I’ve always worked my ass off to get where I am. In the same breath, I’ve always known how to party until it’s £19.99. But there comes a time when the line has to be drawn. And I think that time has now come.
Exactly 12 months ago and the last time I was in the oblivion zone, I decided in my infinite wisdom to run 20 miles between two English towns at 2am in the morning after a friends stag doo, without ever visited the said towns before in a direction I cannot confirm or deny was the right one. Now on reflection, there is a part of my brain when in that dark place which tries to play out the actions of the sane sober person I am most of the time, a person who looks after himself and is committed to being healthy and aiming to stay on long enough in life to see my great grand children.
So on the night in question whilst running down a country lane in the pitch black (in hiking boots no less), do I stumble and twist my ankle. I’m sure that to make matters worse (not that I can recall) that I endeavored to carry on to complete my epic journey of man vs road even though in truth I have never ran that distance in my life. Lucky for me, an ambulance was passing and stopped to offer assistance and take me to the town of my destination (albeit the A&E department).
In the aftermath, and to much rejoicing, I was named Loon of the Stag for the most impressive post-doo story. But on the journey home, I reflected on what a lucky escape it was and felt quite embarrassed and ashamed of my actions. Not only had I risked all that I have tried hard to achieve, I felt I had let the kids down by showing them what not to do. Not only that, but I had torn ligaments in my right foot which took over 5 months to heal properly, which also put in jeopardy my 3 Peaks Challenge. Thankfully due to some great physio, the foot was alright on the night and I’m glad to say that I completed the challenge with aplomb raising £1100 for the NSPCC which again I put at risk with my stupid actions.
So besides the odd beer or two, I never really drank for the remainder of 2011 (even in the US/Philippines/Malaysia I limited myself to no more than 6 pints in one sitting). And I’ve never felt fitter. At the ripe old age of 39 – I put in my best running performance in a Manila 10K finishing 15th (of 150). And besides my rotten teeth (which hard work and dedication can’t put right only hard cash and lots of it) I am looking the best I’ve looked since being a teenager physique wise (getting back into size 32 pants – albeit mistakingly my eldest’s jeans).
Sadly, I’m sitting here on the sofa with a Tubigrip on my left foot due to a return of the Drink Daemon. This Christmas saw me throw a superb party in the house granted, but that restraining bolt I’d fitted was out to lunch that evening as myself and a neighbor decided to climb atop my Jeep to give an impromptu Smiths reunion gig, after which I lost my footing and fell to the ground, limping back to the house. Once again though, I was commended for this crazy act and now my neighbours are friends for life, but again at the expense of my training and promotion of self health, and the fact that the kids had to help me into the house.
So the training for this years Spartan Season has not even started yet due to a sprained and blackened foot. So in a moment of clarity I have come to the conclusion that drink ain’t good for me. I am of the opinion that in the social scene, it is difficult not to drink and I do still go out a fair bit (even if sometimes I do not drink at all). The key I think is self limitation so in the event of an event, I must change my drinking patterns to that 6 drink limit, taking soft drinks or water in between each pint if it’s going to be a long one.
So that is my real challenge for 2012: learn self control in social situations. Harder than the 3 Peaks no doubt…