People always say 'Never define yourself by what you do', and although I do my best to adhere to that, the truth is, I see myself primarily as a runner. Not because I spend more time running than
doing anything else (I don't) or that running is the thing I'm best at (it isn't), but that when I'm unable to run, I feel incomplete. Running is my sanity check, my principal method of unwinding and
letting go of life's trials and tribulations.
I've only been running for about 6 or 7 years, before which I was the architypal couch potato, eating a shocking diet combined with a lot of watching TV, using the computer and playing video
games.I still do a reasonable amount of the latter two (I work as a computer programmer, so reducing the time spent using a computer is problematic) but my diet has improved 1000% and I fill more of
my free time with doing something that keeps me fit, makes me feel good (those endorphins!) and keeps me sane.
In terms of how my running has changed over this period (and, similarly, my diet),let me give you a brief history...
My Key Races: -
- My first race was the Great Yorkshire Run (a 10K) in September 2009 I completed four months after twenty years of doing almost no physical exercise and eating an atrocious diet. I ran it in
58:35, and I was ecstatic going under an hour.
- My first half marathon was the Sheffield Half Marathon (April 2010) and I completed this in 1:58:58. I was disappointed with this time, but I ran too fast too early. You live and (sometimes)
- My first ultra was the Ultrarace Peaks 40 miler in August 2012. I ran it in 8:45, and given that I was lying on a grass verge 6 miles from the finish insisting I'd not go another step, I was
quite pleased by this.
Note at this point: I didn't bother doing any race distances between 13 miles and 40 miles before I did the Ultrarace Peaks. Stupid? Yep!
- I'm a little hazy about my first 50 mile plus race. I *think* it was the Thames Gateway 100K, but I might be wrong. Either way, that race was run in 90% rain (in August!) and it took a long, long
time. I finished around 1am, and it probably took 15 hours, but I'm not sure.
- My longest runs (to date) are The Wall (69 miles, although I think I probably ran further due to incompetence) and my abandoned Thames Path 100, also 69 miles.
My Diet During This Time: -
- Between 2009 and 2012 my diet was still very poor, and mostly carbohydrate based. Interestingly, as the distances increased, my diet actually got worse in some sense, as I was fueling a lot of
the long runs/races with carbohydrates, including lots of sugars
- Between 2012 and the summar of 2016 I was a little better in terms of not eating so many sugars and attempting to eating some lower GI foods, but there was still a massive amount of sugar in
races. Hey, the aid stations have very little else
- Between summer 2016 and now I've been on a very low carb diet. I'm not quite in the Keto zone, but close. But it's a transition, and Rome (or any other major city) wasn't built in a day!