Today started well, despite a late night I was up and out before eight and enjoyed almost three miles of walking I bumped into several fellow walkers and runners on the way, stopping to chat or walk alongside for part of the way. It seems there are a lot of us out and about, I met people I never dreamt would be walkers actually out just like me doing it. Some have been inspired after illness to improve their fitness others are doing it for the mental strength they find in exercising.
Once again I feel I have tapped into a whole world I had previously been oblivious to. I admit in the past I have felt a little irritated with friends who went out running, perhaps I was jealous of their energy and fitness, but now it seems I have joined the tribe. This has made me think of perception, of how we judge each other and how I may have alienated myself to a whole way of life, simply for fear of failing.
I think most people are a bit like me. I watch the London Marathon or the Great North Run on the television and although it is perfectly obvious most people taking part are not elite athletes, I have never consider it to be anything to do with me. People like me enjoy sitting down, nice food, good wine. We enjoy a stroll around the shops or meeting for coffee and chatting. In the back of my head I always sort of understood that I should exercise. I was very good at ignoring that little thought. Exercise means effort, you need special clothes, things that probably won’t fit me. You need to be good at doing it the walking/running/cycling or you can’t do it. Excuses, excuses, excuses. Some of the reasons were real enough. I did fear failure, I did worry that people might laugh at me. I always thought I wouldn’t be able to do it.
I am now remembering the person I used to be. Before children, before stressful jobs and difficult times. Before I got fat and lazy. Before I lost my confidence and my get up and go. That person, thirty years ago was very active. She ran around after small children, went out for long bike rides, she swam often and danced whenever and wherever she could. I cannot remember the moment that all changed. Somewhere between my thirties and my fifties I lost the will to move. It feels good to be changing that now.
Walking isn’t running the marathon, it isn’t even jogging in the park, but it is what I can do, so that is what I am doing. Yes the weather has been rubbish, my legs have been aching but I am connecting again with the me I had forgotten, and along the way I am meeting my new tribe. We understand we don’t have to be elite athletes, but we are moving more than we are eating and energy is attracting energy.
So as I clock up almost 180,000 steps for Diabetes Uk I am looking forward to getting the old me back, I might even go out dancing!