Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Step by step 2014 ~ Proud, amazed, determined

Hi everyone,

Thanks for stopping by today, it's an honor to have you here! In the Challenge announcement and training post I mentioned how the first four training sessions for this year's challenge had gone. Given that I've had a cough pretty much right the way through, I was really pleased to have gotten to the point I had, averaging thirty minutes per training session over the three for the week. I also mentioned briefly what I was hoping to do this week. I'm proud very proud to say that I've exceeded my own expectations. Read on to find out how...

Monday, April 7, 2014
Yesterday was my first day without taking medication for the cough in well over a week. It's still hanging on, but I figure if I can push myself a bit harder, it should aid my recovery, or least I'm hoping. Having started the third repetition of my cardio routine during last Friday's workout, I was determined to complete the rep.

I started slowly, determined to get to the end of the 45 minute session and towards the end of the first 15 minute rep, I pushed a little, then did the same approaching the thirty minute mark. When the last rep started I was beginning to feel the burn in my shoulders, but I still gave it my all. No pain, no gain.

I completed the full 45 minutes and reached a new milestone. Yes, I was proud!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Having initially thought I'd hit the pool on Friday, at the weekend I checked the sports center timetable and realized that Wednesday would be better. Not only would it be quieter then, but it would also fit the training better, between two cardio sessions. At this point I was aiming to be in the pool around an hour, with a target distance of a half mile, after more than four years away from the pool, I thought that both were fair targets.

I woke this morning still feeling a slight discomfort in my shoulders from Monday's workout, but it was nowhere near as bad as it had previously been. I was hoping to be in the pool by 2:00 pm, but realizing I needed to renew my membership, I got there just before 1:30 pm and was poolside by 1:45 pm, one of the staff having just told me that 24 laps equals a half mile.

Stepping down into the water, the coolness surprised me, but it wasn't unpleasant. I stepped away from the ladder, sunk down into the water and filled my goggles, which were already around my neck, then brought them up and adjusted them. I took a deep breath, pushed back against the wall and glided out at the start of my first lap in so long. I surfaced and within the first few strokes found my rhythm.

Reaching the wall at the end of my first lap, I already felt proud. Previously, even at my fittest, I'd stop a moment now, but not today. I turned, pushed off the wall once more and headed back to where I'd started. I didn't stop at the end of that lap either, or the next, I was determined to push on. After turning into lap ten, I upped the pace a bit and felt it, but still I kicked on.

Half way through lap twelve, with my goggles a little uncomfortable, I knew I'd need to stop a moment at the end of it, whether or not I needed to otherwise. I upped the pace, then glided into the wall. I'd made it to the quarter mile point! Yes, I was proud!

I paused only long enough to adjust the eyewear and take a quick breath, before kicking off again. I've always done better with smaller targets, so the next I aimed for was 16 laps, one third of a mile. They passed surprisingly quickly and I pushed on toward the half, 24 laps. My pace dropped a little around the 20 mark when I started to feel the effect in my shoulders, but still I pushed on and I knew by now that I was going to continue to a mile!

I upped the pace again and pushed toward the wall at the end of the 24th lap. Having not swam for so long, I'd made my original target. I paused now for only the second time, an equally short break as the first, but this time I stood up, then sunk back into the water, to refresh myself.

As the second half mile began, keeping count became a little difficult. The pool was busier by now, my thoughts drifting a little to those supporting me and indeed who I'll be doing the challenge for, but still I kept count, lap after lap being checked off in my mind with the next interim target being 32 laps, or two thirds of a mile. The pool was really busy now and the wake from other swimmers meant I needed more effort, but from here it was just another four to the three quarter mile point, 36 laps.

I paused for just the third time and as I pushed off of the wall, instead of counting up, I began counting down, 11, ten, nine,... With just six laps to go and by now really feeling the burn, I upped the pace once more and decided that having done everything so far in one stroke, I'd change it up for the last two.

Two laps further on, with just three to go, I was directed to another, busier part of the pool, and lap 46 was probably my slowest to that point. I was just two laps away from the mile. Turning, I glanced ahead, then pushed off the wall. I gave those last laps everything I had, absolutely everything!

Gliding into the wall at the end of lap 48, I was smiling, even under the water, I was smiling. I reached the wall, turned around and lifted my goggles. There were a few others stood up, but I stayed low in the water, marvelling that having not been near it for so long, I'd just SWAM A MILE! Was I proud? YES!

Climbing out of the water, my legs, perhaps understandably, felt heavy. I returned to the locker room and retrieved my towel. Only after my shower, while I took the rest of my stuff from the locker, did I ask the member of staff what time it was. I was already proud, but now I was amazed too. I'd completed the swim in LESS THAN AN HOUR! WOW!

As I type now, it's almost three hours since I left the sports center. Am I sore? Yes, my shoulders are, a little, but it's bearable. Today's events have made me proud, they have amazed me, but they've also shown me just how determined I am to give this, both my fitness and the challenge ahead, my absolute all!

Thanks again to everyone for sharing this journey with me, I appreciate each one of you so much!

God bless,


  1. Way to go Em! That is really an accomplishment to be very proud of! You have my support through and through!

  2. I am proud of you too Em. Keep up the good work!

  3. I am proud of you too Em. Keep up the good work!