Only when you look back can you see where you have been

So it’s taken nearly 6 months to get over myself and start writing again. I have no idea why, time just slipped away. I had ideas, thoughts, musings there was a lot going on its not like life slowed down any, yet I could not seem to put pen to paper. So now, here we are in 2018, 6 months on from Ironman. 6 months further on in my work life and 6 months further on in life. When I put it like that, it does not sound like a lot of time but in reality, it seems like a lifetime.

It was actually a little endorsement from a young lady who is currently attending the SHRM national conference in Chicago, the current Miss Cayman Islands Anika Conolly. She mentioned me in one of her blog posts and it really drove home how little we know about what impact we have on others so it spurred me getting back to grips with this writing. Be sure to check out Anikas blog also! www.authenticanika.wordpress.com

Once I landed back on terra firma in Cayman it was a strange old feeling, my alarm was no longer going off at 4:30am and I did not have a reason to ride, swim or run yet I had this craving to do so. What is weird though was that my body really wanted to do this activity that it had been conditioned to do for the prior 6 months, but my mind was done, it was closed, on vacation with a no entry sign held up. I’d watch triathlons on you tube, I’d see the weight creeping back on yet still I could do nothing. I would sit on the sofa on a Saturday afternoon in blissful content, eating and watching absolute rubbish on TV all whilst this little voice in my head was saying what are you doing you should be running or doing something.

I had this gift of time and yet I squandered it, but I know there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. Looking back it’s actually quite scary, I reached some dark places as I became anxious about my weight (which isn’t helped by male friends patting you on the stomach saying “its coming on nicely mate” & “I take it you are not training anymore”!) Little did they know the mental anguish I was going through in this battle between wanting to get back out there and simply being so tried that I could not move. I actually became quite sick to the point of turning to the doctor. This visit didn’t help me any as my blood pressure was off the scale and various body markers were all out. So now it just added to the spiral of I need to exercise, I need to eat right, but I’m soo tired.

There is probably a separate blog about how guys body shame each other all the time without really reflecting on how those comments are received. I 100% believe that men are just as susceptible to the anguish that women go through, accept that it is somehow acceptable amongst guys to be utterly direct to the point of rudeness about other guys physiques.  I mean you would never walk up to a female friend and say “wow that beer baby is about ready”. We all know when things are a little tight, we shame ourselves enough but somehow it’s fine for guys to do it to each other. Maybe I’m over sensitive but I also know what I go through in order to ensure I am fitter than most even though I may not have the six pack everyone else thinks they have. Trust me at 40+ it gets a lot harder!

Anyways this isn’t a blog about body shaming!

Post the doc’s visit seemed to give the kick I needed to start eating right, Since January I have been going to F45 a great cardio and resistance circuits training class 3-5 times a week. So I may have bulked up but the waistline is actually the same! As it was something new my brain said ok and the motivation to go and continue going has remained.  It has also fit around my work schedule well. The mood has lifted, it has allowed me to schedule training so the voices have stopped worrying about whether I was exercising or not. I also set up a cycling group/class on a Tuesday morning that motivated me to get back out on the bike. It’s only once a week but it has been great to encourage others and still know that my legs are in good shape.

Just for fun Kym and I did a half marathon in March in Miami which I ran no problem no PB, far from it, but It just goes to show that the fitness does not disappear as quickly as you feel it does! What was lovely was there was a photo of me crossing the line with Kym cheering me through which is a rare capture and a lovely moment for me. Kym is on the left in yellow.

Miami Kym

 

From a fitness point of view we are in to run the New York Marathon in November and the body and mind are now ready to tackle some training as I want to run a PB for a marathon time. I’m actually looking forward to it and know that the fitness doubts will disappear as I start to feel better about my overall health again.

The physical tolls of Ironman training are always evident but the post ironman mental fatigue is something I have not seen many people write about. I know friends that are always training and doing several ironman events or similar endurance feats and I can totally understand why. You become so conditioned to training that you always need a goal to train for and when there isn’t a goal you just don’t know what to do. I love the sport, I love all sports but I didn’t know until I looked back just how much this one took out of me. It’s not as if I have taken it easy over the last 6 months either. I do 60+ hours a week with work, I organized a 3 day HR conference, I traveled for work, did presentations we sold our house, moved house bought another house! Plus all the other things that daily life throws at you but because I wasn’t doing that additional 15-20hrs plus a week training my body thought there was something wrong!!

So – looking back it has been a crazy 6 months there are so many things to comment on  and I am looking forward to doing so over the coming weeks. I hope that you, dear reader, will find it interesting. But my message from today’s blog is simple:

You don’t know where you have been until you look back. When you do, you realise you moved forward in more ways than one.

