Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Three months on...

Wow. Another month has gone by. And what a month. Highs, lows, busy times, quiet times. They've all been there. And then today, as I prepared to write this post, I got a fantastic email.

Ages ago, I filled in a survey for Mapumental, and of course totally forgot about it. But apparently there was a prize draw attached to this one, and my name was drawn to win a £50 donation to the charity of my choice. Guess which one I chose... That makes £1682 for the June Hancock Mesothelioma Fund. Hurrah!

A couple of weeks ago my husband David and I took a weekend out to go back to my hometown for a visit. We had a particularly good day out with my Mum and Gran, driving through the nearby countryside and visiting places I hadn't seen in years. On Sunday we also had a little wander over to Southampton Common where this lovely chap posed for me and showed off his fabulous feet.

I haven't really talked about coots and their place in the relationship with Dad. Perhaps I'll leave that for another time

As often happens, the childhood photos made a brief appearance. While David amused himself by threatening to make pictures of me on a potty in the woods public, I was a little more taken with this one.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Two months on...

The walk feels like such a long time ago. My legs are now pretty much back to normal, the joint pain I was having last month has gone, and the only thing that seems to keep the whole adventure real is the map on the kitchen wall that I still haven't had the heart to take down.

In the last month since I wrote here I have taken part in a flamenco performance, continued singing pop songs in choir and been rather busy at work. In short, life has gone on. In the last month there has also been a Fathers' Day.

I don't think I ever celebrated Fathers' Day when dad was alive. I think he had the same opinion of it as the one he held for Valentine's Day: another hollow opportunity for consumerism. Or at least that's how he presented it - I'm sure he'd actually quite like to have had a shoddily made card from me of course and maybe I should have made one for him. Ah well. The opportunity has gone now.

Anyway, here's a little photo I found which must have been taken when I was maybe 13 or 14. It shows us during a day out to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. This is how I remember time with Dad.


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

One month on...

I'm now one whole month on from the start of my epic walk.

Since then I've started feeling like I've got twice the time in the week than I had when training. Which is awesome.

So, what have I been doing with all that perceived extra time? Not walking too much actually, thanks to a knee that's still a bit sore. But I've been back up and dancing, and I started singing in a choir for the first time in a decade. I've never had more varied things to interest me.

That said, I have started missing the routine of the training a bit and I sometimes find myself wistfully looking out of the train window at the parks I used to walk through. And just as soon as my knee is back to normal, I'm getting back out there.

David bought me a guide to walking the LOOP for my birthday so I think that will be our project over the summer. Not in one go this time though. It's 152 miles...

Sunday, 8 May 2011

One week on...

I've spent the last week reflecting on the walk, flopping around my house and waiting for my ankles to fix themselves. It's only now just starting to sink in that the last year of training has finished and that I'll now have hours of extra time week - my brain's coming up with some great ideas of how to fill that, but perhaps for now I'll just devote the time to sitting.

I've collected most of the photos that my friends took during the walk into one set on my Flickr, which you can now watch as one mammoth slideshow of the full 27 hours 11 minutes (it doesn't take quite that long to view!) Watch below, or go to the set page. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

I do this so you don't have to

Those of you who saw the picture of my leg I posted yesterday will know that I've had some trouble with swollen ankles and shins following the walk. Yesterday my left foot started swelling up too.

This morning I woke up and nothing had improved, so I made an appointment with my doctor.

I've just come back from that appointment and the verdict is that I have Compartment Syndrome. Apparently that's when the muscles swell to more than the sheath around them can contain. I've been told to rest up for a week, and I'm to go back to my doctor on Monday (er, Happy Birthday to me) to check how it's going.

Still not regretting the walk - I really truly loved it - and rather pleased that I had the foresight to take the next week off work. Not quite the holiday I had planned though!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

It's over.

Hello everyone! It's Katy here! I hope my husband has been keeping you entertained in my absence.

So, that walk then. It was quite long, wasn't it? I have to say that it didn't feel as long as it was though.

Sure there were moments when I felt really incredibly down, but every time I did there was someone there to cheer me up and get me going again. Even my incredibly painful ankles (which started hurting just a few hours in) couldn't stop me, and once dawn broke there was no doubt in my mind that I would cross the finishing line. OK, not in the 24 hours I had hoped for but after 27 hours and 11 minutes of non-stop walking.

Once home I survived for a few hours of my celebration party before falling asleep on the sofa and having to be led upstairs to bed at 6.45pm. I had an awesome 14 hours of sleep, but am starting to feel nappish all over again now.

