6 weeks to go
An important part of my training has been numerical ignorance. As a metric Australian, I had no real concept of a mile. It was meaningless to me as a unit of measurement. So last year I signed up with great enthusiasm, unable to fathom 26.2 miles. 26.2 units of something didn’t sound bad at all.
It’s like when I first came to Scotland in 2003 and couldn’t comprehend the pound. "£3 for a sandwich?" I’d say, "Sold!"
But of course the danger comes when you do the conversion. "Eight dollars for a shithouse mayo-drenched sandwich!? HIGHWAY ROBBERY!" (the exchange rate was particularly rubbish at the time).
Likewise, it occurred to me recently that 26.2 miles is actually 42 kilometres. I know how far 42 kilometres is. I can relate that distance to places that I know. Suddenly the Moonwalk went from being a casual walk in the dark to: a bloody long way.
"That’s like walking from Cowra to Canowindra and back!" I spluttered to Gareth. "Why would anyone want to do that?"
"From where to where?"
The next day I was telling my Aussie friend Jenny about the Moonwalk on the phone.
"42 kilometres?" she said, "That’s like Cowra to Canowindra and back!"
Back to the training
Saturday’s walk was 14 miles and it just about took the first mile to calculate that 14 miles was 22.5 kilometres. Man. That’s soooo many numbers.
But the sky was gloomy and threatening so I trudged on regardless, trying to forget that I was walking to Canowindra.
It was a long and lonely walk; I hardly saw a soul all afternoon. Just lots of rabbits and bees. Bees are so huge in this country. Australian bees, or at least the ones I’ve been stung by, are lean and mean. The British bees are round and furry. Like cockroaches wearing bee suits.
Podcast-o-rama. Inspired by this list on Textism, I listened to The Bugle (with The Daily Show‘s John Oliver), This American Life, and Stephen Fry banging on about Oscar Wilde. All those intelligent folks made for a very smug and soothing walking experience.
The soles of my feet started to hurt around mile 10, and both knees were aching by mile 11. It wasn’t an injured kind of pain, just the ache of fatigue and cannae-be-arsed-ness. I thought I’d collapse once I got back home, but I felt revitalised enough after a bottle of water to give the kitchen another coat of paint before dinner.
14.03 miles in 03:37:28. Average pace 15:30 (3.87 mph)
All this walking makes me HUNGRY. I wouldn’t advise getting into this sort of caper if you think it’ll make you lose weight. In April I walked 78 miles, plus weekly kickboxing and Spinning and twice-weekly weight training. In between? I ate. And ate and ate and ate.
Somehow it all balanced as my weight stayed the same and my flesh is still safely contained by my jeans. But I wonder how I’d have reacted to all this training a couple of years ago, when I was still gung-ho about weight loss and scale numbers. Right now my motivation is to get fitter and stronger so I’m willing to listen to my body if it says, "GIMME FOOD!" But back then I think the raging appetite and weight fluctuations would have truly messed with my head.