I promised Marie and Rhi I would try to do a blog but I have never done anything like this before anddidn’t know what to say. In the end I seem to say a lot so bear with me!!
As many of you know I have been continuing to work during this lock down period and have had a lot of very long days. I fully appreciate that I am very lucky to still be working when many other people are not in that position. And while the work that I am doing feels pretty stressful at times, I also
know that there are people doing much harder work in the frontline than sitting at a computer for hours a day.
However, like everyone else, this lock down period has played with my emotions on a daily basis – I have been up and down like a yo-yo and have had good days and pretty bad days.
Last Friday morning I joined a webinar run by the Mental Health Movement in Australia about Resilience. I wanted to share some key things I took away from that session.
They talked about six keys to being resilient and some of them really resonated with me based on the last 6 weeks.
1. Vision – understating your vision and knowing your “why” is really important. It is essential to find meaning during tough times.
2. Self-Care – this is not necessarily about going to the gym or running miles but finding your own coping strategies and, most importantly, to have these as part of your daily routine. It is also about learning to engage in positive self-talk.
3. Problem-Solving – understanding that setbacks are normally temporary and getting the appropriate help and support – don’t be afraid to ask for help.
4. Perseverance – having a strong vision and purpose helps you through a tough time but you should still accept and acknowledge the tough times that you are facing and persevere through without adopting a victim mentality.
5. Composure – resilient people have emotions, but they try to avoid making poor judgements as a result of them. They also do not compare themselves to others.
6. Collaboration – you have to use people around you and also make sure that those people are people who, themselves, have good composure and are able to support you.
When our mental health cup fills up, we tend to move away from these behaviours. They then shared the things we can do to build mental health resilience. These included:
- Mindset – the importance of a growth mindset when wanting to better manage your mental health and trying to turn a negative into a positive. The two best ways to avoid negative self-talk is talking to someone else, and practices like mindfulness and gratitude.
- Coping Strategies – including nutrition, exercise, good sleep practices, social engagements, relaxation and laughter.
- Support networks – it is NOT a sign of weakness to seek support; just a sign you want to be doing better.
This is a very brief summary of the webinar but some things really did resonate with me. I know Ihave been guilty of comparing myself to others recently and feel I haven’t done enough if I’m not
running 10k daily, doing DIY around the house or participating in online chats each evening! That negative self-talk is not doing me any good. Everyone has their own coping strategies and if mine are falling asleep on a Saturday afternoon or reading a book then I should be happy that’s what
works for me.
I also loved the reminder of the importance of reaching out to others for help. What I love about our Happy Feet group is that we are there to support each other. We may not be able to see each other face to face right now but we have a great online community. In all honesty, this group has really kept me going over the past 7 weeks through its camaraderie, support and genuine friendliness – I feel so glad I am a part of such a great group.
One of the webinar presenters had apparently experienced some pretty significant mental health issues after being bitten by a shark!! I don’t think we have to worry too much about that in Worcester to be fair, but I am going to remember my P.E.A.R.L.S:
- Pleasure – doing things you find pleasure in or that bring pleasure into your life.
- Exercise – doing something is better than nothing.
- Achievement – working towards goals to achieve a sense of accomplishment
- Relaxation – calming the mind and the body
- Laughter – finding what brings you laughter
- Social Engagement – spending time and doing things with the people you love
Have a wonderful week everyone – can’t wait to the day we get to run with each other again.
Vicky's brilliant contribution to our V E Day Bingo..
Something starting with V, Something starting with E,
In Loving Memory of Geoffrey Griffin, Sharon's Dad, who sadly passed away on Friday 8th May 2020
Blog post by Sharon.....
I’ve always been a runner but a very different runner, at school I was a sprinter and a good one at that, not that that really bothered me. My PE teachers always got excited about my sprinting, my mum worked at my school too and I would often see her with my PE teachers in the school corridors discussing my sprinting, I always ducked down another corridor to avoid a ‘sprinting’ lecture from them.
100 meters was my forte, 200 at a push. I ran for my school, my district and my county. The teachers were very keen to push my running and wanted me to train and push hard because they really thought one day I would go to the Olympics.
I did love to sprint but I was also at an age where other things mattered more. Duran Duran, came into my life along with stilettos, big hair, black eyeliner and iced magenta lipstick and out went sprinting.
