My overriding thought about this week is "I wouldn't want to be a farmer!"
Coach Tom (along with his colleague, Javier from Be Fearsome fitness) decided that my wildcard challenge for this month should be 'farmer walks for 1 mile carrying 40kg'.
I must admit my first thought was 'One mile, that doesn't seem very far?!' Well I'm glad I let the experts decide, otherwise I dread to think how I would have got on!
I have an extra nod of authenticity to my South American challenge with this activity, as Javier, the trainer spurring me on is Argentinian. He had measured out a 50m section at Hyde Park and so I was to do 32 laps of that carrying a 20kg kettle bell in each hand.
This video shows one of my first 50m laps....you should have seen me by the end! It looks deceptively easy, but trust me, when the grips are digging into your hands (should have worn gloves!) and your arms and shoulders don't feel like your own, it takes every effort to hold onto the weights, but at the same time, every time you put them down you know it is going to be an even bigger effort to pick them up again. Javier was shouting his encouragement and reminding me to use my larger muscles (traps, lats, abs, glutes) to take the load and not to use my arms. I must admit that halfway through I was wondering if I was going to be able to pull this off. And as if that wasn't enough, to 'mix it up a bit' he also got me to do 20 x 16kg squats; 20 x 16kg deadlifts; 20 x 16kg rows and 20 x 12kg military presses. Muchas gracias Javier!
I had cleverly planned to meet up with a couple of cycling friends in Regents Park afterwards, this did involve a 10k detour, but one well worth it for a couple of lovely homemade, and I think well earned, banana muffins courtesy of Nikki.
I underestimated how much this challenge would take out of me the day or so afterwards, especially when I decided to bike over to Teddington for what I had hoped would be a recovery swim. The fact that it is a 21km ride each way is usually enough, but my god, the wind was against me at every turn. I have to question what BBC weather considers a 'moderate breeze' and likewise 'light rain showers' as I ran into an epic downpour on the way back - shouting out loud as wheelie bins careered across the main road in front of me, whilst rain lashed me in the face. To add to that, when in the river the flow was going one way and the wind the other, meaning that my tow float was bouncing around off my head and getting me generally tangled up. It also caused a bit of concern for onlookers when a large lump of driftwood bashed off my head causing me to abruptly stop and look up slightly stunned.
So whilst this week was not necessarily about the distance, I am pleased to say that having covered a total of 1886 km to date, I would now have crossed into Peru and passed the tiny town of Puerto Galilea in the Rio Santiago district. In such a remote area I could well have had to draw on my abilities to carry/push my fully laden bike through the terrain, so the 40kg challenge was definitely well timed (even though I am glad to see the back of it!)
The distances this week looked like this:
Farmers Walks with 40kg: 1.62km
For some added inspiration this week, I released my latest video conversation which I had recorded with Coach Tom. As a former Royal Marines Commando, I am always interested in how we draws on the skills he used in the military to challenge himself and others. Have a watch below for some tips on how we can all stay resilient and motivated in our everyday lives.
Denise Yeats is an events director, communications consultant, endurance athlete and avid adventurer.