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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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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Week Six : Say Yes To The Scrunchie

Wow go us! We ran just that little bit further this week, 3.5 miles with more running, shorter intervals and less walking….yay us!! We even jogged a couple of inclines: woot woot!

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This fabulous photo is not mine sadly, it was on the Tonbridge Daily Facebook page*. It captures the stag so wonderfully and the deer are such an intrinsic part of the beauty of running in Knole Park that I hope the photographer Jo Roots will forgive my sharing it here.

Today was week six of the Beginners Joggers and our first rainy run, which given the time of year it seems to me that we have been very lucky so far! We have run in the mist and fog but not rain so I was curious to discover exactly why my son has always enjoyed running in the rain.

This is a single tree taking a slightly more horizontal approach to life before stretching its branches skywards, unfortunately these two photos fail to do its beauty justice though hopefully manage to show its intriguing shape.

The light drizzle didn’t dampen our spirits and the important business of catching up with each other’s half term news was soon underway. So….. the scrunchie! Our top joggers tip comes via one of the girls, who caused her hairdresser to have a mini meltdown!! It would appear that ponytails in hairbands whilst jogging cause too much damage to fine, colour treated hair resulting in a most unfortunate mullet effect! The solution (once the offending mullet had been bobbed) is to wear a scrunchie to hold back those precious locks in a ponytail. So now you know!!

These young deer are jus’ chillin’ in a what appears to be a youth club for young deer only as there were no older deer in sight. The sight of us trundling past at a sharp jog didn’t disturb them in the slightest.

I found running in light drizzle to be rather pleasant as it helped to keep my ready brek glow and sweaty betty face cool although glasses and rain are never a favourite combination. The wet weather eased off leaving us with just grey skies to run under and run we did! Even I managed to achieve this weeks target of eight minutes despite trailing well behind the girls. The progress we have all made in six short weeks is quite amazing really. Naturally despite being in my comfort zone at the back I was never left behind as that is simply not the SLJ way! Last is never least and extra loops allow the faster girls to stay challenged while little short legs me catches up: it’s win, win for everyone.

*The photo of the stag at the beginning of this post was taken by Jo Roots and featured on the Tonbridge Daily Facebook page. 

A Little Early Morning Walk

This morning we had a spot of car trouble so I couldn’t give my youngest daughter her usual lift to the station. I decided to keep her company on the walk and am so glad I did as it was a most enjoyable start to the day! The photos are from my return journey which I took at a more leisurely pace than the walk to the station- I was happy just to take in the early morning quiet and to appreciate my surroundings. I could feel my spirit lifting with every step.