Get in Shape Challenge Day 18 – Friday 2nd September

The most difficult part of the gym workout I had this morning was actually getting started. The past few mornings I have found it incredibly difficult to get out of bed straight away, I don’t know if this is because the tole of an early start combined with a late night is starting to add up or if its the weather and the rain over the past few days that demotivates me or a combination of both. Either way this morning was a real struggle to get out of bed. After much fighting with myself I managed to pull myself out of bed by 5:20am and did my mornign routine before heading into the gym for my fifth gym session in a row.

The session was even hard to commit to once at the gym in terms of working at a high level.  As I started on the treadmill I found myself feeling lethargic for the first couple of minutes as it was on the 7.5km/h setting, this slowly faded away and by the five minute interval on 12.5km/h I was starting to feel good. At about the 13 minute mark of the run my left groin started to feel quite tight and sore. I have had trouble with my right groin throughout the throughout the early parts of the year (I couldn’t exercise at all for about three months) and didn’t want to strain my left hand side and maybe have the chance of another long term injury so i kept going until the 15 minute mark where I stopped and moved onto my ergo.

My ergo was a good session, I went for 7.5 minutes at a stroke rate that never dipped below 31 strokes per minute, most of the time it was sitting on or above the 32 strokes per minute which I was very happy about. The last 2 minutes my average split for 500m was down at the 1 minute and 59 seconds with the average time being 2 minutes and 6 seconds per 500m. I managed to travel a distance of just over 1750m in the 7.5 minutes.

After the ergo I jumped on for my 10 minute session on the bike. My aim for today’s session was to repeat the performance from Tuesday and cover a distance over 5 km inside the 10 minutes with the resistance on level 6. I started out and was keeping it fairly even, by the 1 km mark I had pulled out to 4 seconds ahead of schedule and then increased this over the next 2 kms to 4 and 6 seconds respectively. At this point (around the 6 minute mark) I started having trouble with the bike settings with it continuously resetting on me to Level 1 resistance, this slowed down my rhythm as I was continually having to readjust the setting for the remainder of the ride which, as a result, effected how fast i covered the distance required. I still managed to ride the 5 kms but it took me 9 minutes and 45 seconds to achieve. By the 10 minute mark I had rode 5.22 km at an average energy output of 149 watts.

My stretching session at the end of the workout was great, my muscles felt quite tight and sore after a hard week of sessions but they did stretch out quickly and easily. As I write this post at the end of the day I am not feeling any soreness or tightness in my legs (which is awesome).

Tomorrow’s weights session will round out the week, it’ll be fantastic to get it completed as it means a full six sessions. I hope that I manage to get up and do it…let’s give it a crack!

Get in Shape Challenge Day 17 – Thursday 1st September

Today’s gym session saw me start to increase the weight load on a number of the different exercises I have been doing. The morning almost failed before it started with me sleeping through my initial alarm and not waking up until 5:20am. Luckily, there was enough time for me to get everything ready, I only got half of my morning routine of abdominal exercises and prayer completed (the abs part) before needing to head off to the gym in Subiaco.

Arriving at the gym just before 6:00am I managed to get onto the bench and begin my sets, thinking there was only 60 kg on the bar I started my first set and completed all 12 repetitions. I went to increase the load for the second set to 65 kg to find that there was actually 62.5 kg on the bar for the first set. As a result of this higher amount already on the bar I added an additional 5 kg total to take the load up to 67.5 kg, my second set I managed to get out 6 repetitions. The third set I kept on 67.5 kg and failed only managing one complete repetition.

My incline press I increase the weight to 20 kg dumb-bells and completed 12 repetitions for the first two sets with the third set me failing at 10 repetitions, this might be an area I increase to 22.5 kg come Saturday’s sessions. In between each set I did my vertical lifts, for this today I kept the 10 kg dumb-bells and completed all three sets of 12 repetitions.

The next two exercises, shoulder military press and dumb-bell bicep curls, saw me increase all of the weight from Tuesday’s sessions to 20kg and 12.5kg dumb-bells respectively. Both lots of exercises I did manage to complete a set of 12 then 10 then 8 repetitions. I may look at increasing these weights again come Saturday morning.

