Monday, 27 June 2022

Sheep - Pink Floyd

I often recognise the ‘lost sheep’ feeling when I meet new people. It’s that feeling of being stuck in a maze with no way out. Every avenue that’s been explored has led to the same dead end. And instead of tackling the issue head on, we avoid the problem – eventually reaching the point of helplessness and the feeling of being ‘lost’.


Apart from not knowing ‘who’ we are, we lose the reason ‘why’ we are. We lose our identity. We lose the love for our family, friends and a love of life itself.


There's a whole bunch of reasons why this happens. Women often lose their identity because over the years they’ve become this matriarchal figure where they're pushed into the very female role of motherhood – literally giving birth to the next generation and then looking after them to adulthood –thanklessly. Mums are often overwhelmed and feel isolated and rubbish - no wonder they lose the identity. Having lost their sense of identity, they lose their shine - the 'gloss' they once had, the spark of life. And when the children have grown up and leave home and their ‘job’ is done, and then it's a case of 'Well who am I – I have no identity, I feel totally lost.'


As for Men, well it’s all about building an empire and being the ‘Big Man’ that’s indoctrinated from birth. It’s all about being tough, not showing weakness and getting the job done at any cost. It’s like a ‘Personal self-worth’ that includes as a well-rewarded job, large house, happy family, and flash car,  all signs of the success that will drive a career – and accompany life. So, reaching out when feeling overwhelmed when it gets hard or goes wrong has always been seen as being weak and for a ‘Real Man’s Man’ a complete ‘no-no’.


Well luckily, times are changing. The world’s a bit more forgiving and if you are feeling ‘lost’ there are plenty of resources to explore. Help is just a click or a call away. Having felt ‘lost’ I know how it feels and maybe that’s why I’m now helping so many people find themselves again.


You are not alone. There’s no reason to feel ‘lost’ anymore and if you are feeling ‘lost’ today – just click or call.

1,132 Marathons - 262 Marathons - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Monday, 20 June 2022

Clocks - Coldplay

'Tides that I tried to swim against' - Martin

I’ve been dry for 10,393 days, that’s 28 years to you, and it’s my proudest life-achievement to date. Ironically, the 28 years follows a10-year period, where I used alcohol to anesthetise and mask a deep unhappiness. This led to a self-loathing where an ever-increasing alcohol intake took me closer and closer to the point of no-return and a much-shortened predicted life-expectancy.

I didn’t become addicted to alcohol overnight. However, my drinking matched my moods - ‘Highs’ were celebrated. ‘Lows’ were equally celebrated. And each were just excuse to reach out for the strong lager that became an integral part of my daily life. During that time, I did have short periods where I could abstain, but my relationship at home wasn’t right, and drinking was a problem at work too as in the late 80’s and early 90’s lunchtime drinking was quite prevalent, and the pub became my office both during and after-work club.

Life took a downward spiral with alcohol helping to paper over the cracks. Rather than facing up to my depression, I simply drank more and more and found myself in a much worse state afterwards feeling more depressed and in need of yet another drink. My second son was born in August 1993 and by Christmas of that year, I realised I’d been drunk every day of his life. This really shocked me, and I hated myself for that. I also hated the person looking back at me in the mirror - and I decided that I needed to change. I’d reached my ‘Point-Zero’. 

The all time lowest of low points where things couldn’t possibly get any worse. I thought during the Christmas Holiday period about picking the right day to start my new life, with its new rules and standards.

Who I was going to be, what I’d do with the extra time I’d have and who would be part of my new world became a very exciting prospect.

When you are addicted it feels like there’s no way out, no escape and no future but on 5th of January 1994, my first day back at work after Christmas, I didn’t go to the pub as usual -  I went home with only one thought, I needed to go for a run. I felt overweight, toxic, unfit and totally ashamed as I set off on my first run of just 100 steps. Still in my work clothes and leather shoes as I had no running gear, I felt totally euphoric as I lay gasping on the pavement. 

A few minutes later as I’d found my way out - the therapy that I’d use to get me through my alcohol recovery and a framework for the rest of my life.

My path out of addiction became a more of personal system upgrade where I felt although I couldn’t change the past, but I could shape the future. It started with a blank sheet of paper and I created a new me. In reality, it was more of a ‘Cold Turkey’ approach as a) I felt like I’d failed and I could no longer drink, b) professional help and medication didn’t really exist as such in 1994 c) I felt like I was on my own.

