Moonwalk Training – 20 Miles

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.

Weather Report
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)

35 thoughts on “Moonwalk Training – 20 Miles

  1. Sounds like you’re getting plenty of water, but possibly not enough electrolytes/salts on your walk. Is the mistake I made when I was in training for the 3day event the other year. Making up one of my water bottles with Gatorade/Powerade and taking along some dried fruit, beef jerky, and nuts or trail mix helped immensely. (Sorry if that came out as assvice. Wasn’t meant to. Was commiserating about the Swollen Mitts.)

    How long till the big day now? Can you believe you actually walked twenty miles, and with the bare minimum of sookiness? πŸ™‚

  2. Thanks for the swollen hands photos. I got swollen hands during a half marathon walk and it scared me. But soon after finishing they were back to normal size. Looks like the experts aren’t clear as to what causes it, or there may be multiple causes. Either way, I will be waving my hands over my head periodically.
    PS I am still laughing about Dr. G. impersonation of your walking downhill. What a fun couple you two are!

  3. I don’t get swollen hands but my feet swell up something awful! It’s so bad cos my formerly well fitting shoes start feeling like sausage skins that I’m about to burst out of.

  4. I too get incredibly swollen hands when I walk, especially if it is hotter outside than the average temperature my body likes. Don’t know why that is.

    Anywho, you are such an inspiration. Keep up the amazing work.

  5. I concur with the first commenter–having sports drinks on my 33-mile walk last summer was a lifesaver. You gotta replace those salts; when you’re not huffing and puffing, it’s easy to forget you’re still exerting yourself.

  6. Well done DG!!!!

    Good luck with the big event!!!

    PS I understand your poor hands, I did a 10km walk (helping a friend out with training for a 100km walk) & my hands were swollen then!!!

  7. Wow I love that scarecrow!

    Also wow on how well your training is going – I would imagine that the actual event, with all the camaraderie and atmosphere, will be less painful than your lonesome training walks. So I’d say you’ve got it in the bag, lady!

    I’m baffled by the swollen hand phenomenon, but will try to remember it if I ever decide to walk a really long way, and remove my slightly snug rings beforehand!

  8. MOrning GROOVERS! cheers for your comments!

    Oh man, yer right, I know I should get some of those sporty drinks but the thought of them makes me feel ill, not used to that sweetness. It’s that conundrum over which is worse, swelling hands or feeling crook in the guts…

    i always forget that i am huffing and puffing coz i’ve got my headphones on… when i switched to the blur album i could hear my heavy breathing between the songs and was surprised to hear there was actually hard work being done. mwahaha.

    Kathryn!!! That is the most perfect description of the feet swelling! I had swollen feet to, i just forgot when i wrote the entry coz i didn’t take a photo to remind myself, how bad is that!?

    i think i am blocking out the pain otherwise i’d never get to the starting line next weekend!

  9. i feel your pain! at least i had my sis for company for our walk – felt positively drunk afterwards, could’nt walk in a straight line although i blame the sunstroke! ha! in aberdeen no less! am dreading the weekend but at least then it will be all over and we will have our weekends back again! way hay!

  10. Superwalker! that’s awesome woman, just about there!! The last photo made me cringe, it looks painful. ow

  11. Good job with the training. I get swollen hands too, especially on warmer days -I figure it is the body trying to cool its self by sending the blood to be cooled on the skin. It helps if I remember to regularly flex/move them and if they are above heart level (look goofy but I figure who cares) for a bit (holding them up looks goofy but works for me If you have a backpack you can hold you shoulder straps without anyone being the wiser).

  12. my hands swell like that too (not my feet). And I have never known exactly why.

    I would love to know what the sign said the children were actually doing.



  13. Vickie – it was Playing! I meant to include the whole word in the photo but my hand was too shaky πŸ™‚

    Donalda – those drink recipes appeal to my inner skinflint, thank you! πŸ™‚

  14. I’m so glad everyone else is commenting about swollen hands, and that you brought it up – I honestly thought I was a freak of nature!

    And I’m amused about the “Slow Children —-ing” signpost. Why have we to be careful just because the children aren’t fast?! πŸ˜‰

  15. Do they have Smartwater where you are? It’s water with electrolytes and none of the sicky-sweet flavoring crap.

    I tend to get numb and swollen hands as well…I find it’s part circulation…make sure that you’re pumping the hands and shaking them to get the blood flow working as you walk. Also, when you get done with your walk and home…lay down somewhere, where you can put your legs up the wall for 10 minutes (you’re butt should be about 4 inches from the wall… and it’s 10 minutes no less, you can go a little more if you like). What this will do is rebalance your blood flow in the body…when you get up it will make everything flow back into the proper place. It’s a little yoga trick I learned a couple of years ago and it really helps…it even gets rid of headaches 90% of the time.

    Great job on the training BTW…you’re doing marvelous!

  16. Wow, 20 miles. I am in awe. My hands swell when I run more than 3 or 4 miles, and it drives me nuts. You are going to be fantastic on race day!

  17. After my half-marathon, someone on my blog said it’d only be a matter of time before I signed up for a full marathon. Then I come read your training posts and I know that will never happen πŸ™‚ Good luck on the big run! Got a book sign for your back yet?

  18. Oy… your hand looks so swollen! πŸ™

    But you know what? You rock for doing this and continue to be an inspiration to people like me. πŸ™‚ Thanks.

  19. The way your hand is covering that sign it kinda looked like the sign read “Slow Children Dying.” I’m weird though.

  20. I thought I was going to die at the end of my 20 mile practice walk, not helped by the fact I wasn’t as sensible as you and didn’t have sun cream, and burnt like you wouldn’t believe. On the night I was dreading the 20 mile mark, and did feel pretty knackered at that point, but also at that point you know you can’t give up even though people around you start to flake. Now you have done the dreaded 20 miles you can definately make it. Hope you rest up this week.

  21. Wow … 20 miles in the head with swollen hands … ouch. Great job!

    I could barely stand to be outside this weekend with temps in the high 90s(F). 68(F) sounds lovely by comparison but I wasn’t walking 20 miles.

  22. I hear you with the excitment over glorious blue skys..nothing beats them. I had to stop and laugh at myself this weekend when I almost jumped for joy at the feeling of warmth… but I think it’s ok for us to act like fools when it’s sunny… it doesn’t happen often enough!
    You’ve got me into the walking now, mission is to walk around this entire island before I leave.. 90miles..
    sure you don’t want to come walking over this way!?!

  23. I hear you with the excitment over glorious blue skys..nothing beats them. I had to stop and laugh at myself this weekend when I almost jumped for joy at the feeling of warmth… but I think it’s ok for us to act like fools when it’s sunny… it doesn’t happen often enough!
    You’ve got me into the walking now, mission is to walk around this entire island before I leave.. 90miles..
    sure you don’t want to come walking over this way!?!

  24. Have you read Alex James’ autobiography ‘Bit of a Blur’?? Very very good!!! A favourite in my house! πŸ™‚ Graham is my favourite, hehehe.

  25. I am just in awe of your dedication. There’s no way I would spend 5 hours walking to nowhere in particular. Especially in heat, sun, and with swollen appendages. Huge props and high fives to you!!

  26. I never used to get swollen hands, but now I do sometimes. They’re weird.

    (I also get swollen feet now when I fly – I am so turning into my mother.)

Comments are now closed on all Dietgirl posts. For fresh conversation please visit me at