2 weeks to go
Twenty mile haiku
Known in metric as
thirty-two kays. But to all,
a bloody long way
10 miles out on the cycle track then ten miles back. I didn't count the half-mile walk from home to the path this time, since I struggled with the maths last week.
HOT! HOT! HOT!
Well, alright. It wasn't hot. It was about 20 degrees (68F). Stop laughing, my fellow Australians. Do I mock when you put on scarves coz it's 12 degrees? Seriously, I'm pathetic in the sun these days and deserve to have my Oz passport revoked. Just try to understand what an alarming sensation it is to see this weird pale blue stuff above your head. 20 degrees can feel positively balmy, especially if you're walking all day long. The epidermis sizzles in shock and you start muttering, Walk faster! Faster! Before the skin cancer gets you!
So that is what I did. I banged out mile after mile, glopping on more sunscreen every hour and weeping stingy sunscreeny tears. The bike path was 70-30 split of sun and shade, so it was like interval training – charging through the sunny parts then easing off in the less treacherous shady bits.
The first ten miles were okay. I sipped water regularly and felt pretty good. Hot and sweaty, but good. My feet ached in the usual tired-but-not-too-hurty way. I stopped to take a picture of this delightfully retro scarecrow.
I say old chap! Get the devil away from my cabbages!
I've heard about the phenomenon of swollen hands during long walks and finally experienced it myself on Saturday. This was mile 11 when I had to loosen my heart rate monitor by two notches because my wrists had ballooned.
Losing the plot
Maybe my fatigued brain is failing me as I'm writing this five days after the event, but I don't think the 20 miler was all that bad until the last four. I was hardly jumping for joy but I had some great podcasts and almost tuned out the fact that I was in motion. Plus, I was worming out of painting the living room. Poor Gareth was slaving over the skirting boards while I strolled along, eating Mars Bars.
But something pinged in my brain when I saw 4 miles spray painted on the cycle path. It hit me that I'd been walking for four long hours and had at least another hour to go. My body hurt and I was all woe and melodrama. This is the longest training walk ever. In fact, this is the longest walk I've ever done in my life. BOO!
And I was thirsty. I'd drunk plenty of water already but very specifically wanted a glass of orange and passionfruit juice from a cafe back in Australia. And I was hungry, but all I had left was a wilted peanut butter sandwich.
I got strangely weepy at the 3 mile mark. How was it that a couple hours early I was all, "Yay! Only 11 miles to go!" and now three puny miles seemed like walking to Jupiter?
Then at 2 miles my shoulders were agony (wtf!?) and I tragically ran out of podcasts. Nooo! I dispensed my emergency cheery-up tunes, The Best of Blur. There's No Other Way! Damon sang. No shit. The jaunty tunes felt like mosquitoes spitting in my ears but at least got me moving and thinking, lets get this miserable stinker done.
Everything hurt for the last mile but I stayed ahead of the beat in Girls and Boys. It was the quickest one, just under 14 minutes, as I adopted an Olympic walker style – arms pumping, nostrils flaring, generally looking like I had a stick up my butt.
My legs turned to lead as soon as I finished. It took 11 minutes to limp that extra half-mile home. I nearly called Gareth to pick me up but I think my fingers would have been to swollen to press the right buttons.
When I got home all I could do was slump in my chair, whinge incoherently and wait for my hands to deflate. My normally too-big wedding band was stuck fast.
I am so glad that's over. Now there's just over a week til the big night. And then after that I shall avoid all forms of walking as much as possible. Rickshaws all the way.
20 miles (32 km) in 04:56:52. Average pace 14:50 (4.04 mph)