Monday, 20 November 2017

Let in the Sun - Take That!

Barlow, Michelsen, Owen, Donald, Lowe, Erfjord & Go

Taken from Take That’s seventh studio album ‘III’, this is one of my all-time favourite Take That singles and interestingly features only three of the original band members – Minus Robbie Williams and Jason Orange, they were just as good if not better in my opinion.

It was my ‘Event Anthem’ at this year’s Marathon des Sables and I drew a lot of inspiration and strength from the music and words, which I expect would be down to Gary Barlow, more than any of the others credited. I say I drew ‘inspiration’ from the song although I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily someone that needs something ‘inspirational’ to give me the drive to undertake any kind of challenge or achieve anything that might be considered extreme.

The song simply fitted my mood and my thoughts at the time and heightened my senses both during each stage and post run on reflection, later in the day if I’m being honest. I mean, if you can’t ‘Let in the Sun’ at the top of a 1000-metre high Jebel that you’ve just climbed in +50°C that months earlier you’d thought you’d never see again, let alone summit – well, I’m sure you’d have a moment too… and ‘Let your Sun in’.

Anyway, it’s ‘Inspiration’ that I’m interested in blogging about today as I’ve seen it said that,

‘If you are searching for that one person that will change your life, take a look in the mirror’.

It’s a statement I’d agree with whole-heartedly as I believe that everyone can be their own ‘Elite’ self and yet for a lot of the folk that I coach, ‘Self-Belief’ seems to elude them, when in reality, it’s an ‘Instant-Win-Lottery-Ticket’ for greater achievements and greater self-happiness.

One of my favourite analogies in ‘Self-Belief’ is about matching one’s ‘Ambition to Ability’. You’d be amazed at how many new runners want to take on some of the world’s toughest running races based on very little experience and low levels of endurance and speed fitness. I liken it to buying an electric guitar, taking a few lessons and then wanting to headline at Glastonbury, OUCH. For the Marathon des Sables Warrior, it must be remembered that the MdS has very generous cut-off times and is therefore achievable by most whereas multi-day road running, the Grand Union Canal Race, Spartathlon or UTMB are there for a more experienced and hardened athlete to attempt. I say attempt as the failure rate speaks for itself on these races and as you know, for me and my clients’ failure isn’t an option.

Going up a gear? And if that’s your goal well,

‘In the darkness, you must enter the code and crack the combination all on your own’

You’ll need time, dedication and sheer hard work as that’s what’s needed to get to the level of being a winning ‘Bombproof Endurance Athlete’. It’s something that folk need to desire more than anything else in life. It’s something as a Coach that’s impossible to ‘Project’. Sure, huge amounts of ‘Ambition’ are required but also an inner desire and will to win at all costs is needed. Beating the ‘Failure Enablers’, ‘Energy Vampires’ is one thing but the biggest challenge is possibly the voice from within that naggingly doubts success.

With this in mind,

‘Pick yourself up and search for the light, hungry for a new start’

As sure as the Sun rises each morning, every day is a good day to kick-start the rest of your life. Even in the darkest of nights, a new dawn heralds a day full of exciting possibilities. Sometimes it’s hard to take on board exactly what those possibilities are or what they could be but starting though is the important part rather than continued hesitation, procrastination and pre-match-analysis.

‘It's your chance now to stand up and fight, take the next step now a day at a time’

I’ve always lived life one day at a time and compartmentalised life. I use the same simplicity in the race strategies and in the 12-week training plans that I write for folk. Worrying about what lies ahead in the 23rd mile of a marathon when you are still only in the 5th is a sure way to undermine any race performance and why worry about what lies ahead in week 10 of a 12-week plan when all that’s needed is to complete the day’s tasks you’ve been set?

When you reach that point,

‘Leaving all that once what was holding you back, want you to see the sun rise as fast as you can’

And when you do, leave the old you as far behind as you possibly can. I always say about my 8hrs 55mins at the London-to-Brighton, 55 Mile Road Race that the time was good for a ‘Fat Guy that used to smoke and drink a lot but in real terms, it was a great time for anyone full stop. For any obese person that can slim down to their own natural body-weight and trains as an elite athlete, there shouldn’t be limitations, only expectations. And high-expectations at that.

So, from now on,

‘Feel the air and breathe it in, feel the warmth upon your skin’

And start being the true ‘Inspiration’ that’s been missing from your world, right now. Even in these dark days of Winter, let in the Sun and light up the rest of your 2017 and 2018.

Take That!

