“Sometimes it’s worth lingering on the journey for a while before getting to the destination.”
Richelle Mead, The Indigo Spell
Just a little over three years ago, one evening sitting alone in my bedroom I contemplated life. I decided I had to turn the direction my life was heading on it’s head, and climb up the slope that I had found myself sliding down at a rapidly increasing pace. My job, my non-existant love life, my physical appearance and my level of physical fitness (or lack thereof) were a daily if not hourly concern for me.
As regular readers of this blog are aware I created the short manifesto that start this whole thing off that evening, and the rest is as they say is history and has been covered extensively and in detail throughout these pages.
Over the last three years, I would like to think I have helped share my story with family, friends, colleagues and strangers alike in order to spread the vital message that “It’s alright not to feel okay, and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help”. While the first year seemed to pass in the blink of an eye with dating, weight loss, career changes, travel and general excitement and enthusiasm the next two years have been a little different. Still equally rewarding just a little bit slower paced and at times mundane. There have been moments during the last two years where I question the whole concept behind challenge ten and the decision I made to just turn my back on negative environments and people, but thankfully those doubts are few and getting further and further between as the months fly by.
Jut to fully recap on the second set of challenges they were:
The challenges were as follows:
1. Lose 20kgs weight
I weigh the exact same today as I did finishing the first year of Challenge Ten, I haven’t managed to drop to the next level, but I also haven’t put back on any of the weight that I lost. I am back in proper training in the last couple of months and am confident as my training ramps off, I will manage to drop below the 100kg mark for the first time in my adult life.
2. Earn double my 2010 Salary
This is one of the challenges that I thought I wanted, in the last few days of the first year, I received a call from a friend of a friend who asked me to come in and interview for a position with daily deals website GrabOne, I met with Aidan, and then again with Ruairi and Barry and when offered a position, I finally accepted. This position had me on target to reach this target with a little bit of wriggle room, but after seven or eight months circumstances within the company changed and unfortunately I saw a lot of old habits and characteristics creeping into my life, and I knew that I needed to make a change in this element of my life.
My time is now split between Challenge Ten and my World Cycle training and preparation alongside my radio and media commitments.
3. Record an album, write a book, take a photograph every day & present a weekly radio podcast.
This is an example of where my expectations ran a little wild on my plans. Pushing four massive tasks into a single strand of the goals. However even considering that I’ve managed to tick a few mini-boxes on this one. I’ve almost finished recording an album, it’s covers mostly of songs that mean something to me. Here’s a little taster of my version of John Mayer’s ‘Say’ from the soundtrack of ‘The Bucket List’ the movie that helped inspire this entire adventure.
There are another nine tracks recorded to date, with the final tracks to be finished this side of christmas. The book will be finished on completion of the World Cycle, it will include some sections already written about the journey so far, but it will focus on the actual cycle for the most part. The photograph a day idea never really got off the ground, and I currently produce and present two live radio shows a week, four podcasts and for a period earlier this year a weekly round up sports show.
4. Complete the Wicklow 200, Liffey Swim, Half Ironman and 3 Marathons (1 in under 4:30)
I’m a little bit disappointed so say that none of this have been done, my swimming just isn’t strong enough to even consider the Liffey Swim and Half Ironman sections of this just yet. The Wicklow 200 got sucked into my Tour of Ireland last year and into my World Cycle for 2014 while my running is just not going to see the improvement needed until I manage to lose the rest of the excess weight I’m still carrying. I haven’t seen the last of the marathon distance, we have unfinished business with the 26.2 miles.
5. Cook and host a dinner party for 12 people
I haven’t built up my confidence in my cooking to even consider taking this on yet, although the vast majority of my meals are now home cooked from fresh, which I had never contemplated doing once before starting Challenge Ten. The dinner party will happen, but only when I’m confident that I won’t kill all my guests
6. Travel to five new countries
Funnily enough I haven’t been out of the country since returning from New Zealand in 2011, but as planning for the world cycle in 2014 builds pace I know I’m going to be ticking some great new countries like India, Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Morocco amongst others off that list.
7. Give ten motivational talks
I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to give a number of public talks to executives of large companies, small business groups, some of the leaders of Irish sport and to second and third level students. I’ve really enjoyed the response across each of these experiences, and hope to do more of this kind of work in the future.
8. Go on a date every week
I haven’t been as religious as before with the dating, but have managed to sneak a few evenings out into my schedule. I’m now a lot more comfortable in my own skin, and have learned to like myself a lot more, I’m much happier in my own company that I had been, and am happy to wait to meet the right girl. Doesn’t mean I’m not still looking
9. Mentor ten people with their own ‘Challenge Ten’ for 2012
This was one of my most favourite aspects of last year, with a number of the original ten completing their tasks including marathons, weight loss, charity work, dating and lots, lots more across four continents.
10. Cycle South America
This will be included with the World Cycle on the Buenos Aires to Rio leg of the trip in June / July next year.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, I’m going to be cycling around the entire world from the 1st March next year, you can sign up to the mailing list to get all the information direct to your inbox as I circumnavigate the globe on two wheels. I’ve been lucky enough to secure some fantastic support from some great people, organisations and companies. I’ll tell you more about them in due course. I’ll have loads of news on 25th November when I’ll be launching the next phase of the project.