I’ve returned to running on Sundays which is great! Last week my trainer asked me to run for 20 minutes and see how I performed. The weather was gorgeous, very cold and crisp with a heavy frost covering the trees and grass. A winter wonderland. Like many people running also gives me thinking space and last sunday was the last day I was 49. As I ran I started to contemplate the last 10/11 years.
My marriage broke up on my 39th birthday (he was always insensitive), leaving me with two great children but a very limited social life. I needed to lose weight so I bought cheap trainers and went to the local authority leisure centre to do aerobics. The classes were good and I soon lost a stone but also gained the unexpected pleasure of making some new friends. We used to chat whilst we waited to go into class and then support each other through the class. I remember lots of fun and laughter which encouraged me to go to class on a regular basis.
At some point I decided to try something new so I joined a local health club. The clientele were less friendly but one of their trainers introduced me to kettlebells and suggested joining a local spit and sawdust gym which had just opened. This was a great move as everyone was very friendly, even the gold toothed MMA fighters stopped to talk about my unusual approach to working with weights (kettlebells were very new in the UK at this time). I also started to log my workouts online. Back then kettlebells only had a limited following on social networking sites so I joined kettlebell inc, a small, very active, American forum run by a woman so I felt comfortable logging workouts with lower weights. Now I had online friends too.
I got used to working on my own and still enjoy working on at my own pace and doing my own thing, but there were other times when I missed the camaraderie of group exercise.The dark humour and the mutual support. So when I found group kettlebell sessions and bootcamps at a small semi-private gym I was overjoyed.
The owner understands the need to create a sense of community. He uses a mixture of healthy competition and team work to bring people together . He encourages yearly challenges so you feel part of a community not just another exercise class.When I passed the RKC everyone celebrated with me. I’ve been away and come back and the welcome has been fantastic, I’m looking forward to our belated Christmas meal next week.
The online kettlebell community is now bigger and busier. I have great friends from all over the world on both Twitter and Facebook. The shared interest bringing us together.
As I jog round the lake other runners and walkers smile and wave. Ten years on my life has improved beyond recognition. My children are still wonderful, but I now have a new partner, many friends and a great social life. I’m moving into my 50th year healthier in both mind and body. By the way, I ran nearly 4 miles and am pleased with this because I have not run since August- ten years ago running that distance was unimaginable!