Tag Archives: walking

In which I walk more than I think I do

7 Jun

This is the part where I do my bit for the “annual festival of excuses” aspect of Juneathon. Well, someone has to right?

So while the rest of you were out pounding the pavements yesterday, returning on your endorphin highs, I was pounding the keypad of my waterlogged blackberry trying to bring it back to life.

When I’m running alone I need music, or else there is no running. So when the BB gave up the ghost yesterday there was no music, and no running.

There was also no time for the gym, so I have been forced to scrape the exercise barrel and am pleasantly surprised by what I’ve found.

Most days I take a bus to and from work, walking to the bus stop. Having plugged in the route to distance map tools website I am amazed to learn that this is a round walking trip of 2.2miles. Who knew?

So yesterday my Juneathon exercise was a 2.2mile walk, but it feels like a hollow victory so I’m off for a proper run now accompanied by a working BB.


Skylon, history and hangovers

25 Jan

Running was not on the agenda yesterday, not even slightly.

Boyfriend and I had been celebrating the night before and, truth be told, had become intoxicated.

If it’s any consolation as I sipped my fresh grape and ginger muddled martini shaken with vodka, Manzana verde, fresh lime and apple juice in Skylon overlooking the Thames on the South Bank I did think of Janathon.

Unfortunately not in a “I’ve got to run tomorrow, so this is the last cocktail” way, but instead I was trying to remember exactly what Highway Kind wrote in his fascinating blog post about the Skylon art installation, the Festival of Britain and Winston Churchill.

So Sunday arrived along with my hangover and other half wasn’t looking lively either, but because Janathon waits for no man we got the Walking London book out and set off to explore Chelsea.

He lives there at the moment, but this is a short-term arrangement, so it seemed like a good opportunity to explore Chelsea’s nooks and crannies before he moves on.

The three mile walk started in Sloane Square and looped around past the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where we saw several smart-looking Chelsea Pensioners going about their business, down to Battersea Bridge, along the embankment and then wound back to the King’s Road.

I’d forgotten how densely packed the history of the city is – we could barely move for blue plaques and statues.

Highlights of the walk included the home of one of my favourite novelists George Eliot, the church of critic of Henry VIII and devout Catholic Thomas Moore and the site of his former residence Crosby Hall (anyone who read and loved Wolf Hall will understand why this is so exciting) and the Japanese Cherry Tree in Roper’s Garden dedicated to Koizumi Gunji, who the plaque informed me was the father of British Judo. How Janathon.

The Chelsea Physic garden is every inch the Secret Garden, tucked away behind high walls among the mews, but still plays a role today in modern medical and botanical research. It was created in 1673 by Sir Hans Sloane and the Society of Apothecaries. Sir Hans wasn’t a bad advert for his herbal remedies – he died at the ripe old age of 92, which must have been something of a medical marvel in 1753.

We stopped also to contemplate the idea of Margaret Damer Dawson, a founder of the Women Police Volunteers, a female task force created in 1914 to control the behaviour of young women.

Cheyne Walk had the most varied and impressive claims to fame – you can read some of them here – but King’s Road takes the biscuit in the sheer extravagance stakes. It sounds obvious now I type it, but it was initially only the King’s Road – no plebs allowed – and acted as a means for the royals to drive to Kew without having any upsetting encounters with the great unwashed until 1830.

So to recap: Three miles, dozens of pub quiz facts and zero raindrops – I declare Sunday a success.

Sunday sunshine

17 Jan

Eventually the hangover subsided and we were able to leave the flat and the city centre.

As the sun was shining Sophie took me to the seaside for a bracing walk in the fresh air.

We drove out towards Bangor and then joined a multitude of dog walkers and runners who were all making the most of the beautiful coastal path.

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The route winds in and out of bays, up and down hill and as such the perspective and views are constantly changing.

Sauntering along chatting and watching the ferries bob in and out of Belfast we’d soon blown all the cobwebs away and walked four miles without realising it.

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 1:15:00
Pace: Sunday stroll

The beauty of small things

12 Jan

Not all days can be marvellous, as this one proved.

In the absence of greatness sometimes you have to make do with simple pleasures and small victories.

Today these included: Finding the A to Z which I thought I lost, drinking a litre of water, getting paid my expenses, hearing from Kev and Han that they liked their blog post and walking home without the need for gloves, scarf and woolly hat.

Liverpool A to Z

Not a map, but a victory

This is not life in the fast lane, it’s not even Janathon in the fast lane. Still it is Janathon – I walked the long way round and it totalled 1.8 miles which in my book counts towards the cause.

The walk itself was uneventful and dark and I had no moments of epiphany as I trundled along. It was a bit like someone had put a hover nozel to my right ear and sucked out my brain, leaving nothing more than the phrases “tum ti tum” and “isn’t it mild?” rattling around behind.