Rory Coleman rory@rorycoleman.co.uk
1,004 Marathons - 245 Ultras - 14 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Location: Cardiff, Wales

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

More than a Feeling - Boston

Lyrics:- 'When I'm tired and thinking cold' - Scholz

Lady Coleman predicted that I'd feel a bit down after the weekend's Druid Challenge ULTRA-marathon on the ancient Ridgeway National Trail. For the uninitiated, it's an 84-mile trail-running ultra over staged over three-days, with daily distances of 29.4, 26.2 and 28.4 miles, where incidentally I'd won the Over-50 Category back in 2013. It's no wonder that I felt that way though, as posGuillain-BarrĂ© syndrome (GBS), I'm now only able to walk/jog two of the stages without causing myself a week of sleep and recovery and my times for the two days is now more than my overall time  in 2013.

I mean, I've got my pride - but then again after 1,004 marathons what have I got to prove, eh?

Well, I needed to give myself a much needed kick up the backside and a reality check so I looked back at my thoughts post Druid 2016 and into 2017. These make up 'Chapter 6' of my next book. I only did one day at the race last ear and it's interesting to see how I was thinking and how far I've covered so far in the 'GBS' Ultra.

CHAPTER 6

January 5th was a big day for me, as it always is. And 2017 meant I was 23 years old; 23 years since I stopped drinking and went for that first run. That day still means a lot. And on this occasion, I'd been running dry for 8,401 days. Now when I see drunk people I think, ‘Yikes, I must have been like that, but worse!’ I think I did enough drinking in a ten-year period to last me a lifetime.

But the need to drink is just not there for me anymore. I'll go all the way through a Christmas and New Year period and not feel anything for it at all. It's been so long since I've had a drink that it's not even part of my life any more. I do have an app on my iPhone where it clicks over and adds a day every morning to tally up the number of days I’ve been sober which feels fantastic and very self-righteous.

Meanwhile, I was feeling elated by the fact that I'd just clocked up another marathon, my first road marathon in my running comeback. This one had been in Dymchurch, on the 3rd December, down on the south coast near Hastings. It's organised by my friend Traviss Wilcox, another self-confessed Marathon junkie, and it follows a traffic-free, sea wall route using three flat laps. It’s a great marathon so that people like myself who are clocking up hundreds of marathons can get another one in, without the too much trouble for the Race Organisers coping with large numbers of runners, chcckpoints and road closures etc. The Dymchurch Marathon, you could say, was very much a low-key kind of event with Marathons on both days of the weekend.

In preparation, we packed the car, rounded up the children and I ran on the Saturday, while Jenny ran on Sunday. It was bloody cold out there, but really rewarding. I ran every single minute of my rather extended time of 6 hours and 50 minutes. And contrary to our expectations, even my wife who's a very competent runner said that it was one of the hardest marathons she’d ever done. I came last by the way.

But it didn't matter. I was now off the prednisolone tablets. I was in the Dymchurch marathon. And by the end of it, I’d clocked to my 980th marathon. It was a big thing for me, especially getting off the drugs, even though no one knew what the side-effects of going cold-turkey might be, if any. You see, you try to make sense of what the Doctors say and then what the Internet tells you, but it's all so contradictory that it's hard to know what’s true and what isn’t.

Therefore, I'd decided to disassociate myself from those kinds of forums and advice websites. Reading uncertain people complain about how bad their lives were made me feel like I was drinking liquid kryptonite. I also didn't want to read about their conditions and subconsciously assume their character traits. I felt they were victims – I’m a survivor.

It's a completely self-induced mind set. But you need to be strong. It's so easy to give in. I know. I had a couple of days where I thought, ‘Wow, this is hard – give me some drugs…’ and when you add in the concerns you get from the doctor's about how not taking the steroids they've prescribed could kill you, it really gets you down. They said, ‘The steroids have helped make you stronger at the price of overriding your adrenal glands ability to produce adrenalin. If you stop taking them suddenly, you’ll die’. I'd been taking 60mg one day and then none the next in a bid to kick them and I thought, well I'm not dying on these alternate zero days, so maybe it's not as life-endangering as it appears.

What's more this drug only works in your system for a few hours. And after four weeks of taking it, your body gets used to it so it's not as effective as it was in the first place anyway. And then you're hooked on it, like an athlete drug addict, which is something I didn't want to be. So I gradually began reducing the amount I'd have to take further and further down to the point where I took my very final dose the day before the Dymchurch. And then that was it – I was off them for good.

Not that I told anyone.

