mental health week

Let’s work together to help break down the stigma #itsoktonotbeok

Running Coach

Why is there a stigma surrounding mental health?  Why are people afraid to talk about their suffering?  I think we fear the consequences – will I be sectioned – will I be put in a straight jacket?  Will people think I’m mad? People love to jump to conclusions and put people down only to make themselves feel better.  I’ve been on the receiving end and it’s far from pleasant.

Our parents, grandparents and other educators have always said “it doesn’t matter what people think” “sticks and stones….” but it still hurts.  It still makes us vulnerable.  It makes us feel like we’ve failed – like we’re not good enough.

I’m hoping that in mental health week and with  the support of the Royal Family this week we’re going to make a difference. #starfishmalawi I’m going to make a difference and talk about my mental health openly and encourage others to…

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A Tough Start

Sunday 22nd January 2017

The alarm was set for 06:30, and when it went off I jumped straight out of bed ready for my 1st half marathon of the year – the inaugral Farnborough Half Marathon.

I got myself ready, had a bowl of porridge and woke the rest of the family up ready to head over to Farnborough. On opening the front door we were greeted with glorious sunshine, but freezing cold temperatures.

We got ourselves into the car and headed on over to The Hub where the Farnbrough 1/2 was starting from. The race was due to start at 9am and even though we set off in enough time to get there for 8am we didn’t actually make it down to the start point till 08:30 due to the traffic.

Once there though we met up with Tom (one of the trio running the 12 in 12 with me), and waited for the warm up to start (the temp was -6c so we were looking forward to a big warm up with everyone). It got to 08:50 and there had been no announcement for the warm up, and due to the traffic conditions we assumed that the start had been delayed, so I headed over to join the queue for one last visit to the toilets before the race started. Just as I got to the front of the queue the countdown started for the race – there was no warm up!!!!!!!!!!!!

This completely threw me and my preparation for the race. I quickly used the toilet, ran back out, gave Mrs A & the kids a goodbye kiss and joined the masses at the start. Now, I’m not the fastest of runners and see myself more as a plodder, I have a PB of 2:20 for a half marathon set a few years ago when I was also a fair few lb’s lighter!!!!!!!!

The 1st 4 miles were loops of the business park, after the the 1st loop Mrs A pointed out that I was ahead of Tom (who is a much quicker runner than me), but as it was his 1st ever race I assumed he had just positioned himself in the wrong place – how wrong I was. 5k in and I was flying, I had a great time and was feeling good about myself. We headed out onto the roads and as we hit 10k I looked at my time – 1:02 (my quickest 10k before that was around 1:10), I still felt good but couldn’t understand why I was so quick (my aim was for a 2:30 finish as it was my 1st race in 2yrs), I was on course for a huge PB.

At about 8miles in I could feel my pace dropping a little and then spent some time running along with an Ironman (I’d recognise that M Dot tattoo anywhere), this kept me going for another mile.

We then hit the canal tow path and that was a lonely run as I was then on my own. When I got to 10 miles I hit the wall in the biggest way possible, I really felt like I couldn’t run any further and my emotions started to get the better of me. I felt like quitting, but I’m not a quitter!!!!!!!!!!

I somehow walked, stumbled, dragged my way round the final 3 miles and then with 400mtrs to go a friend and fellow runner Simon (who had already finished) saw me and could tell I was struggling, he selflessly ran alongside me for 350mtrs to get me to that finish (peeling away so I could cross the finish line on my own). I was extremely thankful for that as he really helped spur me on.

I did it, I crossed the finish line in 2:36:47, well outside the time I wanted to finish it in, but I finished it and I was proud of that (especially considering how I felt at the 10 mile marker).

I looked back through the photos after the race and noticed that when I started the race I was ahead of the Sub 2:15 finish – it wasn’t Tom that had positioned himself in the wrong place………it was me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Farnborough was a tough, lonely half marathon, but it was great to get the race under my belt and I’m looking forward to the next race at Thorpe Park16266098_10154925544622392_3752870176011056316_n

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12 in 12 – A mini challenge

What is the point in having a blog site if you don’t post any blogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I thought it was about time I started posting, and what better way than to start with telling you about a little challenge I’m undertaking with a couple of folks.

A few months ago one of Mrs A’s work colleagues mentioned a little challenge they were interested in doing of 12 Half Marathons in 12 Months. Being the crazy fool that I am, I said I would happily join him in this challenge, and from that our challenge was set. Mrs A’s sister also decided to join us.

Now, I know I used to run a fair bit but 2 1/2 years ago I suffered a meniscus tear in my knee which resulted in keyhole surgery being required. It took a good 6 months to start recovering from that – and I ended up needing a Cortisone injection to speed up the healing process. This also knocked my confidence for 6 (I know, it’s hard to believe that I could lack confidence……), so taking on this challenge was a big step for me.

