Have support around you for motivation and encouragement.

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This is a new experience for me……writing a Blog. And it’s daunting to say the least. I’ll be relying heavily on my partner Glenys (and I think she feels the same way) to remind me to do it; to talk about what it should be about; and to help with the process. This is a HUGE learning curve for both of us, and I have difficulty learning new things!!!

I suppose that a good starting point is for me to tell you about the things that I like. I can sum that up in a few words: exercise, socialising, travelling and spending time with family.

I’m now 63 years old, but I can only say that for a few more days. I was always an active child but life took over and before I knew it, I was in my late thirties when I rediscovered running. Next thing, I was training for marathons. I sometimes trained alone but it seemed to have more purpose and was far more enjoyable when I trained with others. Marathons are tough going and I only did 3, I ‘threw in a triathlon’ along the way, but then started focusing on half marathons (with the ‘pièce de résistance’ being the “Great Wall of China Half Marathon” in 2013, with my running mates) and have also done about 30 charity fun runs (City to Surf, Terry Fox, Bridge to Brisbane, etc)

I found that the best thing to keep me motivated over the years to get up really early (even in the dark of winter) was to do it with friends. On reflection, it’s probably a metaphor for my life now……Have support around you, for motivation and encouragement. I know that isn’t always as easy as it seems for some people, but have a look around you and ask if you can get the support that you need. It made a difference to me then, and it continues today.

The group that I still train with now are a competitive group, but hidden in that, is that they are supportive, as well.

About 5 years ago, they challenged me to start swimming with them, (I must have been overtaking them running 🙂 )  however, I’d always struggled to breath while swimming and avoided it with a passion. They knew this so I think they saw it as an opportunity to show off. But I persevered, took some lessons and mastered it. YES! I became confident in the water and about 3 years ago started water running, with no floatation belt.

I’ve never been much of a walker, however, after my diagnosis, in 2011 Glenys and I walked the Queen Charlotte Walk NZ; the Camino de Santiago, St James’ Way from St Jean Pied de Port in France across the Pyrennes and then across the top of Spain to Santiago de Compostella (825kms); and finished the year walking the Larapinta Trail and continued with a trekking tour of some of Central Australia’s iconic sites alongside my running mates and partners. That’s a lot of kms in one year and maybe as Glenys said, I wanted to move on from where I was in my life to see what I could do. Who knows!?

And then 12 months ago I was a non-cyclist who was confronted with needing to have my driving assessed with an Occupational Therapist and a Driving School Instructor. You can’t know how challenging that was for me! I can still drive short distances with restrictions, but to maintain my independence, Glenys encouraged me to buy a bike so that I could get to my training sessions with my mates.

Before I knew it, I was training for, AND successfully COMPLETED, the Cycle Challenge of a lifetime!!……… A 562 kms fundraiser and awareness ride through Vietnam and Cambodia with Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) and Aurora Adventures.

I’m fortunate that I enjoy exercise and have support in the way of both Glenys and my mates. But there’s a lot of activities that I can’t do.

What was, or is your passion? Is it singing, playing music, dancing, etc etc. I can’t do them unless you want a good belly laugh! Some in my YOD Support Group (for those with Dementia and their Carers) are members of Men’s Shed doing manual work around their community. Perhaps you enjoy social tennis.

Find what works for you and try to get the support to help you become motivated and be encouraged. Please let me know how you go 🙂

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