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Coming back after set back ~ Karen Jones

So, 2020 is here, with all the promise of resolutions that a new year brings. I almost forgot that it wasn’t just a new year but a new decade. Does that add more pressure to make this a more transformational year? Not really, but I am planning on it being a game changer for a number of reasons.

For me, the last decade had a series of very, very unfortunate events. Financial problems, marriage stress, divorce and a big, fat American lawsuit that almost brought me to my knees, literally and figuratively. It was thanks to friends, family and belonging to Kerry’s run groups that I didn’t totally collapse. However, I’ve largely spent the last few years hanging on, rather than thriving – and have picked up a ton of bad habits along the way – eating badly, not getting enough sleep and being wildly inconsistent about exercise. I’ve found that the latent anxiety has lingered.

But a couple of things happened last year that brought unexpected boosts. First, I turned 50, a milestone which has the potential to make you feel rather negative, but I found it to be surprisingly liberating and gave me a bit of an urge to Carpe Diem the F out of life. Second, I was persuaded by a friend to sign up to a marathon, something that was absolutely not on my agenda, but I found myself on a bright sunny November morning in New York City running the biggest marathon in the world.

Thanks to Kerry’s brilliant training plan (which I mostly stuck to), I had the confidence to give it a go and get to that finish line! It wasn’t easy at all, but I was able to complete it in not too shabby a time. Completing 26.2 miles at 50 years old made me realise that I am stronger than I think and it also put a load of old ghosts to rest (I used to live in NYC and we had somewhat fallen out a few years ago). The support and cheers from my run group friends on our WhatsApp chat was just so uplifting! The training schedule taught me to prioritise my exercise and commit to fitting it in around the chaos of single motherhood and self-employment.

After the marathon, I took what was meant to be a very short break, but unfortunately it lasted until early January. I’ve let things slide. The fitness gains have diminished and I’ve regained unwanted weight. Running a short distance now is EXHAUSTING! But I know I can achieve great things, IF I STICK TO THE PLAN, which is the whole challenge of the New Year isn’t it? So some goals and how to stick to them:

Really step up my fitness levels. I’ve signed up to Kerry’s circuits classes and run groups. I know I work harder and push myself more when I’m in the company of others and can absorb that encouragement and challenge that Kerry’s classes provide. I’ve paid in advance so I’m much less likely to flake out. I’m laying out my kit the night before so it’s prioritised in my mind. I’m going to look at some 10K races and a half marathon and want to get PB’s on both. Tempted to try another marathon later in the year and ditto for the PB.

I mostly work from home, so I’m making sure that I build in some time to do some strength and fitness exercises, even if it’s just a 20 minute burst in my living room, remembering the moves from our HIIT circuits class.

Eat well. So far, so good. More plant-based, good protein. Much less booze. Decided against Dry January, but going for a “drink less all year” approach and so far, I’ve only had one glass of wine in the last 16 days, which is remarkable for someone who would easily neck a couple of glasses of wine almost every evening (yep, Bridget Jones, eat your heart out). I’ve given myself a weight-loss goal – mainly because I can’t afford a new wardrobe and I like my clothes that are currently too tight for me. While I’m not obsessing over it, my fitness and nutrition behaviour should help me get there, IF I STICK TO IT.

Sleep! I’m going to bed earlier and finally, after years of horrible sleep, I’m getting more zzzz’s. This is adding a bit more of a skip to my step already.

Work. Level up, get more shit done and grow my business. Frankly, I want to earn more money so I can do more, go on adventures with my kids. Life is too short.

Bumble, Match, Tinder. It’s about time I re-launched myself into this brave new world. I feel I need the armour of a less wobbly belly though, so my fitness and nutrition goals should help me become re-acquainted with an ab or two.

I instinctively know that a regular fitness plan inevitably leads to other healthier habits that in turn will reward me with more energy, more positivity and less anxiety. Two weeks in and so far, so good. The test will be how long this will last…watch this space.


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