Where has my mojo gone?!

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This is a hard blog post for me to write…

…I mean I’m Mr #FitTeam12/13, ‘Celebrity Personal Trainer’, Mr Go Getter, PB smasher, Mr Invincible…or am I?!

Since Sam was born and until losing my mojo, I have been on absolute fire getting my parkrun time down from 20mins to 17.26 and getting close to my ultimate goal of a sub 3 hour marathon. I’ve continued to build a successful business and train many clients to achieve or smash their goals. My twitter following has increased to enable me to motivate over 14,000 followers. My gorgeous girlfriend is expecting our second child in Feb 2014 and we’ve moved to a dream house in Walton on Thames…and I feel sad!

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?! I shouldn’t be sad…I’ve played down the above and yet I’m bloody sad?!?!

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It’s true, I think it started with the London marathon and my 2nd attempt at the sub 3hr target. I was so sure I’d learned from my mistakes and was going to do it. Kirsty wrote this out on our kitchen work top with porridge oats and Sam’s magnetic numbers the night before so I saw it in the morning. Everything was perfect about the actual day except for one thing…I wasn’t sure about my race plan.

Due to a disappointing ‘longest run’ I decided that I’d prefer to walk for 90 seconds after the 7,14 and 21 mile markers to enable me to properly hydrate and consume a gel…in the end everything was going great until I reached the 21 mile ‘walk’.  As i was counting down the 90 seconds I saw the ‘3hr  pace setter’ go past and I knew my body would not be able to catch up. The race for sub 3 was over but thankfully I crossed the line (looking like a Zombie) in 3hr5m6s, a new PB by over 3 minutes but I attempted a plan that I hadn’t trained for…kicking myself now but I should have stuck with the pace setter and slowed down slight;y to get fuel on.

I think it hit me hard but life goes on.

Next was consecutive weekends starting with The Strongman Run which I smashed alongside Tobias Mews, then Dirty Weekend which I came 7th and finishing with a Sprint Triathlon with 8 of my PT clients.


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A pretty good May by anyone’s standard however it ended with this health scare and me having a back injury from gardening…honestly the intense races or period of races did no harm but trying to clean out some weeds in our now ‘old house’ had me in a lot of pain.

I had to cancel Tough Mudder, a race I’ve been dying to do for a while. Reading tweets from friends or people I follow on twitter was horrible…this was my 1st proper injury since the time I landed hard during an RAF Falcons display back in 2003. I was spending more time at the chiropractors than anywhere else. The relief the 1st session gave me was immense but it was not over quickly. I felt pain in my back or glute or right leg for a good 7 weeks after the incident.

As I started to feel better I started training for The London Triathlon. This was my 2nd attempt at this event and it was surely going to be better than last years attempt (blog post here). 3 weeks out I restarted my swimming and cycling and with such a short period of training was very surprised to have smashed last years’ time and be only 6 seconds from breaking a dream target of a sub 2.20 Olympic Triathlon.

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What’s more is one of my clients and closest friends Sean Tierney smashed his expectations and did a 2hr34 on his first attempt! The problem was that from the Wednesday to the Saturday before I had moved house (apart from a day’s help from Sean) single-handedly as Kirsty was a few months pregnant and not able to move without feeling sick or very tired. This strangely didn’t affect my energy levels but it had started to affect my back.

Looking in my diary, August was a quiet month with no competitions but September possessed my 2nd attempt at a sub 1.20 half marathon and October had my 3rd attempt at a sub 3hr marathon. I had to get the back sorted so I did everything I could to get it better but then I noticed that my big toe on my right foot was getting red and then eventually started to weep. To cut a very long story short, I went to the Doctors, wore flip-flops and avoided covering it in any way. As soon as I’d finish my course of antibiotics it came back. I went back to the Docs and was given more antibiotics…this happened FOUR times over 2 months. I was threaders!!! During this time I supported my clients doing the Run To The Beat even though I was upset that my toe had prevented me and then as I approached the Bournemouth Marathon I chose to pull out of that too.

I was extremely pissed off. Twitter was far from my mind and I know a lot of you could feel something was up. At the same time Kirsty and I were not getting on. Really strange as we have everything going our way, new house, baby on the way and an amazing son. Basically, things weren’t going our way. We were pulling in different directions and it was starting to take its toll. After 3 weeks of ‘discussions’ we seem to be back on track or at least heading to the same destination. This was all having a massive effect on me and my mental state as well as physical.

What I needed to do was, to coin a phrase I use when I’m on fire, to ‘kick my ass’…set myself a challenge and attack it head on.

I decided to run the Bournemouth Marathon. I had one week to go and due to my back and toe I hadn’t run more than 5km since 28th July, in fact I hadn’t run more than 10km since 11th May. I was excited though…I needed to something crazy, something stupid but also challenging.

