Here’s an update the challenges I’ve done since my last post:
I flew an eagle….well a few actually, and an owl, a hawk and a vulture. This was an experience of a lifetime for sure. My partner and I signed up for a VIP day at Gauntlet Falconry centre near Knutsford and literally had the place to ourselves. It was a relaxed day, meeting all the birds and flying around 8 different ones. We were given a real treat with Lula the Sea Eagle who flew to us from her post, landing on the gauntlet gracefully. Last eagle of the day was the Bald Eagle, you really had to brace for this one landing on your outstretched arm, this one weighed around 6kg! It was an absolute delight of a day, quite surreal at times and the time just went by in a flash.
When I was writing my list of 50 things I thought that having a go in a Flight Simulator would be fun. I had the choice of a Cessna or an F16 Flighting Falcon, choosing the latter as I imagined I’d never get to ever fly one of those for real so why not. Let’s just say that I won’t be signing up for any real flight training in a hurry. The controls are super sensitive and hyper-twitchy. I felt properly nauseous and vertiginous on a few occasions and it took me 4 attempts to land it! It was definitely a fun experience, not sure I’d do it again though but glad I’ve tried it.
A visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park after the flight simulator was a complete contrast of pace. There was quite a breeze blowing and some heavy rain forecast but I stayed dry for the couple of hours I wandered around the park. This is absolutely worth a visit and I’ll be back when there’s new sculptures on show.
24. Read 12 Fiction books. I’m always drawn to non-fiction, exploring self-development and topics that enhance or build on my coaching skills, so adding fiction books to my list pushed me to read for pleasure. I got friends to lend or recommend books so I didn’t stick to authors or genres I knew and this was a great tactic. Mostly the books I read were enjoyable and I’ve found a few authors I’ll look for again. Full list of books will be posted in a separate post if you’re interests.
100 Days of burpees. Day 1 started on 28 December 2022 with 1 burpee. The next day I did 2 burpees, the next 3…and so on. So by 15 February I reached 50 burpees that day but in terms of total number to do, not half way. The half way point of total number of burpees done didn’t come until around day 71. Then it started to get really hard. Each day the main battle was simply remembering to do them. I am proud to say that I didn’t miss a single day, even when we went away I made time and space to do my burpees and on 6th April 2023 I did my final set, 100 burpees, bringing the total to 5050 burpees over the 100 days. There was a huge relief that I didn’t need to do any the next day!!
Stand Up Paddle boarding isn’t a sport I’d naturally want to do. While I love wild swimming, I’m not keen on watersports….so why not add this on the list to challenge myself. It was a glorious day with not too much wind, and I surprised myself firstly to be able to stand up, and then sit back down without falling in. We spent around an hour going out a few times and exploring around the water. This is a sport I might do again, but on a calm day, no waves.
Cycle Hadrian’s Wall path & Coast to Coast Cycle – Maryport on the West coast to Newcastle, 217km over 3 days. The test here was back to back riding on a linear route and doing long days which I’d not done before. We travelled by train arriving at the start mid afternoon, so day 1 to Carlisle was always going to test me. It was my longest ever ride at 83km and we had to ride into a headwind for much of the afternoon. But, sheltered behind my partner we rolled into Carlisle before dark. Phew. Day 2 was really enjoyable, lots of stops for 2nd breakfast, lunch, photos and short rests. Plenty of hills to get up but freewheel down – 85km with the most ascent I’d ever and one massive tick, one big dose of YES I CAN DO THIS. The final day was ‘only’ 40km…a few weeks ago 40km would have been an epic so I am super chuffed to know I could do this even after 2 massive days of riding. A great experience and a big dose of self-belief from this adventure.
Bodyweight Squat x 5reps (1 for each decade!) – what an incentive not to put on weight! I’ve been around 60kg for a while so this was the weight I needed to squat. I’d spent about 6 weeks building up to this weight. On the day I attempted it I felt good, had my other half spotting me and got the reps knocked out feeling strong. That’s what I love about the gym, a few reps go by so quickly, but it’s the weeks and numerous training sessions beforehand that are what counts too. Lots of hard work, gym sessions and dedication to get this one ticked off.
Third time lucky really did happen with this challenge. This was a big mind-challenge for me. I’ve camped loads, on sites and in the wild, but always with other people. I’m really anxious in the dark. I’ve had two previous attempts at this and both times got too caught up in negative thoughts and bailed. This time I’d picked a spot before leaving where I would sleep, and felt I was in a good place mentally to give it my best. I’d overcome some other big stuff recently as described above so was feeling really good about staying out all night. Rather annoyingly my chosen spot was being enjoyed by cows so I had to find another location. Determined not to let this put me off, which it would have done in the past, I had a walk around and settled on a spot far from footpaths, sheltered from the wind. I sorted my kit, got in, and almost said out loud….”well I’m in bed now, I can’t go home”. Plenty of negative thoughts crept in but I had positive responses to them. There was a lovely dusk-chorus including grouse, golden plover and the rather odd sounding snipe. Watching the sky changing colour was mesmerising and after some breathwork to keep me calm I drifted off. Waking several times in the night was inevitable. Waking again at around 3.30am in total darkness to the sound of a sheep coughing was odd and unsettling but I must have drifted off again. I was determined to stay laying down even if awake until first light around 4.30. And I did. It felt amazing to have done it. Still feels amazing.
