How often do we hear “the dog ate my homework” or the adult equivalent that is “I don’t have time to exercise”? Each day we find strategies to help clients incorporate regular activity into their daily schedules and to incorporate specific exercise programmes to help maximise their recovery or improve their performance, so there is no longer the need for such excuses. 2017 was the point in time where I decided I couldn’t make these excuses for myself anymore. I would be found out. I wasn’t healthy and I wasn’t fit.
I would like to think that it was only a few years ago when I considered myself fit, but truth be told it was nearly 20 years ago. This was a stage of my life when I worked regular hours, had no other commitments and all the time in the world to spend three, maybe four, hours in the gym each session. I was fit and strong, I had heaps of energy and was feeling really great. But life changes, jobs change, I moved to Jersey, focused on setting up my own business in a recession, and had two babies in a year (almost Irish Twins!). The list of excuses is endless….the dog ate my homework!
On a daily basis clients would engage in conversation and ask the question “and what is it that you do?” My answer was always an evasive one, “mmm, eerrrr..I do a bit of this, I do a bit of that, a bit of running, bit of Zumba, some weights, anyway… let’s focus on you!” If only they knew that despite running being in my genes (I have an Uncle who won the New York Marathon in a time of 2.27) I currently was incapable of a dash to the bus. At the end of 2016 I realised that I could not keep hiding it anymore. I would be found out by my own clients. And so, in 2017 I made the commitment to get fit once more. I was going to get strong. I was going to walk the walk and talk the talk that I told my clients everyday. The poor dog could not be blamed anymore!
I had no excuses. As a healthcare professional I knew exactly what I needed to do. So I did it! On Monday January 9th I started session one, Week 1, of couch to 5K programme. My goal was to do my first Park Run by Easter. How I longed to be able to run like all those “real runners” at a Park Run event on a Saturday morning! I complimented my running with strength training, and week by week I gradually increased my distance as per the programme. What’s amazed me most was actually how good I felt just within a few weeks.
Fearful that clients would see me huffing and puffing my way round I did a few 5Ks myself in the early mornings in preparation. But the time finally came when I just had to pluck up the courage and brave it. My goal was to run all the way and not walk. I did it! How proud I was of my own achievement.
I run at the speed of a tortoise through peanut butter, but that’s fine by me. Running is about one’s own race. Fast or slow it only matters to the individual. I am not competitive. I came to realise was that I am the person you will see right at the very back of the group but I will also be the one who is smiling the brightest and probably singing out loud to the tunes in my ear (sorry about that!) or else chatting to anybody who will talk, or waving at anybody I know because I am just so happy to be there. It’s great!
I plan to keep it up, even if the barcodes don’t survive the washing machine! My children have also completed their first Park Runs too and are thrilled at their achievements. I am a long way away from being awarded the holy grail t shirts. But I will still be there on a regular basis and championing all that park run does for people in Jersey and all over the world.
As a Physio and as a health care business, we are in full support of the Park Run. It is a fantastic organisation which really has given people achievable goals to improve the quality of their life, health and wellbeing. It is a fantastic organisation that helps to unite communities through running.
Not a day goes by when we don’t say to our clients that ‘Exercise is Medicine’. It really is. If exercise was a pill then we would all be on it! We encourage clients to join Park Run to walk, jog or run. It is free and is genuinely warm and welcoming to all. I look forward to meeting some new Park Runners in the forthcoming years.
A big thank you to the organisers and the band of trusted volunteers who commit their time and energy on a weekly basis. You’re all superheroes, thank you and keep up the good work.
PS. the dog has finally forgiven me for the false accusations.