The Amazing Adventures of Svava – Part II

image from Ahoy there! Here is Part II of my chat with the Amazing Svava. You can read Part I here.

7. Your number came up on the random number generator and you won a place on the UAR Summer 5K course. Had you been thinking about running before you entered? Did you have any concerns/fears about running before you started?

Thanks again for that one! I had tried Couch to 5K but got stuck on a certain point and just never managed beyond that. I did participate in a 5K event in Race for Life and managed to run most of that and that was one of my proudest moments yet. But I never managed to get running to be a part of my routine.

I have wanted to be able to run since I started changing my lifestyle. It is such an accessible sport and I have serious logistic issues with getting to a gym. But most of all the allure for me lies in the image I have of runners, they are everything I am not – long, lean, lithe, naturally sporty. Whereas weight lifting is my natural sport running feels like a real challenge; and I can't resist a challenge.  

8. It’s no exaggeration to say you have become a running MACHINE during the Course. I knew you were one seriously determined woman when your wrote in your Running Diary that you went out for your first run at 4.55AM! What are your impressions of running so far?

When I first started all this lifestyle changing I needed to coax myself to go and do every session. Now I've managed to make it a natural part of my day to the point where I feel uncomfortable if I don´t exercise. It was the realisation that it just didn't matter how I felt before hand, that the rewards would always be worth the work that changed my attitude.

Running is pure joy now. Julia (the coach) has created a course that is going at a pace that I can manage and I can feel my progress every time I go out. I marvel at myself every time I run. I can't believe that I'm actually doing it. And not dying. That this body that used to just be a mountain of flab is now strong enough to propel me at a speed that is nothing to be ashamed of. Or that my lungs are strong enough to give my muscles enough oxygen to continue for extended periods of time. I just let my body take over.

My thoughts vary from day to day. Sometimes the run is difficult and I need to make up stories about winning the lottery, sometimes it feels just perfect and I use the time to just turn off my brain and think of nothing whatsoever. Bliss.

The feeling afterwards is what I exercise for. It has become my drug of choice and I am addicted to it. The feeling of achievement, of elation and happiness is just awesome. And to think that this is how I start most my days! No wonder I'm happy all the time!

Svava-runSvava after finishing her 5K at the end of the U&R Course. Dig that grin!

9. You mentioned on the Forum that you recently finished your Masters degree. You’ve been juggling full time study with full time work, parenthood and “full time lifestyle changing” as you so nicely put it. Are you a natural born multi-tasker or is this another skill you have taught yourself? How do you stay organised and fit in the things you love/need to do without going bonkers?

I haven't quite finished it yet; I'm finished with all the exams and assignments. I've still got to hand in my thesis. I am insanely organised. I make lists for pretty much everything and tick things off. And then just let the things that don't matter slide. I wake up early and I organise things into priorities. I take time on a Sunday to write a menu for the week and cook as much as I can ready for it. I make ready baked porridge and egg muffins for my breakfast and cook lots of chicken breast and make sure that grabbing lunch and snacks is a quick and easy thing to do.

10. What strikes me from reading your posts is your positive attitude and ability to keep things in perspective when a training session don't go quite as planned. You don't dwell on things too long or give up, you learn a lesson and move on. Now how the heck do you manage to do that? Are you generally a positive person or again is this something that you have learned over time?

Many years ago I mentioned to my friend in a conversation that my "strip light of positivity" wasn't as bright today as normally. She looked at me funny and asked me to explain. "Well," I said, "the light that we've got inside us that makes us feel positive and happy, mine isn't shining today.” She explained to me that this was not a common thing; that not everyone had a strip light of positivity inside them. I was flabbergasted!

But I have held on to my shining light and I use it. I probably sound as mad now as I did to my friend all those years ago but I can't help but thinking that perhaps life would be easier for a lot of people if they could have my light installed and turn it on when things get tough. It makes it easier for me to just move on from things that would maybe stop other people.

11. How long have you lived in the UK? If you could create a SuperCountry with the best bits of the UK and Iceland in one place, what things would you take from each country?

I've lived here since 2003. I would have to say that apart from friends and family I do miss the Icelandic attitude that says that things will work out somehow and I really miss the just going out and getting things done. However it could sometimes be mixed in with the British cautiousness. Icelanders sometimes act without thinking of the consequences. And I would keep the British sense of humour.

12. Finally, could you sum up your Healthy Living “Formula” in ten words or less?
Organisation, planning, consistency, moderation and make it fun!

Thank you Svava!

14 thoughts on “The Amazing Adventures of Svava – Part II

  1. Very excellent! Thank you for sharing the magnificent Svava with us. Organisation, planning, consistency, moderation and make it fun – words to live by.

    Now where did I put that strip light?

  2. I just signed up for the Sept 5K solely and completely due to Svava inspiring me. I have thought about previous courses but kept thinking “I can’t do it- I always fail when I try to run. Forget it.” I’m a nervous wreck- completely scared of failure- but I’m going for it.

  3. Hey there! Your blog is totally cool! I’m totally inspired! And it made me realize to always have a positive outlook in life. And that it’s never too late to start changing my old lifestyle. I agree with you that moderation, organization, planning, and consistency are very important tools in attaining a goal such as yours. I will really keep this in mind. I hope you will be able to inspire more people!

    God bless!

  4. Thanks to Shauna and Svava for this. Svava congrats on your 5k and lifechanging achievements recently.

  5. thank you, thank you thank you!!! I havent read the blog for a while and I hav a slipped disc so even walking is painful at the mo, but I’m gonna keep going now!

  6. What an inspirational story! I love how you talk about making it fun at the end, because so often I get caught up in micromanaging my diet or logging runs and forget that it is supposed to be (and can be) enjoyable. Great job! Ps – your dress on the top picture is gorgeous! I love dresses like that 🙂

  7. How inspiring – I love the strip light of shining positivity, I shall have to design one for myself!

  8. @Patricia; you are going to love the U&R 5K. Just get involved on the forum and enjoy it – the whole experience.

    Thank you all for your comments, my strip light is beaming now 🙂

  9. I really enjoyed “meeting” Svava (I feel like I have a new friend). I’m impressed with how she took baby steps with the exercising and then really connected with the weight training. If I’m having a bad day, I say to myself that I can still do a workout, which is better than ending a bad day without exercising. Usually the workout goes fine and I find that positivity Svava talks about making an appearance! Thank you for your story.

  10. I want to say that I stumbled accross this the other day and was so moved my the part 1 I couldnt wait to hear the other half of the story …. you really are a gifted writer and translate everything so well…. Cantr wait to see more like this Im hooked!!!!!

  11. Great interview Shauna, and great work Svava. Very inspiring.
    I went to look at Svava’s blog and the non-English overwhelmed me. Thank you Shauna for not being overwhelmed and sharing the story with us.

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