Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve

A Great Watch...
‘Trying to make ends meet, you're a slave to the money then you die’…

It seems a long time since the late 90’s and the brilliant Bittersweet Symphony. Whenever I hear it, I’m immediately transported back to 1998 where I’m listening to the track in the middle of the night on my 24-hour Treadmill Guinness World Record. It cropped up on my playlist yesterday mid-run and gave me a much-needed boost…

Anyway, after my run, I watched the video, sure it’s dated (as have I), but Ashcroft’s vitriolic lyrics are still just as relevant now as they were back then and even more-so as we head into the 20’s in just a few weeks’ time.

You see for me at the turn of the century, I wasn’t really sure what the next two decades would have in store but what I can say with hindsight was that at that time, I was ‘Empire Building’ - You know, totally blinkered, severely career-focussed and definitely a slave to the money and the kudos of becoming and being a Company MD. 

My oh my, Mr. Ashcroft was spot on and said it just the way it was.

In the pre-digital age, we lived in a different world - with different aspirations at a different pace but somehow in 2019 life’s no different – it’s just faster. And the faster it goes, the harder it gets keeping up. Most of the folk I meet admit to feeling being ‘Out of Control’.

Let’s face it, the treadmill of the 20’s is already running ‘Out of Control’ for everyone. And it makes me wonder where we will all be by the end of 2029. Will we be living life in an all-electric, carbon-neutral, plastic-free world where Brexit was a distant nightmare and someone has had the common sense to unite the great minds that exist to create a safer, greener and less threatening environment so we can enjoy a Sweeter Symphony on this amazing planet of ours.

It does make you wonder…

1,049 Marathons - 255 Ultras - 9 Guinness World Records - 15 Marathon des Sables

Friday, 29 November 2019

Selling England by the Pound...

I find it fascinating that folk believe they can actually BUY a Brighter Future. In my experience and in the lives of those I meet, it’s a frustratingly unrealistic and a totally impossible and implausible realistic goal. 

It’s pure fantasy…

You see Brighter Futures are CREATED. Not overnight, as some kind of ‘Black Friday Deal’, (you know the ones that don’t actually exist and are actually there all year round but that we are led to believe will only be there today, by Amazon etc. to boost sales and empty our pre-Christmas pockets thinking we’ve bought a bargain). – When we haven’t).

Well, that’s how I see trying to BUY a brighter future. As some kind of ‘Black Friday Deal’ where consistent hard work over an extended period of time that delivers long-term success and true satisfaction is replaced by trying to achieve the same results using money as the prime driver and not the sheer power of determination.

Who can honestly say that having a House/Car/Holiday bought for them is satisfying as saving up and buying it themselves? That first House/Car/Holiday purchase I found to be far sweeter…

Sure, get some guidance, help and encouragement along the way but a Brighter Future has to be earned and can’t be bought. It’s there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. You don’t have to go online or wait for 29th November or the Boxing Day Sales to get a bargain. It’s there EVERY day - you just need to reach out, decide for yourself and make it happen.

There’s no need to read endless customer reviews and you won’t find it searching Google - it’s already there between your ears - without a subscription, with a Life-Time Guarantee of 100% Satisfaction.

So, what’s stopping you? – Stop reading this and get your Brighter Future right now. 

It’s just a thought away.

Amen

1,049 Marathons - 255 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Gold - Spandau Ballet

Sporting Greatness...
Watching this video brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye and I’ll be honest and say I watched it a couple of times – a great soundtrack from M83 to accompany it too. You see, sport provides an amazing platform where people can perform and as spectators we’re lucky to be able to watch every second as it happens. Witness every bead of sweat in hi-res. Watch the highs, the lows and the simple joy of life-long dedication being realised in a split second.

My favourite sporting event, the Olympics are just 246 days away in Tokyo – where for some it will present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to succeed. An opportunity to become a household name, a role models and a national treasure or an also ran if it all goes wrong. Success and Failure on a knife-edge, hanging by a thread – that’s why I love it so much.