At the completion of these exercises I did my shoulder flys and triceps curls using 12 kg dumb-bells for both. The flys I managed to complete two sets of 12 followed by a set of 10 repetitions whilst my triceps I managed a set of 12 followed by sets of 10 and 8 respectively with both arm. My deltoid lifts I did next I did the first set on 20kg dumb-bell before increasing to 22.5kg for the next two sets all three complete with 12 repetitions.

Today I did not manage to do any work on my traps due to every bit of machinery I needed being unavailable right through until the time I needed to go to get to work on time. This is one frustrating factor I find sometimes at the gym, not enough equipment!!! I moved straight on to my bicep curls with a bar-bell and triceps dips. The bar-bell I selected today was the 30 kg one, being 2.5 kg heavier than the one used on Tuesday. I completed the first two sets with only a little strain with this weight with the third set managing only 10 repetitions, these were done alternate with my triceps dips which I completed all three sets of 12 easily.

Overall I am really happy with how I am progressing I my sessions, today was the fourth day in a row I have managed to get to the gym. Hopefully tomorrow morning will make it five in a row which will be a new record for me.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 16 – Wednesday 31st August

As I write this post I am reminded about a little saying that I have tried to apply (not always with much great success) to my life across a broad range of areas – “Success comes in taking small steps frequently” – what I mean is that it is by doing things regularly and seeing only small improvements over a long period of time always seems to result in the most improvement and maximum life change. This I think is largely due to committing to a discipline and, whatever the task is, making it a habit and a life style choice rather than just a phase or fad.

This morning’s session in the gym was definitely one of those small steps experiences from the moment my alarm went off this morning. For the first morning in a while I consciously though of and tried to reason with myself as to why I should skip the gym session and stay in bed. Some of these included  wanting extra sleep, the indoor game I had on that night, the breakfast I was having later on in the morning with a friend and it being cold. My main motif (although I didn’t say it) was that I just couldn’t be bothered. Luckily, due to having made a previous commitment to get up and do a session regardless of how I felt motivated me enough to get out of bed, go through my morning routine and head off to the gym.

Today’s cardio session was always going to be easier in the intensity I did it at than the one on Monday. I had made this decision due to having an indoor soccer game which I was expecting i would need to do a lot of running in later that night. I started as I usually did on the tread-mill and completed a 20 minute run increasing the speed every 5 minutes from7.5 to 10 to 12.5km/h before finishing with 5 minutes on 10 km/h hour, Friday’s session will be pushed harder than this with me probably including 5 minutes up on about 14 km/h before coming back to 12.5km/h (an additional 5 minutes to the total time).

My ergo and cycle session is what really killed my legs on Monday, it was important that I did not overdo these. I only did 5 minutes on the ergo keeping my stroke rate up above the 30 strokes per minute, most of the time it sat between 32 and 35 strokes per minute. The distance I travelled was approximately 1,200m with an average 500m split of 2.06 seconds. The cycle I aimed to be consistent for the full 10 minute ride with my pace and managed to cover a distance of 4.56km in the time. Both of these aparaus I will look at pushing myself harder come Friday morning’s sessions.

My stretching to finish was vitally important due to the game I have on later tonight. Whilst going through my routine of muscle groups I couldn’t help but notice that my legs are starting to feel looser in a shorter amount of time during and after stretching – things ARE slowly improving.

North West Trip Day Three Part Four – Weano and Hancock Gorge

We had completed the restricted part of our gorge adventure as soon as we unclipped our safety ropes at the end of the cow-tail. We found ourselves at the end of the class five category walk in Hancock Gorge – Kermit’s Pool. The landscape in this part of the gorge was very different to what we experienced in the previous gorge with the pathway being very narrow and the walls rising high above us. The rock face was very smooth and had been well worn over many wet seasons, I was again reminded as the water still freely flowed over a small water fall down into Regan’s Pool below, that I wouldn’t want to get caught in a flash flood in these gorges when it was raining (apparently a local is quoted as saying to have seen the water level rise over 10 metres in under three minutes).

