When I began at Sport Science, my goal was to keep moving, I could hardly walk around the track. This year my challenge was to run a 5K, and it took forever, but I eventually got there. From there I decided to try and run a 10K… and I did that too. In fact, I have done three of them… I can’t even believe it myself. I survived the first one, I endured the second one and I loved the third one. Blown my goal out of the water, because I am not scared of running a 5K anymore… but 10K still remains quite daunting. I also know the more I do them the more I will get comfortable with them… so for now I am collecting 10k’s. Honestly, I am so thrilled that I can do this, and can’t quite believe it… It really is a second chance at an active life, that I never expected that I would have again, after taking twenty years off exercising to raise kids. I have to say a huge thanks to the team at Sport Science for their help and encouragement. They don’t do the exercise for me (!) but they work very hard to enable me to do it myself…
I have to say, I am just going to whisper… but I think sleep is working for the first time ever. It has been a long hard journey, since I joined Sport Science, and discovered just how important sleep is to health. I have been working hard to find my sleep sweet spot for ages. The goal to get a minimum of seven hours sleep at night, has become illusive because I NEVER EVER achieve that. In a moment of crazy business last month, I had a dreadful week of sleep. I felt physically ill on what I once might have thought was good sleep. Enough is enough. I can no longer function at all on less than six hours sleep a night. So I just dropped doing any kind of work after dinner and headed for bed earlier. Almost immediately I stopped needing catch-up sleep on weekends, I stopped needing naps… and I started feeling my energetic self again. It turns out if I head to bed to early I am up and ready for the day at four in the morning… gasp… nobody wants that. I am not an eight hour a night person. All along I have been bemoaning the fact that I never get seven hours sleep… it turns out if I want to wake up in the morning without an alarm (that is where I believe my sleep sweet spot is), then I need close to seven, but not exactly seven hours sleep. I have been very close to my goal for ages. So, I am sleeping… I am not carrying the burden of sleep debt around in my pocket, and I am not too stressed about the exact number of hours. I wake up naturally in the morning at 5:30 and I am good to go.
My sweetest victory was definitely running the whole 10k, for the Gun Run. I wanted to up my game from my 5k Parkrun and see if I could run a little further. I entered my first 10K and I was so excited that I had finished it. Then I entered my second one, and I didn’t love it… it was harder than I remembered and I felt all kinds of pressure to do much better than before. I did it, but it was hard and I thought to myself… if this is what running further is like… then I will happily stay at the shorter distance. But I had already entered the Gun Run… So for the Gun Run, my goal was simply to have fun. Get out there, run and enjoy it. And walk if I needed to walk. It was a totally stress free run in the most perfect weather… grey skies and no wind, all I had to do was get through it. I decided to only walk when I needed to walk… and just saying, while you are running, you always need to walk… But I meant only walk when I REALLY needed to walk. I got to the first water table fine, and the next one… thought I would have to walk at 8K, then thought I would gift myself with a walk at 9K, but totally didn’t need to walk and I ran the whole way. I am overjoyed… and declare myself a 10k runner. Albeit a very very slow runner, it takes an an hour and half for me to plod all the way… but I am doing it. I am so thrilled to be a part of this, I don’t care where I come, or my time honestly, the fact is that I am doing it and I can actually enjoy it!!!
I am loving gym, I finally feel like I am gym fit. And for me that means that I can tackle the classes, they challenge me and I always want to push harder, but there is a fine line between a hard workout and a “I just can’t do this workout.” I no longer hold back in case the class gets harder later on. We do different exercises throughout the class, we use different muscles, so you don’t run out of steam. I have learnt just do your best wherever you are at in the class, some things will always be a struggle and some things you can see improve from week to week. I feel like I can do so much more in class than before, that being said the classes never seem to get easier. That’s the joy of a great biokineticist… they know how to keep on challenging you. Slow and steady, and consistency really do seem to be the way to go… build on what you have and when you start with nothing, to be sure it’s going to take a while.
There are many kinds of fitness in the world… and gym fit does not translate to running fit. If you want to be running fit, then you really really have to run. The thing is, and this is my epiphany… every footstep does count. The head is a mysterious thing. The entire day I will say, I must run; I even want to run… and yet as soon as I am running, I start to think of a million reasons why running on that particular day is not a good idea… it is too hot, it is too cold, I am too tired, I am too anything… really my shoes are too tight, my shoes are too loose… any excuse. I am just saying you have to ignore the excuses and just keep on plodding. Because like beach cleanups, every piece of plastic collected is one less in the sea, so every footstep taken counts as a step towards your running bank. This is why Parkrunning has been key for me, I do it every Saturday, rain or shine… no matter what. Sometimes it is great, sometimes it’s not… but it’s done, whatever other running I do in the week, at least I know I am starting the week with a 5k in my pocket… it encourages me to go on and run some more in the week.
I have reached a weight plateau, that is even more consistent than my Parkrun time… same, same, same… week after week. At first it was a little disheartening… but I am that optimist, always hopeful. Then it became a discouraging. And it just went on and on… So much so that my dietitian suggested that I just stay off the scale for a month and see how that works. It’s a nice break and a bit of what I needed. I have a feeling that the seasons of discouragement can most likely be improved with patience. I am doing the right stuff, I am eating more healthfully, I am working out consistently that’s for sure, marched my way through the #springfit challenge and I am sleeping better than ever. The only thing that really changed is: On my two days a week that I come to gym and don’t have a class… I was doing about half an hour of cardio machines and half an hour of super circuit and weights. I started swimming in exchange for some of the cardio, I am still doing the weights and super circuit. I can’t want to give up the swimming for cardio machines, because I Love love love swimming. But maybe I need to think about changing my work out game back to what it was. While I think about it, I am just going to keep whispering, “Be Patient.” To myself.
Can I just say that for the first time in years I am really looking forward to summer… I am in a totally different place to where I was last summer. I can actually go for an evening run on the beach. I can get up in the morning on even the hottest day and go for a run and finish with a swim on the beach. For years and years I was the mom who sat on the beach and watched my kids play… well this summer I am going to be a different mom… because I am going to be playing with them and I can’t wait.