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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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.

Choices And Changes

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I missed a Fitball class this week. My body and mind felt like lead, moving my limbs was like trying to wade through cold, claggy custard and the deep stresses from the last few days caught up with me to overwhelm and devour my energy. Depression tried to claw its way back into my mind  and erode away my sense of achievement and desire to continue this journey towards a healthy, happy me. I stayed in bed and the day disappeared- this has happened before…but this time there was a difference. Thank goodness.

I was able to practise kindness to self, to allow myself the time I clearly needed to recharge and replenish my inner resources instead of castigating myself in ever increasing circles of recrimination. I nurtured self and took the time I needed as opposed to sinking black despair at having missed a class. I chose to take a positive view rather than falling into bleak negativity. This is real change! This is me being the change I want to see. This change in attitude is as meaningful to my mental health as my exercising is to my physical health. This is holistic progress

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I used the time in the comfort and warmth of my safe and beautiful bed to reflect on the changes and choices I have made since last September. The decision, the positive and deeply personal choice to change my shape, my physical health, my space, my well-being, my happiness has been huge. It has not been a smooth journey, nor has it been easy yet overall the momentum is all forward and like a pebble thrown into a pond the ripple  effect has translated into so much more than an increase in physical health through exercise.

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I have started taking better care of me more often, I have decluttered and taken books, clothes and shoes to charity shops, I have tidied and cleaned, I have gardened… not perfectly, not every day, sometimes not as much as I would have wished for but consistently just that bit more than before. I am proof that one change leads to another and the ripple effect is real

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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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Tomorrow Is Another Day

Sometimes, when the bleak, black, all encompassing void swoops in for an unwelcome visit, it’s tricky to hold onto a realistic sense of perspective.

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I am aware I am unwell physically, but recovering nicely- albeit with a stupid and irritating cough so…. was it genuine reason or flakey, scaredy, anxious reason that stepped in to stop me from attending the first run of the year with the new SLJ season beginners? The void has claimed me somewhat, and bronchitis has supplied a welcome alibi for avoidant behaviour, which I am well aware is one of my markers for mental ill health.

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I wish to process it differently this time, to be kind, to be compassionate to self as I would so easily to others. I wish to be the change within the challenging times, as well as the rather more fun, positive ones. The change I have referred to previously is easy (or at least easier and more tangible) when the going is good, the mood is positive and inspirational intentions fuel my actions- the challenge is to find a path that maintains momentum whilst compassionately allowing for the missteps upon the way.

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Over the holiday season there have been good days, bad days and indifferent days and there has been a dramatic variation in levels of activity achieved- frankly sometimes it has been shite….yet within this period I have also managed my best day ever in terms of steps/active minutes/ h2o/ consistent activity through nine/twenty four hours.

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Tomorrow is FitBall Class and I love that class so much! So I missed a run yesterday? Yes, I am a little sad with myself, but in all honesty my chest is tight and my cough is troublesome, so a little self compassion allows that tomorrow is indeed another day and Wednesdays run is still waiting to embrace me.

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Fitball, Funball….Fabball!!!

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Who knew that such a simple item combined with simple movements could have such an impact whilst being so much fun? I signed up for a fitball class with SLJ, without really knowing much about it all…and by that I genuinely mean nothing at all… so I googled…

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Oh my stars and whiskers! The first class was awesome!! I was so anxious and uncertain as I walked into the studio for my first class, despite having already experienced the warm, all embracing welcome of the Ladies  at SLJ.

That first class was some little while ago now, as I am somewhat behind in putting some of my experiences since September 2016 into words, but the impact and memory is as fresh today as the day it happened… what a class to have as my introduction to Fitball!! It was AWESOME! The theme of the class revolved around the UK gold medals won at the Olympics 2016- it was innovative, challenging, interesting and above all FUN! I loved it!

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Every week delivers a challenging, fresh workout with a central target core theme, it’s fun, it’s fabulous and it’s flexible with easy adaptations to suit individual needs- so that any one from new mothers to menopausal women, from the lithe and fit to the aspiring yet abysmally unfit can participate: all will benefit!

I have been amazed that each week is different to the last, and that whilst the movements have frequently been quite small the difference to me has been huge! I am changing shape and it’s great!!!!

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