when the pain sets in ...

A shot of inspiration anyone?

"What counts in battle, is what you do when the pain sets in..."




It’s 4.45am and it’s just under 8 degrees. People are wearing various amounts of clothing, as we board the bus to the start line. One guy, just a pair of running shorts and a singlet, looks like he regrets the decision not to rug up and leave his stuff in the left luggage facility.

One thing about being advised to switch to the Half Marathon by my GP was that the half starts at 6am – at the time I remember thinking that’s EARLY – as it turned out I was grateful of the early start, as sleep proved to be an illusive commodity the night before. I woke every hour, visited the bathroom, had a drink of water and relaxed for another 55 minutes. So when it came time to get up, the alarm brought with it a sense of relief.

I had made the decision to stay rugged up until the very last opportunity, to make sure the crisp air didn’t reignite my recuperating respiratory system. 5.40am and there is just enough time to join the long queues for the toilet blocks. The queue moves quickly and as it shortens there is a pungent smell as we discover that the first casualty of the day is one of the toilets. It has filled up and backed up, lacking the stamina required to be a toilet on race day. Race preparation is so critical.

Now to find the start line. As I turn the corner and the sea of people come in to view, I am immediately aware of the bassy music. I spare a fleeting thought for those not involved in the activities who might be trying to rest. The atmosphere is electric and infectious. I find my place towards the back of the pack and take to pacing backwards and forwards to ease the tightening sensation I can feel in my gut. As I walk past the same man for the second time, we smile at each other and share a comment. “This is where the winners hang out isn’t it?’ I manage, sensing that the cold air has attacked my conversational skills. “Yeh mate, this is the beer drinkers end!” comes the reply.

8 minutes to 6am and the energy in the group cranks up a notch. The music is louder and the beat is recognizable, Chemical Brothers I think. Nerves or excitement… excitement I decide… I know this. Nearly 9,000 runners are moving stretching and merging into one fluid group about to run 21.1 Kilometers, in the predawn light.

The sensation moves from my stomach to my chest and throat as a voice announces the start. The group begins to bob up and down as one, and we inch our way forward.

I am not sure which I am aware of first, the 1 K sign or the fact that the pack is starting to thin out and we are able to relax in to our pace more without fear of knocking or stepping on someone. Next the hypnotic hum of thousands of feet striking the road. The anxiety as to how my lungs would hold up at the beginning of the race in the cold is now replaced by the familiar warm sensation of settling into my rhythm. “This is what I came for!” I whisper to myself.

My attention flits from person to person, my run nutrition plan, the fullness of my bladder, and then back to my breathing. 2K, then a drinks station, 3K, 4K, then a well placed public toilet with only a small cue outside. As I rejoin the group I have my first carb gel and feel a huge sense of relief – I must be on the outside of this virus, just take it nice and easy and enjoy the run.

I feel the benefits of having trained comprehensively for the full marathon and my legs are strong, I know I can pick up the pace, but resist the temptation so as not to tempt fate. Running is so meditative - each time I start to think about how far I have gone and how far to go, I gently bring my attention back to my breathing and just ‘be’. Each time I am rewarded as I slip back in to my being and just enjoy; the clean sea air, the promise of sunrise over the water, the incredible sensation of running with so many people, my body’s positive response to movement.

As we hit the paved area at Runaway bay, less than a Kilometer from the turn around point, I promise myself the first of my
Smart 1 gels – a specially formulated carbohydrate gel with caffeine, blackcurrant anthocyanins and orange bioflavinoids – an antioxidant mix designed to improve blood flow, protect against oxidative stress and reduce cramp and muscle strain. I stop, devour and then sip some water - tastes great. As I rejoin the run, I am aware of a warm clear feeling, now more awake and refreshed. Once again I have to resist the temptation to push harder as I now feel strong, warmed up and energized.

