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Beat The Beast Challenge

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The Christmas Market with the Coconut Shy within
The Christmas Market with the Coconut Shy within

Today has seen only 1.06 miles walked while climbing 39.37 feet, followed by an upper body circuit of 36 press-ups, and 96 sit-ups, while moving 5 kgs over 72 metres or 720 kgs over a metre while being joined by a new training partner. Then it saw a cross training circuit in the gym covering a measly 0.94 of a mile while climbing only 196.85 feet and 2 floors. But today has also seen the excitement for Christmas building both within the city of Edinburgh and within Allie and I.

The walk was a brisk walk around the Newhaven area as a warm up for the upper body circuit. I was joined by Allie this morning for not only the walk but for the upper body circuit. Strength training done well (in this case, with light weight on high repetitions) is great for all round physical health as well as weight loss and when done with the CD of modern Christian worship songs playing in the background as a focus for meditation on God’s word, rather than one’s problems, and even for just pure and simple relaxation, I truly believe that this circuit is also so very good for mental health too. Certainly it helped me considerably during those dark times during treatment in which I doubted myself so deeply. I felt so much stronger, physically and mentally at the end of the circuit and sustained period of stretching. Having somebody else to do it with, and provide encouragement for, was an added bonus and made the whole circuit that much more enjoyable. So thank you Allie for brightening my morning with your unique interpretation of the sit-up known as the crunchee!

After morning prayer and breakfast I was then off to the gym. It was a new gym that were happy for me to come and use their facilities but today was more about orientating myself to the gym and the aerobic machines. It was a very light session focused mainly on understanding the equipment and, after some daft questions by myself to the gym staff on how to switch on a rowing machine, I felt fully inducted. The next session will involve a full physical assessment in order to track my progress as I work on my physical fitness. That is quite an incentive to keep working at it and never give up!

Jenners looking suitably festive
Jenners looking suitably festive

Allie had choir practice in New College Edinburgh this afternoon so after a lunch of the usual veggie pick and mix bag I was back on the bus to go and meet her. Bang on time the next item on the agenda was Christmas shopping in Edinburgh’s Christmas market. It was great fun and highly successful, but was even more enjoyable when it dawned on us that this time last year we were both single and fully expecting to remain so for the foreseeable future. Certainly I had no expectation of ever finding anyone mad enough to take me on with the limited time I had left and the emotional baggage I was carrying. Allie had made the decision that she was to be happy as a single woman. So we both faced Christmas with a little trepidation last year despite the wonderful support of family and friends. When the whole nation is focused on the celebration of Christ’s birth as small family units of husband, wife and children it can make Christmas a tough and lonely time of year for any lacking such a luxury of a partner and children. However what I would like to say to anyone facing sadness this season is quite simply not to give up on yourself. Never ever give up hope, no matter how hopeless your situation might seem. Keep faith with your faith and know that something one day will happen that will make life so much the better for you. It will come in the strangest and most unexpected of ways, and you might not even notice it happen at first, but it will happen. I accidently sat in Allie’s seat on my way down to London and now, well over a year later, we are engaged to be married and this wonderful news is making this Christmas, for us both, a much more happy occasion. As we laughed about our wonderful changes in circumstance we were passing the carousel. I hadn’t been on one for years. There was nothing for it. We jumped on. And then, as we passed a modern version of a coconut shy, Allie convinced me to have a go, sure in the knowledge that I would easily knock those 6 tin cans off the shelf. I was so absolutely appalling, much to the amusement of the gathering crowd of spectators. In fact, so bad that the stall holder took pity on me and threw me an extra ball for another go. I am guessing that her wonderful charity was on an assumption that I would miss yet again. So I wound up for this final victorious throw on this cold dark winter’s night in Edinburgh, the lights from the rides and Christmas market flickering around me, the gathered crowd warm in their hats, coats and gloves of many colours, my breath steaming heavy from my nostrils as I braced myself for the throw with my eye on one of the many massive cuddly teddy bears. I gripped myself and focused not on the prize but on the target. As the excitement built, I lined up my target with my left arm and hand and with great gusto released my shot with a great throw. I was only 5 feet away from the cans and yet, somehow, I missed completely. I caused much merriment with my ball throwing incompetence, but still received a compensatory hug for at least trying! Christmas shopping largely done, and exhausted, we caught the next bus back to Allie’s flat for a late tea of Mary Berry’s Mediterranean all-in-one chicken with sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, bacon, chicken, preserved lemons, courgettes and olives. I can hardly wait to eat this delicious fayre as I write this post. A great day today full of Christmas spirit.

Tomorrow I introduce Allie to my old Regiment at the Ladies’ Dinner Night and I am spending Sunday with the children. A very exciting day it is because James becomes a teenager and Heather is dancing for a Christmas light switch on at Bridge of Allan so no post ‘til Monday.

Yours aye

Archie
BtB!

Thank you for joining me on my own personal journey and encouraging me to walk, cycle, climb, paddle, sport and do good deeds each day to ‘Beat the Beast’ while helping to improve the lives and life chances of so many more people through sponsorship. The Five Charities that I have selected to support are:

  1. Cancer Research UK – My Father Succumbed to Lung Cancer; a couple of friends are currently fighting cancer and I am fighting a brain tumour. Let’s Help to Beat Cancer Sooner.
  2. The Prince’s Trust – Inspiring and preparing disadvantaged Young Lives for success.
  3. British Red Cross - helping those in need around the UK and the world whoever and wherever they are.
  4. World Wide Fund for Nature - For a Living Planet and a Future Where People and Nature Thrive.
  5. Help for Heroes – Support for our Wounded and their Families. To learn more about my story that brought me to this point, how I plan to ‘Beat the Beast’, what activities I plan to do within the challenge and why, please see my welcome video on this page.

How to Sponsor Me

The Beat the Beast Challenge is self funding through my own contribution while keeping costs to a minimum with voluntary support and corporate sponsorship in kind. Therefore the entirety of every penny donated will go directly to the 5 charities listed above.

Please sponsor me by completing a standing order form either through your own personal internet banking or by completing a hard copy standing order form in your branch of your bank and then handing it in to the teller.

It is entirely up to you how much you would like to and are able to sponsor me for so do please give as much or as little as you can. Every penny will be very gratefully received.

While I hope you will encourage me to keep going by sponsoring me for every day I survive and am able to find the cognitive and physical capability to complete a day’s task designed to improve my chances of ‘Beating the Beast’ or improving the lives of others, 5 days a week, four weeks a month, for as long as ever I can. Any One off Cash contributions will be most gratefully received and distributed in exactly the same manner to the five charities as the sponsorship. Any one off donations can be made by BACS or cheque.

Thank you for having enough faith in me to sponsor me.

Yours aye

Archie