Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Do it again - Steely Dan

Lyrics:- 'And the mourners are all signin' as they drag you by your feet' - Becker & Fagan.

Song Choice:- I love the above line from the 1972 Steely Dan classic. It's a perfect song for today's blog as I'm speaking to a number of people about regaining their previous levels of fitness and achievement. Folk trying to 'Do it again'...

Anyway, being in the same boat, I can of course empathise with their cause. As Performance Coach, I'll help them in every way I can achieve their goal, however, like the lyrics say sometimes I feel I have to drag some people by their feet into getting out there investing their time and effort into making it happen. OK, I'm Mr. Motivated and understand that you only get out what you put in but what's the point in being half-arsed about something that can give your life, meaning, stability, friendship, adventure and challenge. Especially when they've been there before.

It's a real no-brainer for me to retrain and regain as much of my previous levels of fitness as soon as possible right now as I've lost the last five months of something I dearly love doing. When you've been at the top of your game, you feel invincible, nothing's too much trouble and the knowledge of being able to knock out a marathon, any where, any time, any place, any day is where I'm heading.

No one is forcing me, no one has suggested it, no one has challenged me. I just know I've got to be back there doing my thing, because that's what I do. No dragging required.

So why is it so difficult? I'm interested in what's stopping you getting back to where you once were. What excuse goes through your head that stops you being the person you want to be? What is it that's vampiring away your desire? As it's desire that drives success. Without desire, there's nothing.

Another well usedLombardi quote goes 'The man on top of the mountain didn't fall there.' 

Are you on top of your mountain or like me, climbing hard?

More tomorrow.

Rory Coleman
976 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Close to the Edge - Yes

Lyrics:- 'For the crucifixion of her own domain' - Anderson & Howe

Song Choice:- 'Stress' has cropped up in a couple of conversations today, so I've chosen the perfect track to accompany my thoughts on the subject. Also, it was the first vinyl Album that I ever bought (£2.99 from WHSmiths in their January sale of 1979), so I've got a bit of a soft spot for the track if I'm being honest.

Anyway, here's a question of you. Are you 'Stressed' out? Somebody told me today that they were but I believe they are more a victim of their own doing, rather than a true victim of being 'Stressed' by things around them being out of their control. 

It might sound harsh, but I don't think it's 'Stress'. 

The dictionary and the NHS have quite a different point of view on the subject. 'Stress' as a noun is 'a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances', which sounds fair enough to me. The medical version is 'the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure.' Which doesn't take in the adverse or demanding circumstances of the dictionary which I believe can turn anyone's 'mole hill into a mountain.' Being under pressure, is totally different IMO.

Now, I can't say I've struggled with 'Stress' myself, even during these past few months as I decided that it was a waste of my time and energy to get 'Stressed' about things that I couldn't control. I believe it's how I've managed to cope with whatever's come my way and also to get the best from my situation. Then again, I haven't got the 'Low Self-Esteem' the NHS version goes on to talk about that I believe is more the root of the 'Stress' problem, for most, well not for the last 22 years at least.

Beating ourselves up with addiction to drugs, booze, shopping, sex and over/under eating is just such a negative way of leading our lives.

Having the confidence to stand out, question, persevere and take on fresh ideas and concepts helps no-end in the battle for a 'Stress'-free existence. At the end of the day, whom are you living your life for? Your employer, family, friends? Or for YOURSELF?

Well it's time to change as no-one can save you from YOURSELF, better than YOU.

It's worth a good long look in the mirror. Write down what you don't like looking back at you and throw it away, it's SO SIMPLE and takes a couple of minutes. I did and you can too, if you want some help then let me know as it's tried and tested.

More tomorrow and stop beating yourself up over shit that doesn't matter. 

Still 'Close to the Edge?'

