Lorna Mason has been Nordic walking with us for over 5 years and we are delighted to say she has recently joined our instructor team. Lorna will be leading a weekly Nordic walk on Clifton Downs starting in September and we know she’ll bring her fabulous sense of humour and professional approach to all her sessions.
Lorna has an inspirational tale of what brought her to Nordic walking and was happy to share it with us so you can get to know her a little better.
Welcome to our team Lorna!
“In the spring of 2014 and after putting it off for a rather long time I went to see my GP as I was having problems. I was sent for a scan and after seeing a Gynaecologist it was decided I should have a hysterectomy. I had the operation on the 30th July, the day after my 50th birthday. It went fine, except my consultant found a tumour the size of a golf ball in the lowest part of my bowel, and I was then referred to a specialist.
As I had just had major surgery I wasn’t able to have more for another 3 months. It was decided that those 3 months would be used to find out exactly what the tumour was and plan treatment accordingly. As time went on there was still no diagnosis and it was assumed that the tumour was probably a rare type of cancer.
So on the 1st November I had a portion of my bowel removed. I had an Ileostomy (stoma and bag) for 3 months and then had everything ‘joined back up’ once the original surgery had healed. I had to avoid certain foods that could cause a blockage in the bag so was told to eat “thickening” foods such as marshmallows, jelly babies, pasta and white bread. I had to make wake up at 3am every night to check the bag and with everything else that had happened to me I was absolutely exhausted.
In those 3 months I gained 3 stone in weight and was struggling to find the energy for anything. It was mostly down to the operation, but the weight gain wasn’t helped by my husband who took it upon himself to “build me back up” after such major surgery (and did a wonderful job).
As it turned out it the growth wasn’t a tumour at all, it was endometriosis which I had no history of. If this had been diagnosed before I would more than likely not needed to have the surgery. It would have been possible to have been treated with medication.
I had the Ileostomy reversed in January 2015 and didn’t go out for ages as I needed to be close to a loo. It was a very challenging time. What and when I ate made a huge difference. I had to take tablets several times a day to slow down the process, but over time I repaired quite well and things were slowly getting back to normal.
By now its heading toward my birthday. I’m 3 stone heavier, very unfit, lethargic and still shell shocked by the events of the last 6 months.
My friend had asked me to join her running as a way of getting myself fitter, but I was certain that it wouldn’t end well if I tried it. My pelvic floor muscles were ruined.
I thought that was the end of it, but my friend was on a mission to get me fit, so she bought me a beginners Nordic walking lesson. I have to confess, I was horrified! I couldn’t think why I’d want to try this, let alone enjoy it – I really didn’t want to do it.
My husband suggested I went as it was a gift and not to worry because after that I wouldn’t have to do it again. So reluctantly I agreed to a date just before our 2 weeks summer holiday so I could use this as an excuse not to go again.
Oh boy, how wrong was I.
The beginner’s session was great fun and we all laughed a lot. I felt a bit of a berk at first as using poles wasn’t a particularly natural or easy way of walking, but I gradually got the technique and by the end of the session had a huge smile on my face and wanted to have another go.
My friend and I booked another Nordic walk after I got back from my holiday and although we were at the back of the group for the whole hour and I was struggling to keep up as I was so unfit, I couldn’t get over how walking could be such good fun.
My friend went back to her running but I was hooked, initially walking once a week, making new friends and gradually getting fitter and fitter. After a few months I was no longer at the back of the group and puffing. I increased my walks to 2 a week and there was no stopping me. It never felt like I was exercising, I was Nordic walking outside in all winds and weather with these lovely friends that I’d made.
After a few years I decided I had the confidence and experience to train as an Instructor. I had first hand experience of the benefits of Nordic Walking, I’d lost weight, seen my fitness improve and above all my pelvic floor no longer felt like it was going to let me down.
I didn’t tell any of the instructors that I was going to do the course just in case I failed, but thankfully I passed with flying colours. I enjoyed the learning so much that I went on to study for a Level 2 Fitness for Walking qualification and passed that exam and practical test in January of this year.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the amazing team of Instructors at Bristol Nordic Walking. They have all, unknowingly, been my inspiration over the last 5 years, along with all the lovely Nordic walkers I’ve walked with during my time as a member with the club.
Some of you I know well, but I look forward to meeting new walkers who I hope will love the sport as much as I do and reap the benefits that Nordic Walking has on our health and wellbeing.”
You can find our favourite Nordic walking poles here and if you’re looking for our advice on best walking kit here’s our recommendations: