Year 3 week 28

8th – 15th July 2018

When I was a child I would very often sit in the car with my Mum and Sister. It was ether at Draycote Waters or Weymouth beach. We would sit there for hours while my Dad and Brother would go windsurfing.

When I got a bit older my Dad then taught me. I remember I loved it. Once he even took me away to Sardinia for a week of windsurfing. If I think of my favourite childhood memory of my Dad that holiday would be it. It was a real father-daughter bonding time.

The only bad thing was that we had to share a room and he snores. His bed was over the other side of the room and I could still hear him! Every night I grabbed a pile of socks and placed them by my bed. I would throw them at him every time he kept me awake. I always ran out!

On that holiday my windsurfing really progressed and I have to say that I even got quite good.

That was about 25 years ago. Since then I haven’t got on a board. It hasn’t even been a desire of mine to try it again.

When We recently arrived in Greece I noticed they do refresher windsurfing lessons and I thought I would sign up and see how I would get on. This shocked me more than it did Matt – I don’t know what possessed me to do it.

So this week I have had 2 lessons . I knew my biggest challenge would be getting on the board itself. My upper body strength is basically non existent and worse since I had my op. I have never been able to get on a boat even when it has a ladder.

To my surprise I got on the board several times. I not only got on, I also stood up and on a couple of occasions I was even sailing. I was in the water more than I was on the board though!

I definitely wasn’t as graceful as my drawing either. It should have been a drawing of me falling in rather than sailing with style but that would have been a boring drawing.

However I learnt something with these lessons. It took so much effort to get on the board, standup, get the sail up, make sure you are balanced correctly and then get in the right sailing position. You start to think if all that effort worth it. But then you have that brief moment (for me it really was very brief) when you are doing everything correct and you are actually sailing – that makes all that effort worth it.

Sometimes I look back and remember all the hard work I put in to lose weight and to be more active. These lessons and opportunity to windsurf again have made all that hard work worth it.

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Year 3 week 27

2nd – 8th July 2018

This week has been a particularly busy week for me. All of my kids have broken up from school which means preparing for the summer.

My 2 oldest sons left midweek and flew to Australia with a lot of their cousins. They will be attending a conference in Sydney called Hillsong. They go from there to Mozambique for 6 weeks and are staying with a couple. They will be helping them with their missionary work. Hopefully it will be a life changing experience for them.

It has meant there has been a lot to organise regarding packing. The busy week I would have coped with ok if it wasn’t for having really bad hay fever – my nose hasn’t stopped running and my eyes have been constantly weeping all week. I have felt really tired too. I go out and when I come home I realise that my makeup has ran all over my face. I have turned into a blonde Alice Cooper.

Now though, we have taken the remaining 2 children and flown to Greece for our summer holiday.

All of a sudden my eyes have stopped weeping and my nose is no longer running – I am feeling so much better. Hay fever has so much to answer for. It stops you from doing so much. It makes you feel so lousy and there’s not much you can do to relieve the symptoms. Maybe going to Greece is my answer every year!

Year 3 week 26

25th June – 1st July 2018

This week I have been trying to cut down on my food intake. When I set myself this challenge I knew it was going to be hard. All I kept thinking about was how hard it was for me last time in January 2016.

Back then I ate so little food. The food I did eat was protein, fruit and vegetables and very little of anything else. I remember I went from eating junk constantly to eating really healthy with a 5 hour break in-between each meal. I remember it was quite a major shock to my system. So much so that I was fit for nothing.

I spent most of my time in bed without the energy to get up. If I did get up I was so shaky. The hunger pains were so intense that I am sure they could hear the rumbles next door.

My life back then consisted of eating very little and sleeping a lot – I couldn’t physically do anything else.

Remembering what I went through then is very off putting now. Last time I did that out of desperation to lose weight and have more energy to keep up with the kids. However I have definitely got the energy to keep up with the kids now. I know I still have a lot of weight to lose but that desperation has gone.

I have this week though managed to cut down considerably. I don’t know how I have managed to do it because I thought my willpower was non existent. I have been eating mainly protein, fruit and veg and I haven’t found it as hard as I thought.

I have felt a little weak at times and on the very odd occasion shaky. It has however been nothing like it was before. I have even managed to exercise a few times this week too.

There has been one drawback though and that is I haven’t lost any weight at all – I just don’t get it. I know I am thinner though because I can feel it. It’s a good job I no longer concentrate on the scales!

Year 3 week 25

18th – 24th June 2018

This week has been very uninteresting really. Nothing amazing has happened, nothing is coming up in the near future I need to prepare for and there is nothing I really need to train for anymore either. In fact after my time away in Kenya I feel this week is a bit of an anticlimax.

I have spent all of this year and part of last year training to do that half marathon in Kenya. It has been what I have focused on for months and now I don’t need to do it anymore. In someways I am a bit sad but it also has its benefits.

One thing I have realised is how much I have neglected my kids in that time. It means I am spending more time with them and concentrating on their needs more which is definitely a bonus. The kids have been great and very understanding and incredible supportive throughout that time.

