Next Chapter Please – “Life is like a box of chocolates”.

The way to get through an Ultra Challenge.

Since May, I have been pushing forward with training and aiming to raise £600+, with all the money going towards the Guide Dogs UK charity.

Plus trying to raise awareness for the amazing volunteers helping both the guide dogs and their owners, like me.

The Ultra Challenge

The way I am tackling the distance, is I need three things to happen. These things that make the whole experience a positive one and one that I can say started my next chapter in life.

The Three Things behind Why!

  • The positive impact on myself.
  • The reason behind taking this on!
  • Making the whole experience a positive and lifestyle change.

The reason behind taking this on!

A quick recap, I have not pushed myself for some time, I had the change in employment after being placed on furlough and basically worked hard at learning new skills to make my current job work for both myself and my employer.

Over the past 14 months, this complete lifestyle change, has meant that I have not looked after both my mental wellbeing and sadly, my own body, ie fitness levels dropped, bad eating and terrible drinking habits picked up.

I was aware of my circumstances and history has taught me that I need a focus to make the change. I had been looking for a challenge to push myself since Christmas 22. One that would not take too much time away from others. Plus one that places me forward in life.

I had been talking to a good friend of mine, who had agreed to take part in a 100 k Ultra Challenge. This planted the seed, I was going to attempt a one day challenge, one that was organised and marshalled by others. All I then needed to do, was to find a volunteer, that was stronger than myself and one that could see. Plus I needed to get fit and find a cause to raise some money for! The money raising idea, was very simple The Guide Dogs they have changed my life, I would of had to retrain and focus on a desk job or similar!

Making the whole experience a positive and lifestyle change.

At a birthday party, one with some friends I had not met up for many years. After many beers, I was stood safely at the bar with the husband of the host, Jim. He is a local builder, which meant we could talk building stuff.

I also mentioned the reason behind taking on a challenge, the quest to raise awareness and funds for the Guide Dogs, and he simple agreed to take on my challenge. Shook my hand and sad, “it’s a deal”.

I did call him a few days later and arranged to go for a walk and discuss what he had agreed too. I had to make sure that the beer wasn’t doing the talking!

I met with the couple, they didn’t just agree to help me with the walking but gave a very charitable deal to help me with some personal training!

So that was the tick in the box for being able to take on the challenge and addressing my fitness levels. I just have to address my mental wellbeing and eating and drinking habits.

The thought of looking from above (helicoptering) at why I was feeling the way I am, was a challenge. Let’s face it, who ever stops and writes a SWAT analysis on themselves? Plus, when you enjoy beer and food the last thing you wish to do is change the habits.


The wellbeing changes, sometimes you need to look at drastic changes, getting older gives you wisdom and life experiences to realise what’s wrong. How to deal with them and the courage to make the change is different!

For me, these changes have been, for the time being simple ones.

Cutting out the negative situations, those people that are not really interested in change or my opinions. Plus, stopping reading the gossiping comments on social media and taking them to heart.

I cannot write about some of the changes in fear of upsetting the balance.

One positive step, I created a Twitter page for Teal. I am now one of those people that takes pictures of my dog, and write about them in a manner of the dog is talking. It’s fun!

Food and booze habits!

I love a glass or two of beer, especially the growing UK trend of IPA’s. Unfortunately it leads to weight gain and a beer belly. Which is one of the things that is effecting my wellbeing. I have tried to cut down, but every week I find myself stepping closer to the habit.

This is reduction is work in progress and my good friends from Plymouth “the functioning alcoholics” are good company and keep an eye on myself and Teal.

I hope that this helps people understand that we all have a chance to make a change, find the courage to cut out negative situations and people. I am still in hope of raising £600 plus and appreciate your donations and constant support!

I have added some photos and a description below. The challenge takes place on the 6th August and the lifestyle change will be continuing.

As always, Mrs I’ is behind me and helping me through blindness. Xox
Teal the Guide Dog. Stood paused, ready to guide me through the other travellers and get me on to the train from Bristol Temple Meads.
Gig boat rowing, one of my methods of training is Gig boat rowing. I row with Ilfracombe club. It’s a positive part of training. It completely removes any life stresses for an hour or so. Plus have you tried rowing for over 30 minutes? The picture was taken from inside the boat, from The bay of Hele in July 2022. The time was close to sunset.
This picture was taken on our longest training session. We walked from Ilfracombe to Great Hangman in Combe Martin and then back. It was a hot day, this picture was taken about 1000. We left at 0700. The walk was 4 hours and 130 minutes!
This picture, was taken on a sole walk. I am still determined to be self reliant. However it was a tough walk, I choose the disused railway from Ilfracombe, left early to avoid too many bike riders and runners. This was possible the hardest session, basically as I had to use my white cane to stop me from falling over. “It doesn’t hold a good conversation!”
Getting a 54 year old body fit! I have to take my hat off to Tracey Parker (Jim’s Wife). She works with her daughter and runs a personal fitness gym. She has given up her time to push me to become fitter. Let’s just say, after two sessions I felt amazing!
Jim and Tracey Parker, this picture was taken at a celebration party, where Jim and I, rather dunk enough to not see any problems in him volunteering to guide me through the training and the Ultra Challenge.


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