Yes that’s my introduction line when I begin a motivational speech to explain why I dress as a Duck. I am also usually wearing my Duck suit. So the reference to my sanity is imperative before some one shouts out for the straight-jacket!
I do my talks to a variety of people – school children, international police officers, Fibromyalgia sufferers, dancers, teachers, pensioners, active service men and women, disabled people. My talk is often a digression from the main theme of motivating oneself to do something out of your comfort zone. To focus on achieving anything. To be a true and honest character passionate about what you believe in.
Seven years ago I was very overweight. My children were at primary school and taking part in horse riding, dancing plus a variety of after school sport activities. I would watch them, jealously. Watch them as they energetically bounced, ran, jumped everywhere with huge amounts of energy and massive smile! Why was I jealous, as they are just being children? It’s because I didn’t have that energy, or zest for life.
Before being parents, my husband I would spend many weekends away with friends kayaking, mountain biking and living a fantastic energetic life. We were quite self indulgent in just enjoying ourselves. We didn’t save money just lived for the moment having fun. Why did it all stop and change?
It does take a lot of energy and money to raise children so our priorities changed. I couldn’t and wouldn’t work full time so money wasn’t as free flowing as it used to be. Plus, whilst pregnant I didn’t keep up the kayaking and mountain biking, just the eating and slothing. I was also still quite a selfish person only doing things for my family and I. I had only time for my family and me. We were a unit and I closed my mind to everything else.
During my first pregnancy I was signed off work early with preclampsia. I had to stay calm and inactive, well that was my understanding of the doctor’s advice. I took it quite literally for the next seven years though!
On my 39th birthday I thought “Oh my! I am going to be fat and forty on my next birthday”! So with that, I gave up smoking and slothing and got active! In that year I lost nearly seven stone through sensible eating and walking. That was a vanity deed. I didn’t want to look fat and forty! At least I had the choice to change something.
With the new fit body came a confidence that I could actually do something to benefit others with a challenge and fund raising event. Goodness! How selfless of me! I signed up for the breast cancer walk, the MoonWalk. I now had the pressure of continuing with my walking for fitness and weight loss to raise money for a good cause. Ok, so there was an ulterior motive to do something good for others, as it meant I had to keep up the hard work of training and lifestyle or I would look stupid amongst friends and family if I couldn’t take part in the event.
In May 2007 I did my first Moonwalk “marathon, as it was 26.2 miles, in my decorated bra, at midnight around London in just over eight hours. Hmm.. I had been training hard for a much faster time. So I signed up again for the following year! In 2008 I did it in just under seven hours! But I knew I could do it faster! So, in 2009 I did it in five hours! Still a selfish attitude to have, to want to do the same event to get better at it, not just raise more money or awareness.
And so I began my love-hate relationship with myself to find harder challenges to train for, plus raise money and awareness for a different charity. When I took stock of what I had just realised and understand that my fund raising was going to have an impact on others then I knew how lucky I was to be healthy and to have the choice to continue to stay fit and healthy. I had a “gift” or “tool” that could be used for others! My mindset and attitude could help those less fortunate. The mindset and focus would help my body train to get fitter, so I could continue helping others. I don’t have the brain to help in eloquent speeches or being in the medical profession, just the brawn, the body power and legs to do the work and shout the message.
I am not a natural born athlete. I have to constantly train and watch what I eat. I had a sloth year from the middle of 2009. I had continued with my love of walking and pursued my favourite past time of wild-camping, backpacking and endurance walks, all for pure selfish pleasure. I got large again, as I didn’t have to worry about my food, as I wasn’t in training for an event! But to be honest, I hadn’t been inspired for anything. I was a bit bored of just walking, and I certainly didn’t want to do running! Oh no, that would kill my knees and humour! Also, I wanted to help so many charities; how do you choose one and be driven with passion for the cause! I hadn’t really been affected by anything, despite losing a Grandmother to cancer, have a sister suffer with Crohns, a Mother who had angina.. how selfish of me! I wasn’t affected by anything, but they were! Why couldn’t I get passionate about what had affected their lives?
In January 2010 I went to a talk about the Polar Challenge with a friend. We were both smitten by the very idea of taking part in an extreme event that was pitched as being quite achievable, with training, by ordinary people, like us. We chose our charities based on what had been a significant impact on our lives – Help for Heroes, Fibroduck for Fibromyalgia, Marie Curie for cancer and Brookfields Special Needs school (my work connection).
My life suddenly took on a new meaning in so many ways. I had to really launch myself into my training. With Darren at revive, the gym that was prepared to invest time and membership in my training, I had to push myself mentally and physically. I was driven by the need to be fit for the challenge but also to promote the charities. The focus and inspiration was the motivation and drive.
Sadly there were a few changes to the team and my life in October and I lost my drive and motivation. The challenge also became unachievable, as I couldn’t raise my entry fee of £25,000. Therefore part of my drive to train became lost. But, the faith in me by others, helped me rebuild my resolve, take a new course of direction and focus and so The Rambling Duck was born.
I am just an ordinary Mum, who has to clean, cook, and shop for the family. I have a very demanding job working with special needs children, plus I work some additional hours for free helping friends with their Stage College business. I still find the time and energy to train for a variety of events, as well as promoting the charities I am raising the profile and funds for, as well as encourage other people to take on board a challenge. I am passionate that everywhere should spare some time to help a good cause; dedicate time and energy to something where there is no financial reward just payment in kind for the heart and soul for helping others. I am not financially wealthy but I am extremely rich in good friends, good will and soul which makes me smile, a lot.
I learned a lot about Fibromyalgia last year when I started doing events as Fibroduck. It is my mission to continue fundraising for all those that suffer with Fibromyalgia; for more research and awareness. I can only slightly tap into their daily pain and tiredness by pushing myself through challenging events. But as I get fit and stronger, then I am not in as much discomfort. For a Fibromyalgia sufferer, that pain and tiredness is constant, until the medical world finds a cure or positive relief. Each sufferer is slightly different and should be treated as such, not just as a blanket concern, and fobbed off with symptomatic medication. Treat each person individually and holistically for his or her own pains and experience. Therefore I have chosen to suppot some Fibromyalgia support groups and Fibroduck.
So for 2011 I did a few long distance walks, Quackathons, and from October I will start doing some marathons. My ultimate challenge is the Forces March in May 2012, which is to run 5 marathons in 5 days. I am also hoping to do the Iconic London Marathon. Not bad for someone professes to hate running! That’s what getting passionate about a good cause does to you. When you learn to see the world through the eyes of a person who wants to do good for others, not just yourself. Have a peek at the events page to see all my challenges; and all dressed as Fibroduck!
This is why I am The Rambling Duck. Added bonus is I do get to have fun in my Fibroduck suit and meet all of you.
You can read more about me at www.theramblingduck.com I blog weekly as the Duck’s Ramblings, and I love to quack a lot on twitter and facebook