Updated: Apr 7
A guest blog by Ed Collins, his view from the trenches of The Edge Program
Hi everyone, my name's Ed Collins
I'll start this blog my declaring a few home truths about my (sporty) journey thus far.
On the eve of my 43rd birthday - I feel that the easiest time to start from was when I was a kid, as all I will always remember my Mum reminding me that,
"As soon as you could walk, you ran. You would find a stick and that was it, you were off".
All I can remember as a kid and into my teens, honestly, was that I was indeed always running around, looking for adventures and trying to use my energy as best I could.
Little did I know that a lot of this energy would spiral, often, out of control and manifest itself into various addictions, which I'll happily go into more detail in subsequent blogs.
For the moment, I'll try to keep my story to the point. Here we go.
By 14 years old: I'd broken my wrist, upper arm and ankle, all playing football, and had become somewhat jaded at the lack of control I had playing team sports and started to smoke and drink and become intrigued by the opposite sex.
Playing football stopped and I embraced bad habits.
By 16 I had stopped doing any sports and had started smoking marijuana pretty solidly and dabbling with other harder drugs. After a decent innings by 19, I had decided that I could either continue an early spiral into hard drug addiction, like many of my peers had chosen at that time, or try and get my shit together.
"Alcohol is my thing" I decided, and stuck with it - but gave everything else up.
By 19 I had quite smoking and took up running and the gym again and had certainly picked up the bug of looking after myself and had always enjoyed having a light and athletic shape. I was still boozing, though, but I had it under control...(as they say).
At the late age of 20 to start uni, I did with aplomb and despite consuming a sickening amount of alcohol most nights a week I maintained a "drink hard and train harder" attitude and would easily run a decent 20 miles a week, maintaining my body weight.
By the second year of uni I had knocked a lot of the boozing on the head and knuckled down. A tough and lonely 3rd year abroad in Germany saw me spend a lot of time in the gym and develop more of a focused passion for my all-round fitness and physical training.
At one point I barely drank any alcohol.
It even started to affect my training, which annoyed me and it felt poisonous for the first time in my life. I wasn't sure how to give it up, however.
At 24 I graduated and went out into the real word and got a hiding.
I was in top shape, but had been immensely disappointed at the job market in London and decided that with a German and Communications degree there was no point staying in the UK.
By 27, after a failed relationship, i had started smoking again and my drinking was pretty heavy. Uninspired by a lack of opportunities in both the UK and Germany, I qualified as a teacher of English as a foreign language and headed for Spain, ambitious and excited for the warmth this country brings for about 90% of the year.
Always active in the bars and the gym, I continued to succeed in the education industry and positioned myself to be able to set up my own business at 30.
I remember around that time I had decided to give up smoking the 30-a-day habit and I vaguely remember my weight had ballooned up to around 86 kg.
Arrogant and now three times more flush with cash and not enough humility, I then decided it would be a genius idea to learn and play wild poker and develop a non-stop social life in the vibrant hub of Madrid. Summers were long, the mood was always fun and lasting late into the night and foggy early morning - and the crammed and ever-accommodating bars always poured silly measures of vodka, gin or whatever the fuck I decided to throw down me, and litres of beer in the supermarkets were 5 times cheaper than in the UK.
You may have a feeling where this is going.
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