Last week has been a bit tough on Iron Snook!
What started with a simple filling in my tooth ended up as me having 3 days off work and experiencing the most intense pain I have ever felt. I don’t want to go into massive detail, but lets just say I had an infected tooth which took 4 days of very strong antibiotics to get under control and the pain was so bad I was begging my wife to pull the tooth out with pliers at home. Luckily she said no, the infection seems to be better (though is still a bit painful today) and soon I can go back to the dentist and get it sorted once and for all.
|Not a good picture, but left is Mike and right is Bruce|
This infection has meant no training. I was in agony and in no condition to do anything. Because I felt better by Friday night, I agreed to meet the boys for a bike ride on Saturday morning. Following a week off of exercise and fighting an infection this bike ride was very tough going indeed. I felt extremely weak. I also tried a quick 5k run on Saturday evening which was equally tough. Waking up this morning I felt like I had been run over by a bus. Clearly I am not quite over this infection yet!
On the positive front the scenery we saw as we wound our way around the Meon Valley was simply stunning. I feel genuinely privileged to live in such a beautiful part of the world and to be able to go and enjoy stunning summer mornings on my bike with my friends.
This is a part of the Ironman training that was totally unexpected for me and is rapidly becoming the bit I am enjoying the most. If it hadn’t been for this little Ironman adventure I would never have learnt the peace and serenity you can get from running for hours on end, riding you bike for 100’s of miles or simply swimming along in the sea. Some people say to me “isn’t the training boring” or “I just couldn’t be bothered with cycling for hours on end”. Before I started my training I felt exactly the same. I also found the training such hard going to start with that it was never enjoyable, it was simply hard work.
After exercising consistently for a few months you stop feeling awful every time you go out and you start to see and feel the beauty in exercise. I genuinely believe that our bodies are built for endurance activities. You start to unlock something primitive inside yourself. You feel the need to run. You feel more alive when your heart is pumping hard than you do when you are sitting still. It is a bizarre and wonderful feeling.
|The beautiful Meon Valley|
Recently I have had this feeling almost every time I have gone out to do some training. Don’t get me wrong, training is always hard, but there are periods within the effort when you feel a real sense of inner peace, a kind of tranquility that is hard to describe.
It is during these times that my thoughts almost always move back to my motivation for doing this Ironman race in the first place. Of course, this is the wonderful Chestnut Tree House, who (despite NO Government funding) manage to care for 300 life limited children and their families year after year. They rely on over £3,000,000 of charitable donations every year just to stay open. They are the ONLY children’s hospice in East Sussex, West Sussex and South East Hampshire. Without Chestnut, there would be no children’s hospice care in any of these areas.
I am hugely grateful to all those who have sponsored me so far and genuinely feel like you are all with me every moment of my training. Chestnut Tree House means a huge amount to me personally and any support that people choose to give them is simply amazing. This is where my one “extremely good” from my blog title comes in.
|One of Chestnut’s Charity Shops|
My sister is marrying a splendid fella called Damian. Damian’s Mum and Step-Dad (henceforth known as Jean and Vince – because those are their names) have a games party every year at their house. Their friends and family come along, play garden games (largely devised and created by Vince), make merry and generally have a jolly good time. This year the party is extra special. I am hugely humbled and massively proud to say they have decided to make the party a fundraising event and are donating the money they raise to Chestnut Tree House.
The huge effort that Jean and Vince are going through to host this party and raise money has been inspired by my efforts and also by the story of Louise and Steve (which you can read by selecting the “Motivation” tab above. This massive show of generosity from Jean and Vince and their friends who will attend the party almost brings me to tears. When I started on this road to the Ironman I never expected that I would receive so much great feedback about my blog and never expected that I would inspire others to raise money alongside me. It is truly humbling and makes me believe that perhaps one man can actually make a difference and help this truly amazing cause. Not on his own, but with the help and support of others WE really can make a difference. Every single penny that goes to Chestnut helps families who are in the most desperate of times, the most challenging of circumstances. Nobody ever expects to outlive their child, but knowing that Chestnut Tree House are there to care for children who’s lives are cut short and help them and their families make the most of the time they have together, is a comforting thought.
|Sensory room at Chestnut Tree House|
Chestnut Tree House is a wonderful place, filled with fun and laughter and if you ever get a chance to visit I would strongly recommend that you do so. I am immensely proud to be competing at Challenge Weymouth to raise money for Chestnut, massively humbled at the efforts of Jean and Vince to help support my cause and hugely looking forward to only 9 more weeks of training before the big event.
Thank you all for reading my blog. The updates will be coming more regularly as we get closer to the big day. Only 2 weeks until my half Ironman race in Kent and then the big push towards Weymouth begins.
As always, any and all support you would like to give to Chestnut Tree House and to me via my JustGiving page would be hugely appreciated.