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1000 Burpees Later

Today, the Army and Navy Women’s Rugby Teams were going to make history by playing their first Army vs Navy fixture at Twickenham. They still wanted to mark the occasion and decided to do 82,000 burpees together to raise money for the NHS. As the physio for the 7s team, I’ve been able to see a few of these incredible ladies in training and matches. It has been a pleasure working with them and taking part in this challenge. 

I completed 1000 burpees. I started early and did them in 20s and they progressively got slower, by the end I was doing sets of 5. I can honestly say that this challenge has not made me like burpees… what a shock!

So far, over £15,000 has been raised for the NHS and over 86,000 burpees pledged!! It has been such an epic feeling to be part of this challenge. People have been doing more than they pledged so the final number will be higher and no, I did not do more than 1000 burpees.

https://www.justgiving.com/FUNDRAISING/ARMYVSNAVYBURPEECHALLENGE

The next question, what should I do next weekend? I’ll try to stop making the titles sound like horror movies too (24 hours later and 1000 burpees later..)

My quote of the day is from Theodore Roosevelt:

‘Believe you can and you’re half way there’

It isn’t always that easy to believe in yourself. It has taken me a while but when you do, it opens up so many possibilities.

24 Hours Later

Thank you so much to everyone that joined in the 24 hour step up challenge, your support and messages kept me going throughout! I absolutely loved all of your step up videos, they were creative, funny and inspiring.

It was a really long day but so worth it! I had a nice set up in the garden, I’m so glad it didn’t rain… The dark hours were the most difficult but I had a few phone calls to keep me going and I also had food brought to me throughout. I should do these 24 hour challenges more often!

The video below was put together of everyone that joined in, thank you Jonathan Fawke for creating the video. All of your donations have raised over £1800 for the NHS!

I worked for the NHS for a few years before joining the Army. A lot of my friends and previous colleagues still do, part of me feels sad I can’t be working with them right now. The other part, is incredibly proud of them.

My quote of the day is taken from Mother Teresa.

“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”

Stay safe everyone x 

Step up for the NHS

I was supposed to be dragging a tyre around London Marathon this weekend, which has now been postponed until October and so I was wondering if there is anything else I could do inside the house. I did consider burpees for 24 hours, luckily I was persuaded against that idea! What could I do inside the house which could also get other people involved? Step ups! I was quite proud of the title if you see what I did there..

I will be completing 24 hours of step ups to raise money for the NHS. The 24 hours will run from Fri 24 Apr 1400 to Sat 25 Apr 1400. I will be posting live updates every hour and possibly streaming it live. Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram links (@polarpreet)

The aim is to get as many people involved as possible!

How to join in:

  1. Complete step ups in your own home for as long as you want and record it (time lapse or a short video)
  2. Post online and tag me (insta and Facebook: @polarpreet)
  3. Make a £5 donation to the JustGiving page:

https://justgiving.com/fundraising/stepupfornhs

Would love for as many people to get involved as possible!

The photos on the blog are from other endurance events (Mt Kenya, Morocco, the Alps and a Military competition) .

Quote of the day:

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Norway (part 2)

After Norway (part 1), I spent a busy 2 weeks in the UK which included Army work, MSc work, getting kit for my next Norway trip, a hen do and I went swimming.

I’m not a swimmer but a good friend of mine is training for an ironman (which I also said I would do..). Anyway, after no swimming for at least 2 years, I went to an hour class. It was great but tiring. Will I go back, of course I will J

After two weeks in England, I flew back to Norway. This time I went to Finse for a Polar Training Course that I booked a few months ago to make sure I had a good baseline for future training trips. 

On arrival in Finse, I couldn’t see much apart from blowing snow, at least I had the right weather conditions! Hannah McKeand runs the course and has an immense knowledge of polar travel, however she wasn’t able to stay for long as she was going on a North Pole expedition herself. Therefore we were left in the capable hands of our guides, Devon and Denise, who both have a wealth of polar knowledge and experience. Safe to say, I was surrounded by the perfect people to learn from. 

