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!


Year 3 week 6

5th – 11th February 2017

This week I have really put in a few miles. I have managed to run/walk 16 miles so far this month which I feel is a great start to my total of 50 miles by the end of the month.

My knees are feeling really good – it seems the more I run the stronger they get. That’s how I feel after the run but during it is a totally different story.

I run outside but I also do some on my treadmill. On my treadmill I can do so much better than outside. It seems I can go faster, I can keep up the same pace throughout and I feel good while doing it.

When I go outside for a run I seem to be in pain with every step. My knees seem to creak, I am so much slower too and I can’t seem to warm up.

The weather has been so cold lately that when I run outside I feel like my joints are like a block of ice and I have icicles hanging off the end of my nose.

When I get back it seems to take me all day to thaw out. Even though I have run more this month it has left me a little disheartened.

Then I got to thinking of last year and how did I train for my half marathon in May and why couldn’t I remember it being so cold. I remembered that last year for me to run I had to have an operation to remove the saggy skin from my arms. It would flap against my body causing problems when running which meant it had to go.

This time last year I was still in recovery I was practically bed bound, I couldn’t pick up anything heavy and exercise was definitely a no go.

Remembering this means I am not so disheartened anymore. In fact I have found it quite encouraging. It means I am so much further ahead than what I was last year and I have so much more time to train for it too.

Last year after I recovered from my op I only had 6 weeks to train. This year I have 6 months so I have no reason to feel disheartened but every reason to feel encouraged.

So now I get why I can’t remember the cold. I am just looking forward to some warmer weather.

Year 3 week 5

29th January – 4th February 2018

My swimming challenge is now over and I have now started my running challenge. This week I have really put in a few miles.

When I go for a run I can’t seem to run it all I have to walk some of it, I can’t seem to keep up the same pace throughout. This month that is something I am trying to work on.

When I went to Rwanda to do the half marathon last year. I met all the other people doing the challenges too. One of the guys would always refer to us as athletes. Every time it was mentioned I would laugh because in my head that was the last thing I was.

I have to admit that I don’t look like your typical athlete. Even though I have been on this weight loss journey for over 2 years I still have an awful lot of weight to lose.

A typical athlete to me is someone super fit, super thin, has energy in abundance, can run like it’s no effort at all, wears all the cool matching gear.

Not someone like me, someone who struggles with every step, someone who would love to have the matching outfits but they don’t make them in your size, someone who is likely to damage there knees with all that weight pounding on top of it and someone who is so tired afterwards that I am not fit to do anything else.

I have been running again now for a few weeks. My knees have been fine. After one run though they were so sore that I thought I might have overdone it. The next time I went running though they were fine

Sometimes I think to myself “why am I doing this?” I am overweight, I am not your typical runner, why am I putting myself through this torture?

One thing I have found on this journey is that keeping the weight off is so much harder than getting the weight off. I feel I have to do this otherwise that weight will be piling back on again.

My motivation isn’t the best so this trip to Kenya to do another half marathon is helping with that.

To do something for a good cause is all the motivation I need. Knowing that I am going there to help vulnerable children and help provide solar lamps to provide light and electricity to homes that need it. Things that we take for granted in our everyday lives.

Knowing that I’m helping in some small way makes the pain worth it and makes me think “who cares if I’m not your typical athlete.”

If you feel you would like to help those kids in Kenya too then click on the link.

Year 2 week 47

19th – 25th November 2017

I am still on my detox, I feel I have been doing quite well. I have started to get really bored with it now though. Partly because the weight has stopped coming off and partly because I am sick of salad.

My exercise has not been quite as good. I think at first I didn’t do too much because I was feeling weak. This week I have managed to up my exercise a little.

I have done something I never thought I would ever see myself do – I have joined a running club. My friend has been going to this club for a while and she has been asking me to go. I have always managed to find some excuse of why not to go so it ended up that she stopped asking me.

I just didn’t want to go – it was also at night which is the time when I relax. I also felt that I would be an embarrassment – not fit enough, and I felt I would always be at the back holding people up. I don’t know what came over me though because I asked my friend if I could go with her this week. I really didn’t want to go I just knew I needed to go.

After I asked her the nerves came over me but I still went. We did an hour of circuit training first and to my surprise I could keep up and I could do most of the things that we were supposed to do.

After that came the running and I have to say all my fears disappeared as I could keep up. They did these little challenges to make it more interesting that I liked. I really enjoyed myself

I didn’t feel embarrassed at all. Well that was until I was in the middle of one of the challenges and we were to run down a cul-de-sac as fast as we could and then run back up again.

On my way down though I tripped over a kerb. I was then heading straight for someone’s front garden fence and, I don’t know how I did it, but I hurdled it and then I was then face to face with a tree that unbelievably I managed to dodge only to be faced with another fence that I also hurdled. I think that all became too much for me because I then went splat in someone else driveway!

Because I was doing quite well and I wasn’t at the back meant I also had an audience. All these people came running to see how I was. Surprisingly though I was fine other than scrapes on my hands and knees.