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I said to Sean that I would finish the marathon with him or behind him as this was his race and I was there to pace him for as long as I could. We ran with his brother and stayed together at a steady 8.30 pace if not slightly faster for about 16 miles. At 9 miles I could feel a pain in my right knee but kept quiet. At 17 miles Sean started to slow and 19.75 miles I listened to my body and had to walk. The pain I was experiencing was pretty intense and my mind, which was focussed on just turning up and getting the medal and t-shirt, and as I couldn’t see the top of the hill we were on, decided that I should walk. I ran down the hill but by then I was gone. I found another walking wounded and went into Personal Trainer mode with this young lad also called Sean who was doing his 1st marathon which had us doing lots of  ‘run 7 lampposts, walk 3’ type intervals. We crossed the line in 4hr 6mins but that didn’t matter…I HAD FINISHED A TOUGH CHALLENGE!!!

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Chris did 3.37 and Sean was 3.58. The train journey home was the happiest I’ve ever been after any of my 5 marathons so mission accomplished.

So where am I know? Well with the help of my physio today, my knee pain should be sorted as long as I keep stretching and with the help of the Timehop app, I can see how motivated I was 1,2,3 and 4 years ago every day as it shows me what I tweeted or posted on ‘this day in history’, a bit like being motivated by the old me and with good old #FitTeam13 I can feel the motivation from you guys and put myself back on top and get motivating you guys through my journey again.

I want to end with a little apology. Maybe because this blog was of no relevance to you and you’ve just wasted 10 mins or so of your time in reading it or perhaps it’s because I know that some of you having been using me and #FitTeam13 to give you that little kick up the butt and recently it has not been there.

In writing this blog post, I have lifted a weight from my shoulders. I have had a whinge. I am a very fortunate person with a lot going my way and I know a lot of people who have not been as fortunate as me and probably don’t moan but this was my means of getting myself back out there…to set myself alight albeit maybe just like a little match instead of the volcano I felt like for 2 years.

I’m now planning to do a different parkrun every Saturday that I can and a Christmas day one too even though I will be near Coventry (hope they have one on) to give myself a nice goal to aim for the rest of 2013. In doing so I should get myself on this page. I’m starting again where it started using parkruns to get me firing again…and maybe just maybe I might get myself on this page too! 😉

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I may not be entirely BACK but I’m getting there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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33 Comments Add yours

  1. Sue says:

    How about taking a trip to Cardiff to support the Park Run there one Saturday – also a nice trip away for you and your family xx

    1. I did Cardiff in January before a mates stag do and being the parkruntourist that I am Cardiff has been ticked off the list! 😉

      Thanks for the suggestion though! x

  2. Well done for writing that, good to get stuff off ya chest and a problem shared is a problem halved! Just think about what’s most important to ya Stu, your family, health n happiness! Your a top man and you will get through this, but as we both know, nothing worth fighting for is easy! Keep up the good work fella n keep smiling

  3. Joe Ames says:

    You inspire so many people. I class you as a mate even tho we have never met! Keep going you do us all proud. Never would have done a triathlon if not for you and i’m 20kg lighter! All the best b

    1. So glad to hear it…thank you sir!

  4. Donna says:

    Well done for this, it’s really good to see that life can and does affect everyone, I must admit I have been slacking in the diet and fitness area without Fitteam13 monthly challenges. But reading this makes me realise that yes the help and encouragement is great but in the end I have to take charge. I’m glad your on the mend and look forward to the rest of the year with Fitteam13 boss man being Back! onward and upwards.

    1. Thanks Donna…true words!

  5. ironman39 says:

    That’s an incredibly honest post Stuart. Sometimes, we can get weighed down by the monkeys on our back. One thing for sure though is that if we can label our niggles and call them out then they become less – science proves that.

    A good read, and good luck with recovery to form!

    1. Amen sir…thank you!

  6. Mikeyboy says:

    Thanks Stu. Good (?!) to know that even the best of the best can lose their mojo… It makes Superman a little more human! Oddly I think that blog has given me the kick up the arse I need to get me out of my own doldrums… And if you’re feeling low just remember your slowest marathon time is still 2 mins faster than my fastest! Remember Kirstychoc, Sam and the peanut are why you’re doing this… Fred, Bert and Zoe are my motivation. You’re a good man Charlie Brown.

    1. Cheers buddy, I appreciate your comments!

  7. mia79gbr says:

    Wow! What an amazing year! Sometimes it’s good to have some downtime though … It allows us to stop and look back and see all the great things we’ve accomplished. And set out future goals too 🙂 Welcome back!!

  8. Claire says:

    Yes, we have Parkrun in Coventry 🙂

    1. But will it be on on Christmas Day? 😉

  9. Tess says:

    Fantastic blog Stu great to know you are human and to see you venerabilities. We all have times like yours in our life, as you say hard time shape who we are.

    Don’t beat yourself up, you do a great job.

  10. lorraine says:

    stop being so hard on yourself, its called life and sometimes we get pulled into different directions, not necessarily the one we thought we would be travelling but good just the same. I always say that ‘life goes on’ regardless of whats happening around you and to embrace the changes because you never know where they will take you – sometimes into an even better place.