Rory Coleman
976 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables - 7.45 Miles Today, Stress-Free

Monday, 29 August 2016

The Karate Kid - Columbia Pictures

Dialogue:- 'Paint the fence. Up…down. Up! Down!' - Mr Miyagi
Film Choice:- This film's now 32 years old but still well worth a look, especially if you are struggling with some of the sessions that you might have planned or maybe that I've planned for you.
If it makes you feel any better, I'm in the same boat as my training is very 'Wax on, wax off' right now. From not being able to move my legs, I've spent ages lifting 1kg ankle-weights a matter of millimetres, then inches, then fully only to up the weight and start the process all over again - Mr Miyagi would be proud as it's the way I've managed to get my hamstrings firing and get my legs moving freely again. I'm so glad I've done these sessions and worked so hard in them.
Miyagi would be proud as in the film he begins Daniel's training by having him perform laborious chores such as waxing cars, sanding a wooden floor, refinishing a fence, and painting Miyagi's house. Each chore is accompanied with a specific movement, such as clockwise/counter-clockwise hand motions. Daniel fails to see any connection to his training from these hard chores and eventually feels frustrated, believing he has learned nothing of karate. When he expresses his frustration, Miyagi reveals that Daniel has been learning defensive blocks through muscle memory learned by performing the chores.
His training methods are of course faultless!
So why do we find these simple exercises so darned boring and avoid them like the plague?
For instance, why is there a need to know why you are doing any session? Do them, do them properly and you'll FEEL the benefit. Back to the film and there are lots of great quotes you can take on board. The following was written with my present predicament in mind.
'First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule Daniel son, not mine' - Mr. Miyagi
Wise words indeed and I flew 11kms today. I also managed a few steps in the sand - OK is was on the beach in Barry but the who cares as it's -

'The quality of what you know, not quantity.'- Mr. Miyagi 
Rory Coleman - 976 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables

Friday, 26 August 2016

Holiday - Scorpions

Belle Island, Windermere
Lyrics:- 'Longing for the sun you will come, to the island without name' - Meine & Schenker

Song Choice:- From the brilliant 1979 'Lovedrive' album, Holiday has always been a stand out track for me from the German rockers better known perhaps for their 'Winds of Change' anthem. Have a listen here and it's nearly 40 years old so keep that in mind when you listen eh?

It's the Holiday on an island bit that I'm interested in for today's blog, especially with the August Bank Holiday looming on the horizon. Yep, the last weekend in August when it always rains. It does make me wonder why that particular weekend was ever chosen and on investigation, Google has informed me that the August Bank Holiday was instituted by the Bank Holidays Act of 1871 for the very English-minded purpose of giving bankers a day off so they could participate in cricket matches. So now you know.

Anyway, whilst the nation jumps into their cars and heads off to the coast for the last glimpse of Summer in their rear-view mirrors, here's a chance for you to switch off from the busy world out there do some planning for the Autumn ahead, and potentially find your own island to inhabit.

When my book finally hits the shelves, later on in the year, you'll find out all about my 'Living life on your own island' ideal. It's where I lived for years, probably more in safety from myself, as well as from other people. All I know is that it works and I'm sure lots of folk would find life a whole lot easier if they repositioned their mental location away from it's current positioning. A life-long holiday from all the stuff that is drives you potty has got to be worth it, hasn't it?

A worry and anxiety free island is more than my idea of a Bank Holiday break. I'm not too worried about the weather as I can't control that but I can control me and that's the important part.

How about switching off and heading off to your own tropical retreat, right inside your head. You make the rules - no one else! And be very careful, who you let on.

Happy Cricket!

More later...

Rory Coleman
976 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Thursday, 25 August 2016

High Hopes - The Pink Floyd

Lyrics:- 'Running before time took our dreams away' - Gilmour & Samson

Song Choice:- As this is my last night in hospital, it feels only right to think about the 'High Hopes' I'm now feeling amidst the trepidation of being released into back into some kind of normality, before finally being discharged in September 2nd. Take a look here and see what you've been missing. 

