First up I would just like to say that although I logically know that 20 miles is an awfully long way to walk, the comparative ease with which I completed the 18 miler back in July may have meant that I set off with a slightly cocky bounce in my step yesterday.
Like before I chose to use walkit.com to plan my route for me. A big circular route through and around London stretched out in front of me as I left the house just before 8.30 yesterday morning.
Leaving Lewisham, I walked familiar roads up to Southwark Park, then along the Thames' South Bank before crossing the Millenium Bridge to St Paul's, then... Well, then I got a bit lost. My walkit route tried to take me through a locked gate and I became rather flustered as I tried to find a replacement route. Even though I know the area well, it threw me. I got back on track eventually, walking through the edge of Angel before heading onto Regent's Canal.
Regent's Canal is fast becoming my nemesis. A mile or so along the towpath and I started to hurt. Unlike last time it was my left hip rather than my knees and, also unlike last time, it was a sharp stabbing pain rather than a dull ache. My bouncing stride soon slowed to a hobble as I limped along the canal. I was certain that I would have to stop. I made plans on how to get myself home. And then, right when I was at my lowest, I looked up and saw this:
The sight of the towers of Canary Wharf glistening in the distance almost brought that bounce back into my step. I felt a boost from knowing that I was on the home straight, albeit one that was going to last for at least another 6 miles.
At that point I decided that I must carry on. I knew that I had to beat this pain.
And I did. I arrived back home 20 miles and 6 hours 2 minutes after setting off. My hip was so painful that I could barely walk through the door, and had to crawl up the stairs to the cold bath that was waiting for me.
Today, I'm still uncomfortable. Should I have carried on with an injury? Possibly not. Am I proud to have beaten the 20 miler? Definitely. Am I ready for another week of training? Ask me when I come back from my 4 mile walk tomorrow.