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


Friday, 18 October 2019

Gilmour v Hackett

It’s actually a serious question and for those of you who haven’t got a clue whom David Gilmour or Steve Hackett are, they are guitar heroes of mine and many a prog rock fan from 70's Supergroups, Pink Floyd and Genesis.

You see, the question illustrates perfectly that we are not always 100% convinced of our choices and of our feelings -  and that we can change our minds on a whim to what we think we believe in most.

In this particular case in 99/100 times, historically I would instantly say Gilmour. The solo in Comfortably Numb is often highlighted as #1 solo of all time, yet maybe it has that ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ quality about it as most folk when asked what their favourite Queen song is, never choose it. My Pink Floyd choice is actually Sheep, and Queen is Hammer to Fall, so that backs my theory up quite nicely.

It was all going Gilmour's way then this week I started listening very closely to the early Genesis ‘Hackett’ albums and his later Solo and Live work and I think my hard and fast opinion of some 40 years’ changed. Yikes, I’m swinging Hackett’s Way.

I feel a bit of a ‘Pink Floyd Traitor‘ if I’m being honest and it’s confusing as in my monochromatic world I’ve always made things into a ‘yes/no choice‘ rather than saying I like ‘two things at the same time’. Back as a teenager in the 70’s, we were identified by the music we liked and the bands logos we had drawn on our schoolbags and books. For me it's always been Pink Floyd.

It’s also interesting that only Gilmour and Hackett were in the frame as there are plenty more incredible guitarists that I could have chosen. Jimmy Page, Steve Howe, Alex Lifeson etc. and no matter how much I love Zeppelin, Yes or Rush, none of them match either of the above.

Anyway, I'll cut to the chase and my thought today is that choice isn’t as black and white as maybe I’ve often made it - and that it will and CAN ebb and flow with life and it’s challenges. Let’s see if I’m thinking and feeling the same way this time next year.

Oh my choice... Well today it’s Steve Hackett sorry David.

1,046 Marathons - 254 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Fascination - Alphabeat

We love this exaltation, we want the new temptations…

Alphabeat are from Silkeborg in Denmark, and ‘Fascination’ was a major hit in the UK in the Summer of 2008. It’s such an upbeat song and the title fits my thoughts perfectly today after yesterday’s ‘Fascinating’ A + B + C = Quotebox. And when I wrote ‘Fascinating’ as a comment on FB to the above equation, I was questioned ‘Why Fascinating?’- so here goes…

I love to see how folk think and how they try and answer a question that in this case has no answer. There were some good attempts though and ‘F’ is a really well thought one, as F=6. (A)1 + (B)2 + (C)3 = (F)6. Nice. I know it’s definitely not ‘D’ as I always use ‘A + B + C doesn’t  = D’ to illustrate that things tend never to go to plan or make a logical sequence.
Anyway, across all my social media platforms and in PMs there were many such proposed solutions. It also got to the stage where folk started ‘Overthinking’ a logical solution when of course there isn’t one.

Well it's like a revelation, we live on fascination…

So why do we need answers?

Earlier, I wrote a plain ‘37’ as my answer. There’s no reason for ‘37’ but ‘A + B + C = 37’ just sounded kinda cool – and that’s good enough for me. I was asked if it was how old I was when I cleaned my act up but this again was someone's brain trying to attribute a relevance to the ‘A + B + C =’ Question. For the record the answer to that one was 31 of course.

To my mind, it simply doesn’t matter what A or B or C is or what it stands for or adds up to. What matters is that it’s a simple way of showing how irrelevant a lot of our thought processes are and how much time we waste trying to fathom out the unfathomable. I wonder how much time I’ve wasted looking for patterns that simply are totally random and without reason.

You see, life doesn’t have all the answers and the equation ‘A + B + C =’ is as complex as DNA itself and far more complicated than I’ll ever be able to understand so, my ‘37’ is a good enough answer. See what ‘A + B + C =’ really means to you and if you go with the flow and can think about the equation without it having any kind of reasoning attached. You might find the answer fascinating if you can unleash your imagination or mind-blowing and downright annoying if you can’t.

QED.

1,045 Marathons, 254 Ultras. 9 Guinness World Records and 15 Marathon des Sables

Friday, 11 October 2019

Young Lust - The Pink Floyd

Still Life - Pablo Coleman
How often do you say ‘I used to’… It’s a phrase I hear all the time especially from new clients as they recount their earlier lives through rather saddened rose-tinted spectacles. I said it myself this week on recounting my artistic Van-Coleman period of 1979-80. I painted the above still-life when I was 17. 

And forty years on, being as pragmatic as I can about my former self - I would say it shows promise. For the record, it was my first (and only) real venture into oil-painting which I did in my own time at home and not at school where we were more forced to be creative perhaps. What I find interesting now, is why I didn’t paint any further masterpieces as maybe I could have become a really proficient artist - who knows.

All I can say is ‘I used to oil-paint… but that I might again’ - It will not only be good for me to see what I’m capable of now, but also for me to recapture my youth and the enthusiasm I possessed as a 17-year old young man. 

So, I wonder how many other former artists, musicians, sportspeople, etc. there are out there. There must be thousands, millions even. There must be as it seems like everyone I meet, is a former something-or-other or in a state of regret about how they once lived a much cleaner and simple life or played pro-sport etc.

But hey, all’s not lost - and don't get depressed.

We are all still young at heart no matter how old we might be. I think it’s great to revisit the things and activities you loved in a former life and enjoy them all over again. You’ll find that as soon as you put whatever is stopping you from reliving your youth to one side, you’ll enjoy being in my case, back in 1979, with a blank canvas ready to create and paint a future. How exciting...

What did you used to do?

1,046 Marathons, 254 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records, 15 Marathon des Sables