Let me introduce myself – my name is Mike, a middle-aged, pretty ordinary bloke. For the past 25 years I have been leading a double life. During the day I am a responsible teacher who over this time has progressed to being the head of a large all through, 3-16 school. I am always smartly dressed in my everyday uniform; a suit and tie, and work long hours in a job I have always loved.
However my other life is as far away from my professional life as possible. For over a quarter of a century (!!!) I have swam, biked and run progressively longer distances to eventually call myself an Ironman. During this time I have competed in probably over 200 triathlons, several ultra runs, a few mountain marathons and some adventure races. As well as doing several M dot races around Europe I have been lucky to have competed at both Norseman and Celtman extreme triathlons bringing home both a black and blue coveted T-shirt. The majority of my friends are linked to the sports I love and I have even completed two Ironman races with my long suffering wife – one of which was our honeymoon!
Although both of my lives seem distant from each other they complement each perfectly. Without my sports I wouldn’t be as effective in school and without school I wouldn’t have the discipline and time management skills to organise my training. My training and racing give me an outlet to cope with the hard work and daily stresses of school life as well as valuable thinking time that often helps me work through important decisions from school.
The difficulty with long distance triathlons is the time needed to train properly for them and with increasingly longer hours in a new school being competitive in these races was going to be difficult. Long distance training is essentially a very selfish pursuit and I am lucky that I have a very supportive family but the idea of riding for 6 hours on a Saturday after working a 60 hour week was becoming less appealing.
After racing Celtman in Scotland in June of this year I decided that I would focus on just one sport for a while to see if I could be competitive and enjoy new challenges on far fewer hours of training. Although cycling has always been my favourite of the sports I decided that I would focus on running as I felt that it was here that I could still see improvements.
I also want to explore and run in as many parts of Wales as possible and to hunt out some real gems of races – this is where the blog comes in. I will run in lots of local events and write about my experiences at each but I also want people to suggest races for me to try using the twitter hashtag of #welshracesinwelshplaces – Hopefully this will help others to find local races that they can take part in and to get them running.
So that’s a little about me for now. I will start in my next blog a write-up of a race I have wanted to do for many years but never managed to do, mainly because of training for triathlon or injury – the Snowdonia Marathon.