A proper life-moment to savour for the those who will be standing on the podium for sure…

But for the mere mortal that will certainly never compete at such a level, what can we take from the efforts of those taking gold, silver or bronze? Or for that matter anyone we see or know that is outstanding in their field of relativity. Sure it takes commitment, devotion and single-mindedness but it also takes 'Ingredient X' - the desire to WIN. We tell our children to share and that it's the taking part that matters - hmm I wonder what Usain Bolt might say about that? - I know what Sir Ranulph would say.

David Coleman's famous commentary at the 1968 Olympics went as follows - 'Hemery takes the gold, in second place Hennige and who cares who's third?' - John Sherwood might as he was the bronze medallist, that day? Anyway, Crammy certainly won't get away with that kind of comment next year - yet life just isn't like that is it?

Or is it for you?

Are you just taking part? Making up the numbers? Well for the record I'm not. I'm out there going for Gold every day in everything I do - making the most out of every opportunity. Making my own 'YouTube' highlights package of life-moments I can look back on in years to come and feel proud of - but then I've been probably hard-wired that way. 

Being surrounded by high-achievers at an early age spring-boarded my path for sure. Being the best at something really helped with my education from 1973-80 I can tell you - everyday was an Olympic challenge and I loved it.

So are you winning Gold today? Will you be adding to your own ''YouTube' highlights package' over the next 24hrs, 7 days or even in the year ahead... It's worth a thought.

1,048 Marathons - 255 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Monday, 11 November 2019

Remember - Sunset Sons

Marks the Spot...
Lyric - It's where it all began…

On a day of remembrance it’s always good to remember your own dark days and in my case the day that it all changed life for the better. Last Friday, I went back and stood on the very piece of tarmac where my journey started all those years ago - and remembered.

I remembered the feeling of liberation as I took my first step to freedom. Freedom from those inner demons and self-loathing that had been undermining my whole existence. And I remembered the sheer joy of finding the therapy that would become my salvation.

There are many days that we care to forget. I’m often told that I have a great memory and yet there are many days, months and even years that are a bit of a blur if I’m being honest. We tend to hang our lives around events such asBirthday’s. Christmas’s and major life crises leaving voids of time we don’t recall or that we simply prefer to forget.

Of course, It’s impossible to remember EVERYTHING that’s ever happened or that you’ve done. I’ve often looked back to previous blogs from years gone by and thought ‘Yikes, I’d forgotten that’ or ‘what the hell was I on that day?’ but that’s life isn’t it – it’s busy and we only have so much mental storage space.

What I do know is to try and make the most out of every day. I can’t remember a day when I’ve wanted to stay in bed and not attack the day head on. After all, it’s what one does that makes memories not what one doesn’t.

What will you remember about today?

1,048 Marathons, 255 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records, 15 Marathon des Sables
25 Year's Dry & 25 Years' Running Marathons

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Silver Machine - Hawkwind

Lyric:- 'You gotta know where I've been'...

Yes, it’s twenty-five years since my first marathon in Telford back in November 1994. And when I asked folk on my SM platforms, what they what they did on Sunday 6th November 1994, no one could actually say what they were doing that day, they just said they were in a crappy job, probably nursing a hangover or were at University (same kinda thing). You see, I remember the day very clearly as I ran a very triumphant if somewhat annoying 4.04.16 after dying at 20 miles post halfway split of 1.45. I wrote about the experience a couple of years ago…

It wasn’t the biggest of road marathons, but I gave it my best. At the halfway point I was going strong and couldn’t see any other runners, so I asked one of the marshals if I was winning! Winning?! He just looked at me like my lights had gone out, like, ‘What?’ Of course, I wasn’t and when I got to 20 miles, I hit the proverbial ‘wall’ and had to jog-walk the last six miles, finishing in in 4 hours 4 minutes 16 seconds.

As for the winning, well in my own way - yes, I had won… as it was just one of those life-defining moments for me. A ‘Ker-ching! As I’d only gone and bloody done it!’ When people asked me, ‘What did you do at the weekend?’ I simply said, ‘Oh, I ran a marathon.’ And they said, ‘Really?’ Because it was quite a big deal back then, especially for the ‘Me’ they’d previously known.’

