A Little Local Wander

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Friday was a somewhat chilly day with low grey skies attempting to dissuade me from trotting forth from my cosy sitting room! However, as Sam so rightly points out there are few days when it is impossible to go out and particularly as I missed our weekly Beginner Joggers session on Wednesday I was determined to wrap up and get out there!  I decided to stay local as a change to the Park and I am so glad I did!

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I chose to explore a path that I have driven passed many, many times since moving here and at the back of the new houses behind Tesco I followed the river path and found this! I knew the River Darenth ran along here through Riverhead, but hadn’t realised the extent of the body of water there

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Even under the lowering skies it is stunning! I spotted a heron as well as plenty of ducks and moor hens

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The river is beautiful and peaceful despite the close vicinity of the huge supermarket, the new houses and the main road.

I walked and jogged as far as I could along the river side: the signs saying PRIVATE discouraged further exploration… So I retraced my steps back to the main road.

I headed through Dunton Green, over towards the path through woodland that leads towards the Wild Life Reserve.  I found a piece of  sheltered, flat ground and decided to do my dynamic stretches

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I have grown in confidence over the weeks so that, despite still struggling a little with working through the stretches whilst out and about, I able to complete these important movements. I still do my cooldown stretches at home ^^

The river reappeared, meandering through the woodlands so I was able to capture a few photos along the way. I saw another heron, but again it was too far away for my phone to be able focus and capture the moment.

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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!

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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.

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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!!

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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!

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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

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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.

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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!

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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

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

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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:-

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Banana Pancakes

 

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What a beautiful thing banana pancakes are! And how lucky am I to have a daughter make me a delicious healthy breakfast to come home to after a little homework run by yours truly??!!

The recipe was adapted slightly from one found on a lovely food blog, Simply Delicious, and the link to that is: http://simply-delicious-food.com/easy-healthy-banana-oat-pancakes/

These pancakes are quick and easy, flourless and sugar free as well as scrummy so it’s win, win all round!

2 bananas

2 eggs

1/2 cup rolled oats (she used 3 dessert spoons of oats as we don’t have a measuring cup)

[we added couple of dessert spoons of Lidl’s Cereal Topping: Milled Linseed with Pumpkin Seeds, Gojii Berries, Chai Seeds]

1/2 tsp baking powder ( we didn’t have any and they were fine without)

pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla essence

frozen berries to make a fruit compote to top the pancakes

Mix the ingredients together until it is as smooth as you want it, leave to stand for 10-20 minutes (or basically as long as you can stand to wait) so that the mixture thickens slightly. Use this time to prepare the frozen berry compote ( or chop your fresh fruit) to top the pancake  with. We just heated up a generous amount of frozen berries and mashed/bashed them up a bit in the pan (very technical haha!) and added a little water. Heat a non-stick frying pan and then drop a large spoonful of mixture and fry each side until golden brown. Serve topped with a dollop of the berry compote and proceed to give your taste buds an absolute treat!!!

Scrumptious!

 

 

“Banana Pancakes”

Can’t you see that it’s just raining?
Ain’t no need to go outside…But, baby, you hardly even notice
When I try to show you this
Song is meant to keep you
From doing what you’re supposed to.
Waking up too early
Maybe we can sleep in
Make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it’s the weekend nowAnd we could pretend it all the time
Can’t you see that it’s just raining?
There ain’t no need to go outsideBut just maybe, like a ukulele
Momma made a baby
Really don’t mind the practice
’cause you’re my little lady
Lady, lady, love me
’cause I love to lay here lazy
We could close the curtains
Pretend like there’s no world outside

And we could pretend it all the time
Can’t you see that it’s just raining?
There ain’t no need to go outside

Ain’t no need, ain’t no need, mmm, mmm,
Can’t you see, can’t you see?
Rain all day, and I don’t mind

But the telephone is singing
Ringing
It’s too early
Don’t pick it up
We don’t need to
We got everything
We need right here
And everything we need is enough
Just so easy
When the whole world fits inside of your arms
Do we really need to pay attention to the alarm?
Wake up slow, mmm mm, wake up slow

But, baby, you hardly even notice
When I try to show you this
Song is meant to keep ya
From doing what you’re supposed to
Waking up too early
Maybe we can sleep in
Make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it’s the weekend now

And we could pretend it all the time
Can’t you see that it’s just raining?
There ain’t no need to go outside
Ain’t no need, ain’t no need
Rain all day, and I really, really, really don’t mind
Can’t you see, can’t you see?
You gotta wake up slow

Today I Went Jogging; NB: I Am Not A Runner….Or Am I?

Today was the first session for my second attempt at the SLJ Beginners Course. I was unable to complete the course last September as I had to step out due to demands on my time from family and some personal health issues- now resolved thank goodness. For some reason I had worked myself into a fine old tizzy and was more anxious second time around than I was last year. Seriously….why was I so worried? The welcome was as warm and open as ever it was last September and naturally I was not alone in my anxious state… my fellow beginners were equally dubious about what that they had signed up for.

Our coach Hazel was immediately reassuring and swiftly gained our confidence as she led us off to the ‘Hole In The Wall’ entrance to Knole Park

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The warm up walk was reassuringly easy and a great ‘nerve settler’ and there was just enough breath to spare as we introduced ourselves and generally jelled as a group, a few knee high steps raised body temperature sufficiently for this menopausal member to strip off a layer before we even reached the first hill! The advice to dress for the second mile of your run is sooooo spot on!!

Our walk up the hill was made more interesting with just the right amount of challenge as we formed a single line, with the person at the back striding forward to overtake fellow groupies to take the front spot, this process was repeated in turn until the crest of the hill was achieved and we all had a lovely, healthy glow! A few moving stretches and then we were ready to start the business of the day: jogging!!

 

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The deer don’t take any notice as we start our first little 30 second jog, alternating with walking so that an impressive amount of ground is covered almost without us noticing. The park is stunning, the sun is shining, the temperature crisp and exhilarating, the company is great and the experience is quite simply wonderful! We trot up and down dale, around the boundaries of the majestic house and its inner grounds, through woodland and open spaces: it is all beautiful and feeds the soul.

 

Now that we are on the home stretch and nicely warmed up we run for two minutes straight and remarkably no one is collapsing and we all share a high five moment as we celebrate our achievement! We return to Hollybush thrilled with the information we have just run and walked three miles…. yay for us!

On a personal note I have managed to exceed my daily fitbit targets with over 10,000 steps and 76 active minutes before its even lunchtime! Now that, my dears, is a result!!