That first run was dreadful. I imagine I looked like Bigfoot, captured on that famous grainy video taken in the 1960s. I felt heavy, ungainly and uncoordinated. I was so embarrassed I used to get up at dawn so no one would see me stumbling along. For the first two months I could barely run, my back and feet hurt, and at times I collapsed onto the ground sobbing because the target of running five kilometres seemed an impossible dream. But every day I picked myself up – mentally, physically and emotionally – and continued to put one step in front of the other.
I remembered those days recently as I stood catching my breath after skiing to the far end of a high alpine plateau, immersed in the visual splendour of the winter playground, which stretched as far as I could see. I pondered my journey from the rolling hills of lowland England to the peaks and lakes of Southern New Zealand. The journey took me from being a competitive national rower in my teens, through being hospitalised and barely able to move, to regaining my health and becoming an engaged Dad sharing my love of outdoor pursuits with my children.