Archive for the ‘life’ Category


Here’s a blog article  about my running journey up to the Queensbury Running Club Awards night 2015

Last Friday 27th, November 2015 was Queensbury Running Club (QRC) very first award night and in some ways a welcome reminder of just how far QRC have come in such a short space of time. QRC have been around for some time now but it was a small club of dedicated runners who had been running for many years who were at a high level of ability for club runners and as a result people such as myself never gave running or QRC a second thought because we simply didn’t believe we could run or attain any worthwhile standard.

So QRC continued for many years with this dedicated and hardcore bunch of runners turning up week in and week out for training and races. But all that changed last year when they decided to create a Beginners Club and see what happened. As far as I remember the Beginners Club was to run for 10 weeks and the aim was just to get people interested and see if anyone wanted to join the club.

However such was the amount of interest in joining the Beginners Club that it carried on for months afterwards and was only dissolved when it was decided to just have one club QRC that catered for all runners of all abilities. The membership of the club has gone from 18 to around 107 and continues to grow. All of this in around 18 months.

I joined the Beginners Club on the second week and was the first male to join. There I was one lonely male surrounded by 30 females! I soon learnt my place! And there I was lumbering around the roads and trails that lie around me and just having fun. I weighed 19st 10lbs then and I didn’t want to get any heavier. I couldn’t afford a new wardrobe! I ran through the spring, summer and early part of autumn and then stopped because I didn’t want to run in the wind and rain.

This was a big mistake as I learnt to my cost. Come spring 2015 and with new reasons to lose weight and improve my fitness I returned to QRC and I hardly knew anyone. There was a few familiar faces but most people were strangers to me although by now some more males had joined so I didn’t feel quite as outnumbered as before!

But something had changed at QRC during my time away. It wasn’t just a club anymore it was a family with a special family feeling surrounding it. Within a few weeks I was back going off at a pace that would frighten Usain Bolt only to be out of breath and shattered within ½ mile! However this time I stuck at it and steadily I began to improve. I can still remember the times I ran my first mile, my first Old Guy Road, my first 5k and discovered I could run uphill non stop.

What a difference this made to me physically and mentally. My confidence began to build, the weight dropped off (I’m down to 15st 7lbs now) and most important for me my running ability just went up and up and up. I entered races and ran parkruns and saw improvements week after week after week. I was proud to wear the vest of QRC and represent my club and my home village.

And then September 2015 I got my first and hopefully last major injury the dreaded pulled Achilles tendon. At first I tried to run it off and carried on even running a race the Kirkstall 7 with it and finishing in 1hr 12 minutes. Not bad when you consider that I felt like stopping after 2 ½ miles but then remembered who I was representing and soldiered on. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea looking back but I’m proud to run for QRC and I wasn’t going to quit just yet.

But the next day I could hardly walk so I knew it was time to take some time away from running and rest and recuperate my Achilles or it would never get better and I may never run again. So I rested it but it didn’t get better. Some mornings it was so sore I could barely walk down the stairs, trips to the local supermarket where made in pain and walking to and from places had to be planned because they took so long. In the end I made the decision to go and have physio knowing that if that didn’t work nothing would.

At first the physio was more painful than walking, one time I went I couldn’t bear for it to be touched but my physio identified that I had a muscle imbalance in my ankles and gave me some exercises to do. My left ankle was considerably stronger than my right one and this was causing me all sorts of problems. I started doing my exercises and slowly the strength in my legs began to return. I went down the gym to maintain a level of fitness and looked at other ways I could improve my fitness.

In the meantime I stayed on touch with my fellow runners from QRC. I went and supported them at races cheering and taking photos. I went and volunteered at parkruns and this helped me keep in touch with the running community in general too. This helped me maintain the feeling that I was part of a family, a family that understands how painful and crushing having an injury can be but are there to help you through the dark days of injury and give you very good advice as many of them have been injured too and gone through what you are going through.

And around 3 weeks ago I got the all clear to resume running. I’m taking it steady and building up my distance and pace slowly. But I’m getting better with every run, I can feel it in my body and mentally I feel a lot stronger too. In fact I went out today in the wind and rain. No more am I a fair weather runner. I’m enjoying running again and taking care of my legs. I need them more than they need me!

And so to the awards night. I was asked if I would take some photos of the night which I felt both honoured and privileged to do. I enjoy taking photos but I’m no professional so the result will be interesting to say the least! But at least QRC and all the runners who attended have something to remember the evening by.

And I won Most Improved Male Runner 2015! I was shocked and surprised at winning this. There are so many very good runners there now that it is hard to single out one individual as being better than another individual. Every week runners of all abilities are putting in better and better performances, coming back from injury and showing they haven’t lost anything that for people to recognise my running journey truly means a lot to me. To vote for me as the most improved male runner is very special and something I will never forget. I’m still in shock now and have to check that it’s my name on the trophy and I haven’t picked up someone else’s trophy by mistake!

But it just goes to show what a great running family QRC are. They understand the frustration of injury and how difficult it can be to maintain belief in yourself that you will get over the injury and comeback, that you are a member of the QRC family and being a member means more than just running to you and that you have achieved far more than you ever thought you could and not only are you a better runner than before but a better person too.

So thank you to all the people at QRC and in the wider running community who have helped me on my running journey and been there for me. Thanks also to all the ones who have put up with my moods, bad jokes and general weirdness from time to time! Without any of you I wouldn’t be the person I am today and my life would be all the poorer for it.