I just did it privately on my own for ten days. I even kept it from Jenny, who went berserk when I told her what I'd done because she thought I'd taken a risk with my life. But I felt it was something I just needed to do for myself, in private, without any fuss. My main thought was that I didn't want anyone to correlate my behaviour with my cessation of the drugs. If I was acting tired I didn't want to be told it was because I'd stopped taking the drugs. I just wanted to get on with it.

Ironically, Jenny said to me during that period, ‘Your walking seems to be getting much better. And you seem much more with it’. I thought: ‘Hmm, that's interesting, seeing as I'm not even on the bloody drugs anymore!’

We had insider info too as Jenny’s Mother had also been on the drug for some time, however when she reduced her dose, even by 1mg, she really felt it which didn’t help my cause much. I worked out that it was going to take about 18 months to detox, when in fact the Rory-Way took me 18 days. The truth be told, I thought that everything I read about prednisone was BS really and yes, by 3pm each day I'd have what felt like chronic fatigue syndrome but luckily the running I was doing produced some natural adrenaline that it helped me– who knows.

Another thing that galvanised me was the consultant who was overseeing my treatment. He said I'd be on it well into 2017, and had explained it’s side effects like massive weight gain. I went to see him on December 19th and when I walked into his office and he asked me how I was getting on with the drug, I said, ‘Great thanks, I've been off it for a couple of weeks!’ He wasn't surprised, he just said. ‘I’m not surprised, you're a risk-taker.’

He then checked me over to see how my physical strength was – toe up, toe down, and all that. And then he said I was fine if I didn't want to attend a follow-up appointment three months down the line as I was basically fine.

That said, coming off the prednisolone had taken its toll and by Christmas I was knackered. However, I got through it. The key point for me is that no doctor I met had experienced GBS for themselves and how it felt to be completely fucked. So really, I became the expert – as I was the one who was ‘living’ with it and having to find a way out. I was the one living and breathing the condition. I didn't need a medical crutch and I certainly didn't need an emotional one.

Every Christmas we go and see Jen’s parents. They live on the side of Caerphilly Mountain in a large house, which our kids love to run around in. Her Father Mike, is an amazing host and cooks a Christmas dinner to die for. But after you've eaten it you think, I better go for a run to burn it off. Running 20-minute miles, I was being overtaken by people out for an afternoon walk.

My performance was just pitiful.

I'd run to the bottom of the mountain, feeling broken and then head back up to Jen’s parents’ home… The level of de-motivation I started feeling was now extreme. I just thought, I could walk faster than I was running. Why was I even bothering? I was running so slowly that I looked like I was running in slow motion. People were looking at me, thinking, ‘What the hell is that guy doing?’ By the time, I got back to Jen’s parents, I was just sat there, completely wiped out.

Jen saw that and said, ‘You need to realise how far you've come. You were only in hospital three months ago’. She woke me up out of my slumber. She was right. I had come a long way. My expectations were way too high and it was distorting the truth in my own mind. She was right.

In my pursuit to be the best at long distance running in terms of clocking up more marathons than anyone else, I'm often so focused on the horizon that I cross the line of a marathon and think, when's the next one? And not being able to run up that hill was a reality check. It was life's way of telling me: this is going to be a long journey and you're back to being a novice runner again. Accept it and in fact celebrate the idea that you're even able to get a 271-meter high mountain under your belt today once you've run to the top of it. And when you put it into context like that, it all becomes a lot healthier as a perspective. It's a growth mindset instead of a defeatist one.

I didn't come to terms with this new perspective until about two weeks later even though had a great run the next day. That's just typical of life, isn't it?

I wanted to get that mountain conquered no matter how slow I took it because they in a hundred days’ time I was to run the MDS again, and I needed to gauge my fitness. Running at 20-minute miles I’d be timed out. And that would be a disaster. I'm a proud starter-finisher and to be pulled out of a race would be everything I'm against. I don't give in, I don't give up – and I don't get pulled out of races for being incompetent so that was playing on my mind.

I went for a run a couple of weeks later though – on January 5th – and I felt in that moment like a runner again. It felt brilliant. The constant switching between feelings of feeling great and then knackered had really grated but they were now going. I was now running 10-minute miles instead of the 15-and-16-minute miles and my 5k was down to 33 minutes. My progress felt like quantum leaps, but still I wondered whether my body would be able to complete the MDS, which is what I wanted to do.