As Pete packed up the rigging and prepared it for us to re-strap to our backs we were able to explore the area around Kermit’s Pool. Brendan took the time to look for a nice place to sit further up the gorge whilst Melis found a ledge to lie on and I tried to find a little bit of sun to try and warm up a bit. Unfortunately with the time of day it was by now (after 4pm) the sun had vanished from this part of the gorge due to the walls being too narrow and steep leaving us in complete shadow.

After Pete had packed up the ropes we regrouped and were briefed that although the most dangerous part of the journey had finished that we still had to take car as we continued to head back to the car park where we parked. We were told that many people having completed the restricted part had slipped on the rocks by and through the level five walk and it was possible to sprain and ankle still, we had to take our time and give the gorge the respect it still deserved. We kitted up with our ropes on our backs as we had back at the start of the day and started off towards the car. Very quickly we found ourselves again getting wet (but not too deeply) as the gorge narrowed and it was impossible to pass anyway but through a gap less than a mtre in width. This part of the gorge was know as a Spider Walk, being a specific walking style we could do through this part if we liked. Spider Walking required us to pull ourselves up out of the water and spread our legs so that one was n either side of the rock face with the water body inbetween. From this position we walked about 20 metres above the water carefully looking for good positions to place our feet. The end of the spider walk we were met with another expanse of water, this one not too deep, which we needed to travel through to continue towards the exit point.

The next phase of Hancock Gorge saw the width of the gorge open up a lot more, the rock formations changed to be a lot deeper red in colour but one thing remained, the terrain was still challenging to move over meaning care had to be taken to avoid injury. We were still in the class 5 walk meaning that experience of trail was needed and that the path was not well marked. With Pete in front of us we continued on our way having to climb over many rocks and up small cliff faces that overhung the stream running through the centre of the gorge. It was at this point we came across some tourists heading in the opposite direction, they sounded like they were from Germany, their attire was an interesting selection for the terrain with the blokes int he group wearing thongs (flip-flops for Poms) on their feet. After Pete had directed them with how far they could go down we continued on our way.

A little further down the path became a little easier to navigate, this was the start of the class 4 walk in Hancock Gorge. The terrain still commanded our respect, and after a short stop for another cup of tea and refreshment we continued on our journey. Throughout this part of the gorge we saw many wonderful sights including small waterfalls and pristine waters so clear and unblemished that I am sure you would be able to drink from them without any worry of catching anything. The terrain continued to slope upwards as we headed up the gorge towards our goal and there was more and more opportunity for us to spread out a little and find our own path through the gorge with numerous opportunities for rock climbing up small ledges.

Before we knew it we came to a ladder that had been built into the side of the gorge, this was our exit point from Hancock Gorge, the beginning of the climb up to the car-park waiting above. The hike up out of the gorge was quite a steep one and had most of the group puffing for air due to the speed we did it at, it is listed as a class four walk still (so it isn’t too easy). within five minutes we were back at the top of the gorge and heading to the car park where we had started the day.

Upon reaching the car park Pete signed us off with the DEC as being out of the gorge safely and that there had been no one else spotted won there. After helping him pack up the various bits of equipment we got back into “Anzac Annie” and headed back to the base camp. As we were driving we stopped to overlook the sun setting across the Savannah, the colours of red mixed with various shades of blue and purple were quite incredible and awe inspiring.

Back at base camp we were able to get changed out of our wet gear and back into our usual clothes. We had a hot cup of tea waiting for us which enjoyed under the gas heater that is at Pete’s campsite. As we chatted about the day that had been Pete went to work preparing a slide show of the entire day’s travels through the gorges which can be watched below.

After we had enjoyed our cup of tea and reminisced on all the days adventures we were dropped back at the Eco Retreat reception area where we quickly moved off to our separate tents to have showers and try and get warm before dinner. The showers were a welcome site for both Melissa and myself, after being appropriately warmed up we headed back to the visitors centre to join mum and dad for dinner. This was followed by heading back to the tents where we all turned in for the night. Tomorrow was going to be Sunday, we had planned to head into Tom Price to attend mass, for this to occur we were going to have to be up and in the car by 6:45am.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 15 – Tuesday 30th August

Today’s session ended up being a great session, I set a number of new PBs (since restarting sessions, so not all time PBs), however it did have an incredibly slow start to the day.

