As a child I had an illness called Perthes Disease, leading to 15 operations, including a new hip aged 35. The first time I remember experiencing mental health symptoms was at school. Ten years later I was finally diagnosed as having bipolar disorder and Asperger's syndrome.
In 2018 I had a breakdown. At the time, I couldn't focus on television but I could read. I came across a book, called Operation Ironman. It was the account of a man who was seriously ill in hospital and had the idea to complete an Ironman. I read the book in a single day. I couldn't put it down. I thought to myself: 'I'm going to do that.'
On January 3rd 2020 I started a strictly calorie-controlled diet and fitness plan. For the first time in a long time I was aiming for something.
The height of COVID-19 was generally an unsettling time. I couldn't go to the gym, so I continued my training by running and having PT over Zoom and invested in a treadmill and turbo cycle.
I got my bike out in June and started riding short distances, eventually building up to a 100km ride with my friend and former Rolls-Royce manager, Nigel.
But mental health issues can strike without warning. In June I started getting stressed, confused, irritable and generally not feeling well. The worst thing I do is ruminate over the same issue obsessively, which begins a downward spiral. Somehow, despite my mental health, I managed to continue my training.
The feeling passed after seeking medical advice and I started feeling more positive again. So much so, I booked to participate in Ironman 70.3, Venice 2021. The triathlon is a stepping stone to the main event, and includes a swim of 1.9km, cycle of 90km and 21.1km. Remember, I couldn't swim!
In July another milestone was hit - the swimming pool reopened, meaning I could start swimming lessons. Six intensive weeks later I was ready to attempt my first sprint triathlon.
On 13 September I was on the triathlon start line ready to jump into the pool. As I pushed off into the water, I knew my life had changed direction for good. I completed the swim leg and ran down to fetch my bike. I managed to complete it 15 minutes quicker than my previous best time on the route.
The run leg was purely enjoyable. I cannot describe it any other way. As I neared the finish, the feeling was amazing. As I was turning around to look for my wife, Linda, the MC announced: 'Runner #267 it's this way'. I thought I best keep going. And with that it was over. Success.
But this isn't the end, it's the start of my journey to Ironman 2022. I'm so excited to make it happen and continue with a happier and healthier life. Read more on my blog https://bipolarironman45.wordpress.com/
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Rolls-Royce Holdings plc published this content on 03 December 2020 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 03 December 2020 15:20:04 UTC