer. With a young family and being 5 years younger than I am, he still had most of life ahead of him. Incredibly, and with the support of the health services in Jersey, he beat the cancer. To say we were relieved is an under-statement. Bowel cancer is a nasty son-of-a-b*tch. I’ve heard many stories of families affected, who were not as lucky as us. This is truly heart wrenching.
With this in mind, I decided to do something about it. I have been flirting with the idea of entering a full distance ironman for several years, but was always put off by the sheer magnitude of the event. Simply put, it scared me.
Now I didn’t have a choice. Being scared of an event was something I could get over. Being scared about cancer, never leaves you. The impact on families can last forever.
On my birthday in November last year, I did it. I bought a ticket to a full distance ironman event. In August 2017.
This just became real. It was not cheap so there is no backing out. It really has focused the mind and challenged whether I am able to do it. Deep down, I know that I will do everything I can to finish. These events are determined by what’s between the ears. This is where I hope my competitive nature will come in handy.
So, there it is. My next big challenge: 140.6 miles of swimming, cycling and running in the middle of France.
I’m not a pro-athlete by any stretch, so this will be a hell of a challenge. I have moments of self-doubt (especially about the swimming!) but the pain and suffering will only last a maximum of 17 hours. The pain felt by cancer suffers lasts much much longer.
This is my little way of helping others.
If you would like to know more about my training, motivations or charity raising, please do get in touch. I shall be keeping a log and updating with all the highs and lows over the next 6 months.