My alarm went off this morning at 5:00am and I found it extremely difficult to get out of bed, this was not due to a lack of sleep as I was in bed by midnight, meaning I was getting my needed 5 hours of rest, but rather because I had a restless night sleep. Some nights, last night being one, a have very vivid dreams which always have a huge effect on me the following day when it comes to getting out of bed. I literally at times turn the alarm off not realising that is what I have done thinking that I am still asleep and it is all part of my dream. Luckily this didn’t happen too badly this morning with me being able to pull myself out of bed by 5:15am. After completing my usual abdominal workout I headed into Subiaco to the gym, I had run out of time to get my morning prayer done so I will need to do that straight after completing this post.

I started on the bench press with my initial weight of 60 kg which I completed with only minimal resistance. This weight was then increased to 65kg, it is amazing the extra strain an additional 5 kg on the bar causes with me only managing to get out a second set of 6 repetitions before a third set of only 4 repetitions – there’s still a bit of work needed on my bench pressing to get anywhere near the 72.5kg I was doing six months ago. I increased the weight on my inclined press to 20 kg dumb-bells and managed to get out sets of 12, 10 and 9 meaning that on Thursday I will look to increase the weight to 22.5kg. The shoulder lifts I did in between I remained on the 10kg dumb-bells, I might look at increasing these on Thursday to 12.5kg, I will wait and see how I feel on the morning.

My shoulder press and bicep curl routine I used the 17.5kg and 10kg dumb-bells respectively and managed to do 12 repetitions on the first two shoulder presses with 8 on the final and a complete 12 repetitions on all three sets of the bicep curls. I feel come Thursday these weights will also need to be increased to 20kg and 12.5kg respectively. My shoulder flies and triceps curls I used the 10kg dumb-bells for and completed 12 repetitions on all three sets of both meaning that Thursday’s session will need to be used with the 12.5kg weight as well. My lifts using a 20kg weight on my deltoids was also successful with a complete 12 repetitions for all three sets meaning this weight will also need to be increased to 22.5kg on Thursday.

The lat pull down was being used so I jumped straight into my bicep curls using a barbell interchanged with my triceps dips. I managed to complete two sets of 12 repetitions of the bicep curls with the third set only 8 being managed, the triceps dips saw three complete sets done. I will increase this weight to the 30kg dumb-bell on Thursday as well. After completing this the lat pull down was available so I did three sets of twelve increasing the weight from 50 to 60 to 65. I will wait and see how i feel on Thursday before increasing these weights as I have found it depends on the day to how fatigued I am feeling at this stage of the workout.

Overall I am really happy with how the workout went. This had made it two days in a row now, tomorrow is supposed to be a cardio workout, fingers crossed it can become three in a row!

Get in Shape Challenge Day 14 – Monday 29th August 2011

Today is the beginning of the third week of my Get in Shape Challenge and I was looking forward to seeing if I could get through completing all six sessions in the week, three cardios and three weights. Today I had decided that I was going to make the most of not having to teach due to a boarder’s long weekend at Aquinas College and a Day 0 at Mater Dei College and get some extra sleep to recover from the start of the school term. I also had thought that if I could commit to doing an early afternoon session that this could perhaps become the normal Monday session time as I finished teaching always by 1:25pm in the afternoon. I knew that this mover was a risky one as I hadn’t yet completed one session which wasn’t done at the beginning of my day, I did feel that the long term benefit made it worth the risk.

After hanging out with my fiancee all morning I headed into the gym in Subiaco for my cardio session. On the back of two good sessions last week I had decided that this week I would push myself harder with both a greater amount of effort and increased times on various apparatus.

My session started with a 20 minute run. I started with a 5 minute run on 7.5km/h to loosen off and warm up my legs before increasing to 10 km/h for five minutes then 12.5km/h for 5 minutes. The speed I then decreased back to 10 km/h for the final five minutes of my run. After completing this I headed over to the ergo for my rowing session.

