One of the charities that assisted me in purchasing my Overlander was ABF The Soldiers Charity. Last week some of the staff from London and Exeter travelled to meet me so that they could see how it allows me to go out in to the forest and the fields which would simply not be possible in either my manual or powered wheelchairs. We went to the woods where we regularly take the dog for walks and the kids to play, Castle Neroche, where Naomi the photographer could take a few shots of me using the Overlander which the press team could use in their fundraising campaign.
The weather was much better than first thing in the morning when it had been raining REALLY hard, to the point that I had messaged the London team to check that they wanted to make the journey but they had and as it was the gamble had paid off. The forest floor was obviously holding the remains of the mornings downpour but this only aided in showing what the Overlander was capable of. To get the Overlander to the forest, my Dad had come up from Bournemouth to help me which was even better because it was actually the first time that Dad had seen the Overlander in the environment that it loves and gave us a chance for a catch up whilst we were all out.
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On Saturday I took part in a fundraiser that a fitness instructor at the gym asked me to get involved in. She was going to run 26.2 miles, (a marathon), on one of the treadmills while the staff would relay on another treadmill and gym members could contribute by running on further treadmills all aiming for the 26.2 miles. So how would I be involved?
There is a piece of equipment that I use called an ergometer which is essentially a hand cycle but like the treadmill, is static. It has various levels of resistance and you can set a goal in time or in distance, alternatively you can just pedal for as log as you feel and see how far you go. So I had been asked if I would accept the challenge of “cycling” the 26.2 miles. I explained that I may wake up in the morning and simply not be able to take part, that as my wrists and shoulders were problematic I may not be able to complete it and that as I had never tried to do it before, I may not actually finish but that as it was for charity I would indeed give it a try.
I arrived early so as to catch up with Liz the instructor and to ensure that all was sorted. By 08.50 there were lots of people in the gym. They knew we would be starting the challenge at 09.00 and wanted to be there to countdown and join in and that is exactly what they did. I had previously tried 15km on the machine and had completed that in 48 minutes and 58 seconds, 15km being approximately 9 miles. I had therefore hoped to complete the marathon in 2 hours and 30 minutes but was also aware of how uncomfortable my shoulders and wrists were after the 15km so just finishing would be an achievement irrespective of time.
I had hoped to keep at level 6 on the machine at between 60 and 70 rpm but if comfortable a little more, this would ensure me a reasonable time and would get me the 2 and a half hour target. I started and closed my eyes to settle in to the rhythm, it took a while to settle in to a rhythm and be comfortable but once I was there I was there and so all I had to do was try to keep the rhythm and for my shoulders and wrists to not give me problems. The staff and the gym members completed their respective distances before swapping and were providing vocal encouragement which was great, people were also popping in to donate which also made the effort worthwhile.
I did mange to keep the rhythm, my shoulders and wrists did hold out and I completed the “marathon” in 1 hour 56 minutes and 46 seconds which I am immensely proud of. Liz finished her “marathon” in 5 hours and 20 minutes which was excellent. I did do a few more sessions on the hand cycle for support for Liz, the first was a five mile, the second a four mile and the third which saw me cross Liz`s finish line was a further 8 miles. My total therefore was 42 miles. Whilst I did last the distance and complete my “marathon” in a time that I was so proud of, it did not come without consequence. Saturday late afternoon and I was in a hot bath and then to bed. Sunday was a long lay in and only up for a few hours before another hot bath and back to bed. Monday was lay in until 10.30 and although feeling average during the day was a 21.00 turn in. Today though is Tuesday and so far so good and I hope that it will stay that way.
There is still time to donate if you feel that you can, copy and paste the link below.
Thanks for reading.