The first week we spent some time in lessons on nutrition, polar travel, navigation, camping, comms, weather and everything else we would need for the expedition phase. We practiced pulling our weighted sleds and going up and down hills, which definitely took some getting used to! We tied string on all the zips of the tent so that they were easier to open when it got very cold. Small but important things that I wouldn’t have thought of without guidance. 

Over the weekend, we packed our sleds with all of the necessities. This included enough food for 6 six days. We had freeze dried food for morning and evening meals and snacks for lunch. It is important to get the calories in but also try to keep the weight as light as possible. My favourite snack was ‘smash.’ This was created by the Norwegians and is basically salted corn covered in milk chocolate. They are so tasty! I had a mixed bag of nuts, raisins, chocolate and smash. Also, you can take cheese on the expedition so I really couldn’t complain!We packed our fuel, cooking equipment, a spare pair of clothes, our sleeping system and off we went.

I started off navigating with the compass which is attached to a holder on your chest so you don’t have to carry it. It was pretty windy on day 1 and became more difficult to navigate during a white out. For safety there was always another team member checking navigation on their gps as a backup. 

We would stop every hour for a 10 min break to recharge with water and snacks. You get into a routine quite quickly. Find a good place to stop, flatten the snow as required, put the tent up, cover the guide lines, dig out the kitchen, sort admin, start cooking. Eat, sleep and repeat.

I had a pretty epic fall on this trip, on day 2 when navigating in a white out I stepped forward and the ground just wasn’t there anymore. I don’t really remember the fall, just feeling a pain in my arm and hearing Edward still at the top of the hill shouting ‘she’s disappeared!’ I got to my feet and touched my clavicle (collar bone) and shoulder to feel for injuries and just shouted ‘don’t come down’ I unclipped my sled and ran half way up the hill and as a team we got everyone down. It wasn’t until the evening that I noticed the nice purple bruise on my arm (see photo below). Turns out my sled wacked me in the arm.. Luckily no serious injuries! It’s gone now and I kind of miss it..

By day 3, the weather had cleared and we could actually see where we were going! It was my favourite day. There was a fair amount of up and down and breaking trail which was hard work but it was so beautiful. The next few days were the same with the weather until the last day.

I’m going to finish there and my inspiration for the day came from a teenage girl, I can’t remember her exact age but she was under 15. She gave a speech about her experiences so far. She had done a lot, including the Amundsen race after persuading them to let her enter even though the entry age is usually 18. Anyway, she said something along the lines; 

It is about the journey, enjoying every day we’re out there.

How many people look at the end goal, rather than enjoying the experience on the way? This isn’t about winning anything. It is about trying to achieve something great, following the inspirational people before me and hopefully enabling me to be a role model. 

Norway (part 1)

This blog is a little later than planned and it is about my activities in January! I made it to Norway after my ultramarathon and got used to being on skis again!

I spent two weeks Nordic skiing on this trip. It is like cross country skiing, with thinner skis. The first week we went over our ski technique, waxing our skis and even had a day of alpine. I definitely prefer going uphill.. We covered a good amount of ground daily and it was nice to go on a journey. We carried our backpack which contained warm and wet kit, food (a priority) and a shovel. Falling on my backpack was not so fun, however I did have a lot of practice getting off the floor with skis and my not so light bag! 

There was a lot of going up and down hill which was good fitness. The expedition phase included staying in Norwegian huts which were incredible. I got to chop some wood (only the smaller bits that were easy to chop…) and we made a fire. The last day of the expedition phase was a very long hilly 20 miles. I was very happy to come back to some daim cake. I had daim cake for the first time on this trip and it was AMAZING! 

We went through other useful skills too such as digging snow holes and avalanche drills with our transceivers too. It gets hot when you’re digging! 

Overall, it was great to be back on skis and cover some miles. Next step: add a sled.

