by Alister Fuller
I have been a truck/bus driver for the last 12 years. In July 2017 which is about 3 years ago, I went from being obese to almost total Fitness all within 6 months. I did this mostly by dieting which included fasting, eating right and exercise. I was able to maintain this as a lifestyle with a few up’s and down’s and highs and lows over the last 3 years. 2018 for me was my best year in terms of exercise. I was totally FOCUSED. I made all those gains and I was not going to lose it. Then in March 2020 the global pandemic Covid-19 brought a full stop at my work and my company ceased to operate.
My first thoughts were this is great. I’m going to have 24 hours to myself to do what I want for myself. The first week I put my head down and I remember I did a 10 kilometre run everyday for the first 4 days of the first week of lock down. Then took a break with barely any exercise.
The reality of this lock down kicked in. Based on my memory I have to admit I had more bad days than good days. It was a constant struggle to get up and do exercise or push a bit of weights. I did have some good months and so I made a decision to have one good month and the other a bit less or rest month in terms of exercise . So for me July was a really good month. I took it easy in August then I told myself I’m going to do my best during September so the first week I did not miss a single day.
I started off well and decided to do exercise every single day either running or weights. On 7th September I got a text message from my gym fitness instructor that Myzone is having a 1 month competition that you might be interested in. With Myzone there is a heart rate monitor belt that we use to measure the heart rate percentage and we get points for various zones. Such as 1 point for every minute in 50 to 60% of MHR zone, 2 points 60 to 70%, 3 points 70 to 80% and 4 points 80 to 100% of MHR. I had a look at this competition and I told myself it is just one month I’m going to join it and let me see if I can set myself a goal to be in the top 10 in the competition. When I registered myself I noticed that there were over 450 people all around Australia.
I probably missed the first 2 days because it was from the 5th of September to the 4th of October. I got this message on 7th so I was 2 days behind. My plan was to do 300 points every day for the next 28 days which works out close to 9000 points so that was my goal. This would give me a chance to be in the top 10. To get 300 points I basically have to do a 12 to 14 km run or probably do a 5 kilometre run and push weights for over an hour. Getting 300 points is a minimum of 100 to 150 minutes of exercise every single day. This is a big ask for me because my heart rate does not go up very easily and even when it does go up it comes down very quickly. The only thing that works for me is HIIT. Which is a 10 to 14 km jog/run. I went with that idea and decided to do at least 10 kilometres every single day and a bit of weights every now and then.
On the 11th September I had 844 points and ranked 18th. I also got a message on my phone saying i had done 49 marathons accumulated distance in the last 3yrs.
On the 13th I had 1438 points and ranked 7. So within a week I am in the Top 10. That felt good. Now if I can stay there my goal can be achieved.
On the 14th I dropped back to 9th with 1721 points. This is getting tough.
On the 15th I dropped down to 10th with 1990 points. So to me it looked like the top 10 were pushing hard and I needed to stay focused if I stood any chance of being in the top 10.
On the 16th I got back to 8th with 2291 points. I also done a milestone of 50 marathons accumulated distance in the last 3yrs. I was feeling positive at this stage with over 20 days left to go.
On the 17th my body was hurting so I did not do much exercise. I probably got 100 points instead of my usual 300.
So I decided on the 18th that I would do a 3hr half marathon to catch up. I got 458 points that day however on the 19th my points tally was 2978 and I posted this msg on FB. “Today’s standing 7th. Over 1000 points behind No1. That is a good 500 min of exercise. Omg. What do I do.” It was getting really tough.
On the 23rd I knocked off 17kms and I was ranked 3rd at 4358 points. Over 700 behind No1. This is my post on FB that day. “Is this good or what. I know I was totally FOCUSED when I first started 3yrs ago and when I was 105kgs. I am using that same energy to push harder with this challenge. Getting closer.”
On 24th I got another message on my phone. 52 marathons accumulated distance. I was down to 5th. I’m working hard but the others are working harder.
On 25th I got back to 3rd with 4783 points. Still 800 points behind No1.