    1. Thanks for my kick up the backside! You are so right! x

  11. carole munro says:

    What a Time for you ! best get it out in the open and get on with it ! Life was never ment to be easy ! Glad you are on the upwards, keep going you will make it x

    1. Haha…thanks Mum!

      This was supposed to be read by strangers! 😉 Thanks Mither…thanks for giving me the drive from an early age…in other words, it’s all your fault! xxx

  12. Sara says:

    This is what makes you such an inspirational trainer Stu, your honesty and ability to put what everyone else needs to the front of your mind. You were an awesome PJI and your integrity shone through. You are still the same amazing guy but injury does funny things to your mind set. I treat sports people every day who experience doubt and depression after an injury. Keep going buddy we are all with you and that lovely lady of yours. Simon and I are thrilled you are expecting another baby and couldn’t be happier for you. It’s quite nice to know that you are human too!!!!

    1. Hey Sara,

      If I was a soft southener I’d have wept a tear at your comments. I never really got to know Simon (a man I looked up to as a young PJI) so to hear comments from you is in a way, an honour. I loved being a PJI and did so with passion and was so upset the way I got cast aside when I made the decision to try something else. I have really found my vocation in life and I am still learning as you’ve read. All the comments I’ve received have been incredibly positive and I am gaining strength from them all! You’ve known me before all of this and that’s what makes what you’ve wrote poignant!

      Thank you! x

  13. Darren says:

    Great Post, think your wrong saying this blog was of no relevance as its motivating to think even the best people have off days or even months, and its reassuring to see that your human too! 😉 makes us mere mortals think we can accomplish our goals too and sometimes fail but the experience makes us stronger! nice one!!

    1. Cheers Darren!

      Appreciate your kind comments sir!

  14. Jan Smith says:

    That’s an really honest post! You are an inspiration to so many, I love #Fitteam13 (and #Fitteam12!). Thanks to you, I’ve discovered kettlebells! Thanks to you I’m prepared to push myself and my fitness. I’m doing the Great South Run on Sunday for the second time. It’s reading blogs like yours that inspire me to have a go!

    PS I have a soft spot for Walton on Thames too – my hometown!

    1. Thank you and hope everything goes to plan on Sunday! x

  15. Heather says:

    Well done on everything you’ve achieved this year. Your twitter posts have kept me going this year as I’ve been battling depression and reading this post has shown me everyone goes through some hard times but it’s what you learn and how you move on that’s important.

    Here’s to you and #fitteam13 😀

    1. I’m so happy at the positive feedback I’ve received from everyone and yours is exactly what I mean by that. I felt that I was depressed but really shouldn’t be. Knowing that my situation and blog helps people like you only helps me too! x

  16. shortwelshwoman says:

    Hi Stuart, it takes a special kind of man to say the things you have in this latest blog. You may be our ‘superhuman’ trainer, but you are still a human. Life is about ladders. We look up the ladder to the people we admire or wish we could be like. But remember to look down the ladder, for there are the people looking up at us. You are up my ladder! In wales we have a word, ‘cwtch’, meaning a big cuddle, a big protective hug. Know that all your followers are giving you a huge cwtch right now, as you re-find yourself and your mojo. You spend such a large chunk of your time, thinking of others and how to help them. No-one would deny you the time to focus on you and your nearest and dearest, for however long it takes for you to feel like the jigsaw has been put back together. From experience, I can see how multiple injuries can take a toll on mental strength and how you can begin to feel low about other parts of life too. I am doing The Muddy Mo (Movember) run this Saturday. I have given up on being able to run at the speed I did LBCI (life before constant injury) and will instead look forward to running and laughing and collecting my moustache medal with very muddy hands. Take your time. Take time to be human instead of superhuman xx

  17. denise says:

    Well done Stuart! We all get down from time to time and sometimes putting it in words helps to get back in control. For what it’s worth even though your own personal challenges may have drained you, youve still been motivating me. I first came across your fitteam twitter challenges in early 2012 I’ve since run numerous 5&10ks, done a couple of trail/obstacle 10&12ks and this summer managed to finish a half marathon in a time I trained for (super satisfying). Oh and I’m 4st lighter. I honestly wouldn’t have had a hope of even starting on this fitness path without you and the fitteam family. So thanks!!!

  18. emskiruns says:

    Thanks for being brave and honest enough to write this post Stuart!
    I’m not surprised things have drained you in recent months you’ve had so much going on and regardless of how it might seem you’re not superhuman! We’re all human and I am sure as hard as it must have been to write this post for you it will definitely have impacted a lot of your followers as it shows that even the strongest people we know hit tough times that are hard to get through too.
    Glad to hear you are feeling mostly back to yourself now and I am looking forward to having your motivating tweets back on my timeline 🙂
    Here’s to getting that mojo back.
    x

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