Monday, November 24, 2014

Milestone Man

One of the key things that keeps things rolling here at Seven Nation Army HQ is parkrun(and vodka), the whole thing of turning up at 8am on Saturday and running with friends(including those I haven't met yet) over a 5km course has a special feeling that I struggle to describe. This Saturday just gone the magic went up a notch when I finally reached the milestone of 50 parkruns. For somebody who never reached 50 games of footy or any other sporting milestone this was a pretty big thing, I've admired the other parkrunners who have hit their 50 & 100 milestones, I've been encouraged by them,run with them and looked up to them. On Saturday I finally became one of them, somebody who had run 50 parkruns, being a little bit less than the shy and retiring type I'd mentioned my upcoming 50th to a couple of people, namely Dan Baldwin, runner & run director extraordinaire and Ben Harris, organiser of darkruns, extreme trail runner, supplier of eggs and super pacer. Ben wasted no time in offering to pace me to a PB on my 50th, and I wasted even less time accepting. I'd also mentioned my upcoming 50th to the wider park run community and was amazed when I arrived on Saturday at the number of people who had decided to visit Canning River for my big day. I was even more amazed and humbled when Dan started his run briefing, his summary of my park run journey made me so proud(and a little embarrassed), and the pressure was put on when Dan advised all assembled that I was running a 30 minute PB and anyone keen for that should get on the bus. Being so keen for a PB, Ben suggested we should start towards the front, before I know it I've been pushed to the front, the absolute pointy end, and we are off, and off I went like a cork leaving a champagne bottle. I think I had gone about 300 metres before Ben caught me and suggested I should just ease off a bit, possibly 500 metres in and the bus catches up and things settle down, by about 600 metres Ben, like Keanu Reeves in Speed finally has control of the bus, such is Ben's control that he manages to turn off my Garmin using only his elbow, Jedi or what? The mood on the bus is good, as much as I am struggling to talk and breathe there is conversation ebbing and flowing about me, Adrian has brought along some tunes on a reasonably un portable speaker system but he carries it with good cheer and announces every tune like the DJ from your favourite FM station, Didi runs ahead at every chance for photo & video and opportunities and there are reports that the bus has reached 300 people strong but I don't dare turn around to check because running and breathing is my only focus.I have Ben on my left and Andrew Shugg on my right and all I have to do is run,seems so simple. We reach the turtle bridge and Ben tells me to wave at digger the dog as we go over, I've seen digger on 20 odd parkruns but never been this far along, it's comforting to see things that tell you your ahead of the game, digger is a constant at Canning River park run and one day I'll stop and talk to him and his owner about the important job they do. We turn onto the boardwalk and I sneak a look at my watch, I think I'm a little behind time but Ben is still lying seductively in my ear, so I carry on as DJ AK drops another banging tune as we head into Canning Rivers hardest segment, the concrete. Amazingly the hard bits of Canning River appear to be colour coded(or I've completely made this up) but running around the back along the street and around rubbish bin corner on that concrete tends to get a bit tough(or maybe its me) but we press on knowing that a mini challenge awaits us, Canning River's Everest, a rise so small that regular Hill climbers barely note the elevation, but enough to trouble a downhill specialist like myself. At this point I remember that I'm not the only one chasing a PB, I know Amanda Dear shares the same goal of a sub 30 parkrun, I can only hope she is on the bus. We go up the hill, it seems harder than normal but it provides some Pshycological relief when we hit the top, mainly in the form of a bit of downhill action, my favourite way to run. At this point Ben is more important than ever because I'll be honest I want to walk the rest, PB or not. I'm vaguely aware of everyone else around me but I feel a little bit outside of it all, I realise for a brief moment that 30 minutes is gone but nobody has said it's gone so I keep running, we approach the last boardwalk before the bridge and I allow myself a brief look up at the bat boxes in the trees and remember John telling me about them earlier in the day, like a lifetime ago, I come back into the moment when I see Amanda go past me and my oxygen deprived brain does the maths again, maybe sub 30 is still possible, Amanda obviously thinks so, I get onto the bridge and push with everything, I feel like my speed has doubled but who the hell knows, Amanda is disappearing over the bridge and I try and chase, I'm on the bridge and making a huge noise on the checkerplate but my noise is soon replaced by people clapping and cheering, I still want to stop but I figure it really is only a little to go, I cross the line and stop my watch wishing that holding your arms in the air would stop Garmins because let's face it nobody wants to cross the finish line pressing a button, they want to be waving their hands in the air like they just don't care. The next 10 minutes is quite honestly a blur, if I spoke to you and was at all vague I apologise as I really don't know where I was at. I recall Thanking Ben for being a great pacer(If I imagined that then : Thankyou Ben, you are the best)I've seen some great photos since, and it's clear it's me in them but that's all I've got. It turns out that I crossed the line in 30.22, not quite under 30 minutes but a decent sized PB. I also recall Andrew presenting me with a bat cape, this is awesome and as I write it is still around my neck, wearing ot to work tomorrow may present some challenges but I'm willing to face them head on. I love the fact that I PB'd on s milestone event, I also love that a few people cracked a PB by riding the bus, but most of all I loved the atmosphere on the day, maybe because it was all about me for a day or maybe because it was proof that parkrun could take an unfit 41 year old and turn him into a fitter, faster running 42 year old, 30 kgs lighter but filled right up with positive feelings. Most of all I love the fact that next Saturday we will do it all again, supporting everyone who wants to get a bit fitter, go a little faster or even get around to corner x without stopping. The journey continues, onwards to more parkruns, and also to make sure I introduce as many people as I can to this fantastic environment as possible, not forgetting to repay some of the help and encouragement I've had from so many parkrunners. There are so many to thank and so many to help, so let's keep it simple, THANKYOU EVERYBODY. So many people have helped me it's beyond amazing, and I dont wish to diminish anybody's contribution by not naming them. A Seven Nation Army Couldnt hold us back.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Something that couldn't hold me back

