wow, what a morning!
i am very aware that those of you living in the uk reading this blog will have a lot of your attention this morning on how last night's referendum has panned out, and what happens next, so i am going to keep my blog brief this week.
i did contemplate not writing a blog this week, and sitting down to watch as this piece of uk history unfolded, but feel that this little update really needs to be shared, as i mentioned last week.
six years ago when chloe and i trotted off to africa to attempt to climb mount kilimanjaro our lives were touched by a group of women who were part of a group called welsh women walking, who were a group of women who did what it said on the can, and had just returned from summiting africas highest peak themselves.
we made contact with the group, and looked to them for help and guidance on our forthcoming trip, and they gave it to us in spadeloads.
karen dell'armi was one of the group, and over the years we have become good friends, and she has supported us in many of our events and campaigns.
when karen, which who is by her own definition an overweight girl, told me some months ago that she wanted to lose 8st, i mentioned that she should talk to rory my running coach.
she agreed, and we set up a meeting, and karen bravely agreed to let us video the journey, as i suggested that it would be a fantastic story for people to follow, and hopefully be inspired by, and that she could actually change peoples lives by showing what could be achieved.
i knew this would be a journey of ups and downs, and we set off with some goals that rory had set out.
this included the implementation of cutting out the booze, introducing some healthy eating, and increasing daily activity, mainly by walking an average of 10-15000 steps a day, a simple but effective plan, hopefully.
over a period of a few months i watched as the plan was, or wasn't implemented, and some pretty major life changes for karen impacted on her progress, and after a length of time it transpired that she had actually put weight on, and currently topped out at 22st 7lb, which caused us both consternation.
in the background of this journey i was embarking on my own path which was taking me to morocco to embark on the magnificent race known as the marathon des sables, which brings together a group of crazies, all with various reasons for wishing to run stupid amounts of marathons in a stupid amount of days, in stupid conditions including stupidly hot weather.
as i lay down to sleep on my first night under canvass, i said goodnight to my new tent mates, and the fella in the sleeping bag next to me, who sported long shaggy hair, wore different coloured socks, and intrigued me by his intensity, and the way that he absorbed what was going on and laughed a lot, in a good way.
richard davies, is a great runner, who had prepped for mds very well, arriving before all of us to acclimatise to the moroccan heat, and i liked his style.
over the race, i grew to like all of my tent mates a lot, and the toughness of the gig brought us all together in a way that saw us support each other, especially when any one of our gang had a low ebb, and rich was a really supportive kind guy.
after our desert adventure, we all went our separate ways, but the bond we made on the sand i think will last forever.
as i have talked about here before, once we returned to blighty, the ugly guillane barre syndrome decided to choose our running guru rory to be the victim of it's cruel wrath, and hospital ensued, causing tent 105 to assemble to send supportive messages, and make visits to support him in his nhs bed.
rich contacted rory to let him know he was travelling from bournemouth to come to visit, and we worked a plan out for me to collect him from the train station and run him up to the hospital.
as we entered rory's ward the happiness on the guru's face was there for all to see, these kind of gestures were what the big guy needed, but they weren't as frequent as he needed or deserved.
'hi rich', rory chirped, and we started to wheel him off the ward to get some fresh air in the hospital grounds, but as we checked in courteously with the hospital staff expecting them to give us the green light to steal their patient temporarily, they halted us, as they suggested that britain's most famous mds runner would need to wait for his doctor who was due any second.
we wheeled coach back into his room, and rich and i headed off to the day room, where the seconds turned to minutes, which turned into over an hour while we waited for rory to be seen.
during this time rich and i caught up on each other's worlds, and as he offered me a slice of dry seaweed, it seemed we had some similar directions we were heading for.
i mentioned working with karen, and our project to help her lose her weight, and rich asked if i had seen the documentary 'fat, sick, and nearly dead', which i confirmed i hadn't, and he proceeded to extol the story, and suggested i view it.
less than 24 hours after bidding farewell to rich i had watched the story of how antipodean joe cross had addressed his obesity, and taken a journey of juicing and exercising, which was a powerful and emotional adventure as he discovered how he could both help himself and others he came across as he filmed.
the switch was thrown, this was what karen needed.
i text karen, who had just hit the 22st 7lb mark and was understandably at a rather low ebb, 'watch fat sick and nearly dead' with a childlike innocence, only realising the implications of this text after telling my family the story, luckily karen knows i love her, and would only have sent this text with love attached, even if it might not have been apparent to outsiders.
she watched the doco, and we agreed to meet up to diccuss.
as we chatted about joe's journey, karen said she wanted to give it a try, and we concluded that she needed some closer measurement, and that i would text her daily to see how she was doing, as this might be the impetus she needed.
rich had sent me the book that accompanied the film, and having read it within days, i suggested karen read it and call me me to decide on what plan she wanted to take, as there were plans from 3 days to 60 days, and she concluded a 15 day plan was a great start point for her to get involved.
basically the plan is to reboot your system by literally eating no food, and juicing a mix of fruit and vegetables, and whilst it may sound wacky, have a watch of the show, it's more scientific than that, and it works.
karen did her fifteen days, seeing her weight start to drop, and her energy levels start to rise, and yesterday, day 19 she weighed in at 20st 8lb, just under two stone weight loss, and a very positive karen texting me daily with her progress.
there is a long way to go to get to her desired 8st loss, but i actually think she can do it, and if she can do it, and she changes her lifestyle in a way that never allows herself to yo yo back up again i think it will be amazing.
the reason for sharing this today is to highlight how helping people, and getting stuck in is sometimes what they need, and once the first step of the journey has been taken, the results can be wonderful, and my prediction to karen that she will start to inspire people with her actions and bravery has already started happening, with six people already changing their lives in a positive way directly because of karen, and my dream is that i see karen on a stage somewhere sharing her story to a group of people who are so inspired by her that they decide to change their lives there and then, and i think that power is one that should not be ignored, but harnessed to maximise its potential.
i hope that you feel a warmth towards towards karen, and her action might possibly touch you, but lets not forget this action is a reaction, a reaction to a story that richard davies told me on a chance conversation, but hey, what an impact it is having, so never lose sight of how taking action can affect so many, and on that note i have just heard that david cameron has resigned, so i will bid you farewell this week as i go to listen to how yesterday's action has it's own reaction.
have an amazing weekend, and if you feel so inclined take some form of action in your own world, you never know what the reaction will be, but we'd love to know about it :)
so until next week,
p.s. having fallen in love with running, i may just have found my next adventure, and if i can get it all lined up i may announce it next week here first :)