Sunday, 23 September 2012

Purple vs blue shirts and the yellow pole

The yellow pole
I achieved my Week 4 Mini Milestone! Whoohoo! And I loved it! How I can say I 'loved' something that was grueling doesn't make sense to me but it's true.

My Week 4 Mini Milestone was to climb Mt Coot-tha with a big group of QLD crew, led by Zenergy trainers. It was an organised event and I sort of joined up without really knowing about it but just wanting to be a part of the team event.
Boot camp first up

I should have started to be suss when I heard that we were doing the 'Kokoda trail'. Or when a friend posted a photo on Facebook during the week of a sign saying 'Heartbreak Hill'. Hmmm. I started the day off with boot camp and then we drove straight up the mountain.  There was a big group and they had us doing squats, burpees and pushups throughout the challenge. They said it was a loop and that we would make it back to the 'yellow pole'-- which I duly noted and kept in my mind for the next hour and a half.

The run down the mountain was good- it was slippery and uneven ground, there were stairs and the whole track was rocky. I jogged the whole way down minus 2 metres. I was proud as I've been beginning to think my first and only 5km a few weeks ago was a fluke. I've hardly handled sprints since then because I've been having a bit of trouble breathing (I think it's anxiety rather than physical).  But I took it at a slow pace and was fine. This sounds odd but I could actually feel the endurance in my that weird?

Anyway- I thought the way back UP the mountain would be on the same trail. Ah no. Apparently we hadn't gotten to 'Kokoda' yet.  I know of course that it's incomparable to the real Kokoda but my gosh they named it right! One fellow walker was walking up and down actually training for the real Kokoda so it has to have something in it. 

The first half was ok. I wasn't running much at all as it was mostly uphill but I was going ok. My heart rate stayed around 175-185 for the most part.

AND THEN. I looked up ahead and saw a fellow challenger in a purple shirt- she wasn't standing just up ahead, she was standing UP--- I almost had to strain my head to see her, she was so much higher than me! I actually made a small groaning noise - kind of a distress call to myself. If swearing was a noise, that is what I made.

It was so steep and so much higher! It was funny, I was going fine until I saw the purple shirt. As soon as I saw her and realised how much was ahead of me, my legs went weak and I lost a bit of momentum. I kept going but it was hard. In my mind, all I kept focus on was the yellow pole that I would reach. 
Sweat baby sweat

If I thought that was steep, I had another thing coming. This wasn't uphill, this was friggen upmountain! :) I tried walking on an angle, leaning my body forward to help with gravity as I trudged on!

I was fine but my heart rate was up and I could only take tiny steps. It was rocky and I had to be careful of my footing. Yellow pole, yellow pole.

Then I heard people cheering up ahead- it wasn't for me but it was encouraging to hear that and also to hear that I was probably close to the end. :) I then heard a voice of a friend who I adore and who is very encouraging. It sounded like she was coming back down the mountain to spur people on- I glanced up hoping I was right, saw a glimpse of her blue shirt and got a bit more power in my legs. She and others helped us stragglers a lot, even grabbing my hand. It's amazing what a few words of simple encouragement can do to a mindset.

And then I saw it...the yellow pole! Whoohoo! I made it up and tapped the pole, then threw an orange quarter in my mouth. I think I was a bit tired, someone handed me a cup of water and I actually asked what it was for- I thought it was to dip my fingers into- what the?? Weirdo ;)
And I thought this was steep

I've been thinking about it since and it's really made me think about my whole journey. I have a massive road- way back from the start, I had 83kg in total to lose. When I saw the purple shirt and saw how far I had to climb, the effect on me mentally and physically was immense. It didn't last of course and I was fine, but as soon as I looked up and saw how much I had to go, it affected me: THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO DO. Yet when I thought about the end prize, reaching that yellow pole, I felt inspired and just kept on trudging. It was like if I viusalised the end, I had more momentum, but as soon as I looked at how hard the journey to there would be, the hard work I had to do first, my legs turned on me.

If I think about my weight goal and everything associated with that, if I see it and smell it and hear it and touch it, it gives me motivation to keep on keeping on. But I just have to think of the end goal and not the massive journey ahead of me- if I think about the mountain climbing ;) and heights that I have to push myself it can be overwhelming. I have to just think of each step ahead and focus on my mini goals and break the journey down into achievable chunks.
We got certificates :)

Oh and the blue shirt reference? That's just to remind myself that even though it's a journey for me and I have to do all of the work, friends in blue shirts (& others, thank you everyone) calling out words of encouragement can propel us forward more than they may realise. We could all do with being surrounded by positive, encouraging and supportive people. This journey is hard enough, so I am just soaking up the positive people I have been lucky enough to have around me. If you don't have these people then reach out- to friends, family, or online. It does wonders. I am loving this journey and a huge part of it is thanks to all the blue shirts I have around me.

Thanks Ange, Tony, Jodie, the Zenergy team and my never-give-up fighting green shirted friend for today, and to everyone who was so lovely, blue shirts, black shirts and everything in between :)

I have my eye on the yellow pole and I will get there :)

The Mt Coot-tha / Kokoda challengers!

1 comment:

  1. WOOHOO! Now you can add mountain climbing to your repertoire LOL Well Done! you kept going, eye on the prize, and you made it. Great post.