Walking and running for shiny medals!

I might be in my mid 40s but I’m certainly not too old to get excited when a shiny medal pops through my letterbox!

I’ve discovered an international community of people who love to jog, walk, run, swim, row or do whatever to claim their well-earned medals. Whether it’s medals to celebrate doing your first 5K, running a marathon, jogging the distance of the English Channel or even walking Route 66, there’s a medal out there for everyone.

So, here’s my collection… so far! It all started when I did the Couch to 5K program earlier this year when I was still morbidly obese. I wondered if there might be a medal to reward myself and, wow, I came across so many websites including those I’ve listed at the end of today’s post. I’m now filling my 2nd medal hangar. You know, I could just exercise for the sake of it but working towards these MAKES me want to get out there and get fit!

This last one turned up this week! I LOVE it and it even came with a stunning T-shirt.

Many of these medal companies will ship internationally so you want to check out the ones I’ve come cross so far:

Conqueror Medals https://www.theconqueror.events/ These are STUNNING!!!! Brilliant quality and you’ll find thousands of people doing these challenges on the Facebook group My Virtual Mission (super friendly and supportive group!)

Virtual Racing UK. A really great mix of medals with new ones coming out all the time https://www.virtualracinguk.co.uk/ Helpful staff.

These are pretty cool as you can set how far you want to aim for each month and, each month, the medal design changes to make it seasonal https://www.raceatyourpace.co.uk/

Ace Races …. a new discovery for me but lots of short term challenges here https://ace-races.co.uk/

Virtual Runner https://www.virtualrunneruk.com/race-length/fun-run-races/ This is also a new discovery but I’ve signed up for 3 medals for 2021 so far.

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Does 5K sound to far? You know, back in February, I couldn’t walk 100 metres without having to stop and I was in pain. Honestly, I struggled to get up the stairs without being breathless. But Race at Your Pace do medals from covering 5 miles over a whole month so even if mobility isn’t great right now, I hope you can find one that’s doable but perhaps push that comfort zone a little bit!

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Do you have any medals? Any you’d like to do? Perhaps you’ve got a place in mind that you’d love to see turned into a virtual medal challenge. I’d love to know

Have a great weekend everyone

Love Erika xx

Are you ever too old to get medals for walking?!

Hey folks

Well, I’m going to answer this question straightaway with a huge resounding “No”!!! You see, I’m discovering that there’s an international community of thousands of people working towards challenges through walking, running, jogging, swimming, cycling and much more, and I’d love to tell you about this.

How did you discover medals, Erika?

Back in February when I weighed 329 lbs, I couldn’t walk more than 100 metres without being puffed out. Part way into this weight loss journey, I pushed myself to do Couch to 5K and in fact completed nearly all of it whilst morbidly obese. But I wanted something to celebrate my achievement, something tangible and I discovered this beauty below. But I’ve now also discovered there are LOTS more medals out there!

What medals are there?

So, yes, there are medals for real events like running marathons, etc. However, I’m discovering virtual events where you use your phone or tracking device to progress through predetermined routes, such as walking the Inca Trail in Peru, walking Route 66, walking 160 km to Mount Everest base camp, etc. Once you’ve achieved the distance, you submit your evidence and, whoop, a shiny medal drops through your letter box. My favourite websites are My Virtual Mission (I LOVE their medals), Virtual Racing UK and Ace-Races UK. But a word of warning…they’re addictive!

How does working towards a medal help?

For me, I love a target. Something to aim for. Something I can achieve. I’m not just exercising for the sake for it and some websites/apps actually show you how far you are along the route, sending you virtual postcards, etc. Like on My Virtual Mission, I can see where I am on the map but there’s also a brilliantly supportive Facebook group. Tonight, I’ll be covering some more distance as I work towards my next medal. It’s much cheaper than going to a gym!

Which ones have you got to far and which ones are you planning?

So far, I’ve got medals for Couch to 5K, 50 miles of running in July, 100 miles of running in August, a 31 day challenge through August where I was set daily fitness challenges, the width of the English Channel (34 km which is below), the Inca Trail (42 km) and Hadrian’s Wall (165 km). I also got a medal for walking 5km along a local route that I’d been too unfit to even try. When I accomplished it, I deliriously jumped onto the app and claimed the medal straightaway!

