As I write this I am 8 days away from the biggest race of my life, yes very dramatic.
Joking aside this will be my biggest test so far, 82 miles, 10 000 feet of climbing, all along cliff top trails. I’m really excited.
Running and especially discovering ultra running has really changed my life, I know this is such a cliche but hey it’s true.
Before running my sport was Thai boxing in which I trained for ten years religiously and competed in 19 proffesional bouts. I hardly set the world on fire, my record was not great, what I did get was a reputation for being a tough fighter. As they say in boxing I would always go out on my shield, that is win or be carried out.
The truth is while I enjoyed the tough training, and the admiration of doing something others wouldn’t, I can’t say I ever enjoyed fighting. There were moments of joy, when I felt the surge of adrenalin and my nerves disappeared, but truth be told the lead up to a fight was always a roller coaster of emotions. One minute I was fine the next I was convinced I was going to lose. I always dreaded the weigh in, having to face off against my opponent. In my heart of hearts I felt like I was faking it all. I saw other fighters saying things like ‘I cannot wait till fight day.’ I would always envy them, or wonder if it was just bravado.
I hung up my gloves after losing a fight at the O2 arena in London at the end of 2014, I was 37 then and my opponent a much hungrier younger man. I’d completly messed up my weight cut and hid this fact from my coach, the day before I had to be picked up in a taxi by the girl I was dating at the time, after fainting on the tube on the way home from the weigh in. I’d drunk Glycerin mixed with water to re hydrate but read the mixture wrong, horribly wrong. I was throwing up most of the night. When I finished throwing up late that evening I started to rehydrate and get food into me.
But at the venue I felt great, I had 100 people come to watch me, back stage I was sharp on the pads, just before walking out I punched myself on my stomach, it felt tender, I remember being a little worried. But walking out in the crowd I had a surge of adrenalin and remember thinking, this is great.
The First round went ok, then in the second I was taken out with a beautiful body shot. I got back up on my feet and was immediately put down with body shots again. Game over.
A few weeks later I fell over snow boarding and needed my AC joint in my shoulder re building. My Thai boxing career was put on hold.
During my rehab I toyed with what I could do next, cross fit, running. I was a strong runner in my military days, I decided to give it a bash and bought a half marathon training plan….. The rest as they say is history.
Competing in races is the COMPLETE opposite for me. I can’t wait to line up on the start of the ONER next week. I can’t wait to prep my gear, get my drop bag ready, recce the route, plan my nutrition. I’m excited, I love this.
Yes it’s going to be hard, but it’s an ordeal that I want, maybe even need. It resonates with me on a deep primeval level. I’m sure this is the absolute same for some fighters when they fight. I guess you have to follow your own path. Everyone has something that will bring them to life, you owe it to yourself to find out what that something is. I met some amazing people on my Muay Thai journey and it taught me a lot about myself and facing your fears, and it finally led me to ultra running.
The ONER is looming, and I can’t wait!