That's one of the things that having GBS reinforced within me. I don't tolerate people's quitting and whining anymore, even less that I used to. People always quit and it drives me crazy. If you're feeling it, work around it. My legs were now weak for example, so I began strength training my legs with a strength coach. Working around the problem and not giving up has always been my mantra.

The only difference now compared to before is that I'm more open to new suggestions that might speed up my progression with my health. Meanwhile when people would ask me how tired not being on the prednisolone made me, it was hard to tell. I still had a bit of mental fog going on. I'd not quite be able to remember things like I used to. The files were there in my head but they weren't instantly retainable like they used to be. I'd be giving talks where I’d normally tend to speak off-the-cuff instead of reading from a script but I didn't quite feel 100%. No one would notice, and my mental delay would only be for a nanosecond. But still, my world was foggy

Online I'd watch videos of people who'd had GBS and one was of a lady who was said to be back to herself and dancing. But as she was dancing, you'd see her drop foot and her knees hyperextend, and I'd wondered how long my recovery would take. I heard it takes about three years for your full memory to come back, and that was also a bit of a concerning.

Against that backdrop I was now thinking, wow, I'm nearly 55 years old, what am I going to do for the next 10 years of my professional life, from now until 65, when I effectively retire? You can only be the guy who’s run the MDS countless times and tell people what rucksack to take to the race for so long, so it was time to evolve.

And my thinking was, what's the next step? Did I want to become a full-time councillor, because effectively that’s what I'd become. But is this what I wanted to do for the next, and final, decade of my career?

2016 had been a test. It had been bloody difficult. But on the plus side, my change in circumstances had forced me to ask some very honest questions of myself. I'll tell you something else I learnt about myself is that you need to be aggressive in the pursuit of your goals, but you also need a plan. It's all very well going into a boxing ring throwing haymakers, but the haymakers never win fights. You can't rage against your situation with blind fury and unless you have a plan, you're screwed.

I went from wheelchair, to crutches, to walking –closing those airtight doors behind me, never looking back. I wanted my previous experiences to be locked in firmly behind me, just like I did 23 years earlier, when I went on my first run. To that end, I continued to run at 5pm every day. It was a routine I loved.

Plus, I also continued to line up the marathons as I headed towards my 1000th marathon. As the prednisolone began leaving my system, it did weaken my spirit at times, making me wonder things I never would have previously, and sometimes it would make me think, Rory, you're on your own with this condition, even if Jenny was always there for me. It was my condition to overcome. And it was like kryptonite, but I wouldn't let it win.

What made things tougher was that I was running times no faster than I was back in 1994, when I'd only just started running. I'd also recover very slowly. I'd run a fast three miles one day and then the next day feel like I'd just run 145 miles down the Grand Union canal, which concerned me. How could I be recovering so slowly? The level of fatigue and soreness I’d feel after running really surprised me.

Yet I'm still someone who believes he can do anything, all it takes is mental conviction. I have clients for example who say, ‘I don't know if I'm going to be able to finish the MDS.’ But of course, they will and do. I also know loads of people who go to the MDS and get absolutely obliterated because they run too hard. They don't look after themselves. They don't pace themselves. They fall apart horribly in the desert. I'm lucky in that experience has taught me how to pace and look after myself. That's why I'm rarely ill other than when I'm hit with a big and unavoidable syndrome like GBS.

And for me, that was one of the emerging lessons of GBS: you need to get tougher when things get tough. And not get sidetracked with all the small things that pretend they're emergencies. For example, as I write this chapter, my son Jack is crayoning on my 4k lounge TV. He's loving drawing over the Charlie and Lola cartoon that’s on.

It’s ok though as I’ll wipe it off when he’s finished. When you've had an experience like mine and you are building your ‘Personal Momentum’, it puts everything else in perspective.

So there you go - Backside firmly kicked and a new direction in place. Even when things seem black, they are probably less black than they used to be and the dim light at the end of the tunnel will continue getting brighter the further you go.

The thing is not to give in and stop! And when you are tired - it's time to turn up the heat :-)

Amen.

Rory Coleman rory@rorycoleman.co.uk
1,004 Marathons - 245 Ultras - 14 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records
Location: Cardiff, Wales


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Once in a Lifetime - Talking Heads

Well...How did I get here? - Byrne, Eno, Frantz, Harrison & Weymouth

Running
After all these years of running I thought I’d try and explain just what I learned from 23 years of Extreme Marathon Running. I mean, you can’t run 1,002 marathons without learning a thing or two about yourself, can you? So here goes…

Planning
I’m sure we are all aware of the sayings, ‘The Devil’s in the Detail’ and ‘Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail’… Yikes, I’ve used them both so many times over the years when explaining to clients how much my ‘Preparation Process’ has changed when planning and packing for the Marathon des Sables that I’ll freely admit that until meeting Lady Coleman, my approach was rather ‘Gung-Ho’. Using her attention to detail on my more recent trips, I’ve packed more out of necessity rather than desire and that’s the main driver behind my 6.5Kg minimum allowed rucksack weight at Race Registration.

