The Hills Hate Thighs

Yesterday I decided to tackle a hilly route for the first time in what seemed forever. As I have no races on the horizon for the foreseeable future I had been a little demotivated and had been churning out some pretty average times. As my always fragile confidence plummeted further south of ‘average for his age runner’ this materialised itself in a number of ways – one of these was an aversion of tougher, hillier runs.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with hills. Oh who am I kidding….I’ve always had a hate/hate relationship with hills. I’ve never been good at them and, while I have improved with time, they’ve always been the Achilles heel in my running armour.

So it was some trepidation yesterday that I tackled the 6.5 mile Colane Road route that loops round our village. We nicknamed it the ‘Kurt Cobain’ due its suicidal nature (tactless I know) especially a trio of wicked ascents between Miles 2 and 3. But I felt fairly comfortable on all three ascents maintaining a respectable upward pace before powering down the other side.

With renewed confidence I picked up the pace over the final mile back down into the village. I was really pleased with my time and, more importantly, how I felt throughout the run. Sore legs yes but a happy heart. Who knows….one day I might be a hill maestro yet. I doubt it but it proves that you should never run away from your fears.

Run towards them. Or rather up and over them.

Do you love or loathe hills?

Tell me about your last run?


A Fractured Faith 

I am a runner. Not a brilliant runner but since I started (3 years ago and 3 stone heavier) I have gradually improved. To the extent that I have now ran 6 marathons, about 20 half marathons and oodles of 10K and 5K. I joined a running club  and have watched my times tumble throughout the year. This culminated in a personal best of 3:33:20 at this years Belfast Marathon.

It got to the point where I was racing every weekend, running on my lunch break, running in my sleep, running to the extent that I was spending less time with my wife and children and more time pounding the roads on my own. While becoming a better runner I was simultaneously becoming a pretty rubbish husband and father.

My relationship with God was also deteriorating. I was falling into my old trap of self-centred thinking and poor decision making. I was becoming the old me. The me I despise. The me I want to bury forever but who keeps creeping back into my body, mind and soul.

My Bible study faltered and gradually ground to a halt. The journal I had been trying to maintain gathered dust in my ‘man bag’. Prayer time, always a struggle, became non existent or only when I was in serious trouble and then only in the form of panicky afterthoughts. I fell away from my church, from my God. The old ways were reclaiming me, the Enemy was gaining foothold after foothold in my meandering mind.

So…….what was I to do? My faith was leaking, haemorrhaging, fracturing under the strain of ego and sinful patterns of behaviour. I felt in a rut, a hole, a revolving door of guilt and shame. Unwilling to hand over my past, unable to deal with the present and the responsibilities I shouldered as a husband and father. 

Well I didn’t really do anything. But God did. As is often his way he brought things to a head, to a shuddering halt in fact, in order to drag me sulking and pouting towards the path he has had mapped out for me since I was in the womb. 

This opening blog is just a taster of my story. I hope to open up more in the posts to come. And maybe somebody, somewhere in the online ether will be encouraged and comforted by what I have to share. My last blog page was about me. This one is about God and my faith in him. 

A floundering faith, a fickle faith, a fractured faith. But a faith all the same….

Where is your faith at today?