Faversham, 14 January 2014
I hope this finds you well.
24 June 2013. 6:30am. Memory is a slippery thing, and on reflection I’m not even sure this really WAS the first walk. It was a pretty one in any case – warm and sunny, and at this point my sweatshirt would already have been tied round my waist with my shoulders getting their full dose of Vitamin D. Ah, Summer! A great time to start walking. Here’s how it started for me…
I went to visit my new recently converted from twitter acquaintance to real life colleague and artist Rod McIntosh for a cuppa, a chat and to see his studio space. We somehow got to talking about habits, and the need to have an awareness of helpful and not so helpful ones. Rod shared a book he had on his ‘to read’ pile called The Power of Habit. It was relevant to our conversation, I made a mental note of it and that was that. I’d love to say that Mr Duhigg changed my life, but I’d be fibbing, because I didn’t read the book.
The title stayed in my head, though, and that evening, perched on the sofa with yet another cuppa, I read the blurb. And a teeny bit of the prologue that is available on Amazon. That’s it. I’m as impatient as the next person for sweeping change through minimal effort! I can be a bit lazy that way. I had probably run out of tea by then, too.
Anyway, one story in the prologue did make an impression. It was about a woman who made one decision (to cross a desert) which led to a series of a whole bunch of other decisions (quitting smoking, running marathons – you know, the usual) – I’m paraphrasing, but you can read what I read here, if you like.
‘One thing, huh?’ I thought. I can do at least ONE thing. ‘Right?’ (A marathon is not on the cards. DO NOT watch this space.)
Over the years, I have had fits and starts of exercise, fitness, and ‘eating right’. It always makes me feel great. Improved mood, better sleep, more energy, the lot. Years ago I ran in the Faversham 10K with a friend – far enough, thanks very much. It was brilliant to finish but it took 18 months for my knee to function normally again. Running was out, then.
Once my knee was back to normal, I was able to celebrate by dancing all night in heels. Who can resist a bass line and drumbeat? Not me, apparently. Cue another year of rubbish knee action. Now, dancing is a thing I will never give up, (DO watch this space!) but didn’t strike me as a realistic everyday pursuit.
I’m not sure how but I decided to go for a walk in the morning. In spite of the dodgy knee, I can walk. Slowly. I told myself that if I went everyday for 2 weeks, I’d buy myself some new trainers as a reward to replace my sagging and toe revealing six-years-old Asics.
‘I am going to walk everyday for two weeks!’ I told my friends. I told my family. I told myself. I told anyone who would listen. (This is my usual pattern!)
On the final day of two weeks, I took these pictures.
29 weeks and a day later, I’m quicker, slimmer, happier, dancing and still hooked on walking. Lots has changed since 24 June 2013 but I’ll save that for another time. Write when you can!