Category Archives: Fitness and Health

Runnin, runnin, runnin, ain’t running by myself no more!

This time last year I was taking part in my first 10 mile run; the Great South Run That was one of the best challenges ever and I will never forget how I felt at completing that run. I couldn’t take part in this year’s race due to my foot injury but I would love to do it again.

Great South run finish

I first started running 5 year’s ago using the NHS Couch to 5k podcast. This is a 9 week programme that gradually builds you up to run 30 minutes. Since I had my foot pain in May, I have found it difficult to get back into a good running pattern. I made the decision to try the couch to 5k again. This time though I was going to have a running partner; Chris.

Before running

I am a bit of a plodder when I run and because of this I do find running on my own is an advantage. Whilst Chris hadn’t run for a while, he was going to make me run and not plod! Can I cope?

As someone who never believed they would never ever run, I am a big fan of the couch to 5k. I am now coming to the end of my third week and I am fully committed to my running plan.

All runs start with a 5 minute walk and one of the other recommendations is to have at least one day’s rest in between each run. I have always stuck to this. Your narrator is a lovely encouraging Laura, who will tell you when to start, give you encouraging tips along the way and really is too nice to shout at when she tells you that you are half way through and don’t give up.

This is the first 3 runs:

Week 1 – run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds for a total of 20 minutes. As this is my second time round, I found it so much easier. This was not the case the first time round. Running the first 60 seconds was so hard and then when I realised I had to do this 8 times, I was devastated. Normally maths is my strong point but first time I really could not make that add up to 20 minutes; more like 50 minutes.

The one thing I recommend when you finish running is stretching. I missed this out on my very first run and my legs did ache. I use a stretching plan from Rosemary Conley 28 day inch loss book and I rarely ache now.

Week 2 – run for 90 seconds and walk for 2 minutes for a total of 20 minutes. This time you run 6 times.

Week 3 – start with a 90 second run followed by a 90 second run. This is followed by a 3 minute run with a 3 minute walk. This is repeated again which makes your 20 minutes of exercise.

I certainly would have whinged a bit about running 3 minutes the first time round but as Laura says, the feeling you get when you finish the session certainly outweighs the pain you feel. Honestly it does!

So I will start week 4 next week. It is certainly helping me gently return to running. I am a morning runner but as I have been doing this programme with Chris, we have been running early evening. Normally I shy away from change but I haven’t noticed the change at all.

So if you have always thought you could never run but are up for a challenge, give this a go. You won’t regret it and honestly it feels good to run for a bus!

Grab the running shoes

It’s Hard Work But It’s Good For Me

Thursday was the big weigh in. After following normal weighing procedures (and yes I did try it three times!), I had lost 3 and a quarter pounds in 8 days. I don’t expect to see these results again but the first week of reducing calorie in take does result in a bigger loss. I have seen people lose a lot more than this but I was overjoyed with this.

This result was due to the fact that I cut down on all that extra rubbish I had been eating; crisps, chocolate biscuits, chocolate and all the food that I put in my mouth when I am cooking! I am still eating normal dinners; curry with onion bhajis (a weakness this week), homemade pizza (I will share this later) and a toad in the hole made with my favourite vegetarian sausages.

So, as I am doing this as part of a challenge on Rosemary Conley Online, I was so pleased to find myself 13th in the league table on Thursday. There is currently 164 people in the “lose a stone” category; they are so honest. They record their gains too!

I thought that as I was 13th (don’t expect to be that next week but I am still competitive) I would try to come up with 13 items that have helped me lose weight this week:

