I remember one conversation with our son Matt when he was about 9 or 10 that started with a question from him: “Why do I have to go to training, Dad? Why can’t I just go when we have a match?” I explained that it was about keeping fit, building team spirit and getting to know the way each other play, so that one can fit in to the style and predict what might happen next in a match. For some reason I thought about that conversation today, and why it was important to go out and get yet more miles under my belt, and it certainly is about keeping fit, but still about how my body copes, the relationship with my feet and just keeping a positive mental attitude. The intention was mostly just to tick over with 15 miles or thereabouts.
It was warm and a bit sticky today and it was just about that temperature which says “the shady side of the street” to me. And I was able to do that pretty well, and that is normally most important between about 1:30 and 4. But even at 5 and after, it was still hot enough to be minded to find some shade now and again and, of course, to ensure that I was taking in sufficient fluid.
I have found a couple of colleagues who have helped me resolve some of the irritation and mind games that my mind appears to be playing with me. Sometimes just talking and rationalising things hits the spot. So I wasn’t so troubled that I needed a walk for that reason but it was a case of ticking over. It had helped too that my cricket team had secured a much-needed win but it was such a tense final hour or two that I had a bit of backache, neckache and a slight headache, the last named returning this morning. The game was much on my mind for quite a bit of today, trying to relive the good points and those moments that always make me laugh (like the 16 year old saying he was going to offer one of the opposition out for a fight after the game – I don’t think he actually did, as it turns out).
The walk itself was one of those where I had no set route and often turned this way or that on a whim, eventually reaching Millbrook Station having taken a previously unknown shrubbery-lined path parallel to the railway line in Southampton. Millbrook is not an area I know well at all, and I turned up Foundry Lane, which was pretty quiet until I heard the voice of a woman bawling, “get your f****** arse in here now”, so I guess it’s not a much sought after neighbourhood for first-time buyers! I took some fairly random turns, knowing that I would end up in Shirley (ok, ok) and take a walk in the general direction of home. Having coffeed (is that actually a verb?) after an hour, the one-stop strategy meant five hours afterwards, with only a brief break to get sustenance about halfway through that. Note that my 100km walk in September has seven stops, not including the finish!
So, ticking over, no not quite 15, but 20.5 miles. It so often happens that I walk far more than I originally planned. I must just love it, but I won’t be walking more than the requisite 100km in September, that’s for sure.