Here are a few photos from the end. I think there are some more floating around out there, so there might be a couple more picture posts to come.

A canal that did not defeat me!  Out by the river Lee/Lea

Striding along Green Lanes

Crossing the finishing line at Woolwich Foot Tunnel
I crossed the finishing line at Woolwich, 27 hours and 11 minutes after setting off.

My poor swollen bruised ankle.  It's got worse since then too...EEKS!
This is what more than a day on your feet will do to your ankles -
they are so swollen that they have bruised themselves.

I gave up at about 6.30, falling asleep on the sofa after 27 hours of walking and 36 hours of being awake

I want to say special thanks to all of my lovely walk volunteers: Clairey, Ollie, Mel, Filiz, Jo, Emma, Ed, Ewan, Linzi, Edd, Carla, Michael, Lizzy, Dani, Pippa, Bec, George and Paul. Without you guys cheering me on I know that I could not have completed even half of it.

I also want to say an extra special thank you to my Mum and my fantastic husband David. They both provided wonderful support running up to and during the walk, and for David that's now extended to bringing me cups of tea while I rest my swollen legs.

Thank you, thank you everyone.

Monday, 2 May 2011


Here are some photos of Kate + entourage from Highgate onwards:

In Queens Wood near Highgate

Less than 17 miles to go!

Sprite on the Parkland Walk

Katy, relaxed

The gang at Stoke Newington

Hello again! This is David back home in south London again.

As I write this, Kate is now making her way through section 14 of the Capital Ring's 15 sections. The last update posted to this blog had her leaving Greenford shortly after midnight with Oliver. The previously-mentioned ankle pain got quite a lot worse over sections 10 and 11 (Greenford - South Kenton - Hendon) and I know that Kate is incredibly grateful for the support that Oliver gave to help get her through these difficult moments.

They were joined by Lizzy, Carla and Michael shortly before Hendon. Some Deep Heat supplied by Carla helped combat some of Katy's aches and all five pushed on towards Highgate. Along the way they picked up Dani and the tag team pairing of George and Paul, Kate's brother and sister (whilst one walked the other drove the car ahead slightly, and so on). I met the gang just before Highgate Station at around 7am for the walk to Stoke Newington. Carla and Michael headed home at this point and Oliver left us for some well-earned rest at Highgate, but our numbers were soon swelled again by a returning Ed, Angel and Mel on the Parkland Walk. Heading into Clissold Park we picked up even more supporters in the shape of Pippa and Bec!

I said my goodbyes at Stoke Newington but was replaced by Katy's mum, Jan. Lizzy finished around here as well. Heading on from Stokey towards Hackney Wick with Kate were Jan, Ed, Angel, Mel, Dani, Pippa, Bec and George/Paul.

I think I've mentioned everyone, but please correct me if not! It was amazing to see so many lovely people coming out to support Kate like that. Thank you all so much!

Kate has slowed down quite a bit now as the effects of the walk start to take hold. She is now likely to complete the walk at around 12.30-13.00. If you're free and able to get over there, why not join us at the south entrance of Woolwich Foot Tunnel to cheer her home?

I'm sat here in the kitchen writing this post, looking at the huge "Mission Control" map on the wall which shows the whole route. The scale of what Kate has done only really starts to sink in looking at this. I am so in awe of what my wonderful, wonderful wife has achieved!


And we're back

Hello! First of all, huge apologies for the lengthy radio silence there. This was caused by a combination of a later than expected arrival in Greenford followed by a nightbus epic.

If you're following the twitter updates then you'll know that Kate is very much still going. However, she's had some pain from her ankles which has caused her to slow down a little more, on top of the earlier delay resulting from taking a wrong turn. At the time of writing this she is around 90 minutes behind the scheduled time. It is possible that she might lose more time yet. If you're planning on meeting her, please text (or ideally just ring) me for the latest. I'm going to head over myself to join her for some of the walk soon.

Kate was joined by Jo for the walk from Streatham to Wimbledon Park, where Angel and Ed took over for the hike across Richmond Park. She reached Richmond Bridge at about 21.15 where Edd, Linzi and Ewan took over chaperoning duties. Ewan clocked off at Boston Manor and Edd and Linzi stayed with her until Greenford. I was waiting at Greenford with Oliver and some hot food and a change of footwear. Kate made it to Greenford at 00.15 - around an hour behind schedule - and departed in good cheer with Oliver. She has since passed South Kenton and is ploughing on towards Hendon and beyond. She's taken some painkillers for her ankles and is very much looking forward to reaching Hendon and Highgate, where many more people will be joining her.

