I drove down to Heathrow and boarded the big bird in the sky to spend some time with my brother Matty in North Carolina. The purpose of my trip was not only to catch up with my brother but to make sure that I was prepared for the increase in intensity of my training in preparation for the London Marathon. We started the week with one of my favorite past times – spending money! The first store we visited was Raleigh Running Outfitters who had in stock everything that I wanted in terms of running gear (apart from the size I wanted in running shoe! but I managed to get them from Dick’s Sporting Goods):
- Zensah compression leg sleeves to help with blood flow and shin splints
- Fuel Belt to keep me hydrated
- Body Glide to reduce chaffing
- Running Glasses to reduce glare
- Clif Shot Energy Gel to give me a boost whilst I’m running on long distances
- The Stick to massage out shin splints and tired muscles
- TP Therapy – The Grid – to massage out sore muscles and build core strength
I needed some new running clothing as my current outfit was getting far too big for me and I wasn’t comfortable training in it. I went to the Under Armour store, as an Englishman this is a fairly unheard of brand in England however they are growing in popularity. My brother swears by their training products and rates them highly, if they are good enough for him then they are good enough for me! I brought a tracksuit, running hoodies for the cold Kazakh winter as well as under shorts (to help reduce chaffing and offer support!), shorts and t-shirts. It was great to walk into a shop and buy off the shelf – I haven’t been able to do that for a long time – now I want to go from a XXL to a L.
After stocking up on running gear I paid a visit to Dr. Molly at Active Chiropractic to work on my shin splints and lower back pain. She was fantastic and provided me with stretches and exercises to reduce the risk of getting injured as well as working on the muscles that needed freeing up after years of sitting behind a desk and not doing a lot! I will have to work hard on the tasks she has given me as I cannot access the level of chiropractic support that I need in Kazakhstan.
We then headed over to see Heather at Life Time Fitness. She is my brother’s personal trainer and had been warned of my arrival. We worked on strength training to supplement my current cardio program. Heather built me a program that I can increase in intensity as I get stronger. I also undertook a ‘My Health Program’ to assess if my change in lifestyle has had an impact on my health – it definitely has! My blood pressure was 116/73 which is great and a lot lower than before, resting heart rate was 52 which is fantastic and a testament to the cardio work I have been doing however my body fat percentage was still too high, but I know that and this figure is reducing with every passing day. My triglycerides were 79 mg/dl which puts me in the low risk group which is <149, my LDL/HDL cholesterol was also in the low risk area however my HDL (good cholesterol) needs to increase which I will do by taking fish oil supplements but the good news was that LDL cholesterol was really healthy. Finally my glucose was 74 which again put me in the low risk area of <100. The results were deserved, I have worked hard and my health scores are proof of that. My overall health score was 84% which puts me in the low risk category, it would have been 100% if it were not for the body fat percentage which cost me 16%. I know that if I continue with my weight loss and lifestyle change program I will achieve a 100% score and attain the feeling of success. Over the week I had 2 training sessions with Heather and started to use another new toy that I brought, the Motoactv from Motorola which is a Smart Watch that tracks your performance whilst training. I brought it in conjunction with a heart rate monitor and set of Bluetooth headphones so that I can track my heart rate, keeping it at the optimal level whilst listening to music and reducing the risk of breaking my iPhone which I currently use for training. To help support my weight loss and lifestyle change process my brother also advised that I start taking some supplements to help with my low HDL cholesterol and with repairing muscles and sore joints. I visited GNC and purchased a range of supplements to help with keeping me healthy and working at my optimal performance.
I am all set for my training leading up to the London Marathon in 2014, my health is good, I have the right training programs and all the equipment needed for me to succeed. The only thing that can stop me from achieving the feeling of success is myself! There are no excuses now.
I decided whilst I was in stateside to take advantage of the lower price of clothing to purchase a new wardrobe. Half of my wardrobe drowns me, the rest of it is heading that way! I visited a Ralph Lauren store with my brother and what happened next was a whirlwind of clothes, shopping bags and assistants. I brought everything that I needed but in a lot lower sizes, none of what I purchased fits me now but it will by Christmas. I have used this new wardrobe as another motivational tool, if I continue to work hard on my weight loss and lifestyle change process I am going to be the vision that I am creating in my mind now. The realization that you can be who you want to be is a real driver for me. I want to be happy and healthy and it is closer with each day of dedication and good decision making.
I had a short time in North Carolina but it was fantastic, the support my brother showed in taking time off work, driving me around to shops, gyms and chiropractors as well as providing me with guidance and support shows what a great family I have. I am very grateful for that and to thank him I even let him win the last game of golf we had!