Phew- I have not done an event for some time that trashed me as completely as the Millennium Ultra did last weekend! I almost felt incapable of taking care of myself… I could hardly move my legs, couldn’t get up without pulling myself up on something, had to crawl up and down the stairs… I couldn’t walk properly until Wednesday.

Luckily I had last week off work as I had intended to take my mum to Limoges in France for a couple of days, but thanks to the French baggage handlers strike our flights were cancelled and our trip was off. Determined to still take a break, we booked into a spa hotel and made a proper holiday of it, visiting the Denby pottery centre and having a short walk along the cliffs above Matlock Bath before checking in.

It wasn’t all indulgence- we did spend an hour in the little gym both days, me pushing myself a little on the bike and running at a fairly gentle pace. It was surprising how this still made my legs ache though after Sunday’s effort. The pool was small but we had it mostly to ourselves so I took advantage by practising some front crawl before topping it all off with the sauna and steam room.

My next event is the Forest of Bowland 100k challenge this coming weekend- yep, 62 miles in 24 hours over the hilly and boggy terrain of the Forest of Bowland… I am not sure about this one as I don’t think I am ready for this distance yet but when Sue persuaded me to enter it seemed like one of those good ideas at the time!

So what I should have been doing is taking it fairly easy this weekend… you know, just a gentle ten miler or so to give my body a chance to recover between events… but when Helen suggested a walk along the canal as a training walk for her Coventry Way Challenge entry it seemed like another great idea at the time. We decided to start at Grantham and follow the canal back to mine… Around 32 miles in all… as you do…

Her fella kindly dropped us off, bleary eyed, at the rather inauspicious start of the canal in the middle of a housing estate. We were soon walking through the gently rolling countryside of the Vale of Belvoir and stopped for lunch on a handy bench near Stathern, passing a memorial to the lost crew of a Lancaster Bomber which crashed nearby during the Second World War.

The canal through Grantham

After more fairly flat and easy plodding I dragged Helen into Dove Cottage Hospice for tea and cake despite her protestations regarding the time… never pass a tea room if it’s open I say, as there’s always time for cake!

We stopped for tea at Vimy Ridge Farm near Kinoulton, with its avenue of poplar trees planted as a memorial by the owner of the farm for his son, who perished in the first world war at the tragically young age of 23. Cropwell Bishop was reached as it was getting dark and from then we had what felt like a relentless trudge towards Cotgrave, broken only by frog dodging… I have never seen so many frogs at one time- they were dotted along the path, sitting bolt upright at our approach. It was an effort to avoid stepping on any!

Fancy a sit down, Spud?

We were both glad to finish- Helen had been struggling the last few miles as she couldn’t face eating anything and her energy levels were pretty much depleted. I am not aching too badly considering, but am definitely going to take it easy for the rest of the week… well, maybe just a swim session or two…

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