Would you look at those happy, enthusiastic faces? That, dear reader, was March 27th, first day of British Summer Time and day 1 (as you can tell by our fingers) of the 5 x 50 Challenge / The Great Pootlathon and a very pleasant (though somewhat parky) walk around Strathclyde Loch….
So, how has it been, considering I not only opted for a 5km walk, cycle or run every day but also decided to do it without the restorative powers of alcomafrol for fifty hellishly sober days? Well, we are on day 16 now and I must admit I am very surprised with – so far – how much I am enjoying it.
April hasn’t started off as the warmest I can remember, to be honest, but the weather has, on the whole, been kind and we’ve only had to contend with a couple of rainy days thus far (one, admittedly, was pretty torrential and even too wet for me to consider getting my trusty phone out for a madness selfie). I will usually be walking or cycling alone, armed with forementioned trusty phone with the MapMyFitness app and – when walking – BBC Radio 4 for company (OH MY GOD, THE ARCHERS! More about that at a later day, I’m sure….) because I am the sort of multi-tasking chick who likes to learn things whilst wandering aimlessly around the place (also, I learned through bitter experience of a completely wrecked knee last year that walking to music is no good for me as it leads to dancity-stomping and shin-splints, which then lead to stress fractures, wrecked tendons and damaged cartilage). However, Him Indoors and The Tiny Support Team have been absolutely wonderful in keeping me company on stomps recently – a big shout out to the TST who have racked up over 50km already just walking with their old maw. Considering I know many kids of their ages who couldn’t walk the length of themselves, I am really pleased and proud that I have two children who love the outdoors and stomping around in it.
For the record, I am eating pretty healthily at the moment too; and I’ve started up my yoga practice again (the Mindful Yoga lessons from Palouse Mindfulness can be found on YouTube – Part 1 and Part 2 are both nice, simple lessons in stretching and relaxing the body for the total beginner; and I am also working through Adriene Mishler’s brilliant 30 Days of Yoga which you can also access through the magic of YouTube – Day 1 can be found here. I’m also trying hard to remember to do my meditations – I use the ‘Stop, Breathe and Think’ app for Android the most because the meditations are quite short and very easy to pop into your day, but there are also some fantastic longer meditations on the Palouse Mindfulness website if you have a little more time to spare – I particularly like the Mountain and Lake meditations.
Physically, I feel fantastic. My clothes are looser, my skin is clearer, I am drinking much more water and herbal teas than I usually would and I don’t seem to be craving things like sweeties and crisps like I used to. The walking is toning things up nicely, and the yoga is stretching things out (you have no idea how excited I was to be able to do a forward bend and put my hands on the floor – I am the most unsupple person in the world!). I am also sleeping brilliantly – I’m finding myself wonderfully cosy and tired at around 10pm rather than keyed up and anxious at the back of 1am, and I’m falling asleep and waking up refreshed before the alarm goes off.
Mentally, I feel even better. I know that with me and my various ‘issues’, psychologically things may suddenly swing quite violently from one pole to the other, so I am enjoying this period of busy, pottering contentedness very much. I think I am the sort of person who thrives on a degree of routine with ‘treats’ for doing chores promptly and thoroughly, and I like to get my tasks out of the way early so I can indulge myself in things I adore to do, so working in the morning and then getting out for the walk and thus ticking the as challenge box early on as possible has let me relax and really enjoy time, well, pottering.
Most interestingly of all….(is ‘interestingly’ even a real word? I’m not convinced it is, but hey, It’s my bloody blog), my horrible menopause symptoms have all but disappeared, with the exception of the hot flushes and night sweats, but even those have improved and are happening a lot less frequently. The crippling sudden exhaustion, bone aches, headaches, palpitations, nausea, sore eyes, water retention and hideous anxiety have all but gone, and long may that continue!
So now…a thank you, and a plea.
Thank you to everyone who has donated to Parkinson’s UK so far. I am absolutely thrilled to have raised just over £400 – that’s almost 50% of my target!
I might be enjoying this challenge, but it ought to be remembered that I AM doing it for a very good cause indeed. I know how blessed I am to have my mobility and to be able to do all these things without even giving them any mind.
We take so much for granted, particularly when it comes to our bodies and what we expect them to do, without grumbling or protesting, every day. People with Parkinson’s do not have that luxury. Even the simplest task, the thing we just do without even thinking about it, like putting on shoes or making a cup of tea, can be an uphill battle when you have Parkinson’s.
If you haven’t yet contributed, I would love you to consider donating even a pound to this very, very worthy cause. Parkinson’s UK aren’t one of these charities who jump on every passing bandwagon and fill up your Facebook feed at every turn, so they often get overlooked in favour of the bigger charities with the biggest marketing budgets and the social media specialists working for them – in fact, some of the bigger charities often ‘borrow’ smaller charities’ ideas and promote them under their own names until the smaller charity is all but forgotten. (Anyone actually remember who the Ice Bucket Challenge was originally in aid of before a certain charity hijacked it?).
My JustGiving page is right here. Thank you so, so much.