Mind&Body 10K Nordic Walking Grasmere Gallop experience πŸ’•

Starting line

I have been taking part of Nordic Walking Grasmere since 2014 except 2017 pregnancy year.

Every year has different challenges, hopes, personal drives.
First year I kind of poped in for the race, took my favourite suspension poles (not ideal for race walking) I just feel in love with and went with the flow. Throughly enjoyed that whole experience and although I was reasonably fit it was a tough challenge.
Year after I was more of a experienced Nordic Walker and had the fittest appearance I have ever had, I was heavily focused on nutrition at that time and thoroughly enjoyed my personal victory.
Year after, again another story, I have entered competition to check, that regardless of few changes I needed to apply to my rigid fitness routine, I still wanted to see if I am strong and fit (silly I know)
Year after I had a break as 6 weeks pregnant and I didn’t dare to put any risk on my miracle baby.
Year after, 5 months postpartum, my feet started to itch to have a go again and see if I could still do it. Finished with my personal best, happily came back home to my little boy, share my trophy with him. I was happy with the results but it was a lot to take on for a breastfeeding, sleep deprived mum. I felt exhausted for few days and made a decision that it was my last competition as I don’t need to check my fitness and prove anything to myself anymore.

I felt content and comfortable with myself and my fitness and that was it.
Well this year…

May month have started and some of local Nordic Walkers began to plan their Grasmere Gallop, I was debating if I am going to have a go this year. I couldn’t really make my mind. I just felt I didn’t want to push myself to that extreme and couldn’t also do it just as a stroll up hills. I knew if I decide to do it I have to do my best.

I also had an idea that I may do it with my son Alex on my back, but after reece walk I knew that would not be a wise choice. Carrying 2 stone of baby weight on my back in the middle of going competition would be just stupid.

So it felt like I was not going to have a go this year.

I follow our local Facebook group Lytham Mummies, who is supporting our local charity The Edward Dee Fund this year.
It is a charity who raise awareness about Managitis and Sepsis.

Few links were shared on to the group throughout this year and one day I just went on the website of the charity which somehow link me with the personal blog of Liz Dee – mum of Edward who is a boy behind The Edward Dee Fund.
Edward s story really touched me at the level I never felt before. As a mum myself I felt so deeply for Edward family. After reading post about mother love, I couldn’t stop thinking about Edward story and felt I would like to help to raise awareness and spread the word.
I met Edward’s family while taking part in Lytham mummies Big Bake off. Since then I had a chance to see Edward s mum few times, had a casual chats, we talked a lot about Edward, had a laugh about life stories, I throughly enjoyed our happy chats about Edward.

One day while walking back from work I came up with a wonderful idea. I could race Grasmere Gallop for Edward! If I could raise some money, some awareness, while doing what I enjoy doing that would be great.
Edward s mum described him as a very active boy who absolutely loved any competition going on, so he would have enjoyed taking part in a race like this.
After initial chat with Edward s mum, decision has been made πŸ’• I was taking part in Nordic Walk Grasmere Gallop for the Edward Dee Charity, first ever charity race.
I set up fundraising page and I had 9 days to get my focus for the competition.
Although I love Nordic Walking, I hardly ever walk with poles for my own pleasure or training, apart form short walks to work. I do deliver some Nordic Walks sessions on regural basis too and  rest of my walking always include pushing my son pram with one hand and swinging my other arm with my prox walker resistance tool. So they were my only occasions I could prepare myself for the race.

I purposely used poles with build suspension in, I choose to walk with the heaviest suspension of 10kg, so I needed to use more energy to go fast. Other part of training was speed pram walking for 1km a day and that’s it. My way of smart training.
I do believe when you are a mum to a young child, you do need to spread your energy wisely. I don’t train to exhaustion, don’t do very high intensity training neither. In these days I like moderation, slightly elevated heart rate is just enough to energise me.
My moderation in exercise paid off while being pregnant. I just focused on the movement and had 9 positive and energetic months with hardly any extra weight carried over, after Alex was born.
Of course when you in a race you have to push it to the limits to do your best time. I wouldn’t do it for myself anymore but I happily did it for Charity, for Edward, for his family.
When you are a Nordic Walker you often don’t realise how fit you really are, walking with poles activities 90% of your muscles, every time you train the whole body. So you serve yourself very functional training.
On the day of competition my mind was completely focused, my body was rested and nourish and I was ready to go.
Starting line is always a hard part because you really setting yourself a pace you want to go with, you don’t want to use all of your energy at once but in the same time you want to make sure you have a fair speed.
Beginning is very tough, after about 1km, you start to feel your shins burning, very unpleasant feeling and if you are planning to go for your best and win, knowing you have a strong competitors, you do need to be very fast.
Normally I would always feel a bit anxious at this stage, like before exams type of feeling but this time I felt different, completely different.
We all heard final sign to start competition and over 700 people started to race. It is always few competition going in the same time: 5km run, 10km run, 17km run and 10km Nordic so it is rather crowded on the starting line.
So off we went…I just get my focus again, don t look back, focus on what it is in front of you, think why are you doing this… I quitly whispered to myself.. ‘Lets do this Edward’!!!!
Yes I am actually here for the charity, for Edward, for raising awareness, spreading the words, telling his story, I am also here because as a mum I deeply feel for Edward s mum and strongly sympathise with her and if any of this action may make her feel good, bring a smile on her face why not?!
When I was young my mum always said to me treat people like you would like to be treated by them and that’s stayed with me for life, for my professional life too.
So I think that every time I do something.
Losing a child is hard to imagine to anyone who not experienced such a lost I think. I can only assume that talking about that child, bringing memories back, sharing them with others may bring smile back, maybe slightly soothe that deep sadness of lose, maybe…
We have chat about Edward on few occasions and I must say some stories really made me laugh. Knowing few life stories help me picture this young boy and make me focus on the race even more.
Few minutes after start I was overtaken by young runners who took a part in 5km run. Some of them with parents, some alone, they were about 9-12 years old.