Pizza Trays
  1. Planning dinners – this helps a lot. As I knew what I was having for dinners, I wasn’t tempted to have a takeaway
  2. Cutting out on a biscuit with my tea at elevenses at work. I had my pot of grapes if I needed something
  3. Making lunch last. I did find that if I didn’t have grapes at 11 a.m., I did want my lunch at 12.30. When I am at work, lunch is always the same; sandwich and a yogurt. I try to make this last over 90 minutes. That way I don’t feel overfull either.
  4. Letting Chris cook me breakfast most mornings. Okay I have to ignore the fact that he puts butter in to the scrambled egg. Yes there is a slimmers version of scrambled egg but it is so delicious and most of the time I walk 2 miles to work!
  5. This is more of a Tina’s tip – on the first week of a new eating plan, don’t also be too ambitious with your exercise. I always think that on the first week, eating less can take a bit of getting use to so if you are adding lots of exercise that you normally wouldn’t do, you can feel quite drained.
  6. Doing the couch25k with Chris. So I have run 10 miles before but as I have had an injured foot, I haven’t been able to run. I have found that getting back into running hasn’t been so easy so starting at the beginning this week has been very good and having a running partner is a good incentive
  7. Telling family that you are going to be good in your eating. Okay,Kathryn did say that I am better when I am eating everything but she is encouraging too. I did try one piece of her Montezuma white chocolate bar;it was delicious but I didn’t have a second piece
  8. Not telling work colleagues. I do the tea run at 11 so they don’t need to know I’m not eating the biscuits! It is amazing the opinions of others on this subject so I find it best not to talk about eating habits.
  9. Sticking with my normal meals. I have had what I actually want to eat including my favourite food ever, chips! I do have oven chips served with my own healthy turkey burgers.
  10. Wearing clothes that make me feel good. I did admit defeat a few weeks ago and bought some work trousers in a size 12. I found some cheap trousers in Asda’s George range which look good too.
  11. Treating myself. How many times do I say I need a treat and it will be a bar of chocolate or a cake. This week I had a shellac manicure and really love seeing my lovely nails. Surprisingly if I bought chocolate or biscuits regularly it would be the same price as having my nails done so if I can keep off them, my nails will be done regularly. Another treat; a food one. I bought four individual pizza trays from Marks and Spencer’s. Maybe not a treat in other people’s books but I was so excited to find them. We did have a lovely pizza using them.
  12. Dancing to George Michael’s Fantasy helped me this week. I have always liked this song and now it has had a bit of a Nile Rodgers touch, I certainly enjoy dancing around to it.
  13. Staying positive and not letting any problems encountered make me reach for chocolate and crisps.
My nail treat

If I follow these again I am hoping that my next weigh in will be successful.

 

It only takes a minute girl!

Well I’ve been away from blogging for a while now. In fact, I have been avoiding a lot of things for a while. I’m not going to blame anything or anyone but myself for this negativity. I haven’t been idle for all this time and whilst one of the activities I have chosen to do can be attributed for this post, I have also started a Christmas stitch a long and am actually managing to keep up with it.

Christmas Stitch-a-Long

Last Tuesday evening, after finally accepting that I have a wardrobe of beautiful clothes that seem to have shrunk, I decided to visit Rosemary Conley online site. I have been a member for years and actually used the site to lose weight 5 years ago when I got down to my target weight. I had stayed within 7 lbs of this weight for quite a while. My love of cooking, which is an activity I have been doing a lot of recently along with my lack of exercise has contributed to a bit of excess flab around the waist.

50 and trim

Do we need diets? Well, I don’t think we necessarily do if we accept the reason we weigh a bit more (or a lot) than we should is the result of overeating and/or lack of exercise. There are medical exceptions to this; something I can’t put my weight gain to unfortunately. I think diets do give you a purpose to lose weight and whether you go alone in reaching your goal, or find other people to go along the journey with, they are certainly worth trying. It is important to learn how to eat correctly and the importance of exercise whilst doing it.

Which diet do you choose? I think you choose one that suits you. Personally, I do not like fad diets at all. All this do not eat after 7pm, this food group is not good for you or calorie counting is not what I’m all about. As for liquid diets; I would never go there. I still believe that is everyone’s choose though; just don’t try telling me I am wrong in my choice when you decide you are not going to eat bread!

