I Pushed The Edges Of My Comfort Zone A Little Wider… And I Seem To Be Still In One Piece!!

Image result for boundaries

I have found the experience of expressing myself here to be cathartic, positive and somehow reaffirming a commitment to self to continue to be the change I want to see in me, it is part of the investment in self that I so need to do. I am taking better care of me and even more importantly, I think, am enjoying doing so. I dyed my hair for the first time in many months and gracious me it’s astonishing what a boost that can be! It’s not so much the result, though I have to confess to being well chuffed with my golden brown tresses, it is more about the process and investment of time in the nurturing of self that has enhanced my feeling of energy and interest in life. It’s refreshing to feel this level of connection and I feel sure that this is the reward from the effort and determination  I have put in towards reclaiming physical health and fitness. My mood seems to be lifting  overall and whilst some days are still an impossible struggle I can confidently reassure myself that things will indeed improve.

So… taking all this into account I decided the time had come to push the boundaries of my comfort zone a little further and to put myself out there to not just an unknown audience but to those who know me IRL: I made a My Own Pandora Facebook Page and posted links to my recent posts here. Scary! Vulnerable! Real!

Advertisements

I Did, Done Strung My String

It was a cold and misty morning for week three of Beginner Joggers  but whilst the clouds were low our spirits were high as we headed off into the park. The group was a little changed up from the week before as we welcomed back one of our lovelies who was absent last Wednesday and a newcomer to the group who usually runs with the Saturday Beginners. This is part of the SLJ ethos that I really appreciate: warm, welcoming, friendly, supportive and flexible. It is always possible to swap out a session to another day of the week if necessary so life doesn’t get in the way of this journey towards fitness. Indeed I will have to change my Monday Fitball as I have to attend a meeting in Brighton.

We warmed up well as the park was chilly in the mist this morning as we strode out, catching up on each others’ week and getting to know our temporary member. It was so cold this week that even this menopausal sweaty betty didn’t take her jacket off- which is a first as I normally strip off on the first hill as my ‘ReadyBrek Glow’ takes over!

Image result for ready brek glow

The jogging started sooner than on the previous weeks and we were well into our stride by the time we reached Knole House so we trotted on around the corner of the garden wall where we paused for a short while to do our dynamic stretches. As usual the laughter and banter flowed as we squatted and lunged together. Just to mix things up a little we added in some press ups using the wall.

Image result for knole house in the mist

I was struggling a little today with aching calves and talked with our lovely coach about this and realised that whilst the homework run is, of course, important for good progression and stamina building my extra Sunday run with my daughter with its additional squats, press-ups, jumps and lunges had not really given my muscles enough rest time. Lesson learnt: slow and steady wins the prize in my fitness journey and taking time to rest and repair muscles as they improve is as important as the exercise!!

Image result for rest day quotes

So… an explanation of the quirky title. I moved a little carelessly over some uneven ground as we were jogging slightly uphill and ouch! I felt a nasty twinge of pain at the back in my left thigh! I think it was a combination of having over done the training and being a little tired and clumsy, maybe the cold weather didn’t help, but whatever the reason the result was a pulled muscle- it felt like a piece of tight string strung down my thigh. My coach responded immediately with care and advice and my fellow beginners were very supportive. The photo below is not of my bottom sadly though it does illustrate exactly where it was hurting! Haha!

Image result for hamstring injury

Stretching it out did ease things a little but running really didn’t feel good so it was decided that I would walk back to base. The others continued with their run with me walking and true to SLJ ethos I was not left behind as, bless them, they ran ahead, then walked back to meet me. The banter continued amid their warm concern as they laughed and joked about improving their step count for the day! I used the slower pace to grab a couple of photos of the park in the mist.

We finished off as usual with stretches and I was given follow up advice for the next few days and as I am writing this some days after the event I can report that a couple of days resting saw me up and about as usual and looking forward to my homework run…yay!

Different Strokes For Different Folks

wp-image-1364221167jpg.jpg

Sunday was another lovely, crisp, sunny day so the Park was an obvious choice for today’s run. However, given that it was Sunday I was inclined towards a slow gentle start to the day with a special luxury breakfast of a healthy ( and small) pancake loaded with banana, strawberries and blueberries and a mix of linseed, goji berries, flax, chai, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Image result for YUM

This meant we were much later arriving at The Hole In the Wall…so the Park was very busy with runners, walkers and families.

My youngest daughter decided to come along for the run and a park workout: hence the title different strokes for different folks as this surely was a run with a difference. We threw in several sets of squats, press ups, jumps and mountain climbers….much to the amusement of other visitors to the Park. I freely admit that I had not taken into account how very much busier the park would be given it was the weekend and we were there so much later in the day! My rather sad effort at press ups whilst my feet were elevated on a handy log were quite hilarious- and I feel I have entertained quite enough people with that so am choosing not to upload a photo of my efforts!! Here are some photos of much fitter, slimmer people doing the same exercises…haha!

Image result for mountain climbers exercise in the parkImage result for elevated push ups Image result for squatsImage result for squats jumps

It was such a different experience and I did enjoy it though I must quietly confess it was a tad too far from the comfort zone for me to be huffing and puffing next to the sleek young form of my offspring! Equally she admitted that gym bunny was more her style than park lady…. it is indeed different strokes for different folks. We are on the same journey to fitness whilst taking our own route!

So I am looking forward to tomorrow’s run with my friends, the lovely SLJ ladies, at Beginners Joggers dsc_0047

Poetry In Motion

http://www.runnersworld.com/commentary/the-poetry-of-running

I came across this article whilst searching for poems about running. I really enjoyed it so decided to share it here.

