South Milton, Devon

Ever since I arrived in Antigua at the end of my Atlantic row, I have struggled to motivate myself to train. I regained the 30 pounds I had lost in double-quick time, largely due to a fearsome sugar addiction engendered by eating sugary snacks every hour, on the hour, during my time on the ocean – OK when I was rowing 12 hours a day, but not OK when I was back on dry land.

I had been about 8 stone (112 pounds) for most of the 5 years leading up to the row, deliberately went up to 9 stone (126 pounds) immediately pre-race in anticipation of weight loss, and duly arrived in Antigua weighing just over 7 stone (102 pounds, to be precise). To my horror, within 6 months I was nearly 10 stone (140 pounds) and feeling awful. None of my clothes fitted, and I was appalled at my lack of discipline.

In the overall scheme of things, I was probably not doing so badly – since my teens I have been nutrition-conscious, and I never go too long without physical exercise – but compared with my usual state of leanness and fitness I felt like a complete slob.

The point of telling you this sorry saga of yo-yo-ocean-dieting is to convey the good news that I feel I have turned the corner. Over the last 2 weeks I have met a number of people who have inspired me (we all need inspiration!) to improve my diet and start training more seriously. Emma Farrell reminded me of the joys of healthy eating, and Jason Mckinlay has helped get me feeling enthusiastic about exercise again.

I think I may even have experienced my first ever runner’s high. A few days ago Jason had set me a punishing training session – 3 x 10 minute intervals at maximum, with 4 minutes rest between. My heart rate spent a lot of time at 182 beats per minute – I didn’t even know it could go that high.

It hurt like hell, but for the rest of the day I was buzzing, feeling so full of energy and enthusiasm. I can see how this could get addictive…

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