The reason I'm running the London Marathon may surprise you
It seemed like a great idea at the time, but on Friday I got a call from CRunCH, the clearing organisation who deal with charity entries for the London Marathon, to say they would offer me a place to run for Headway (the brain injury charity) in the 2017 London Marathon. After asking me a few questions, Jonny said that he'd give me a place in the event, for a moment there I did not know quite how to respond, but after gasping to catch my breath I said, "Wow thank you, this means a lot to me," with a tear welling up in my eye.
Despite having had the weekend to digest the reality of what I'm going to be doing on April 23rd 2017, it's still something I'm finding hard to compute. In 1986 I was a five-year-old boy involved in a catastrophic car crash that I was not expected to survive. I was in a coma for weeks, when doctors turned the life support machine off, I did not breathe unaided. My family pleaded for the equipment to be reactivated to give me a bit more time. The medical staff monitoring my case said it was unlikely I'd make a good recovery regardless, as my brain injury was so severe that they thought I'd be a vegetable in a wheelchair if I woke up.
Fast-forward to today and OMG am I seriously doing this, yes I am. I remember when I was twelve, my dad got an ex-football coach to do physio with me on a Sunday morning. I used to cry when he made me run around the field behind where I lived at the time, after 30 seconds my lungs would burn and I'd scream and protest that I couldn't do it. I was never encouraged to quit, or give up, so I charged through my pain barrier and wiped away those tears, in doing so I've molded myself into a long-distance runner.
The reason for entering the London Marathon was sparked by Tony Robbins at his event Unleash The Power Within, I attended in Palm Beach, Florida earlier this year. Tony said on stage that people who have achieved 'out of this world' things, such as astronauts and Olympic athletes, after the event they sometimes struggle to get inspired or motivated; sometimes resulting in them turning to alcohol or other stimulants. As I heard this I was like, "That is where I'm at, nothing really inspires or excites me, as I have cheated death, and overcome great adversity." So Tony said about thinking bigger, set a goal so big it frightens you. I can't say that I'm frightened by the London Marathon, but it's probably one of the biggest goals I could think of setting myself right now. My original goal, of becoming a best-selling author really didn't inspire or excite me. Running the London Marathon does inspire me. To think back to the days when I fought to sit myself up in bed and I struggled to lift my head lying across a gym ball in the hospital physio department, and now I'm training to run a frickin' marathon, that inspires me – pushing my limits.
In my book, How To Heal From Trauma And PTSD I state that exercise is a way to combat depression, and helps you feel good, I'm addicted to the high of exercise these days. I go to the gym 5 mornings a week and run 10K and do various stretches and strength exercises. I joke that I'm powered by serotonin (a feel good neurotransmitter released during exercise) and coffee. I find that on the days I don't exercise I get moody and down, but on gym days I am more upbeat. As Dr Bruce Lipton talks about, "Life is movement, if you don't move you die." I feel better for moving.
Cloé Madanes, who teaches Strategic Intervention with Tony Robbins , says that depression (in the general sense) should perhaps be renamed 'boredom', it's when people are living an un-inspired life. For me that is the key reason I am pushing the envelope to run the marathon, do a parachute jump, and spend my birthday on a climbing wall. Life is an adventure, and needs to be exciting, or you get bored and then label yourself as 'depressed'. Spice up your life!