Needless to say I’m looking forward to a proper run and some flashes of inspiration tomorrow. A good night’s sleep is in order.

Distance: 1.8 miles
Time: 0:25:00
Pace: Bumble


8 Jan

My brain probably did the lion’s share of today’s Janathon exercise because although I managed another 1.5 mile walk my mind wandered much further.

For the first time since Tuesday evening I’m starting to feel myself again to the point where I might be – whisper it – better.

The route was the same as yesterday, only today’s mission was to get a copy of the Times (their paywall is working in the sense that now it’s not free online I buy an actual copy) and more milk to feed my tea habit.

While I’ve been sick I’ve been merrily ignoring NHS Direct’s advice not to drink it because it’s a diuretic. I reason that the issue of tea-associated dehydration would pale into insignificance when stacked against the inevitable caffeine withdrawal symptoms I’d suffer.

To get to the newsagent I walk across a field popular with dog walkers. Today being a sunny Saturday and all the snow melted they were out in force – my favourites were a pair of raggamuffin twin terrier pups who were all scruffy ears and toilet brush tails.

But when did dogs start wearing coats? It wasn’t even that cold and they all had them on – bar one old labrador who was so obese I suspect it’s owner couldn’t find a pet store stocking XXXL.

One poor spaniel looked mortified by the embarrassing red tartan get-up it’s owner had lovingly inflicted on it. Recently someone described their friends to me as their “urban family” – the family they would have if they got to choose their own relatives. The thought occurred to me as I looked into the spaniel’s sheepish eyes when you’re a dog you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your owners.

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At this point I caught myself day-dreaming about a blog post dedicated to dogs and realised my thoughts had completely wandered off by themselves.

This pleased me greatly because when I start running again if I can substitute my default thought pattern of “expletive-Ow!-expletive-Ow!-expletive-expletive-Ow!” with more diverting ruminations on what to write in that evening’s Janathon blog I might fare better.

By the time I got to the newsagent I was already trying to remember Wordsworth quotes – he is probably the most famous “poetwalker” whose work was directly inspired by his own rambles.

And he’s not the only one, walking and writing are old bed fellows. Perhaps Janathon is just a very modern twist on an age-old tradition – although I can’t quite see Baudelaire in a pair of Nikes.

Distance: 1.5 miles
Time: 0:20:15 (minus a minute to coo over the terrier puppies)
Pace: respectable

Giving it some welly

7 Jan

Drugs. That’s what it took to get me out of the house for day one* of Janathon.

I’m still feeling rotten with this unshakeable fluey/gastro/fever thing so my Janathon exercise for today was a brisk walk to the chemist in a snow storm.

I layered up and then layered up some more and then dug out the wellies as the snow flakes were falling thick and fast.

Just as I was about to leave the house I remembered the amazing hatphones so went back for them too. For those of you scratching your head and mouthing the word “hatphones?”  they were an inspired gift from my friend Portia.

It’s what you get when you cross a bobble hat and its cosy ear flaps with a pair of headphones – perfect for snowy weather.

In the pharmacy I was cheered by the sight of people who looked more ill than me, until the thought dawned that I was probably inhaling their germs so I made a swift exit with what will hopefully prove to be healing medication.

As I plodded up the hill towards home I saw paramedics scooping some poor sod into an ambulance and thought “I hope it’s just a nasty sprain”.

The playground of the primary school near my home was completely empty as I passed it, which seemed a shame as there was so much potential for snowball throwing and snowmen building. Instead there were two middle-aged men in high-vis vests probably worrying themselves about health and safety.

Distance: 1.5 miles
Time: 0:25:35
Pace: trudge

*technically day seven


6 Jan

In a fit of fluey delirium I have signed up for Janathon.

I know I’m six days late to the party and have spent the past two days under a heap of blankets with a raging temperature – but why miss out on all the fun just because of that?

My sickbed update is that at 4pm today I was able to eat a plain digestive biscuit without suffering any unmentionable side effects and my temperature seems to be held in check by the paracetamol.

Therefore I’m of the opinion that it’s a 48 hour bug whose time is almost up – and better still NHS Direct agree. I had a day off scheduled tomorrow anyway, so assuming I continue to feel better my grand plan is to eat breakfast and then go outside (for the first time in two days) and get some fresh air with a very easy one mile circuit of my home – walking.

I’ve checked the rules and walking is permitted, and frankly I think for the sake of my mental health I need a change of scenery. If I walk in a circle around the house I will never be more than two minutes away should I have a funny turn, but I don’t think I will.

I’m bored, ravenously hungry and need something to look forward to. Hello Janathon.

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