So why have I been a member of Rosemary Conley? I have found her books and exercise DVDs very useful. The DVDs could be described as low impact but if you haven’t exercised for a long time, they are perfect. I love the music in them too although sometimes Steps can get on my nerves. The recipes in her diet books are brilliant; so much flavour and for someone who likes to cook homemade food, perfect. For my weight loss 5 years ago, whilst keeping an eye on what I ate, I did the Lifestyle Plan which wasn’t a diet as such but made me think about what I ate and gave me guides to aim for each week. The first week, I learnt to put a number on my rumbling tummy. I soon learned that my rumbling tummy did not mean I was hungry at 10 a.m. so my lunch could wait until lunchtime. Just following it meant I chose wisely when going out for a meal at a restaurant the day before my birthday, ate fish and chips on Brighton pier in the rain for my birthday and had a slice of homemade birthday cake. I still managed to lose 2lbs that week! On this plan, I gave up on a guilty pleasure, eating Pringles. Pringles were only something I bought at Christmas but once they were open, I had to eat them. I have been Pringles free for 5 years. Since then, I have given up on chocolates in tins; roses, quality street,celebrations. I would eat them without tasting and enjoying. This worked for me although it might not work for everyone.

On Tuesday, when I visited the website, I hadn’t stood on the scales for months. I had decided I didn’t want to be ruled by dieting. After cutting back on exercise but eating too much chocolate, crisps, biscuits and lots of homemade cakes (could you resist these?)

So yummy
A favourite
Do I need to say more!

I really needed to get back in to control. I just went to look at the diet plans and ended up signing up for their winter challenge; lose a stone in 8 weeks. I needed now to make the brave mood to weigh myself.

Wednesday morning, I woke to start the routine of weigh in. I am very particular on this routine. It has to be done first thing in the morning before any liquids or food passes through my lips. First of all, I like to be in the lightest clothes as possible; pyjamas are perfect for this. A visit to the bathroom is then necessary then I make my way to the kitchen. I weigh myself in this room because the floor is more level. I knew the result is not going to be good and I do the best of three. They are all the same; I have to lose a stone. Now I know, I feel a bit more motivated to try to lose it. I can do this one step at a time.

Evil numbers

First step is to give up eating in between and to stop picking at food whilst eating. A week later I have been okay with this. I have made Thursdays my weigh day so I will let you know if I have lost anything soon! Hopefully it will be a lighter me writing the next post.

A Winner Never Quits (Don’t Give Up)

Tomorrow is the final day that I have to complete the challenges. Today I have 6 left to get a tick against. They are:

Challenge 4 – Revisit learning French – I got this changed to Spanish. If I am very honest, this isn’t going too well. I did sign up for a course on Future Learn. First part of course needed me to type answers with the correct accents over. I work from a laptop and the process of downloading the keyboard was so complicated – very foreign to me. Next I tried a website Kathryn told me to use – Saysomethingin. I have to say it was very good but I have so far only managed one lesson. I need a compromise here.

Challenge 18 – Learn 7 – 10 (new) German words a week. Another foreign language one that I haven’t mastered. There is a pattern here – I am only just mastering English!

Challenge 19 –  Spa day with your daughter. Partly achieved whereby we did go swimming yesterday completing another of my challenges; no 48  – take up swimming on some level. I had been trying to pluck up the courage to do this for sometime. I can swim but I have a confidence issue. I had found a small private pool and evantually booked to go yesterday. It was great having the pool to ourselves and we managed 100 lengths (I did say a small pool!). It was enjoyable but I am slightly deaf now due to water in my ear! I do think I might try aqua-size in my local pool now as I do think I would get a lot of benefits from exercising in water. To complete this challenge, we are aiming to get our nails done on Tuesday. I think a proper spa day might be on the cards later in the year.

Challenge 28 – Take a dance class with your daughter. We are completing tonight. Going to do Shbam. I have no idea either but should be interesting!!

Challenge 49 – Make blog! I think I can have that one although I will share with you tomorrow more on how I will continue.

Challenge 50 – On 6th June on your blog, write about how you found being 50. That can’t be done until tomorrow!

Apart from the first two challenges which I am going to have to strike a deal with Kathryn so I get a rollover challenge, I will get this completed.

The challenge I did complete yesterday which I enjoyed more than I thought I would was reading Kathryn’s 10 favourite books in “proper” book format. She does have more so I plan to read a few more. The books, in no particular order, were:

Dream a little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Looking for Alaska by John Green
I am Malala by Malala Yousasafzai and Patricia McCormick
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson
The Truth about Forever by Sarah Desen
Scarlett by Cathy Cassidy
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Writing the list, I realise I can not count (which is very bad news for the clients!) and have actually read 11. How did I not notice this?!!

