Ricks Ride for Life
In December 2000, I was goaded into taking part in the 2001 London Marathon. At the time, I worked in a gym and wouldn’t even get on the treadmill but I didn’t want to lose face in front of a busy gathering of evening members so I said yes. I started training in January for the longest run of my life, which was also only 16 weeks away. I actually did very well through the training sessions but the problem came on race day. I suffered not 1 but 2 stupid injuries. Stupid, because they had nothing to do with anything. I hobbled my way around the mean streets of London and finished with an official time of 6 hours 20 minutes. I had completed a 20-mile race just 3 weeks earlier in 3 hours 20 so it was much longer than I was expecting. I said “never again…one thing less to do in life” but at the back of my head, I wasn’t happy with myself as I knew I could have done better. That thought remained there for 12 years, smouldering quietly.
I don’t know what possessed me but one day I picked up the phone to Cancer Research UK and I asked “that question”. ”Can I run in the London Marathon on behalf of CRUK, please?” Well, my name went into the pool of others requesting a gold ticket and I was lucky enough to be chosen. Over the years, we have things happen to us and, if we are smart, we learn from them. I had both my knees scraped out in 2011 and I knew that they would not be able to stand up to the impact of running 5-6 days each week, which is what I felt I needed to be doing to achieve a level of running fitness to complete the race in a manner that would leave me feeling content with my performance. I would have to supplement it with the one thing I detest more than anything in the world – riding a real bike. I would need to be putting in hours on the bike to compensate for the time I would otherwise be spending running. So, after having my bike stolen and not retrieved, I made the decision to do this properly and invested in a “real bike” and started plotting my training schedule. 3-4 days each week for 2-3 hours each ride. That should be enough, I thought. After a couple of weeks on the bike, it was like there something knocking on a door in my mind. I have 6 months to the marathon and I will be riding, on average, 120 miles each week. That’s a lot of miles… 2500 nearly. Could I put those miles to some use?
At the same time as all this was going on, I had a very good friend going through a larynx & trachea reconstruction. Without going in to detail, she had an extremely rare condition that made it very hard to breath due to her windpipe tissue over-growing and closing up. The simplest of tasks would be draining beyond belief yet. Imagine if you can, having your nose blocked, then a straw put in your mouth and then being told to go run stairs flat out. That is the closest description to how everything would feel yet she would still (somehow) run 3 days a week for an hour each time – and look after her 5 year old son (what’s more tiring??) I decided that I would take on the challenge of riding from John O’Groats to Lands End to raise money for both Cancer Research UK & also the charity that looks after and provides surgery opportunities for others like her – Airway Stenosis Patients’ Association (ASPA) They are a new charity, only forming in January 2013 so are very excited about this event. CRUK have been so supportive of and thankful for the efforts we have all put in over the past 3 years in The Ride For Life (what was The Ride Of Hope) that they have agreed to not only provide my friend with a London Marathon place also but to split the money for my ride 50/50 with ASPA.
So often, at Metabolic Solution, we ask our clients to step away from their comfort zone and to give everything they have – “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”. I am doing just that, I am stepping so far out of my comfort zone that I have been uncomfortable for the past 4 weeks and don’t expect to ever be comfortable again. What started off, as a supplementary training aid has become something so much greater. Every time I go out for a training ride, I am constantly going over things that other airway stenosis suffers have documented they have had to deal with and my motivation is beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of. I know this isn’t going to be easy – far from it, it will be agony at times and bloody painful at others but I will complete this.
The plan right now is to travel to John O’Groats on April 30th and start the journey south on May 1st. As the route is yet to be finalised, I can’t say exactly how many miles it will be but somewhere in the between 900 – 1000 would be a good estimation. This will involve riding approximately 8 hours each day for 9-10 days. I hope to arrive at Lands End on May 10th and travel home the following day. Whatever happens, I will be at work on May 12th! It should be pointed out that while this bike ride is a challenge in itself, it is also only 2 weeks after the marathon. Yeah, I’m not too sure what I was thinking either.
There is so much needed to help make this less stressful for me so if you are able to assist in any way, please get in touch.