Everyone was so nice. People who saw me said it was a very impressive fall and was amazed I stayed on my feet for so long. Others came up to me saying how on their first week they did the same thing. My fall, in someways, helped me get to know people and it has made me want to go next week.

One thing I have always told my kids is that sometimes in life there are things that we don’t want to do but when we do it, it can end up being quite rewarding and you never know you might even enjoy it. I think this week I have said that to myself .

Year 2 week 44

29th October- 4th November 2017

One thing I have really struggled this year with has been motivation.

I think it’s because I achieved one of my main goals this year. One of my goals was to have enough energy to keep up with my kids. My kids are typical kids and have heaps of energy. 

Before I started this journey I couldn’t even walk up the stairs without being out of breath. 16 months later I did a half marathon! 

For me doing that half marathon in Rwanda was so amazing. It was something that I never thought I could ever do. I was so overwhelmed at the time that I did it. That to me that was my ultimate goal. I felt that there was nothing I could do any better than that. I felt that I had climbed the highest mountain and actually reached the top. 

Since then it has been hard staying motivated. The trouble with reaching your goal is that there is nothing left to aim for. Once you reach that point and you get to the top of your mountain there is only one place left to go and that’s DOWN. 

Sometimes to go down can be fun. It means that there are no restrictions on your life. It’s like I can do anything and get away with it. However you do end up with a feeling of guilt that you have let things slip so bad. 

The getting away with it can only last so long. With falling there comes a point where you hit the ground. Hitting rock bottom can be very painful and usually at that point it’s very hard to see a way out of it. 

I feel that since Rwanda that is what I have been doing – FALLING. In my mind though I didn’t want to fall I feel I protected myself from the impact – it’s like I put on my parachute so when I hit the ground it wasn’t so painful. 

This month I have set myself new goals.  I have hit the ground now but I have decided to turn around and start climbing that mountain again. 

I have decided that for the month of November I am going to concentrate on my eating again. I have already had a carb free 4 days and lost a few pounds too. I would like to continue my healthy eating throughout this month and hopefully it will give me the boost I need to continue after. 

I have also signed up for another half marathon – this time in Kenya. It’s in June of next year. I will be raising money again for the charity Compassion UK.

I think for me the fact I am doing it again isn’t quite as significant as before. What it does do though is help me to keep active, gives me something to focus on and I get to help some needy children in Africa in the process. 

I came back from doing my last half marathon thinking I would never do one again. My fitness levels have depleted so much that I feel I have signed up without the ability to succeed. Knowing this is coming hopefully will get me motivated to train.

After June next year, when I’ve completed my second half marathon, I’m hoping that I won’t fall like I did this year. Well that’s what I’m aiming for.

Year 2 week 41

8th – 14th October 2017

I always thought while going down this journey that losing weight would be so much harder than trying to maintain it. 

I have to admit that I would still love to lose weight and I still have another 3-4 stone to lose. It has actually been a year since I have lost any weight and it has not been without trying. 

I have been at this stage many times in my life but never for a year. Normally after losing so much weight I always plateau. I get to the stage of not being able to lose anymore weight and then after a few months it goes back on again. On a few occasions it has sent me into a depression which has made matters so much worse. 

Here I am a year on and I am still in that place. I am still eating healthy 80% of the time the other 20% are the stages that I really find hard and I slip for a short while. 

I am still exercising too, some weeks are good.  Last year my normal distance was 5k this year it’s 7k sometimes I even go further. 

This week though has been particularly bad. I meet a group of ladies once a week. We all run together. I have always felt that I do ok. I am not the fastest but I am not the slowest either. 

This week though I was so tired that I almost didn’t go. I thought it would do me good so I did go. During the run I was lagging behind so much that I held everybody up. 

It was like I had lost my whole ability to run at all. I was out of breath, my legs were aching so much and my energy levels disappeared so quickly. I just couldn’t keep up at all

I haven’t really ached much after a run for a long time – probably ever since I did my half marathon. This time though I seemed to ache for days. 

On this occasion it had the total opposite effect on me that I would have thought. 

Instead of me thinking I have lost all my ability and end up going down the route of all the bad 20% of my eating habits, it made me more determined instead. I looked at it as a blip and I was happier I went even though I was aching. 

Year 2 week 23

4th – 10th June

This week has been a much better week, I seem to have abolished my fears of last week and I have got my act together and done something about it. 

I had focused so much on my fear of going backwards that it didn’t give me much room to do something about it. 

This week I have been really focused on my food. I have tried to get it back under control. For me to get it under control has meant cutting out the carbs, eating healthy and going hungry. 

It has been a good reminder of what it was like for me a year ago. I have absolutely no idea how I did it for so long because this is really hard. Last year I got the shakes went through sugar withdrawals and I felt really hungry for a long time. Now all I am getting is the hunger but it’s a struggle.

I have tried to do some exercise too. I didn’t want to go so mad because of my energy levels and the lack of food. So I thought gentle exercise would be ok at this time. 

I have had a few appointments this week. So for my exercise I decided to walk to my appointments rather than take the car. 

