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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Barefoot half marathon

It's official. I am mad. Most of my friends know that already. I guess now it's reaching a wider circle. I have decided to run a barefoot half marathon this coming September. Not only that, I am not afraid to talk about it. I have never run one before, but I saw myself running one and this is what I am going to prepare for.

I am not doing it for any particular reason other than the sheer joy of it. And I think that is the reason why I am going to succeed.

No, I am not doing it to slim. That would be the wrong reason. I am doing it because I love running and it's great to set oneself some targets.

I want to raise money whilst doing it. I have just not decided yet what cause for. My heart hesitates between two causes: the Penny Brohn Cancer Care, a wonderful holistic centre that supports people living with cancer or the PDSA. I still have a couple of months to decide. I am little concerned that running for the Penny Brohn Cancer Care might bring some painful feelings related to the death of my three favourite aunts in the past three years so I think I might chose the PDSA instead. It would fit quite well with the fact that I am currently studying to be a pet whisperer with the wonderful Sarah-Jane Le Blanc. I would prefer to help animals in the wild though. I will check if the WWF or the WildLife Fund sponsor the Bristol Half Marathon. I'll keep you posted. I was so sad to learn that the Bristol zoo male lion, Kamal, died a few months back. I had talked to him and his mate for years, apologising for the human race which forced them to live in cages to survive. As one of my Facebook contact said: he can now run freely in the jungle whenever he wants. R.I.P. His companion, Shiva, was so sad. I send her plenty of reiki hugs and told her I was sure that the Zoo was going to find her a new mate. In a matter of months she lost both her cubs that were shipped to other Zoos and her mate. Apparently she was French and he was English, which made soul man smile when she came first to replace Kamal's previous mate.

In the meantime I am just excited about running. I managed to dissolve one of the resistances I had to run with shoes. It was silly really. Due to the fact that I had been running barefoot for months up to the autumn, I resented having to put my shoes back on when the weather became too cold. My stubborn nature led me to refuse to run unless I had the freedom of my naked feet. Until I realised it wasn't the right part of me that was putting the stops but probably my inner saboteur. I have a particularly strong one. She is just so stubborn and so persuasive. Sometimes she even manages to convince me that she actually has a good point. And this time, she nearly did. She was saying that unless I ran barefoot, it was not worth running at all. The more intelligent me knew this was a trick and yet it took me a few months to jump over the hurdle that my inner critic (I also like to call her the monkey) had created.

The way I usually bypass her is by just not listening to her voice in my head and just doing things spontaneously without any pre-intent. And that's exactly how I did it: I put my shoes and running gear on and declared with bravado that I was going for a run and went out the door before my monkey mind could convince me otherwise.

It was bitterly cold and windy. I pushed through the wind. I feared a little having pain in my ears as they can be quite delicate so I got the earmuffs out and put my hoody on top for extra padding. The biggest surprise was that the coldest part of my body was my lungs. Ha ha. I was caught unprepared. The air was so cold that I felt I was freezing from the mere act of breathing.

After my run, I coughed and coughed for a good half an hour. I wasn't worried but found great comfort in soul man telling me that he experienced the same thing after going for a run after the Christmas holidays. It seems that running clears the lungs of an awful lot of gunk, not so different from the smokers' cough. I am so glad this is way behind me. I can't even imagine that I ever smoked when I was younger. It feels like another lifetime.

Since that first run I have gone out again. And again, it was cold and windy. I am going to go out running so much in the coming months that I am sure I will be able to catch a sunny and glorious day. I love how running gets me to merge with the elements and connect with nature.

What about you? Have you decided to get out of your comfort zone?

Blessings of light


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Barefoot running

Last summer, I tried to get back into running after a nearly eighteen months pause due to my pregnancy and the birth of my beautiful daughter. I had planned to run during my pregnancy but I had some early bleeding after only a few weeks and you don't want to tempt fate. My baby was born very healthy and all is well. Thank the Lord.

I got back into my running in the summer 2012 and was doing fine. I was slowly building up again, but finding it a tad tedious. Little did I know that a blog was going to change my life forever about running, yet again.

I was invited as a guest blogger on a conscious parenting website and I decided to explore barefoot living for the little ones and what are the advantages of it. I was sparked by a lovely article in the mother magazine, which I find very inspiring. You know how I like to walk the talk, though, so I decided to start going everywhere barefoot to see how it felt so that I could write about it first hand.

One thing led to another, and the bookworm in me found the time, over the summer holidays, to read both Barefoot running step by step and born to run. I was fascinated. Slowly but surely, I was discarding the myth that feet needed shoes to be protected and that feet weren't strong enough to be left without shoes. I remembered the soles that were put in my shoes to "support" my foot arch as a child and wondered where on earth all this had come from.

Fast forward five weeks and I decided, after having walked barefoot EVERYWHERE successfully, to go for my first barefoot run. It happened to take place on Weston-Super-Mare's beach, the precise location where I went for my first run on 5th September 2009 (at the grand age of 44). I decided to make the most of my run and get on the beach at the edge of the water  for a good splash. I loved the coming and going of the waves and the gentle caress they made on my feet and ankle. I also enjoyed getting wet. I found it added a wonderful dimension to my run that I would have never experienced had I worn my high performance running shoes.

The biggest surprise, however, was how much easier it was to run without shoes. As long as I made sure I didn't make the mistakes that runners who wear shoes make very often (the heel strike) and made sure I was gentle on the foot sole, then it was pure delight.

