This all started last summer. I felt embarrassed by my daughter who complained about me taking my top off in the garden. Rather than focusing on body image, I decided to turn that into motivation to become a better version of myself – a fitter, faster ultrarunner, a sharper colleague and a husband and dad with more energy for the important things in life.
I dubbed it ‘Super Fit at 50’. To keep track of progress, I set two big goals: to get a six-pack by last Christmas, and to complete this year’s South Downs Way 100 in under 24 hours – something that had so far eluded me on three attempts.
The story so far
The last nine months have been fulfilling and added a real sense of ‘purpose’. Others are probably the best judges of whether I’m a better colleague, dad and husband! But in terms of how I feel, I have more energy to contribute better to those around me, which is a huge positive.
On the six-pack front, I’m still some way off, although – for the first time in years – I’m beginning to get some muscle definition around my abdomen (although the love handles do a great job of camouflaging progress!) The thing that’s probably made the biggest difference is intermittent fasting (IF). I’ve become an avid follower of Dr Eric Berg, who explains things simply and talks what seems to me to be good common sense.
After the SDW100
Unfortunately, I DNF-ed at 50 miles with kidney pain. I’ve since found out I had a urine infection brewing, which I’m now on antibiotics for. It’s probably a combination of a complete 360°, head-over-heels tumble, landing painfully on my back roughly 25 miles in, plus already having an enlarged prostate (which I’ve written about before). Joy!
I knew before I crossed the start line that, whatever happened, I would continue on the Super Fit at 50 journey. Big Goals are supposed to be scary, and I approached the SDW100 with a mix of nerves and excitement. You never know what obstacles might derail your race on something as long as 100 miles – and boy was that true.
My preparation was solid, however, despite perhaps lacking some training mileage. I felt good and was in good shape to achieve my goal. I’ll be back!
Before the event, I wondered whether I’d feel a sense of failure if I didn’t finish the race in under 24 hours. I’ve always been a glass half-full kind of person, and I know I’m learning from DNF-ing and taking some positives.
Good luck to anyone approaching any endurance event, including some gnarly 100-milers. I’d love to hear how you’re preparing – particularly, what fellow runners do the week before an event. And how you bounce back from a DNF or injury. Let me know in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org