Leaving the car is something I have never done. I take my car everywhere. Walking on my own is also something I have never done. For me to exercise I have always needed the motivation of someone being there with me. 

To be self motivated is a big step up for me. For me to feel that I can go out by myself and not rely on other people is great. I just hope I can continue it because it means I can go out for a run, walk at my own convenience rather than waiting for people to be available. I do find going with others is more fun but now I have the option. 

To you this may sound silly, people exercise on their own all the time. To me though it’s not. I have always wanted to be self motivated to do it alone but there was always something holding me back. It was usually the sofa, the TV or even my bed – they always seemed so much more appealing. 

When you have to meet someone it’s easier because I would never want to let them down so I would always turn up whether I wanted to or not. 

So I’m going to try and do things on my own a bit more now. 

Year 2 week 20

14th – 20th May 2017

This week has been amazing. My time in Rwanda has totally exceeded my expectations. 

The run up to my trip to Rwanda I was worried, apprehensive, and very unsure about going at all. It has turned out to be the best and most rewarding thing I have ever done. 

While in Rwanda we went and saw some of the things Compassion do. We went to some of the projects where Compassion help children, mothers and babies and families out of poverty. 

One day we visited a child’s home who is sponsored by Compassion. We saw first hand how Compassion helps each and every person and family who goes through their program. 

I also had the opportunity to meet my sponsored child. It was such a special moment and something totally worth doing. I think it will be something that we will both remember for a long time. 

I was so much more impacted by the whole experience than I thought I was going to be. At first I thought I was just going there to run a half marathon but it became so much more than just that.  

On the run up to going I would get nervous every time I would have to do a long run. The night before I would not sleep with worry knowing what I was to do the next day. 

In Rwanda I didn’t worry at all. The run was on the last day and I hardly thought about it all week. I was just enjoying each moment as it came along. 

The night before the big day I slept really well. I had such a peace about what I was about to do. I had spent the last few months thinking and worring about this and when it arrived I didn’t have one concern. 

In the morning I was eager to get going. Up until that point I had been counting up the miles. This was the first time I could start counting them down, knowing I wouldn’t have to do them again if I didn’t want to. 

The day was misty and overcast at first but warmed up through out the run. I had no injuries or problems on my way around. It was such a special moment. I ran with another lady from our team the whole way around. We had kids come and run with us. They would hold our hands as we went. It was such a lovely moment. 

The last few miles were the hardest. We were getting tired and starting to slow down. All we knew was that we needed to keep moving.  We did and then we heard it in the distance – we heard drums. Those drums were there to welcome us across the finish line.

To hear those drums was the best feeling ever. It showed us that the end was in sight and we had almost reached our goal. It helped us and motivated us to run faster. 

We ran across the finish line with the drummers playing in the background. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Straight afterwards we hugged each other and just cried. 

We had both been down such an amazing journey to get to that point and to find that we had actually done it was so overwhelming. 

I will never forget that experience of crossing that line. It has been the result of a lot of hard work and pain. But the more work you put in the greater the reward and my reward was great indeed.

One thing that made it extra special was that over the last few days of the trip Matt came out to join me. Knowing that he saw me cross the finish was wonderful!

I have learnt quite a lot from this experience. I learnt that I can and should go out of my comfort zone more often than I do. 

I have learnt that it is a good thing to go all out and aim for your goals however hard it may seem to achieve it.  It’s good to reach beyond ourselves, to stretch ourselves and push through. 

I have learnt that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. That’s all that we were on that trip – just ordinary people but all wanting to make a difference. And doing things for others rather than just thinking of yourself  brings its own rewards. 

And we did learn that the money that is donated to Compassion actually goes to help people out of poverty.  We can’t necessarily help everyone all the time so it might just have to be one child at a time – but with enough children being reached maybe we can all make a difference.

I have made so many great friends on this trip. I don’t think you can go through something like that without making friends.  

If you are interested in a challenge, in pushing yourself, in making a difference in your life and the lives of others, then I definitely recommend you think about doing a Muskathlon. You might even see me there!

Year 2 week 15

9th – 15th April 2017

Training for the half marathon in Rwanda is well under way. I am managing to get out at least 3 times a week and averaging at least 12 miles a week running. 

It has caused a problem. With all the extra running means I am ending up extra hungry which means I am eating extra food. 

One of the rules I am finding hard to keep is only eating my meals and not eating for 5 hours between my meals. 

Last year I spent half of the year hungry and I seemed to cope with it ok. Now the hunger seems to get to me a bit more. I don’t know if it’s because I have lost my motivation or because the extra exercise is making me hungry. 

The good thing is that I have noticed it and I can now start reeling it back in.

I am finding the training pretty tough. I am not a runner and I have not, in recent years, ran 12 metres a week let alone 12 miles. I have still got a long way to go and a lot more miles to put in before I go to Rwanda in less than a months time. 

I have never trained for anything in my life before. I am starting to wonder if I can do it at all. I think it is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done. The more I train the tireder I am getting and the more I am doubting my ability. 

One thing that keeps me going is knowing I am going to be helping children out of poverty – it makes every step worth the effort.