In our previous blog, we shared some of the decisions Keith made prior to coming to spend time with us as well as some of the stuff he got up to when he first arrived.
Challenging yourself is always, well, challenging.
To get new results, quite simply, we need to consistently do new things.
And sometimes, doing new things means pushing ourselves past what we previously believed possible and for Keith, that meant undertaking the physical challenge of walking the distance of a marathon through the mountains.
Let’s carry on shall we and we’ll get back to Keith’s next steps.
I focussed the next few weeks on trying to cover longer and longer distances, I’m not sure if I ever believed it was possible but I figured it could only do me good to try – as long as I didn’t injure myself too badly.
I mapped out a series of circular routes around the retreat which would add up to about the right distance but weren’t excessively hilly.
When the day came around I set out at 7am to get a good distance under my belt before it got too hot, and it was going well until I tripped and aggravated an ankle injury around the 8 mile mark.
My stubbornness wouldn’t allow me to quit that early so I kept hobbling along for as long as I could and finally around the 22 mile mark I decided I couldn’t go any further. I took my shoes and socks off and dipped my burning feet into the icy cold swimming pool, satisfied that I at least had a good crack at it.
Louise wasn’t going to let me give up so easily though, it took some work but she convinced me I could finish it, and even offered to come and do the final few miles with me.
It was an agonising final walk but I’m incredibly glad that she talked me into it because 90 minutes later, a little over nine hours after initially setting out, I passed the 26.2 mile mark.
In ten weeks I’d gone from struggling to walk for an hour to walking a marathon and it was one of the proudest days of my life.
Once I’d recovered from the exertion I decided I had done enough long distance walking so I needed to set myself a new goal.
I discussed it with Phil and Louise and we came to the conclusion that running was the natural progression, so I downloaded a Couch to 5K app for my phone. Considering that I couldn’t run for 10 seconds when I arrived in February, I was skeptical that I would be able to run a 5K after only 8 weeks of starting the program but I do like a challenge so I threw myself into it.
During the first few runs it seemed like the worst idea I’d ever had, but by the time I’d reached week 3 I was beginning to really enjoy it and was even reluctant to have any rest days.
As I had a trip back home for a medical during week 7 I decided to skip some runs and rest days so I could try to complete a 5K back in the UK where it was cooler and I could run along a towpath rather than the mountainous roads around the retreat.
After all the training in the hills it felt incredibly easy on the flat and I clocked my first 5K at about 35 minutes, and promptly signed up for a 10K race that was happening in my home town in September.
With my savings being depleted I had arranged some contract work in July and August to help tide me over, and this was now very much on my mind.
It had been wonderful to forget about ‘The Real World’ for a while and concentrate on myself and my health but now it was right around the corner.
Jeroen and Gareth had been helping me throughout my stay with my attitude towards food, exercise and living a balanced life, as well as trying to work out why I was overeating in the first place, but I didn’t know how well I could apply everything whilst working 80-100 hours per week.
I work on a ship, and there are four ‘all you can eat’ buffets a day which are generally full of unhealthy, fried, high-calorie, low-nutrition food. Over the next couple of weeks they helped me develop a plan based around what I could and couldn’t do and when it came time to go back to work I was as ready as I would ever be.
It started well, I had my birthday on the first weekend onboard and my birthday present to myself was to try and run my first 10K on a treadmill.
It wasn’t a very nice present. It was painful, exhausting and not what I needed in the middle of a 14 hour shift but again, it felt incredible once I completed it. It felt considerably less good the following day when I couldn’t even walk up the stairs.
As the trip went on my workload was increasing, my days were getting longer and I could feel my energy levels dropping. I didn’t have any time to go to the gym and I kept craving a nice big plate of roasted vegetables (that had definitely never happened before).
I was sick to death of greasy food that didn’t satisfy my hunger and I longed for exercise and good, nutritious food.
TO BE CONTINUED . . . . .