My Peak Challenge Diary

Saturday 14th March 2015
Finally, the weekend of My Peak Challenge has arrived.  This morning was bright and sunny and rather than wait for the afternoon to do my walk, I decided to take advantage of the good weather and go in the morning.

Well!  To say it was a resounding success is an understatement and I am feeling ridiculously pleased with myself.  I took Finn with me; he is always good for a strong workout as he trots along without wanting to keep stopping to sniff.  But today, it was almost as if he knew it was a special occasion. He was even more focussed than usual and we kept up a really strong pace.  I know this may sound crazy but that dog and I were totally in harmony with each other.  We walked the furthest and fastest that I'd ever done and when I checked my record on Map My Walk, I had walked 7.91kms!  My aim today was to do 7.5kms!

Here is my victory photograph!

Thursday 12th March 2015
Today's walk was long but slow!  I hadn't intended going for a walk this afternoon because I did my first Aqua-gym class in the morning.  But Danny wanted to mow the lawn and having found out that Bertie is spooked by the noise of the lawn mower, we agreed that I would take Bertie out whenever the lawn needed mowing!  So although I ended up doing 7.4kms it was probably the slowest pace I'd ever done!

Monday 9th March 2015
And another milestone is reached!  Or should I say, kilometre-stone?  No, that doesn't sound right at all!  But I'm so pleased that today, I walked just over 7kms!  It wasn't very fast, partly because I was with Liam who wanted to stop and sniff grass often and leave what I call, "pee-mails"!  Nonetheless, I did walk the distance.  Now, ever competitive, I am wondering if I can manage 7.5kms at the weekend - after all, this weekend IS the My Peak Challenge weekend!

I should add, incidentally, that Danny and all three dogs came out for a shorter walk with me yesterday.  I'm very pleased that Danny is keeping it up and I have no doubt he will get fitter and walk further as time goes on.

Wednesday 4th March 2015
Well, I've made up for doing only a short walk on Sunday!  I've decided to do a slightly different walk.  You recall that the path on which I walk is a gravelled over disused railway track.  Well obviously it goes in two directions from the old station where I start off.  So this week I've started walking in the opposite direction!  With my goal of walking 7kms by 14th March in mind, I've really made a point of trying to walk further rather than faster.  And on Monday I did 6.5kms (with Bertie) and today Finn and I did 6.8kms!  It was hard going today especially as Finn seemed to want me to jog rather than walk!

Walking in this direction, we go over a bridge which crosses a stream.  It looked very picturesque in the sunshine today....

Sunday 1st March 2015
Danny and all three dogs came with me again and we went a little further.  Unfortunately it was late in the afternoon and a very grey and dismal day so I decided that a little walk was better than no walk and just went home without doing any extra!

But here I am holding on to the dogs so Danny can take a photo!

Thursday 26th February 2015
Although I always use a pedometer when I walk, I have downloaded an App called "MapMyWalk" to my phone.  It has been a bit unreliable in terms of saving information and I'm not sure if that's down to my inadequate technological skills or the instability of the internet in this area.  However, in recent days it has been saving information well and it's great because it gives me statistics from all the walks (well, all the walks it has saved!).  So, the point of saying all this is because today I did another power walk and according to MapMyWalk, I improved my speed from 10.09 minutes per kilometre to 10.07 minutes per kilometre.  Now that might not be much but every little helps!

Sunday 22nd February 2015
Danny suffered a bit after his maiden walk last week and we've put it down, at least in part, to the fact that he wasn't wearing suitable trainers for walking.  So, during the week we went out and he bought some good, supporting trainers.  I also think he walked too far, too soon last week so when he came out with me (and all three dogs!) today, we walked for about 2kms.  Far better to do less and build up from it!  I knew that the coming week was going to be difficult in terms of finding time to do my normal walks so, when we got back to the car, Danny and the dogs went straight home but I walked all the way home.  It was a nice sunny day and it was nice to do a different walk.  And in total I did 5.6km!

