I used to be a very fit and active person – I enjoyed sports, hiking (Kilimanjaro, Simian Mountains, Snowy Mountains high country) and the outdoors. I used to row. I used to play (very amateur) rugby. I used to ski at least 3 or 4 times a year.
In 2009 I had a vehicle accident which severely injured my back and pelvis. It took me close to 6 months to walk properly (on painkillers) and as for running or any kind of impact sport, fugheddaboutit. At about the same time, my business activities went into a fair amount of distress and turmoil – it was height of the global financial crisis and my entrepreneurial life was a continuous firefight. I should add it was a firefight that I nearly lost on a number of occasions. I stopped looking after myself, I ‘porked’ out a bit…
In 2011 I got married and pretty soon thereafter along came Max, my son. I remember walking out of the hospital very early in the morning on the day he was born and asking myself “what the hell just happened?” The world has never looked the same since that day. I’ve become more open to other people’s needs, I care more deeply about what is happening in the world … I should also add that I get angry more easily when I see people doing things that are going to leave our planet in worse shape for him. I suppose you could say that Max was a great awakening for me.
Little children are also an uncensored mirror to ourselves. I have learned from Max that I am selfish. I am consumed by my business activities. I don’t give my time as freely as I perhaps should. He has also taught me that I am not as healthy as I should be – when bending down to pick him causes back discomfort at 38 years of age, one has to ask the question of what will happen when he is 10 and wants to kick a football around?
This is a very critical issue for me.
I used to enjoy running. I never did it “seriously” but would do 5 or 6kms 3-4 times a week. When I stopped running my body changed. Many of you will know that I am concerned about men’s health, but it is a real issue that doesn’t sometimes get enough airplay. As men age, we put on fat, we work too much (and don’t get enough sleep), we drink too much (all those business trips to Japan and Korea…). In my case I experience moodiness and hormonal imbalances that are a direct result of my being about 20 kg overweight. With hormonal imbalances (lack of testosterone) we men lose our drive, our energy … and even sex drive.
So, I had a choice. Testosterone supplements or getting my health together. I chose to focus on my health.
I’m not perfect yet – I love good food and (on weekends) a bit of wine. On a day off work or a break from travel – I’d still rather catch up on sleep, or play with Max or read a book (or even update my blog!). But now I am watching what I eat, I have a trainer and in my spare time I am running again – and I look and feel a whole lot better. By the way – my trainer Tarryn is awesome – she has been working on my core training and my back pain is gone. When I started jogging back in January I made it 2kms before I got back spasms. A couple of weekends ago I ran 12kms pain-free … and could feel my abdominal muscles working for me! Absolutely amazing.
I am a goal-oriented person so when I decided I needed to start exercising properly again, I wanted to shoot for something that would really make me work at it. I also wanted to do something for my son so that one day, when he looked at pictures of me when he was little, he could understand that my love for him was so deep and so transformational that it had the ability to improve my own life in unexpected ways. I am running this marathon for me – and I am running it for Max – so that my health will be there for him in the future when he needs it.
Many of us have lost loved ones to heart disease – and now that we are slowly getting cancer under control, it’s our major killer. My uncle had a heart attack a few months ago. My aunt has recently had two strokes and has severe cardiovascular disease. I lost my beloved grandfather to a heart attack 17 years ago (at a comparatively young age). So I decided that I would not just run for myself, but that I would also use my friendships and my network to run for the Heart Foundation. The Heart Foundation does critical work for research and prevention of heart disease and it is my privilege to join their 2013 NYC Marathon team.
If you have a heart – please donate to my Heart Foundation fundraising page.