I’m currently working towards a 290 km New Zealand-based walk and, separately, a 160 km Mount Everest one. In under 5 weeks, I’ll be running the official 2020 Virtual London Marathon that will result in a medal (hopefully!)….and so many more.

This is from My Virtual Mission – jolly heavy!

Once I have quite a collection, I’ll share lots of photos! Some medals are coming from the US so it’ll take a bit of time but who doesn’t like something shiny! I might even put a ‘wall medal holder’ on my birthday present list. Get me, I love working out!

Love Erika xx

Yes! I did ‘Couch to 5K’ whilst morbidly obese!!

There are a few reasons behind today’s post. As well as telling you what Couch to 5K is and sharing my experience, I REALLY hope to inspire at least one person to give it a go. I wonder if that person might be YOU!

So, what is Couch to 5K?

In a nutshell, it’s a running program designed to take the complete beginner to being able to run 5K in around 9 weeks. Now, when I say ‘beginner’, you may think that people still need to be able to jog but it really is designed for those who haven’t put on a pair of trainers since their school days or get puffed out just walking around the shopping mall. When I started it, I couldn’t walk 150 metres without being in immense pain and needing to stop to catch my breath.

In each of the 9 weeks, there are 3 runs to do with a rest day in between. So, you could do set days (like Monday, Wednesday and Friday) or do literally every other day if you don’t have to run on certain days. All runs start with a 5 minute walk to warm up and then a walk for 5 minutes to cool down. The very first run involves alternating between running for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds. Over the course of the program, you start to run for longer until you’re actually running more than you’re walking and each work out session will last for 30-40 minutes including the warm up/cool down. But there are apps you can download so you don’t need to worry about whether to run or walk. You just follow the voice telling you what to do. The important thing to tell you though is that the aim is actually to be able to run for 5K OR run for 30 minutes….and most people can’t do 5K in 30 minutes at the end of week 9. That’s okay. Focus on your stamina to run for longer than your pace which can develop over time.

My experience of doing Couch to 5K

So, 25 of the 27 runs were done whilst still morbidly obese! Yes, you don’t have to super slim or fit to do this. I took it on as a personal challenge although I thought I may get half way through before my body gave up on me and I was shocked that I did the whole program. In week 8, I pushed myself beyond the official 28 minutes until reached 5K and I can’t tell you the incredible feeling of accomplishment when you graduate. I did some runs around my village but also some around my home and garden. I even wore leggings for the first time ever! I found that I could manage my breathing very easily but there were times when I could feel my shins hurting. Thankfully, I didn’t develop shin splints but this is why rest days are important. Your muscles will develop tiny tears when being pushed physically and the rest days are needed for them to repair. Of course, don’t run if you think you’re doing yourself serious injury but it’s quite normal for the body to ache so grit your teeth and push through it.

I even found a website called http://www.virtualracing.co.uk in the UK where you can sign up for the medal and then it’s sent to you when you submit your evidence. I’m now in the process of doing other fitness challenges: a 1,000 mile challenge between now and the end of the year; the August challenge when I’ll be emailed daily fitness activities to do and one that spans October to December. Yes, I’m a grown up but the thought of receiving medals is hugely motivating!

So, are YOU going to give it a go?

Couch to 5K has been on the news in the UK as record numbers of people downloaded the BBC app during lockdown, especially with the gyms closed. I found that there are amazing communities on Facebook where people really encourage you to complete the program, share tips (like apparently chewing gum can help breathing) and you feel like you’re on this personal journey. I can’t urge you enough to think about giving it a go. I struggled to run for 60 seconds in that first week but it’s designed to be followed to the letter and, if you do, you may find yourself say “I love running”. I now do!!

I’d love to hear if you’ve done Couch to 5K or you’re thinking about it ❤

Okay folks, I’ll be back on Monday with my weigh-in and telling you how the first couple of ‘August fitness challenge’ days have gone so have a great weekend everyone

Love Erika xx

Guess what? I ran 5K!!!

Hey folks

I thought I’d come on here before my next weigh-in (on Monday) to share some HUGE news!

