It’s been a few months since I gave an update on my Fit at 40 challenge but last weekend I ran the Milton Keynes 10K, which marks my third major race since taking up the challenge. Whilst my time was best described as disappointing, I did at least run the whole course (for which the last mile or so is all uphill!) in torrential rain and I don’t think I’ve ever been so cold…
Meanwhile, the weight loss continues: inevitably, Christmas saw a couple of pounds added (although it was mostly the pre-Christmas celebrations – over Christmas I continued exercising – including spinning on Christmas Eve and a run with my brother-in-law on Boxing Day) but I found it really difficult to push through my previous milestone and was stuck at 100kg (15st 10lbs) for a couple of weeks until, suddenly, I managed to blast through it. Since then I’ve been religious about counting calories, making full use of the Weight Loss Resources website and making sure that I’m getting plenty of exercise (tracked on Runkeeper). Sadly an injury in January – immediately followed by snow and ice in February – meant I couldn’t run for a bit, but I kept up the swimming and spinning… and I seem to be fixed up now.
After getting stuck again at 97kg (15st 4lb) and 95.25kg (15st 0lb), I weighed in on Saturday and was really pleased to be able to say that I’ve now lost my third stone placing me at 93.5kg (14st 10lb). That means I still have 3lbs to lose before 5 April but I’m confident that I’ll make it. And, for the first time in goodness-knows how many years I’m now simply overweight, instead of obese (my BMI is now 29.5, down from 35.5 at the start of the challenge)!
As for the running, well, I was tempted to enter the adidas Silverstone half-marathon (I did say I might try for a half-marathon at the end of the challenge) but I’m starting to feel the odd twinge at about the 5 mile/8 km mark so I don’t really want to risk injury right now. I’ve entered the Bupa London 10,000 again in May – and hope to knock 10-12 minutes off my 2011 time. After that, I may see if I can build up to a half marathon but, for once, I listened to my wife’s advice and decided not to risk the whole challenge by pushing my body too far – I may feel better than I have in years, but I’m not 25 any more and my knees are certainly telling me that 10K is about my limit at the moment (I ran just over 13K once, when a bridlepath was closed and I had a 3 mile diversion to get across the river!).
As for my fundraising for The Prostate Cancer Charity, so far I have raised around £1100, with another £650 pledged from friends and family, but I’d really like to make it to £2000 (plus gift aid). You can donate on the Internet or, in the UK, by SMS (text message) – just text
MWIL72 £1 (or whatever your donation is!) to
So, where next? Well, “Fit at 40” was a good start, and going from almost no exercise to my current levels, whilst losing just over three stone was no small achievement. I know that some friends and colleagues have doubts – after all they see me eating badly from time to time but we all do that – and the whole point has been about making sustainable lifestyle choices – not living like a saint. I could have “gone on a diet” but past experience tells me I’ll pile it back on. This slow, steady, sustainable weight loss seems to be working (and its always good when people comment how much weight I’ve lost).
I still have a bit of a belly though, so I’m not stopping here – it would be great to lose another couple of stones over the next year – and I’m going to give it a shot. I won’t be pestering friends for sponsorship but it’s my personal goal.
My health is improving too – I did recently start taking medication to control my high blood pressure but that in itself is not an illness – I have a family history of hypertension and if I can keep it under control then that should help prevent serious illness as a consequence. More seriously, at 6.3mmol/L my cholesterol level is too high. Importantly though, that’s down from 6.9 when it was measured 5 years previously – and the ratio of “good” (HDL) cholesterol to “bad” (LDL) cholesterol is improving – clearly “Fit at 40” is working and will continue to work as I lose even more weight (really, I need to get that number down below 6mmol/L and ideally to around 5).
Finally, I recently read an article on the Sydney Morning Herald website about people turning 40, and turning to exercise… well – maybe that’s what’s happening here. Perhaps the sports car, etc. will have to wait until my 50th…