It's the same 'High Hopes' that we all have perhaps, when undertaking something new in life. Let's face it, no one ever sets off with 'Low Hopes' to fail do they? Or do they? It's something that I would never consider myself but then again I'm positively deluded a lot of the time and failure is never an option in my book.

Then again, why should it matter and whom are we trying to please? Setting unrealistic goals has never been one of failings, all I've ever tried to do, is to do my best. Either that, or at somethings I'll admit that I'm just not interested. If you know me well, you'll know you'll never catch me crawling lengths of the local swimming pool or entering the nearest Triathlon.

But then why should I as it wouldn't satisfy my expectations and finish me off anyway, as I'm the world's worst swimmer!

Maybe, it's something you should consider about what you do and why? Are you pleasing yourself? Are you trying to please someone else and their expectations? Or has your fitness routine just become something that you are now enslaved to? 

If your doing it because you have to do it every day, yikes that's a real nightmare and something to reconsider at your earliest opportunity. It should be fun not a chore. Let's face it, that's why we started this in the first place. If you don't know how to change, I can help you out, just ask yourself...

Are you having fun? You should be... I know I am :-)

Rory Coleman
976 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - Vision

Somewhere in Summertime - Simple Minds

The Bendricks
Lyric:- 'Memories, burning gold memories' - Burchill Forbes, Kerr & McNeil

Song Choice:- I could have chosen 'Summer Son' by Texas for today's blog but maybe I've used it too often in the past so I've plumped for this Simple Minds track instead. Have a listen here if you want to hear what you've been missing these past 34 Summers.

Anyway, as we get towards the end of August and the start of my two week parole from Rookwood Hospital in Llandaff, I've been thinking about what I've missed from my world these past few months. Sure, I've missed being at home, being with my family and enjoying the day-to-day life of a busy young family but if there's one thing I feel I've really missed out on, is the Summer.

For me it's a wonderful time of year and ok you can easily say that we get a very mixed bag of weather down here in Cardiff but we still get our share of long, hot and sunny summer days. April to August are simply the best of times for me. Five months of wearing shorts, short sleeved t-shirts enjoying lots of natural vitamin D from being out there on the Wales Coastal Path, running along beaches, through cornfields without a drop of mud in sight. 

Can you tell how much I've missed it.

It's daft isn't it? Missing something money just can't buy. Nature's so powerful doing what comes naturally and I love enjoying my simple Pagan rights. There's nothing better than the Summer Solstice in June.

To make up for my loss, maybe we'll get an Indian Summer after a rainy August Bank Holiday in the first week of September. I can get out there and make up for lost time before the colder days of Autumn kick in and get some rays on my pale skin.

Of course, cashing in my Summer to be better is an easy option and I've enjoyed Wimbledon, Euro 2016 and The Olympics but in my situation, what would you have missed about the last few months?

I'd be interested to know...

More tomorrow...

Rory Coleman
976 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - Vision

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Step On - Happy Mondays

Lyric:- 'Don't you know he can make you forget you're the man' - Day, Ryder, Ryder & Whelan

Song Choice:- Well, I feel like I'm the man again, especially as I walked 11,000+ steps today and the Monday's classic seems a fitting tribute and I hope you approve as it's a great song.

Anyway, safely walking that quantity of steps today, means I can now move onto the next level of my rehab and reconsider my goals and dreams for the months ahead. It's a really exciting prospect as 'I've forgotten that I'm the Man' these past few months. Guillain Barre Syndrome does that to you. It takes your identity and simply turns it to dust...

Well, I'm back feeling like I'm finally doing something after 226 days in this ' Out of Body and Mind Experience' and my sense of determination and achievement at last feels satisfied.

And yes, I know not to go overdoing it, but if you look at my running career and especially the 22 years' of injury-free running, you'll appreciate I've always been careful and know where my limit of human endurance truly is. Even though I've done some tough old races and feats, I've always had a clear picture of myself completing the task in hand. 

So it should come as no surprise that I've got clear ideas of where my future lies. I won't share them yet as I'm going to enjoy the next few months rebuilding, savouring and remembering that I'm the man.

