Year 3 week 18

30th April – 6th May 2018

This week has been an incredibly busy week for me. As you know next month I will be running a half marathon in Kenya which in itself is a really big challenge for me. One of the main reasons for doing it though is to raise money for charity.

The charity is called Compassion and they help children in over 25 different countries. Their main aim is to release children from poverty and they do this through sponsorship. You can sponsor a child for £25 a month and that child then is given an education, which hopefully means they can get a good job which means they have hope for a better future.

This week I put on a charity event at my house to raise money for this cause. Over the past 18 months our house has gone through a major refurb and we have been frantically trying to get it finished. There was also a lot of work to do for the event as well.

I called the event ‘Mad Hatters Charity Quiz Night’. I sent out invitations months before and of course it contained one of my drawings on it.

The event was a huge success and lots of fun. It was fun hearing all the banter around the questions. I got to say a small speech about my journey which is something I am definitely not used to. I also had a guy come and talk about the work of the charity and then we ended the evening with an auction with some really great items including a original acrylic painting that I did myself.

It took me about a month to do, but to me it summed up why I was going. I called her Bedisa which is an African name. It is often given to girls so they could grow up with hope and destiny.

The event went really well and we raised nearly £3,000 and we got 11 children sponsored and an additional 9 the following day at church.

I was very overwhelmed by the support I got and how generous people can be for a worthy cause. But the best thing to me is how many lives have been changed and how many children do now have a hope and a destiny. It makes me want to run even faster!

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Year 3 week 17

23rd – 29th April 2018

My post from last week has really helped me with my post for this week. Last week I told you how hard it is to stay motivated. A friend commented on it who I met when I was on my trip to Rwanda last year – he did the marathon while I did a half marathon. He simply reminded me of the reason I am doing it.

He said to remember the children, see their faces and see their joy. He also said that they need people like me to keep digging deep. All this week I have been reminded of the children and their smiley faces

Last year when training for the half marathon in Rwanda those children were my motivation. For some reason knowing that I was doing something good for someone else really drove me on. Knowing that in some small way I am helping children on the poverty line get a better future is why I did it.

About half way through the part I was struggling the most those children helped me along. They wanted to run with me holding my hand as we went. I counted I was holding the hands of about 10 children at one point. It was a very special moment for me. I don’t think I would have finished without them

Last year my run helped raise money for the children of Rwanda. This year its to help the children of Kenya. I know in the scheme of things what I am doing is relatively small as there is so much need in the world not just in Kenya but to me it’s huge. It’s a lot of effort and hard work but it’s totally worth it when you see those smiley faces.

My training this year has been really hard. I know now it’s because I lost my focus – I was too busy thinking about myself and how much hard work it is. I was forcing myself to train every week but I really couldn’t be bothered to do it. All of a sudden though, after I was told to remember the children, things changed. It was still tiring and hard work but all of a sudden I was starting to enjoy it (even in the rain). That can’t be bothered attitude disappeared and was replaced with a purpose and a reason to carry on.

If you feel you can help and donate to the children of Kenya push the link

https://challenges.compassionuk.org/profile/500/debbie-wattis

Year 3 week 15

9th – 15th April 2018

This week has been a particularly hard week for me. The kids have been off school so all routine has gone and I am ashamed to say all motivation has gone with it.

I know I have needed to do some exercise but I haven’t really wanted to. I think this week I would have rather have sat around on the sofa than do any exercise at all.

If it wasn’t for this half marathon coming up in June I would have done that and just sat on the sofa all day pigging out.

I have had to really push myself this week. There was one part of me saying “come on get off your butt and do something” and the other part retaliating and not being happy about it.

One thing I have always told my kids is that sometimes in life you have to do things you don’t want to do. It makes the good things totally more rewarding. I think though this week I have been teaching myself that lesson.

I am glad though I did force myself because once I was out I actually enjoyed it and I felt I didn’t waste my week.

Year 3 week 14

2nd – 8th April 2018

We are now half way through the Easter holidays and the kids have all been off school this week.

It hasn’t felt like the school holidays because we have had no kids around all week. My youngest has been in Norway for a school skiing trip, the 2 above him went to Taunton on a mountain bike holiday and the eldest went to Tenerife for the week.

It was weird not having them around it felt like I was at a bit of a loose end. Then Matt surprised me.

One place I have always wanted to go to is Rome and Matt surprised me with a few days away in Rome.

I have always loved history and if there is any place that is steeped in history it’s Rome.

We got to see all the sights and hired a guard to show us around. They really knew their stuff.

I found the history of each building fascinating – everywhere we went there was always some amazing story to be told.

It made me think on my story and how I had got this far on my journey and how all the people around me had no idea of the things I have been through. It also meant that I didn’t know other people story either. I am sure that some people have been through a lot more gruelling, painful, amazing things than I have.

As I stood there hearing all this history being told it made me realise the power of a story – the things we have been through in our lives needs to be told and it might even make an impact on the person listening.

Going to Rome has also helped me along with this months challenge. I had decided to walk/run over 6 miles 4 times this month.

In Rome I walked over 8 miles one day and 12 the next which means I am half way through the challenge in my first week!

