Med Steps x 3
Jebel Musa
Overcoming Fear of Heights
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Week 21 Jebel Musa
Written by Tina Sibley in May 2019

This was the BIG ONE!  The hike up Jebel Musa - the mountain on the opposite side of the Gibraltar Straits.  I've been working towards this milestone for the last 7 weeks and thinking about it both excited and terrified me!

I also conquered the Med Steps 3 times in one day.  And went sailing - not related to fitness but was fun.  

It was my birthday this week so it was a wonderful week!


Monday 20th May

Went back to Gibraltar with my visitors today and clocked up a very respectable 17,927 steps.  Some of these leisure walks are clocking up more than my hikes! And I got to go to my dance class again, which I had missed last week because of my visitors :-)

Tuesday 21st May

MED STEPS X 3 !  A really successful day today!  I felt strong and determined.

First time: 49 minutes! YAY improved on my previous best of 56 mins 
2nd time: 59 minutes - which included a 15 minute brunch break and a 5 minute chat to another couple who I met for the second time as they were coming down.
3rd time: 54 minutes - just a 5 minute rest on this one.

I have to say, the last time was a killer and I really felt it, so I was surprised to do sub an hour, let alone another beat of my previous best! 💪💪💪
It was 🔥☀️🔥☀️🔥☀️ and I consumed 3.5 litres of water!!

Whole thing from Santa Barbara fort in La Linea and back again took around 6.75 hours. My phone tells me I did a record 37,672 steps - 22km for the day.  Flipping Wikiloc crashed on me towards the beginning of the second round and my Fit Watch ran out of battery!! But by my my calculations using MapMyRun and previous trips, I calculated the hike to be 20.15 km with an elevation gain of 1194m.

By those calculations, I was thinking I should be OK for Jebel Musa on the weekend, although I was still a bit anxious about the pace.

My visitors went back this morning so it's back to training again now - although I figured it best to rest for the remaining days before the BIG Jebel Musa hike on Saturday.

I also went to dance class.  And I fasted.

Wednesday 22nd May

My birthday! Yay!  Although a rest day today after my Med Steps hike yesterday, I still managed a healthy 8,018 steps.  And went to dance class again - where they all sang Happy Birthday to me in Spanish!  Awesome!   But the best birthday present was FINALLY breaking the 12st barrier and seeing my scales measure 11st 11.75lbs - Yippee!
  

Thursday 23rd May

Total chill-out day - only 3,790 steps.  And tonight was the sailing trip - a reward for my Med Steps achievement, a birthday treat and also to relax for the weekend ahead. 

Friday 24th May

The journey to Tangiers, Morocco.  I left home around 9am, drove to La Linea to pick up a passenger and then we drove to Tarifa where we met the rest of the group and got the ferry to Tangiers. 

Once we were settled in our hotel, we went to explore the medina and Kasbah so we got a fair amount of walking in and steps total for the day was 18,841.  The Kasbah was AMAZING!  Had a pre-hike hearty Moroccan meal - lamb tejine - lovely!  

Saturday 25th May

OMG!  THE BIG DAY!

I had been preparing for this day ever since the Akchour Waterfall hike in Chefchaouen when I realised I had a lot of work to do.  Today would test me to see whether my preparations have been good enough!

We had breakfast and then met with Mohammad, our guide, at 10am.  I have to say, my stomach was churning with a mixture of excitement and nerves.  We had a long drive to our starting point and then we were off. 

To begin with, I kept to the front of the group - psychologically, this was good for me.  As we walked, most of the group passed me but then when they stopped so we could all keep together, I would set off at the front again.  

It felt hard at times as the pace was constant - where I was used to having a quick breather when I needed it.  But I was really pleased and surprised with how I did. 

For one thing, I wasn't last, which is a first  One of the other ladies had an upset tummy and really struggled going up.  Particularly with getting to our 'rest stop'.  I was towards the back, but there were one or two behind me as we reached the top of our planned route.  We weren't planning to scale to the summit as that's not something for such a large group that included inexperienced hikers.  But we got right to the top of where the trails meet the sheer rock and loose stones.  

When we stopped for the inevitable photos, I hadn't actually realised at first that we were at the top of our route.  And I felt great!  I felt as though I could have kept on going upwards!  And the realisation that I'd not only made it, but pretty much in time with the rest of the group was fantastic.  I had my lunch very happily sitting alone contemplating how far I'd come :-)  

The scramble down was really quite tricky and another of the ladies struggled with this.  Despite in the past considering myself weak in this area, I managed perfectly well and my legs felt strong in supporting me.  And my knees were absolutely fine too.  I kept up with the group no problem at all and finished the hike a fair bit ahead of a small group of around 6 or so.  

This felt such an achievement - I was convinced I would be last and everyone would be waiting for me. 

And Mohammad said that, after Akchour, he was watching out for me but could see the difference and that I had improved massively.  It was both great and a pity that I didn't need his help!! :-) 

The last part of the hike was so beautiful, along the coast path.  I didn't once feel afraid of the heights, even perched on rocks for photos (although couldn't bring myself to actually stand on top of one because of a HUGE drop the other side) and the steepness next to the narrow path didn't bother me at all.  At the end, I still felt good and that I could do more - I didn't want it to end. 

Total steps were 24,907 up 107 floors (I didn't set wikiloc and my watch ran out of battery again, so I'm pretty sure there were way more floors).  In reality though, I hiked further and higher doing the Med Steps three times - so that was great preparation! :-)

A celebratory meal and ice cream was in order in the evening. 

Sunday 26th May

I woke up still feeling great with no muscle soreness or tiredness from the hike yesterday.  Spent some time lazing by the pool and then we went on a little trip to explore the caves of Hercules.  That was a lot of fun.  With the journey back, I clocked up a gentle 5,312 steps today.  


Health Overview

The most fantastic week since I started!  Really feeling like I've made massive progress and I'm looking forward to preparing for Machu Picchu. 

I feel fit, strong and confident - and I like it. I also looked great in some of my photos. 

No idea what my weight was at the end of the week, but mid-week it was 11st 11.75 lbs  -  165.75lbs


Preparation This Week 

Steps:
Monday 17,927
Tuesday 37,672  - 1,023m elevation gain
Wednesday 8,018
Thursday 3,790
Friday 18,841
Saturday 24,907 up 107+ floors
Sunday 5,312
0 Circuits, 3 hours dance lessons, no dance parties. 
2 MEGA hikes

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