Even though the first runs were very short, running helped. It gave me a ‘time out’ to consider my future, where things had gone wrong in the past and decide who or what was enabling my addiction. My excess weight dropped off, I had a change of career and found out that I was actually good at running. My times became quicker and the distances grew so-much-so that I ran my first marathon that November and replaced my alcohol addiction with the more positive sense of achievement that running long distances brings.

I feel very lucky to have escaped alcohol addiction all those years ago. I also feel very lucky that I can now help other people who find themselves in the same situation, whether it’s alcohol or drugs related. Being an ex-addict myself, I know they feel and can show them what can be achieved with proper support and understanding. Feeling alone, without help and helpless only fuels the addiction cycle.

My 10,393 days will be 10,394 days tomorrow. Another piece will be added to my ‘Addiction Jigsaw’. A picture that I know will continue to grow at one piece a day for the rest of my life along with my community of clients that I now help. In my work I’ve found using social media has helped connect people and create a growing community. A community where people can share their thoughts, ideas and concerns. It also provides a platform to broadcast success, which is a vital part in showing that there is a way out of addiction to a much brighter future.

A future that YOU control rather than controls YOU. A future where inspiration, education and investment gives everyone the opportunity of living a longer and happier life, addiction-free.

1,131 Marathons - 262 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Monday, 13 June 2022

We are the Champions - Queen

Commitment comes from within and having the right positive mindset works wonders. Here are a few thoughts to keep you pointed in the right direction...

Train ‘Like a Champion’…

At the start of your training ask yourself, ‘Can I see myself sticking to it?’ and, ‘Do I have a clear picture of myself crossing the finishing line?’ Write it down the reason why you are training and put it on your fridge as it will let you and everyone else in your household know what you are letting yourself in for and stop you attacking the fridge at night.


Don’t ‘Eat the fridge’…

It’s hard to know what to eat when you are in training - The best approach to a cleaner diet is to try becoming ‘processed food free’. As an example, there are 35g (more than 8 teaspoons) of sugar in a 330ml can of cola. Reducing your alcohol intake or abstaining all together will also make you feel far more energised, reducing your calorie intake and maintaining your barriers to fulfilling your new cleaner lifestyle pledge.


Press the ‘Reset Button’…

Life gets in the way of training for everyone and if you miss a run don’t add it to the next one. Forget what you’ve missed, move on and concentrate on the session that you have planned for the day ahead. If it all gets too much, press your ‘Reset Button’. You’ll feel that initial burst of energy and excitement again and you’ll soon be back on course for the start line.


Give yourself ‘Some Time’…

Getting fitter, faster and leaner doesn’t happen overnight, it’s more of a journey. If you stick to your programme it will deliver the results you are looking for. There is nothing better than knocking a couple of minutes off your best 5km training run, friends saying you’re looking years younger and having to tighten your belt on your trousers. BUT, it takes time.


Who’s in ‘Team Me’?

Build your Team around you. Get your husband/wife/partner onside and they will be able to see your daily training commitments to your training - it really helps. If you have a friend or colleague they’ll help keep you motivated and committed to training dates and times. You will need properly fitting, supportive training shoes - your local running store will have lots of experience and knowledge you can tap into. Go for a health check at your GP Surgery, have your blood pressure and your weight monitored and any health issues answered.


Think positive, ‘Be Positive’…

It’s a great motto and one that really delivers as there is nothing worse than having to do something you are feeling negative about. If you are a social media user, post your fitness progress but only with positive comments and try to see the upside of obstacles you will encounter over the weeks ahead. Clean up your act - a cleaner car, house and workspace will make you feel a whole lot better about yourself and improve your outlook. 


Good Luck with your Training,..

1130 Marathons - 262 Ultras - 9 Guinness World Records - 15 Marathon des Sables

Monday, 6 June 2022

Today - Talk Talk

At ParkRun at the weekend, someone said to me, ‘Didn’t you used to be Rory Coleman?’ And at the time, between you and me, it cheesed me off to say the least. Rather than making it into a diplomatic incident where I might say a whole lot of things I’d later regret, I thought I’d walk away and consider the comment at leisure and try to work out why I felt so upset by it.

After some considerable metacognition, I concluded that of course I’m still Rory Coleman. Only not THE Rory Coleman that I once was. The intrepid record-breaking ULTRA marathon man. No, I’m a shadow of my former self in an ageing body that’s six years post major mega neurological trauma.


