Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Dear 13 y.o Michael

Firstly I wish I could claim full credit for coming up with this idea on my own but alas I am merely plagiarising a very well written blogpost from someone I follow on Twitter. It was so well written I thought I would write a letter to a younger me.

Dear Michael,

I know you're struggling with a lot of things at the moment. I thought I'd drop you a quick line to say that everything works out okay in 21 years time. You need to get rid of those thoughts currently going round your head relentlessly. Everything will be fine in the end. Yes it will take some time for you to find your niche but trust me, you do. We leave Clitheroe and eventually settle in Doncaster via a quick sojourn in Leeds (at Uni), Wakefield and a stint even working in the Big Smoke.

I know who'd have thunk it! Us from little old Clitheroe in deepest Lancashire working in the Big Smoke. And the best bit we help to build the Olympics. The actual Olympics. In the process we make friends with someone by the name of Etienne Stott who goes on to win a gold medal.

In London we also meet someone who changes our life. She strolls into our life like a thunderbolt and immediately we fall in love with her, she becomes our best friend,  we marry her and she supports us in everything we do. She completes us and is our much better half.

See I told you everything works out okay.

Yes we have our ups and downs but we come through them stronger for having been through them.

2006 isn't a good year for us but again what we experience makes us a lot stronger.

In your early 30'a you will make a decision which will change your life. You decide to do a triathlon for charity. As I know you have no idea what I'm on about,  I'll explain. A triathlon is a multisport event which comprises swimming (yeah you've got that covered), biking (you are okay at this now) and running.

Yes you read that right. Running.

I know what's going through that head of yours. We hate running. Yes we do. Being forced to run cross country in PE and being last. Yes I know it sucks. But triathlon will change your life. TRUST ME.

You will slowly transform from a couch potato into a triathlete, you will become a coach (and a pretty good one if your recent Coach of the Year Award is anything to go by), you will help set up a triathlon club, you will make a lot of friends, some through this crazy sport that becomes fundamental to our life and you will be told by people that you are inspirational.

All this transpires because you give up smoking for triathlon. I wish you didn't start smoking but you do to try and fit in. And herein lies the problem, you are constantly trying to fit in (it is hardly surprising given the hell you are currently going through). But you needn't try to fit in. Eventually you will be accepted and respected for just being you. You will make friends just for being you.

Anyway I digress, there is a bonus to what you are currently going through. It gives you a ridiculous amount of mental strength which pays dividends when it comes to triathlon. You will complete an iron distance triathlon (2.4mi swim, 112mi bike and marathon). TWICE. And fundamentally it is because you are strong mentally. You are definitely not the fittest but your self belief, grit and determination help you cross that finish line. You learnt to hurt when racing at triathlon and become relatively competitive in local races (I KNOW). So even though what you are currently enduring seems like hell on earth it does have benefits later in life.

As a result of triathlon, you start to really care about nutrition, you self educate yourself in what is healthy in an attempt to lose weight. In fact at 34 you weight less than you do when reading this. Go figure.

The most important thing to take from all this is EVERYTHING WORKS OUT OKAY.

You will live your life by the following mantras (the hash symbol before means the collection of words is a "hashtag" but don't worry about that as social media doesn't even exist in 1994 but it gets invented and plays an important role in your life from 2012)

#dreambelieveachieve you set yourself goals, believe they are achievable and then give your all in the pursuit of them.

#anythingispossible you learn that there are no bounds to what you can achieve when you set your mind to it.

Thats all from me,

The older Michael

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Rest period. Living life.

Since my last post, I've been really busy resting. The only things I have been doing have been swimming and social bike rides *if it doesn't involve a cafe stop then count me out).

That all changes next week when I start the build for 2016.

The last few weeks have been quite eventful for me even if I have been relaxing.

I've been spending a lot of time commuting and as such have been doing a lot of listening to podcasts by Vinnie Tortorich (and Anna Vocino) and RealMealRevolution. I am convinced that my decision to use a #LCHF (and mostly #NSNG) diet is right for me, the more I listen and learn.

This has been reinforced by the fact that I have been living life over the past 6 weeks. I've been going out with friends and as such drinking more than I am used to. As a result my weight has been yo-yoing somewhat.

Previously I have joked about my ass jiggling for a month after looking at a piece of chocolate cake but it transpires that I was correct in my assumption.

In early November, it was the Doncaster Triathlon Club awards evening. I was nominated for four awards after being selected by our members in a private ballot. I can't quite explain how touched I was to be nominated for the following awards.

  • Most improved male
  • Inspiration of the year
  • Coach of the year
  • Club member of the year
Anyway the night got underway and after several beers and the meal, it was the time for the awards giving.

I was shocked to be selected as the Coach of the year by our members.

I was even more shocked to be nominated as Club member of the year. The attendees were shouting "speech" as I went to collect my award.

I was so shocked that I had to compose myself before beginning my speech, I was literally holding back the tears. I waffled something about how I got into triathlon, why I became a coach and how humbled I was to be stood there collecting the Club member of the year award.

Alas my shock was not over, our Club Chairman then got up to present the Chairpersons Award for services to the Club. He ran through the contenders and finally announced me as the winner. I was lost for words, brimming with pride and shocked.

I went up to collect the cup. I am so proud to be one of the founding members of this great club and to be the first athlete to have won the recurring awards (Chairperson's cup and Club member of the year). In years to come, my name will be the first on both of these trophies and no one can take that away from me.

The club blog about the night can be seen here.

In other news.

After spending so much time listening to VinnieAnna and Professor Tim Noakes on my commutes my interest in a "new" product was piqued. The product was Generation UCAN. A "superstarch" which does not spike blood sugar and therefore does not increase insulin production and as such will be able to used by me in my new diet. The podcast which really interested me was the one where Matt Bach was on Vinnie Tortorich.

I have managed to become a brand ambassador for Generation UCAN in the UK after exchanging some emails. I can't wait to use this product over the coming season to help me #bethebestIcanbe. The plan is to use Generation UCAN to fuel my longer bike rides next year, I have been struggling to ascertain how I could fuel a 3+ hour bike ride and Generation UCAN now gives me a suitable option for this.

I can't wait to work with this new company and help increase their exposure in the UK.

DCLT (the operator of the gyms in Doncaster) has a Talented Athlete Support Scheme and after applying following my appearance in the ETU Aquathlon this year, I have been given free access to their facilities for the future. Again this will help me #bethebestIcanbe next year.

Many thanks to Generation UCAN, DCLT and Choosefitness for their help ahead of next year. I can't wait to see what I can achieve.

Thanks for reading,