Thursday, 23 November 2006


Given a notional start date of 1st March, I have fourteen weeks to get into some sort of shape for this walk. The route planning is coming on okay, and this determines my setting off day as I have to meet the start date for the Rab TGO Challenge on the west coast of Scotland.

But, fourteen weeks is all there is left to get into some sort of shape.

I say ‘some sort of shape’ as the first week of the actual walk should knock me into proper fitness. The shape I am talking about is the shape that stops you from picking up injuries. The human body doesn’t like big changes. This old body of mine currently enjoys sitting on the same bit of the settee most nights watching the telly with a nice bottle of red. Indeed, the settee is getting to like it too – it has moulded itself to my bottom and invites me to take up residence. I know the dishwasher calls too, but the settee always wins out.

My body is like the settee. Sort of comfortable, well padded, a bit worn here and there, with a few worrying lumpy bits, corners knocked about a bit.

So how do I drag it from this domestic bliss and transform it into a lean mean walking machine?

There is nothing like a walk. And this body has done nothing like a walk since last May’s Challenge. Well, to be truthful, when I decided that the Big One was ‘on’ I did drag it round the local walk a few times. In the last three months all I have managed to walk is seventy three miles. ‘Seventy Three Miles?’ I hear you say? You might be questioning the seventy three miles in a way as to say – ‘why only seventy three miles? Now that’s what any nice person would have thought. However there are one or two out there whose thoughts went something like ‘Seventy three miles? You know it is seventy three miles? How do you know it is seventy three miles?’

There’s the rub. There are those of us out there who know we have walked seventy three miles in the new boots and those who just don’t care! How can you not care? These uncaring people also do not know where they are in the year. As I write this, this fine evening, I know we are in the darkest 56 days of the year. Doesn’t this matter to you at all??? And when I say the last three months, I mean since 26th August, so not quite three months…

But, back to the point of all this. Seventy three miles might not seem like a lot of training for a one thousand six hundred mile continuous walk, (written like that it sounds so much longer than 1,600 miles) but I reckon for now it isn’t too bad. Okay, there’s work to do. The point is, what I think I need to do is to get the soft tissue and the firmer stuff (bones?) used to the idea of walking with half a house on my back so it is not a huge shock to it all. Racing off like a hare for those three months past would have been like shouting and screaming at the soft bits and might well have frightened the living daylights out of them. Bimbling along like my tortoise has just been having a quiet chat with the softies, encouraging them to come out of their slumber and also to have a word with the hard boys to see if the would like to come along too.

So next month I shall be doing a little bit more. I promise.

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