Well it's finally done, the change that I have planned for months is finally in place. I have changed the name of my blog to the Seven Nation Army Running Team. I must admit, it was hard to let go of the old and bring in the new, and even harder to find a way that it fitted right. I hope I've done that, but I'm sure I'll work it out as I go along. In the meantime, what is the Seven Nation Army Running Team, well it's me trying to let nothing hold me back, but anyone is welcome to join, to run along humming that familiar riff. Full length arm tattoos are completely optional of course, what isn't optional is backing yourself in, striving for better. Welcome to the Seven Nation Army Running Team.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Do you know my name?

So before you know it 7 weeks have gone by and there has been no update by the fatboy, well I'm pleased to report that I am still alive and still knocking out the odd run. Things still proceed and thoughts and ideas belt around by head like particles in a Hadron collider, as usual none of them make the page, but I've thought of a way to make some improvement in that area. The decision to run a marathon has started to crystallise into a plan, a plan that gets wilder by the day as I keep thinking, Why Not? As nobody has said it's not possible I'll assume that it is possible, if anyone says it's not possible then that probably means I'll do it just to be contrary. That's how it goes. So I guess it's happening regardless. So what's the plan? Well, first up, it's back to Bunbury in April for the 3 waters Marathon. This event seems so special in so many ways, firstly this year it was the first 10k I'd run in about 3 years, secondly it felt like a dawn of something special in parkrun, so many people came down for that event that it felt like parkrun on steroids. Now here's where the plan gets a bit ambitious, assuming I recover from Bunbury and still like to run(both a bit iffy given my first marathon effort) I'll run the Perth Marathon. I don't need to tell you how special this event is to me, and I'm sure it's pretty special to a lot of others. The hometown marathon, running along the river, it doesn't get much better, or does it? Of course there is one more iconic event, about the end of August, the City to Surf, an event that I can't really work out my feelings about. On one hand I hated the 12km but loved the half, regardless of the feelings about the runs they have been two of my proudest finishes, so assuming the first two don't put me off or kill me I'll be having a crack at 42.2 in August, also the medals are the size of dinner plates and I love my bling. Well there it is, the fatboys ambitious plan to run 3 marathons in a calendar year,it seems like a big task, but I'm inspired by the Tony Smith's and Ben Harris's of my world who are doing this and more, I know I'm not in their league, not even close, but I'm still inspired by their example of hard work and consistent efforts. I hope I can be even 25% of the runners that they are, that should cover it. While I plan to up the distance in 2015, I also plan to up the communication. It's been suggested to me that a Facebook page would be useful, and I think it might, with an opportunity to throw out some of the smaller random, daily thoughts that come through my mind. Before I start a Facebook page though, I need to sort out the name of this blog(and probably the facebook page), although Run Fatboy Run has served me well, I'm not sure it represents me accurately anymore, don't get me wrong I'm still fat, but I'm thinking there's a bit more to it, something else to be talked about. I still want to tell my story, I want to inspire others to lace up and go, and I definitely want to keep sharing. I just feel it needs something new name wise, suggestions are welcome as I have absolutely no idea. If anyone can find a way to make a White Stripes song fit with the name that's double points. GO.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Final Results & Measurements

