This last week found me pushing my limits a bit.
As some of the more regular readers will know, I started a “get fitter” campaign back in 2012. I say get fitter rather than get fit as the latter has some negative connotations for me. I realised that I didn’t want to stumble into my later years being infirm and incapable of independent ambulation or anything similar so, armed with my trusty Fitbit, I’ve been working to better myself over the last six years.
Last week saw an invitation to a Workweek Hustle challenge on Fitbit. The gauntlet was thrown down by the son of a good friend and I decided to accept the challenge. Now I’ve never really been competitive at much as, to be honest, I’ve never really been that good at anything but this challenge came at the right time for me. Having been working on my general muscular strength and endurance for a while with my trainer, my cardio fitness appears to have suffered and so I’ve started working on that for the last couple of weeks. I know my general fitness has improved quite a lot over the last few years although I’m still not really where I want to be but seeing myself at the bottom of the leaderboard in that challenge at the end of day one was something I wasn’t prepared for and it ignited something in me so I decided that I was going to put myself in gear.
Tuesday saw me start challenging myself in earnest. Now we’re not talking about anything extraordinary here – I’m just a middle aged woman who’s level of fitness isn’t particularly inspiring – just keeping up a decent daily step count and trying to edge to the top of that damned leaderboard!
By Thursday, I was doing OK and had tenuously nudged my way to the top. Until I got home and saw that everyone else was only a couple of thousand steps away from me. I knew I had a session with my trainer the following day which would negatively impact on my step count (I’m usually too knackered after an hour’s worth of circuits and boxing that I’m not capable of anything except collapsing on the sofa for the rest of the day) so I thought that maybe the trip to the shop that I had to do in the evening should be done on foot, despite the fact that I was a little fatigued after my efforts earlier in the week. My thought process was a 10 minute internal argument between whether I was too tired and should really go by car, step count be damned and thinking that I’d better stop being a lazy arse if I was going to maintain the lead in the Challenge. I had a niggling suspicion that the extra walk may push me over the edge but I sort of had to do it to allow me to figure out exactly where my limits were.
Off I went on the 2.5 mile round trip to the shop with my rucksack on my back and music blasting in my ears to keep my mind off the fact that I was feeling sluggish. All was well until I was on my way home and I realised that I was, in fact, really tired. I could have managed to slow the pace a bit to give myself a bit of a break except that I realised that the cup of tea I had before leaving the house was making its presence felt so I had to maintain a nice brisk homeward pace. That was one of my limits that I really wasn’t willing to push!
By the time I got home and got through the door, the staircase bore more than a passing resemblance to the Eiger and by the time I’d returned downstairs, I was utterly knackered. I rewarded myself by planting on the sofa for the rest of the evening but had a nagging feeling that I may have overdone it a little. I was however rewarded by being snugly up at the top of the leaderboard in the challenge by a good 10,000 steps and I hoped that would suffice to secure a win.
When I woke on Friday morning, I knew I’d overdone it. Despite this, I still went for a 25 minute walk before settling down at my desk although this time I didn’t push myself and tried for a “recovery” walk rather than doing anything to improve my fitness – I figured I had fulfilled my quote of fitness walks for the week. I went to my training session as scheduled in the early afternoon as I felt I had recovered marginally but I really just couldn’t manage a full hour and cried uncle after about 35 minutes. When I looked at my heart rate for the session, it had spiked to maximum during the last couple of sets when normally I would only get to about 75% so I knew that really needed to ease off.
The rest of the weekend has been spent doing, precisely, nothing. I spent most of Saturday feeling like a limp lettuce, warded off a potentially very painful spasm in my back and fitted in two 2 hour naps but by this afternoon I was feeling human again. Now my friend’s daughter has started another Challenge for this coming week. I have accepted but resigned myself to not winning this time around!
So – 54,614 steps in 5 days ensured I won last week’s challenge by a small margin (around 2,000 steps). See? Not a half marathon or anything particularly world beating but considering that when I started all this, a 10 minute brisk walk around the block left me red faced, panting and sweating, I’m doing OK.
So – did I push myself? Yes. Absolutely. Did I find my limit? Oh yes.
Will I do it again? Yes, but not this week!