In January 2017 I arrived at hospital due to a blood pressure reading of 180/110. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I was only 36. I was shocked, and despite there being a history of high blood pressure in my family I didn't think this was a health issue I would have to deal with so young. But having worked in the alternative health industry for over 10 years I knew there were many lifestyle changes I could make and supplements which I could try first before needing to medicate my blood pressure. So after chatting things through with my doctor, I began carefully considering the nutrient rich food I was eating (or wasn't eating as the case was!), the calories I was consuming, the exercise I had neglected and the supplements I needed to take.
Takeaways were gone. Finished. As were fizzy and caffeinated drinks. I knew I had to lose weight, but my fitness was low, so I started walking in the evenings. I began taking health supplements that specifically supported my blood pressure and heart health, such as hawthorn-garlic and beetroot juice. By the Spring I had lost some weight and was feeling stronger in myself. I was enjoying getting outside walking, even in the rain! I had seen a steady improvement in my fitness but felt I now needed a bigger challenge. So I started to run. My wife joined me, and together we started slow but quickly caught the running bug and increased our distance and pace. I was hooked.
By the Autumn I had lost 2 stone and was feeling healthy and fit. Some of my colleagues in work also enjoy running, and during a conversation about running in the dark nights as the weather was getting colder, it was suggested that I consider doing the marathon by way of motivation and to get me through the winter. I knew that a full marathon was out of reach this year, but as we chatted more about it I suggested we consider taking part in the Belfast City Marathon team relay. The idea gained traction, and we now have two teams from Framar taking part, #teamshop and #teamclinic.
With the brighter mornings and lighter evenings, training is in full swing and we are all really looking forward to taking part! My health continues to go from strength to strength, and recently my blood pressure reading was 130/80.
As celebration of this feat we decided to make Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke our charity of choice for this year's Framar Team Marathon. Each year they need to raise £1.8m to fund their range of programmes, community services and research in the hospitals and universities of Northern Ireland so please help us raise money and awareness for this great local charity.
Donate here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teamframar