Trailwalker Strong!

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As I sat waiting for the train on Friday to begin my journey to Petersfield and join the rest of Team G & T (Girls and Trails), I wondered if I really knew what I had let myself in for. 100k walk across the South Downs, it wasn’t a decision I took lightly!!

I knew we had done enough training and walked enough miles, most of which was on the North Downs; none of us will ever look at Bluebell Hill with fond memories again, my mantra “tough times don’t last, tough people do” was used many times on THAT walk!

It’s been a “journey”, as a foursome we have laughed, talked a load of rubbish (what else is there to do when you are out for 8 hours+), ridiculed each other but also learnt a great deal.

  • what knickers are best to wear (I will be forever grateful for discovering Runderwear) or whether it is better to go commando
  • what snacks will travel well in a small rucksack and what will end up as a load of crumbs which are no good to anyone. Protein balls, frittata and jelly babies were my winners.
  • to Vaseline your feet or to tape them
  • to use poles or not

The weather was kind to us on our training walks, although we did have a couple of hot ones but coped well and hydrated throughout. Leading up to the event I was constantly checking the weather and lets just say it didn’t look promising, my usual trick of trying lots of weather apps wasn’t working either  – they were all saying one thing – rain, and lots of it!

We headed down to register on Friday evening and as you would expect with an event with military presence it was highly organised and we got a good feed to prepare us for the next morning!

“Each year, the entirety of the three Squadrons that form the Queen’s Gurkha Signals deploy days before participants arrive to begin setting up each of the checkpoints along the route. In recent years, this has grown to include all elements of the Brigade of Gurkhas; The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Queen’s Gurkha Engineers, Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment and the Gurkha Staff and Personnel Support each play an important role in the delivery of the exercise. The chefs of the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment set about cooking traditional cuisine for over 3000 participants, whilst the Gurkha Staff and Personnel Support assist with race registration and tracking.

Over the years of charitable partnership, the exercise has raised significant funds for Oxfam GB and the GWT, making a real difference to the lives of families and people around the world. Most recently, money raised from the Gurkha 200 edition of Ex TRAILWALKER was instrumental in reconstruction and relief in the wake of the tragic earthquakes in Nepal.”

Source: http://www.oxfam.org.uk/trailwalker/history

The job now was to get back for an early night and hopefully enjoy a good night’s sleep, but with an alarm call at 5am this wasn’t going to be easy! The next morning came around all to quickly but the sky was bright and it looked like we might at least be starting in dry weather conditions. A hearty breakfast, filling our water bottles and last-minute trips to the toilet were all that was left to do before heading to the start line for 7am. All a bit emotional being cheered on our way and hearing the bagpipes, but this was it, no turning back we were on our feet for at least the next 24 hours!!

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We made the first checkpoint (CP) in a reasonable time which motivated us onto the next one, quite a few hills, but talking to lots of people along the way it was all quite good going for most of the morning. We were met by our support crew of Max and Simon through the early stages and they looked after us well; providing us with plenty of food, drink and encouragement. This was much-needed particularly when we got to CP4 and CP5 when the rain had well and truly set in. They showed great resourcefulness by rigging up some tarpaulin to the boot of the car and then these were held in place by some football poles, they even allowed another team of walkers to use this shelter and attempt to dry off, this was posted on Facebook yesterday:

“Is this you? At CP4 you and your son kindly let our team sit under your tarpaulin that you had hitched up at the back of your car so they had somewhere dry to change. Thank you so much. Only sorry we forgot to ask your name.”

“Thank you so much Simon and Max, it made a huge difference for us. We managed it in 29hr and 37mins”

“Ditto you guys were amazing and then max even found us at the next check point and asked if we wanted to take shelter again but we needed to get a jiffy on. Soooooo appreciative.”

There are so many other stories like this, of complete strangers helping each other out, a real sense of community and absolutely restores your faith in the human race.

Rain continued and as night-time approached it looked like it might be a difficult evening ahead of us. Richard, Mark, Maisey and Max (who decided he quite like this support crew lark) took over from CP6 and that was the longest 10k I have EVER walked, it went on and on and on! Fireworks in the distance, pigs and a whole load of mud but eventually we got there and were greeted with hot chicken soup and the chance to change into some warm dry clothes before heading off again. More rain, more mud, a little bit of fog and bruised feet were the highlights of CP6 to CP7 but again we made it and all squeezed into the camper van for a rest and to try to muster up the enthusiasm to get back out in the elements for the remaining kilometres.

