Training for a Long Distance Walk

As I write this, the Coast to Coast is less than a week away. Crazy! I have wanted to do this walk for so many years- and now it is almost time. All the planning, all the training have led me to this point.

I hope I’ve done enough. I think though that when you have committed yourself to a tough physical challenge there is always going to be that nagging doubt at the start line that you could have done more…

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Event Report- The Baslow Boot Bash

Phew that was a scorcher! Considering that the last time I did this event (2015) it poured all of the night before and most of the day, it couldn’t have been more different.

I had the pleasure of introducing Helen and Sue to each other and we also kept leap frogging Steve, who walked with Sue and I two years ago, and his friend Linda.

The start of the Baslow Boot Bash is just near the field which serves as a car park, but we needed to walk to the village hall to register- I think queuing to get through the cage- style gate into the grounds of Chatsworth took longer than the walk!

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A rather wet weekend in Wales…

It was the first time I have had to queue for the privilege of standing on top of a mountain. There was no view apart from cloud, mist and more cloud, but a 200 yard long stream of people had formed a line and were patiently waiting for their chance of a ‘summit selfie’. The irony is that most of them had not actually climbed the mountain.

We were on top of Snowdon- Wales’s highest peak. As it was a Bank Holiday weekend we had elected to climb the quieter Rhyd Ddu path and to descend by the Ranger’s Path. When we started our climb the weather was glorious but by the time we reached the South Ridge leading onto the summit the cloud had descended like a blanket, leaving us to traverse the (mercifully straightforward) ridge in near white-out conditions.

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A long walk in the Dark Peak

Eek! I start the Coast to Coast five weeks today!! How the heck did that happen? It felt like ages away and now it’s knocking on my doorstep…

I have been training. Back to back walks at the weekends, walking in the evenings, running up hills and hitting the gym- concentrating on inclines on the treadmill and using the summit trainer. I have had a bit of a niggle in my right Achilles though so have had to ease off a little this week- can’t risk injury now!!

Helen and I completed a long walk in the Dark Peak on Sunday. We haven’t done much walking in the Dark Peak area of Derbyshire- we both confessed it scares us a little- so when Helen found a route in a walking magazine we decided to go for it.

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Feeling Positive…

I have been feeling rather panicked about the Coast to Coast as there is so little time left! As I start walking on the last day of June, I have just six weeks from this coming Friday… that’s five good training weekends and one taper. I can’t believe that it’s come around so quickly, and feel frustrated at the training opportunities I missed through that infected cyst.

I have just over six weeks to prepare my body for 12 days of continuous walking, carrying my gear, over some tough terrain with three 21 mile days in a row… in hindsight I maybe should have booked myself a rest day but that would have further stretched my already limited budget.

However I have felt more positive this week as I’ve had a good week of training. Following on from last Sunday’s 18 mile walk I walked to work Monday with my pack, then walked home at the end of the day the long way round, climbing up to Sharphill Woods and clocking up 9 miles.

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Back into it!

I went to the nurse to have the dressing changed on my wound for the last time Friday- she pulled it off and announced that my back is now healed so I need no more dressings! This is great news- it is so lovely being able to shower properly- although she did advise me to leave it another week or so until I swim.

Of course, this means that sadly the Half Outlaw is definitely off- I should have been really building up my swimming and cycling over the past few weeks and doing some open water stuff and of course I haven‘t. This is really gutting, but the Coast to Coast in July is still very much on and I am now concentrating all of my efforts on this!

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When best laid plans and all that…

Well this is the time when I should be reaching the culmination of my training for the Millennium Ultra Way Back and the Half Outlaw… I should be running, swimming, open water swimming and cycling large distances… and what am I actually doing?

Nothing.

I certainly didn’t plan on needing surgery this week- a general anaesthetic no less- on a subaceous cyst on my back which became infected and wasn’t responding to antibiotics. They have left the wound open so that it can heal from the inside out, which means that every day for the forseeable future I need to have the dressings removed from inside the wound and the wound itself cleaned and repackaged.

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Bowland 100k- Event Report

I think it was when my foot disappeared up to my knee in peaty water for the third time within five minutes that I first accepted that this challenge wasn’t going to be achievable. I stopped and surveyed the scene- peat bogs and slippery mud as far as I could see. A hundred yards away Sue was having her own struggles, forging a path through tangled heather roots in an attempt to avoid the worst of it. It started raining again- heavy, persistent rain, and I began to wonder if we would ever make it off the fell let alone to the end…

In hindsight, it was always going to be ambitious- 100k (62 miles) over the fells of the Forest of Bowland in March. Persuaded by Sue to enter, I was slightly apprehensive as I have walked on these fells and know how boggy they can be.

I had arranged to stay with my sister and brother-in-law, who live fairly near to the start at Slaidburn, and they kindly drove me there. Prior to the event we had received very little information from the organisers, Pure Challenge, regarding the route, checkpoints etc. In response to several Facebook queries they had supplied a list of checkpoints with some rough distances between and assurances that there would be hot food at the ‘half way’ point at Dunsop Bridge. We were not given a map or route description but were assured that the route would be marked.

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Just a little training walk…

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.

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Event Report- The Millennium Way Ultra

There was no doubt about it- I was completely lost. Approaching checkpoint three my route description had finally succumbed to the relentless showers and had disintegrated into a soggy illegible pulp, and now I had taken the wrong exit out of the field.

Instead of arriving at the checkpoint marquee on the playing field at Yoxall I was faced with unfamiliar roads and had absolutely no idea how to get back on track. I looked at my watch- 5:03pm. I knew that the checkpoint closing time was 5:05pm and I had no way of finding it in time. It was looking horribly like my race was over… panicking I forced my tired body into a shambling jog- but I wasn’t even sure I was running in the right direction…

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