Last night, whilst doing week 8 run 1 of the Couch to 5K program, I ran 5 whole, complete, entire kilometres! I can’t tell you how shocked I was. You see, I was meant to run for 28 minutes but I thought I’d keep going until I hit the 5K mark and whilst it may have taken 45 minutes, the main thing is that I kept going! I pushed my boundaries. I discovered that I’m capable of pushing myself in the pursuit of becoming healthy.

With 5 more runs to complete until I finish Couch to 5K, my hope is to cover 5K is less time. So, I hope this inspires anyone thinking that running is only for slim, fit people. I’m still just into the morbidly obese range and I never thought I’d accomplish this…but I did!

Once I finish the remaining runs, I’m going to do a blog post about the overall experience and my top tips but I just wanted to share this euphoric moment as we go into the weekend. I’m just a little bit happy!!!!!!!!!

See you on the other side of the weekend. My weight has stalled for the past few days and I don’t know whether my BMI will finally be sub 40 but I don’t mind. I’ll get there

Have a great weekend everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 10 weigh-in: 5lbs lost this week!

Yes, really!

I usually tell you the magic weight loss number some way into my posts but I just had to put it in today’s title! I’m SO pleased! I wouldn’t say that I’ve made any real changes to what I’m eating this week but I suspect it’s to do with ‘Couch to 5K’. Do you know what I did last night? I ran for 20 minutes. Yes, I ran! I was incredibly emotional afterwards as I was just shocked that someone just into the morbidly obese range could achieve such a feat. This weight loss means that I’m now 5lbs away from no longer being morbidly obese which I’d hoped to achieve by the end of July but I suspect it will be in the next 1-2 weeks. Trust me. When it happens, I’ll be straight on here announcing it but I think I can start to think of what I’m going to treat myself to with my first major milestone in sight.

How do you track your weight?

I wanted to mention how I’m tracking my weight loss. There are lots of apps out there, many of which allow you to track exactly what you’re eating, what you’re drinking, how much sleep you’re getting, etc. I didn’t want to put in my food intake as I was confident that I’d be sticking to healthy food and I guess I didn’t want to become fixated on documenting everything…..although, for some people, that’d be really helpful. I’m using the MY Weight app which is purely for putting in the results of each weigh-in. So I’ve taken a couple of screenshots.

Now, the first thing to say (which I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here before) is that I set it up from my likely weight back in February as I’d already lost some weight before starting to blog. This means that I’m actually planning to lose 171lbs in all (but 150lbs from from my first blog post). Back in February, my BMI was around 50.

And this is today’s screenshot…..

Can you see how close I am to getting my BMI under 40?!!! Also, the percentage of fat loss is big and it’s showing me that I’m losing just over 3lbs each week. The reference to calories is what I should be eating to lose 1lb a week based on being moderately active.

The other thing I like about the app is that the graph has a green line which shows me how my weight loss should look if I’m losing 1lb a week and the red line is my current trajectory……so I’m well ahead! But even sticking to the green line would be a result and very much headed towards the long term goal.

Next time?

Later this week, I’d thought I’d talk about scales in terms of how often ‘should’ we weigh ourselves? I’ll give you a spoiler that my answer is whatever suits YOU! However, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of doing it different ways

Have a good week everyone

Love Erika xx

Get me! Exercising at 2am!!

Hey folks

Couch to 5K

I can’t stress enough that just 4 months ago, I was the person who’d choose to catch the next bus rather than run to catch the one about to leave! I’d be the person circling the car park to get the nearest space to the shop and would come back another day if need be! I’d be the person who thought Couch to 5K (C25K) was for the ultra fit…..well, I was out exercising last night!

Yes, I did ‘Week 4, run 1’ of C25K in the middle of the night and this particular run (which I’ve got to repeat twice more before progressing to week 5) meant I spent more time running than I did walking. My running is more of a jog but I’m actually getting fitter and my runs this week involve 2 x 3 minutes and 2 x 5 minutes along with some brief walking episodes in between. And it felt really doable! Plus it was way cooler after the intense heat during the day. I also feel like the inches are falling off more quickly and I’ll talk about this more on Monday where I’ll share my ‘then’ stats and my current stats of my waist, hips, belly, etc.

