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I quite like a challenge and whenever I’ve finished something, I’m usually looking for the next thing to plan or conquer. I always say this to people, and I always think this about myself, but I do often find myself wondering why I’ve signed myself up to do whatever it is that’s challenging me!

I wanted to make sure I was still challenging myself when I returned home so I made sure I had a plan. I was definitely going to keep exercising, although I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk for hours on end. I thought of a couple of challenges I’d like to do. One was conquering Snowdon, Sca Fell Pike and Ben Nevis this year.

I also decided that I was going to start some running. I thought I’d start with the Couch to 5k app and see what happened. As I thought about this a bit more, I wondered if I should sign up for a challenge to keep me interested and have something to aim for. I half thought about the London marathon for a bit and even checked out how to enter but I missed the deadline. Oh dear, what a shame (and a massive relief)!

I went to Snowdon two weeks before I left for the Camino and it did not go well! I wanted to go back and use all the lessons I’ve learned while I was away and was convinced it would be far easier. Well I went a couple of weeks ago and I made it to the top but it was still pretty hard so it looks like the challenges are still coming. I’m glad it was hard in a way because it reminds me that I’m always learning and not to take anything for granted. Especially my now-dwindling fitness!

It was also a reminder not to look too far ahead. About halfway up where I could see some very steep climbing ahead was pretty scary, especially when I got to the part where I decided to finish in April. All the way up, I took it slowly though and eventually got there. First of all I headed for the boulder a few steps away. Then I went for the bush a few more steps away. I counted 50 steps and stopped. I sat down and had a drink, I took a photo, I stopped for a breather. It took me a while but I got there by breaking it down into much smaller steps.

The running has been going fairly well, although it’s pretty hard sometimes. For those of you who don’t know, the couch to 5k programme starts you off walking for a couple of minutes then running for a minute and after 9 weeks you build up to running for about 30 minutes which should be roughly 5k.

I’m now on week 4 which has dramatically ramped up the running and decreased the walking part so it was a bit of a shock to my system! I’ve managed to get through the first run of the week though and have to now repeat it twice. This is a good way to remind myself not to look too far ahead because at the moment, I run for a maximum of 5 minutes at a time so the idea of running for 30 minutes is pretty scary.

Sometimes looking at the end goal can be a bit overwhelming and can make you want to stop in your tracks. It makes you think there is no way you could possibly achieve whatever it is you want to do. Whether it’s walking up a mountain, running for 30 minutes or whatever it is that you want to achieve, that end goal can seem insurmountable near the beginning. Breaking it down into smaller, more achievable goals is key to getting where you want to go and stopping your overall aim becoming too overwhelming.

You do have to start eventually though and knowing that the first goal is going to be achievable really helps you to go for it. I’m now at the point where I’m one third of the way through my mountain walking goal and almost halfway through the running goal – who would have thought?!


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