Savour a Walk in the Highlands

Linn of Tummel Circular Walk

Linn of Tummel walk
View from Garry Bridge

Easy to park, easy to walk

It was free to park the car which was a bonus. The day was dry, slightly overcast and not too cold although the sun did peek through at points. Perfect weather for a good, long walk. After a flight of steps down to the river bank it was almost all flat. A well-worn path with a few steps here and there and a few tree roots along the way.

Pitlochry

Pitlochry https://www.pitlochry.org/index.html is world-famous for its ‘Salmon Leap’ which is a spectacle in the springtime when the salmon ‘leap’ to return to their spawning ground.  This was our stop of choice at about the half way point of the walk. It is a pretty, touristy, small town which has its own railway station, quite a few shops selling Tartan and shortbread.

Loch Faskally
Loch Faskally

This one is definitely worth a visit…

A particular shop that caught our eye was the whiskey shop http://robertsonsofpitlochry.co.uk/   This little place is a real gem. It has a phenomenal range of whiskeys… and gins, some with a phenomenal price tag too! Attached to the shop is what looks like a small restaurant but is actually a whiskey-tasting experience room. Each place is set with a wooden, glass-holder which takes about 5 small glasses. There wasn’t a ‘tasting’ when we were there but we did buy a couple of glasses. A lovely reminder of our visit to Pitlochry.

Malt glass
A souvenir of Pitlochry

‘Keep right on to the end of the road’

A quick coffee in the cafe across the road and we were off again to complete the circuit. We did this walk fairly recently and so the trees were decked out in their autumn colours. Just amazing, although my pictures don’t really do them justice.

Linn of Tummel circular walk
Linn of Tummel circular walk

If you ever take the ‘High Road’ to Scotland do yourself a favour, pack your walking boots and head for Garry Bridge.

Linn of Tummel circular walk
View of Garry Bridge

Still on the run!

Still on the run…

I actually made it.  I did run the whole programme of Couch to 5K https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/get-inspired/43501261.   Graduated and everything.  Running was going to be my new thing to stop me from becoming a blob.  But then a holiday got in the way.  Yes, that meant not even one run for over two weeks.  There was a lot of walking and healthy eating too but no runs.  So I should have been right back into it but I hadn’t reckoned on the battering that jet-lag would give me.  Many times I was wide awake at 3am and then solid-gone at 8am, couldn’t seem to get back into the circadian rhythm.

Trainers
Put those trainers on

Up and running

The jet-lag faded eventually and I made it, up and out at 8am but it was so hard!  My legs felt heavy, it was like running through treacle.  I managed two runs before I was knocked back again.  This time it was the ‘mother and father’ of all head-colds. It robbed me of a week of my life – and running!

Take a step back

Back with the programme again. The run this morning provided me with a moment of clarity.  It came to me in a flash.  Just start again.  Well, not quite at the beginning but right back to week 5 of ‘Couch to 5K’.  A major step backwards but it makes perfect sense! Take the pressure off, build it back up again.

Run selfie
I’m out there on the run

Draw up a plan

However, it’s important that I stay focused as it is the local ‘Pilgrim Fun Run’ in six weeks. I rashly suggested to my daughter and daughter-in-law that we all do it together, we might even enlist the grandchildren.  There are approximately 50 days to the ‘run’ – it is possible that there could be at least 20 training runs between now and then.  This is a positive event to work towards.  Although I do have more holidays that ‘might’ get in the way.  I must try to incorporate some training into those periods too.

Trainers on
Memories of the first run – three months ago

The Pilgrim Fun Run

The Pilgrim Fun Run takes place in Retford, North Notts https://www.innorthnotts.co.uk/events-this-week/icalrepeat.detail/2018/11/25/79061/-/the-pilgrim-fun-run-2018-in-retford

The Pilgrim Fathers originated from this area and left for America almost 400 years ago.  There will be an almighty celebration of that event around these parts in 2020 https://pilgrimroots.org/

These are the shoes

These are the shoes

These are the shoes that have pounded the canal tow-path for the last eight weeks.  Three times each week.  And here I stand at the foot of week 9.  It is the holy grail of Couch-to-5K, graduation week! It is time to consider the awful thought of replacing these shoes with new, running shoes.

Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K has taught me how to run for a period of almost half an hour.  It must be stressed that I do not run well.  Neither I do not run fast, in fact my speed is extremely slow.  However, I do run and that is the important thing.  Yes, I have noticed small changes.  I’m not a ‘weigher’ so don’t know if any weight has been lost but there is a little less wobbliness.

I sort of look forward to the morning-run with a strange (almost morbid) anticipation.  Whilst I am running for that almost-half-an-hour, I scream inside my head.  I pray that it will very soon be over BUT then comes the best bit… it does all come to a stop!  As soon as I have finished the run I feel euphoric and fit ALL day.  So, surely it’s got to be worth 30 minutes of ‘push’?  The pay-off is so good and it lasts for so long?  

Parkrun is not ready for me yet!

I admit that I am not quite ready for ‘Parkrun’ yet.  Parkrun is the place where Cto5Kers go when they have graduated.  Although I am ready to keep up with the 30 minutes ‘push’ three times a week for as long as it takes.

As you will have noticed, the weather is beginning to change as we hurtle towards autumn.  These shoes will not stand up to the wet grass and mud that comes with the change in season.  This afternoon I am off in search of some advice and perhaps even some new shoes for trail running at https://upandrunning.co.uk

Well who would have thought it.  Keep you posted!

Couch to 5K – quick update

I know that you are just desperate to know how I’m getting on with Couch to 5K as I haven’t updated for a while… nooo, indeed not! How very dare you think that I would have given up!  Perish the thought!

I will have you know that I completed R3W5 (Run 3 Week 5) yesterday! Woohoo!  And that was no mean feat.  It was a big jump from the eight minute runs right up to twenty – yes, twenty whole minutes!  It was indeed arduous, I thought it would never end and yes I was slow.  I was silently screaming inside my head for it to stop although it didn’t.  But the most important thing is, it wasn’t a glorious summer morning, it was raining, cold and breezy and I still did it.  Does this mean I am a convert? Does this mean I am a real runner?  Am I becoming addicted?  Is a real change taking place? I really hope so.  It would be great to be fit.  I wonder what that feels like?

If I carry on then I am going to need some new running shoes for running in the mud, I am thinking of https://www.inov-8.com/trail-running/best-shoes-for/soft-and-muddy?genders=193 – any thoughts anyone? They’re a bit expensive.

 

Hello, this is me…

Hello this is me,

Sharon Richardson
This is me…

My name is Sharon, welcome to my blog. Please make yourself at home and have a browse through my meanderings. Here is a little insight into me!  My views are wry and often dry but always my own. Thank you for dropping in!

Retirement? You must be joking!

I am ‘retired’ and now live an active rural life (with the odd quick fixes of city-life).  I live in a cottage in a village, that is Nottinghamshire’s best kept secret. Together with my husband I am involved in all kinds of things that keep us out of mischief.

I have a lot of interests and ‘Savour the Moment’ is my personal blog.  This is where I share my thoughts on a variety of topics with anyone who might be remotely interested.   I’ve been involved with marketing communications for most of my adult-life – and by default, the written word.  ‘Savour the Moment’ fulfils my need to write.

I can also post product reviews and will share my feedback.

It’s all about this and that really

I really don’t know what I’ll be sharing from post-to-post.  So, if you’re looking for a consistent topic blog you are out of luck.  The only consistency you will find is that I’m consistently inconsistent.  It depends on my current obsession, at present it’s ‘Couch to 5K’ or me trying to run (for run read ‘gentle jog’)!

I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog and will happily respond to comments.

My favourite things

The kind of things that I like are: Christmas, winter, home, log-fires, the hubster, the kids, the grandkids (with a passion), writing, reading, listening (to Radio 4, to audio books, to people), Paul Simon, James Taylor, Harry Nilsson, Christopher Cross, Andy Williams, Neil Sedaka,  Barbra Streisand, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Gerry Rafferty,  oh and Harry Potter, Dustin Hoffmann, Alan Rickman, (sigh)… walking, cooking, my friends, making things – anything, red wine, gin and tonic… are you getting the picture?

Still Running!

No, I can’t quite believe it either and now, on the eve of W4R2 (Week 4 run 2 Couch to 5K) https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/ I am running for five minutes at a time. Who would have thought it?