And after feeling that moment of success, I’ve done it again, and again, and again feeling that same ‘Ker-ching!’moment every time I’ve crossed the finish line – over 1,000 times with some amazing highlights along the way. If you’ve never run 26 miles 385 yards or gone on to push yourself through your limits of human endurance to running Mega-day Ultras, then you won’t understand where I’m coming from. When running huge disatnces, I’ve found out whom I am. What I’m made of and it’s provided me with a framework to build my life around especially when challenged by Guillain-Barre Syndrome in 2016.

If I’m being honest, Telford was a dress-rehearsal for my first London Marathon on 2nd April 1995. I did it to see if I could actually cover the distance. I wasn’t even sure I’d survive it on the start line. Luckily for me I did, and I know now that my inexperience didn’t limit my ambition. I also know that 26.2 miles isn’t the huge Everest it was once seen as being back then– how times have changed. 

Now, I believe that Anyone that’s reasonably fit and healthy can run or walk 26.2 miles if they really want to – it’s just that not Everyone has the desire. I didn’t prior to Marathon #1 but now it’s second nature. What was once seeing being out of this world or impossible simply isn’t – Anything is possible if you are open to change

You just need to desire change to happen and that desire has taken me on an extraordinary journey for the past 25 years’, where have you been on your journey?

1,047 Marathons, 254 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records, 15 Marathon des Sables
25 Years' Dry & Celebrating 25 Years' of Running Marathons

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Sheep - The Pink Floyd

Better watch out...
It’s a subject I’ve written about the most over my last fifteen years of blogging  - yes being a Sheep. It’s also the title of my most favouritist song ever by The Pink Floyd which has the lyrics - ‘Harmlessly passing your time on the grassland away’ and ‘Get out of the road if you want to grow old’ as it’s opening and closing lines. Just perfect for today''s blog.

You see, it resonates with me as I’m not someone to follow the crowd and go with the flow. In fact, I’m quite the opposite as I like to make up my own mind on things and really balk when I feel like I’m being backed into a corner. Clearly, I’m someone that’s prepared to walk on any cracks in any pavement and tackle things head on if necessary. That’s why it’s frustrating when I see so many folk take the easy route and go with the flow, in case they upset those around them or even worse, appear to stand out from the crowd - Gasp!

It’s not exactly life-threatening to make your own choice and have your own voice. Isn’t that the basis of democracy? The basis of personal freedom? The right to choose your own destiny? Then why not adapt your thinking so you can liberate yourself from those around you. Take my 'Am-I-a-Sheep-Test' and see for yourself over the next 24hrs how much you go with the flow, rather than nbeing your own person making your own decisions. I'd be interested to hear your findings...

In the meantime stop Flocking about and stop being a Pushover (AKA Sheep) - Baaa.

1,047 Marathons - 254 Ultras - 9 Guinness World Records - 15 Marathon des Sables - 25 Years' Alcohol Free

Monday, 28 October 2019

Signals - Rush

I’m sure you were taught to Mirror-Signal-Manoeuvre (MSM) when you were learning to drive. I know I was, way back in 1986, and I’m still aware that I MSM whenever I’m driving around the UK as the only thing you can be sure of nowadays is what you are doing and not necessarily what’s going on around you. I saw one person make it from lane three to the off slip using what must have been a handbrake turn last week which made whatever hair I had left stand-up and go one shade whiter. Talk about last minute… and it got me thinking

You see we can all be a bit last minute – about most things, if not everything in some folks cases. I mean how often do we look in the mirror, look around for danger, sum up where we are in the grand scheme of things and then signal our intent to let everyone around know in which direction we are heading - without hesitation and then safely manoeuvre.

Have a think. But don’t take too long about it, as right now you are hurtling along and might miss the many opportunities that are coming your way.

Don’t leave it to chance as that could prove to be fatal.

Mirror-Signal-Manoeuvre-Amen

1,047 Marathons, 254 ULTRA-marathons, 9 Guinness World Records, 15 Marathon des Sables & 25 Years' Alcohol Free