Once again, thank you so so much to everybody who has supported her so far. She has now been walking for 17.5 hours! These last few sections are going to be tough, but I know she can do it. Go Kate!

Here are some photos taken at the pitstop in Greenford:

Pasta is gooood

Edd thinks so too

It's a little blurry in the photo, but the arrow on the left says it's just 34 miles until she's back at the Woolwich Foot Tunnel!

And she's off again!


Sunday, 1 May 2011


Kate is still going strong and should be crossing the Thames pretty soon. I'm heading out shortly to west London to meet her with a change of socks and shoes and a Thermos full of hot pasta, so things will be quiet on here and twitter for a while. All volunteers should have my mobile number in case of any problems or queries.

I promise to bring back photos!



Well, after taking a wrong turning somewhere around Biggin Hill Woods on section 4, Kate is now back on track and pressing on towards Wimbledon and Richmond. Huge thanks must go to Clairey, Mel and Filiz who have been walking with Kate at various stages during the day. Mel has sent in a few photos taken during the fourth stage:

Katy and mum Jan



Kate has just been in touch to let me know that she's running ever so slightly behind schedule (only by 10 minutes or so) but is feeling physically fine. At the time of writing this post she will have been walking for six hours - a quarter of the total time. She's covered around 20 miles so far and burned around 1600-1700 calories already! Go go Kate!


And we're off...

Kate set off from the southern entrance to the Woolwich Foot Tunnel at 10am sharp this morning. Accompanying her for the first few miles were Claire, Oliver, myself, Linzi and Edd. We made good time over section 1 of the Capital Ring, reaching Falconwood at around 11.45. Kate then headed on towards Grove Park with Claire for company. Oliver and I headed back home (via The Greggs). Oliver, Linzi and Edd (and hopefully me too!) will all be rejoining Kate later on during the walk. Here are a few photos:

Katy at the start

The early walkers

Oliver, Kate and Claire outside the excellently-named Severndroog Castle


Saturday, 30 April 2011

The new man in charge

Hello. This is David (Katy's husband) posting. I'm going to be looking after this blog and Katy's twitter account for the next couple of days whilst she's undertaking her walk. I'll be posting updates and information about how things are going and, if I can figure out how to do it, I'll also post some photos as well. If you're going to be joining Katy for any part of her walk, feel free to take photos and send them in to wardwalkslondon@quitecommon.com.

Good luck Katy!


TOTY: Number One

Number One: When everyone rallied round
I've been really touched by everyone offering their help and their feet to tomorrow's walking effort. That's got to be the ultimate highlight of this year.

My house, and my belly, are full and I'm just making final preparations for the day (er, days) ahead. I'm very excited, but rather nervous.

I can't wait until I get to see some of you there, but even if you can't join me I would like to thank you for your support. Every kind word, every pound donated, has made the whole experience so wonderful. Thank you.

Right, where are my trainers?

Friday, 29 April 2011

TOTY: Number Two

It's the night before the night before. I'm already super-nervous, and once again I'm reflecting on the past year to avoid thinking about Sunday. This highlight is a happy by-product of this Challenge and of writing this blog. I've really enjoyed this part, so thanks for listening.

Number Two: The bit where I got to share my dad with you
Maybe it was a bit self indulgent of me to start posting pictures of Dad on holiday and necklaces he had made me, but as I found myself thinking about him as I walked it seemed natural to write about him afterwards.

Of course, I didn't really think about people paying attention to my whitterings. I was just jotting them down as they came to me.

But then a pair of my Dad's socks were put in a cabinet in one of my favourite museums and suddenly it felt like I was having a chat with more than just myself.

Our special socks in the Things exhibition, Wellcome Collection

So, as I haven't shared anything for a while, I thought I'd let you see one of my most treasured posessions.

The Golden Gift Book

This is my Dad's copy of The Golden Gift Book, a collection of stories that he read when he was a boy and used to read to me when I was little. Some of the stories are utterly fantastic. My favourite was The Cockatoucan - the story of a bird that turned a kingdom upside down every time it laughed.

The Cockatoucan - Golden Gift BookThe king in his butcher's shop - Golden Gift Book
You can see that Dad enjoyed this story too - he's coloured in the pictures

I think my favourite reversal in the story was when the palace was turned into a butcher's shop, and the king 'who was too wise to fight against fate, had tucked up his royal robes and was busy in the shop weighing out six ounces of the best mutton chops'. There is also a fantastic moment when the king is turned into a villa residence.

Anyway, the part of this book that I really love now is the bookplate in the front.

