After finishing my first 10km last month, I decided that I need a new challenge. And so I have challenged myself to a race a month. Last weekend I completed the Cape Town Marathon 10km, and I have signed up for the Gun Run in October. I still can’t really believe that I can do this… but I know that once you get to the start line there is no turning back. This doesn’t mean that running has suddenly become so much easier for me. It just means that on any given evening that I don’t feel like running, the fact that I have a looming race motivates me to just get out of the door and run, whatever the wintry weather may be looking like.
The thing that is working really well for me is moving all day everyday. I absolutely love a challenge and the #SSISAspringFIT challenge could have been made for me. I typically track 10 000 footsteps about four or five days a week without thinking about it too hard… but every day? What about rest days. One week in and this challenge has already got me thinking, that there is a vast difference between a rest day and a completely static day… my goal has always been to move… so static days have to be gone!!!
I have discovered the secret to staying warm in winter… you have to just get moving. This past month I have had a little of a mid-winter lull: no big events, just everyday life, not to mention lots of very dark rainy mornings. And I am going to say that my sweet victory has to be consistency. I haven’t just hibernated, I haven’t given up. I have continued to get to gym and workout and I have kept up my evening runs. I don’t mind running in the rain… but when it comes to the cold, I am particularly feeble. Getting out the door, even though I know I will be warm in five minutes, isn’t easy when it is freezing. While my head knows that all I have to do is take that step… I still have to take that step. The first step continues to be the hardest step, no matter how far you are along on a journey to health.
I am loving gym… but I think I say that every month. Right now my week of working out looks like this: Two days a week I swim a km before gym, cycle on the Watt bike for about ten/fifteen minutes and then do the Super Circuit Weights, in my head that’s a mini triathlon and I really enjoy it; My other two gym workouts of the week are reserved for the Healthy Weight Programme Classes, which I absolutely love… they are always different, we are always trying new things and learning new things. I don’t know how our biokineticist does it, but every workout is a challenge for each of us in the class… everyone on their own level, working towards their own goals. I am thrilled that I have rediscovered swimming, it is my favourite workout at the moment and I get out of the pool energised and ready for a great day… as for cycling, who ever knew that I would be able to hop on a watt bike and pedal for more than half a minute. Honestly, when I began to cycle earlier this year it would take longer to put my feet in the pedals than I spent actually peddling. Consistency is key, I am peddling my heart out and there are definite signs of improvement.
Before I began the Healthy Weight Programme, one of the ridiculous reasons that I told myself I didn’t want to join a gym was that I really preferred to be outdoors. Because I love the great outdoors so much the thought of using my “free time” indoors just didn’t appeal to me. But can I just say, that an hour in the gym most mornings leaves me fit enough to get outdoors anytime. I am confident to say yes to any hike, I know I can take my kids for a run on the beach, and when a friend says lets go for a swim… I don’t even have to think about it. Those few hours of gym a week have opened up the great outdoors like nothing else has.
This isn’t a gym problem, but it is something that my fellow lady runners have to face and it is a little awkward. Can there be such a thing as overly friendly runners. I know it sounds crazy, but I have felt somewhat harassed by an extremely friendly runner at our local parkrun. Slowly but subtly the friendly hello at the start, and the well done at the finish… became running beside me all the way, and mentioning how great I was looking in a somewhat creepy way. I tried running slower, I tried running faster – and everyone knows how that works for me (speedy is not my middle name). It was getting so annoying that I didn’t want to run. And I don’t have time to entertain “I don’t want to run” thoughts, and I certainly never want to go back to my sedentary life and then I thought maybe I should change to another local parkrun. But really, why should I? So, I got my husband to run next to me for a couple of weeks, and the problem eased significantly. Really, just so annoying. I am just a gal going for a run, and I should be able to run my own run without worrying about the people around me. Apart from the normal friendly chit chat that goes on at runs, of course. I decided that I am not going to change where I run, that’s ridiculous. And I am extremely motivated to run faster and leave a little dust in my trail, just saying.
Normally I come out of winter feeling somewhat sluggish, and hoping that the warmer weather will jolt me into action, but this year I am feeling more energised than ever. I am finally starting to put the components of healthy living together. The three pillars of healthy living have to be sleep, a healthy diet and exercising. All along I have been able to concentrate on one of these things: A month of really healthy eating, and a month of great sleeping, or a month of fantastic working out. Doing the online learning courses, Nutrition Reconsidered and Optimising Your Sleep, really helped me to implement little changes day by day and I can feel the difference that it makes when you consistently get things right. I am optimistic, the mornings are getting a little lighter and Summer is just around the corner… and I am looking forward to a summer packed with adventures and the great outdoors… just can’t wait, in fact.