Monday, 18 May 2009

I stepped on it (not in it)

Do you remember the scene in Forrest Gump where he starts to walk, then runs and runs across America several times? Well – I didn’t exactly do that Number 1 husband was away for the weekend and I had no other plans apart from dinner on Saturday night, I thought I would set off for a walk and see where it took me. Dear reader – I walked the 46,000 steps as you will see from the rather blurry photo of my pedometer taken propped up on the neighbour’s hedge with my phone. I still can’t quite believe it. It did take most of the day – probably about six and half hours of walking (I am slow) and another 40 minutes or so of resting/eating.

So this I have learned:

1. Even someone as unfit as I am can walk the distance.
2. Never believe the weather forecast (it did rain but not the showers forecast).
3. Hampstead Heath is the most wonderful place – I am sure that thousands of people know that but I have only ever visited parts of it, never wandered onto it without worrying where I might end up – there is every sort of terrain imaginable and even in the gloom and drizzle it is joyous.
4. Toast and black coffee is perfectly OK to eat for long walks especially if you can sit down quietly for 10 minutes and have a break. For those who are interested in trivia, I also had a roll of wine gums and two sticks of droe wors (for the non-South Africans that is a kind of dried sausage available in places where South Africans shop) and of course water.
5. You need to drink more water than you think you need especially if your legs start to feel a bit strange.
6. Unlike running (so I am told) if the legs feel wooden, sitting down for three or four minutes is great and revives you.
7. Radio 4 and the BBC World Service are worth the licence fee in themselves – I downloaded The News Quiz (Friday 8 May is the funniest programme I have ever heard). The Now Show, Business Daily, From Our Own Correspondent, Start the Week and a few more walked with me all the way.
8. It felt very surreal driving along the route that I had walked earlier in the day to have dinner with Number 1 son and family.

There was another incentive – partly thanks to the Hampstead and Highgate Express for giving STEP ON IT and me a write up which generated £100 donation to my justgiving page. It wasn’t entirely accurate as I said that I would do it “over a weekend in May” which was translated into the bank holiday weekend (the statistics he gave don’t quite add up for a three-day weekend but never mind). However, the thought that family and friends might be looking out for me next weekend was a great incentive to do it anonymously this weekend. I was quite disconcerted when he asked how I was training for the walk – umm....going for walks didn’t sound quite serious enough. Also, what is this obsession with putting one’s age in? It is clear from the photograph (see below) that I am not in the first flush of youth – does it really matter?

Please check out my (much younger!) colleague Lisa (and her blog who is power-walking STEP ON IT and training every morning at 6am. She will no doubt do it in great style and at speed. Thanks for your encouragement and I will be following your progress.

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