So it's been a week of key moments. The sun finally came out, meaning that I could at least imagine I was in South America (even if it was still only 14degrees).
It was also heartening to see that I had gone over the 1,000km mark, meaning that my distance left to travel has gone from a number starting with a 9 to one starting with a 7. Hooray!
It was also time for my monthly wildcard challenge, but more on that to come...
The distances are looking like this:
Total of 182.4km
I was delighted to see the water temperature increase slightly to 8 or 9deg which means
I managed to finally get my distance up to over 1km across two swims this week.
Likewise, my niggling achilles seems to have finally (she says touching wood) started to settle down and I managed to include some hills into my runs for the first time in about
But the biggest achievement of this week must be ticking off my second wildcard challenge. Set by Coach Tom last week, it was to cover at least 50% of my cycling distance carrying the full kit I would need for a trip like this. From experience, that was around 30kilos, and so it was time to 'pannier up'. To simulate the weight I filled my panniers with bottles of water, books and other weighty items and off I went.
Well, this turned out to be more of a challenge than I expected, especially as the first part of the week brought with it strong gusty winds. I felt like I was hardly moving!
The funniest part though must have been when I was grinding out some laps cycling around Regents Park and as I stopped at the lights a fellow cyclist looked over my loaded up bike and enquired "Where are you off to then?" I thought for a minute and replied "Erm, Ecuador?" and cycled off. I assume he either called the police or the Priory....
In fact out of the 165.5km I cycled this week, I actually did 140km on my hybrid with full panniers. All I can say is, my thighs!!
So where would I be in South America right now? Well I've made great progress through Colombia and would now be approaching the city of Pasto in the south of the country. Affectionately known as the 'Surprise City' it is probably best known for it's beautiful buildings, and even more so for the 'Carnaval de Negros y Blancos'. This lively celebration takes place between the 2nd and 7th of January and are famous for the giant figures made by local artisans walking through the streets of the city.
But the highlight of my week back here in the 'real world' must have been recording my latest video conversation. In this episode I was speaking to Shäron Brown, a good friend of mine, and full-time carer to her 21 year old daughter Jennifer, who has a very rare genetic condition.
I spoke to her about resilience, tenacity, the challenges she faces on a daily basis, and the rewards that come with that. I would urge anyone who is currently struggling at the moment to watch this one for some real insights into how to keep mentally strong and resilient.
Denise Yeats is an events director, communications consultant, endurance athlete and avid adventurer.