As I have done so many times during the longer training runs for the marathon, I play a game with myself … twister… or do I? No, I pretend that each 5K segment is the only one I have run. Every time I see a marker; 5K, 10K, 15K, I say to myself, it’s just a 5K you could do this in your sleep. It works! As I get to the 16K point I am aware of slight tension in my left knee. It feels like a cramp around the knee. I ease back the pace a little and take several sips of water. ‘Breathe’ I tell myself, as I attempt to take deeper breaths than normal. For about half a kilometer, a distant thought lurks in the periphery of my awareness – ‘Be a shit if you had plenty of energy but couldn’t finish because your knee gave way?’ I push the thought away. A few minutes on, two men in their forties are standing and energetically cheering people on.

‘Mate you don’t have far to go, well done, keep going!’ I feel the urge to reach out and ‘Hi Five’ him, he enthusiastically obliges.

At 18 K, the sensation has passed and I have another gel, a little earlier than planned. Once again I focus. ‘This is only a 3K run you could run a little quicker you know!’ I oblige my inner monologue. The water in my hydration belt has run out and ideally I would love a sip of water. I reason that there should be one more water station, but as the festivities build the closer we get to finish line, I begin to wonder. Just after 19 K I am rewarded. Now I feel a combination of fatigued and strong. I pick up the pace.

As I pass the 20K sign I see a woman on my right look as if she is debating whether to stop, fall over or continue, the turmoil evident on her face. “You are doing incredibly well!” I shout. “Thanks mate, so are you!” The grimace disappears and her posture straightens. “Do you know roughly what time we are?” “Somewhere between 2:20 and 2:30.” “Really, I thought it was much later than that!” “No we are doing really well!”

The mind plays tricks. Now with the chute in sight, I satisfy myself that my pep talk has had it’s desired effect and pick up the pace again, my eyes searching the crowd for Ange and the boys. As I reach the corner and enter the chute that leads to the finish line I hear Ange and the boys yelling, ‘You go Nick!’ Ange has tears in her eyes. The sound of their voice stirs something in me, and despite having just run 21K, I now sprint for all I’m worth, pouring every last bit of energy into my legs. Immediately I feel a strong wave of nausea, but I don’t care – the road and my clothes are washable.

2 hours 29 minutes and 20 Seconds (2:27:10 net) after setting out, I have finished. I walk dazed and breathless towards the fruit and water tables and feel my phone vibrate in my waist belt. A message – it’s from my friend Rob – ‘Congratulations mate, Knew you could do it! Thinking of you!’

A huge thank you to;

Chris at Northstar Property Services

Shane at Schultz Toomey O'Brien Lawyers

and Michael at Science in Sport (SIS)

and my Dad

for all of your support, encouragement and enthusiasm! You have been incredible. In the next few updates, I would like to profile each of these people who have helped in the pursuit to raise the awareness that we are far from powerless to act, when faced with things like depression, panic, anxiety or chronic prolonged stress.

Next - Eat Your Brain!


a Doctor that runs...

‘Do you have a Doctor that runs?’, I said for the third time.

‘Oh you mean a Sports Doctor?’ .... it’s all in the words.

After a bit of confusion I found a great GP. I had been on the last long run of my 3 month training schedule for the Gold Coast Marathon, which should have gone for 4 hours. I ran down the road, along the golf course and started to feel weird…weirder than normal that is!

For one I couldn’t settle in to my pace, as my breathing was laboured, it felt as if I was struggling to get breath. My legs felt strong, but there was a discomfort in my chest accompanied by a mild giddiness. Surely it’ll pass. After 3 K I forced myself to stop and sat on the first bench I could find, wondering what I was feeling and what it meant.

I was just about to finish over 3 months of fairly intense training for a run that was 42.2K. I was on track, it had been tough, but I was close to finishing. 4 hours was only half an hour longer than my longest run to date, 3 and a half hours.

