Getting to know…. Elaine Millington
Before joining SE Fitness I attended a local gym after work and enjoyed day walks at the weekend and walking holidays.
I joined the beginners running group of SE Fitness in January 2012 after the gym that I had been attending went into liquidation. I had been considering giving running a go after reading one of Sally’s articles in the Sutton Observer. Now was the ideal time and proved to be far more enjoyable than the gym as I have always loved being out in the open.
I had never been very good at sport at school, I was always the one left standing at the end on her own when teams were being picked! Running with SE Fitness gave me the sense of achievement that I had never experienced before, even if I always brought up the rear. SE Fitness leaders were great, always so helpful and encouraging. I enjoyed my running for 3 years always competing in the Great Midlands Fun Run and was even considering giving the Birmingham half marathon a go with encouragement from Mark. But, as happens to many great athletes and perhaps people of a certain age my knees started to give me a problem and after some investigation I had a diagnosis of severe arthritis in my left knee and my GP recommended no more running. He was also most insistent that to keep exercising was very important.
So I started walking with walk plus. At this time I was still working so my walking was mainly during the evenings and in the winter months was around a variety of local streets. How wonderful at around Christmas time when we could discuss the decorations. Do not let it be said that walking is an easy option. Along with everyone else I always endeavour to walk at a pace that gets my heart rate going and combined with putting the world to rights plus the leaders’ ability to always find a good hill or two, in a variety of different routes, this is always achieved. For just over two years I have been a member of the much sought after club for those who are retired. Now my walking is in the morning and always in the park. We are so blessed to be able to use this wonderful facility (thanks Henry) and every season brings with it something new and beautiful.
When I am not in London helping with my two young Grandsons, I try to attend my walking group four times each week and I think that it is really important to only allow extremes of weather and the occasional cold to put me off. After my walk I am ready to take on the world and sometimes my housework. June 2015 I took on the time challenge of walking the 5K route and crossing the line faster than those running the 10K route and I did it. Becky helped me so much during the challenge staying at my side for the whole route and I am sure there are many walkers who could now beat that record so “Come On” give it a go. I try to enter the Fun Run each year and my first year walking the route I was faster by a small margin than the previous year when I ran! This year many walkers took part and it was great fun training together with Jenny. Another great highlight for me was the achievement of completing the challenge of the Snowdon walk.
I must admit that whilst I have no problem getting up for my walk, I do struggle with motivating myself to go swimming and I know this form of exercise would be very good for my knees. So my personal challenge is to do more swimming and stop making excuses.
The consultant I see recommended braces for both of my knees to help with the deformity that the arthritis is causing. I now have “scaffolding” which certainly helps, however, I know that it is inevitable that at some point I will need knee replacements. Until such time that this becomes a necessity I will continue to keep active with the fantastic group of people that make up SE Fitness.