Sunday, 28 February 2016

Follow the signs

Ever confused about which way to go?

A word of advice from a good friend of mine……“I wonder whether we complicate things too much, and we should just be childlike and go for it and pursue each and every sign?” 

Amen to that.


I went on my own mini-adventure this week. I ran from Rye to Bexhill via the 1066 Country Walk, attempting to follow those precious little Red and White circles.

First lesson: follow those precious little Red and White circles. I’m such a twit, it literally took me 45 minutes and nearly 3 miles running around in circles (not little red and white ones) before I found the first sign.

Lesson number two: deception is very deceiving. Don’t be deceived into thinking that all footpaths lead to the 1066 Country Walk. Nope. (more running around in circles in muddy fields). Never follow anything other than a precious little Red and White circle.

If I sound frustrated, I really wasn’t – part of the fun and the reason I went on my own was to work it out by myself, see if I had it in me to find my way and go the distance. It almost goes without saying, but I had an amazing day, recapturing some of that “childlike pursuit of each and every sign”, with hapless abandon. Pure joy on a beautiful day in the Sussex countryside.

I love signs. I have my own precious little signs that I carry around with me to remind me to keep on the right path in my own life. They change sometimes, but at the moment, these are my signs, the little tangible symbols that remind me of who I am and why I’m doing what I’m doing.



As you can see from my poor navigation skills above, I’m sometimes not very good at finding or remembering to follow the signs. I get lost. I get confused. But I reckon the wildest thing we can do is be childlike and go for it and pursue each and every sign. Now THAT’s a proper adventure.

Come and run with me, it might just change your life. J

Sunday, 21 February 2016

A fabulous leg day

This is not me :-)
Today is a fabulous leg day. I woke up, stretched (as you do), and blimey, fabulous legs!

I’m 44 now but it wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I felt comfortable enough with myself to wear shorts. It’s a body image thing you see. The funny thing is about negative body image is that it has precious little to do with reality, and it actually has very little to do with being fat or thin or tall or whatever else. It’s a mind thing.

The Challenge - Let’s take it up a notch. 

Are you wearing matching lingerie at the moment? Men – I hope not. Ladies – why not?

When I was set this challenge last summer my first response was ‘what are you talking about, why would you bother, what does it matter anyway?’. But I love a challenge so I went with it.

Turns out it took me several weeks to even say the word L I N G E R I E. I did a straw poll at work and the responses from the (female) staff went downhill from ‘why should I, men don’t bother wearing matching socks’. So it’s not just me then.

I toyed with the idea of buying matching L I N G E R I E. Honestly, I tried. I looked on the internet and freaked out. I took a few weeks off then tried again. I asked around friends (male and female). It seems that all too often women matter more to men than women matter to themselves. I'm no feminist but that’s not good! I finally went into an actual shop, but was in and out in seconds. Without buying any L I N G E R I E.

L I N G E R I E
After 4 months of trying and failing, after a long swim and resulting endorphin hit, in a mad and impetuous moment, I walked next door into M&S. I begged that poor lady, please help me, I’m 44 and I’ve never owned matching L I N G E R I E, get me everything in this shop that is white, matches and fits...

...Success!

What’s that got to do with running? Well not much directly I don’t suppose. Except to say that this morning a lovely lady ran up to me in delight. After 2 weeks of starting to walk/run with our Tuesday group, she’d lost 5lbs and was celebrating wearing a shirt she’s not been able to button up for some time. More importantly, she was glowing. From the inside.

Matching lingerie. Are you up for the challenge?

Today is a fabulous leg day, today I will mostly be wearing white J.

Come and run with me, it might just change your life.



Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Amazing grace

“When the dawn breaks, and the clouds clear, in an open space, together we will run.”

Earlier I wrote a dry blog post about how running beats walking for making you feel better. Which it does, I’m not taking it back.



But I went out tonight and listened to a man talk about his art class. He talked about a painting that his tutor was showing them, and that as the artist applied the paint, it just looked like a dirty smudge of blues and greens and browns, no distinction, no beauty, no definition, no way to tell what the picture was or what story it told. But watch and see the artist at work, watch as magically leaves and trees and blossoms emerge. Don’t be put off by what you see at first, don’t give up on the dirty smudge, wait and see what emerges, see what beauty the artist brings forth.

The lesson from the artist was patience and hope. As I repeat this analogy to you, I understand that it’s childishly simple in its application.

But as I heard it, it hit me like a tonne of bricks, how grateful I am that out of this muddy mess of a life, I know that beauty is emerging and it brought tears of love and gratitude to my eyes. I know that my Hope is in God the artist and I know that patience is all it takes to see what He will do.

This is what it means to me to get people up and running, this is my reason for being. It means that no matter who you are or what your starting point is, no matter what the state of your life, your heart or your head, I can see beyond the muddy mess there may be because my Hope is in the artist. Oh, and because I’m a muddy mess who’s just emerging too.

There you go, that’s the heart blog I wanted to write earlier but couldn’t.

Lots of love,

Jax

Ps – come and run with me, it might just change your life x

3-2-1 and back in the room

11 Days after giving birth to number 4 (me not Mrs W)
I’ve been injured lately so I’ve hardly been able to run in 2016 at all. I finally went to see someone about my dodgy hip yesterday, and she gave me the go ahead to run 20 minutes per day. She didn’t say how fast I should run so, well, I went out and enjoyed myself a little J

I feel incredible. Not the elusive runner's 'high' necessarily, but, I’ve gone from feeling what you might call deflated over the last few weeks to being, well, back in the room.




I did a little experiment today. As well as running, I’ve been thinking about and talking to people about walking, and in fact I’m wearing a pedometer to monitor my steps. You know, NHS 10,000 step challenge and all that.

To run or to walk, that is the question.
It’s given me cause to ask myself what I’m doing here with this running lark. Do I want to get non-movers to simply move (walk a little bit, play ping pong – all good stuff), or do I want to encourage non-runners to run, or run better, stronger, further, faster? Why am I a runner and not a walker, what’s my raison d’etre, how can I justify helping people to run over helping them to walk?

I’ve walked lots today, but I’ve run for just 15 minutes. Honestly?, walking has done very little to excite me. On the other hand, after just a short burst of running I’m ‘back in the room’, awake, alert, connected, turned on by life again.

I did a little research (googled for 30 seconds) and came across Spark: How exercise will improve the performance of your brain. On Page 4 it says:  “to keep our brains at peak performance, our bodies need to work hard.”

So perhaps it’s about intensity. Running gets my the blood pumping, and perhaps it’s that blood-pumping intensity that makes me feel better, brighter, higher, stronger, more confident, more creative, and most importantly, more motivated for life. The physical benefits running are well known, but I reckon that the main benefits are the affects on the brain. When we run, the dirt of life simply falls away. 

The best
So in this very scientific little experiment, walking versus running, I can conclude that in terms of physical and mental benefits (please don’t ever try to separate the two), walking simply does not deliver. Taking public transport is good. Walking is better. Running is best. And we all want the best, right ;-)