I rang Ange, my wife and asked her to come and pick me up. The car trip home was quick and silent. Once home I resolved to run for as long as I could on the treadmill, in half hour increments, stopping only for a drink and an SIS gel, longer if needed. I started slowly and settled quickly into a meditative pace aided by the tunes flowing through my perfect sounding, but now smelly over-ear head phones. As the two-hour mark came and went, I was aware of the return of the sensations I felt earlier. Tightness in the chest, mild dizziness (not pleasant unfortunately), and breathing laboured. At 2 and a half hours I stopped and knew I couldn’t continue. I sat sweating and crying. A sight to behold.

As I explained what had happened to my GP, he quickly explained his history with team sport and extreme sports. It had the desired effect. I was impressed. The last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of a GP, who was going to tell me that I was a lunatic for wanting to run that distance and I should stop. I was spared this – my Doc understood me and he was no fool. He order an array of tests, most of which I understood from living with a Pathology Scientist. Also an ECG, Spirometry, and a piss in a cup. Tea anyone? His greatest concern was obviously a cardiac event, followed by clots. Equally menacing apparently could be a virus playing havoc with my respiratory system.

After being told to lay off the running until he called me, or our next appointment a few days later, I felt like a caged animal. I had run everyday, 6 days a week for the last 3 months, and now nothing. My compassion and empathy was tested

The net result was great! All bloods better than they had been at last check. Cholesterol down, blood pressure down, blood sugar very normal, full blood count all good. Inflammation up. The prognosis … a virus. Prescription, take it easy! He then asked the boys to leave the room and told me of a series of fit middle age men who had died, from over stressing their systems whilst sick. “I can’t tell you not to run the full marathon, but if it where me, I would go for the half and only run that, if on the day you feel strong…they are beautiful boys you have! I’m sure they would like to grow up and run with you.” He paused for effect and looked at me to see if the message had hit home – it had!

So, I missed a week and a bit of my tapering and had to make a decision on Sunday when I picked up my race kit, to change the entry from Full to Half Marathon. This week I have managed 3 runs, two 10Ks and an 8K. Whilst still not at 100 percent, I had moderate discomfort, but I am beginning to feel stronger.

When I started training many people asked why the marathon. I remember two conversations with Chris from Northstar Property and Shane from Schultz Toomey O'Brien Lawyers. They both went something like this;

‘The marathon is symbolic of the journey through depression. As distance increases in running, there are times when you feel like it is never going to end. It’s the same with depression! I want to raise awareness of the incredibly powerful benefits of a movement and a nutrition strategy in combating depression, panic and anxiety and chronic prolonged stress. If one person understands that they have the power to alter the way they feel through taking action, then it will have been a success”

Now with the obvious disappointment of not getting to run the full distance, I get to test my own definition.

Thanks to some great coverage in The Pine Rivers Press, The North Lakes Times and two radio interviews, the message was heard and received favourably. I have had many (greater than 10) comments to the effect that people have rediscovered their exercise habits as a result of being inspired by the effort. These are people that have actually been inspired and got into action. That alone is a resounding success.

The overall message has been shared with approximately 75 to 100 thousand through direct print readership. This was greatly magnified when The Gold Coast Marathon website picked up the story and ran it through their breaking news section.

It is difficult to estimate how many people listen to the radio at anyone time, but from the two interview airings, I received great feedback, and again comments along the lines of; “I knew these things were important, but I had no idea that they could help with emotionally related conditions.” Through Facebook and e-mail I have received tremendous support by way of replies to posts and updates. Again the majority of feedback is centered on, people beginning to take action and people beginning to realise the potency of nutrition and movement.

So the big question is how will my health be and how will I feel on Sunday morning at 6am ? The journey continues. Until next time, with an update and a progress report on the CD “Eat Your Brain – why what you eat effects how you think and feel.” all love and I hope you find ease of heart with whatever comes to you in life.



Running Away - and other strategies...


7 Years ago I was diagnosed with Severe Depression, Panic and Anxiety. Today, through the application of knowledge learned through intense study during those 7 years, I am no longer depressed.