I was a little negative at first about reading a “proper” book but I did enjoy reading them all. I know that Kathryn would like to know what my favourite was and that is a very hard question. They all had something about them that I loved and a lot of different issues were tackled in each. I am Malala and Reasons to Stay Alive are non-fiction and were telling you about problems faced by both authors. I think that my favourite has to be The Truth about Forever. The book is about Macy, who at 17 years old is still coming to terms with her father’s death by trying to be perfect whilst her mother and sister cope with it in different ways. Macy starts working for a catering firm and becomes friends with an interesting group of people and finally allows herself to open up. I loved the characters in the book and whilst it is written for teens, it was a book I couldn’t put down.

See you tomorrow for the final chapter of my challenges. I will not quit!

Sisters are doing it for themselves (well for mums, dads and everyone really)

Well there was two more ticks today – a few problems with both challenges but I think Kathryn has passed both with ticks.

After doing The Great South Run which I will always be proud of doing and will always be grateful for Kathryn setting me this challenge, today’s challenge of running a 10k run with Kathryn should have been just a run in the park! Unfortunately my body had other ideas! I had been determined to prepare for this run and make sure I did 10k practice every month. January 1st was my first 10k of the year so I was on to a great start. I was running regularly in April but after a run on April 29th, I found myself limping. I had a pain in the bottom heel area of my right foot. I carried on walking to work but it got very painful. With my race for life 10k run looming, it was not good news. I did manage to go to zumba and tried to take it easier than normal but managed to hurt my knee! It was great yesterday when I had my first day without a limp so I was hopeful that I would be able to run today.

Finding a 10K run before Tuesday proved difficult locally so today’s run was for a great cause, Race for Life, at Royal Windsor Racecourse. It did mean a very early start with Chris driving us up at 7 a.m. Luckily the day was gorgeous and the venue for the run was stunning. Before the start of the race there was a guest speaker from a survivor of cancer; a great inspiration as to why we were running this race. After a warm up, we found ourselves near the front for the start of the run. I would love to say I ran the whole of the race but with being a bit out of practice and the heat of the day, I did have to ask Kathryn to walk a few times (okay more than a few times!).  I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t run all the way this time but it was great running with Kathryn and running for such a great cause. I do have a bit of pain in my foot but not as bad as previously. Once it is fully healed, hopefully I will take on another running challenge.

My second tick today was challenge number 35 – DVD night with your kids (one film chosen by each). This has been very difficult to arrange with Kathryn being in her final year at university and Jordan back in London and having restricted time at home. We decided to change to just one film and all of us sat (well collapsed) in front of the TV this afternoon and watched Kathryn’s choice, Me Before You. Kathryn and I had seen this at the cinema but it was just as emotional watching it the second time. It was a hit with Chris and Jordan too. I still want to watch the film I would have chosen so we will find some time in the next couple of months. One of my favourites, and one that Jordan and Kathryn haven’t watched, Sixth Sense.

I only have 8 more to do but with only a few more days, can it be done! I will have a good try.

It’s all about the food

8 weeks until D-day and this is the position:

23 completed
12 ongoing/planned
4 changes 
11 still to do 

I have not actually got any ticks this week but I thought I would inspire myself by moving two of my still to do into my planned category. I have to say I am so excited about these and they are going to happen at the weekend.

The first one is challenge no 42 – at Easter, make an Easter showstopper with daughter. For this, we have purchased a new bit of bakeware. It was a bit pricey but I do intend to use it a lot. Here is the beauty.

Cake tins for Easter Showstopper

I can’t promise a showstopper as seen on the Great British Bake Off but it will still be amazing.

Easter Sunday will see me abandoning the usual roast and attempting challenge no 7 – cook a three course meal consisting of three dishes which belong to three different cultures. There were rules:

 

I will reveal all later but this little beauty will be brought out again.

I have warned the family that the three courses might come out over the course of the day and they might not turn out perfect! Jordan did say that there is nothing to say it has to be perfect. We will have the cake to fall back on.

I am still busily stitching away and also took part in a 3 hour zumbathon for charity with Kathryn at the weekend. This certainly was good practice for the 10k run will be doing in June. It was also longer in time than my 10 mile run!