Last week on the ergo I managed to row consistently at above 30 strokes per minute for 5 minutes. This week my aim was going to be to increase the time on the ergo and, if possible the strokes per minute as well. I started rowing and took the strokes up to 34 strokes per minute, this I managed to maintain between the 32 and 34 for the entire row. As I approached the 5 minute mark I decided that today I would aim for the 7.5 minutes with later in the week 10 minutes being the ultimate goal. At the end of the 7.5 minutes I had rowed 1,834 metres with an average 500 metre split of 2 minutes and 3 seconds, my stroke rate up at the 34 strokes per minute. This workout really had my legs burning and I knew that my next goal on the cycle would be a difficult one to complete.

I stepped onto the cycle with the aim of riding 5 km in the 10 minute period (an average of 500m per minute). With the cycle on a resistance level of 6 I started out and managed to find a rhythm where I was managing to keep up with the required work rate. By the 4 minute mark I had started to pull ahead of the required distance and was sitting about 5 seconds ahead of where I needed to be. This gap I continued to increase slowly throughout the cycle and I completed the 5 km in 9 minutes and 13 seconds, the last three minutes of the ride my legs were absolutely burning and they felt like they were going to drop off and after I had reached the goal early I decided to keep pushing myself to see how far I could ride in the time. By the 10 minute mark I had ridden 5.24 km. Whilst my legs were so tired it was difficult to walk when getting off the bike I know that I will have to push myself harder later in the week either by increasing the effort level to at least an 8m, setting myself a target of 6 km inside the 10 minutes or both.

The stretching session at the end of my workout was interesting with my legs so tired it was difficult to stretch. I really had worked myself hard throughout this session and the lactic acid was already building up throughout all my leg muscles, especially through my hamstrings, quads and glutes. I may need to do a lot more stretching tomorrow to ensure that Wednesday’s cardio session plus indoor soccer game on Wednesday Night are both successful ventures.

Tomorrow’s session is my first weights for the week, I am looking forward to it to see what goals I can set for this coming week.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 13 – Sunday 28th August

Sunday the 28th of August marked the next day of rest in my Get in Shape Challenge Regime. Today the plan was to do no workouts in anyway what so ever to allow my body the fullest potential to recover from the week’s sessions and also regroup for the coming week.

On reflection the week just gone has been a positive build on the first week, I managed to fit in four of the six sessions (two thirds success rate) with me only missing the cardio session on Monday morning and my weights session on Saturday morning. The week to come I will try to fix this problem and go for a 6 / 6 score on sessions.

Other positives I have found in the way my body is already starting to pull up after sessions as well as perform throughout sessions. My weights sessions have seen improvement in the amount of load I have been able to exert on my muscle groups as well as the number of repetitions increasing. I have also found that my recovery has gotten much better with my body not as tight or sore n the days following the sessions.

My cardio sessions this week have also been a step in the right direction. I decided to take the week easy to ease myself back into the routine of working out with a cross training sessions and always stretching well at the conclusion of a session. I have found that my body has responded well and I have not tightness in any of my muscle groups in the days following a workout. In the coming week I feel it is time to start pushing these sessions at a higher intensity to really start to get some benefit to my overall fitness levels.

Tomorrow’s session is supposed to be a cardio session, as I have the day off teaching I am planning on sleeping in and going to the gym in the early afternoon. I understand that this is a dangerous mover as I have not yet been able to complete one session after the early start time, however if i can do this then it is the chance for me to setup a usual early afternoon session on a Monday giving my body a little extra sleep on Sunday night.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 12 – Saturday 27th August

Day 12, the second Saturday of the Challenge and the final session for this week. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the gym. My efforts to make it five days in a row fell short largely because of my lack of ability to get out of bed.

My alarm went off at 6:45am, as the gym opens at 7:00am on Saturdays, but instead of getting up and getting on with making it to the gym I rolled over and went back to sleep. As has been proven so far in the challenge, neglecting to get up and do the session first thing ends up equalling not doing a session at all. It is disappointing as this was the last session I had for this week and up until this day I had not missed a weights session. Tomorrow is supposed to be my rest day so Monday I will start back with a cardio session. Week three I can only hope starts on the right foot with not missing a session.