My dad's nameplace - Golden Gift Book

Dad gave me this book (and its sister, Princess Mary's Gift Book) shortly before he died. I will always treasure it, and I hope that one day I will get to read the stories to someone who is just as captivated as I was.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

TOTY: Number Three

This happened before TOTY Four, but it was an incredibly important turning point for me and taught me a very valuable lesson.

Number Three: The day when I learnt it's not pain, it's 'discomfort'.
My first time crossing the 20 mile barrier was a painful, sorry, uncomfortable one. It was a hot day at the end of August and once again I was planning to walk along Regent's Canal.

I'd already had problems with Regent's Canal when my legs starting hurting on that particular stretch during a training walk in July. And it reared up as my enemy again in September and then once more in March (I avoid the whole area now), but it was during August that I learnt to just keep going. I imagine that this spirit will probably make the difference between success and failure on Sunday/Monday, so I'm glad I learnt it early.

Boat cat!
I'm not posting a picture of Regent's Canal, because I hate it.
Have a picture of a cat on a boat on the River Lee instead.

TOTY: Number Four

Somewhat delayed, thanks to a technical fail which saw my email fall over, here's Number Four in my Top of the Year rundown.

Number Four: When 22.5 miles was a breeze. And then I broke my toe.
I knew I was tempting fate when I jogged back from the bus stop after that 22.5 mile walk to make sure that I got to the gig on time. But I didn't know that fate would hold out until later that evening and then grab that temptation with both hands.

The toe break (my first broken bone) took me out of action for a while, but could have been a lot worse. In fact I only got an x-ray because the doctor I saw thought it could be a very messy dislocation or fracture of the joint itself (yes, the toe was out at a very special angle).

No further breaks so far, and I've been careful when placing postcards in other people's beds since then. Better to be safe than sorry!

Surprised best friend and howling self not pictured.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

TOTY: Number Five

In these final few days before the walk, I'm finding myself doing little walking and lots of thinking. Reflecting on the past year there are a number of moments that really stand out for me. I thought that I would share them with you in the form of a Top of the Year Top Five.

Number Five: When 12 miles was a really long way.
Although I had mitigating circumstances (I was suffering from a severe flare-up of RSI in my wrist) a 12 mile walk from my house in Lewisham to a BBQ at my friends' house in Hampstead took a ridiculously long time. When I arrived I was hot, pink and very very sleepy. In fact, it wasn't long after I arrived that I took a nap on their sofa and my husband tried to stick a sausage in my ear (not a euphemism).

Thankfully things have gotten easier since then.

Husband and sausage not pictured
Photo taken by my lovely friend Carla

Monday, 25 April 2011

One week to go...

This time next week I will be hopefully be finishing the biggest journey of my life.

At the moment I've been far too busy organising all the extra arrangements to make it go smoothly to get too nervous (except when I'm asleep - I'm still having those dreams) but I'm sure I'll be shaking as we set off.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me get this far: all the support, offers of help and, of course, donations have reminded me why I'm doing this and given me a boost whenever I've doubted myself. Here's to next week!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

A bit of a breather. And some runners.

Hello! Before I get into this post, I've got a little bit of walk business to attend to.

By now everyone who was interested in walking with me should have received an email with walk timings. If you didn't and you're interested in joining, or you know someone else who would like to ramble with me, leave a message here for me and I'll pass the details on.

It's now just 10 days to the walk and the nerves are starting to set in. I'm finding myself waking up in the middle of the night worrying about little details just as much as big problems. My favourite theme seems to be anxiety dreams about finding locked toilets. Or searching out a secluded spot for a wee only to find someone peering out of a window. Disturbing.

Anyway, that wasn't really what I wanted to write a post about (I really don't think you need to hear about my imagined bladder concerns, but oh look, you have now). I really wanted to talk about these two:

Clairey and Lizzy on mile 18 of the marathon

Clairey and Lizzy ran the London marathon on Sunday and I went along as part of a little cheer leading squad. For Lizzy (handily marked out by having her name written on her chest) this was a first time marathon, for Clairey (similar handy markings) the second in 8 days.

Both did wonderfully at something that I can't even imagine doing. Honestly, for all the anxiety dreams and bitten nails that this walk has prompted, the mere thought of running a couple of miles (let alone 26.2 miles) sets off the tremors.

Anyway, I'm very pleased that Clairey will be joining me for a few sections of the walk next weekend, and hopefully Lizzy will be able to pop by for a little bit too. Maybe I can steal some of their stamina!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Behind as usual.

In an attempt to organise myself ready for the walk, I've spent this afternoon turning the big map on my wall into a giant clock.

The map turns into a huge clock...