On our way to zumbathon – happy then!
Tonight’s update

Next week there will be more ticks!

Play that Song

Kathryn and I have signed up for our 10k challenge; a race for life event at Windsor race course on the 3rd June. Very close to my challenge deadline so no backing out of that.

I am a slow plodder when it comes to running so I am going to try to increase my speed in my training over the next couple of months. Kathryn has recently written a blog post about her exercise tips, and how she finds fitting some short one mile runs in beneficial. I was only managing one long run at the weekend so, as the morning are lighter, I am trying to fit in a couple of runs around “the block” before work.

My round the block scenery

One of my favourite things is my iPod. I have lots of music on it and being some sort of weirdo, I like to have playlists. (The weirdo part will become apparent when I come round to explaining my kindle library; I am sure everyone has playlists).

My playlists are:

  • Bedtime
  • Christmas
  • Dancing
  • George
  • Lovely songs
  • Musicals
  • Running
  • Sing a long
  • Walking
  • Zumba

The type of music you play when you do an activity is very important. I love dancing when I cook although when Kathryn is cooking with me, a good old singalong or musicals is called for. I haven’t perfected the walking one yet and sometimes put my sing a long one on which can be dangerous. Play That Song by Train is my favourite song at the moment and I quite forgot myself the other morning and heard myself singing the chorus on my way to work. I found it very hard to compete with Stubbington church bells when trying to reach the high note in Defying Gravity. Anyway, I digress. I have found that having the wrong music on can make you slower: I lazily stayed on my bedtime playlist whilst walking to work the other day which meant I was a few minutes slower!

My running playlist is perhaps my most important. I did read up about the beats per minute and how songs like Duffy’s Mercy has 127 bpm so has quite a good beat to run to. The NHS page is a good one to explain more.

As well as the beats, I do find the lyrics inspirational too and that will give me encouragement to continue. However, on my second “round the block” run last week, iTunes randomly picked the slower inspirational tunes and I did find my lap was slower than the first. I think I need to do a few extra playlists.

Let me indulge and share a few of my favourite from this particular playlist. There are 84 (I told you I was weird) but here are a selection:

  1. Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys – I feel like that girl  – passionate and enthusiastic
  2. Don’t Stop Movin’ by S Club 7 – we can all move to this one
  3. Amazing by George Michael – I love hearing George telling me I am amazing
  4. Brand New by Pharell Williams and Justin Timberlake – the words “a winner never quitter, a quitter never wins” inspires me big time
  5. Get Stupid by Aston Merrygold – this just makes me move. Love it when I am flagging
  6. Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz – always makes me giggle because it tells me I’ve got to speed it up then slow it down straight away. Also the time always comes when I have to make up mind about the direction I am going!
  7. Work Work by Britney Spears – I do dream that I will have that hot body so I will get to work
  8. Fighter by Christina Agulira – It wouldn’t be fair not to have Christina when I have Britney song would it. This is my fight for it song.
  9. Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake – will always bring the memories of the Great South Run
  10. (Is This The Way To) Amarillo by Tony Christie – I should keep this a secret that this is actually on my iPod but it is on for sentimental reasons. My mum asked for it be played at her funeral and I bet she thought I would never do it. Always plays when I need some inspiration.

Sorry for all the tunes that didn’t get a mention – I love you all!

I have to mention the song that gets me in the mood for running. I do a 5 minute walk and always (and. even with tears on Boxing Day) I start with George Michael singing Feeling Good. There is always a George song for whatever mood you are in.

Hopefully the tunes played on my next run will help me increase my time.

Can’t Buy Me Happiness

Monday 13th February was a happy day for me and one that made me appreciate all I have with no money spent.

After a very cold weekend, Monday was glorious. I walk 2 miles to work and sometimes I am faster than the traffic. It was surprisingly quiet on the walk in.

Work is something we have to do to earn the money to live. I would actually prefer to be home doing all the things I love to do but needs must, and I don’t actually mind it really. A few more holidays might be good though. The walk home was pretty amazing though. It was such a contrast to Friday which was freezing. It made me look forward to the summer.

