Dirty Dozen Races helped me lose over 6 stone!



Alex Butler was unfit, overweight and hated looking in the mirror. After vowing to complete a Dirty Dozen he’s lost 6 and a half stone, taken up running and has got his sights on completing a Dirty Dozen in a competitive time. Dirty Dozen Races was one of the triggers that helped him along the way, now he wants to share his story to help others achieve their goals.

Here’s his story…

“I’m never going to be able to do something like that, those walls are too big and I’d struggle running the distance between them, let alone running 12K. I spend 10 hours a day 5 days week stuck behind the steering wheel of a bus, I don’t have time to exercise and I definitely can’t afford to go to a gym and eat healthily. But I hate looking in the mirror, I’m really not happy with how I look”

So where do I start and what do I want to achieve?

I definitely want to lose weight and it would be nice to run up stairs without being out of breath.
I hate the idea of running; the thought of running up and down a road bores me. And people say it’s bad for you because of the jolting on the joints. When it comes to dieting I do like my food and do I really want to spend the rest of my life watching what I eat?

All the excuses under the sun were going around in my head and any future gatherings with friends and family are going to get in the way so there is no point starting anything yet.

I told my colleagues I wanted to go on a diet and get fitter; they all had their ideas and opinions on the best way to go about it. Lots of information just filling up my head and it left me thinking that is just too much hassle.

On one of my days off I decided to go for a run. I put on my trainers, a t-shirt and some shorts. I think I spent longer getting ready than I did actually running. At the end of the street I was close to death and about turned and walked home. So as running was a killer I thought press-ups would be the way forward. 1 PRESS-UP!! That’s all I managed. Yet again negative thoughts that this is not possible, I’m just not born to be athletic. After all that hard work I believed I had earned a treat, so I had some Nachos and a couple of beers. (I didn’t know this at the time but I later learnt that this is the vicious circle people get stuck in.)

I was driving the number 6 bus passed the Hop Farm in Paddock Wood and saw people running across the field and climbing a couple of walls. I looked at the big sign in the field and discovered it was the Dirty Dozen Races. The first thought that came into my head was that it was for the elite and armed forces. But it did look fun. The idea of running that distance was daunting and the height of the walls I could see looked impossible. When I finished work that day I looked DD up online and discovered it was for every one of all abilities. The more I looked through the web site the more excited I got, the idea of getting covered in mud and climbing took me back to being a kid playing in the fields with my mates. At that time I decided that I was going to do this, I am going to complete the DD it’s going to be my goal. I told my wife “I’m going on a diet and I’m going to do the DD” her reply was “Ha that’s never going to happen you love your food too much!”
Well that was it, I get to prove my wife wrong, and I’ve got to do this now.

Can I do this…?

After a couple of months of thinking about going on a diet I decided that the 31st of December is a good time to start “A new year, a new me” and all that. So I took to the internet and started searching. The internet has proved invaluable. I spent some time looking through websites for a diet and after filtering all the sites that just want to sell something I came across Ketogenic dieting.
It was a lot of information to take in and a lot of new things to learn. I couldn’t believe I had spent 29 years never knowing the difference between carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The basic idea behind Ketogenic dieting is keeping carbs below 30g a day to get your body into fat burning mode known as ketosis. Not going into detail if you want to know more go here http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/ketogenic-diet-plan.html. None of it made any sense at the time, but I really wanted to do this I really wanted to lose weight. I learnt the difference between processed foods and real foods; this made things a lot simpler when it came to planning my menu.

The first week went well I lost 11lbs it was amazing. The second and third weeks were going well but it was very tough. I didn’t like veg and hadn’t really ever eaten it so this was new to me it just didn’t feel right eating a plant. I had to eat it though the veg bulked out the meals and helped you to feel full up; cheese sauce helped a lot with making it bearable. If I didn’t eat all the veg I wasn’t getting all the good stuff and would still be hungry making me want to eat everything in sight. I stuck to the diet plan I wrote every week and prepared meals for work on my days off. It wasn’t easy and at times I wanted to cry, my body was screaming out for the processed crap I had been feeding it for so long, I had to break the addiction and not give into the urges for beer and crisps. Just one beer on a normal diet wouldn’t hurt but on a Ketogenic diet it would knock you out of Ketosis and set you back a few days. People say that rapid loss is dangerous and unhealthy but I wanted to do this quickly and my diet was a lot healthier than my old one so I didn’t worry about losing the weight to fast. I kept it strict for 5 months and pretty much put my life on hold, but I kept telling myself it wouldn’t be forever and when I reach my goal weight I can just keep a loose on eye my weight and adjust as necessary. You might have noticed I haven’t mentioned exercise yet, that’s because I hadn’t done any yet, the weight was coming off and that was enough for me, until it got to the point people started telling me I looked scrawny.

I had put DD to the back of my mind for the last 5 months but hadn’t forgotten it I had just been enjoying doing something for myself and I could now look in the mirror and be happy. If I was going to do DD I had to get out and do some exercise, I looked online for the next DD event which was only a month away, I didn’t feel ready for it yet so I volunteered as a marshal. The same day I bought some running shoes, downloaded a running app, put on some up beat music and headed out for a run. Earlier in the year I didn’t get very far but this time I managed to run for a whole 10mins. Then my lungs, head, legs and stomach decided they were not happy with me and I went home, but this time I was determined to get further on the next run. In the next couple of weeks I got further and further, pushing myself harder each time so hard I could barely walk between runs. After a while I finished 6km, it was a walk run effort but I set the rules and walking was allowed. About this time I marshalled at DD London south and realised just being able to finish the distance on a road isn’t enough, DD isn’t a charity run in a park, it was big, very big and just one of the obstacles would be enough to suck all the energy from me. I watched people of all different sizes and ability get through the course, a lot of team work and a lot of fun. I realised I could have taken part months ago. After that day feeling upset that I didn’t take part I decided to step up my game. I didn’t just want to finish the course I wanted to smash the course; I wanted to make it look like an adult’s playground. I had to get off the roads and out on the trails and had to build up some strength if was going to get over those obstacles. I added weight training into my programme and kept my diet balanced.

When I go for my runs now I try to only run in fields and woodland, I hardly ever go the same route. If I see a freshly ploughed field I run through it, if I come across a gate I climb it and if it can be jumped on I jump on it. Running isn’t just running for me now, it is fun and what used to just be a log on the floor is now an obstacle and puddle is never wasted; I jump in it and run with wet feet.

I can’t wait for April to take part in Dirty Dozen London South.

Alex Butler

Want to change your life as Alex did? Signing up to a race is the first step that will keep you motivated and on track. So what are you waiting for? Come and ‘be unstoppable’ with us, enter on of our races now! https://dirtydozenraces.com/2015-events/

If you have any questions for Alex, drop us an email

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