And If I were to run the 2004Kms from London to Lisbon again, in consecutive daily 50km chunks, as I did in 2004, I’d be planning that one a bit differently as well. The two Michelin Road Atlases with a route highlighted in with a pink marker pen, one for me and one for the crew, would now be planned to the nth degree with GPS pinpoint accuracy and iPhone would now be the weapon of choice. A Spot tracker would’ve been most welcome in the heart of Spain for instance. In the Pre-Facebook and Twitter age, my daily updates were sent out to 100 pet email addresses minus images rather than a daily ‘Live’ to tens of thousands.

Goals
In modern day terminology, I’d be described as, ‘Extremely Goal Driven’. It’s a phrase however that’s over-used in my opinion and it’s more of a business term, than a running one. I mean there’s seldom a ‘Personal Performance Review’ that doesn’t mention setting ‘Newer and Bigger Personal Goals’. I prefer to be described as ‘Extremely Focused’. I once made a BBC Programme on the very subject. In my early years of running, people said I was bursting with ‘PMA’ (Positive Mental Attitude’) and that I had natural ‘NLP’ (Neuro Linguistic Programming), the science that claims there is a there is a connection between neurological processes (neuro), language (linguistic) and behavioural patterns learned through experience (programming), and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life.

It was a lot simpler than that for me. I had a clear notion of what it was that I wanted to achieve and got on with it. It was never a case of replacing ‘One Addiction with another’ and there was no need to understand the ‘Process’ of why it was so important to achieve. To me that was wasted time and energy that I could use a lot more wisely.

Failure isn’t an Option
Of course, it isn’t. I mean who sets out to ‘Fail’. Yet folk are only too quick to throw the towel in when the going gets tough in my opinion. I’ve set out 1,002 times to cover 26.2 miles or further and have always finished. It could be said that I’ve worked within my ‘Comfort Zone’ and that I’ve been lucky to avoid problems on my travels. Recently on marathon #998 I fell, fractured my shoulder and had a deep wound on my knee but I still finished. Sure, it hurt like hell, I severely bruised my EGO, and it still does but I wasn’t going to let that get in the way of my planned #1000 at Nottingham the following month.

Being ‘Bombproof’ comes from the huge amounts of training and commitment that I’ve invested over the years. It means that I feel at one with my body and therefore know just what I am and what I’m not capable of.

Don’t ask me to ‘Ironman’ as I can’t swim very well and certainly not for 2.4 miles in open water plus, I don’t want or need to. I’ve been in places in races especially in some of the longer Ultras and Desert Races where it would have been far too easy to give in but still toughed it out. The stakes have always been far too high and the negativity of a ‘DNF’ would be like ‘Kryptonite’ on my ‘Starter Completer’ brain.

Coming back from the Marathon des Sables as a ‘DNF’ for instance on a plane with 400+ other people wearing their Medals and Finishers’ T-Shirts would be hell on earth for someone like me and reason alone to finish ‘The World’s Toughest Footrace’, at all costs.

New Levels of Pain
Pain’s an interesting one. The dictionary describes it as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage’. In reality it’s just an ‘Occupational Hazard’ and the Lance Armstrong ‘Pain is temporary - It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever’ quote doesn’t help that much when your feet are mashed. Over the years, I’ve learned to understand pain, manage it and mostly to try and avoid it. Getting to Lisbon from London running 50kms a day for 43 days has taught me a lot more about looking after my feet than reading the book ‘Fixing your feet’. It’s meant I’ve finished the MdS blister-free for years now using the techniques I learned the hard way out there on the hard shoulder and they are far simpler than the ones described and more effective than the ‘Feet Fixing Bible’ describe.

I swore after finishing the 145-mile Grand Union Canal Race with the sole of my left foot flapping off in 1998 that I’d never wear inappropriate trainers with really worn foot-beds or cheap supermarket socks ever again. It taught me a great deal.