I have to point out that I’m not one of those people who hate winter. I get a bit grumpy if I have to take the car to work because it’s raining but let’s face it, that can happen in June too. A dark, winter’s evening when all of the family are in is okay in my books. The sunshine on Monday did make me happy though and it did make the afternoon a bit longer enabling me to go out on a run. Exercise does release those endorphins that make you feel so good. Walking back to the house, I felt as if I was in a warm country when dusk falls. There were lots of people walking dogs. Winter was forgotten for a while.

The evening was spent with one of my favourite activities, baking. I had bought some happy faces biscuit cutters and decided to try jammy dodgers. Biscuits isn’t something I specialise in but I was keen to give them a try. As mad as it sounds, I got quite excited when pressing the shapes out. I was even more excited when I had put the layers together with butter cream and jam.


I went to bed feeling very happy and to make it even better, the bed had freshly laundered bedding on. Bliss.

I will share some of my happy days in February in the next week with contrasts in the weather.

This Girl Can, Can

This is the t-shirt I wore to do my 10 mile Great South Run challenge. I had planned on buying a new t-shirt but as this was my favourite exercise t-shirt, I decided not to change it.

I actually bought two of the t-shirts from Marks and Spencer’s when they were reduced in price (and even then they were not cheap!). They were part of a campaign to get more women active. I didn’t know much about it but liked the words and thought it suited me. I was somewhat surprised, shocked,dismayed and all sorts of other things to read a recent article on the BBC news site that the campaign returns. Okay, nothing shocking with that I know but what I hadn’t realised is the previous campaign was aimed at females between 14-40 to start, or restart a sporting activity. Now the campaign was widening the age to include women in their 50 and 60s. It came as quite a shock to realise that I was in that age bracket!

At the age of 50, I am quite active. I am lucky to be able to walk to work, weather dependant, as it is only 2 miles away. I will often exercise to a DVD, go to Zumba and try to run 5k once a week (okay not so good in January). I have also been a bit obsessed with my Fitbit challenges and aim to win them. Having a bit of a rest this week as exhausted!

This girl can campaign has three targets for this year:

1 Tackling fear of judgement

I can relate to this but there are ways to overcome it. My Zumba class instructor, Lana, was a dancer and is very fit. I went along with my friend, Karen to her dance class in the beginning and it has always attracted a very mixed age group. Karen and I had tried lots of exercise classes but this is the longest we have stuck to it. Dancing doesn’t come naturally to me but the classes were fun and we both have made some great friends. When Lana became pregnant, she gave up the dance class but carried on with the very popular Zumba classes so we joined that. Again not natural at moving my bottom and stuff but it is fun. Even after 5 years, I will still opt to hide and dread it if Lana comes over to advise on a movement even though she will be helping. I think it is a fear of being looked at but really I should reap the benefits of knowledge and not be so self-conscious.

Posted by Your Time To Dance – Zumba with Lana on Sunday, 29 January 2017

 

I have heard people say that they can’t go to a class because they will be bigger than everyone else, that everyone will be slinky in Lycra and, if they go, they can’t get the moves. There are all sizes in our class and it doesn’t matter if you are big or slender, you can still move and have fun. We wear legging from Asda and any sort of t-shirt. Slogans are my favourite. As for the dance moves, if I can get there (it has taken me a long time) anyone can. If you are a newbie, you have to give yourself a chance.

I have a challenge to take up swimming on some level. Now I learnt how to swim at around 9 with Karen. She won’t mind me sharing this information with you but we both swim like meerkats. We don’t like being out of our depth and certainly don’t like being splashed. I have been trying to pluck up the courage to go to our local swimming pool. After doing some research, I have found a local private pool where I can go to using the pool on my own or with friends. Even the reviews are by people with the same fears as me so it has to be tried. It will be more expensive than the local swimming pool but I am willing to pay. I think this will be a This Girl Can moment!

2 Keeping participants from giving up sport.

This is a tough one. Since January I have been doing Hip Hop Abs DVD six days a week. The last couple of days I haven’t had the energy and I think that I have put myself through too much. I also stopped enjoying it. What you have to do is find something you enjoy doing, make time for it (don’t feel guilty for doing it – the right exercise and programme does really make you happy and fitter) and, if you feel happier doing it with someone else, find the right person so you can both encourage each other.

