I love the great outdoors for so many reasons. Being out in the wild, windy and wet wonderfulness that is the Scottish countryside makes me feel alive. It’s good for the soul. I feel inspired. I feel connected to nature. And depending on my activity it gets my heart racing and my adrenaline pumping for a super natural high. In short, it feels amazing!
I also love the great outdoors because outdoor activities got me from fat to fit.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing lots of ideas for getting and staying fit in the great outdoors. Not just with the Sunday Brunch Club (the social and activities network I founded) but through lots of other groups in Edinburgh and beyond.
This blogpost is the story of how I went from couch potato to fitness fan.
My moment of truth came in January 2009 during the Shopping Trip from Hell when I was buying a new pair of ski trousers for SBC SKI 2009. To my horror none of the size 16s fitted and that was the largest size. I had thought it was my size. The sales assistant advised that “big ladies usually buy mens”. It’s an understatement to say that my mood was not good. The lovely Mr Mac had to give a lot of reassurance as I modelled Tisos men’s ski trouser collection! Determined never to repeat the experience I promised myself to take action on our return.
So when my friend Jim announced that he was going to do the Hearts & Heroes Challenge – a 29 mile walk along the Southern Upland Way on 13 May 2009 – I jumped at the chance to join him. I didn’t like hillwalking, couldn’t understand why people seemed to get so excited about it but I thought it would be a good way to get fit painlessly. And with my size 16s groaning under the pressure immediate measures were needed.
Along with fellow Sunday Brunch Club members Jim, Rhoda, John, Ian, Pete and I started training. In the snow.
The first training session was fun but tough for me but as time went on I found myself enjoying the hillwalks and looking forward to our trips out. At the end of my first 12 mile walk with Mr Mac our legs ached for days but we saw improvements really quickly and my endurance and speed improved.
It felt amazing to cross the finish line after 29 miles. And thanks to Maureen and and Jane (not pictured) who provided excellent support for us on the Challenge. We couldn’t have done it without you!
I still go hillwalking right through the year and get on as many of the SBC hillwalks as I can. A huge thank you to our marvellous team of Hillwalk Leaders, Robin Davidson, Bill McWilliam, Ian Filby, Jim Hiddleston. In coming weeks I’ll be talking about other hillwalking groups and rescources if you have ideas you’d like me to include please put them in the comments box below
I was having such fun with walking and enjoying my newfound fitness that I decided to take my bike out of hibernation and sign up for Pedal for Scotland, the 51 mile bike ride in September 2009 with friends Stuart and Alan. I was a bit worried about keeping up with the superfit Mackenzie brothers but I managed to keep up a good pace.
It went so well that I decided up to do a bike ride around Arran with Graham and the guys from Arran Cycle. Stuart and Alan evidently not put off, came with me again. They managed admirably but… Oh. My. Goodness. That ride nearly killed me! I discovered that a) Arran is very hilly and b) the other guys were very fast. It felt good on the ferry home knowing I had done it – 56 very hilly miles. If you know Arran you’ll know the killer after-lunch climb up from Lochranza…
Undettered I then joined a few rides with Edinburgh CTC a group I found on this great resource for Group Rides in Edinburgh. And of course I went all our Sunday Brunch Club monthly bike rides. You can see some recent bike ride pictures on facebook. I went mountain biking and absolutely loved it. My most recent highlight was Pedal for Scotland 2010 last month when I completed the 100 mile Sportive pictures on facebook here
I’m a total convert to cycling and now and regularly use my bike to get around town as well as enjoying long rides. In future posts I’ll be giving more information on biking resources and my favourite bike shops, groups and more. If you have ideas you’d like me to include please put them in the comments box below.
I started running. It’s been a love-hate relationship! I love being able to see my fitness progress. So excited to improve my 5k time from 34 mins to a personal best of 25 mins.
I’ve just started again for Winter and have signed up for the BHF Winter Warmer 5K to help keep the focus. It’ll be a fun event. Are you doing it? Do you want to do it? Let me know in the comments box below.
Every Saturday at 10.30am we do a run around Arthur’s Seat. It’s a beautiful run and all Sunday Brunch Club members are welcome to join us. In coming weeks I’ll be talking about other running groups and rescources if you have ideas you’d like me to include please put them in the comments box below
Fit for Fun
I have had so much fun with getting and staying active that I’ve boosted SBC’s Outdoor and Sports programmes so that all our members now have more options to get or stay fit while having a great time. These include
- outdoor fitness with Aileen Rankin
- bike rides
- rollerblading with Try Skating
And yes, now that I’m two stones lighter, I can buy my ski trousers in the ladies section. Buying them this year was a pleasure. And of course it’s great to feel good in Party Girl dresses.
But the best thing is the whole new world of activity that’s opened up my life in exciting and unexpected ways.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Please leave a comment in the box below
Do you know of a great fitness resource I can include in future blogs?
What fitness achievements are you most proud of?
What are your fitness goals for 2011?
Do you have your own fat to fit story to tell?