During this time I learned and applied information in the areas of; Nutrition, Movement, Yoga Meditation, Goal Setting, and many other subjects as they relate to Emotional Wellbeing. I utilized some of the latest research through reading, listening and interviewing experts in the field.

On July 4
th 2010, I am running my first-ever full marathon over 42.195km at the Gold Coast, to raise awareness for the incredibly powerful benefits of the exercise and nutrition components in dealing with conditions like Depression, Anxiety and Chronic Prolonged Stress.

The aim of the run is to highlight the importance of these strategies in what is a range of conditions that are reaching epidemic proportions. This will also coincide the launch of my new CD, ‘Eat Your Brain – why what you put in your mouth affects how you think and feel’ and my impending book 'Physio for your Emotions'.

Did you know that exercise has been proven, not only to reduce anxiety, but also to rewire certain pathways in the brain and help prevent it?

Here, I will update progress on training, sponsorship support and insights gained over the course of the remaining 6 weeks.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Recent Comments

Powered by Disqus

Why should we believe in ourselves and others?

A beautiful short piece from Dr. Viktor Emil Frankl.

Viktor was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He is also very well known as the author of the book
Man’s Search for Meaning.

Why should we believe in our potential and others?

blog comments powered by Disqus


Exercise and the Brain

In writing my new book Physio for your Emotions, I have a couple of questions about how exercise affects our brain function, with Dr John Ratey.

Dr Ratey is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and has a private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

For more than a decade he taught residents and Harvard medical students as the Assistant Director of Resident training at Massachusetts Mental Health Center. He continues to teach psychiatrists as a regular instructor in Harvard’s Continuing Medical Education program.

In Dr Ratey's latest book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, he looks at a landmark study, where aerobic exercise was shown to be as effective as antidepressants. That women who exercise, lower their chances of developing dementia by 50 percent. That a revolutionary fitness program helped put one U.S. school district of 19,000 kids first in the world in science. That, in fact, exercise sparks new brain-cell growth. The evidence is in: aerobic exercise physically transforms our brains for peak performance.

Check out Dr Ratey's blog and his recent article on how exercise helps people learn.


blog comments powered by Disqus

The Moment I Cease to Hate

“At certain moments, always unforseen, I become happy

I look at the strangers near as if I had known them all my life

Everything fills me with affection

It may be an hour before the mood passes, but lately

I seem to understand that I enter upon it .... the moment I cease to hate”

William Butler Yeats

Insane - Friedrich Nietzsche

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." — Friedrich Nietzsche

I Can - Kiran Bir Seth

Kiran Bir Seth, talks about the 'I Can mind set'. She is an absolute leading light in enabling kids and adults to understand that they have the ability to effect change at any level.

At a time when pressure and stress seem to be touching everyone it's important to take a few minutes to lift yourself up and remind yourself that;

I Can, You Can, We Can!



Aimee Mullins

This needs no introduction-- enjoy :)


excerpt from 'Self Reliance' by Ralf Waldo Emerson

These are the voices, which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of everyone of its members. Society is a joint stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and the culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity.

Self Reliance is it’s aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.

Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness.

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.

Closing comments from KD interview

It's 3 minutes to 11 at night, it still feels like 30 degrees. I am acutely aware that it's been a while between posts ;)

I have just finished transcribing the interview that I did with Krishna Das (KD), in December, for the book and it's an absolute treat to go back through some of the incredible wisdom.

I thought I would share the closing comments from the interview, as I think given the last year, it's all to easy to beat yourself up with how it might not have reached our expectations for how we think it should have looked.

Hope you enjoy!

" Just remember this, there might be times when you feel that it’s not going to be ok. That’s part of the process too. Going under, coming up, going under coming up. Ultimately what we want to develop is the strength to meet every moment as it comes. Even if we have terrible feelings of despair and anxiety and fear, we try to develop this ability to know that this will pass. I’ll get through this. And through practice I think, gradually as those waves come over us they don’t bury us under water for so long. But sometimes it’s inevitable to go under you know. One shouldn’t think that one has failed, if one has gone under – it’s part of the process of life.