Another thing I have neglected is my nutrition. With all that exercise came extra eating to give me more energy to complete my challenges. Since increasing the exercise you would think I would lose weight but no, I haven’t lost any at all. In fact I have probably put it on rather than lose it.

So I have decided to use this time to concentrate on what I am eating. Over the last 2 half years I have learnt a lot especially about nutrition. I have learnt the best way to lose weight, what food does to your body, what kind of food I should and shouldn’t be eating and if I don’t remember any of it Jenny, my nutritionist, would soon remind me.

I feel now that I have all the tools I need and they are stacked neatly on the wall not being used. I might look at them from time to time debating whether to use them or not.

I am not in denial – I know if I started to use those tools that it wouldn’t be easy. However this week I have come to the realisation that there is no point having them if they are not going to be used. An unused tool is totally useless and has no benefit to anyone.

So I have decided that from tomorrow I am actually going to start using them. I have decided that for 2 weeks I am going to cut out artificial sugars and basically go back to the beginning again.

I know this is going to be really difficult for me but I feel, as I am confessing it, it will hopefully keep me accountable and in some ways make it easier.

So for once I actually have the right tools and I know how to use them. The challenge now is whether I can use them efficiently.

Year 3 week 24

11th – 17th June 2018

It has been one amazing week. My time in Kenya has been very busy and very eye opening.

We got to go to see some of the Compassion projects while we were there. They made us feel very welcome. Those kids are the happiest children I have ever met – they always had a smile on their face and when I gave them a simple gift like a balloon their faces lit up even more.

They live in poverty and yet they are full of joy. I am not sure I would have been so happy with a balloon for a gift!

I got to see my sponsor child, Elvin, while I was there and he took me to his house. There are 5 of them who live in a room about the size of my downstairs toilet, which is incredibly small I can tell you. It was quite a special moment for me.

There were many other projects we visited throughout the week and everywhere we went the welcome was the same. Those happy joyful faces can keep you going for a long time.

At the end of the week I was to do my half marathon. I think all the things I had witnessed that week made my feet go faster because I felt like I was flying. I was still slow in the whole scheme of things but to me it felt fast. I had my music playing and I think I must have annoyed everyone near me as I was singing really loud and I can’t sing!

By the time I got to 13.1 miles I had smashed my personal best time. However on this half marathon I had just under another mile to go until I got to the finish line.

At that point the heat had hit me and I couldn’t go any further. I had to rest and cool myself off. I sat there for 20 minutes and then carried on very slowly. That last part took me an hour in total.

All I wanted to see was the finish line but it just didn’t seem to be anywhere. Then in the distance I saw this red banner with ‘finish’ written on it. It was the best thing I had seen all day. Running across that finish line was the best feeling.

It made it even more special with the people cheering and clapping as I arrived.

A cup of water was tipped over my head for me to cool down which was lovely. I later found out that it got to over 40 degrees that day. No wonder I over heating. I couldn’t believe I had done it for the second time and in that heat.

I will never forget my week in Kenya and all the things I achieved but most of all I will never forget the happy faces of all those children.

Year 3 week 23

4th- 10th June 2018

So I have arrived in Kenya and already I have met some amazing people and done some amazing things.

It has been great going around the projects and seeing the work compassion do and the difference that it makes in people’s lives.

I know I have told you I am coming here to do a half marathon but really that has been a very small thing in comparison to the need that is out here.

The half marathon for me this year, I am calling my glory round. To me it’s not about how fast I go, it’s not about my time or even beating my personal best. In fact I am more than likely to be last.

I was reminded recently about the story of the tortoise and the hare. They were racing each other and the hare was so far ahead that he decided to rest. In the mean time the tortoise just kept on plodding on at his own pace – he never stopped once. The hare woke up just as the tortoise was about to cross the finishing line. He tried to catch up but it was to late – The tortoise won!

Matt calls me the plodder. The thing about a plodder is – yes they go slow but they also see all of the amazing things going on around them. So really I am happy to be a plodder.

I feel like I am that tortoise gradually making my way to the finish line. So while I am hear I am taking in all things that I am experiencing along the way. At the end of the day the tortoise was still a winner so that must make me one too.

So no matter what happens on race day, whether I cross that finish line or not I still feel I am a winner as I am helping some of these people here in Kenya – and that makes me happy!!!

Year 3 week 22

28th May – 3rd June 2018

It’s now less than a week until I go to Kenya and I have to say I am not prepared at all.

Last week, I feel, was probably my most important week. It should have been a time when I am training hard and putting in the miles. However I did nothing – no training at all. It was because I was so busy.

Everyday this week I have been traveling to different parts of the country. I live in the middle of England and my travels this week have taken me to a few coastal towns and a few towns in the opposite direction. It has meant that I have been traveling in the car for about 20 hours this week

It has left me slightly disoriented – I don’t know whether I am coming or going. I feel like I am being pulled every which way. I don’t even know what day it is anymore.

It has meant I haven’t had time to think about my diet either. I feel I have done ok, the second half of the week being better than the first. The worst thing is the lack of exercise.