CP8 is where the party is (you can view this in the YouTube promotional video) and we could see the lights well into the distance so was a great motivator to get there quickly and also the chance to finally remove wet weather gear with the promise of a better day of weather ahead of us. I even managed a 10 minute nap here which was enough to take the edge off the tiredness, but this was the longest stretch between CP’s at 13.8km and boy did we feel every moment of that section. My new mantra “strong body, strong mind” was working overtime but with the help of a fabulous Oxfam volunteer we climbed the final hill and reached CP9 to be greeted with a bacon butty and a hot drink – very welcome!

 

We were nearly there, just 9.8km remaining before we reached the finish line at Brighton Racecourse, which was in view for what seemed like the whole of that distance, teasing us that the finish was in sight, but still a way to go…

We made it!

We started it as a team of four and completed it as a team of four in a time of 29 hours and 26 minutes!

We were #trailwalkerstrong!

For me, at the end of the event it was a case of never again but by that same evening I was already thinking about next year’s event – watch this space!

Thank you to Suzanne, Louise and Helen for being fabulous, special thanks also go to Simon, Max, Maisey, Mark and Richard for their support and for every single person who has sponsored us. It has been epic!!

If you’ve got a goal, get a great team behind you and just go for it! xx

When can I do sit-ups?

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This is a question that is frequently asked during my Buggy Fitness classes, another popular one is when can I start running?

With regards to sit-ups, NEVER is generally my answer, they are not functional and if you have a diastasis they will do more harm than good. There are so many other core exercises that replicate movements that we make during our normal daily living activities which will provide much better support.

Physically, as well as emotionally it is important to take it slowly and allow your body to heal; in the early days following the birth of your little bundle of joy the focus should be on keeping a check on your posture, walking often and filling your body with healthy, nutritious food. Once you have had your GP check (usually around 6-8 weeks) it is time to step your exercise up under the direction of a fully qualified pre/post natal exercise specialist. If you have had a c-section you will need to wait just a couple of weeks longer to start exercising again, this allows time for your scar to heal and recover from surgery. In both of these situations it is important to take your time and build up your fitness gradually, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do too much too soon.

High impact activities should be avoided until at least 5-6 months (although this is highly individual and varies from person to person), the reason for this is due to the effects of relaxin still flowing around your body. Relaxin is a hormone that is released in early pregnancy to loosen your joints in preparation for labour a few months down the line, and it subsequently makes your joint quite unstable. If you begin running, attending HIT classes or jumping on the trampoline too soon you put yourself at risk of injury,  not to mention what it will do to your pelvic floor!!

Listen to your body; if your knees, back or pelvis are causing you pain or discomfort then it is wise to ease your exercise back a bit. There is plenty that you can do at a lower intensity that gets a sweat on, but is safe! If you are unsure, just ask. Please be careful and take your time!

Please share this with anyone you know who has recently had a baby.

Emma

 

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Love a Pukka tea.

So this is cards on the table, heart on the sleeve time!

When I started my business 10 years ago; my daughter was born just a few months earlier, I was living and breathing the same experiences as the ladies in my buggy classes.

I now find myself entering or maybe in the perimenopausal stage of my life and again I am noticing changes in my physical, mental and emotional health which many of clients are also experiencing.

My get up and go has well gone! In comparison to the general population probably not so, but definitely noticeable against how I used to feel, my diet is not as good as I would like it to be and subsequently I have put on weight which leaves me feeling disheartened lacking in confidence and low self-esteem.

I know what I should be doing, I am just not doing it!

I am going to turn this into a positive and follow The 21 Day Happy Hormone Challenge, and hope that you will join me on my journey.

Maybe people will lose confidence in my abilities and knowledge or maybe they will realise that I am only human and have the same struggles as everyone else. I’ll leave it for you to decide….

Emma

…. and RELAX!

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We have just returned from a fabulous few days away at Croyde in our beloved and trusty camper van Louis.

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I realise that camping is not the holiday choice for everyone but I absolutely love it. Having no access to wi-fi and no television means that we all completely switch off and can just get back to basics; talking, spending time together, sitting and looking at the view of the beach which is just a 10-15 minute walk away.

I immediately notice my mood improve as I’m not trying to do 2-3 things at once and I easily settle into the pace of life that camping dictates.

Can this be replicated into normal daily life on returning home? I am keen to make sure it does as this will boost my mental well-being which will subsequently have a positive effect on my physical health.

The actions that I am planning to implement are:

  • Reduced mobile phone and PC usage (no more endless scrolling through social media). Checking in at the beginning and end of the day and timing my work admin so I focus on the task in hand
  • Have a daily nature fix. I love listening to the birds singing as well as seeing trees and flowers springing into life
  • Slow down! Finish one job before starting another and setting time aside each day for a meditation – I have managed a four-day streak so far!

These few days away have also given me inspiration for a new personal training programme “Natural Fitness” which I will be launching by the end of June.

