30 Days to Healthy Living. Day 1

So it seems I’ve been very remiss but this is a good place to chart what I have embarked on today – Arbonne’s 30 Days to Healthy Living. 30DTHL. Essentially a detox.

So, why am I doing it?

– I want to find out what it’s all about to help me to understand the programme which will help me to build my business
– I’ve been on the planet 50 years and never done a detox! It’s time!
– I am seriously overweight and on 2 sets of medication for high blood pressure. My dad died at 53 from a heart attack. I want to live longer than another 3 years!
– I’ve been careful with my food and drink intake since the start of June but I would really like to kick start my weight loss. I have decided to weigh once a month on the last day in kg. I lost 6kg in June
– I’ve been beset by illness in the last 12 months since contracting pneumonia last year which remained untreated for too long. I want to feel well again
– I sleep terribly! I suffer from insomnia – I get to sleep ok then wake around 2.30am-5.30am but have to get up at 6am! This leaves me constantly exhausted. I want to sleep!
– I have hypermobility syndrome which puts a lot of pressure and pain on my joints. I’m not sure if some of the pain is related to diet and would like to explore this. Losing weight won’t hurt though
– If I can lose weight on the programme it will help me cycle up hills more easily
– I want to inspire my friends and family to do the same

So, day 1. I had the same for breakfast and lunch. Smoothie made of Arbonne meal replacement – a scoop each of chocolate and vanilla flavour. Frozen melon and raspberries. Yogurt (last time, I’m supposed to be off dairy but didn’t have a substitute) and water. A scoop of fibre and a scoop of 5 a day supplement. Whizzed in my hand blender.

But today I took delivery of a new Nutribullet! So tomorrow’s will include spinach, kale, carrots etc!

Snacked on mixed nuts and currants and an apple.

Oven baked chicken, potato, roast veg, broccoli and cauliflower made dinner.

I’m feeling pretty good – wondering when the low energy will kick in!.

Women and Bicycles

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This weekend, after leading a Breeze Network ride on Saturday morning,  I grabbed the bull by the horns, booked an Airbnb and took a solo trip down to Oxford for this festival of women’s cycling organised by The Adventure Syndicate and Broken Spoke.

Despite arriving half a day late, I was blown away. The quality and quantity of speakers and panellists sharing their passion and knowledge about cycling was incredible.

I was desperate to arrive in time for a workshop on Saturday afternoon where TCR (transcontinental race) winner and author Emily Chappell talked about preparing for a long distance bike journey – going to be very useful for those like me trying cycle touring this year! Made it by the skin of my teeth and am so grateful as it introduced me for the first time to the idea of the Invisible Peloton, which is probably the key thing I have brought home from the weekend. There was a key

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Rickie Cotter’s Keynote

note address on Saturday evening from former 24h national MTB champion, Rickie Cotter, which was engaging, emotional and hilarious.

There was a social on Saturday evening which gave me the opportunity to mingle and meet some extraordinary women with terrific stories and for us to swap ideas.

On Sunday morning I skipped out of a bike tour of Oxford – well, it was 4° and bucketing down – and mingled and asked Emily some questions about her obsession with cycling in really, really cold places. It also provoked some interesting discussion. Emily had written on some sheets some thoughts which may stimulate discussion and one of the phrases that resonated incredibly strongly with me was about being an imposter. This massively encapsulates a lot of how I can feel at these sort of events. On paper, I really don’t fit it. I don’t look the part. I can’t ride hundreds of miles without batting an eyelid. I’m as slow a cyclist as they come. Heck, I even wimp out of a wet and windy short ride on a Sunday morning. But no one is judging me in this way, I’m perfectly capable of inflicting it on myself!

But some of the conversations I had confirm that I do fit in, I do have a voice and my voice is valid. To prove a point – our Breeze ride on Saturday had 12 participants – including 3 new women. And I’m a little bit instrumental in that. It seems that lots of other groups and clubs struggle to get women to take those first steps but I specialise in it! I know what works and how to make it safe for my ladies and encourage them and I can share that with women in other areas and together we’ll get more women on bikes!

What a lovely surprise to get this Tweet on my return from Karen Gee of Cycle Sprog:

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So humbled by this

 

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Me and Maryam outside the venue

After lunch there was a panel discussion about cycling as a family, featuring my local Breeze Network area co-ordinator, Maryam Amatullah and Isla Rowntree (who had cycled nearly 100 miles to get there!) of Isla Bikes amongst others. I’ll be honest, I thought I wouldn’t be interested in this session as a childless old crone but it was fascinating!

Then we got to see the world premiere of the stunning Adventure Syndicate film of the Highland 500, followed by a panel discussion and questions to Emily Chappell, national 24h MTB champion, Lee Craigie, adventure cyclist Laura Moss and filmmaker Anna Kubik.

