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.

The Wrong Knickers! Also…What A Fantabulous Run!

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Another cold and misty day for week five of Beginners Joggers and the Park was as stunning as ever. Unfortunately I had left my phone at home so no photos from me today. I found the above photo on line. We set off on a slightly different route so that instead of entering Knole through the Hole In The Wall we climbed over the old steps further along the boundary wall. It is a fun and charming way to enter the Park. I do have a photo of my own (on the left below) from a walk with one of my daughters last Autumn and found another on line to better illustrate the steps.

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I was really anxious this week about keeping up with the girls,  as I had missed last week’s session due to family commitments and had limped out with a pulled muscle the week before. I have also had a really bad time with my IBS playing me up a lot over the last five days so that was another reason for anxiety to play havoc…which in turn makes  unfortunate episodes more likely. It’s a catch 22 situation! So I dosed myself up with Imodium to feel safe enough to not miss out on this weeks Joggers

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IBS had led to me being pretty much housebound for far longer than I care to think about before I embarked on the FODMAP diet, under supervision of a clinical dietitian. It’s a difficult diet to follow, but the benefits have proved to be life changing as without it this journey back to fitness would have been close to impossible. FODMAPs are a collection of short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in foods naturally or as food additives. FODMAPs include fructose (when in excess of glucose), fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), lactose and polyols (eg. sorbitol and mannitol). This regime has seen my symptoms reduce by about 70%- as predicted by my lovely dietitian Emma and so now as long as anxiety can be kept at bay I am mostly good to tally forth from home with confidence.

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http://www.kcl.ac.uk/lsm/research/divisions/dns/projects/fodmaps/faq.aspx has information from King’s College, London about the FODMAP diet.

I knew that the girls had achieved a couple of fabulous four minute runs the week before last whilst I was struggling with my pulled muscle and would surely have built on that in my absence last Wednesday. I was also very aware that, although I had managed to get out and about despite the ravages of flaring IBS, most of my outings over the last seven days were spent walking not jogging. I was worried my stamina had not improved sufficiently to allow me to keep up on my short legs with the lovely ladies!!

Well my stars and whiskers what a run! It was wonderful! Sure enough I did struggle somewhat and fell behind a couple of times, but not for long!  In fact the worst problem I had was not the running it was my knickers!!! Note to self: never wear the wrong knickers jogging! We spend much time discussing the right bra and indeed other bits of kit, but no time talking about knickers! Turns out this is an oversight: heed my advice now…. lacy french knickers are no good for jogging in! Constant wedgie!

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We ran 3.3 miles with intervals starting at four minutes- what progress we have made since starting out five weeks ago when we were running for thirty seconds intervals! We did do a couple of one minute intervals on the inclines but once we were thoroughly warmed up, had done our dynamic stretches we pushed the pace and time up to intervals of five, six and then….nine and then….ten minutes. Way to go girls! We shared a Hi Five moment as flushed with success and only slightly breathless we celebrated our achievement. As it turns out the target interval for this week was six minutes so we truly spanked that this week! Hehe! SLJ FTW!!