Saturday 21st February 2015
A huge milestone!  Today, walking with my youngest dog, Liam, I walked 6.2km.  We set out in beautiful sunshine and a gentle breeze.  With about 2km still to walk, the wind got up and the heavens opened!  Liam and I got rather wet but there was little to do other than press on.  Luckily, the rain eased up and by the time I got back to the car, the sun was out again!

With the My Peak Challenge only 3 weeks away now, I need to think about revising my goal.  At the moment I am thinking of trying to get to 7km but I'd dearly love to do just over 8km as that would equate to 5 miles.  I shall see how it goes over the next week or so before deciding finally!

Monday 16th February 2015
Just by way of reminder or even explanation if you aren't aware, "My Peak Challenge" was the inspiration of the actor Sam Heughan and is a collaboration between a small sportswear company in Wales, Bear Strength and a personal trainer in Glasgow, Fight Camp.  The latter are providing much in the way of fitness tests, advice and support for those of us who have signed up for the Challenge. So, when I wanted advice about how I should proceed once I'd reached my goal of walking 5km, it was to John at Fight Camp I turned.  He advised that for ultimate fitness, I should (a) continue to extend the lengths of my walks, revising my goal accordingly and (b) on one day each week, I should walk the original 5km but each week I should seek to improve the speed and therefore the time it takes to walk that distance. 

Why have I told you all that?

Because, today I went out, without any dogs, to power-walk the original distance of 5km.  It's hard to judge the exact distance so in the end I did 5.1km and it took me 50 minutes and 50 seconds.  This gives me a benchmark from which to work.

Sunday 15th February 2015
I've just come to the end of an odd week in which I didn't do my normal routine things like walking so today was the first walk in a whole week.  And boy! Did I feel it.  As it happened, Danny decided he would like to come with me so we took all three of the dogs.  What with me not having walked for a week and Danny doing a walk for the first time, it was not surprising that we didn't walk as far as I do normally.  Nevertheless, we did 4.2km so it wasn't all bad.  Plus, as you'll read in my next blog update, I have been doing Pilates at home so I haven't done nothing!

Saturday 14th February 2015
My official "My Peak Challenge" pack arrived today!  A T-shirt, wristband, stickers and a signed photo of Sam Heughan! 

Sunday 8th February 2015
Phew!  I've just done 5.8km!  With Bertie, the English Setter, on a very cold and windy day.  Although I'd had a good breakfast, it had been several hours before I'd gone out for my walk and half way through that walk, I felt very weak and wobbly!  But I pushed on, albeit at a slower pace than normal (good job I wasn't with Finn!) and made it home.  So, note to self - make sure I have something like a banana with me to eat in case of such an emergency in future!

Wednesday 5th February 2015
It's hard to believe that just over a month ago I set myself a goal of walking 5km by the Peak Challenge weekend of 14th/15th March 2015 and that, at that time, it felt like a very challenging goal indeed!  At that time, I hadn't done any type of formal exercise for over 3 years and knowing that, together with having gained weight and flab, I thought it would be a struggle.  I suppose, looking back, even on that first day, when I decided to start by trying to walk for a kilometre and then actually walking 1.6km, it was going to be something I would strive to do.  I am by nature a competitive and ambitious person so I was always going to be motivated by a challenge!  Anyway, the fact is that 2 days after my last entry below, I met my goal, walking 5.1km that day!  It occurred to me that I could carry on, walking a bit further each day or I could stick to the 5km and improve my speed.  The reality is that, having started making this a dog-walk as well, each dog has a bearing on the speed at which I walk.  So, in the last couple of weeks I have been increasing the distance so that today, with Liam, I walked for 5.7km.  As "My Peak Challenge" is also about raising money for charity, I have in mind to pledge more money for every extra kilometre I walk but I will write about that separately.