Ramana Maharishi also said that everything that happens to us is written when we are born, everything that is going to happen. ‘The only freedom we have is in the moment. How we meet each moment, how we meet each experience.” All the practices we do, bring us more into the moment, give us more of a sense of confidence in ourselves, and in just being.

And from that deeper place, we can meet all the difficult things that come to us in life and all of the wonderful things that come to us in life, without being totally washed away by them or absorbed in them or lost in them. We can enjoy the beautiful things and we can allow the unhappy things to exist and pass away again.”


Perfect Love

"The media is so keen to portray the concept of perfect love these days - today I would like to pay respect to the millions of examples of imperfect love that are evident everywhere. These are the myriad of small fires that when seen together represent a beautiful, powerful shining light."

Happiness by KD

It's easy to sometimes lose sight - thanks KD!

"Nothing is going to make you happy. Happiness is who we are already. Everything we need is inside our own being; inside our own hearts." KD


William Kamkwamba's Windmill

A constant search for things inspirational, revealed this incredible story of a Malawian boy's courage to dream and act in the face of poverty, famine and doubt.



Thoughts From Within

Woody Harrelson's poem "Thoughts From Within"

Beautiful & thought provoking - enjoy!


Success is a continuous journey

Whatever the endeavor, success requires continual, focus, application and push – here is a great little clip from Richard St John on the Journey – equally applicable to emotional success as to tangible.

Constant focus and re-enforcement are critical.


Mercy |||amp; Loving Kindness

I am currently reading a book by Dr Wayne Dyer called Wisdom of the Ages. It's an incredible collection of 60, of what Dr Dyer feels are some of the most impactful quotes, poems or writings of all time, right back to Patanjali, Lao-tzu, St Francis of Assisi to modern day luminaries such as Rudyard Kipling and Mother Theresa.

The piece that I read recently, and I feel compelled to share here, is a brief piece by Shakespeare from the Merchant of Venice;

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath; it is twice blest, -
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherin doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway, -
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doeth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.

Dr Dyer urges us to practice mercy with ourselves first. He urges us to be compassionate and non-judgmental with ourselves when we make mistakes, or fail to live upto a presupposed standard.
‘Forgive yourself for being human’.

He goes on to say that if you are not compassionate with yourself, you will find it difficult to practice compassion with others, just as it is difficult to be generous with money, if you have none.

And he also mentions a quote by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj:

“The sinner and the saint are merely exchanging notes, the saint had sinned, the sinner will be sanctified.”

What these say to me is, if you are good to yourself, others begin to stand a chance. We tend to hurt people only when we are hurting ourselves – it starts with us.


Life at 30,000 feet

Richard Branson's life at 30,000 feet and incredible interview with TED's Chris Anderson. Especially inspirational for anyone who found school difficult, great perspective.


What You've Got

A beautiful and poignant song by Eddi Reader, reminding us to use and be grateful for 'What You've Got".

All Love,



It's not what you're born with
It's what you choose to bear
It's not how big your share is
It's how much you can share
It's not the fights you dreamed of
It's those you really fought
It's not what you're given
It's what you do with what you've got

You must know someone like him - tall and strong and lean
Body like a greyhound and a mind so dark and keen
His heart just like a laurel grew twisted round itself
Till almost everything he did brought pain to someone else

What's the use of two good legs if you only run away
What's the use of the finest voice if you've nothing good to say
What good is strength and muscle if you only push and shove
And what's the use of two good ears if you can't hear those you love

Between those who use their neighbours and those who use a cane
Between those in constant power and those in constant pain
Between those who run to evil and those who cannot run
Tell me which ones are the cripples and which ones touch the sun

Commencement Address by Paul Hawken

The Unforgettable Commencement Address by Paul Hawken to the Class of 2009, University of Portland, May 3, 2009

In Paul's own words “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” - enjoy and be inspired. A must see for anyone with kids, thinking about having kids or know of any kids



Don't eat the marshmallow yet!

