Time to step up and get some miles in my legs. Problem is that I have had an achy back in the last couple of days after a long return train trip to Cheltenham on Thursday. A possible factor too is that I have had less milk in the last few weeks while I have been having smoothies for breakfast. While this does give me the opportunity to have lots of lovely fruit and some other ingredients that I would normally shy away from (most vegetables and even a few nuts), the less milk might be not helping my bones. I have had very few issues with my previously troublesome kidney, which I have, in my mind at least, put down to too much milk and calcium in my diet, but I need to find a good balance.
As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about on a day that was dry until the final few minutes of my walk. From home straight to Bitterne, down to Woolston, over the Itchen Bridge, a coffee stop in Southampton, up to Portswood, and through the side streets to the University. This was where I studied for over four years in the late 1980s / early 1990s and so any trip there does bring back memories, though it has changed immensely over the intervening 24 years. The little house which we Social Statistics PhD students had in University Road is long gone and the whole campus is very much updated to the 21st century. I passed close to where there used to be a convenience shop in Burgess Road, and a regular for me and some of my fellow students to pick up a sandwich at lunchtime. It was run by two old bats (as we termed them) who frowned and tutted whenever one didn’t have the exact change to hand. They have long since left the scene and there is now a row of university buildings with a book store and a couple of banks.
After a brisk walk down Burgess Road and the first section of Stoneham Lane, I crossed the main road and through the Swaythling arch, taking the most direct route home from there. While yesterday I had considered around 15 miles the maximum likely distance, I managed almost bang on 19 miles without any adverse effects, at least yet. A work colleague asked me recently how I recovered from these walks and I have a reasonably routine routine:
Walk through the front door, remove boots, (often) rush for the toilet, get myself a water-based drink and sit down for 5 minutes, inspecting my feet for any damage. If I am feeling a bit weak or hungry I may have a slice or two of toast, normally with either jam or bovril. Then I go to Google Maps to confirm the distance that I think I’ve walked – I have an amazingly accurate feel for the distance and I am rarely more than 1 mile out, especially using my magic formula of D=3T+1, where D is the distance in miles, T is the number of hours (incorporating 30 minutes break). Today I had been out from around 11:15 to about 17:25, so I would calculate that as somewhere near 19.5 miles, but I had little in the way of speed walking and I appeared to spend more than the usual amount of time waiting to cross roads.
Carrying on, I then go and have a shower – I have never found it comfortable to do this straight after getting home, partly because it is better to warm up slowly first. I will put on clean clothes (or sometimes even pyjamas and a dressing gown) and sit at the PC to write something on my blog. The blog has become almost obsessional; I am often wondering what to write while I am out walking. By this time, I am ready to eat though I will not tend to eat a meal for at least an hour and a half after getting in. I now almost never eat anything after 8pm in any case.
So I guess I am now at the “ready to eat” stage of recovery…….in fresh clothes and not pyjamas in case you are wondering…….