This isn’t my first blog. A few years go I began a blog as part of my teaching professional development. That fizzled as there never seemed to be enough time to put my thoughts to paper… or blog.
Over the past few years, I have done things which I never thought I would do, and which my mother would possibly be horrified at, if she were here to see them.
It all began with my husband and I moving to Rotorua from Gisborne, five and a half years ago. It had been a busy few months with mental stress after a difficult work situation, a move of home after 25 years, a new job and the need to move our two 89 year old mothers to Rotorua with us. We moved the mums into a nearby rest home and I started my new job. We were also trying to sell our Gisborne home at the time. To cut a long story short, it was a busy few months. My mum was turning 90 and I planned a family birthday party for her. The party was a success and Mum was well and had a lovely day. Three weeks later she passed away, from having caught a cold and basically giving up on life. She often said, ‘I’ve lived too long.” She had done all that she wanted to do; seen family grow up, marry and enjoyed the arrival of two great grandchildren and she felt it was her time to leave us.
Within two months of Mum’s death, we moved into our new home. A visit to the hairdresser two weeks later revealed that my hair was falling out in great chunks. Stress was the obvious reason for my sudden hair loss and I decided the best way to counter the stress and the loss of hair was to begin a regular exercise regime. I had begun walking about six years earlier, in Gisborne, when I had lost around 8 kgs. My exercise had become less regular with the demands of my new career (teaching) and with Mum living with us.
And so it began… I called Sport Bay of Plenty to find out what walking groups were available. They put me onto the Lake City Athletics Club Marathon Clinic. This is where the ‘Never say never’ came in. When asked about walking a 10km race some years earlier, I was adamant that, “I only walk for my health and fitness.” I never wanted to walk a race of any description.
My first walk with the clinic went well. There were more hills in the Rotorua Redwoods than I was accustomed too. I huffed and puffed my way up the hills, but was able to keep up. Three months later, I walked my first marathon, The Rotorua Marathon in 5 hours and 50 minutes.
On the suggestion of our school P.E. teacher I began running about a month later. I had never run, even as a child. I played hockey, but didn’t participate in any track events or cross country. I didn’t believe I could run. I started my running journey on a treadmill at a local gym. It was just 30 seconds run 30 seconds walk until I could get up to 40 minutes running. The next step was to venture out onto the road.