Not Guilty: How I almost gave up on 2013 before it began.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope that 2013 is kind to you, and if it isn’t well it’ll soon be 2014 before we know it.

My main focus this year will be on completing the Outlaw Iron-distance event in Nottingham. The race takes place on the 7th July and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve done it twice before and don’t feel that I’ve done myself justice on the course, I fully intend to change that this year.

Since July 2012 I have been working with a new coach, who contacted me after a TV appearance and offered me his services. We met a couple of times, we hit it off and I was very excited about the prospect of working with him. He set me on the paleo way of thinking in regards to my diet, and I saw great success.
Unfortunately a combination of factors such as geography, and him ploughing his time into his new business ( and rightly so ) meant that we decided to end our coach/athlete relationship on Friday. I’m disappointed but at least I now know to push on by myself and I only have myself to blame if I fail. The downside to that is that without someone to answer to its much easier to let old habits slip back in…“I’m knackered, I’ll give tonight’s turbo session a miss” or “It’s only one mars bar, and I’ve been for a 6 miles run”. I have to be careful not to fall into this trap. I’m not where I want to be in terms of my weight and fitness, but I have 26 weeks in which to get there. It’s not a sprint. The thing is I was doing so well, but then I lost my Mam and I went to pieces to be honest with you. Suddenly I no longer cared what I ate, I didn’t want to go out cycling in the rain. I mean what was the point?
I had some seriously ‘dark days’ in the run up to Christmas, a time of year which I guess magnifies everything. I don’t mind telling you that I came extremely close to giving up my Outlaw place. I just had no desire to be a triathlete anymore. I was done, I couldn’t be arsed with it. I just let things get on top of me. I wasn’t the person who I should have been, or am indeed again. I was hurting and I guess I was lost. Thankfully I have a wonderful support network around me, the base of that being my wonderful wife Em. She can read me like a book, and she forced me to get on with life. One of the things she made me do was go and ride my bike. So on Saturday 29th December that’s just what I did. I rode for 2 hours with my mates Kev and Andy, I suffered, I got wet and cold but I loved it. I loved that feeling of being out in the countryside, I loved that feeling of pushing myself again. What the hell was I thinking, giving up on the Outlaw? No bloody way.

I guess we all have our dark days, I’m sure that I’ll have a few more on my path this year. I didn’t deal with them very well, but I’ve come through relatively unscathed ( 7lb weight gain ) and ready to push on. I’m in the process of writing my training plan for the Outlaw, and when it’s done I’ll publish it on here. I’m keeping track of all my training and what I eat, I’m trying to be as organized as possible. I may no longer have a coach, but I still have someone to answer to. That weathered face staring back at me in the mirror will be my judge, jury and executioner. Hopefully by July the verdict will be NOT GUILTY.

Right that’s enough from me, I’m off for a run in the rain…


27 responses to “Not Guilty: How I almost gave up on 2013 before it began.

  1. Nice article Andy and very honest, life gets us down and it is the way we come back that makes us stronger, having a good support team helps as well.
    Looking forward to the sub 12 at outlaw from you

  2. Sorry to hear about your loss Andy good on you for getting your head back up and driving on. I wish you all the best in your efforts I am not doing the Outlaw this year but count on me cheering you on come the 7th July from the Absolute Tri feed station (bit busy this year to even consider entering πŸ™‚ )

  3. I think NOT getting derailed a bit during that time would have been unusual. Your priorities shifted for a time, as they should, but I am happy you are “back in the saddle.” Triathlon is a tough enough sport when the rest of life is smooth sailing. It’s funny, I was just wondering about the coach situation too. You have such a good group to train with that you probably get more out of that than you would breaking off and going it “alone” with a coach. It seems very much like the right decision. The only way to know is to try things, and you did. I’m excited for you to dig into the new year of training!!

  4. Your first book, (and currently reading the second) are to blame for my foray into tri this year with the Keswick and outlaw half on the books so far! As a figure of inspiration for me and so many others it’s great to see you’re back on the horse. All the best for a successful year.
    Best regards.

    • Thanks Andy – and all the best to you. Good luck with the training for Keswick and The Outlaw Half. Hope it’s going well. Hope you are enjoying the second book too.

