Beat The Clock

Often walking is a panacea for negativity, providing the chance to just be alone and rationalise, while burning off a few calories and releasing endorphins. I did need a walk today, having skipped last Sunday, but on balance there are many more good things than bad to think about for me at the moment. Matt’s and Yaya’s degree results were fantastic news, work is the positive sort of challenging, and even a cricket defeat couldn’t trouble me too much today, with a more positive feel to events than is often the case.

I enjoy the freedom to walk at my own pace but just occasionally there are other commitments and an appointment late on Sunday afternoon did mean that I had a definite finishing time. I had to aim to be back home by 3:45pm, or at the very latest 4pm. Now I am not an early bird, and it is one of the more remarkable things about my long walk that I was able to cram 238 miles into the first two weeks, in mid- to late-February, when the sunset is still before 6pm. There were a number of days with 20+ miles (including the longest of 26 miles: Carhampton to Bridgwater on 28 February) when it was a struggle to finish in the light, and early starts are hard enough for me, even without considering the tiredness from previous days’ walking.

So it sounds a bit pathetic for me to say how pleased I was to start out today at 10:20am. Even glancing at my Facebook page made me see other friends who had already run 5km or 10km or further before that time. One had even risen at 4am to do a 5km run on Southampton Airport runway! I should add that that was an organised event and not just an invasion past airport security. So, for me, 10:20 to 3:45. Basically, five hours walking plus 25 minutes break.

The sea air always seems to do me good and the weather was sufficiently breezy to be near perfect conditions. With only the Sun on Sunday available as reading material, my coffee break at least wasn’t going to strain my brain too much, and 25 minutes was probably about right. I stretched my legs into a speed walk along the sea front and racked up the miles in Lee on Solent and towards Gosport. Though I was very much in the zone today, I always felt that I had to keep one eye on the clock, mentally working out how long I had left and what was reasonable. I turned back towards home and was happy to go away from the road for a mile or two with some quiet surroundings before I reached Stubbington.

I did need some fluid and sustenance now and have found drinking fair amounts of milk can really help. I mooched around the shop’s shelves and found the milk and flavoured milk. Strawberry is my preferred flavour but a ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ one caught my eye. I thought I’d try that and was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was, despite considerable trouble opening the carton. I gulped it all down but I did wonder whether a 550 calorie intake in about a minute and a half was wise. No problem in burning that off but it did give me a rather heady feel for the first 15 or 20 minutes after that. I would have to kick on to make 3:45 but 4 o’clock was more realistic.

Now I’m sure that everyone here has had the experience of travelling somewhere, whether driving, running, cycling or walking, of mentally working out whether they are on time or going to make a deadline. There could well have been quicker cut-throughs for me but I knew the simple route is often best. My drop-deadline was 4 o’clock and I walked briskly up from Stubbington to the Titchfield Gyratory. At various stages I checked the time:

3:07 Titchfield Mill

3:18 Holiday Inn roundabout

3:28 Argos

3:32 Halfords

Yes, I was going to make 4 o’clock, and at the point at which I know is one mile from my house, the time was 3:40. You might be thinking that the rest was easy but though I was rattling along at about 15 minute mile pace, there were four roads to cross, all busy junctions, two on roundabouts, and another with traffic lights. And though 4 miles an hour is often cited as ‘walking pace’ you should try it for an extended period, or after you’ve already clocked up 15+ miles! The junctions served to delay and break rhythm but the last mile was done in dusted in a rapid 16 minutes. 3:56, quick shower, two big glasses of squash, and off….

It’s gonna hurt in the morning, but 18.5 miles. Very good indeed.

Of course, speed walking is not really my thing, it’s distance, and sustained over a long period. I really am in serious training now for the 100km (62 miles) September event. Thank you for all those who have sponsored so far. My target is to raise £1,000 for the Rocky Appeal. Details of the charity are within the link, and you can donate either through Just Giving: or by text SBOY80 followed by the amount, e.g. SBOY80 £10 to 70070.



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