This excellent talk is about the concept of delayed gratification and how essential it is to our success and happiness - Don't eat the marshmallow yet!


Have You Seen the Media Section

I have recently updated the Media Section of the Site with the interviews from 101.5 FM - Well worth listen to get more of a 'Feel' for the work we do here.


Whilst on the topic, an initial chat over coffee or the phone will cost you the princely sum of the phone call or the coffee - that's right, there is
no charge for us to chat, to see if what we do can be of help to you - I do accept a cup of coffee though.

Also progress for the new book is strong, with 3 interviews this last 2 weeks, including
Deva Premal & Miten last night. I will be sure to include snippets from this page as they are produced.

One Last thing, good friend
Dave Stringer has released his long awaited live Album ‘Leela’ – and for now there is a free download of one of the tracks from Omstream. Sensational!
Take Good Care & Speak Soon.


Peace, Love & Prosperity,



Sir Ken Robinson - Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity from TED.com - you decide.


Einstein on Success

"If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut."

Albert Einstein

Lokah Samasta

One of my favourite from Deva & Miten - Very Hypnotic & also very powerful for helping yourself and those around you restore balance, peace and happiness.

"May all beings be happy, and may my thoughts, words and deeds contribute in some way to the happiness of all beings!"

- by Deva Premal & Miten, with Manose
Live in Concert - Slovenia, June 2008

All Love,
Nick :)

My Song - Rabindranath Tagore

My Song

This song of mine
Will wind its music around you
Like the fond arms of love

This song of mine
Will touch your lips
Like a kiss of blessing

When you are alone
It will sit by your side
And whisper in your ears

When you are in a crowd
It will protect you
With it’s strength

My song will be
Like a pair of wings to your dreams
It will fly your heart
To the edge of the unknown

It will be like a faithful star
In the dark of night

My song will sit
In the depths of your soul

And will cary you
Into the heart of things
And when my voice is silent
My song will speak
In your loving heart

I awoke to this on my iPod this morning and it spoke to me of purpose, when we carry our song in our hearts, the world conspires to help us to realise it - but first we have to uncover the song.

Warmth & Love,


From a Gift of Love II - Oceans of Ecstasy
Deepak Chopra and friends present a musical Valentine to Tagore


The Moment I Cease to Hate

“At certain moments, always unforseen, I become happy

I look at the strangers near as if I had known them all my life

Everything fills me with affection

It may be an hour before the mood passes, but lately

I seem to understand that I enter upon it .... the moment I cease to hate”

William Butler Yeats

Seth Godin

It’s so hard to move away from video and especially from the sensational content at TED.com, when you resonate with it so strongly.

Seth Godin’s book
Tribes is also available as an audio book from iTunes. Also worthy of note is an outstanding book called The Slight Edge - about the incremental change that’s required to first lead yourself,from where you are to where you want to be. If you would like more details shoot me an e-mail via the ‘Say Hi’ page and I’ll remember & locate the author and other details.

‘Hanging on the wire, I'm waiting for the change...’
Take Care,


Dance to Inspire, Inspire to Dance

Speaks for itself :)

Eddie’s Facebook Page:



Protect your Dreams

A beautiful reminder, from a great film, to be diligent and attentive with our choice of words, especially concerning our dreams and the dreams of others (especially children).

‘Faith is the song that the blackbird sings before the dawn.’
Protect Your Dreams & Joy!

Classical music with shining eyes

In the previously mentioned interview with Dave Stringer, Dave talks about music being a very essential aspect of our being human, and how it increases our ability to cooperate and think together. This presentation by Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, and a speaker on leadership, testifies to this and really has to be seen to be fully appreciated.

Talk from
ted.com, Benjamin’s web page; benjaminzander.com

Peace & Shining Eyes