My inspirational quote is one that my brother sent me on Instagram:

‘There are people less qualified than you doing the things you want to do, simply because they decide to believe in themselves’

So, my message today is believe in yourself. You are generally capable of so much more than you realise. 

Christmas Time

Over Christmas I started pulling my tyre. I was really excited about this and now have tyres located in different areas of the UK, ready for my training sessions. I could feel my glutes and hamstring muscles working straight away! I’ve started with 40 minutes sessions and I will gradually build this up over time. As this becomes easier, I will also add another tyre.

I had written exams for my MSc last weekend and I thought why not celebrate by running an ultramarathon. A few days ago, I completed Country to Capital Ultramarathon, from Wendover to London. It was supposed to be 43 miles but Strava tells me I completed 44.. I haven’t ran over 10 miles over the last few months which made the last stretch a bit more difficult! I did the event alone but met some lovely people on route. What a great way to start the year!

Two days late and I’m in Norway for some Nordic ski training, building up my endurance on skis. Something I will definitely need for my expedition.

I spent some time with my niece (my favourite person) over Christmas and she told me she wants to go to the North Pole (to visit Santa). Hopefully she’ll still be impressed by me travelling to the South Pole! She also bought me my now favourite mug (see picture below)

My inspirational quote of the day:

When you ask yourself, can you do more? The answer is usually yes.

I’m not sure where this quote came from originally and I’m sure it can be interpreted in many ways. For me, it means don’t hold back. You’d be amazed at what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.

Love Aunticorn 

The Start

It started as an idea. What can I do that pushes my boundaries and helps me inspire younger people? It would have to be endurance related. Something in a harsh environment. . . Antarctica. I started reading more about Antarctic explorers, the incredible journeys of Amundsen and Scott, recent expeditions and blogs. My idea started to grow and I now have a plan.

I’m very excited to have Louis Rudd on board as my expedition manager. Louis completed a solo and unassisted crossing of Antarctica in 2018. You can see why I am excited to have him on board. We had a look at training plans, required kit, nutrition, how to prepare myself mentally and physically. At the end of our meeting, I’m feeling more and more motivated. He has given me a book on the first crossing of Greenland. Guess where one of my training trips will be…

Earlier this year, I returned from South Sudan, where I spent 6 months as the physiotherapist on a UN tour with the British Army. In my spare time, I decided to organise a 30 hour endurance event over a 2 week period in 3 different locations. I completed a total of 125 miles and members of the UK taskforce would join me from anything from 1-12 hours. My highlight of this was getting others involved and a lot of people completing more distances than they ever had before (26 to 50 miles).

After the 6 month tour, I spent a week in the UK before flying to South America where I spent time hiking in Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. After this trip, I had a week to prepare for Marathon des Sables, 156 mile race in the desert. I entered the event alone but at the end of the 6 days, had made some great friends in my tent (or more accurately a rug thrown over some sticks). It was very hot throughout and we experienced a nice sand storm which blew our tent away on one of the nights! The highlight was being given a coke zero (my achilles heel) on day 5 and finishing of course. I am still thinking of what morale I will take to Antarctica with me..

Over the last few weeks, I have been mountaineering and wild camping in Wales. It was wet and windy but we had some beautiful views when the clag cleared. I’m heading to Norway over the next few months, learning polar navigation and practicing puling a sled. I picked up some land rover tyres and will start training with them over the next few weeks!

My eight year old niece recently told me she was scared to try skiing again at the snowdome. We last went when she was six. I said its ok to be scared and she replied but you’re never scared. I explained that isn’t actually true, I get scared a lot of the time but life is an adventure and when I think about everything that can be achieved, being scared isn’t important anymore. I’m not sure I’ve persuaded her to go skiing again though.

I love an inspirational quote. To end this post here is a quote from Laura Dekker, who is the youngest person (aged 16) to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly.

I follow my own head. And if I’m determined to do something, then I’ll make sure that I make it happen.   – Laura Dekker