The spectrum of pace and the quantum of distance

Cold again today, but a decent walk. Not the most energetic in the first hour or so, normally the time it takes to reach the entrance to Sholing FC from my house. More like 65 minutes today, so a mere stroll, as opposed to a proper steady paced walk. A bit nearer workmanlike down and over Itchen Bridge and then steady up Above Bar Street (including a more leisurely than normal stop for refreshment) and the straighter than straight Avenue stretch. I was concerned at the time and the fact that I had a dark fleece with dark trousers and that I wasn’t really wanting to be walking for too long in the dark. I had a couple of alternatives to improve my own safety. I could strip off to just leave my luminous orange base layer (both torso and shorts) so that no-one would fail to see me in the gloom. However, the safety might be compromised by lady drivers swooning so I instead kept on a full complement of clothes on and I turned, bewoolly-hatted, bescarved, befleeced and betrousered all in grey/black, right down Highfield Lane. Past the still relatively new Sainsburys and a long trawl up towards Mousehole Lane, West End Road, up Bitterne Road East, along Kanes Hill and then (it’s dark at this point) across the various roads surrounding the Windhover (Tesco) roundabout and then the last 2.3 miles I know so well, not far short of power-walking the first half of those just to show the traffic jammed traffic that they’re not moving at far more than walking pace.

How far is all that? Well I do use Google Maps to get a more precise measure but an initial estimate is taken from Spice’s Formula: D=3t+1, where D is the total distance walked in miles and t is the number of hours spent on the road. This also accounts for around 25-30 minutes break. Today, t=6 so I would expect around (3*6) + 1 = 19, but I don’t consider I was walking so fast overall as usual and I did have a 30 minute break (ok, no adjustment on that score) and I also mooched around The Works in Above Bar Street for a few minutes. So I would reckon 18 miles. Bah! Google Maps says a smidgen over 17.5 miles, but I’ll take that.

Reading this and other blog posts back, I notice I use a number of words as descriptors for walking pace. Perhaps the descriptors need some qualification, if not quantification. The spectrum of walking pace ranges from ‘Still’ to ‘Power-Walk’. Yes, it is possible to have a negative distance by walking backwards, and it did David Bowie no harm up the hill, so it will be all right, oo oo-oo ooo. But that’s off the spectrum, from slowest to fastest……

Still: The tin. Read. What It Says.

Drag: Very slow, a bit like being dressed as a woman, in heels, negotiating cobbled streets. That’s about as fast as it is, I would imagine. Note that I did say, “I would imagine” there – I have no empirical evidence myself.

Trawl: Pace like a young child being forced to go the dentist. Filling in the miles between proper walking.

Stroll: Comfortable pace, as if you could go faster if you really wanted, but you don’t want. Pace typical of schoolboys walking after P.E. to their ‘Double French’ class.

Amble: About the same pace as Stroll, I guess. But with a bit more gay abandon.

Steady: A bit of effort required – just about normal walking pace.

Workmanlike: A bit of a false claim here. Workmen don’t tend to walk very fast at all, they have low slung trousers and wolf whistle, traditionally, watching the ladies pass while one of their mates feigns work. But ‘workmanlike’ is just a bit quicker than normal, trying hard, as if you are a workman on a break, going to the cake shop to get cakes for yourself (and the rest of the lads).

Decent Pace: Pace as if you are attempting to get away unnoticed from the scene of an indecent crime.

Purposeful: As if you know the bus is about to come, but you are still some way from the bus stop. Walking with a purpose to catch the bus, then.

Sprint: About as fast as you can walk, without looking stupid.

Power-Walk: Undertaken mainly by women in lycra or tight-fitting track suits. A style in which buttocks move laterally and arms move longitudinally, and looks just stupid. All for show, no power-walk lasts for more than about 20 minutes. No serious distance walker ever power-walks.

So that’s it. Next time I say I kept up a decent pace, just have that in mind.

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