Yes, I have completed run 1 for Week 4 but it was hard.  There is an online community of Cto5kers AND there is a sub group for the over 60 Cto5kers. https://healthunlocked.com/couchto5k/posts/ I have learnt from them that it can be done and that they too were full of self-doubt and even ‘scared’ at the sprospect of running for five full minutes.  It doesn’t sound very long but my legs and lungs think otherwise but it really is mind over matter.  I have found someone in this group, who is a lot like me but just one week ahead of me on the Cto5K.  I am in awe of ‘RunForest’ as he/she is known.

I have mapped out all the runs in my diary, juggling run days with grandparenting duties and other commitments.  There can be no excuse, I will do this. I make sure there is a day between each run day, as very strongly recommended by the running community.

My running is, I think, very slow and I will probably need to pick up the pace a bit in order to complete 5K.   But that is not my only goal.  I want to be fit (and it would be nice if a byproduct of that was the loss of some weight) and be healthy and I want to be able to run 5K with my daughter (who has run half-marathons) and my eight year old granddaughter.  Wouldn’t that be something?

I am sure my legs can do it, I am sure my lungs can cope – it’s my brain that finds it difficult, my mindset.  I am, as my mother would have said ‘my own worst enemy’.  I could easily sabotage myself, I know that.  I am wondering if there are some tips of a psychological nature that might provide the key to this, if there are then please let me know what they are.

It isn’t an effort to get up and put my trainers on and go out and do this – well, I have done it twelve times already and clearly there is an improvement: Week 1 was one-minute runs and now it’s five-minute runs, so there must be.  I suppose I am looking for some physical evidence that will convince me that this is all worthwhile.

Me and the Chesterfield Canal towpath

I do get to see the early mornings that this wonderful summer is providing for us and the countryside where I live.

Keep on running then yeah?

Week 2 is in the bag! #W2Cto5K

I have to say that I never expected to be looking forward to W3Cto5K (week 3 Couch to 5K) but I am! https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/

I know it is still early days and there is still a long way to go. Last week I was listening to the coach on my Cto5K app and silently screaming at her to make it stop, however this morning I realised that I wasn’t. I don’t think I can quite call myself a runner as yet.

The early morning start helps, although 8.30am is not that early to some but it isn’t too hot and there aren’t that many people about and it’s early enough for me.  It leaves me feeling energised (and righteous) for the rest of the day and positive and wanting to run again… but that’s not allowed.

Chesterfield Canal

I am very fortunate to have the Chesterfield Canal http://www.chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk/ right on my doorstep, it is a very picturesque waterway.  In fact, this morning the dredger was gently chugging along scooping up the algae a very tranquil scene.  Views across the North Nottinghamshire countryside are very uplifting and at this time of the year (without wishing to sound poetic) it is ‘golden’. This is definitely not your pavement pounding route and I expect, come the autumn, I might have a different, muddier tale to tell.

Chesterfield Canal, Wiseton

It is possible that I can step up the pace a little without breaking the rule of: ‘do not run every day’. At present I am working on 3 runs per week but if I run every other day that will make it 3/4 per week won’t it?  Which might help me to maintain the momentum. Worth a punt I reckon.

As you can probably tell, I am feeling very positive – probably because I haven’t come a cropper as yet and probably because I am doing exactly as Sarah Millican (Cto5K coach) says. If she says ‘Off you go!’ Then that’s what I do. I am impressed with the programme devised by the NHS… so far. Long may it continue.

I will see you back here this time next week to let you know how it feels to be looking at Week 4!

Today, I ran! #thisgirlcan #thisoldgirlcan

I really can’t say how this happened.  Could it have been the football (yawn)?  The tennis?  Or just a general feeling of  ‘I have to do something about this weighty issue that is surrounding me.’  Whatever it is, something has made me think that if I could run fifteen years ago and really not that much has changed, then surely I can run now… can’t I?  Obviously, I need to look into this properly.

Trainers on

I had heard about the NHS ‘Couch to 5K’ scheme.  Hmmm 5K roughly 3 miles, right?  Surely I can do that.  I am carrying extra weight, I am 64 (and a bit) and I haven’t done any form of exercise for a very long time so let’s get this into perspective.  My research found a website https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/ and an app ‘Couch to 5K’ – I read the reviews, all very positive.  Surely 25k downloads can’t be wrong.

