Dale Chief Exec Colin Garlick is taking part in this year’s Bupa Manchester 10k, which takes place later this Sunday.
He’ll be joining the thousands of runners taking to the streets on May 18th to raise money for good causes.
Colin tells us more about why he has signed up for the event...
First of all I have to confess that for a very long time I always thought that middle and long distance running was the most boring sport going and I never imagined myself as being remotely interested in running at all.
In 2010-11 Tricia and I joined the gym, mainly because it was the "in thing" to do and because we got a corporate discount through Unison. It was a source of amusement and annoyance to my younger sister, who was annoyed that I wasted money on a gym membership that I didn't use, in the end I admitted defeat and actually started to go.
In early 2012, with my Christmas indulgence still in very much in evidence I "peaked" at 16st 2lbs but justified this by making the most of my gym membership by actually going a couple of times a week, "bust a gut" and "break a leg" are not the terms you would use to describe my efforts in the gym but by getting as far away from the AC unit as I could to ensure I emerged with a perspiring forehead.
For some years I had suffered some circulation problems in my legs but chose to ignore this for some time, as you should you do. In late April 2012 I conned an appointment out of the receptionist at the doctors and even went the full 9 yards and went to see a doctor, blood tests were ordered and I then got the lecture about my weight, lifestyle as well as the predicted give up smoking advice. My cholesterol was through the roof and years of abuse were now throwing up the statistics that there was a 30% chance of me having a heart attack if I didn't change my lifestyle.
Aside of the smoking my eating habits were basically that in the main I ate all the wrong things at the wrong times, my reward for a trip to the gym had been bacon but ties on four rounds of bread and butter. The harsh words of the doctor made me change my eating habits immediately, sugar, salt, fried and fast foods, pastries etc etc all went by the wayside, I started to have breakfast every morning, usually some roughage, muesli or Alpen with semi skimmed milk, my full fat blue top days were over. I got in to the habit of preparing a packed lunch, which was usually white meat or fish sandwiches on whole grain bread and cholesterol reducing spread and some fruit. I started to have a big bowl of mixed fruit in the fridge and I started to and make sure I got my balanced evening meal at a regular time. No eating between meals, no chocolate, crisps, biscuits or cakes. I even visited Holland & Barratt and had a daily intake of cod liver oil, garlic tablets and lecithin.
As well as my new eating regime I started to take the gym more seriously and went twice a week, Sunday and Wednesday and started to do my own title circuits and the results started to show fairly quickly. I lost my first stone in no time at all and the big kick came when I dropped a trouser size, by November 2012 I reached a target I had set myself and broke the 13 stone mark by achieving 12st 13lbs on the 4th November. I had lost over 3 stone in about 6 months with my new healthy eating habits and my now obsession with the gym where I spent about 4 hours every Sunday and Wednesday, Tricia had previously been a football widow, now she was a gym widow.
I had an operation on my shoulder on the 5th November 2012 and was concerned that not going to the gym for a couple of weeks would pile the weight back on but I was wrong, the healthy eating habits kept the weight off and I was soon back in the gym and in the January sales I had to have a totally new wardrobe. Trouser size was now in some cases down to 34 when I had been up to 40 in some cases, shirt sizes were XL or 18 inch collars and this went down to L or 16 inch and I needed smaller belts.
I was still smoking at this time but having got my weight well under control I had started to think about giving up smoking. I remember being sat in my daughters garden one evening at a birthday party and I watched my four young grandchildren playing nicely with each other and I thought how great life is and I should do everything I can to make sure I could be around for them for as long as I can.
In April 2013 I got a strange pain in my chest one Friday afternoon, I don't know where it came from but it was very painful when I coughed laughed or sneezed, by Sunday it had got a lot worse to the point that one sneeze left me thinking my chest had exploded. I had 4 hours in causality in the afternoon and after blood tests, an ECG, scans and monitoring the medical people couldn't find anything wrong and put the pain down to a muscular problem. I was advised to take some pain killers and return if it persisted, by Wednesday I was feeling fine and was back in the gym.
Goods news, bad news time. By June 2013 I had got down to my lowest weight of 12st 2lbs, my weight loss had reached 4 stone. About 4 weeks after my trip to causality I came home to a message on the phone from a doctor at causality that said don't worry but please give us a call. As you can imagine I kicked in to turbo worry mode but phoned the hospital, turns out that a cardiologist had read my x-rays and had spotted something but they weren't sure what it was or whether it was just how I had x-rayed. I was asked to go back and have another x-ray, which I did the same night. The panic was heightened as they didn't know what was showing on my lungs, punctured lung was mentioned and a specialist was phoned but no clear diagnosis. I was asked if I was going away and if I was flying, which only serves to increase the panic that is now off the radar. In the end I was left hanging as I was told I would have to have a scan. My next heightened worry moment was when I got a call on Friday to go for a scan on the Sunday, if I thought the worry was off radar before it went viral turbo at having to go for a scan on a Sunday.
I had my scan and then got referred to a chest specialist, who sent me for some breath tests, after a couple of visits and some extensive tests I was advised that I had through almost 40 years of smoking destroyed 25% (a quarter) of my lung capacity, it wouldn't get better but if I continued to smoke it would only get worse. I had at this time already been psyching myself up to quitting smoking and I had set the day as the 4th July as my last day of smoking. I did quit smoking on the 4th July 2014, I enjoyed my last two cigarettes immediately after a portion of curry and chips and four rounds of bread and butter, smokers will know you appreciate a good smoke after a good meal and it was a memorable way for me to sign off as a smoker. I have just passed my 300 days of no smoking.
Having quit smoking I stepped up the weight work I was doing in the gym, I now do about 2 hours cardio work and an hour on weights followed by an hour in the pool, jacuzzi and steam room, my weight has bottomed out at a consistent 13st 7lbs, which I know is up on my record low of 12-2 but I am reliably advised that muscle weighs five times more than fat and that's my excuse and I' m sticking to it.
Last May my daughter, grandson and daughter did the Manchester 10k Fun Run and I went to watch and support them. I witnessed them and thousands of other runners of all ages doing the run and felt I should be doing it myself. Although I have been a regular at the gym for over two years I have worked within my capabilities, this time last year I did long brisk walks on the treadmill as I couldn't jog for very long. Since last year I have been thinking about doing the run and at Christmas my daughter paid for my entry as my Christmas present, so I was in like it or not. I can now jog for more than an hour and I have done over 11k on the treadmill, quite how this will translate when I go out on the road I just don't know but if I can lose weight, quit smoking and run then anyone can.
I won't lie I will be doing the run for myself because that's how it started out but once I had committed to the run I thought about a worthwhile cause and Janet quickly came to mind. Janet and David Mansfield are very good friends of our, Janet is one of the nicest ladies you could ever hope to meet, sadly she passed away a few years ago after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease, this terrible illness took Janet from us in a slow and cruel way. In her final weeks and months Janet was cared for by the East Cheshire Hospice who also supported David in his most needy time. For me I have two very worthwhile causes to motivate me around the Manchester course and I have persuaded my daughter Diane to keep me company. If I have to crawl round, which I probably will but I will finish the course in memory of Janet.
Wow, I hope the run will take less time than it took me to write that, please give a little or a lot, every little helps.