Well we're some four months on from that initial walk now and right at the heart of my training schedule (supposedly). I walked the walk back in 2011 with two of my lovely friends Kat and Jenny. The whole experience was beyond amazing, from the personal reasons we had for taking part, to the very intensive and demanding training, to the rather fun and exhilarating marathon walk around London during the night time hours in our decorated bras.
This year has been a different experience. Jenny isn't walking with us and to date Kat and I haven't managed any training walks together, so I'm feeling a little disconnected. Besides that the major difference this time is the fact that I am now a single parent. I cannot train as I did last time. Training isn't something that I can just 'do' as I please. This time training has to take into consideration three children who have to cycle alongside me. Miss P and the Little Lady are responsible enough to be left at home alone for short periods of time but Small Boy.......he cannot be trusted! So every time I wish to trundle on out I am accompanied by one (usually two) children who complain and fight constantly. You would not believe the energy that I have to use yelling at them to 'keep going', 'stop complaining', and encouraging them not to crash into each other. It's exhausting!!!
In the early weeks of training walking is to be leisurely. That's not busting a gut but generally meandering along at a reasonable pace, soaking up the serenity and beauty of your surroundings. If you read my January blogs you will have noted that I didn't really get to enjoy that phase but instead have been rather frantic and unrelaxed from the beginning. But 'hey ho' that is how it has to be.
Things were looking promising early on. I managed a few walks a week and was hoping to build up steadily. Nature had its own idea for dealing the cards but hey, isn't that what happens to cancer sufferers?
The divine powers that be gave me a stinking cold that morphed but lasted for five weeks. A slight drippy nose would not have been a problem but a full on snotty hooter was no fun at all so I stayed in and kept warm not wishing to over strain my poor heart.
I've been back in training now for three weeks and I'm feeling somewhat behind but confident that I shall be ready in six weeks time to strut my stuff and walk the 26.2 miles needed. Whether I manage to beat my previous personal best time of six hours is dependant on factors on the night like whether we get caught at the back of 17000 other women, or having to stop to cross roads as London doesn't sleep even in the small hours, and whether I'm actually fit enough!
Last week we tackled the remote roads within the palace grounds of the Blenheim estate. There's a good mix of flat and hilly, relatively even tracks to put me through my paces and it's a pretty safe place to take child cyclists. I had wanted to cover twelve miles but nine was my limit, restricted due to exhausted children.
Power walking long distances is an empowering experience. Some folk listen to music or pod casts along the way, but I just tend to contemplate. Last week as the going got tough and the children complained about their achy legs and how stupid I was to do such excessive training and why did I bother anyway. I found myself thinking about those who develop cancer. They don't choose to develop it. I likened the highs and lows to how life must be for them, apart from they don't have the choice to give up and everything be okay. If they choose not to fight the battle they lose the fight.
A mighty Oak. I love having the time to notice such natural beauties!
You'd think that with training things would get easier and to a certain extent they do. But even now I still get an intense burn at the front of my lower legs which hurts and lasts for approximately the first mile and I don't feel warm until the two mile point. Then there are the hot and cold moments during the walk. The weather can change considerably during one of the longer training walks.
Monday this week, I managed to walk 13 miles with two children in tow. It was sunny and bright when we set off and raining and windy when we arrived home three hours later. I do enjoy walking out on the country lanes which I usually zoom along en route somewhere. At this time of the year it is especially lovely as you get to see all manner of wildlife bumbling about in their daily routines. I find myself talking to them. They probably don't see folk walking very often.
On this particular walk I could really feel the burn firstly in the front of my legs and in the latter miles around the sides of my butt. It's good to think of the good that such a workout can do. Three hours of intense training certainly makes you hungry!
If you are able to sponsor me I would be eternally grateful. Last time I raised a staggering £500 from all you generous folk. I wonder if I can get anywhere near that amount this time?
After 9 miles!
Do let me know if you would like to join me on a walk :-)