The Power Of Walking

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So what to do now that Beginners is finished and having decided that I am not really quite ready to graduate to Gentle Joggers ? The answer for me is Power Walking! Oh my stars and whiskers! My first walk with the delightful Joan was awesome! Make no mistake this is no soft option and naturally, as per usual, I was at the back of the pack! Joan looked after me like a gem and the girls in the group were, as ever, supportive, friendly and welcoming. It was cold, wet and windy and I LOVED it!!

Interestingly I ached more all over the next day than I ever did from jogging. I think this is going to be an excellent way of improving my fitness level!

I enjoyed the route so much that I decided to retrace our footsteps on a solo session a couple of days later….this time without the rain and the wind as companions!

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I didn’t maintain the same pace because I was so distracted by the scenery around me. I think that walking may well be my jam as opposed to running as there was no anxiety only deep, pure enjoyment of my surroundings.

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I could feel depression and bleakness withering away like the old leaves upon the ground and a feeling of gratitude twinkled through my veins.

Unfortunately my phone failed to capture the beauty of the carpet of wood anemones which is a shame as they were really quite special.

The path wound through the woods and then came out to a small country lane, so I strode onward and upwards towards the Kissing Gate into the Park.

Once through the Kissing Gate I was back into woodland again and the sound of the silence was quite amazing, there was a mystic quality to the air and all I could hear was my own breath as even the birds were quiet here. I could feel peace spreading down through me, centering me, grounding me here in this moment, my tense shoulders dropped from up around my ears to exactly my favourite place for shoulders to be! Deep breath in, feel the diaphragm lift and embrace the sensation of relaxation as the breath flows from the body. My senses become heightened and my awareness blossoms as I walk mindfully and appreciate the detail nature provides.

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The sun was breaking through gently, the trees sheltering me from the somewhat chilly wind: it was idyllic.

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As I was coming to the edge of the woods I came across this group of young deer- they didn’t seem to mind me interrupting their afternoon, and were only mildly curious as I walked passed. The golf course opened out before me as I came to the edge of the trees and the sun was chasing the clouds away.wp-image-1398665927jpg.jpg

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Indeed by the time I was on the homeward stretch the temperature was delightful as the wind dropped and blue skies encouraged me forwards.

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The Crocuses Poem by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

 

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They heard the South wind sighing
A murmur of the rain;
And they knew that Earth was longing
To see them all again.

While the snow-drops still were sleeping
Beneath the silent sod;
They felt their new life pulsing
Within the dark, cold clod.

Not a daffodil nor daisy
Had dared to raise its head;
Not a fairhaired dandelion
Peeped timid from its bed;

Though a tremor of the winter
Did shivering through them run;
Yet they lifted up their foreheads
To greet the vernal sun.

And the sunbeams gave them welcome.
As did the morning air
And scattered o’er their simple robes
Rich tints of beauty rare.

Soon a host of lovely flowers
From vales and woodland burst;
But in all that fair procession
The crocuses were first.

First to weave for Earth a chaplet
To crown her dear old head;
And to beautify the pathway
Where winter still did tread.

And their loved and white haired mother
Smiled sweetly ‘neath the touch,
When she knew her faithful children
Were loving her so much.

A Local Stroll

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The MOT was due on the Mini so I booked it in with the friendly local chaps, crossed my fingers, hoped for the best and set off to walk home on Tuesday afternoon. The sun was shining, it was warm and quite delightful so rather than stride out with a power walk or attempt to jog home I decided a mindful walk was what I needed to enjoy the Spring afternoon to the full. It is amazing to take in and appreciate the detail I drive past daily and see the beauty that surrounds us. The first flowers I found were right by the garage where I left the Mini.

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Despite walking passed several brave blooms that I wanted to photograph I felt scrabbling around in the front gardens of others was a little inappropriate so I waited until I was at The Lakes

The last of the snowdrops were just about hanging on- I do so love them, there is something very special about these delicate flowers.

Alongside these last valiant flowers were wood anemones and crocuses. Another name for this little flower is smell fox due to the musky smell of the leaves.wp-image-1228475441jpg.jpg

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The Lakes are always so peaceful to walk through and I feel blessed to live so close to this lovely spot.

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Week Eight: Graduation Day! We Are Runners!!

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How cute! We saw this heart shaped marking in the paving outside the front of Knole House on our last session together and I feel it captures the spirit of our lovely group as we shared time and laughter the last eight weeks, bonding as we supported and encouraged each other onward and upwards!

We have all made such progress- even me the slowest of the slow. It’s astonishing how far we have come from that first taster session in terms of fitness, speed, stamina and distance covered. Our coach has been a fount of wisdom, always there with encouragement and praise and has taken us on a journey from newbies to runners.

Memories have been made as we have run the paths around the park- Lynne’s Hugging Wall will always be special to each of us I think:wp-image-1509927443jpg.jpg

We have been so lucky as this last run together was our first real rainy run- we have had damp, cold, fog, frost, crisp sun and interestingly the weather has only ever added to our enjoyment and never taken from it. Running through the mud and rain was no less fun than on the beautiful sunny day…. I guess that means we really are runners now!

Plans for moving forward on this marvellous journey to fitness have been made and promises to continue the slj way by continuing to encourage and support each other as we go in slightly different directions. I still need to work on my stamina so shall not be joining the girls with the Gentle Joggers. I have decided that I shall focus on building fitness and stamina by joining the Power Walking group for the next few weeks and then once again sign up for Beginners with the goal of running 5k at the end of that course. The absolute flexibility to suit every individual is brilliant so we all have a clear vision of how and where we go now, having all successfully completed our eight week course

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For The Love of Cross Country By Stephanie D., Rutherford, NJ

Jog up to the cone
Take a step to the line
You’re not doing this alone
Shut up and don’t whine

Sprint down the hill
Stay with the pack
Oh how the sand is a thrill
THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT TRACK

Up the hill you must fight
Move your arms pick up your feet
You must use all your might
It’s Tenafly you must beat

Stay strong on the grass
Past the park to the street
Here they come move your ass
Let’s go! This is your meet

Run around the lake
C’mon you’re in first
1000 meters to take
I know, your dying of thirst

It’s a push to the end
A sprint to the line
Just around the last bend
Congratulations, you did just fine

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