Only time will tell…

North West Trip Day Three Part Three – Weano and Hancock Gorge

We arrived at Junction Pool within a couple of minutes of leaving the bottom of Weano Falls. This pool gets it’s name from being the pool at the junction point where three gorges meet being Hancock, Weano and Red. The tube we had been carrying throughout the day so far Pete told us we would use to cross over the pool as the temperature of the water is too cold at this time of year to be swum (he did still give us the opportunity to swim it if we so desired). Pete told us that what we were going to do is create a rope ferry system with the tube where we would pull each person across via the rope. Brendan was asked to be the rope man on the side we were currently on and after attaching it to the tube Pete jumped into the tube and paddled across to the other side (about 50 metres away). After he was safe on the other side Brendan pulled the tube back and we started to cross one by one to the bottom of the Chute at the mouth of Hancock Gorge. I was the first one to head across this time and was glad I didn’t take Pete up on the offer to swim to the far side with the water temperature being icy cold (seriously as cold as melted ice water in the bottom of eskies). After I had gotten across to the other side and Pete helped me out (the rocks being very slippery) we sent the tube back and Melissa got in. Pete asked me to be the puller of the tube on the near side so he could take some video footage of the others coming across the pool. After both Melissa and Brendan were across safely we took another short break where we had another cup of tea before commencing our ascent up what is known as the Chute.

The Chute is basically a long narrow waterfall that runs from Regan’s Pool down to Junction Pool, it is located at the end of Hancock Gorge. As the name suggests it is a very narrow passage of fast running water and rises fairly steeply (40 metres over a 20 – 30 metre distance). Similar to all the other water bodies we had encountered on the trip the rocks around the Chute were very slippery and we were instructed to take great care and help each other as we climbed, this was our free climb on the tour with no safety rope attached to us at all. When we were about three quarters of the way up the Chute Pete indicated for us to take a moment and sit down to have a look at where we had climbed. Looking back down it was amazing to see that we had already climbed up a significant way, it was also possible to see why this area was called “The Centre of the Earth” with the twisted rock formations, narrow passages and fast flowing water conjuring up images of the Jules Verne Classic “A Journey to the Centre of the Earth”. This truly was Karijini at its best, the beauty of the park can be experienced by all but to truly see her beauty you need to be willing to work hard for it and go to the extra efforts similar to what we had been doing throughout the course of the day. After tis 5 minute break we continued to climb up to Regan’s Pool where we would be doing a 10 metre climb up a vertical rock face followed by a cow-tail across ledges to exit the restricted parts of the gorges and rejoin Hancock Gorge at Kermit’s Pool.

We had to climb u a bit further before the gorge started to open out the area before Regan’s Pool, unfortunately named after the death of a rescuer who lost his life in a flash flood whilst trying to save a tourist who was stuck in the gorge. The location of Regan’s Pool is where they found his body. As we approached the cliff face were about to climb we saw many tourists in the unrestricted section leaning out over the edge and going past the warning signs saying to not enter the level six areas. Pete was yelling at them telling them to go back into the unrestricted section. We had it explained to us earlier in the day about the perils and dangers that Karijini presents in its gorges. After the death of Jimmy Regan it became obvious that there needed to be a grading system for walks and some level restricted as to rescue people from these gorges proves a huge risk to the rescuers (both deaths and injuries to rescuers have occurred). Unfortunately many people still ignore these signs, as a result volunteers need to put their safety on the line for strangers. On a side point, there are huge fines involved for people caught in the restricted gorges without permission from the D.E.C.