Year 3 week 13

26th March – 1st April 2018

This week I have struggled to complete this months challenge. It has meant that on some days I have had to double the amount of exercise just to catch up and complete my challenge.

I am at the moment doing an hours exercise at least every weekday and sometimes I extend it to the weekend too. I have never exercised so much in my life. This week though I have done about 2 hours almost everyday just so I can complete my challenge before the end of the month.

All this is for training for another half marathon I’m doing in June. Sometimes I wonder why I put myself through all this pain. If it wasn’t for the kids I am raising money for I think I would have quit long ago.

I have also really cut down on my food intake too. Upping the exercise and lowering my food intake has been one of the hardest things I have done so far.

You would think that this would mean that I would lose weight. I did lose a few pounds last week but nothing this week. I feel I am doing all this effort for no reward.

These challenges are something that I have set myself to do. No one is pressuring me to succeed. I am however pressuring myself to succeed and as the weeks go by that pressure gets stronger.

I saw a quote this week that says “a diamond is just a piece of charcoal that can handle pressure extremely well”

It got me googling how a diamond is formed. They come from deep under the ground, they start as carbon (like coal and charcoal) and they are a mineral of carbon in a concentrated form. They form because of the amount of pressure sitting on top compacting it tight.

After that deep sourced lava comes up through the earth pushing them to the surface heating them to incredible temperatures in the process.

Once the ground cools they just need to be dug up and shaped to the diamonds we all see today.

I have a few diamonds that are very special to me, not just because they look nice but because of what they represent and who bought them for me.

I have never once realised what it took to get that diamond on my finger or around my neck.

This whole process of how a diamond is formed is what makes it so strong and the reason why they can’t be broken.

This little lesson on diamonds has made me think that the pressure I am putting on myself is a good thing. Upping the heat on my training is making me stronger, hopefully it is shaping me into a much better person.

So I think I will continue on my current course and hopefully it will make me stronger

If you feel you could help support this cause go to:

https://challenges.compassionuk.org/profile/500/debbie-wattis

Year 3 week 12

19th – 25th March 2018

This month it has been a real struggle completing my challenges. 8 days away this month hasn’t really helped much. I feel it has meant I am behind on my goals

To run/walk 30 miles I am on schedule but with the swimming I am very behind and I have been trying to catch up ever since I got back from my travels. I also gave myself the added challenge to lose weight this month too. Up until now I have been failing miserably.

I have found that these challenges have been really good for me. I have risen to the challenge every month and I have not failed once. This month though I might be looking at just that – FAILURE!!! I feel the swimming I can catch up on but the losing weight, well that’s a different story

I still see Jenny my nutritionist and this week I told her that I was really struggling to lose anymore weight. I think it was nothing she didn’t already know. I also told her about this little voice I have got going round in my head telling me to eat the food I shouldn’t. I have been struggling with this little voice for a while and it wouldn’t go away until I had succumbed. I know this sounds really silly but I feel by the fact I shared it with Jenny it made that voice disappear.

She then went on to give me a new diet plan to follow which I was really happy about. I thought to myself great I will start tomorrow. Straight after I went to lunch and I thought if this diet is starting tomorrow I will eat today. I was sitting there in this cafe not even eating anything majorly bad but I was still eating something I shouldn’t and I found myself looking around and checking that Jenny wasn’t there to witness it.

I think the thought of Jenny witnessing what I was doing was far worse than the other voice I had just got rid of. So really you could say I have just replaced one voice for another.

The next day I started her diet. All I know from Jenny’s diets is that they are not easy – she likes to remove all carbs, bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and anything with sugar in. I thought with my motivation at the moment there was not a chance I would even get through the first day. I am now on day 4 and still going strong I even watched the kids eat pizza today at lunch while I had a homemade vegetable soup.

I think having Jenny’s voice going around in my head, having her as my conscience, on my shoulder is definitely a good thing and I am happy to say that the scales are going down too.

Year 3 week 11

12th – 18th March 2018

This week has been a really busy week for me. It has been a week of conferences. I don’t very often go to a conference so to have 2 in one week each going on for several days is really unusual.

It has meant that I have not done much exercise this week. However it has meant I have done an awful lot of walking. I think I must have walked 10 miles at least getting to the conferences and walking around the nearby towns.

One of the conferences has been in Manchester and the other was in Kuala Lumpur. Which also meant an awful lot of travel too.

The cold weather has been getting me down so I was really looking forward to changing my boots for my flip flops.

I really wasn’t looking forward to all that traveling though. One thing I was really hoping for, going to a warmer climate, was that my eating would improve.

I have to say there was a noticeable difference. I think it must have been the weather. Before I left I was finding I was eating a lot more hot food but while in Kuala Lumpur I was eating a lot less and choosing healthier foods most of the time.

I just didn’t fell like eating much, I didn’t pick between my meals and my portion sizes were a lot smaller too.

I have always thought that the colder weather makes you want to eat more and I feel that those few days away has proved it. The only trouble is that I am now back to the cold and snow again – I just need to try harder to carry on the good habits I made while I was away.

