Given that Scarlet Wilson was talking about my Thighs of Steel earlier in the week, I thought I ought to maybe explain how it all happened 🙂
I think I’ve mentioned here before about the Kate Unlardy project. Basically, I’m trying to get myself fit and back down to a normal weight before menopause hits and it gets even harder to lose weight. I already ate reasonably sensibly, but fitting in some exercise was – well… There was always something else to do that seemed more important.
And then three of my friends died in very quick succession. All in their 50s. And I realised it was about time I started looking after myself and MAKING the time to do some exercise.
So, just over a year ago, I joined the gym. It’s right next to school, so I have no excuses – I drop the kids off and then go straight to the gym. (It helps that I’m a morning person!) And my membership package includes personal training sessions, so scheduling those into my diary helped me get into the habit of doing exercise.
If anyone had told me before I started how much I’d enjoy it, I would’ve laughed it off. I’m the nerdy, clumsy one who was always picked last for sports teams at school. Even my husband has been known to say, ‘There are people who can play racquet sports – and there’s you.’ I am NOT good at this sort of stuff.
But I took the first step – I walked through the door. And I started small, with a couple of minutes on the stair treadmill (stepper) and doing exercises with 1.5-kg dumb-bells. I had a trainer with me to make sure my form was right when I did the exercises, and to encourage me when I was flagging.
And each week I got fitter. Each week I discovered I could lift a little more weight, or spend a little longer on the cross-trainer, or go a little faster on the treadmill. And I’ve also discovered that I really love compound moves in weight training, aka how I got the Thighs of Steel. It was such a thrill to do my first deadlifts with the Olympic bar (72.5 kg is my current personal best, and you bet I’m boasting about it!). And I like doing squats and lunges and shoulder-presses. Who’d have thought it?
The weight loss is painfully slow, but it’s getting there, and baby steps plus persistence means that I’m going to meet my goal (even if it’s not quite as quickly as I’d like). And I think that’s true of anything in life – you just have to keep going for your goal, and if you have to take little steps then that’s OK because it’s actually taking the steps that’s the important thing. My GP tells me that the work I’ve put in means that I’ve staved off diabetes; and my breast cancer consultant (no, I don’t have it, but my mum died of it very young so they’re keeping an eye on me) says I’m doing exactly the right thing to help keep that at bay, too.
As of this week, I have a new goal. You know I mentioned my three friends who died unexpectedly? One of them was our lovely Maggie Kingsley, who was taken by cancer. And I have another friend who’s nearing the end of her battle with cancer. I knew this was coming, but I’d tried not to think about it. And then I had the news from her, last weekend, that her health was deteriorating. That afternoon, I was glancing through the local paper when I saw an ad for the Twilight Race for Life, raising funds for cancer research. It’s 5k. And it’s in three weeks’ time – just before my mum’s birthday. So basically it had my name written on it.
Now, I’m not a runner. I can do one-minute intervals on the treadmill, but 15 minutes on the treadmill twice a week on my cardio days (before I escape to the cross trainer or stair treadmill) doesn’t get me anywhere near 5k. But I’m going to do the Twilight Race for Life despite the fact that I can’t run and I don’t have enough time to train properly (the Couch to 5k program takes 6 weeks!), and my 12-year-old daughter is going to do it with me. (We’ll be part-walking, part-running, but we’ll run as much as we can.)
Several of my wonderful fellow Medical authors have sponsored me, and I’m very grateful for their support – as well as the support of my fellow authors from other Harlequin lines, the M&B editors, and the very kind readers who picked up the link on my blog or Facebook to my sponsorship page on http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/katehardyauthor
I’m not asking for huge sums, because I know there’s a recession on and money is tight. (It’s what I mean about taking baby steps to make a difference – a little bit at a time adds up.) If you’d like to sponsor me for the price of a cup of coffee, that would be wonderful and much appreciated. And if you’d rather not or can’t afford it, then please just cheer us on and wish us speed on 18 October 🙂 Oh, and there will be photographs, so you can see the red face that goes with thighs of steel!