It's now divided up into sections of 3.1 miles - which is about the average distance I need to do in an hour to get me round the whole thing in 24 hours. It turned out that the route I've plotted is actually 74.56 miles.

From this I can now start letting my lovely volunteers know the approximate time and place that they will be able to find me. If you've volunteered, I'll be in touch in the next day or so to check in with you about this.

All of this should have been done long ago, but I'm pleased that it so far seems to be falling into place fairly simply.

Funny, I thought the walking would be the hardest part.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Preparing for the distance.

If there's one thing this last week has taught me, it's to get my injuries checked as soon as something feels wrong.

Thanks to some really great help and advice (and just a little sore-making massage) from Emma, my physiotherapist of the last week, I'm back up on my feet again. The good news is that it only appears as though I did a bit of muscle damage and caused a possible flare-up of bursitis.

So I've been packed off with some great new calf stretches, an instruction to gradually build up the walking again*, and the advice to carry cool packs with me in case I get a flare up of the bursitis. Tonight I started buying stocks of what I think will probably become one of my best friends once 1st May rolls around. Mmm...chilly...

Ahh...Deep Freeze...

* Er, obviously just in time for me to gradually wind the training down.

Monday, 11 April 2011

New lifestyle.

Just a quick update from my lunch break, but not really a walking one as I had a rare weekend break after the physiotherapist told me to take it easy last Wednesday.

Perfect weekend

Once I'd shaken off the 'Oh! I'm not training!' guilt, I started to really enjoy lazing about in the early summer sunshine. I had a short cycle to my favourite butchers in Greenwich and then David and I had a little barbecue when I got back. We then set to an afternoon in the company of a couple of beers and nattered in the sunshine. For the first half of Sunday I did little more than read a book whilst lying luxuriously on my lawn. Absolute bliss.

Of course we did do a little walking, but in truly lazy weekend style meandering through one of our local parks in the early evening. I'd totally forgotten what one of these weekends could be like.

Tonight I have my follow-up appointment with my physiotherapist. My knee has eased (and the swelling has gone down) but I'm still getting a quite irritating muscle ache. Hopefully there will be some handy suggestions on how to minimise this and hopefully I'll be able to get back into proper training soon (er, just in time to tone it down in time for the real thing).

I'm going to have a hard time giving up this lifestyle though, even if I've only had one weekend of it.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Professional verdict...

I had my first physio appointment this evening to try and figure out what happened to my leg on Monday and what I can do to keep me walking in May.

The good news is that at this early stage it doesn't look like I've done any tendon damage. What we appear to be looking at right now is some overworked muscles and possibly a touch of bursitis (that's a swollen knee thanks to a collection of fluid to you and me).

So I've been sent away until next Monday to take it easy ('you know, don't walk 20 miles') and ice and elevate my leg where possible. Should be back up and walking in no time. Which is just as good, because there's only 24 days left to go. Oof!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

When miles matter, and when they don't: accidental training and those final few miles

A few weeks ago I ended up on a train to rural Kent for a work meeting. The nearest station was about 4 miles away from the venue, so I had some cash ready for a cab.

When I hopped off the train, there were no taxis at the station. I called one cab company, and they said they couldn't be with me for at least an hour. I now had a choice: sit on my own at the station for an hour, or start walking.

So I started walking. In my flat boots (comfy, but not padded enough to be choice walking shoes) and winter coat (it was in that first week of Spring weather so the coat was mainly carried) it was a rather lazy walk. But it was really lovely and the 4 miles sped by.

So did the meeting, and before long I was in need of another taxi back up to the station. This time I was told there would an hour and a half wait. Well, I think you know what I did.

By the end of the day, I'd racked up 8 miles without really thinking or caring about it. Accidental training - 4 miles, then 8 miles, was met with a shrug of my shoulders. Nothing to worry about.

Now I'm finding myself obsessing about those extra few miles. Those blue dots I posted about at the end of last month were dividing the map up into handy one hour mileage targets. The targets were based on the average speed I would need to travel to complete the walk in time, but knowing about a possible discrepancy in the published distance of the Capital Ring, I worked it out from the maximum distance I could find. That was 82 miles.

Only now it appears that I'll actually be walking less than this, probably even less than the 78 miles, I'm still working this out. It may only be a few miles less, but a few miles will make a huge difference to the average speed I need to go at and could make the difference between comfort and discomfort.

So now I'm working to confirm my route and confirm my mileage. Part of me wants to find out that it's a full 78 miles. The other part would be happy for a reprieve of 4 miles or so. That may be the Ibuprofen talking.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Monday Marathon Misery.