In a similar way to the bodyweight squats, this target has had many many training sessions leading up the 5 reps at 90kg. And wow, 90kg is Very Heavy indeed, but I did it and it felt amazing to have done it. I actually completed this a week ahead of my target date because the sessions had been going so well, lifting slightly more reps at weights in the run up to the big day.
My other half has done this loop from our house many many times. There’s been a nagging inside me that ‘one day’ I’ll do that loop. It’s around 60km and starts with climbing up the infamous Snake Pass out of Glossop – not the easiest starts. Dropping down to the Ladybower reservoir we were slightly (a lot actually) regretting not wearing bigger gloves, a jacket and maybe just warmer clothing. Doing this loop on a weekend we knew roads would be busy so set out quite early – too early for the sun to offer any warmth. The quiet roads were very welcomed though so after a quick stop to jump around warming hands and sipping on coffee we continued. Taking back roads to Hope and onwards to Castleton the sun was starting to help. The choice after Castleton was the ‘old broken road’ up under Mam Tor, or my first ever attempt at Winnats Pass. I chose the latter of course – this is a challenge and there’s no shame in walking. I’m really chuffed to say I reached ‘the second grit bin’ (grit bins are the measure of distance on this climb that averages 10% but hits nearly 20% at the point I got off to walk). Catching up with my other half we enjoyed the ride along Rushup Edge and down into Chapel, onto Chinley for another short coffee stop (we were too early for cafes so pleased we took our own in my bike flask). Now ahead of us lay 2 significant climbs to get home, both of which were daunting but I managed to ride them, before enjoying the final long descent back home. The ride took us 3 hrs 19mins of moving time (3:49 elapsed) so I’m curious to know if I could one day do a sub-3hrs. Interesting how immediately after doing this, a challenge I once thought impossible, I’m upping the challenge for the future!!
Still on a high from my Hope loop bike ride I set out to do my own self-made triathlon just 2 days later. A 10 min wild swim, followed by a 15km bike ride and an 11km run took me around 3 hrs. I had a great time and I reckon one day I might enter a proper ‘fun’ triathlon, definitely with the emphasis on fun as I had very leisurely transitions with coffee and a quick chat to my other half who was out on the road supporting me and transporting my kit between the stages. What a star he is.
The southerly most munro was my target – Ben Lomond. With just a day and a half to get there and back we headed up late and had a few hours sleep in our van before a dawn start up the mountain. The path was easy to navigate but consistently uphill and steep for the most part. Around a quarter of the way up we entered claggy cloud and were feeling a bit lucked out that we’d be missing out on a view from the summit. However, to our delight the cloud completely cleared around 150m from the top of this 974m high peak…giving us the most spectacular cloud inversion. At the trig point and summit of the munro it felt like we were on an island floating on a white fluffy sea, off in the distance we could see other peaks sticking above the clouds – what a magical experience. I celebrated completing this challenge by having a swim in Loch Lomond.
I’ve long wanted to make my own clothes so this went on the list to get me started. I’ve previously made a pair of trousers but didn’t follow a pattern. The challenge with this set of PJs was to use a pattern, follow the instructions and see if I could produce wearable garments…turns out I can, and I’m enthused to have a go at clothes I’ll wear in public. Winner!
This was a BIG challenge in all senses, and deserved it’s very own full blog post – READ all about this Epic Adventure HERE.
Before starting this jumper my only experience of knitting has been random simple scarves made for myself or for Christmas presents. I’ve wanted to knit a jumper for a long time and started this one with some trepidation back in September last year. I hadn’t chosen the easiest pattern according to a friend who knits regularly – noting I was “brave” to be tackling raglan sleeves on my first make. What are raglans I asked?!! I soon found out as I started to shape the front. Through the make I learned about increasing, decreasing, casting off, leaving stitches on a stitch holder to pick up later, and much more. After a few months where I didn’t do any knitting I sought help from a friend on a particularly tricky part of the pattern, then cracked on with new enthusiasm until in mid June I sewed up the last sleeve. Eager to try it on, I was pleasantly surprised that it fit me! I’m looking forward to colder days so I can wear it.
A magical location near where I live and a very early start to ensure I had the water to myself….just me and dozens of swifts dipping to drink from the water. This really was a memorable experience that kept me buzzing all day.
What fun you can have on a sunny Monday afternoon. Me and a friend bashed through heather, bracken and foraging bilberrys to find a secluded waterfall for a dip. The bonus being you can swim right underneath the waterfall and sit behind it. We had the most amazing time, I’ll be back for more.
Challenges Booked (42-44)
42. Bounce Below experience – booked
43. Canoe across Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales – booked
44. Retreat – booked
45. Bike tour with friends – booked
Left to do (in no particular order) (45-50)
46. Tadpole round
47. Sea kayaking
48. Ride an ebike
49. 5x TGU 1/4 bodyweight
50. 5x Pull ups
I’d love to hear if you’ve set any challenges for yourself this year – are they ones you know you’ll accomplish, or like me, is there something you’re going to start and not know if you’ll finished? Leave a comment below.
Adopting better habits and thought patterns can help us accomplish far more than we feel is possible. Life coaching conversations can help you make those positive changes. You have the space and time to explore what keeps you stuck, unfulfilled and not living aligned to your values. If this sounds like something you’d like to look into take a look at the Services I offer or get in touch to arrange an initial free and informal chat.