Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Now that I have your attention

Things might have to change around here. But it might just be worth it.

I first thought this a few months ago, back in July in fact, when I was sitting at the foot of a mountain. My colleagues had all gone off to climb Ben Nevis, leaving me alone with my thoughts.

I hadn't been able to join them. Although we don't have mountains that your average Sherpa would recognise, Ben Nevis is no pushover, taking 5-7 hours for a reasonably fit person to climb and return. And there's no way I could fit into the 'reasonably fit' category. Not unless we were comparing me with those people who we see on TV being winched into ambulances after the local fire department has removed a wall from their houses.

I knew that trying to climb the mountain would have put me and other people at risk. I was still seeing lights in front of my eyes and breathing heavily, some 20 minutes after having ridden a bike a few hundred yards up a gradual incline. So while everyone was keen to reassure me that I'd contributed to the effort by driving one of the teams around, I felt a bit deflated.

"Here I am," I said to myself, "same old fat bloke who can't do everything normal people do. Hopeless." And to reinforce the effect I pulled out a bag of McCoys crisps and dug in. Base camp comfort eating.

But it was at that point I had the germ of an idea. And now I'd like to tell you about it.

Almost 12 months ago I lost my father. It's knocked me sideways, quite frankly, and if it's all the same to you I'd like to stop feeling like this. I want and need something to focus on. So I'm setting myself a challenge. Well, actually, two challenges.

At some point in 2010 I am going to go for a walk. I'm going to start at one side of England and finish on the other. In particular, I intend to walk the Hadrian's Wall Path. OK, it's no Pennine Way, but we're still talking about six or seven days walking over rough terrain, by someone who currently struggles if he parks too far from the office in the morning.

I want to do this for Dad and, to be honest, for me. I poke fun at myself all the time. But I actually don't like being the bloke who gets left behind. Who sits in the car. Who minds the coats. Who never gets picked. And there's more to it than that.

I will at some point be asking people to dip into their pockets to support my walk, with funds raised going to Diabetes UK. Dad coped with the condition for about 25 years, but according to the coroner it was probably diabetes that masked the heart disease that finally claimed him last December.

I've told my mom what I'm doing. You could say I'm committed.

I mentioned above that there were two challenges. The walk actually comes second. My first challenge is to get myself into a position, health-wise, where I can manage this walk safely. I currently weigh 18 stone - that's over 250 pounds. I need to lose a chunk of this, because I'm not hauling all of it over 90 miles of Roman wall and pathway. Once again, I need to make lard history.

So I'll spend the rest of December doing what normal people do at this time of year, then in January I'll need to knuckle down. I'll try not to clog this place up with healthy recipes and exercise routines, though, OK?


sillycasper said...

Sounds like a great thing to do and I wish you well. And yep, I'll sponsor. Reminds me I need to hit the gym again so I might, on the off chance, stand to look at myself in the mirror again...

Tom said...

It sounds like a great thing to do to memorialize your dad! Just tell me what I can do to support you in this.

Le laquet said...

I'm there with the sponsoring ... I also have healthy recipes - just not the willpower to follow them through so in January I too shall be flogging the lard!

Hope you and Katie have a great Christmas!

Lois Lindemann (three-legged-cat) said...

Brilliant idea - and best of luck - with both parts of your challenge!

alejna said...

Wow! That sounds like an amazing plan. I'll be sure to cheer you on. (Likely from the comfort of my sofa.)

City Girl said...

I'm in for a sponsorship and all the moral support you can withstand. :o)

Nick said...

What a good and noble idea. And wherever your Dad is now, I'm sure he'll be more than pleased that his passing is spurring you to greater health,


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