Hello all! I had a wonderful weekend of spending time with my Mum and Gran and generous donations and generally feeling really awesomely positive about the walk. I still felt the same way when I started off on my training this morning.

I walked 24.5 miles today. I was meant to walk 26 but my left knee failed somewhere around the 18 mile mark. Although I'm feeling much better now, sat on the sofa with hot and cold pads wedged behind my knees, a few hours ago I was sat out at East Finchley feeling as though the world was about to end.

But the thought of all of you wonderful people who believe in me enough to donate your money to my charity will keep me pushing on. Only a few weeks to go now! On the day I think I'll make sure I've got enough Ibuprofen on me to keep me upright...

So, about that sponsorship. I've had a few offline donations, so I just wanted to say thank you to my wonderful Gran, Simpson Hilder Associates, and Clare Harding. I am so overjoyed that we've burst through my target! It would be great to keep going and really break it, so please feel free to spread the word to whoever you can.


Monday, 28 March 2011

Mini celebration

This weekend, David and I finally closed the loop of the London Capital Ring after walking the final three sections on Sunday. With such lovely weather, the 12-ish miles flew past.

Woolwich Ferry

We took the ferry back across the river to Woolwich as the foot tunnel is still closed. I have a feeling that this is how I will be completing the walk in May as although Greenwich Council's website states that the foot tunnel will be closed until 'March 2011', the site sign says 2012. Boat trip vs. dark tunnel under the river? I'm not all that sad about it.

I've taken photos on every section (some more than others) and put them all together into one collection in my Flickr. Have a look at them here.

Blue dots are appearing on my map...

Earlier today I started putting blue dots on my wall map. More on those to follow...

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Holding Page.

Hi! I owe both updates and emails but things have been rather busy. So this is just a short post to let you know that I'm still alive and still training.

Trial trail socks.

Yesterday I went out and bought some new walking bits to try out before the big event. In my stack of synthetic goodies are four pairs of socks. I'm giving the black ones a go today as David and I are off out to walk the final three sections of the Capital Ring. Bar the Woolwich foot tunnel, which is still shut for renovations. So we should be able to finish the walk with a nice little boat ride across the Thames. Lovely.

Better, fuller update to come tomorrow.

Monday, 7 March 2011


It all feels pretty Spring-like out there right now. Or at least it does in London. It makes it so much easier to pull on my trainers and get out there when it's like this, and I've recently enjoyed a couple of walks where I haven't even needed to take a fleece.

More of this please, sun!

In volunteering news, I've just sent out an email to all those who have previously expressed an interest in walking with me. If you have not received this but would like to take part, or know someone else who would, let me know and I'll add you to the list! I'd love as many people as possible to join me.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Road block

If you are a friend of mine on Facebook or follow my Twitter then you will have seen an extraordinarily downbeat status update yesterday afternoon (even by my standards). It went like this:
Miserable walk. Rain, a bit of hail, hip pain for hours, and I saw a dead coot floating in the canal. Totally morale shattering.

It was honestly the most horrendous walk of my life, but I was so determined to finish it I just kept going. Even when I was starting to swear under my breath, even when the rain started beating down heavily on me, even when I was not certain my legs would keep me upright. I was going to finish those stupid 23.5 miles because I knew that if I didn't, I might as well give up this whole escapade.

So I finished it.

When I got home, my hips hurt like hell. About an hour after walking through the front door, I was certain that I would never get off the sofa again. All through the night, I was waking to shift from hip to hip. And when I got up this morning it felt as though my legs had been replaced by a pair of very wobbly stilts, painfully strapped directly into my hip joints. But it wasn't the hip that was troubling me. It was my left knee - sore and stiff and almost impossible to straighten.

My boss very kindly let me work from home today - I spent it with my leg in the air and an ice pack strapped to the back of my knee. It feels a good bit better now, easing with a little bit of wandering about the house and a couple of stretches in the front room. But I've still booked myself in to see a physiotherapist in a couple of weeks, just to see if there's something I could be doing better. In the meantime, I'll keep going. I'll note how my body feels and find a way to get through.

Last night I was ready to give up. Tonight, I'm ready to beat this challenge.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

It had to happen at some point...

It had to happen at some point...

I managed to get myself a scabby knee just over half way into today's training walk when I slipped on a wet pavement in Dulwich. Ignoring my twinging leg muscles (I managed to fall on a previous injury - this is the leg with the torn PCL) I kept going.

Honestly cannot believe that this is the first actual training injury I've sustained. Nine months! Hopefully this tiny graze will be the one and only.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Thanks and pictures and disappointment giving way to triumph.