Encouraged by my success, I continued with the barefoot running well into the autumn. I had to stop around mid October because I cracked my little toe. The way it happened would have happened regardless of whether or not I had worn shoes, I have to say (just in case you were tempted to say "I told you soo").

I happened to go for my last barefoot wander on my birthday. My birthday is on 6th November so it can get pretty cold here in England. However much I loved barefooting then, I can't deal with pain. I am a strong opponent of the no pain no gain philosophy. And on that day, when I tried to walk the Labyrinth in Glasonbury, my feet hurt. I felt immensely sad at the thought of having to wear shoes possibly for months when walking outdoors. But there you go.

More about my barefoot adventures soon.

With love


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Running with the angels

In 2009, I was stuck on my slimming journey. I had done quite a lot to slim my figure without doing any particular kind of exercise but I had reached a point where I was plateauing. I wasn't displeased completely with my figure but at the same time, there was still a long way to go for me to feel comfortable in my body. 

I went to visit some relatives in France and got faced with the fact that my closest cousins from childhood who had been chubby like me had both been thin for a long time and I was the only "fatty" left in the family. I did the old thing, which really is pointless but I do it anyway: I compared myself to them and came back with tears of shame in my eyes. 

So I did what I do best when I have exhausted my own resources: I prayed to the angels and asked them to help me find a way so that I could have the body I wanted. That was on the 3th September. On the 4th September, I woke up with the bizarre feeling that I was meant to run. You might wonder why I thought it was a bizarre idea. Well, up until then: I had always HATED running, to the point that I wouldn't even run for my bus or train. I missed quite a few ones in my life because of this. So how did this happen? This sudden change of heart? I could only put it down to my prayers to the angels the night before. 

That morning, there was no stopping me. I went up to soul man with a pair of sports shoes in my hand and asked him "Can I run in these?" He looked at me as if I had been star struck. "Did you say "run" love?" He asked. "Yes I want to run. Can I go today?" Soul man is a runner. When I met him ten years ago he run twice a week and nothing could stop him from his run and yet he never managed to inspire me to go running once in ten years. Even my friend Lizzy who started running a year before, despite asking me several times if I wanted to join her, hadn't managed to make me budge. 

I put my kit together: a sports watch my son gave me, a pair of trainers, some black lycra shorts and an orange top. I made a pony tail and waited anxiously by the door. Soul man laughed. "Not today love. How about tomorrow?" But after lunch, he gave in. 

We went to our local beach with my partner and the children and I left him to make sand castles with them whilst I went for my run. I had never run in my entire life so soul man advised that I only do five minutes, a small pause and then five minutes back. I wanted to do more. But I trusted his advice. And so I did.

The first minute was bizarre. My super strong inner critic kept on saying: "You won't be able to do it, you fool. Why did you tell anyone you were going to run? You won't last more than a minute and you will be a disgrace." But you know what, I ignored it and kept going. After one minute, I was surprised to see that I was doing fine. And I managed to silence my inner critic. And then it hit me: the runner's high. I felt so good I swear I was floating above my body. The next four minutes were child's play. Soul man had told me to pause before coming back but I didn't feel the need to, so I just turned back and ran back to where I had left him. When I reached the lot of them making sandcastles and having fun, I didn't want to stop, so I kept going a little because it felt so good I didn't want to stop. 

My inner critic started talking again "You are going to regret this tomorrow. You won't be able to walk." I think at that point, I told it to shut up. When I walked up to soul man feeling relaxed and probably an inch taller than usual, I said "when can we do this again". He laughed and said "You did well honey". And we took the kids for a fish and chips before going home. 

After that day, I ran twice a week for a couple of weeks increasing slightly how much I ran until I reached twenty minutes. But I wanted to do more and I wanted a running buddy. So I prayed again. I said "wouldn't it be nice if I had someone to run with I said before going to bed". Not because I didn't like running on my own, I loved it, but I guess to have a bit of company now and again. And within hours, my friend Lizzy called and asked me if I wanted to go running with her. I got a kick out of it, because although she is fifteen years younger than me, and teaches bums and tums and other wonderful stuff at a local gym, I easily kept up with her and even managed to chat almost the entire way. She couldn't believe it either. 

On our second run together, we went on my favourite bridge (the Severn Bridge) and we ran 35 minutes. Within six weeks, I run three times a week, 40 minutes. And two months after going for my first run, I ran 50 minutes fror the first time. The following summer, I ran a 5K with the race for life. One of my favourite aunts had just died of bowel cancer and my other favourite aunt was battling with lung cancer. I reached the finish line in tears.  

I guess the reason why I am sharing this story is because I want to inspire you to do something different and to understand that our own mental limitations can be our worst enemy. If I hadn't asked the angels to help me overcome my own limiting beliefs, I would have never given running a try. And what a shame it would have been. 

Once I was able to cancel that belief, I was able to tackle another belief of mine: that I was born fat and that I had a fat gene. In a funny sort of way, I had always associated runners with slimness. And now I was a runner... well... My subconscious finally allowed me to be slim. The plateau on my slimming journey became a memory. 

I wasn't even aware that I had this limiting belief until I went to a running shop with my friend to buy myself some decent running shoes. The guy put me on a treadmill to check my feet. I had never been on a treadmill before so I nearly fell off it when I switched it on. That was funny. Luckily I didn't know he was filming me otherwise I would have run out of the shop. He then routinely said to me, come and look at the video to see how you run. I looked at the video and thought there was a mistake: who was that thin person running on the screen? Lizzy laughed out loud and said "You silly woman it's you". 

That was my running story of 2009. There is a new story for 2013 and I am just about to start blogging about it. 

Have a great day

Ange de Lumiere