Luckily and I say luckily, I’ve managed to add 154 marathons to my tally since then. A remarkable feat for anyone to run at any pace I'd say. Completing my 100th ParkRun and achieving an age group win at the recent South Downs 50km has also brought me great satisfaction - but not the satisfaction of my earlier personal best times and races perhaps. And that's why I concluded I was so cheesed off - the truth hurts. Not by the remark - that was said in jest. It just hit a nerve.


You see, as you get older you need to realise that you're not the person you once were. And however upset you feel about that, there’s nothing you can do to wind back the clock. However, what you can do, is to enjoy the moment you're in and make the most out of who you are and try as hard as you can for as long as you can. And whatever you do, if you are giving it 100% (as I always do), then that's good enough.


1,130 Marathons - 262 Ultras - 100 ParkRun - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Saturday, 14 May 2022

F E A R - Ian Brown

I’m forever meeting people who are living with anxiety, suffer panic attacks and live life, full of fear. So, imagine my response when yesterday, I was asked what makes me feel anxious and raises my level of stress.

Now if you know me, you’ll know that I’m not the most stressed of people yet, there are situations that make even me, super-anxious. My baseline of anxiety might be lower than most, especially post Guillain-Barre Syndrome in 2016 but it immediately peaks whenever I feel the pressure of confided spaces. 


Yes, I’m extremely claustrophobic. And I hate how it makes me feel…


Immediately, my heart and respiratory rates spike and I feel the cold sweat on my forehead start to bead. I’m fully aware that it’s an irrational fear, without foundation, but it’s something I’m fully aware of and try to avoid situations where it might happen. Crowded rooms, packed planes and worst of all – a packed lift that jams between floors can enough to tip me over the edge. And believe me – it does.


I try not to let it affect how I lead my life and let my limitations limit my expectations – and it’s work in progress.


So now you know…

1.128 Marathons - 261 Ultras - 9 Guinness World Records - 15 Marathon des Sables

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Definitely Maybe - Oasis

Here’s a simple question - ‘Are you giving things your best shot?’

Would you give yourself a 70, 80 or even a 90% appraisal of living the dream, or is it a 50% or less? It’s a tough question to answer and one that’s hard to come to terms with. Yet in your heart-of-hearts you know how much time, effort and determination you’re putting in to reaching your dreams and goals.

Addiction of any kind is a binary, black and white world, where percentages 1-99 simply don’t exist and an ‘almost unique’ is a ‘not unique’. You’re either drinking/not drinking alcohol. Smoking/not smoking. On diet/not on diet. I believe the ‘I’ve been mostly on it’… I hear so often is more of a ‘I’ve been mostly off it’. It’s not an option.

But I get it. I really do. Changing the engrained habits of a lifetime within the world and people we’ve surrounded ourselves with is an almost impossible task. Temptation is all around and fitting in with the crowd makes for an easier life and provides a wonderful excuse. 

But perhaps it’s when we are on our own that we are at our most dangerous. The one where you talk yourself into failing. Yes, I believe the person that limits your success most – is you. 

In my world, there’s no ‘definitely maybe’. It’s a simple ‘yes/no’, ‘black/white’, ‘zero/one’ option. My thoughts are, what’s the point in trying if I know I’m going to fail? If I do something, I give it 100% or not do it at all. Yes, it’s a harsh world and one few will understand and one that might lose you friends but hey-ho, when you look back you can say you gave things your best shot.

Now I understand it’s hard to upgrade multiple options at the same time but how about being 100% on just one of the things that’s currently making your life a day long battle of wits. Find a diversion. Reach out for support – there’s lots out there. But for once do what it says on the bloody tin for once today and for the rest of your days?


1,127 Marathons -  261 Marathons - 9 Guinness World Records - 15 Marathon des Sables

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Stand up and Shout - The Tubes - 1975

It’s too easy to become defeated and give in. I know from personal experience just how disappointing and that can be, but my message today is to ignore the distractions and people that pour kryptonite on your world, fight back – pull on a fresh set of body armour and fight for what you believe in and what matters to YOU.

It’s your world… 

Be brave. Head up. And be proud today. YOU matter.

1,127 Marathons - 261 Ultras - 9 Guinness World Records - 15 Marathon des Sables