 


This is a poem about how I felt before I got my diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome in 2008. I felt that something in my life was missing but didn’t know what or even what I was looking for. This was an intensely confusing time and this poem reflects this.

The dog walks past and does not bark

Silently it walks by

The bird perches but does not sing

It sits in the branch staring

The content cat does not purr

It waits and listens

Something is missing

I am missing something

My sixth sense is overflowing

Overwhelming me with a

Message that the world is

Not as it seems

Not what I hear

Not what I see

Not what I touch

Not what I taste

Not what I smell

Not what I know

Not what I believe

Reality is metaphorical

I am on a stage

With no script

No instruction

No direction

No movement

No action

Interpretation is open and closed

Communication alive and dead

Understanding nothing and everything

Something is missing

And I pick the needle up


This is a three part interview I did in 2011 on how I live with Asperger’s. I hope you like it and welcome any comments you may have.

Thanks

Andy


Trying to explain myself

Is the hardest thing to do

Telling you the way I see life

As I see it, understand it

Can be harder than flying to the moon

 

You asked me to do this, do that

Wanted to hear what I had to say

Through my view, and then you

Ask me to explain myself again

Differently, in a way you understand

 

You do not understand me when I

Tell you how I see the world, tell you

How I feel in my words, I try to help

You understand me and my world

My life, my feelings, my emotions

 

And still you don’t understand me,

Still you want me to explain my world

In your words not mine. Why do you

Ask me to explain my world to you if

You cannot listen to me in the first place?


were the soul-giving

maker of my spirit

the bringer of divine-pleasure

my desire-enhancer

an enchanting-Goddess

of a thousand dreams

turned into the reality-giver

shaping the mundanity

of life-reflected

into a heaven sent

Angelic-lover from

a paradise thought lost

forever but now found in

You


He remembers that first day at school

On a cold September morn as his mother

Let go of his hand for the first time and let it

Drop to the floor, kissed him on the forehead,

Turned around and left him there alone for the

First time in a field of unfamiliar faces, a

Landscape of slow motion figures, revolving

Around him like a L.S. Lowry painting and then

They see him, a gaggle of kids looking for the

Vulnerable, those alone, easy meat to pick on,

Waiting to strike them, destroy them in the blink of an

Eye before anyone notices what is happening

And then they begin their attack, moving slowly,

Encircling their prey like a pack of wild chimps

Ready for the right moment to set about their

Victim, and he is alone in a wall of noise as

Figures past by not seeing him, avoiding him

Not wanting to be there when they tear into him,

And the first punch comes from nowhere and he

Falls to the cold, dark ocean of asphalt, his body

Sinking deep into it before rebounding ready for the

Next kick as faceless objects peer down at him

Laughing, mocking, enjoying seeing him in

Confusion and pain, asking why, why, why,

And the beating begins like a shower of meteor’s

Ripping into the earth from everywhere and

Then it stops as the clock strikes ten and this

Asphalt space is devoid of life,

No more noise, no more movement,

No more beating’s, and he lays on the skin

Of the earth the only sign of humanity in

This violent landscape


How she longs to feel his body next to

Hers once again, to be pulled so

Close to him that they become one

And she can feel his skin breathing

On hers, his heartbeat pulsing through

The tips of his fingers as they bathe in

Pools of morning dew created by a storm

Of passion, so intense, so ferocious, that

 

The very essence of the planet permeates

Their souls as their spirits entwine and become

One, creating seismic eruptions as universes are

Torn asunder creating a heavenly performance

Of dancing stars that follow the rhythmic beat of

Two hearts hammering out a message of

Longing to be near each other, to hear each other,

Smell each other, taste each other

 

Just one more time

 


He remembers holding his mother’s hand

On the night when the earth stopped turning

As he heard the last words his mother whispered

Felt her last breath on his skin

Watched her eyelids close one last time

Over eyes that would never see the

Beauty of life again nor feel pain

And her life became a memory in an instant

 

That would never fade as colours fade in the sun

Her grip never dimmed even though like the

Leaves on the autumn trees life began to

Fall and fade, clinging on to catch one

Last glimpse of sunlight, one last gasp of air

One last drop of morning dew

Before the leaf must succumb to the

Turning of the earth and drift down slowly

 

In a final spiral of life before

Returning to where it was born

And the dark of night is

Replaced by the brilliance of day

And his mother still holds his hand

As he feels life evaporating like the

Luminosity of a star meeting its fate

Yet even as hands grow weak and weary

 

Fall away, drift apart, he feels one final

Pulse of a heartbeat, one last bead of dew

One closing gulp of life on his forehead

And all that remains is the body of a

Woman he loved when she walked this

Earth and memories that will never fade

Away despite the passage of time and the

Turning of the earth

 


From a world of overwhelment

Where every Sound

Every Movement

Every smell

Is a

Mindful distraction

Of a life that

Never stops

Never sleeps

Only ends

To the serenity

And solitude of

Nature and a

World created by

Forces unknown, unseen

Understanding

The needs of man and

Allowing him to

Live peacefully

Calmly

Restfully

At last

 


the means to live life

rise like a tsunami

rushing in from afar

at an unstoppable pace

attacking humanity

destroying those who

get in it’s way

whilst the means

to pay for them

diminish and recede

like the

sands of time

getting further and further

out of the reach

of those who

need it most