Paul Blake

First half marathon in 2hours*



I first contacted Vision Personal Darlinghurst in January 2015, after returning from a three week Christmas & New Years break with my wife and two sons in Scotland. I had been in Australia since the end of June 2014, without my family, and had therefore spent far too much time in the pub and eating "convenient" foods. By the time I got home for Christmas my weight had increased to 14 stone 10 ounces (93 kg metric) from the 14 stone (89 kg) that was already more than what I was happy with. Sitting on the edge of the bed and looking in the wardrobe mirrors facing me I did NOT like what I saw with a cascade of Michelin man rolls from chest to navel - you get the picture! Time to take corrective action. While browsing Facebook I found an advert for Vision Personal Training and without really thinking it through I sent off an enquiry through the website. Before I knew it I had taken a call from Rowan Dear from Vision Darlinghurst and was booked in for an assessment. Usually very uncomfortable in gyms, in my previous experience filled with mirrors and muscle bound poseurs, Vision felt completely different. A gym with a great atmosphere and populated by "normal" people (and actually not too many mirrors!). I had a good talk with Rowan about what I was looking to achieve (weight loss initially combined with core strength where repetitive injuries had been a problem) and I was then assigned a personal trainer and an appointment made for my first goals session. Enter Fernanda Avila Falsarella - an attractive and petite Brazilian with a healthy dash of school ma'am disciplinarian thrown in! Goals set for the first 9 weeks were to get my weight down to 86 kg while staying injury free and I started a training regime of 4 x 30 minute personal trainer sessions a week plus Monday evening group boxing (1 hour), Wednesday evening group X-training (1 hour) and Saturday morning group run (1 hour) followed by group boxing (1 hour). Diet and nutrition also plays a huge part in the success of any Vision training program and therefore I began to monitor what I was eating (literally for the first time ever) and this was helped greatly by the Harris Farm Foods shopping trip run by the gym. I was also cajoled by Fernanda into signing up to do the Dee Why to Manly Run (7 km only though, not the 10 km yet) which I duly completed with several other Vision Darlinghurst runners.

The first 9 weeks flew by in a haze of physical exertion, exhaustion and sweat (plus a perpetual grimace that some seem to have mistaken for a smile of enjoyment!) and before I knew it I was back on the scales for the weigh in. Slightly disappointed as I had missed my goal by 200g, weighing in at 86.2 kg. Not really - so I lost 6.8 kg rather than 7 kg, still a pretty awesome result! Goals were then set for the next 9 weeks. Continue to stay injury free, focus less on weight loss and more on strength and finally (and definitely the biggie) to complete the Sydney Half Marathon in under 2 hours. I maintained the same weights and cardio training program but started to do additional training runs specifically geared to the Half, usually early mornings before heading for work. Despite picking up a niggling calf strain during an Easter break taken back in the UK, and which restricted my training runs in the 3 weeks leading up to the Sydney Half Marathon on Sunday 17th May, I took part and completed it in 2 hours and 7 seconds. I seem to make a habit of missing my goals by a whisker! I am now into my third 9 week stretch. My weight is now pretty steady around the 84 kg mark, we continue to work on strength where I continue to improve, and my final Vision goal is to complete the Sydney Harbour 10 km on Sunday 12th July in under 45 minutes.

My new goal will be to find somewhere to continue the journey that Vision has started me on. Thank you Vision. I could never have done this without you.


*Disclaimer: Individual results may vary based on their goals that we will help to define.

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