I did it! I actually completed 30km walking/pool walking/exercise biking/swimming in 7 days! Well actually 30.4km…if you want to be pedantic, which I do.I won’t lie and say it was easy. It was hard. Remember I have been in bed for almost two years. I lost a lot of fitness. I am heavy and unfit. But I did it.
After my 3.3km walk I realised I just needed to do a little bit, as much as I could, whenever I could. So the next day I took advantage of a 10 day trial at the local gym/pool. That day I managed 10km on the bike. It seemed so easy. I blame that entirely on the gym supervisor who came over to show me how to use the exercise bike and got to talking to me about what made me decide to join the gym. I gave her the condensed 20 minute version and she was just so lovely. It all started because I wanted to know what would be the most effective way to use the bike to get a decent work out – so she asked how fit I was. Which led to me giving her way more information than she asked for and she just encouraged me at this stage to do my best (which was working at about 20rpms less than what she normally recommends). It took me around 30 minutes to get to the 10km and after that I rewarded myself with a swim. Laps.
I was a total water baby. Some of my earliest memories have me in water. I remember my nana taking my brother & I to swimming lessons. I remember my dad taking my brother and I to the pool (then promptly falling asleep in the sun…safety was always a total priory to my stoner parents), I remember water skiing on the Murray river and body surfing in 6ft waves off the beaches of Coffs Harbour. I reached the highest swimming level I could when I was 12 and would have to wait another 3 years before I was old enough to do the next level. When I was pregnant I went to aqua aerobics and every other day would be at the pool with a friend I met there. I loved the feeling of weightlessness.
Of course the last few years I have avoided the water. As I slowly grew out of my swimsuit. The only things available in my size were hideous or way too expensive and even then…I didn’t want to reveal that much of myself. But then I lost a bunch of weight after cleaning up my diet (thanks diabetes) and a local homeschool mum said she wanted to exercise with someone so I asked her if she wanted to swim with me. The second I was back in the water I just felt…right. Unfortunately then her husband changes work hours and our swimming never happened again. But this gym has a pool.
After my 10km I was determined to swim 1km (or 40 laps of the 25m pool). Unfortunately I didn’t realise how slow I would be now. I certainly won’t be winning any races these days…in fact even in the slow laps lane I was being over taken and growled at. I didn’t even come close to the 1km and was ready to give up at 200m. But I just would take a few seconds to compose myself and do another lap. I made it to 500m. 20 laps. It took me about 45 minutes…but apart from the people who I pissed off by swimming too slowly – who cares? Add in the 1.7km round trip walking to and from there and I had reached more than halfway already! 15.5km. Not only that I went home with a spring in my step and had a massive high (I think they call it endorphins) for at least 2 hours after.
The next day I went back all positive and perky. But my legs felt like lead while using the bike. It took me almost 20 minutes to reach 5km and I just couldn’t go any further. Incredibly bummed I took my wobbly legs into the pool. They had removed the divider so it was now a 50m pool. The first 100m (50m up and back) almost killed me. I was actually crying while swimming…thankfully there was no one around to growl at me otherwise I may have had a complete nervous breakdown. I managed another lap up and back – 200m – and just couldn’t do it any more. I stepped out of the lane and decided to just keep moving. So I started walking up and down to the 20m mark (otherwise my head went under water). When I felt I could do another lap I went and swam another 100m. Then I walked some more. Then did another 100m swim. Then walked more. Then a final 100m swim. I ended up walking 20 laps of the pool – 400m + 500m swim + 5km bike +1.7km walk. Not too bad. It brought my total to 23.1km. I had used the philosophy I heard Michelle Bridges push on the 12WBT “Leave nothing in the tank”.
Unfortunately leaving nothing in the tank may have been a mistake for me. I barely made it to the walk to the bus stop. I was exhausted and bummed all the way home…where were my lovely endorphins? When I got home I was a blubbering mess. I have been really struggling with my mental health lately and this exhaustion catapulted me into a total tail spin. The next day (Sunday) I spent in bed. I had to recover. But I didn’t. I slipped further and further into my depression. My sleep cycles are also currently reversed. So Monday I slept all day and missed my doctors appointment and a much needed psych appointment. My new psych only works Mondays. Tuesday I missed another appointment – then it was ANZAC day.
Wednesday was my last day to complete the challenge. I slept until 5pm. Then the girls father was out until 10pm. By now the negative self talk had started “I knew you would fail”, “you fail at everything” “you suck”. Oh how I hate those little voices that come out when I am down. It was cold. It was dark. It was after 10pm on ANZAC day and it was raining. I decided that it was going to be worse for my mental health to “fail” than to get off my butt. So I did. Thanks to the “Just Start Walking” App I was able to track how far I walked even though I was just walking around the outside of the local school. It was freezing when I left and I figured I would probably last about 10 minutes, but if that’s all I managed…at least I managed something. It seemed my rational mind was slowly returning. Of course it started raining heavier – so I couldn’t keep my glasses on. Great – now I was almost completely blind. I kept squishing poor snails that I just couldn’t see. I just kept looking at the distance not noticing the time. But at the halfway mark I realised I had been walking for 40 minutes. It really didn’t seem that long. Under my coat (to keep the rain off me) I was sweating like a pig. I wasn’t cold any more. It stopped raining so I was able to pop my glasses back on and avoid a few more snails. At 6.5km I started heading home. 7.3km in 1hr 22 minutes. It was just before midnight that I walked through the front door. I had made it. I actually managed the whole 30km in a week. Even with 3 days in bed. Even with depression that is so bad that I might be heading back to hospital for a little stay. I did it.
Of course my hips, knees and ankles were all screaming abuse at me. I needed help to get my shoes off and I barely remained standing during my shower. I did it.
Now onto warm up challenge #4 – keep a food diary. Too easy – have been doing this since my diabetes diagnosis.