 I also found this poem which expresses how I felt when running in the rain recently

Silent Running

The coolness of the morning air, rushing over me,
Silent running, sunrise, peace, tranquility,
Heart is pumping faster, breathing getting deeper,
Stride’s becoming shorter, as the hill grows steeper.

Rain is gently falling, cool upon my face,
Refreshing me all over, quickening my pace,
This therapeutic feeling, flowing through my veins,
It overtakes my tiredness, as I start to feel the strain

Run is almost over, slowly homeward bound,
Silent running through the streets, making not a sound,
Endorphins start to surface, I feel like I can fly,
An energy comes bursting out, must be the runners high :0)

Copyright © Claire Bowl | Year Posted 2014

Week Two…. Progress Is Made!

Yes, Yes, Yes! It’s true! We have all made progress and it’s awesome! Believe me I do not use that word lightly as despite teenspeak influence upon my vocabulary I still reserve the word ‘awesome’ for those occasions that truly warrant it.

The park was beautiful in the early morning sun, here and there little bits of leftover snow lingered but mostly it was just crisp frost decorating the grounds.

It was lovely to see the girls again and we stepped out lightheartedly catching up on each others snow news etc. Our coach talked to us about gait this week – like all the SLJ coaches she is inspiring, encouraging, supportive and knowledgeable and is keen to get us into good habits right from the start. Good gait can make all the difference in improving the run whilst caring for hips and knees, which is very relevant to an old crock like me who is starting to discover aches and pains in a previously fairly well behaved body! We were given a little aide-memoire to help remind us of the key points: Talking M-P-H!

Talking: this refers to the correct relaxed running pace that allows enough breath spare to talk, and therefore one that is sustainable and thus building stamina. Too fast a pace is simply unsustainable and ends in uncomfortable puffing (or in my case panting collapse hehe!) A relaxed pace is not only physically manageable, but also encouraging mentally as it makes everything achievable- which is a tremendous boost to this beginner!

M: is for mid-foot strike as opposed to landing on either toes or heels with each step and thus avoiding damaging jarring to hip and knee joints. It also seemed to help speed and smoothness of running as we then pushed off from our hind foot more efficiently.

P: is for parallel feet running along parallel lines as if on railway tracks, without allowing knees to knock in, or ankles to kick out.

H: is for using our arms to help move us forward by drive the elbow back at ninety degrees and then swinging forward as if hammering a nail into an imaginary wall. We keep our arms along the same parallel as our feet, as allowing them to swing in front of us reduces pace and arms are surprisingly helpful in aiding forward momentum.

2017-01-18-10-36-12

A tip shared by my coach on the previous course I started but was unable to complete was to keep the hands relaxed by imagining holding an egg as this means tension doesn’t build up in the shoulders whilst running.

Our pace was definitely relaxed as we talked away the miles, comparing notes on many and varied subjects including the remarkable uses for toothpaste! I guess you had to be there as it sounds a little odd now but rest assured we had a splendid time and the miles just flew by.

2017-01-18-10-37-38

After our cooldown walk we were excited to be informed that we had chalked up another three miles AND doubled our shortest running intervals from thirty to sixty seconds, with mostly intervals of one and half minutes mixed with two minute ones…. our longest was two and half minutes so it was high fives all round!!

Can’t wait for next week!

Mission: Snowdrop

Today was a glorious day- sparkling blue sky, frosty ground glinting in the sunshine, the air crisp and chilly! Delicious! Perfect weather for walking and running- particularly for sweaty betty menopausal me! I decided to go  on a mission to find my first snowdrops of the year as in previous years I have already spotted some within the first week or so of the New Year.

This little fellow drinking at the edge of the lake was the first delightful spot of the afternoon- unfortunately brain fog caused me to forget to take the phone cover off so it’s blurry, but it is possible to just make him out. Sadly he ran off before I could get a better photo!

I had decided to stay local rather go to Knole as one of my daughters and I plan to run there tomorrow and the ducks and geese at the lake were not impressed when I proceeded to continue on my merry way without casting plentiful handfuls of naughty white bread! The lakes were partly frozen and the water had barely a ripple so formed a perfect mirror for the trees.

The homework run is not as much fun as when we are together as a group but the sun and blue skies certainly helped to encourage me to keep going!dsc_0009

dsc_0013

Haha! The photos are SO much clearer now I remembered to take the phone cover off! Overall I would say that the menopausal brain fog has improved just a tad since I embarked upon this back to fit journey, but obviously I am still having those ‘special’ moments!!

Finally on the last part of my run, just before the homeward bound cooldown I spotted some snowdrops!

Lovely! A successful mission for mind, body and soul as I felt my mood lift, felt the muscles respond to the exercise and fed my soul with the beauty of nature!  The bonus is I covered 3.74 miles and can now feel the happy hormones flowing through my veins: wonderful!

FABBALLous Fitball!

Heavens to Betsy! Sam delivered a great workout today! A hi-met fitball session…what fun! I just love how every week this class is so different from the previous one. We started with a circuit to warm up, which was quite a laugh- particularly the one that involved a resistance band just under our knees…as Sam humourously pointed out it was rather like having your knickers round your knees! Hehe!

It also included using wobble boards as stepping stones so I was pleased I have been putting my one at home to good use instead of leaving it in the box.Image result for wobble board

Weights, balls, bands, wobble boards and cushions… All the toys were out and it was a great start to the class. Everyone was happy, warm and gently glowing!

The main body of the workout was challenging- I worked up such a ‘glow’ I steamed my glasses up!!!! It’s refreshing to have a sweat on due entirely to exercise rather than menopausal hormones and I was thrilled when Sam came over to compliment the progress I have made since starting last September- yay me! This back to fit journey is really starting to show results which is simply fabballous!

So it was a very happy bunny who went off home to shower and continue practising the wobble board… in fact before you know it I will be doing this every day:-

Image result for wobble board