Never again would I be a sprinter. Would I have gone to the Olympics? I would never know because I threw it away to grow-up. What a shame. I should have listened to my teachers.
Over the years I dipped in and out of running, not quite understanding it, why could I not run distances, after all I was a sprinter. Of course, it’s because speed was in me and I always ran too fast, meaning I couldn’t maintain distance.
Fast forward to 1997, Princes Diana was killed, it was a devastating time. I decided I wanted to do London Marathon to raise money for Diana’s charity, I’ve always been fascinated and loved the LM. So I entered and started training, again I couldn’t do distances, why, what was wrong with me?
I had a big incentive when I was down in London and walking through Kensington Gardens looking at Diana’s flowers when I bumped into her butler Paul Burrell. We got talking about running and me wanting to do the LM for Diana’s charity, he told me how Diana would sneak out of Kensington and go for a run totally unnoticed, she loved running round Kensington, she loved running . He then told me he would like to run with me in the marathon, wow!
Many people have their own views about Paul but to me he really was a nice chap. Unfortunately, I didn’t get in to the LM, in those days you were called a reject!
Paul no longer worked for Diana’s charity, but we exchanged letters for a while and he encouraged me to run and raise money for charities close to Diana’s heart. So I ran Pershore HM and raised money for the Special Care Baby Unit at our local hospital. BUT still I couldn’t do distances, I walked most of it and continued to be frustrated.
Over the years I never gave up on the LM, but trying to get in is like trying to get blood out of a stone. It’s virtually impossible but someone has to get in, right… I never gave up on that dream.
In 2015 my dad had a massive stroke, so much so he wasn’t expected to survive, however he did, but the stroke left him totally debilitated and in need of nursing and care, he never went home again and has lived in a nursing home since.
We have many scary moments with dad’s health, it’s made a huge impact on my family, it’s very traumatic. Again, I decided I wanted to raise money, this time for the Stroke Association who helped enormously and always answered my questions. I also wanted to get dad the medal to help him feel proud again. I entered the LM again, no chance was I going to get in but this time I did! In 2017 I did the LM, again not understanding distance running and dad was so poorly during my training that my concentration went on helping dad.
I did the LM, walked a lot of it and had the most amazing day! I was part if the fantastic “Team Stroke”.
I met so many amazing people, I hand fed jelly babies to the Rhino, they really can’t see much out of their costume, ran with a lady who was running for the new charity Heads Together who had been on TV with the Mind over Marathon documentary. I listened to a guide runner explain to her visually impaired runner what the route was like, it’s amazing what you see through someone else’s eyes.
London is at its best on marathon day, everyone comes together to celebrate it, it’s got to be the best charity event in the world! I finished the marathon got dad the medal and raised nearly £2800 for the Stroke Association, I still didn’t “get” distances but my dad was so proud when I gave him that medal!
After the marathon I was giving up on running again when I decided I needed to join a running group. I found Happy Feet and apprehensively called the number on their web page. A lady called Marie answered, who happened to be shopping in Sainsbury’s and she still took time for my phone call. We chatted and decided I would join the group on the Thursday night. When Thursday came, I was so nervous and doubted myself with running and joining a group. We ran round the river and it was a great route, I didn’t need to feel nervous, it was fab. So my Happy Feet journey began.
Gradually and at last I began to understand distance and my running, it only took me 30ish years! Even though speed is still in me I didn’t need to be that sprinter. During my journey with Happy Feet I’ve had many ups and downs with running and life. From dad’s awful stroke, I’ve also lost many close and much loved people in my life which has totally knocked me back.
2 people I’ve lost have been my closest friends Lyn and Tanya, both to cancer, Lyn Breast Cancer and Tanya Pancreatic. Losing them totally took the wind out of my sails, they were amazing ladies, and both taught me that you can live and laugh even in the most terrible of times. We had this awesome foursome friendship going on, myself, my amazing inspiring Sam who now lives in Leeds and who I’m so thankful for, the crazy irresistible Lyn and my beautiful Tanya.