 

We were fed right royally throughout by a vegan and mostly-gluten-free kitchen, and the coffee was supplied by the beautiful Kim from The Roasting House here in Nottingham. Oh, and I even got to meet one of the ladies behind Cycling Travel Journal which I supported on Kickstarter last year!

There is a lot of stuff currently on social media, so don’t just take my word for it, check out #WAB2017 and #WomenAndBicycles.

The Invisible Peloton

In short, the theory is that you’re never alone. In those moments when it’s hard and you have to dig deep, take a bit of time to think about the people who support you and those who inspire you, and from them is where you draw your strength.  Knowing that others believe in you, have got your back, have been through worse and done things that are far, far more difficult than what you are currently experiencing will spur you on. It will give you the extra strength and energy. And through them you will succeed.

So now I’m building my own invisible peloton. It features everyone I have named in this blog today, plus many more I spoke to and became friends with over the weekend. It goes without saying, my family – my ever-tolerant husband, mum and sister, my niece and nephews and all the extended family. My friends. I’m so blessed with amazing friends, like Sharon and Jo and Kajsa and so, so many more. My beautiful ladies from Nottingham Girls Cycle and Breeze Champions, both local and further afield. Then the cycling greats, those women blazing a trail for future generations, Billie FlemingBeryl Burtonthe Suffragettes. Current and past champions in all the disciplines.  And others I’m yet to meet or hear of.

Whether it’s a difficult time riding my bike or any other context, I have my invisible peloton and with them I simply cannot fail.

Some other things I learned…

  • Most people are ‘tidy’
  • LEJOG off road is a ‘thing’
  • a way to stop traffic around schools is to ban kids from being dropped off in cars
  • if you’re short on time on a journey, it helps to have done ‘supermarket training’ so you go in and get exactly what you want in double quick time!
  • you can get a really good night’s sleep in a brothel
  • I can do anything I want to (OK, I already knew this but having it reinforced is never a bad thing…)

 

 

Hear Me Roar!

There must be something about Sunday evening because here I am again, feeling the need for a new post. Perhaps it’s because it’s the close of the week and also probably the time when I have the most quiet and space to ponder?

It’s been a significant week. Personally, I’ve been good with my food and lost 4 pounds,  but more importantly my physio cleared me to do a ‘little light cycling on the flat’ so I was thrilled yesterday morning to be able to undertake that at the Embankment.

What was most exciting though was that 4 beautiful women gave up their time to support and accompany me. I don’t think any of them will appreciate how much that meant to me. Being honest,  I was pretty anxious – total failure would have been a real disappointment but I shouldn’t have worried. Despite some stiffness my knee held out well and now I feel confident that it won’t take me too long to get back to where I was pre-injury.

With this in mind, this week’s task is to start pulling together a training plan. This is not something I’ve ever done before and I’ve never even see anyone else’s, however my lovely friend,  Kajsa, has very kindly offered to help me so I’m snapping off her hand!

Zombie Donald Trump – my worst nightmare

Globally this week – my worst nightmare came true as He who shall not be named took the oath as POTUS. Now the more I think about it, the more I am convinced this man is clinically a psychopath. Lying, manipulative, self-aggrandising, materialistic, confrontational, narcissistic,  unfeeling, self-interested, volatile but with a veneer of charm. I’ve come across one before so I recognise the signs. Genuinely, it’s been making me feel a little helpless and bereft for all the positives we may now lose. 

But no more. I’ve consciously decided to take my inspiration from the millions of women, and men who marched with them, around the world who yesterday stood up for what’s right and what’s good. We will not be silenced. To borrow an analogy I’ve heard in the last 24 hours – on our own we are a delicate snowflake but together we’re a mighty avalanche.

I had coffee with my friend Debbie today, who was so kind and told me that she didn’t think I knew how much I’d done to inspire so many other women. It’s not the first time someone has said this to me so maybe there’s a little truth in it. But my role there has been to believe in and walk with them as they do the hard work! But this conversation may have been in my mind when someone asked how we move forward from the marches yesterday. And what came out is what I plan. This is what I intend:

Keep bossing it. Supporting and encouraging others.  Celebrating our victories and being magnanimous when we lose. Sharing our knowledge. Challenging racism, bigotry, sexism, intolerance and hatred. Leading by example. Taking care and thought with each word and action.  Getting up early and having a good breakfast. Working hard and playing harder. Saying ‘I love you’ more, but only when we truly mean it. Removing as much as possible that is negative but being aware that others may think differently and that’s not a bad thing. I am woman. HEAR ME ROAR!