As you all know I had my final measurements today, I thought I would post the results in here rather and then link to them through Facebook & twitter. So at the beginning they tested me across a range of factors relating to certain health measures. I've tried to pick out the most relevant ones. I'll comment on any I'm not happy with, no comment you can assume I'm happy. Cholesterol Level; Start 4.7 Finish 4.16. Blood Pressure; Start 136/90 Finish 126/82 Aerobic Fitness Test; Start 1.64 Watts/Kg Finish 1.64 Watts/Kg(I'll admit I'm surprised not to have improved this) GIRTH Measurements Right Arm;Start 42cm Finish 37cm Left Arm; Start 43.5cm Finish 39cm Chest; Start 136.5cm Finish 123cm Waist; Start 147cm Finish 117.5cm(quite disappointed about that 0.5 there just quietly) Hips;Start 134cm Finish 127cm Right Leg; Start 73cm Finish 68cm Left Leg; Start 70.5 Finish 67cm Right Calf; Start 50.5cm Finish 48cm Left Calf;51cm Finish 47cm SKINFOLDS Bicep; Start 21mm Finish 9.6mm Tricep;Start 28mm Finish 24mm Subscapular;Start 25mm Finish 23mm Supralliac; Start 41mm Finish 31mm I don't actually know how to convert this number into body fat, but I guess it was lots now its less. On core stability I went from being able to hold a plank for 16 seconds to holding it for 90 seconds(they stop you at 90 because thats the maximum score and clearly they didn't have all day). I also went from 14 sit ups in a minute to exceeding 26(once again they stop you at the top score). Finally, my weight loss, I weighed in at the first session at 152kg(though I had been as high as 156 in the weeks prior), today I was 130.9kg. All in all, I'm really happy with my results. I've got an excellent base to keep going to the next level and feel this has been excellent reward for the hard work I've done. Now I just need some new clothes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Running Long

As most people know, tomorrow is my final assessment for fitfans, the end of a long journey that I am certain has changed me physically and mentally. Physically I've lost about 25 kilos, reached a level of fitness that has me running regular half marathons and have shaved about 5 minutes off my parkrun PB. I've also not had a drink in almost 6 months, avoided fast food and a range of other salty fatty snacks. In short I've maintained focus over 23 weeks at a level I didn't believe was possible. I know tomorrow there will be a slight relief that it's over but I'm also bracing for the disappointment that comes form finishing any event, the feeling of what's next? I also have an overwhelming concern that a couple of days of relaxing the intensity will turn into a few weeks and my good work will be undone. So I have a three pronged approach to this, firstly to give myself a lighter more relaxing week staring tomorrow, secondly to ask all of my friends to keep me accountable, to pull me up if they think I'm not trying hard enough, not striving for the best I can do, not pushing myself as if a trip to the grand final was on the line. I can handle it, I'm a big boy, so feel free to give me a tap if I get out of line. And the third thing is to replace this long term project with another one, it's time to train for another marathon. So on top of the goals I put up here last week there is another one, to finish another marathon, this time in under 5 and a half hours. I haven't decided yet whether to aim for Bunbury or to go for Perth, either way that's the rough timing. As always you'll hear about how I go tomorrow, and I'll keep you posted on the progress of my new goals. Don't feel bad for me if I don't win the trip, I'm very happy with what I have achieved.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I'm talking to myself at night because I can't forget