Tanya was my mirror image, we were different, yet we were just the same. The summer she was diagnosed I had been helping her train C25K, Sharon, she would say, I don’t get this running, I don’t want to do it, ‘trust me’ I would say. She even managed a run with HF, eventually she said Sharon ‘I get it, I feel fantastic’.
She would have joined HF if it wasn’t for her sneaky cancer, it hit without any warning. We lost her in September 2017, just a week short of her year diagnosis. Losing Tanya was like losing myself, she was everything to me, I felt I would never make friends again, I didn’t want to make friends. She was amazing, she had a knowledge like no other, she was pragmatic, funny, mischievous, dignified, determined, she was so unique, she was my best mate, I loved her.
Friends are so important to me. Tanya had a lust for life and learning, so I will continue that through my life for her, I owe her that for she taught me so much.
Then along came COVID and as I sit here I know my dad’s home is struggling with the virus, they have lost a number of residents yet they are fighting to make those that remain poorly well again. Dad is very poorly, we haven’t been able to see him properly for 2 months. I’m not sure of the outcome with dad but I’m so grateful to his nursing home. With that In mind on Tuesday 5th May I ran a Half Marathon to raise money for the residents fund at dads home, so far we’ve raised over £400 and that is still rising.
For the first time in my running journey I was able to run a long distance. It shows that commitment and determination does win through.
I thank God for Happy Feet and the day I found them. All of them have helped me through such hard times. I’m even beginning to make lovely new friends, there’s this lady called Karen in HF, she has become my new running partner, we go for running day trips, we’ve ran Silverstone, Cardiff, Race for Life and Worcester together and have so many running adventures to fulfil , we always enjoyed coffee and cake after our runs and I think she likes me, we now even call each other friend. Even though I can never replace my amazing unique Tanya and why would I, she will always be my one, but I think I’m going to be ok with Happy Feet in my life.
My reason to run, my dad.
My reason to live life to the full, my amazing Tanya.
My saviour, Happy Feet Fitness.
Oh, and a shout out to my wonderful husband and sons who have been constantly subjected to my challenges. My husband always supports and follows me around the country on my crazy quests. Thank you.
Thank you everyone and stay safe…
EVERY RUN I DO WILL BE FOR MY DAD
EVERY MEDAL I RECEIVE WILL BE FOR DAD.
HE IS MY HERO, MY INSPIRATION, MY STRENGTH, MY WORLD, MY EVERYTHING.
THANKS FOR EVERYTHING YOU GAVE US DAD, WE LOVE YOU.
I am sat here on the sofa with my 2 lovely children, it’s Sunday although I only know that because its roast dinner day, lockdown life is getting hard BUT I think we (I) have turned a little corner.
Over the past 6 weeks I’ve been through a roller coaster of emotions as we all have, We had lots of things planned as a family and I had a few challenges of mine own planned.
I was really geared up to complete the Birmingham Velo again this year (100 mile bike ride), after last years race I vowed I’d never do it again BUT I had an itch I had to scratch and entered on a whim. I usually have one big sporting event to look forward to in the year and it gives me massive focus, helps me planning my training and gives me a good purpose.
The day the email landed saying my ride was cancelled, I was gutted. Suddenly there was nothing to focus on apart from hear the words ‘the restrictions have been lifted’ and we just don’t know when that will happen. Exercise really is my life; I just love the feeling at the end and I’d honestly be insane without fitness.
Luckily, my life is surrounded by motivational, amazing people who have just blown me away since the start of lockdown.
I sat back the other week and thought, why am I getting in a tizz about not doing a race when I can crack on and do it anyway!
So I dusted off my bike, contacted my cycling buddy and got back out there, I plan to do the 100 miles around the same time as we’d have done the race which gives us 8 weeks, over the past 3 weeks we’ve got up to 50 miles.
What a difference having a focus makes, my training has fallen back into place and I’m really enjoying having a purpose to my workouts.
On my ride yesterday, I did question my choices. It was tough, 50 miles is a long way and the end was hilly. I had to use all the mind games in order to get me home, counting, shouting at my inner self and visualising the finish line. In this case it was my house that is at the top of a long uphill drag, with every revolution of my pedals I had to shout at the inner voice in my head to keep going.
Its going to be hard getting to that big 100 BUT my wonderful crew, my mental strength and determination WILL GET ME TO THE END.
