Whatever happened to The Proclaimers and that song ' And ay wuud wuk wun hundrid miles...' because I've got the song on the brain now and find myself singing it every time I stride out of the gate, because yes, this walking thing is really happening. I'm going to become a talking/walking/pedometer bore for a moment but I wanted to thank nanosecond for the link and encouragement a few weeks ago on this post with mention of the the trans-America virtual walk which I think one or two of us here have signed up for. You register, log your daily mileage and the map tracks your course across the USA from East Coast to West which adds extra incentive to those miles, so if anyone wants to partner me I'm 63898, and I have set up a team, dovegreywalkers.
Are we going past anyone's house yet?
A cup of tea would be lovely...
Having decided that I was not going to get one jot fitter sitting behind my desk, or an ounce lighter reading a book, this little project has given me some much-needed January motivation to get the shoes on and walk with a purpose. There's no point in me joining a gym because all I do is bypass the painful things to seek out the exercise bike that looks like an armchair, settle into it comfortably with an audio book playing on the headphones and emerge with calves and thighs the size of tree trunks (Redwoods at minimum) but little aerobic or weight-bearing fitness achieved.
So I set myself up to pass with the walking by pitching my target pitifully low but achievable at 5 miles a week, a bit like the way you used to have to 'run in' the engine in a new car (I'm just an older model with a bit of a spluttery engine) and decided I'd use the lane as my treadmill. Though treadmill, with all its connotations of repetitive boredom couldn't be further from the reality because it's no hardship to be out there enjoying the scenery. End to end it's 1.3 miles but I have conjured up all manner of permutations to achieve distance and variety each time I nip out and to my astonishment easily clocked up 40 miles through January, thus doubling my target.
Out of the gate turn left, go as far as the dip, turn round come back past the house and as far as the farm track...or turn right go as far as the farm track and back to the other end. Or when I have a little more time walk across to the little Methodist chapel and back (5000 plus steps, about 2 miles) I can ring the changes and have noticed a real difference up the hills after just a few weeks and don't they just look like little slopes when you drive them? I now know we live ON THE TOP OF A HILL. It's amazing when I can slot in 4000 paces, because I also have my Omron pedometer to guide me and which I must stop calling a pacemaker.
I bought one for Bookhound too which he cleverly tried to 'lose' on day two, but luckily for him someone found it in Morrison's and handed it in... he rang back around his footsteps just in case and there it was.
But how often do I sit and wait and sigh while my computer switches on and decides to update everything and then asks to be restarted... twenty minutes in which I now grab the shoes and power up to the top of the lane and back.
The Omron arrived and I duly set it up and went out for a trial walk, came home, 4500 paces later and announced gleefully that 34 minutes of those were indeed aerobic paces which had used up 7.6gms of fat....
'Great' said the very helpful and encouraging Kayaker, ' that's a bacon sarnie in the bank mother.'
It's all about mindset and motivation and there's something about adding in a pedometer that addresses both, making me keen to waste no opportunity in walking as often as I can. I was always the one to moan when Bookhound parked the car in the furthest corner of the Tesco's carpark and we seemed to walk miles to the entrance. Now I'm thinking we'll park at Tesco's in Plymouth and walk to Tesco's in Launceston to shop.
Once a week at least I really am going for the five miler complete with map, rucksack, water, banana, plasters, waterproofs, camera, kitchen sink, iTouch, headphones...the incredibly comfortable ones that come with the £3.50 entertainment carriage package on the train, and hook around outside my ears so that I can hear the tractors. Last week I found a new (to me) green lane which brought me out high above the Tamar and in a part I hadn't explored on foot before.
And on the way I'd listened to The Archers omnibus, two episodes of Open Book and some Desert Island Discs and I wanted to tell Sandy Shaw she might get bored with those choices after a week, but perhaps not if they mean something special to her. The only trouble with the green lanes is their unpredictability, fine and dandy for horses but very likely to be impassably muddy for humans and at one point my lovely shiny Brasher walking shoes, you know the ones that shine like conkers after years of being polished and loved, had been transformed from this
With obesity problems and all the health-related issues now ranking high on the agenda here in the UK, I can't believe that someone hasn't thought about setting up a Trans-UK virtual walking equivalent or something related to the coastal paths perhaps. Fortunately we're near enough to go and do those and have some in our sights this year, but just imagine the glorious virtual scenery the UK could be sharing around the world. As regards the Trans-American crossing, I'm sure the view will improve, but I'm here and passing Kittewan Creek apparently.
So I think Devon might be winning on scenic route points, because there's nothing nicer, as I walk my way around in a giant circle, than seeing home in the distance.
I can ring ahead from this point and say get the kettle on I'll be there in about 8000 paces....which is of course another couple of bacon sarnies in the bank.