Before I get on with the rest of the post, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has volunteered to help me with my walk in May. I'm really truly touched that you'd like to spend a bit of time with me walking the outskirts of London. I'll be in touch in the next week or so and we can start working out where everyone fits together.

Also, those who've made donations to my chosen charity - thank you too! You're making this all worthwhile!


Since I last posted, I've been out training a few times including a full day session last Sunday which saw me get lost, go on a 2 mile detour and have to cut it short by 4 miles. More on that later.

First though, I'd like to show you a photo which makes me giggle every time I see it.

Only Charlie Brooker survives...

I took this quick snap of a poster on Old Kent Road when I was out a couple of weeks back. You might need to enlarge it to see what I find so amusing. It reminds me of Kemp Folds.

Anyway, I see a lot of things that amuse me when I'm walking but rarely feel that I can stop to take a picture. Here's another one I saw, out and about on Sunday, somewhere near Petersham Nurseries in Richmond.

I'm not really sure how this works...

I saw that one just a few miles before I took a right turn off the Capital Ring path, got lost and had to phone my husband for directions. Getting into a right state, I managed to eventually get back on the right track, but had wandered for an extra 2 miles and was by this point pretty much soaked to the skin by the fine drizzle that had suddenly turned to rain.

After setting out with the aim of walking the near 22 miles of Capital Ring routes six to nine combined, I gave up at the end of route eight and went home. Pissed off. Cold. Miserable.

Thankfully I've got a lovely bunch of friends who, when they noticed my whiny Twitter/Facebook status update, essentially told me off for thinking that 'only 18 miles' was not good enough. That's me in my place then. I promise I won't do it again. For a bit.

Anyway, undeterred I'll be off out again this weekend to get that 22-miler under my belt. Onwards and upwards.

Friday, 4 February 2011

The first request...the first proper call for volunteers!

I'm looking for volunteers to walk sections of the walk with me. I'm not just after super-walkers but also strollers, wanderers, explorers. Whether you can walk one mile, or 20, I need you to join me!

Here's a reminder of the route of the Capital Ring. I've currently planned for the walk to start in Woolwich at about 10am on Sunday 1st May 2011. I would anticipate being somewhere between Osterley Lock and Greenford before the sun is completely down. The next few sections will be walked relatively slowly and in the dark before, hopefully, arriving back at Woolwich by 10am on Monday 2nd May 2011 completing the Capital Ring and my challenge.

I'm going to need at least one person with me for every step of the way. This is largely down to safety, but a big part of it is about companionship and morale. Here is a short list of responsibilities.

  • Keep me walking
    Most of this is going to be really tough for me. I'm going to need some moral support.
  • Keep me on track
    Apparently I could be quite delirious towards the end of this, so I might need some help with maps and making sure I'm still going in the right direction. I'll make sure you have everything you need to do this. That's a map then.
  • Keep me safe
    This links into the above. If I start going a bit loopy, please try to help me not walk into traffic.
  • Keep me fed and watered
    I'll be giving you a little pack to bring along with you to your section. I can't carry all the water or food I'll need on this walk, so there will be some snacks and some drinks in there. There will be other things in there too, like maps. And torches if you're walking overnight with me.

At the moment I only need you to let me know that you're interested in helping - we can work out logistics once I've got some names together. But here are some things to think about...

How far can I walk?
I'm looking for people who can join me for any distance - a mile, a few miles, a whole marathon. But I need to know that you can do the distance you say you can.

Of course there might be unforeseen circumstances which mean that you can't make the miles you offer. I'm not going to make you keep walking if that happens! I'm just asking that you be realistic before we get started.

How fast can I walk?
I'm really not a brilliantly fast walker, but I'm hoping to average about 4mph. I'm likely to be walking faster at the start of the walk than at the end but of course that leaves the slow bits for overnight which, I appreciate, may not be your bag.

A lot of the route is suitable for bikes, so if it saves your legs and means you can join me for a few more miles you might want to consider that. Or one of those little push scooters. If you want to do this with a bike, let me know and I'll let you know which sections definitely rule this out.

Can I offer to be on call?
There will be mishaps: people will miss trains, blisters will rub, promises will be forgotten. But I will still need at least one person with me for every step of the way.

If you are someone who can come and take over another person's leg at short notice, let me know which sections you can cover and how far you're prepared to walk. I'll give you as much notice as possible and won't expect you to travel across the city at the speed of light.

Still interested?
Leave me a comment or drop me at email with your contact details: kateward@quitecommon.com

Monday, 24 January 2011

Big thanks, big walks, and big yawns.