A few days have gone by since the City to Surf half, I've read a whole bunch of peoples run reports and have thought how much I needed to write mine. The thing that amazes me with each report that I read is how much recall people have of the whole race, where things hurt, where seconds where won and lost, where gels where consumed and what conversations where had and who with. I cast my mind back over my race and realise I'm exactly the same, the recall is almost GoPro like, so much so that I've spent a fair bit of the last 3 days rolling over the footage and looking for the missing 2 minutes that would have given me a PB. I've come to peace with the result and as such this will not be a race report however if I can give any aspiring distance runners one tip, it is this: DO NOT WALK DOWN HILLS. I was fiddling with my iPod chasing a tune to bring me home and suddenly realised I was walking downhill. I shall speak no more about this other than to say it has focussed my mind on the future and the next set of achievements. If there is one thing missing a PB will do it is drive you on to front back up and have another crack, if I had a dollar for every runner that's told me they have unfinished business with a course or distance I could give up my day job. And so it is I think I'm good enough to go a bit quicker, as such I'll be fronting up at the Freo half, an event that everybody I know seems to be doing despite it being universally friendless(please point me to any positive reviews of this event, I am yet to see one), the intention is to crack 2 hours and 30 minutes on this course. And if that doesn't happen I may well have a chance at redemption the following weekend in Busselton. Your possibly seeing a pattern here, that the fatboy wants to get to as many half's as possible and I can confirm that it is true, with the fitfans competition coming to an end, I'm looking at stacking the goals high in order to keep the focus that I've had. To keep me accountable here are some of my main goals for the next little while: 1. A 2 hour 30 minute half(this year) 2. A 2 hour half(within 12 months) 3. A 30 minute parkrun(ASAP) 4. A 60 minute 10k(this year) So that should keep me busy for the next little while, that and deflecting invitations to the 6 inch, not a chance people.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Pointy end

The approaching end of the AFL season also means that the fit fans competition will soon be ending too, in fact the official end is City to surf day on the 31st of August but in reality my final assessment is the 10th of September so thats the real end date for me. Which means I have a little over one month left to affect the result. A lot of people have asked along the way how I was going in relation to my competitors, the truth is I have no idea, aside from a few snippets on twitter, meeting a few of them at an AFL9's game earlier in the season and reading some profiles on the Eagles website I'm pretty much in the dark. Which is possibly a good thing, after all if I knew I was 10 goals down going into the last quarter I might fold and go down by 15, or conversely if I was 10 goals up I might be taking my foot of the gas. Of course at this point I should say something like: "That's not how I roll", but being totally honest with you, its exactly how I roll, so now you know. Don't judge me. So where does this leave me at the minute? Well first of all, nervous, have I done enough?, should I have gone harder earlier?, have I tried everything?, Can I still do more?, I even contemplated seeing the Doctor about prescription weight loss drugs. I soon came to my senses on that one, I want my achievement to be sustainable and based around my own hard work and that seemed a little too close to cheating. Given my attitudes about drugs in sport I know I've made the right choice. I've also been thinking about my possible reactions to the competitions results. If I win, well that's easy, I'll be super happy and packing for Melbourne. If I lose, that's a different thing altogether, I know I'll be disappointed,I'm a competitive person, it's natural and I've put a fair heap of work into it. But I have to be philosophical about this, the people I've met who are also doing the competition have all been really nice, and no doubt would all make deserving winners. So I have to force myself to focus on the positives, the weight loss, the improvement in my running,the clothes that now fit, the five months without a drink, and all the other little milestones that I've achieved along the way. I also really need to make sure that win or lose I keep going, faster runs, further runs and still lower weight. But I still really really want to win, so this next month could well be the most intense of all. Watch the Fatboy Run.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

You Only Live Once

You only live once and bucket list are two statements I wish I'd never heard, I hate them both and yet I hear them all too regularly. Why have I titled this blog, with it then, well it's also the title of a Strokes song which happened to be the song playing on my iPod today when I realised that I'd nailed the half marathon, that absolutely nothing could derail me, that things where just going right. And right they went, to the point of crossing the line 35 seconds quicker than I had hoped to do and running easily the most consistent long run I have ever completed. Am I happy? You bet. I have to give a fair amount of credit to the pacing function on my new Garmin, going at the start at a more manageable pace meant that I ran consistently all day.My support crew where great, making sure I had a fresh drink and gel whenever needed, I also have to give some massive credit to all the park run crew, people who are always happy to smile and wave out on course and where waiting at the end to cheer me over the line. They are some seriously good runners, but most importantly really good people. It's fairly safe to say that without parkrun today would not have happened for me. Anyway back to the point of this post, I know plenty of people have been through dark times on long runs, I posted about this recently, but surely there must be plenty of times when things go really well, when the preparation pays off and even when that song comes on and you're only at the 11km mark you suddenly know that the next ten is just a matter of staying the path, there is no doubt, no darkness, just people running towards you wondering what the hell that fat guy is so happy about.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What's your story?