I feel that the week off the exercise has set me back months. This half marathon is now only around the corner and I feel like I have lost all the ability to succeed.

I have a run scheduled soon so I am hoping that will make me feel better about things but I still have a lot to do with only a few days to do it in. I am just hoping I don’t turn up at the airport tired before I even start.

Year 3 week 21

21st – 27th May 2018

It’s now less than 2 weeks before I go to Kenya. My training is going ok and I am starting to think on what to pack.

Last year when I signed up I was a bag of nerves and it wasn’t just the fact I was doing a half marathon – it was also because I was going alone. Over the years I stopped doing things on my own and started getting anxieties about the thought of it.

So last year was quite a big step for me. I was so glad I overcame my nerves because I had the best week.

This year when I signed up I didn’t have any nerves at all – in fact I was more excited than nervous.

With less than 2 weeks before I go it is now becoming very real and I have to say those nerves have hit. I have even resorted to biting my finger nails.

I am quite surprised by these nerves because this year I know what to expect, I know how much fun I am going to have, I even feel like I am not going alone as I will be with some of the same people from last year. So I am wondering why the nerves.

I think it’s probably because of the challenge. Just because I did a half marathon before doesn’t mean I can do it again. I feel these nerves are good because it shows me I am taking it seriously.

One thing I have learnt is that challenges are nerve racking but the reward is so much greater once it’s all accomplished.

Year 3 Week 20

14th – 20th May 2018

It really isn’t long now until I go to Kenya. It’s hard to believe that a month from now it will all be over and I will be looking for something else to focus on.

For months now my main focus has been training for this half marathon. I know it will be the second time of doing it but the training is still important.

I think the fact that I know I have done it before makes me believe that I can do it again. Last year that was one of my biggest fears – not knowing if I could do it or not.

I have been training now for over 6 months and some months I have been training almost everyday. Since January I have set myself goals that have been going very well. Infact they have been going so much better than I expected.

That is until this month. For May I have set the goal to up my mileage every week and by the end of the month hopefully I would have reached 10 or 11 miles.

Last week I managed to reach 9 miles which I was extremely happy about. However afterwards I was ill. My neck was burning and swelling up I got incredibly tired and I put on 5lbs over night. I generally felt really rotten and my emotions were all over the place. So I booked an appointment with my doctor. He suspects that I might have a thyroid disease which he can only prove with further blood tests. He also said it’s brought on by stress.

Fortunately, this week I went to see Jenny and a month ago I had a DNA health test with her and this week my results had arrived. I told her my issues and she said the way I was feeling made sense. This stress the doctors said though is not mental stress – it’s physical stress.

She said that the Thyroid contains something called T3 and T4. One keeps you going helping you do the things you need to do and the other helps to heal repair and level out things afterwards. She said the one to repair is not working which is why I instantly put on weight and why my emotions are going haywire and why I am generally tired all the time.

She also said that what I have been doing is basically sticking a plaster on a stab wound.

I have had a thyroid issue for years and I have always kept up on test checking that all is ok. My main focus throughout my training though has all been about strengthening my legs and sorting out any little ailments I may have, which I feel I have done.

What Jenny said has totally made me think and I realised that has been exactly what I have been doing – I have been putting that plaster over a stab wound. I have been too busy trying to make sure my legs can get me across that finish line that I forgot to look deeper to see what the real problem was.

It isn’t all bad news though as there is something that can be done about it apparently. I have done another 9 miles since and I was a little better than before. So it means that I can still go to Kenya. But I am actually starting to doubt whether I can complete the challenge. Whatever happens, I will keep trying.

Year 3 week 19

7th – 13th May 2018

Sometimes in life you feel you can be doing things on your own. I very often think this.

It’s like I’m in my own personal little tug of war. A war against my emotions and I’m losing

my half marathon training has not been very easy for me and when I train on my own it is the hardest thing ever.

It’s so much easier when I have someone with me rather than being on my own.

The people I go with are all so much better runners than me. They go further distances and they can run nonstop. So, I am sure, when they are with me I am holding them back.

One of my friends ran the London marathon this year and this week she invited me to run with her. I said yes but when we turned up I realised that she had actually entered me into a 10k race.

I know I have done a half marathon before but I didn’t class it as a race because it was many different events not just a half marathon – I didn’t feel the pressure of finishing on time because I had marathon and ultra marathon runners coming in behind me.

So in my head what I did last week was my first race. It was no surprise to me that I came last. However my friend stayed with me the whole way. But we did it and I even got a medal!

Two days later I went with another friend and I wanted to do 8 miles. My challenge this month is to up my mileage by a mile every week gradually getting to 10 miles however we ended up doing 9 miles instead.

So that thought of me doing it alone is not true – I have so many people who are supporting me on this journey and without them I would never have got this far.

Doubling my fundraising target also shows me how much support I have.

So those times I feel like I am struggling and I am needing to try a bit harder, I am going to remember that I am not alone and there are people around me helping- helping pull that rope too