It is difficult to find the enthusiasm to keep going sometimes especially if you are tired and it is dark and cold. Karen and I would go to Zumba twice a week. We used to text each other in the morning and ask if the other was okay for Zumba. They don’t sound negative words but what they really mean is if you are don’t want to, I will breathe a sigh of relief and eat chocolate whilst sat in my pyjamas watching the soaps.  Last year, I became more positive with my texts. They would read “I will see you tonight for Zumba”. If Karen said she wasn’t able to go, I could have the chocolate without the guilt! We are actually both comfortable to go to the class on our own really. As Karen has a course to do on one of our normal days, we tend to only go one of the nights. Due to me feeling exhausted from walking and the DVDs, I have gone back to my first line of questions but I am pleased to say I have been once a week since the beginning of January. See, we girls can!

3 Widening the age demographic to include women in their 50s and 60s

I have just cringed again; this is me. I have the t-shirt, I wear it often and I can do it so anyone can do it. I know lots of lovely ladies in this age group who do it. They come to Zumba and are so fit. I regularly see ladies walking or running in this age group. I do think there are a lot of my age group who are taking part in regular exercise although I think that if a few more are encouraged by this campaign then it will be a huge benefit. The site has some great ideas on so go on there and find something. Karen wants us to give archery a go!

Remember, All girls can!

Have a little bit of faith and you won’t stop the feeling

Sunday 23rd October arrived and what a day. Rudely woken by Kathryn who was equally buzzing and decided she must have a shower at 5.30, I was full of anticipation about my challenge – the run.

After having a breakfast of porridge and picture taken with Kathryn (had forgiven her by then for waking me up but was I going to forgive her for the challenge!), I was ready for the off. Portsmouth is easily reached by a nice little ferry journey. On the way to catch it, the local radio was already in the spirit of the run and they played Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling which certainly got me in the mood for the run. By the time I was sat on the ferry, full of other runners, I was so excited. I was not going to be a fast runner but at 50 years old, I was so determined that I was going to do this at my own pace.

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Warm up for all of us runners going over by ferry is a 25 minute beautiful walk to the starting line. The day was a little chilly but otherwise perfect conditions. Apart from doing two park runs, I had never run in an event before so hearing another runner saying she hadn’t even run a 5k race before did make me smile.

Normally a spectator; Chris having completed two runs and Kathryn doing her first one last year; it was very different for me this year. Kathryn was starting half an hour before me so I tried to see her on the starting line but with no luck. After her wave was off, the half hour went very quickly and I was soon warming up with Justin Timberlake’s song again and then it was off. With the sun shining, the run along Southsea seafront was amazing. Straight away, I had that feeling that I was going to run all the way although I had to make a quick stop because my lace had come undone. I never normally have that problem.

I had read that it was a good idea to dedicate laps to family or friends to help you complete them. I didn’t plan for all of them but being a local girl, I did have a few that I was running for. The 2nd mile was for Mum, Dad and my brother Tony as I remember going into the pub along that route with Dad when my sister was born. Ironically my Mum’s favourite song, Is this the way to Amarillo, came on just at the start of the mile so that gave me all the encouragement I needed.

The race takes you through the Historic Dockyard which was wonderful and you have so many bands playing along the way. I also managed to see family and friends and wave to them. I had a plan that I would love to get to 6 miles before I did any walking but I had already decided that was not going to happen and I was going to run all the way. More encouragement with my music came as I was approaching the 7th mile, which was the longest I had run before, when Candyman by Christina Aguilera came on. A zumba song so I had to dedicate that lap to the zumba ladies.

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There was so much about the day that was memorable and I don’t think I will ever forget the supporters. There was music being played from houses and people waving. The weather was amazing and normally the last few miles are tough because of the wind but that was also on my side. I carried on running and I can’t believe how quick the final mile felt. I think that was due to Wham’s Everything She Wants blaring out of speakers and knowing that I had achieved what I had come out to do. I had a huge smile on my face approaching the finish line and managed to wave to Kathryn who had been waiting some time. I crossed the line and could not believe that I had just run 10 miles. I collected my goodie bag and made my way to the exit to meet up with the family. I did feel the impact of the run here and ached in places I had never before but the feeling I had from my achievement made it all worthwhile.

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