As many of my running friends did, I completed the HBF Run for a Reason on Sunday just gone. I must admit it was a lot more enjoyable than I had expected it to be, after swearing off mass participation, close the city type runs after my one and only City to Surf experience in 2010 I was expecting the worst. By the worst I mean roads congested with people in onesies & tutus, zigging and zagging around walkers who seem to have time travelled. That sort of thing. Sure I saw a bit of that but not nearly as bad as I thought. I managed to arrive at the finish in one hour, thirty three minutes and five seconds. I'm happy with that as at about the 6km mark I was feeling like I would be out there all day. In fact I told myself several times that I was cooked, and was only going to get slower from here. It was only when some parkrun friends came alongside at the 7k mark and started talking to me that I got my act together(many thanks Theresa & Ann). I ran with them for a while but I couldn't keep up, though I managed to keep them in sight until they entered Gloucester park. Why does our self talk, our inner voice give us so much grief, is it creating excuses for not reaching goals? Is it our subconscious trying to excuse us from doing the work we need to do, because after all these things are hard, thats the whole point of doing them. I sure don't know, when I do I'll let you know, but I do know one thing, what we tell ourselves has a massive effect on our success or otherwise. So try and keep your story positive. My next challenge is the Perth Marathon relay, then the Masters Athletics club marathon. I'll be stepping up the training for both but hopefully I'll be stepping up the frequency of these posts, if not for my readers(should that be plural?) then at least for my own continued motivation. I'm also thinking about the possibility of a podcast because I really do love the sound of my own voice, but I'll need some help with that one. Watch this space.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Magic of parkrun

So although plenty seems to be happening, most of it is not sitting at a keyboard writing down my thoughts. Which seems like a shame because I reckon I've been having some rippers. Can I think of any of them right now, not one. Well thats not quite true, I have a couple that will probably come up during this post but if they don't, trust me, they were off the scale brilliant. Anyway I've been wanting to write about the magic of parkrun, a free weekly timed 5km run at a park near you. And although I don't believe in anything remotely mystical or magical, unicorns or fairies, there is something quite magic that happens when these groups get together every Saturday morning at 8am. I first heard about park run through my mate Jeremy Savage's posts on Facebook, I'd met Jeremy through riding bikes and he's been mentioned on this blog before in reasonably glowing terms. Jeremy loves parkrun so much that he got involved in setting up a new park run at Canning River, then one in Gosnells. I started going along about a year ago when Jeremy was involved in starting up Canning River, it's hard to explain but the vibe is so good at these events, the encouragement, the general feeling of a group of people doing something they really enjoy. I usually attract my fair share of encouragement wherever I go, mainly because I'm a big guy having a crack, but the encouragement I see going to everybody, the applause as someone finishes, whether first or last is quite amazing. Now it seems like there are park runners wherever you go, at events all over the state, high fiving and supporting each other on to greater heights of running stupidity and achievement. I still don't know why it works and probably don't need to, but I'm glad it does. So for the moment it's the only magic I believe in.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

From Fatboy to Fitfan

It was suggested to me today that I should be blogging about where I am at currently and the challenge that I am currently involved in: fitfans. Of course it seems so long away from my blog, it feels something like switching off a favorite TV show then not watching it again for two years. You know the main character seems familiar but what have I missed? So the trick here might be for those who are interested to give some updates about the current situation, then by way of flashback bring you up to speed with what's been happening in the interim. These flashbacks scenes will be clearly marked(probably by me staring wistfully into space) so if your not interested you can skip it. So where am I at? I'm currently involved in a competition put on by HBF called fitfans. They've selected 22 Eagles fans(and 22 Dockers fans) to see who can get the greatest weight and fitness improvement over the footy season. The prize(one for the Dockers & one for the Eagles) is a trip to the AFL grand final. So in a nutshell, I have an opportunity to win a trip for something I ought to be doing anyway, sweet Hey? So I've been running, working out with a personal trainer and watching what goes in my mouth. So far so good, It's a long challenge so I know there will be a bit to talk about,not to mention my flashbacks, hopefully the blog will help keep me on the straight and narrow for the duration.