I look at them and think to myself they are at Edward s age so my focus was drifting away, thinking what a shame this young boy can’t not do competitions anymore. I was also aware I need to get my focus, so I just thought what his mum said once to me as he would love to do it if he could… so I am doing this for him which instantly made me feel better and strongly focused.

I put thinking on the side at that stage and I started to gear up for a speed πŸ’ͺ

A big smile appeared on my face and I was ready to give it a go and then in that moment in time I expiranced a massive shiver starting from the neck and going down to my back and arms. Like a kind of power. I have never felt anything like it before.

So I kind of question myself is this that help from the heaven I was hoping for?!πŸ™‚

Well I am happily taking it and with ever bigger smile I kept going.

First kilometer up hill was tough as always but this time, surprisingly I didn’t feel my shins as bad as every year. I felt the burn but it was completely manageable for my head to not to think ‘I give up!’, ‘I can’t do this?’ I know it was no way I would give up.

I was going for my best shot. It was quite a cool day but I felt very hot whilst going up hills with the close to maximum speed.

First stop for drinks, I didn’t stop, just got the drink from Marshal and splashed over my face to cool me down. Luckily it started to rain, a nice cooling drizzle really, oh it was so good, thank for that. Edwards mum said that he loved the rain. Thanks for that drizzle Edward πŸ’• we needed it.
Another and another kilometres are passing, I was starting to feel that all my muscles were very warmed up I was in my zone of feeling strong and comfortable but I was also aware of my competitors so I consciously thought to keep my speed close to maximum. Going down became like a bit of rest, but in the same time it was quite tricky as the speed was increasing even more. I needed to think about my knees, not to put to much pressure, luckily I had my stixskin cheetah poles, they supported me while going down hill with slight squad position (oh yes buttocks on fire even more)

As I carried on race walking I was noticing that one of my shoe lace was loosened. I made double knots but second knot went completely so I was being left with one knot, with a big loop, hanging on the outside of my right shoe and with every step, I was planting my right pole pretty close to it!! It would be a complete disaster if I needed to stop to sort my shoe out in the middle of the race. Time wise we are talking approx 1,5 – 2 minutes time. I couldn’t afford that so I kept going and looking on my right shoe and right pole, hoping I won’t plant it in the shoe lace loop!

What happens next, it was just a miracle. That big hanging shoe lace loop attached it self over a shoe tongue so tightly that it’s stay there for the rest of the race and allowed me to get the full focus back.

I couldn t explain how did that happen? Coincident? Hmm I doubt it.

I think it was a help from heaven for me to not to lose on time, I really do!
10 kilometres walk takes some time to do it. It quite a bit of time to be with your own mind, and conversation with yourself. As I went along I had time to reflect on life in general.

I was hot and sweaty, felt my heart rate being so high, I felt so alive, as part of element. I felt grateful of having my little family, of being healthy ,of having strong body that allow my mind to do anything it wish really. I felt I want to appreciate the gift of life. I thought about young boy and his family who tragically experienced how fragile life can be. I thought of great mother love which is bigger then anything else in the world. I thought of Edward mum and her enormous energy to be able to carry on, to be able to create this so meaningful The Edward Dee Charity, and stay so active by organising so many fantastic events, to keep Edward as alive as she can. I think it’s truly beautiful, truly inspiring. I felt grateful I could give that small contribution to help to keep Edward’s spirit alive.

Well his spirit was with me all the way through Grasmere hills, it’s no doubt about itπŸ’•
I am finishing my Nordic Walking race with a big smile on my face, beating my personal best by over a minute, First Female category, and second person overall in the whole Nordic Walking competition!

I have never done so well before in any walk race. Help from heaven was very much appreciated πŸ’•


Grasmere Gallop 2019 #forEdward

Link into my fundraising page

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