a million steps later – challenge done

at three minutes past three on the 8th September, just a week ago today, on the High Peak Trail, the woman who never walked anywhere took her millionth step!! In just over nine weeks I walked 500 miles.
I have walked in the town, the woods, the hills, the dales. I have walked in cities and alongside canals. I have walked along the coast and on the beach.  It has been nothing short of amazing. As I walked I became fitter, as I became fitter I walked more.

So, I wonder what next?  First I enjoyed basking in the glory of completing such an epic challenge in such a short time.  My sponsorship for Diabetes UK has increased too, with a neighbour donating money having seen me on my daily walks for the past nine weeks.  I think before I start planning what to do next it is worth taking a moment to reflect on what has happened.

Back in April I was unwell, overweight and unhappy. I found movement painful and spent a lot of time pushing myself through the pain to take part in the most basic everyday things.  One day I really had, had enough.  I decided to try and eat less and move more.  If you have been with me through the blog you will know all this already, but what I didn’t know was how this simple plan, move more eat less would change everything.

Today I am three and a half stone lighter than I was in April.  I have energy and a lust for life I previously only dreamt about.  My car sits outside my house most days, only being used for trips out of town.  I have started a Facebook Group called Women Walking, and have dozens of members encouraging each other to take that first step.  It is simply amazing.

The next challenge is to keep up the fitness.  I have joined a gym!!  Honestly that is amazing in itself, and have learned how much fun moving to music is.  I have started swimming again and exercising in the pool is also great fun.  I still walk every morning mostly with my good friend who is now also walking every day.  All in all the Diabetes UK Million Step Challenge has effected every part of my life.  It has given me my body back, it has given me confidence and it has helped me to inspire lots of other friends to walk for health.  Truly if I can do this anyone can.  I really was the woman who never walked anywhere who now walks everywhere.

I can’t thank the guys at Diabetes UK enough, their support and encouragement meant everything.  I don’t want to kid people that this was easy.  I had dark days, I walked in the rain and the wind, I walked with blisters on my feet and when I was feeling so tired I just wanted to stay in bed.  The reason I carried on was knowing that people were sponsoring me and I had the responsibility to carry on.

The good days outweighed the bad.  I have so many memories. Reaching the top of the Great Orme in hot sunshine was amazing. Starting to run instead of walking and managing to breathe as I ran along was fantastic.

This has been the challenge of my life, and it is no exaggeration to say it has changed me for the good forever.



on milestones and Nanna magic

today the woman who didn’t walk anywhere completed 700,000 steps.  It is true, in six or so weeks I have walked over 300 miles.  Today I had a companion.  My gorgeous Granddaughter and her Nanna had a day together.

She arrived early, the sun was shining so we headed out to the swings near home.  ‘Push me higher Nanna’,  this little girl loves to fly high.  Next we headed to the slide but warmed by the sunshine this was too hot to use.  We went home and prepared to go into town.

Riding in her buggy she kept a commentary all the way.  ‘The lorries have big wheels Nanna’, ‘I am counting the bricks in the wall Nanna’, life with her is always fun.  We did the boring stuff, went to the bank and a few shops and then of we went to the big park in the middle of town.  Here my little girl tackled the netting up to the slide like a professional. Despite being tiny she held her own with the bigger kids and went up and down time and again.

It was lunch time so we said goodbye to the big park and headed for home.  After lunch and a nap we went to play in Nanna’s shop, where we tested lots of toys and chatted to lots of people.  Time for home again and the pram was not welcome. ‘I walk Nanna’, of course you do, so do I.  So I am pushing the buggy with one hand and tightly holding hands with the other.  Suddenly there is a bump in the road and the gorgeous girl takes a tumble.  Oh my, the tears fell.  ‘I have a hurt knee Nanna’.  I scoop her up and kiss it better, no we don’t want to ride in the pram I am walking Nanna.  Of course you are, just like me!!

Once home we deal with the poorly knee.  To see the trust in her little eyes while Nanna bathed it with her magic water and cloth was beautiful.  I managed to clean it and found very little problem underneath.  Happily we went out to play picnics in the garden, sore knee forgotten.

I had also forgotten how love and care from Mum or Nanna can fix most things.  I read somewhere that ‘kissing it better’ really works.  I am not sure how but the brain recognises the love and all is well.

By the time Daddy comes to collect her the injury is forgotten, she is full of the fun we have had. In the evening I am remembering the precious moments throughout the day and once again am grateful I am now fit enough to enjoy life.

700,000 steps is a very long way, soon I will have done my million, but I am sure I won’t be stopping walking anytime soon

Million steps – day thirty four

A lovely long walk this morning, through the town and out onto country lanes, it makes a difference walking with a friend.  As we walk we are chatting and stopping every now and again to look at the views.

I am so lucky to live somewhere where the countryside is so accessible.  From my front door within a mile I am in the middle of fields and hedgerows.  We see rabbits scampering across the field and in the distance are sheep and cattle.

Today the weather was kind, warm and bright sunshine lifted the spirits and the mood.  It is easier to walk with the sun on your back, although it did get a little warm.  I left my friend near her home and carried on for a mile or so homeward bound.

This early morning world really suits me, I arrive home ready for breakfast and have more energy than ever.  Today mundane jobs in the house are calling and I spend longer than I would have liked on housework.  It is always good to remember that, perhaps, three months ago I couldn’t do much at all.  Now cleaning and sorting is all in a days work. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Another reason to be grateful today is that I have another sponsor on my fundraising page.  This brings the total to more than double the total I set for myself.  It is wonderful and all thanks to Diabetes UK.

million steps – day 14 – two weeks in

today marks the end of the second week of my million step challenge and things are getting easier.  Another long walk today, hubby again dropped me at the edge of town and I walked back home through new streets.  I am noticing I am walking more quickly.  In the beginning my average pace was 2.4 miles an hour, I am now up to 3 miles an hour without really thinking about it.  I am also finding the hills easier to manage and seldom become breathless.

This is all important as it means as well as raising money for Diabetes UK and losing weight I am also increasing my fitness and my stamina.  In total I have been daily walking for about five weeks now, before July 1st I was practising and wandering a bit.  I was explaining to colleagues yesterday how my walking has developed.

My first walk was literally around the field in front of my house.   I know now this is about 900 steps and it took me a while to walk it. I remember feeling a bit self conscious, hoping no one would notice me.   The next day I did it again and the day after that I walked around it twice.  A couple of days of that and then  I walked down the road and then round the field and then the next day down a couple more roads before walking around the field home.  Step by step I did a little bit more each day, and now 3 miles in a hour is not difficult at all!  I am averaging about 15,000 steps a day, just under 7 miles, it is incredible.

I enjoy varying my route but every walk either begins or ends with the walk around the field.  It is very much part of my routine and it would feel all wrong if I didn’t do it each day. There is still some way to go to a million steps, I think this weeks walking should see me a quarter of the way there, well on track to complete it before the end of September.

There are so many positives about this challenge, the thinking time I have while walking, the gorgeous countryside and views I am seeing, the weight I am losing, the energy I now have, but the very best thing it that it is becoming normal. It is has simply become what I do.