Yesterday I went out on an 18 mile training walk. Not the longest I've done, but the longest in a while, s I thought I'd give you a bit of a blow by blow account of my day.

But first I want to say a massive thank you to my lovely best friend Linzi who made the day so much easier for me. You see Linzi decided to get a new mp3 player and, in exchange for the promise of an awesome evening out in the future, she decided to send me her old one.

He hasn't got a name yet (this one's a he - I can tell) so if anyone has got a good one, let me know.

Anyway, back to the training. Here's how everything happened.


6.50am The alarm goes off. David has a scrabble tournament and I've decided to get up at the same time and set out early.

8.00am I'm back at the flat after walking with David to the newsagents and bringing back half the Sunday paper. I sit down at the laptop and start moving music files from my external hard drive onto the laptop then onto the lovely new iPod.

08.43am I log onto Twitter and make a comment about getting ready to leave the house for the walk.

11.15am I finally leave the house and walk over the road to the bus stop.

11.24am I get on a bus and pull out the Observer magazine to help the journey go faster.

11.48am I arrive at Grove Park station, travel sick from reading the paper, and start walking towards the start point for Walk Three of the Capital Ring. It takes 10 minutes. I start the first leg towards Crystal Palace with an obvious spring in my step.

The start of Walk Three of the Capital Ring - 23.01.11The target is in sight! - 23.01.11

1.19pm I can see the Crystal Palace transmitter! I get a bit over excited.

1.38pm I sit down at a bench overlooking Dinosaur Lake in Crystal Palace. I have a snack. It's a Delicatoboll. Suddenly I'm very happy that we went to IKEA on Saturday.

2.19pm I walk past a very posh house. There's an empty Ab Circle Pro box waiting to be picked up with the recycling.

3.09pm Amazing campervan. No badge on the front. Instead it is replaced by a Greene King IPA pump badge.

3.41pm I bring out the big guns and start eating honey to push me through the last few miles. No, seriously.

4.33pm I arrive at Wimbledon Park. The 18 miles are over. I've done it in good time and I'm grinning. I have to wait for a tube.

6.05pm I arrive at Lewisham station. My legs are starting to ache and I decide to get a bus back down the road. I pull out the Observer magazine for the journey.

6.09pm I arrive home, travel sick from reading the paper and aching all over. I start running a bath and make myself some squash.


Reading that back I realise how uneventful this sort of walking is. I could have included all the times I started thinking about this twinge or that, or all the times I considered opening the honey earlier and then deciding not to, but it's barely interesting as it is. It makes you focus inward, notice every little ache in your body and random thought in your head. It basically makes you a bit boring. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


This week's training has been a bit of a struggle - a busy and somewhat difficult week at work left the motivation a little low. This is not the first week that this has happened but this week I learned how to cope with it and, eventually, get over it.

On Saturday I had a 12 miler scheduled. I had my route worked out, and was all set to go, but my mind was not on the task and I wasn't exactly looking forward to 3 hours alone with just me and my thoughts. So I did something that I probably shouldn't be doing. I binned the walk.

Instead, I indulged in a little bit of stretching and pilates and then went out for a quick 4 miler.

By Sunday I was feeling a lot better. My lovely husband, David, lent me his iPod and I completed the 12 miles. In fact, it turned out to be a beautiful walk as I travelled from Lewisham to Crystal Palace, then back home via Dulwich and Crofton Park. The hills were rather steep in places, but I bounded over them quite happily.

Yesterday I was rather stiff and, perhaps foolishly, attempted my usual Monday 4 mile. Not having a day's rest was A Bad Idea and I cut the walk in half. Feeling bad about this, I jumped on a train at London Bridge and sped home.

Then, as I was unlocking my front door, my phone rang. It was a woman from the hospital that looked after me when I tore my PCL a couple of years back. Apparently they want to show my leg off to some students as I have 'a really interesting knee'. Puzzlingly, she wasn't able to tell me what was quite so exciting about it, but my knee is basking in its new-found celebrity today.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Mission Control? This is Katy speaking.

To help me visualise the task ahead, I've started turning my kitchen into Ward Walks London: Mission Control.

The map, with a few new markers... First section with toilets marked

As you can see, that's one big map. I've started adding what I think are the most important points of the walk to remember...the toilets... Soon I'll be adding things like hourly targets and volunteers. More on that later.

In actual walking news, I'm back up on my feet and out on the road. Yesterday was a perfectly beautiful day and which helped the 9 miles fly past. Could do with some more weather like that to help the training.