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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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

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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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!!

First Fitball Class Of 2017- Shout Out For SLJ!

Fabulous! What an absolute delight to see friends from last term and welcome a new face to the group! The class itself was- as ever- fun, fun, fun and the routine, for all that it was ‘old skool fitball’ was fresh and enjoyable, with just enough challenge to ensure a sense of achievement was felt by all (judging by the smiles and flushed, happy faces!) It still amazes me that such simple exercises, with often such small movements, can raise heartbeat, body temperature and be seriously effective, whilst always allowing flexibility to address individual needs such as back or shoulder pain, a sprained ankle, recent childbirth….!

Full disclosure here: one of the reasons I walked away on air was not just because the class was awesome! I was floating on endorphin’s AND an absolute boost to my confidence and determination to stay on this #backtofit journey due to observations from our lovely leader Sam and one of my new found chums at Fitball!!! They both affirmed my weight loss is noticeable and I can’t express fully how THRILLED I was and how unashamedly I asked them to repeat this fantasitcal and encouraging news! It is one thing to feel that you are changing shape and losing weight but nothing replaces compliments from others!

 

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