So this is how my exercise story began.......
I was sporty at school, playing soccer regularly until moving to Jamaica when I was 24 years old and, after that, on and off until my early thirties. I was lucky, one of those people who naturally stayed slim. But then I got older, and things changed. After spending 2012 living and working in South Africa, I returned to Dubai overweight. It was decision time. Make an effort at that time to lose the excess weight, or face a much tougher task further down the line.
I decided to make the effort then and went on the Dukan diet, the only diet I've ever been on. It's a strict diet which also demands 30 minutes of brisk walking exercise each day. Sally joined me on the diet, we dieted and we walked, and the weight started to come off. After a while, I thought why not replace the walking with running. I set off on a 5km run, got about 2km and thought I was going to collapse! But I didn't give up, tried again a few days later, and eventually did my 5km. I slowly built up to 10km and tried to get faster. It was so tough, after enjoying progress initially, I plateaued. A work colleague told me to go to his running club, I remember being really nervous thinking I'd be out of place, but they were very welcoming. I now do almost all of my running with Desert Road Runners in Dubai, and love the social aspect and the encouragement from running with others.
I now run in various events, from 5km to marathons, and some trail races up to 72km. I've also bought a road bike and try to get out cycling twice a week. My latest venture is to learn to swim properly, at the moment it feels like an impossible task, but I guess that's what I thought about the running in the beginning, so I'm sure I'll crack the swimming given time and practice, and my decision to retire early should give me the chance to practice.
I'm going to include some feedback of my events, personal bests and other bits and pieces from what started out as part of my losing weight plan, but has now become one of my biggest hobbies and areas of enjoyment, and early retirement will only give me more time to enjoy it.