So it's come to this. When I was 16 I was a reasonably capable long-distance runner and thought nothing of running 10+ miles; it stood out amongst my general lack of any athletic ability whatsoever. Then beer entered my life and since then it's been a gradual accumulation of excess body fat! In my day job I regularly advise people on their lifestyle - drink alcohol in moderation, eat healthily and exercise more. Unfortunately it has been very much a case of do as I say, not as I do!
As for many people the age of 40 came with the awareness that I may well have passed the halfway point in my life and that now all those healthy living messages may actually be important. Also, the old knees have started to complain at the sheer weight they're being asked to carry. Several abortive attempts at getting fit over the last few years have indicated the need for a target; something to keep me committed. I ran the Sport Relief Mile in 2012 and was astonished at just how difficult I found it. I don't think my time of just over 12 minutes is going to be troubling any record keepers!
A recent weekend trip (to see The Darkness in Manchester) resulted in a conversation very much along these lines with an old friend who has also seen the need to get fit (although to be fair he's not exactly in my league). A discussion about exercise equipment and training programmes ensued and it seems he took it all rather seriously - upon my return home an email appeared from him, asking if I'd be interested in the 2014 Great North Run. Even more bizarrely I appear to have agreed. My wife is already training for the upcoming Lincoln 10K roadrace (and ran her first 10K at the weekend) and she's thrown her hat in the ring as well.
So there you are. Currently standing at 132kg and barely capable of running a mile I appear to have committed to the 2014 Great North Run. Can I do it? Will I survive? Does anyone care?
I've plotted a 32-week training programme which I reckon will get me running a half-marathon by the end of the year - there will then of course be the best part of a year to keep things going. I'm hoping a bit of weight loss will be inevitable and, in the immortal words of Homer Simpson - I "won't get chest pain when I eat any more."
If you're remotely bothered, I intend to my log my progress on this Blog. See the weight fall. See the distances grow. See the whole thing lapse into non-existence after a few weeks!! I intend to run the race for Yorkshire Cancer Research so, when I eventually register (the 2013 race hasn't even happened yet) you may even feel like supporting me. Please do.
So at the end of Week One:
A 15 minute walk and a 20 minute walk (covering 1.49k and 1.99k).
Severe anterior ankle pain at the end of each.
Still weigh 132kg.
Ate some pork scratchings today (D'oh!).
Watch this space.......