Happy Monday

Advertisements

Cuba Libre – Havana Nov 2016

cuba-nationalI couldn’t write a typical vacation review, I couldn’t just type away merrily about the architecture steeped in a colorful history as little of what I write would match the vivid reality of Havana. Why such literary greats like Hemmingway and Victor Hugo resided in Cuba is apparent once your there. It moves you. Cuba is such a juxtaposition as I look down from our Havana rooftop terrace, in a refurbished apartment the mixture of new world money and the abject poverty is immense. You can smell the desire and ambition from a people who are desperate to make something of themselves. The way they go about daily life is better than any reality TV show. In the last 5 minutes I have watched men lay a Tarmac street in less than 30 minutes none them resting, I’ve watch a young girl giving salsa lessons to two young boys on a rooftop. I’ve seen 5 live goats carried out of a house and loaded on a truck. A fun run has just passed the apartment with close on 500 people taking part. The classic old cars tooting their horns and ferrying people about the city. The 8 children none of whom are over the age of 8 crammed into a little shack of a building all wearing rags. The tourist with the camera. The city is alive with change, life and although run down and possessive of the poor, there is a welcome a smile, even while walking the streets back from a restaurant last night at close to midnight gangs of people did not make us feel uneasy. You see in the UK, US or even Grand Cayman when you see a group of young people gathered speaking a different language you automatically go on the defensive. It’s unfamiliar so you don’t trust it. As a white 6ft+ gringo with a blond wife we stick out like a sore thumbs people look at you, but it is not with mal intent. It’s with a curiosity and wonderment.

cuba-solider

This country still has people leaving/fleeing poverty by makeshift boats searching for a better life. We are able to come and go which must be deeply upsetting for someone wanting to leave here. But instead of getting angry at those who come to visit they welcome them hoping that we will be the voice of change as the government opens up its boarders once again. Internet is not freely available this should be the first change allow freedom of expression through social media – allow closed minds to see the outside world has much to offer. But with all this said Cuba is a wonderment. The establishment of some fine eating establishments and the warm regard of it’s people mean the future is bright the future is Havana.

fullsizerender

fullsizerender

Words that can turn a man cold!

The following words will normally fill a man with dread – “Honey can we try the sustainable food restaurant on Sunday evening” “Sustainable food”? I ask, “Yes” she said – it serves mainly vegetarian dishes, you eat off wheat based cutlery, oh and it does a great Lionfish curry. It must have been a weak moment for me because normally I would be clamoring for a Sunday roast or at least a meat based hearty affair washed down with a nice red wine. Alas, as good husbands do from time to time I simply said “sure, why not”. Although I could think of a million reasons why not my head was saying, but she wants to and you always eat what you want.

So with very little enthusiasm (from my part) we set off for a new sustainable eating restaurant called Vivo, it’s based on north west point road in West Bay Grand Cayman. Only a 5-10 min car ride from seven mile beach. Its located in a popular dive spot/hotel. Upon arrival I was not bowled over, metal chairs no cloths and a take out style inner room. However you sit outside looking over the ocean which surprisingly is not that common as only a few of the restaurants her come with ocean views. Our server Lori, greeted us with a warm smile and “sit wherever you like guys” which I immediately warmed to. It made me realize that look, dinner doesn’t have to be stuffy just go with it try something new and relax! Lori immediately bought over the iced water some table mats and asked had we visited Vivo before. She explained what the restaurant was all about and made some recommendations for the starters which we took her up on, plus a couple of glasses of bubbles for good measure.

The appetizers of falafels and egg plant roll arrived with a mint dip and another dip that looked like honey but actually had a nice spicy bite to it. The egg roll was like a Quesada and was delicious and the falafel was actually pretty tasty and more like a samosa. Both were filling without making you full and I was impressed! Other diners were enjoying their food also and plenty of   yums and wows are being heard. For mains I had the Lionfish curry (Lionfish is an invasive predator fish to Grand Cayman and needs culling so it is sustainable) and my wife had the vegetable curry, simply put both were fab.

Plates finished wine drunk and some happy banter with our waitress Lori who made time for everybody in the restaurant. We asked her to thank Chef Marie who had whipped up our food in no time chatted some more then made our way home happy in the knowledge that we would come back here.

So the morale of this tale – Those moments you keep missing by sticking to the norm, this could have been one of them! Take a chance on something new. I am always berating myself for predicting the outcome of something based on preconceived ideas which have no foundation, just because I’m not a vegetarian in this case. But even then sometimes the food doesn’t matter but the time you spend in the company of someone you find very important.

lets-try-something-new