Pete needed to setup all the rigging both for the rock climb and the cow-tailing, as he did this (which took about 20 minutes) he encouraged us to go and take a look at Regan’s Pool and try and have a climb around the edge of it. The site of Regan’s Pool is a stunning circular pool with a small waterfall running into it from Kermit’s Pool and the upper regions of Hancock Gorge about 15 metres above. The stillness and clarity of the water was an incredible pale blue which look so perfect that we really didn’t want to disturb these tranquil, almost seemingly spiritual waters. Around the edge of Regan’s Pool was a small cliff face which we felt it would be possible to climb all the way, including through the waterfall, around. One by one we started off attempting to do this with Brendan leading the way followed by Melissa and myself coming up third. The climb started rather easily until about half way round when approaching the waterfall where the rocks became very slippery, after almost slipping a number of times, Brendan succumbed to gravity and fell into the pool which was icy cold, I soon followed in falling in and didn’t even get as far around as he did. Melis, on the other hand, found the way through. Watching her get up and underneath the waterfall (the gap got very tight and narrow) was an impressive effort. After she had completed the entire route she did go into the pool for a swim, it would have been a shame for all of us to go into the restricted areas and not swim in at least one of these pristine and exclusive locations.

Pete had finished the rigging for the rock climb and cow-tail out of the gorge and called us over to be breifed on exactly what was going to happen. He asked me to be the safety officer as it is the role I filled earlier in the day when we did our rock climb before abseiling down Weano Falls. We settled on the order of Brendan climbing first, followed be Melis with myself coming up last due to being the safety officer. After waiting a few minutes for Pete to climb back up and get in position we followed the procedures Pete had laid out and had Brendan prepared to climb up the 15 metre wall. He completed this in about five minutes and as he started on the cow-tail into the unrestricted parts of Hancock Gorge we prepared Melissa for her climb. Melissa got up the cliff face and onto the ledge above very quickly, she really was the best climber of the day). Once she was at the top Pete lowered the rope for me to attach myself and climb up. Going last of three of us (plus Pete before that) I had the most difficult due to the rock face and all the hand / foot holes being wet from the previous to climbers. Although I did start to lose my grip a couple of times I did managed to get to the ledge on the cliff above. From here Pete told us to cow-tail out of the restricted area of Hancock Gorge and wait for him whilst he took down all the rigging we were using for the climb and the cow-tail. I took my time on the cow-tail out stopping to look back down towards the Centre of the Earth from where we had journeyed up. The beauty of Karijini was breath taking and whilst I was appreciative of what I had experienced over the course of the day I was also a little disappointed that our journey was beginning to draw to a close.

To be continued…

Get in Shape Challenge Day 11 – Friday 26th August

This morning’s session I found a really difficult one to get up and do, when the alarm went off at 5:00am all I wanted to do was to roll over and turn it off. This is largely due to me not having gotten as much sleep over the past few nights as I have been getting for the last few weeks. Normally I can survive and sustain myself off 5 – 6 hours sleep, unfortunately I have had a lot of things playing on my mind, problems that need solutions over the past few day which has been causing me to have restless sleep. Last night I didn’t really fall asleep until around the 2:00am mark.

After a lot of procrastination I pulled myself out of bed (about 5:15am) and completed part of my morning routine, the abdominal exercises, my lack of getting out of bed promptly meant I ran out of time to pray which I will make sure I do this afternoon as soon as I get home. After packing my bag for the day to come I headed into the gym in Subiaco.

Today’s session was set to be a cardio workout consisting of a run on the treadmill increasing the speed every five minutes followed by an ergo and completed with a cycle before doing my stretching exercises to help in my recovery. I felt really good once I had started the run and decided to increase the amount of time that I was running from what I had previously done on Wednesday’s session. Starting on my warm up speed of 7.5 km/h I increased it up to 10 km/h after five minutes and then up to 11.5 km/h at the ten minute mark. After holding this for 5 minutes I reduced the speed back to 10 km/h to finish to make a total of 20 minutes. I then headed to the ergo for five minutes of rowing keeping the intensity above 30 strokes per minutes for the entire session. The ergo session I found quite easy so I think I might increase the time of this to ten minutes come Monday’s session.

To finish I jumped onto the bikes and set myself the task to ride as far as I could on a medium resistance for ten minutes, I managed to ride 4.53 km in this time. I will see if I can break the 5 kms in 10 minutes next week, this should be possible. The stretching session I did to finish felt really good with none of my muscle groups feeling overly sore or tight, I am confident that they won’t seize up over the next 24 hours either.

If I manage to get up tomorrow morning and do my weights session I will have achieved five days in a row at the gym, fingers crossed I can make this a reality.

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