Back in August this year, Elisha joined the local Taekwon-do class. I was all for it – I’ve wanted her to do something like this for a while, because having done a couple of years of karate when I was in my late teens I wished I’d taken it up when I was much younger. Learning a marshal art just has so many positive benefits in terms of fitness, self discipline, confidence – all the good stuff that helps you become a well rounded individual.
After her introductory week where Fliss and I took her down together, I’d get her ready on a Saturday morning, take her down to the school where the lessons are held and sit and watch her for the duration. I had a passing interest myself, but was reluctant to get involved because of the bad memories of how things had gone when I studied karate.
I rounded off my fund raising challenges for the year by taking part in the Glasgow Santa Dash – a 5k route starting and finishing at George Square in the city centre. My mate Paul said he would do it with me toward the end of October just for the fun of it. Over the weeks that followed he’d put in a bit more training than I had, but I’d kept up a reasonable level of fitness since my last physical challenge and felt I’d comfortably manage the distance.
The Santa Dash wasn’t supposed to be a gruelling challenge like some of the others; just a way to finish off the year in a fun way with a somewhat physical event. In comparison to Tough Mudder or the Graeme Obree Sportive, the effort required was nothing, but I thought it was a great way of book-ending the series of fund raising events I’d done.
I felt more at ease with Pedal for Scotland from the moment I decided not to attempt the 113 mile sportive route. The 47 mile challenge ride just felt like a more manageable distance that I wouldn’t have to worry about extensively training for. I didn’t even feel any shame about switching from my original sportive entry to the challenge ride, as after struggling through the Graeme Obree Sportive and doing the Great Scottish Run I knew it was a wise move.
As last year’s event had demonstrated, being entered as a team with the lads didn’t mean we’d ride together, either. Their higher level of fitness on the bike just meant that I got left behind and it was a solo affair anyway, so switching to the challenge ride and focussing on my own level of performance seemed like a way of maybe enjoying the event this time around.