  5. A friend recommend your blog, and I’m glad she did, I’m far from an athlete, just a mum/wife trying to get fit and lose weight, but reading your struggle before Christmas I realise that we all feel the same things, and face the same struggles. Over the past 2 years I’ve lost over 8st, but its an up and down path, my nan passed away almost 2 years ago and I still struggle with her loss, then last year I became ill and had a couple of operations , my mood was awful, I wanted to workout but wasn’t even able to walk my kids to school. Finally I’m better, my mood is much more positive and feel ready to crack on with this year x

    • Hi,
      Very well done on the weight-loss, that is amazing. I’m sorry for your loss, it’s difficult but I’m glad you are ready to crack on. Good luck with everything and I hope 2013 brings you health, happiness and above all else a bit of fun πŸ™‚ Take care x

  6. Another honest blog, Andy, but you’re way too tough on yourself. I’ve just finished reading Vicky Pendleton’s autobiography and some of her emotional and physical tussles make you wonder how on earth she managed to compete at such a level. And she had a huge team behind her – something you do not have. She had a psychiatrist, physio, trainer, coaches, etc and, no disrespect intended, you’re not a pro athlete – you have a day job to keep down and a family to look after. Your books are so popular because they echo our own struggles and we recognise little bits of ourselves in your writing. We have all fallen off the wagon in some way. Keep your chin up, Andy, you can do it!

  7. Great post Andy. You took the most important step when you recognised the problem and admitted it to your self. You are refreshingly honest with yourself. Sadly I have a friend who lost her Mother, went to pieces badly and won’t admit the problem. She is still in a dark place often with a bottle. She won’t listen to anyone and shuts herself off from her support network. I lost my Dad in Oct and I feel your pain. I am constantly touched by the number of people rooting for me – just like everyone is for you. Welcome back!!

    • Thank you, admitting it was the hardest step – I’m sure I must have driven Em mad with the amount of times I said “I’m fine” when clearly I wasn’t. Hopefully your friend will come to her senses, leave her dark place and take the help of her friends that obviously care about her. I’m so sorry about the loss of your Dad, it’s something we all have to deal with at sometime but it’s still bloody awful. Stay strong and take care.

  8. That’s the spirit ‘Holgs’. Never Ever give up.

  9. Sorry to hear about your mum mate. Fresh air and a challenge are surprisingly effective at giving a fresh perspective. Good luck with the voyage to Outlaw 2013.

  10. i have just finished reading your 1st book and found it a very good read, i look forward to reading your blogs too

  11. Hi andy it is always hard to lose a loved one, it happens to all of us some times in our lives, i know by reading you first book that you loved your mam very much, i have never met the rest of your family but in a strange way i feel i know them, well done for bouncing back, i know you will give it your all at the outlaw because thats what you do, i have signed up for Bala middle distance in june hope to see you soon Howard.

  12. How’s the paleo diet working for you? Does that not mean you have to give up on pasta, bread and beer? Rather you than me!

  13. As they say. The real mark of a man is not how many times you fall, but how many times you dust yourself off and get back up again! Keep at it mate!

  14. Andy you will bounce back and you mustn’t be hard on yourself! On a much more trivial scale I had a virus in Nov and I still feel knackered from it and find it hard to think that I can get ‘ back up to speed’ so to speak. Anyway I think it’s sometimes mother natures way on making us take a break! Here’s to a successful 2013 for you! Have started your second book and loving it πŸ™‚

  15. Enjoyed your book over Christmas and New Year so I’m tagging along along now with the Blog. Hopefully it can give me the motivation I am desperate need of at the moment

  16. Another amazing book, like quite a few folk out there since reading the first one I’ve got my lazy butt off the sofa and well on the way to my first tri AND marathon (is there an iron lady hiding within? only time will tell) Like someone said, we can all see a bit of ourselves in your book which is reasuring that it’s not “Just me” despite what the neighbours say. I love that you never preach but in your own way you make us (well, me anyway) think about our own training. I’m VERY guilty of treating myself to chocolate or cake after a hard training session – well I deserve it, don’t I? (perhaps not!) and I’m not a great swimmer but maybe I am a wee bit lazy when it come to the catch, so must tri harder πŸ™‚ OK, so that’s me now heading out into the cold and ice for a wee sprint session-no skiving cos “I’ve left my kit in the office!” excuse for me lol. Cheers Wee Plum!

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