Thursday, 30 September 2010

Champions and miracle healing.

One of Ian Bull's photos. Thanks Ian! See the original size here.

That photo was taken just after lunch on the Green Chain Megawalk last Saturday. You can see me grinning away second on the right and Ian, who did a great job of leading us bunch of walkers, is in his snazzy high-vis jacket at the front. We were all looking quite cheery at that point as we were nicely stocked up on hot tea and sandwiches and had not yet met the real hills of the route...

Anyway, I have some minor foot news! I'm pretty certain that I'm going to be back out training next week. I've been getting a lot less pain in the last couple of days and I'm limping less often. Most importantly, my toe seems to be setting straight! Hurrah! I'd hate to have a wonky toe.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The verdict is in...

Ah oops. My first ever broken bone.

You might not be able to see it too well but the toe next to the little toe, just across from where the cursor is pointing, is fractured. A nice little diagonal break.

That toe is now getting nice and cosy with my other toes as it's been strapped to the ones either side. I've been told that after a few days rest I can start training again so long as I keep everything straightened and tied together for at least 4 weeks.

I have to say huge thanks to the staff at Lewisham A&E who were, as usual, brilliant at getting me in and out of there in no time at all. Also, thanks for not laughing at the woefully chipped nail polish on my toes.

It doesn't seem as though this little set back will have a huge hit on my training, but it will be a bit of a dampener on another commitment I have - I won't be able to dance in the flamenco performance I'm meant to be involved with this Wednesday. I can't even imagine squeezing my foot into a high heel right now, let alone stamping it once it's there. Feeling a bit down about that as I haven't performed for well over a year.

Still, I must remember that I had a lovely day out yesterday before all this idiocy happened. I only took a few pictures from the day, but I've put them in my Ward Walks London set of Flickr. Here's my favourite shot, taken at the end in Erith.

View across the Thames at Erith

Finally broke that magic 20 mile barrier! But may have broken something else too...

I walked an easy 21.5 miles of the lovely Green Chain yesterday. It was really rather beautiful and I'll post some pictures later. Big thanks to Carla and Michael who joined me, making sure that there was conversation all the way along the route. It turns out that helps make the miles go by rather nicely.

This morning this post finds me sitting in my front room with my foot propped up on a bag of frozen peas. I think it's likely that I'm going to need a trip to the hospital as one of my toes is not lying quite the right way. It looks like I may have dislocated it, but a major fear is that it's broken. Did I do this walking? Er, not quite.

You see last night, after the walk, I went out to see Matt Berry perform at my local. He's the chap from the TV who's in the IT Crowd and Darkplace and the Mighty Boosh. The evening was quite lively, and I had my best friend down from Sheffield for the occasion. I was in high spirits.

And it was those high spirits that suggested that I needed to place a postcard of Mr Matt Berry in the bed of my best friend whilst she was in the bathroom. Knowing that both speed and stealth was needed, I ran along my landing on tip toes. Unfortunately, I bent one of those toes around a balustrade sending it in completely the wrong direction. I was laughing so much at the time it took a while to realise that something was wrong.

This morning something is still wrong. Oh dear.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Trying something new.

Apart from the occasional stroll with David, I'm a lone walker. It's not that I don't want to walk with others, but the opportunity isn't there all that much.

This weekend, Walk London are organising guided walks across the capital. Focussing on a particular route, area, or history, there's bound to be something to suit everyone. And there are loads that are under 5 miles.

Have a look at all the walks here. They're all absolutely free and all you have to do is turn up on the day.

Presuming all is well with my hip, I'll be joining the formidable sounding Green Chain MEGAWALK: 21.5 miles from Crystal Palace to Erith. Why not come and join me? :)

Monday, 20 September 2010

Losing to yourself totally sucks.

If I hadn't recently started developing this competitive streak, I seriously wouldn't have given two hoots to what happened to me yesterday. But right now I'm seriously annoyed at having to abandon my 20 mile walk 5 miles before the end.

Everything was going well to start with. I bounded off towards the Thames and bounced along the Southbank. Even as I headed up through to Angel and onto the Regent's Canal tow path I had a bit of a spring in my step. I took a phone call from my husband 2 3/4 miles from Limehouse, and proudly proclaimed that I was on course for an early finish, but by then the ache in my hip had already set in.

By the time I'd left the canal and was heading onto the Thames path near Westferry I was talking to myself (OK, swearing to myself) but had made a pact that I'd keep going whether it hurt or not.

And then I passed a tourist who was looking at me with a look of bafflement across his face. I don't know whether he was trying to translate some of my choice language, or whether he genuinely questioned why I was continuing to hobble on when I was clearly in some pain, but he helped me get some clarity on the issue.

I looked awful. I felt awful. It was time to quit and get some help.

I tearfully jumped on the DLR at Westferry and went home. I'm going to be having a chat with a physiotherapist sometime soon to see where I'm going wrong. I felt, and feel, like an absolute loser, but I'm trying to comfort myself with the reminder that this was just one walk. There are many many more 20 miles to cover over the next 8 months.

Oh crikey, I hadn't thought of that.

Monday, 13 September 2010


When it came to sports at school, I always lacked any sense of competition. Bar two spectacular sports day prizes (blue ribbon for 3rd place sack race in year 4, red ribbon for 1st place egg and spoon in year 6) I've never really felt motivated to run a little faster or jump a little higher. In short, it was a struggle to get me to do anything beyond the minimum.

I walked home from work this evening, and I think I found my competitive nature.

I usually allow myself 2.25 hours for the 8 mile walk. I guess that makes me a little slow, but I'm usually tired from a day in the office and I never feel too bad about relaxing on a mid-week walk.

Tonight I put a little more effort in. I don't know whether it was because I had a fairly relaxed weekend, or whether it was the extra caffeine I had in my drink, but I kept the pace rolling throughout. As I hit the final stretch, I knew I could do something extraordinary. I knew I could get back well within time. And instead of relaxing and accepting my usual speed, I pushed on. Worked harder. Walked faster.

I walked through my front gate 1 hour 58 minutes after setting off from work, breaking both my personal record and the magical 4mph. It's only a little thing but I'm so proud of myself and, more importantly, I'm super eager to get back out there and beat that new time.

I can't believe that I've been missing out on this competition thing for so long. It's great!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Off track.

Training was derailed this weekend when I ate something dodgy at a barbecue (yes, my own barbecue. It was my own fault.) which knocked me off my feet and housebound for three days. Three days!

During those three days, I was meant to walk 16.5 miles. Given that I was triumphant when I managed to shuffle to Sainsbury's on day three, 16.5 miles was not exactly an option.

So the training plan was stalled until this morning.

Now I've never really followed a training plan before, so I'm struggling with what to do when you've set a target and are steadily walking towards it and then 'WHOOMPH!' suddenly you've fallen over. Do you change your target date? Do you plough on through? Do you just sit on the sofa and lament that little piece of barbecued chicken you ate?

Cautiously, I'm going to attempt the ploughing on through option by slightly modifying my training plan and attempting to avoid all illness and injury until the weekend of the 16/17th of October when I'm aiming to walk my very first marathon. After that painful 20-miler I'm a bit nervous.


For those who are interested, I have been using's 19 week marathon plan. It's been quite useful so far, but now that I'm getting dangerously close to target I'm going to have to start thinking what the training looks like after I've hit the magic 26.2 mile mark...