Do you need to remember you're the man/woman too?

More tomorrow...

Rory Coleman
976 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - 1 Vision

Monday, 22 August 2016

Shut Your Eyes - Snow Patrol

Lyrics:- 'And when the worrying starts to hurt, and the world feels like graves of dirt, just close your eyes until, you can imagine this place, yeah, our secret space, at will'.

They say there's always someone worse off than you. That reality hit home today as I've met that person in a guy called Terry. He's on my ward here at Rookwood Hospital in Cardiff. He's a very quiet and nice chap that, like me, is recovering from Guillain Barre Syndrome. The only difference is, he's had it a whole lot worse.

I've known him for a couple of weeks but the realisation of just how ill he's been with GBS only hit home when I came across a BBC short programme called 'Locked in my Body' on BBC3. It features him and the first 100 days of his recovery. 

My word, it hit me hard. I had to go and shake his hand amidst my tears of admiration, as the realisation of our relative degrees of GBS became crystal clear to me. Don't get me wrong, I know I've been seriously ill, but at least I wasn't ventilated or even worse suffered 'Locked in Syndrome' like he did.

Only being able to see when one's eyelids are lifted with no other form of communication or movement would be my personal nightmare. It would leave me with permanent mental scarring for sure. How the hell did he get through it?

It made me think, very long and very hard, about everything!

Hopefully, if you watch the show, you'll get some insight into what 'Living Hell' is like. Luckily, I haven't experienced it and I hope I never will. I believe a lot of the time we think things cant get any worse and we are the only person that's ever suffered with something or thinks their life is worse than anyone else's. Seeing this makes me think differently.

The programme, made me smell the coffee and if you believe you are in 'Living Hell' right now, take a look around as I bet there's a Terry, right under your nose to bring you 3-2-1 firmly back into the 'Room of Reality.

More tomorrow...and btw Terry's recovery is going from strength to strength :-)

Rory Coleman
976 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records
Feeling Very Humbled

Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Race for Space - Part 2 - Public Service Broadcasting

Lyric:- 'In an age of both knowledge and ignorance' -  J. Willgoose, Esq. & Wrigglesworth

Song Choice:- I thought it was well worth another blog especially as I've been able to hear it on my home Hi-Fi. No doubt Pauline next door is enjoying it too!

Anyway, I've been home this weekend and it's been really ground-breaking for me and so reassuring in my rehabilitation from Bi-Phasic GBS, (SIDP). You see just 46 days ago I was readmitted to hospital where I couldn't move anything except my very weakened arms and I felt beaten.

Today I have managed to walk with ankle orthotics and I have a provisional discharge date from Rookwood Hospital - roll on 5th September. The end of hospitalisation is in sight for now. There's obviously still a long way to go until I am anywhere near back to what 'normality' represents for a sedentary person, let alone what it represents for a runner and sports coach... That said, I'm quite happy to wait for Mother Nature to take her course and gradually rebuild me.

What I've discovered this past six weeks or so is that there are no short-cuts to success. 

Only hard work, dedication and time (Mother Nature) work. Frustrating? Well 'Yes' of course but actually a 'No' too as I've been forced to exercise at a much lower threshold and do lots of exercises that I wouldn't normally do... as well as rest, as it's exhausting. My quads haven't been worked so hard in years.

It's improved my Coaching knowledge no end too by giving me a greater insight into injury and weakness. My real life experience has given me a clear insight into how to get through the 'Black Hole' of despair at not being able to run and being able to concentrate on diet, strength and core stability. I can happily say that learning to walk again has been a very positive experience.

From here on in, whatever improvement I now get is a complete bonus. It's something I feel that I've earned and not bought. The satisfaction I've enjoyed over the weeks from constantly hitting my mini-goals has provided me with great inspiration and hope for the next step.

Watch this space for next week's gains as my age of newfound knowledge grows.

More tomorrow.

Rory Coleman
976 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - 8262 Days' Dry