In the meantime, here is a photo from today's walk.  It was beautifully sunny with a glorious blue sky, but it was cold!

Sunday 25th January 2015
It's been another lovely sunny and bright day in my corner of France today.  Chilly but not biting cold like it was earlier in the week!  I had Finn with me today and as usual he ensured that I had a good brisk walk!  We managed 4.9km if my pedometer is to be believed so my goal of walking 5km is very close now and I'm sure I'll do it this coming week!

Thursday 22 January 2015
I didn't realise that I hadn't updated this for over a week!  Don't think, dear readers, that it's because I haven't been walking because I have.  And my record now is 4.3km! Last Thursday I had taken Finn with me and he is now the best dog in terms of getting a good workout.  He is much faster than the others and isn't always wanting to stop and stiff at the grass that borders the path I'm walking on.  In fact, I often do small bursts of jogging when I'm with Finn - by small bursts, I mean no more than about 25-30 seconds' worth!  Anyway, I had walked further than the day before and was ready to turn back.  But Finn wanted to go on - I know it'll sound crazy but it was almost like he was saying "Come on, mum, we can do a bit more".  So we did.  There are various lanes that cross the path and are protected by gates.  I had seen this next gate in the distance for some days now but it was always just a bit too far.  But last week, with Finn's encouragement, I did it.  And when I checked the pedometer it was on 2km, meaning that once I had walked back, I would have done 4km.  I decided to stick on that for a few days so that I was comfortable with it and after a few more days, I started increasing the walk a little more.

Today, however, was something of a disaster!  I had walked for nearly a kilometre when I realised I hadn't locked the car.  I didn't dare carry on for the full walk so at the kilometre point I turned and went back!  After locking the car I couldn't face going back so I thought that just for a change and to walk a bit more, I'd walk along the nearby pavement for a while.  But I had Liam with me and the traffic spooked him (thinking about it, perhaps we've never walked him near traffic).  He was very upset so I went back to the path but after only a very short distance it was clear that he wasn't going to settle enough for me to get a good walk.  Oh well, never mind!  As it happens I hadn't expected to have had time to walk today so the 2.7km I did was a bonus.  Hopefully I'll be able to do at least 4.5km tomorrow!

Wednesday 14 January 2015
Well, it comes to something when our  11 year-old English Setter, Bertie, is walking faster than I am! He is clearly getting fitter! I do have a couple of excuses though! Yesterday Danny and I went to get more firewood and that involved a couple of hours of loading and then unloading our trailer. But on top of that, I did - or rather, I tried to do - a fitness test. It involved doing squats, press ups, lunges and sit ups. Now, I can't do press ups - full stop! I was doubtful about the squats and lunges because of my knees but amazingly I was able to do them! I can't tell you how pleased I am about that because I've been unable to do that type of exercise for years. I am convinced that the two changes I made about a year ago are the reason. First I started taking glucosamine sulphate with chondroitin every day and I stopped having any type of artificial sweeteners, diet drinks etc.

It sure feels good to be getting fitter - even if Bertie did better than me today! Oh, by the way, today we walked 3.4km,  burned 174 kcal and 11.9g fat and did 4,816 steps.....all according to my pedometer!

Sunday 11 January 2015
I have been walking every day except one and each day I have tried to walk a little further.  Today I walked 2.6km and I am very pleased with that.  I have started to take one of the dogs with me each day.  Today it was Finn's turn (again).  He surprised me the first time I took him with me as I thought he would be all over the place.  But he is pretty well behaved and bounces along beside me like a four-legged pogo stick!

Saturday 3 January 2015
Near where I live is a disused railway track that has been concreted over and is now used by walkers, runners and cyclists.  It's the perfect place for me to do my walk because in the area where I live there are no pavements and I would feel vulnerable walking along the roadside.  I set out on a cold, grey, damp afternoon hoping to walk one kilometre.  And I surprised myself by walking 1.6km!

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