Well, no time like the present.  I need to check that the old kit fits, (if I can find it and I can always borrow one of the hubster’s big tees if not) and get everything ready the night before I can do an early morning run – before it gets too hot.  There’s no way I can stay the course if I try to run in this 30oC but a pleasant 16/17oC should be OK. That’s it then, app downloaded, old work-out gear prepared, socks and trainers all in place, hat for shade and disguise, ear pods at the ready.  There really is no excuse.  I live right by a canal tow path, a bit tussocky but only dog-walkers will see me, the views are tranquil and calming and it’s only butterflies that get in the way.

Across the fields

Sarah Millican http://sarahmillican.co.uk/ (my coach of preference) instructed me to prepare by doing a 5 minute brisk walk.  I can do that.  Well at least, that’s what these trainers know how to do. Followed by a one minute gentle-jog-run-keep-it-slow.  One minute right?  That’s only 60 seconds, I can do anything for 60 seconds.  The brisk walk went well.  Ready, steady, go!  One minute’s gentle run.  I’d did it and I did 7 more too, interspersed with 90 second recovery walks, ending with a 5 minute cool down walk.  I did it!  I can’t quite believe it but I did it.  One run in the bag and it’s recommended that I do 3 of these per week.  

View from the bridge

But… I am already thinking ahead and looking at the possible obstacles.  If I do keep this up, and there is no reason why I shouldn’t, what happens when it is not a golden morning and the tussocks have turned to mud?  Are there special trainers for that? What will I notice first from this exercise? What are the benefits? I want to become addicted to it, just like I was addicted to aerobics twenty years ago.  And as the old adage says ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it!’  What words of encouragement and what advice have you got for me?

By the tow path

Oh, I forgot to mention, I am keeping this quiet as I don’t want to set my self up to fail 😉

 

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Why is Nordic Walking so Good for You?

An image Nordic Walkers wrapped up in winter gear, heading out for a walk

Find out why Nordic Walking is so good for you!

I read an article about British Nordic Walking https://britishnordicwalking.org.uk/ It was exactly the inspiration I needed to hunt out my poles and reintroduce myself to the joys of this unique form of exercise.

An image Nordic Walkers wrapped up in winter gear, heading out for a walk
A group of enthusiastic Nordic Walkers striding out into the countryside

There is a group somewhere near you

A group meets at Clumber Park not far from where I live https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/clumber-park every Friday morning.  An induction period is available for newcomers and poles can be hired for just £1, prior to the main event which is £5.  Fully-qualified British Nordic Walking instructors lead the group.

Nordic Walking poles with spikes tucked away and the hand loops can be clearly seen here with their velcro straps
Nordic Walking poles with spikes tucked away and the hand loops can be clearly seen here with their velcro straps

So what is Nordic Walking?

Nordic Walking uses specially designed poles to enhance the walking experience. Using a technique that is similar to the upper body action of classic, cross-country skiing, Nordic Walking becomes a genuine, whole-body exercise that can be enjoyed at many levels, from walking for health to athletic Nordic running!

An image of a group of cheerful, Nordic Walkers taking a break
An opportunity to make new friends

What are the benefits of Nordic Walking?

Nordic Walking combines the simplicity and accessibility of walking with simultaneous core and upper body conditioning, similar to Nordic skiing.  The result is a full-body workout, which means:

•46% more calories burned, compared to walking without poles

•less tension in the neck and shoulders

•posture and gait is improved

•back and abdominal muscles are strengthened

•the impact on joints is reduced

And most importantly…

… because Nordic Walking doesn’t feel like hard work you’ll be happy to walk further and for longer.

A view across the lake at Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire, England
Clumber Park, a picturesque and tranquil place to practice Nordic walking 
Clumber Park, National Trust, Nottinghamshire England
Clumber Park, National Trust, Nottinghamshire England
Woodland walks at Clumber Park, National Trust, North Nottinghamshire, England
Woodland walks at Clumber Park, National Trust, North Nottinghamshire, England

Finish with a stretch

A fifty minute walk through the woods later and we were back to where we started for a ‘stretch’.

A view of Clumber Park, chapel from acrosss the lake
A view of Clumber Park, chapel from acrosss the lake

It’s not all about the exercise

But it’s not all about the exercise, there’s the fresh air too and who doesn’t love trees?  And it’s also an opportunity to meet like-minded people. What more could you want?

The picturesque lake at Clumber Park, North Nottinghamshire, England
The picturesque lake at Clumber Park, North Nottinghamshire, England

You never know, it might be just what you are looking for

Find a session nearby to discover just how good Nordic Walking is for you.