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The Change Designs Blog is a collection of insights, personal stories and real life experiences from people working in organizations. In this blog you will find real life stories depicting magical experiences and struggles, where the truth is richer, stranger and more practical than any theory or model. If you've ever wanted to read the diary of a leader, strategist, change agent, consultant, facilitator or a coach, or you are grappling with problems at work, then you will enjoy reading this practical blog.

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Barefoot running week 10. Life gets in the way.

Ruth Tearle - Friday, May 18, 2012

It is much more difficult to start again or to get back on track, than it is to continue. I haven't run for 3 weeks. I hate to admit this in a blog, after my no excuses campaign. But sometimes life gets in the way.

When I hurt my knee again, I swapped my running with knee friendly cycling and rowing. Then, being too weary, I stopped going to gym at all. My priority changed to dealing with the bubbling in my head, and the constant dizziness. My usual strategies of dealing with high blood pressure - exercise, rest and massage were no longer working. My doctor was kind. "Going onto medication is not admitting defeat" He said. "It's about accepting that this is what you now need to do." Another change I have to go through. One I don't like at all.

He added. "Keep exercising, but back off when you need to." Giving someone who battles with her willpower an excuse to back off is not always a good idea. But I take it to mean that sometimes its okay to have an excuse. Its about learning to separate the psychological excuses from the physical ones. I feel weary all the time. I decide not to do any exercise at all on Monday.

Tuesday 15th May 2012

Today, I feel better. I head off to the gym. I wonder if I will be able to do even half of what I did 3 weeks ago. I know how quickly I lose my fitness now, when I don't exercise for a while. I wonder if I should set the treadmill for 20 minutes or for 10? I wonder if I can run in the same way I did before I stopped 3 weeks ago or if I should start again at one minute running one minute walking.

I struggle to pull my toes apart and get them into my running shoes. This never becomes easier. I get onto the treadmill. Even the first minute of walking feels impossible. I begin running. I am sweating. I am heaving. But just before my chest explodes, I look at the time. I have run 2 and a half minutes. I am back where I was before I stopped. I begin chatting to the woman next to me on the treadmill. Before I know it, I've done my full 20 minutes. Alternating between 2 and a half minutes running and 1 minute walking.

My running now feels like an old comfortable friend.

I feel fantastic. After five minutes of running I feel the tension inside of me snapping. As I get off the treadmill, I am enveloped in a sensation of calm.

Wednesday 16th May

The calm feeling lasts. My blood pressure is down. I wonder if it is the running or the blood pressure pills or both. I now love running. I am no longer worried about achieving my goal, I can simply enjoy the journey.

Thursday 17th May

This seems to be the week of life getting in the way. I feel weary. My nose is streaming. Just when I actually want to run, and I feel the benefits of running, I get flu. Time to back off again!

It seems to me that running, and becoming fit is like achieving any change or goal. Success is a journey that begins with a phase of motivating oneself to try something new. We battle with resistance. Then we have to get the will power to persevere long enough to create a habit. In addition, life constantly gets in the way - pushing us off track, and distracting us from our goal. We have to learn when its right to back off and when we need to push ourselves. And whenever we have the right space, we need to remember to get back on track.

Time to rest this week. I wonder what next week will bring.



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