Learn for Yourself
I had to when I started and I didn’t have any kit whatsoever for at least the first month of my running journey. I didn’t even time my runs and it was only just before my first half-marathon in April 1994 that I bought some running kit and went to a running store and bought some proper training shoes. Running Garmin and Strava-Free has its merits. I simply enjoyed the freedom that running brings.

I’ve learning the hard way and from my own mistakes rather than copying others, I remember a friend of mine saying he ran without socks so I tried that one out only to regret having bleeding heels post Marathon in August 1997.

Compression, Heel-Drop, Barefoot, etc. are purely man-made objects invented to part the ‘Keen-Runner’ from their hard-earned cash. Running should be more of an apprenticeship and to be a world-beater, takes many years not months. For me, it’s a lifetime’s work and Yes, I’m still learning.

Achievements - A Place to Shine
If you are looking for a new platform to achieve then look no further. It was very much a blank canvas when I started researching athletic feats and ultra-long-distance running. My ‘detailed’ research was in fact the 1998 Guinness Book of Records and the November issue of Runner’s World. The former told me I was too slow and the latter told me that I’d actually missed the bus when it came to running ‘Ultras’. However, there were ‘Gaps’. Huge, gaping, Gaps – well in Treadmill Running and with folk running Multi-Day Desert Races from the UK and boy have I exploited those. Also, Meg-Day Marathon running apart from JOGLE just hadn’t been exploited and so I thought of running the ‘Premier League Grounds’, ‘London2Lisbon’ and ‘Stoptober 2013’ provided a great platform to shine and build my running media profile.

Strengths & Weaknesses
It would be easy to list the qualities that have enabled me to achieve (Big Yawn) but back in the real world I’m honest about my strengths as well as my weaknesses. You see, like most men, I’d rather concentrate on the plusses and being an empire builder. But like most middle-aged mean running has made me realise that I’m not Super-Human, certainly never an Ironman, Sub-3-hour Marathon Man or Sub-40-minute 10km runner - I’m just me and I’m happy with who I am and what I’ve accomplished so far.

Life Rules
Running all those miles has given me an amazing ‘Time-Out’. I time to ‘Think’. A time to ‘Plan’ and a time to ‘Process’ the world around me. It’s given me a simplistic set of ‘Life Rules’. A very simple ‘Black and White’ approach. It’s often misunderstood but all I’m doing is telling folk straight that I’ve already been in the hurt-locker and know how to avoid it.

Life’s becoming more complicated year-on-year. Things aren’t any better and in reality, there’s just less time in between things to recover, evaluate and consider perhaps. Looking in on other folk’s worlds every day in my professional career I see the same issues I had way back in 1993/4 when I’d reached my ‘Point-Zero’ and went out on that first 100 step run to freedom and happiness.

A New Perspective
Seeing life in 4K UHD Colour for the first time is an amazing experience. The clarity of vision and attention to detail bring a whole new dimension to our visual senses. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get the same 4K vision into our own existence?  I call it ‘Taking off the Life-Blinkers’ the ones that limit our expectations and cause regret in later years. There will always be races that managed to ‘Get Away’ for me. Spartathlon, Badwater, running the London Marathon every day for a Year… It’s THE one I’d really wish I’d done but it doesn’t matter as I’ve probably ticked more of my ‘Bucket List’ than most.

I know that my experiences have helped me overcome some huge life-issues especially when I was ill last year with ‘Guillian-Barre Syndrome’. Getting a cure for GBS is like asking for a shoe recommendation for the MdS. Everyone has an opinion and yet NONE have the real answer. The Doctor’s now known by me as ‘Armchair Pundits’ have no idea of what the condition is like to have and only have previous experience of patients they’ve treated. If you’ve been there, experienced it only YOU will know…

I looked online for help and found that most folk that are GBS talk more of the symptoms mainly ‘Pain’ rather than a solution.

So, like my early days of running, I found my own way out of paralysis and against the odds have completed 26 marathons since my first steps in August 2016.

Conclusion
I’ve discovered a lot about life in the last 23 years. Regrets? Well I could have been faster. Yes, faster than my marathon PB of 3:24:21 but more so faster to where I’ve got to in knowledge right now. A person with a better understanding both of myself and of other people. It’s taken a long time and thousands of miles to get here but I implore everyone to make the most out of their running. It’s brought me so much joy and my recent 1000th marathon was one of THE days of my life. So be open to change, be the person you’ve always wanted to be and ENJOY the whole process as much as I have.

There’s so much more to this than just getting the medal…

Rory Coleman rory@rorycoleman.co.uk
1,002 Marathons - 244 Ultras - 14 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records
Location: Cardiff, Wales