On 26th I posted this message on FB “Although I did over 2hr workout got close to 500 points and still 4th today. Its getting tough. However still Feeling great.” Point tally was 5547. I started my workout at 7.28pm and finished at 9.18pm just to get my 300 points for the day. I remember it was dark and cold. But I had to do it.
On 27th I posted this on FB “Got to 3rd today. Hopefully can stay there or maybe go further” my point tally was 5841. Feeling confident now. Also had another message 53 marathons accumulated distance completed. I looked like I’m knocking off marathons every 2 or 3 days. My 4th so far in 3 weeks.
After my workout on 28th I posted this on FB. “Had a good day in terms of exercise. Still 3rd. Phew. Its tough. 5 more days to go.” My points tally was 6459. So it looked like the 3rd position was mine at this stage.
On Friday 2ndOctober I posted this on FB. “After doing a half marathon with a PB and getting 600+ points I am still 3rd (just 6 points behind 2nd)Just 2days to go and the competition is fierce. The top 2 are really pushing hard. Omg. So far the body is holding up. Monday no exercise at all for sure. Rest day.” My points tally was 8237 just 6 points behind 2nd place. I was disappointed. If I had done an extra 2 minutes of running I would be 2nd. So close.
On Saturday 3rd, I decided to go for the big one. Remember I did 21kms on Friday I woke up feeling refreshed and energetized. I knocked off 10km first thing in the morning. Came home refuelled took a few supplies like water and bananas and decided to do another 3hr workout. Boy was I tired and exhausted. I remember standing in the shower using the wall for support. I was buggered. I do have a foot massager which really did help to recover quicker than normal. I accumulated close to 900 points that single day. This is my message on FB. “Omg. Finally I made it to No1. Even though it might be briefly, however I still made it. Phew. That is hard. It took close to 40000 steps in one day to do it. Just 13kms short of a full marathon. Getting an infra-red foot massage right now.” My points tally was 9244 and No2 was 8837. A good 400 points ahead. Felt exhausted and confident. We still had one day to go.
On Sunday 4th. I rested for most of the day and keeping a close eye on the score. It was a hot day and the weather was changing at around 6pm. So if my No1 position is lost I can workout after 6pm. At around 3pm I got the shock of my life. I dropped to No2 around 200 points behind. At 6.18pm with extra vigor and determination I set the distance for 14kms which will give me around 400 points. I ran in the rain. It was cold, I was exhausted, I was focused, I was not going to give up now. I returned home at 8.30pm with 400 points in the bag. I was No1 again ahead by 163 points. This was it. I was hoping that Laura at No2 would give me a break. I was watching the time closely. At 11.30pm I was still No1. Almost ready to do a few more kms just in case Laura got ahead. At midnight I received the greatest message of all. “YOU WON, CONGRATULATIONS “ Out of 239 challenges. OMG finally I could take a break from this rigorous challenge.
I think the motivation that got me through this was two of my FB friends right from the start messaged me saying “you got this”. The belief I had in myself was there in the beginning, however as it got harder self doubt started creaping in. On 3rd I sent this message to my FB friends “Today I’m 250points behind in 2nd. Should I go for it or just settle for 2nd or 3rd. Still have time to decide.” This reply from someone who believed in me i think was what gave me that extra strength and belief to go for it. “Alister Fuller it’s up to you. Do you want to settle after being №1? We all know for a fact that you can do it. So now you need to decide. We will support you either way. Good luck. You’re got this ….” it is in these times when self doubt creaps in, we need people like this in our lives to believe in us. So important when we are chasing big dreams. This same person was encouraging and supportive during the whole journey.
On the 11th and 23rd sept my school mate messaged on FB “you’ve got this” and “you can do it Alister”. This encouragement was also crucial. I did get many supporters and well wishes during this journey for which I am extremely grateful.
I enjoyed this challenge and experience and it goes to show that if we put our minds to something important, stay focused, determined, persevere, committed etc. we can achieve it “no matter what”