Who are we?
We are the Waveney Wanderers also known as Shitz n Titz, this is me Titz in the orange top and Shitz is standing in front of a view of the River Waveney, which is part of the 70 mile challenge. We are two friends who met at work and are facing a challenge together but each of us are facing our own personal challenges.
Why a walking challenge?
So it all started Summer 2017, which for me (Titz) was life changing. I lost both of my parents suddenly, Mum died on July 16th and Dad passed away just 30 days later. I have been lucky to have such wonderful parents and now have the memories to cherish. As you can imagine losing Mum and Dad so suddenly and so close together was devastating. Grief affects us all in so many ways and I found I needed to keep busy and refocus my thoughts. It appeared I coped better with my loss by channeling my energy and grief. Yes, I shed a tear, and I do get overwhelmed by sadness but what helps me is to refocus on something that makes me feel better.
So being someone who has always had a weight issue from about the age of 16, my weight has yo yo’d over the years. I have started diets and succeeded and started diets and failed more times than I care to mention. The one thing that I never really addressed was my lifestyle and never really adopted a way of eating that was healthy and sustainable as well as enjoyable.
Something had to change, so in January 2018 I made some serious changes. I felt since losing Mum and Dad I have been given a new lease of life and another chance to make time for me to make some changes. It was time to focus on me, not in a selfish way but I could put myself first.
On January 6th I started a way I eating that I have managed to maintain and lose weight, on February the 11th I went for my 1st walk! I never walked anywhere, just as far as the car or bathroom, so nothing like I do now. I felt I had achieved a lot when I did my first walk. It was about 2 miles long, my feet hurt, my legs ached and my whole body was in shock. I listened to music and took photos on route just to break the boredom I was feeling, plus it was a nice way to track my progress and journey.
I was doing something that I was finding challenging… walking! Yuk.
So this is how my walking challenge was born! Off I would go wearing my bright yellow coat in all weathers mostly cold, wet and windy.
I posted the photos on social media no longer afraid of what I looked like. This is me, this is what I do. It was lovely and surprising to get support from friends and family, which was fantastic as I needed to be motivated. Friends walked with me but I was also motivated to go by myself. I kept motivated by also keeping my eye on the goal and getting closer one step at a time, sometimes 14,000 steps at a time.
So that is me, Titz, I still don’t enjoy walking but I love the countryside, the company and everything about it apart from the walking itself!!!
Now Jane… Shitz loves walking, she loves maps and planning so Jane is my perfect walking partner. However this is a challenge for Jane too as she is living with Crohn’s and because of the health issues associated had to stop doing what she loved. ☹
However, since Jane had an op she still has Crohn’s related issues but she is able to start walking again much to her delight.
So slowly slowly we are walking together, both making progress. So what do we do now? We sign up for our first challenge!!
Our First Challenge
We trained in rain, wind, snow and blizzards along with wind chills of minus 13. Some days I had so many layers I felt like I was walking the North Pole.
The challenge was 12 miles on the North Norfolk Coast. With our training days completed in most weather conditions we were ready to do the walk.
The hottest day of the year!!! We had not even had a chance to train in hot weather. It was unbelievably hot. So Jane and I were joined by our friend Teresa and we set out to walk the 12 miles. I must admit I was nervous, scared and excited, I was nervous that I wouldn’t finish the walk, nervous that I would hold up the group. It was great, I found it hard work as it was so hot and for me the furthest I had ever walked. But we did it. We took our time and just got to the finish line when we could.
This is me (Titz) hot, sweaty with my well earned medal having completed 12 miles. A huge achievement. Well done to Jane (Shitz) for getting through the walk without any Crohn’s related issues and for Teresa for walking and supporting both of us. Team work indeed.
Jane will tell you how it was from her point of view, starting to walk for pleasure again and then we will tell you about our next big and I mean BIG challenge.
So from me, Titz, goodbye for now. 👣👣👣
Hi. Shitz here.
I have always enjoyed walking, reading maps and planning trips.
I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in March 2014, after some alarming symptoms. Initially I responded to medication but unfortunately not for long and my symptoms meant I couldn’t go anywhere that wasn’t in dashing distance of a toilet, so that meant walking was very difficult. As my symptoms worsened (skin tags, fissures, abscesses, fistulas, etc) my diagnosis was changed to Crohn’s. Surgeries and more medication did not work, and eventually in January this year I had stoma formation surgery and am now the proud wearer of a colostomy bag!
What a difference it has made. I can now go out walking without the anxiety of having to know where the nearest toilet is. I can enjoy the fresh air, the views, the company, and my new-found freedom. However I still have issues – the fatigue of the disease for one, which leaves me exhausted most evenings, and secondly the discomfort of my fistulas and the need to change the dressing over them at least 4 times a day – not easy out in the open. But with the support of family and friends I am keeping walking.
Like Karen, I enjoy a challenge, but she really is the motivated one. She is SO determined and her enthusiasm and commitment carry others along with her. So less than 3 months after my surgery I found myself walking 12 miles round the North Norfolk coast on the hottest day of the year – such an achievement! After a recent weekend walk, duringwhich we met a very inspirational lady, Karen suggested another, bigger challenge and after some discussion and initial planning The Waveney Wanderers were born – more to follow!