Wednesday, 29 August 2012

In a little over.....

........a week and a half, we will all, in all likelihood be in a world of hurt! It's amazing that no matter how much training you do, you never feel like you've done enough. Now I can't work out if that's an admission of ill preparation or it's just fact, when you've dropped yourself into an event like this, thinking it's a good idea! 

In the two and a bit years between moving from Colly to Milton Keynes, my fitness levels dropped dramatically. I stopped playing football which had been the mainstay of my fitness regime, and work became my sole focus outside of home, it's an unhealthy way of life, and definitely made me unhealthy. I know I've put some serious effort in to get to the level I am now, and still I feel at this stage that 1hr 50 is beyond me, not that I won't still aim for it, but it is a reality I possibly have to face. The reality is borne from the aches and strains my body seems to be constantly dealing with day in day out. But then I'm not the only one, all of us, have come a long way in the time we have been preparing for Catterick and to say I'm proud of each and every one of the boys is an understatement. Their commitment and desire is exemplary, and for some, it has become a real lifestyle change, and that is definitely true for me. This won't be my last year of doing the Paras'10, for some I know it will, for some it's taken everything they've got to prepare for this event, some are probably thinking I'm never doing anything like this again, to only change their mind later on, you never know, but for all of us, it has been a journey.

The original reason for doing this - paying tribute to my darling little brother Lloydy, has been, in my eyes paid. Yes we've still got to get to the start line, and yes, we still have to crawl over the finish, but with the way the boys have gone about tackling something that is completely alien and in most cases monumental in effort for the ordinary screamer, has been nothing short of inspiring. We all sought inspiration in him, and in doing so, found a collective inspiration in one another, and the pride I feel is immense, proper puff your chest out stuff and I'm pretty sure my darling little brother we be looking down on us if he's not running alongside us, with his chest puffed out too. 

The other reason for doing this, was to raise some money for worthy causes in my brothers memory. Now for me, this is only the beginning, but the humbling truth is that, we've so far managed to raise an amount of money I didn't believe possible, hoped maybe, but never dreamt we'd get there (at the time of writing we are at £10,500) - so to all those that have supported us all I can say is, from the bottom of my heart thank you, and whilst I know those people that that money may help will never be able to thank you, I thank you again, on their behalf, you have helped us create a legacy in memory to my brother and I could never thank you all enough for that. He was a bright light in all our lives and you have all ensured he continues to shine. 

.........See you at the finish line!

Monday, 20 August 2012

3 weeks to go.......

.......it's Monday evening and I'm sitting here watching Enter the Dragon! It's ridiculous that even a few hours without training in some way, seems like wasted hours, but that's the mindset I'm in now. Bear in mind I ran home from work this evening after running into work this morning. It's only four miles in both directions without the train journey but miles nonetheless. I did 9 miles on Saturday in trainers, just so I could get a decent run in, but it was redders, and as we all know the hottest weekend of the year! I was running pretty well, but at 6.5 miles really could have done with a breather, just to regulate myself, but 'Dont stop me now' comes on the iPod, so I think I'll have a breather when it's done. It's just as I'm readying myself for said breather when 'Brothers in Arms' starts playing. Most will not understand the significance of those two tracks, but 'Brothers in Arms'  was the track Lloydy was brought into at his service, and 'Don't stop me now' was the song that was played as he was taken from the chapel to be laid to rest. My iPod is constantly on shuffle, and this happens most times
 I'm out for a run. Just as I feel I'm struggling a little and I need a kick up the arse, 'Brothers in Arms' will begin to play and at the moment it's as if he's there with me, telling me I don't need that breather, and that I'll get it when I'm done, he wasn't one for stopping! 

Caz was shopping in London all day so after some lunch I took myself off to the gym for a couple of hours conditioning. Over the last weeks I've found a love for the weights again, and have already put back on the best part of half a stone. It wasn't what I intended, but I find it hard to get in the gym and not try and push myself harder. It's a tough one, because I'm trying to trim down, and I kind of hoped that by now, I would have resembled a Greek god, but I don't think I'm meant to be trim! But I'll keep trying, maybe by Paras'10 2013!!

We've had some incredible donations over the last few weeks and as a result we are closing in on £9k all told in donations that I'm aware of. Jono, Craig and Brooky have really stepped their efforts in recent weeks and there have been sizeable donations from Peckles work colleagues and Coleys company, it really is incredible the support we've received and believe me when I say I'm completely humbled by it, I just hope come three weeks time we do all that incredible support justice. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

4 weeks to go.....

.......and counting. These last 6 weeks or so seem to have flown by, before we know it we'll be in the banter wagon on our way to Catterick! The boys continue to do themselves proud with their training and more of late with their sponsorship badgering efforts (especially Jono and Brooky). In the last week we have topped the online targets for both The ParaCharity and Help for Heroes and I couldn't be more proud that we are able to make a little difference in what is ultimately a tribute to my brother. We have so far raised £7.5k and that's just what I know about, I'm informed there is more to come! A couple of weeks into my 'gettingaheadofthegames' training and I was promptly thrown off course by a week from hell at work, which meant early mornings and late nights and no opportunity to train. I met some of the boys (John M, Craig, Coops and Pete) Sunday morning over at Friday Woods in Colly to get a full kit and pack run in, but say it was tortuous would be an understatement. We managed to knock out 7 miles, but after the first mile I didn't feel comfortable, by the time I was able to drop the pack off my back, it felt like a whole months good work had gone out the window. Coops and Craig flew round in so much as its possible in full weight and pack, but they looked pretty comfortable. Pete went around the first lap pretty well considering it was his first effort with pack, but by the second lap the troubles with his knees began to take hold, and John had to battle all the way around with problems that weren't knee related, it seems a new muscle problem has reared it's head. 

But it's still 4 weeks until we cross that line and I know we have the determination and all the inspiration we need. I got some comforting words from my sis-in-law when I returned, dripping, and I told her and Caroline how it went. She said that Lloydy would often feel the same way, miss a few days and that first session back would be harder than any previously, but after a couple of sessions it would come back. To be fair running this morning, I still felt quite stiff, but ran pretty comfortably and for the first time in a long while without any hammie issues..........4 weeks doesn't seem that far away, but it's more than enough time to make sure the prep is as good as it can be. I'm probably guilty of putting too much pressure on myself, I'm going to to be honest considering the soldier my brother was, that pressure is a result of my own doing. I know I have nothing to prove, other than to him, that I can do it, because I know, that he knows I can. And I will, we all will.