Anyway, this has turned into a bit of a rambling blog about not a lot other than make sure you do what works for you!
I like a focus, something to get my teeth into. It helps keep me sane, give me focus and a sense of achievement.
Today we have a lovely calming walk around Sue's garden.
In these difficult days, appreciating what is right in front of us can help, nature carries on regardless.
You might not have a garden of your own, so have a wander around this one.
Happy Feet Blog Friday 17th April 2020
We are in week 7 hundred and numpty four of lockdown (well, that is how it feels) with another three (hundred) weeks to go it seems.
My ambitious plans of home schooling faltered after about three days, Joe Wicks lasted a week with the kids, two for me on my own until my knee pain finally persuaded me that ‘spiderman’ lunges were the devils own form of torture…
My alcohol consumption has gone up by thirty percent aided and abetted by Suzy’s family’s cider farm and like most people I’ve adopted the Jimmy Buffet attitude to when it’s appropriate to start drinking (before or after bathtime??)
Luckily I have a go to activity that helps keep me sane, gives me my daily Boris approved hour of exercise and keeps me away from the daily battle for a few precious moments and I probably wouldn’t have it if it weren’t for Marie and Rhi and the rest of the Happy Feet Family.
And I mean family; we look out for each other, even when we don’t see each other often, there is always a welcome, Fatface chats and sessions keep us in touch when the world would have us keep our distance.
Some of us run fast, some are slower; some go for miles, others gently add on the miles bit by bit. Many of us had events we wanted to do that are now cancelled/postponed, but the training continues, the spirit carries on and when we all come out the other side of this we will be stronger, healthier, more able to adapt and accept what life throws at us.
My squiggly Strava routes that I post are a physical representation of how far I (and the dog) have gone in our running (I’m going to use the J word) Journey. From c25k last spring to the Worcester City 10k last September – amazing! To this year with my grandiose ideas of doing five 10ks before my 50th in December. All five were lined up, paid for, babysitters arranged, t-shirt design in progress. Obviously they are now, probably, not going to happen in their official capacity, but I intend to do them around the date I should have done.
Challenge Tuesday has given me the spur to increase my distance from the pedestrian 5kish I’ve been comfortably doing to get up to a steady 10k. I’m not sure the dog’s fully committed to this idea though…
I want to thank all of you for your support and encouragement not just for me but for everyone in the group. To all those still working in frontline positions, thank you, those who have changed their jobs to help support the rest us, thank you and anyone else who’s given up on home school – we tried!
Week 3, can you believe it?
Time marches on doesn't it, we are now in week 3 of the new regulations. I get the feeling we are starting to adapt to the new ways, reluctantly, but with good grace,
We are being very careful about our exercise and keeping as safe as we can.
What else are we doing during "lockdown" ? Well our members have quite a list of things...
We are painting living rooms, revamping bedrooms, cleaning ovens, bleaching bathrooms and cleaning carpets...
We are mowing lawns, power-washing patios, planting seeds, painting fences, renovating garden furniture...
We are baking cakes and biscuits, making bread and pastries, even sushi!...
We are doing some online learning, joining classes, discovering new talents such as knitting or sewing...
We are doing jigsaws, finding online puzzles and quizzes to keep our minds occupied, on our facebook group we had "Guess who's trainers?" to keep us entertained....
We are sitting, we are listening to bird song, we are watching flowers grow, we are marvelling at nature, either in our gardens, on our walks and runs or through our windows, we are taking some time to be "humans being" not "humans doing"
Not all of us have this luxury, many of our members are amazing key and essential workers, they don't have the time to do the above, they are out every day keeping us safe and the country going, and we applaud them all.
In last weeks post I didn't mention all the support that the runners and walkers are giving each other.
It's been amazing, we have our regular posters and our first timers, we have those who have been on FB for ever, and those for whom it's all very new.
What we all have in common is our desire to keep exercising, keep motivating each other, sharing our triumphs but also our down days. We don't expect everyone to feel chipper every day, it's ok not to be ok too.
Sharing how we feel is so important, we have never experienced anything like this before, restrictions on our movements, being cooped up with family all day, like a very long Christmas but without the cheer! Maybe we are still working and have the fear of getting too close to our colleagues.