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blogs/woodland-trust/2016/11/how-exercising-in-nature-can-reduce-stress/

If you are keen to learn more about these sessions, please get in touch to register your interest.

I will be reporting back next week to let you know of my progress.

Emma

x

Self care IS health care….

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Today try a walking meditation in a park or garden. Walk extra slowly, synchronizing your breathing with your steps, so with each step you take a breath in or out. This connects you with your body.

Are you constantly spinning your way through the week ?

Are you trying to juggle work, family, home and struggling to keep all balls in the air?!

Our bodies are still wired to prehistoric times, but our stressors have changed dramatically over thousands of years. Previously we would have encountered a deadly animal whilst walking out in the wild searching for food. The natural response here was fight or flight, do we stay and fight or do we run the hell out of there??!! Whatever decision is made a substance is released to stimulate the adrenals to release adrenaline and cortisol. This provides the body with everything it needs to react quickly.

Once the threat is gone, our adrenals stop pumping hormones and everything should return to normal.

Previously – YES!

In our lives today – NO!

Today we are not a spear-wielding attacker of a sabre tooth tiger, we are fighting deadlines, traffic and children! This means we are often functioning on a low-level chronic stress, so are in a constant state of over-production of adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline keeps up alert and focused.

Cortisol increases fat and sugar in the blood stream in preparation for activity, if there is no activity this is re-deposited as fat.

The cortisol levels remain high and the body thinks it needs refueling after the fight or flight scenario, therefore your appetite increases!!

And where is this all deposited?

Around your middle…

It’s time to lose the stress

“Changes that I’ve noticed since the course:  I have become more mindful.  Best example being my driving!  I have slowed down, stopped being heavy footed.  Not only has this helped me to feel calmer and less stressed, but also I’m saving money on fuel as I am driving more economically!  I have started reading again, having stopped after I returned to work after my surgery last year.  Am trying to introduce more proper “me time”. Thank you so much Emma for pointing me in the right direction after I have been lost trying to find my way out of the maze of bad habits and poor choices.”

How can you relax? I have posted my thoughts below but you may well be able to think of more:

  1. Colouring
  2. Meditation (https://www.headspace.com/ and https://www.calm.com/ are a great place to start for this)
  3. Listening to music
  4. Going out for a walk in nature
  5. Massage

These don’t need to be time-consuming, a few minutes per day can produce great results!

Remember:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

Have a great week and keep me posted on your self-care efforts.

Emma

Pelvic Floor for Life…..

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Thursday’s are a manic day for me, starting at 6:30am with a running client and ending at 9:30pm with a personal training client, thankfully there is a small break in the middle of the day to pick the children up from school and cook tea!

Despite often feeling tired by 7:30pm, teaching Holistic Core Restore® Every Woman at Southcote is a highlight of my day.

The studio lights are dimmed and the scent of calming spray fills the room – we are good to go!

Ladies attend these courses for a variety of reasons and some with quite complex issues, it is good to know, therefore that I have a strong support network behind me including the programme creator and an acclaimed Women’s Health Physio who are able to offer sound advice – sometimes at the drop of a hat!

Upon signing up for the course everyone is thoroughly screened and will be referred on to a fellow women’s health professional if the need arises. The weekly classes progress to ensure that goals are met, weekly communication in-between sessions, to keep you on track and access to homework – for life!

The course which I feared would be the most challenging to teach did in fact turn out to be one of my favourites. It ranged from a 27-year-old pregnant lady to an octogenarian, with post natal and menopausal filling the gap in the middle. It worked! Everyone was there to learn and strengthen their core/pelvic floor, the goal was achieved – it is never too late!!

So whether it is for running, pregnancy or healing a diastasis this course is the place for you.

Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

Emma

I am grateful

I am grateful

Upon waking up there is so much to be grateful for:

  • The sun is shining (which is a real treat after the rain we have had this week) and as I am typing this I am looking out to the garden where the birds are also merrily starting their day
  • Food in the cupboard ready for me to make my nutritious juice for breakfast (broccoli, spinach, kale, mango, kiwi, asparagus and banana)
  • Watching my children play football.
  • The variety of clients that I am working with at the moment and the regular enquiries that I am receiving.
  • The realisation that where I am now, professionally, is where I want to be, although still with the desire to learn so that I am the very best I can be in my chosen field. I am looking forward to starting a massage course in September.
  • Sharing my life, both professionally and personally with amazing people who continue to be a great sharing and support network  – I just have to ask!!
  • A roof over my head!
  • 2 children that are happy and healthy; others aren’t so lucky which is why I am organising events like this ladies lunch in October.
  • My evening will end with some self-care; trying to reduce my phone/electric usage.

I’d love to hear what you are grateful for today…..

Have a great week.

Emma