Over the coming months I shall be blogging about the various races and my training sessions as well as any other events I decide to enter along the way – those that know me know I like a challenge or 2.

Races Booked in so far:

Jan – Farnborough Half

Feb – Thorpe Park Half

Mar – Fleet Half

Oct – Basingstoke Half

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy following me on my journey and please feel free to follow my blog

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My Beloved United – In Moyes We Trust or Moyes Out

8th May 2013 will always stick in my memory. It was the end of an era, the day Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement (for the 2nd time) as Manchester United manager. This time though he meant it and wasn’t going to back track. 26yrs, 6mths, 2days & 38 trophies later that shocking 2-0 defeat to Oxford doesn’t look too bad.

As soon as the announcement was made the search was on for a replacement, Pep was already at Bayern, Klopp wasn’t leaving & Jose was destined for Chelsea. It then emerged that Moyes was handpicked by SAF to take charge. This was quite a surprise to most fans & pundits alike. Personally I think SAF stayed on a year too long, if Aguero hadn’t popped up with that winner I think he would’ve stepped down then & Pep would be in charge now.

Of course as soon as Moyes was announced many fans were turning against him, not good enough for Utd, no big team experience etc etc. I for one said to myself ‘Lets give the guy a chance, SAF clearly has seen something in him’.

I knew this season would be a struggle and didn’t expect to win the league, but hoped for a top 4 finish (still not out of the equation as I type).

The transfer window set the stall out for what is turning out to be a very long season for Utd. Not helped by the fact that Gill also stepped down, so we went into a transfer window with a new Chief Exec (Ed Woodward), and a new manager. This was fully taken advantage of as United’s transfer dealings became so public it was crazy. Never had I come across such a ridiculous way of doing business and can only put it down to other clubs realising the Fergie Factor had gone, they could now have the upper hand on Utd.

So the season started with Fellaini the only notable signing (a player Fergie tried to sign 2 season’s previous). Aspirations were still the same (top 4 finish). 2 months in and we had already lost to Man City, Liverpool, & West Brom. United’s aura had clearly gone.

Things haven’t really improved over the season with defeats against Swansea, Spurs, Chelsea, and most recently Olympiakos hitting home that the team just isn’t good enough at the moment.

The knives are well and truly sharpened with many United fans calling for Moyes to go. Are these fans that have only supported the club over the last 20yrs or those that have been there through the good times & the bad.

Just because we’re Manchester United does not give us a right to win every trophy that we are in, yes we should be competing but who is to blame for the performances, is it Moyes or the players? Perhaps its both.

Personally I’m saddened that our style of play has become predictable of late and that can be put down to a mixture of players lacking confidence, teams not fearing us, and Moyes wanting to play safe to try and stop our slide.

Yes this is a team that won the league last season, but a team that all the pundits didn’t think were capable of winning the league (it was a combination of Fergie Factor & other teams failings that gifted us the league. 3 of the top 4 changed their managers during the summer, 2 of those teams do so on a regular basis so the players are used to the merry go round.

This current team reminds me of AVB’s Chelsea. There are a number of players that clearly don’t respect Moyes & won’t play for him. Lets see what happens over the summer when the dead wood is gotten rid of. Mata being brought in & Rooney signing a new contract give me hope that this is just 1 bad season.

For now though I still believe Moyes can do the job. I’m more than happy to revisit this post in a years’ time and hopefully be proved right. I understand why there are those calling for Moyes to go, its sad to see the club how it is, but lets stick by the club and this difficult transitional season and look forward to 2014/15.

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Uk Floods, A charity plea or not

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few weeks you’ll know we are currently in the midst of some truly awful weather. This has caused many, many towns & villages to have their flood defences breached causing widespread disruption.
This disruption has led to many people being without homes and losing personal belongings.
The govt are finally acting and providing much needed financial support to the affected areas, however there’s is currently a call for charities like Comic Relief to donate their money to the flood victims.
Now, whilst this may sound like a good idea to some I personally feel this is wrong. This charity in particular raises money to help save lives in 3rd world countries as well as helping the terminally ill here in the UK.
Yes it’s devastating that there are many people that have lost their homes, but they still have a life and whilst it will be a struggle in the initial aftermath at least they know they’ll still be able to get a meal, have clean drinking water.
What I feel can be done is to set up a fundraising event (like they did in the US following hurricane Katrina). Let’s see if the powers that be can host a ‘Party In the Park’ style event with all proceeds going to flood victims. Those victims remember don’t just include humans, but many animals will have had their natural habitats destroyed also.
Finally, let’s hope those within the HMRC and the banking industry understand that businesses haven’t been able to operate and make allowances for Tax/NI/Loan repayments etc. The smaller, independent businesses will need as much help as possible to establish themselves again after weeks of non trading.

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