This isn't normal but we are trying our best to normalise it, some of us will find it easier than others, we might be able to draw on previous experiences, but nothing has ever been quite like this for any of us.
We are having to make up the "rules" as we go along, making daily adaptations as new news or restrictions come in to play. We can only see those members of our family that we live with, what about the others? Parents. grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, cousins, friends, the list goes on and on. it's hard, but we need to do this to keep us safe.
We have several front line key workers amongst our number and we applaud them, going out every day to keep the country moving, taking care of the sick, stocking our shelves, removing our rubbish, cleaning our hospitals and other places where we have no choice but to go.
In an effort to get everyone up and active, even if some of us weren't feeling it, we launched Challenge Tuesday this week. The challenge was to get as many Km's done on Tuesday as we could, this wasn't meant to be a few runners doing huge distances, although we did have some who achieved that, it was to get as many of us out there as possible, doing what we could.
We could run, walk or cycle, this allowed everyone an opportunity to add to the total. We had k's from family walks, we had k's from injured runners walking or cycling, we had k's from "lapsed" runners starting back on couch to 5k. It was a team effort, there was no pressure, every metre counted, so nothing was too small to be counted.
As you can see from the picture below, we managed a fantastic 276.18 k (171.61 miles) and 47 people took part! We hope that even more will take part this week, and we will see what the total is, will we smash it? You'll have to come back next week to see.....
As I am typing this I have just heard that Matt Hancock has said that if people don't take the exercise recommendations seriously they will have to stop people leaving their houses for exercise. www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52172035 so please, please, follow the guidelines so that we don't have to stay in to exercise!
Until next week.........STAY SAFE
Well, it's been a bit of a week hasn't it?
We stopped our running and walking groups around 2 weeks ago. It wasn't possible to keep the recommended 2 metres apart, so with a very heavy heart we decided to postpone our groups until this is all over to keep everyone safe.
Happy Feet Fitness is our beloved business, we really do live and breathe it. What would we do? What would our clients do? Every one of them feels like a part of our family!
Our Facebook group has always been strong with a great sense of community, now was the time to take it up a gear, this was our way of staying in touch, motivating the members and most of all supporting them through this as best we could.
So we have started online classes, these are done live because we want to see what's going on. Rhiannon, who is also a Personal trainer, has a lot of experience teaching classes and knows how quickly things can go wrong, she watches us and can correct our technique if she needs to. It's ace!
The other benefit is that although she can see us, we can only see her, so when we are going in the wrong direction, or using the wrong leg, no one else knows we are going wrong. At the start and end of each session, we all get a chance to have a natter too, it's fab!
We are using the "live" facility on Facebook too, I have never used it before, Rhiannon always does it normally. Well, what do you know, I did my fist one and now I'm hooked! The feed-back from the group when we go live is that it's good to hear our voices, its strange what you miss isn't it, they don't usually like to hear our voices when we are saying "it's only a small uphill....."
I'll leave you with a few photos, and will be back next week.
Stay safe everyone x
Reasons to keep active From a BBC article
A short video for International Women's Day 2020 on Sunday 8th March.
Our women are strong, determined, motivated, kind, supportive, I could go on and on...
They are also great role models for women of all ages, both those they run and walk past in the street, and their own families and friends.
On Saturday 21st December, Happy Feet Fitness runners and walkers gathered together to raise funds for Teenage Cancer Trust
Many of us dressed up, there were Elves, Christmas trees and even Mrs Christmas, as well as jingling bells, antlers, flashing lights and tinsel!
There was a choice of either a 5k walk or run or a 10k run, the turnout was amazing and our generous runners raised £300
Afterwards we enjoyed cakes and mince pies, some of them home made, one of our volunteers made their legendary lemon drizzle cake, which was delicious. As usual there was much laughter and merriment!
Why Teenage Cancer Trust?
Earlier this year the son of one of our runners was diagnosed with cancer, it was a huge shock and he had to undergo hard months of treatment. Thankfully he is now on the mend and is starting to get to grips with life after treatment, the charity have supported him and his family through and beyond this tough time. Now the family want to give something back, and to support them we have held two events, adding nearly £500 in total to their fundraising pot.
We'd like to say a huge "THANK YOU" to all our runners and walkers for their generosity!