Year 3 week 10

5th – 11th March 2018

Up until now I have been doing really well with the challenges I have set for myself.

I don’t think they have been easy – they have been quite hard at times.

This month the exercise part of the challenge is going far better than I expected. This month is a really busy month for me so I wasn’t sure how I would find the time but I have managed to grab a bit most days from somewhere.

The eating part of the challenge is not going quite so well. I am not eating bad, but I have to say I am not eating good either it’s just ok and there’s definitely room for improvement.

I just can’t seem to get the motivation I need. It got me thinking “how on earth did I ever do it before?”

It has meant thinking back quite a long way and I remembered that I was desperate and it was that desperation that drove me on and gave me all the motivation I needed.

I still have the desire to lose weight but I don’t have that desperation anymore. I have achieved my main goals even though I haven’t got down to my ideal weight.

To me, having the energy to keep up with the kids and being able to do so much more than I ever could before has taken away my motivation, but I want it back!!!

Matt reminded me that when I started this diet I was very strict with myself – he said I was very military like. I wouldn’t step out of line once and I did exactly what I was told.

He said that he would sometimes say “go on you can eat that it won’t hurt”, however I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t even have a small bite.

I felt that Jenny my nutritionist was the expert and I was to do exactly what she said for my own benefit and it worked. It was like she was my Sergeant Major.

I really need to get back to that but I just can’t seem to do it. I need to get desperate again but since I have been seeing Jenny I have learnt a lot and I think that knowledge is hindering my motivation because I now know what to expect.

So I think I will get Jenny to get that Sergeant Major head on again and maybe do something new.

Year 3 week 9

26th February – 4th March 2018

February challenge is now over. So it’s now onto the March challenge.

March is going to be a very difficult month for me. I have so much on and very little time to think about any new challenge. I am finding though that theses challenges every month are really working for me.

I have actually really enjoyed them when they’re done. During the month I do find it tough completing them but there is definitely a sense of achievement once the month is over.

So January I swam over 2000 lengths (20 miles) of a swimming pool. February I ran/ walked over 50 miles. So I thought for March I would combine the 2.

I thought I would swim 1000 lengths and run/walk 30 miles. It may not sound like enough but I know I have about 8 days where I can’t do any exercise at all this month.

To add to the challenge I thought I would also really try and lose weight this month too. It has been months since I have lost any weight. For some reason it just doesn’t want to budge anymore no matter how hard I try. All I can do is try my best.

As my February challenge ended the March challenge has struggled to get started. All this week I have had one of my children off school sick. All have had coughs and colds and generally feeling really rotten. It has gradually gone around the house causing everyone to get it.

I feel like we have been in quarantine all week trying not to pass it any further

This has slowed down my exercise a little. Trying to exercise when you feel that rotten isn’t much fun at all. I have managed to progress a little though.

There is one consolation and that is I haven’t really fancied eating too much. Hopefully this means I might actually lose weight!!!

Year 3 week 8

19th – 25th February 2018

Back in October I went to Serbia with 8 other ladies from our church. One thing we were going to run was a women’s retreat while we were there.

It was a few days away with a group of Serbian ladies. The idea was we would go and share our stories, take seminars, do workshops and generally connect with the women.

To do this retreat it entailed us doing a year of planning before we went. We all had our own particular jobs. One of mine was to organise a few of the workshops. Which was great for me because it meant I could get creative. Creativity, I feel, is one of my strong points.

While in Serbia we felt as a team that somethings we prepared weren’t going to work. It meant changing a whole afternoon. We found ourselves in the situation of trying to fill in 6 hours with something totally new.

We came up with this new programme and it was a huge success. It was a great laugh and highly entertaining – it ended up with so many people opening up. For me it was the best part of the whole retreat.

Through this experience I learnt something about myself. I learnt that I totally enjoyed this whole experience and I found I thrived off changing the plan and coming up with something new. I was totally in my element and I really jumped in feet first. I am not sure everyone else got as much out of it as me but I have learnt I can totally wing it if I have to.

This week I have had to wing it a lot. The kids have been off school for half term which always means a change of plan. It has also made it difficult to continue with my 50 mile challenge for this month.

I thought though that I could go on the treadmill a few times. We have had workmen in our house this week and they would constantly move the treadmill into a place where I couldn’t use it. It didn’t matter how often I tried to move it back it was always the case that when I came to use it I couldn’t.

I found this frustrating as I knew my time in February was running out and I still had 19 miles to go. It meant I had to totally rethink my plans and resort to plan B.

Changing plans can very often take you in a totally different direction and it did for me this week.

I managed to meet up with a friend and we took the kids bikes. We went to a place by a lake, the kids went off and we made our way around the lake a few times meeting the kids on a few occasions. We ended up going 5 miles which was more than my normal distance and it was so much more enjoyable too.

A couple of days later I went again doing 6 miles this time though. I managed to get out a couple of times by myself upping my total by 17 miles this week.

So plan B ended up being so much better than plan A and so much more enjoyable too. There are only 4 days left to this month and I only have 2 miles to go to complete this challenge. I feel I can do that no problem – if not I will be resorting to plan C!