So desperate to no longer be morbidly obese

I can’t tell you how driven I am to get out of the morbidly obese category and I really feel that I’m going to achieve this in the next 3-4 weeks. I think the more I connect with my body, the more aware I am of the need to get fitter because of all the linked risks. Of course, I still have some way to go until I’m in the healthy range but I’ll get there! I can visualise how much easier things will be in terms of how I move, what I’ll wear, what I’ll do, etc.

What’s coming in my next few blog posts?

As well as my weekly weigh-in on Mondays, I’ll share with you more about what and when I’m eating, I’ll show you the ‘inspiration clothes’ I’ve bought which I hope to wear by the end of the year and lots of other things about how my mind works! You see, I’ve tried to do this new lifestyle change before and it hasn’t worked but something feels very different this time.

Have a super weekend everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 8 weigh-in: a non-scale victory!

Hello feet!

Well, my non-scale victory might be something that nearly everyone can do but…..I can now stand with my feet together! For quite some times, there’s been a 1-2 inch gap but I suddenly looked down the other day and woah!!! My feet touch!!!

The scales say…

I’ve lost 2lbs this week. I know that I can be very open here but, with this being my lowest weekly weight loss so far, I’m a tad bit disappointed BUT I know that these 2lbs add up and it’s much better that not losing weight or putting on weight! I guess I hoped for more as I haven’t once gone over my calorie limit in all this time and I’ve been exercising so much this week. Could it be that I’m gaining muscle? 1lb of fat is the same weight at 1lb of muscle but muscle is far more dense and therefore takes up a much smaller space. That could explain why I’m losing inches and moving so much better but not seeing greater numbers come off the scale today. But let’s not overthink it, Erika. Celebrate 2lbs!

Couch to 5K

I’m continuing week 3 of this running programme tonight and I thought I’d share with you what I’ll be doing. 9 minutes of running in all including 2 x 3 minutes. I mean, I couldn’t even run the length of my body when I started this!

And finally…

Whilst every pound lost or even 1/2 point on my BMI is an achievement, I have a few big milestones to reach too. And my next one is something I hope to achieve by the end of July. My BMI is currently 41.8 which puts me in the morbidly obese category. This is down from an estimated BMI of 50 back in February before I started this blog and down from about 46 when I started this blogging journey 2 months ago. So, my next major milestone is to get my BMI to under 39 and no longer be morbidly obese. That means I have 11 lbs to lose. You can do this girl!

Love Erika xx

Week 6 weigh-in: I’ve started C25K!

Hey folks

Too fat to run? No!

I’m SO excited to tell you that I’ve started the running programme C25K (Couch to 5K). Yes, I know that I started some jogging on the spot a few weeks ago and injured myself but I made the mistake of not having any rest days. However, this time, I’m following C25K to the letter which means exercising 3 times a week, slowly increasing the amount of running. The aim is to do this over 9 weeks whilst following the app but you can repeat weeks if you need to slow down the pace.

I did wonder whether I’m too fat to run. I mean, we have to take care of our bodies but I’ve read lots of accounts from others who’ve done this when heavier than me….and I can’t tell you how great I feel. The music I talked about last week is now on my exercise playlist and it did just the job. This might sound really silly but I do like the idea of rewards to keep me going. I’ve found a website called Virtual Racing UK where you pay to enter a wide range of races including C25K. They give you a virtual bib number and then you submit evidence of achieving your goal in order to claim your actual-real-life-doesn’t-that-feel-good medal! Yes, if I meet this goal, I’ll have an actual medal sent to me which I can then share with you on here. So, I’ll keep you posted.

Clothes to inspire

I ordered some clothes the other day that I won’t be able to fit into for months and months as they’re UK size 14. It might seem a little premature but it was just a jumper, hoodie and some 3/4 length trousers (which I’ve never had the confidence to wear). Once they arrive, I’ll take a photo to show you and then I’ll hang them on my bedroom door so that I see them every morning.

And finally…..the scales!

So, I’ve lost another 3lbs! I’ve been drinking so much water this week which, despite sounding rather counterintuitive, helps deal with water retention. You know, my body is feeling very different. Yes, I have a long way to go but I’m moving more easily and clothes are feeling much looser. Happy times!

Have a great week everyone

Love Erika xx

Total weight lost:Still to lose:Current weight: BMI:
33 lbs117 lbs275 lbs41.8