Sunday, 29 January 2012

Days 32, 33 and 34

On Friday I had a busy day so got up and set off at 7.15am. It was still dark as I rounded the end of our street, and in the shadows I saw a dark figure looming, a terrifying shape lurking in the darkness... a fox! Not just any fox though, an urban fox - the fierce street wise cousin of the sweet gentle fluffy orange country fox. This fox was lankey and rangey, with dull brown fur and a steely look in his eye. I stopped mid stomp, a few feet away from him. He looked at me, I looked at him. He tensed and I flinched, ready to run from an attack, but he must have been more scared of me than I was of him and after an intense couple of seconds he darted off and disappeared into someones garden. My mysterious headache was persisting so I was grateful to have the streets to myself, no chattering chimp children or cold commuters careering around or cars kicking up a fuss in my way. Hearing the thud thud thud of every step echoing in my head I plodded round resolutely but uncomfortably. My will for it all to be over spurred me on and I completed my painfull efforts in 44 minutes.
Friday night I went to Kings Lynn for the Saturday, and in preparation for that I had packed all my walking equipment. Saturday morning rolled around and I pulled on all my clothes, which is when I realised I'd forgotten my trainers. Undeterred even with this pesky headache still hanging around I decided to give it a try in my pumps, and so set off (looking utterly ridiculous in leggings fluffy socks hoody and ballet pumps) on my Kings Lynn route - to the Retreat and back you'll recall from earlier blogs. So instead of stompt-stomp-stomp I was more in the pattern of step-shuffle-shoe falls off-step-shuffle-shoe falls off, but still maintaining a decent pace. About a mile in I tripped and scuffed my shoe, only to see my toe appear through the front of my shoe. I stopped to examine the extent of the damage, and as I wriggled my foot a few more toes burst through the flimsy material. Deterred now, having completed 1 mile in 16 minutes in a bizarre fashion, I turned round and limped back to Martys.
Today my head was beginning to do my head in by continuing to hurt, but I still went to our rugby match. The good news is we won 71 - 5, the bad news being that I ended up zooming to hospital after the match in an ambulance, going on to be diagnosed with concussion, and told I'll need to lay off the rugby for at least a week, and to take it easy on all excersise. Therefore I'll declare tomorrow a rest day in advance, though it may have to turn into a rest week... Damn you stupid head, I have walking to do!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Days 30 and 31

Yesterday we won again (this is getting to be something of a habit) 20 - nil, and I believe I did sufficient running around scrumming an jumping on people (as is the nature of rugby) to equal something close to the nature of a 4 mile walk.
True to my word in my earlier blog I kept my drinking to a minimum last night and was up and about reasonably early (by which I mean 10.30) after seeing one hungover housemate off to work and with the other asleep in bed I set off. Today I have a headache, which is bizarre considering how little I drank last night, and so although there were very few children chavs or commuters blocking my circuit I still suffered with every step. I maintained my time of 45 minutes though so can only assume no real harm has been done, and now am off for a lie down. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Day 29

Disaster has struck! I hope shin sprains or whatever has been ailing Dad aren't hereditary, as I've been struck down with twinges in the older lower leg (left) today. I've decided to call an emergency rest day today as I have a rugby match tomorrow, and I promise I'll make it up by not having my usual rest(/hangover) day on Thursday. Dads working today too so today is something of a failure for the fight, unless you count the stellar performance that Eddie is bound to put in (which I don't) So I won't be posting tomorrow but hopefully I'll have some success to report Thursday, unless I have to have my leg amputated, which at the moment it feels like I may have to...

Monday, 23 January 2012

Days 27 and 28

Good news; you'll all be pleased to know that Dad recovered from the many mojitos! However he's had another bout of shin strangles so completed his most recent 4 miles in 1 hour and 20 minutes, good try Dad, he is 51 you know!
Yesterday we won our rugby match 105 - nil, so I allowed myself a day off walking in celebration. So today with the pain of day-after-rugby (and day-after-day-after-6-mile-walk) I was ready to get back to my London route. Today has been a bit of a mad dash, following a morning of uni I rushed back to the Isle of Dogs to fit in a quick lap before I go to rugby training tonight (so apologies for this rushed entry) The more astute amongst you will recognise the fact that setting ofv at this time places me in the realm of double buggied doom, but luckily I was late enough that the majority of little darlings had been collected, and I could dodge the stragglers> Short on time as I knew I was, I still managed to fit in a quick pose on our doorstep with my Lucozade, for the benefit of our neighbour (who expressed no interest whatsoever but thats not the point) Ever the athlete I decided to take aforementioned Lucozade with me, to sip actively as I've seen real people partaking in real excersise do. Fairly soon it became apparent to me that the bottle was weighing me down though, and as I huffed and puffed along, glugging from it like it was some sort of magic walking potion. I finally accepted that it was more of a hinderance than a help and jettisoned it into a bin. On my mad dash this afternoon then I did dash indeed, returning home (thank god the neighbour wasn't around to see the state of me then!) in 43 minutes, my personal London best. Maybe I should keep myself under time pressure in future, or maybe that will just give me a heart attack; I of all people know that excersise should be approached with caution.
I almost forgot Eddie, he and Dad tackled Roseberry Topping yesterday with modest success I'm told, and with regards to walking, hes probably ready to represent Britain foe power walking in the Olypmics by now> There's still time for me to shove him off a mountain...

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Day 26

Wanting to make the most of my time in the countryside (I'm heading back to London this afternoon) I thought I'd try a six mile walk on for size; or in this case speed, and stamina. If Dad can do them then so can I. Dad had indulged himself with 2 mojitos last night, because he's fruity like that, and so was not in much condition to move anywhere, and by 10.45 Ed was still in bed, so I collected the dog's lead again, deciding to give him one last chance, and thinking that I might need him to pull me home a few miles in, and set off.
Today I was more focussed than ever before, pushing myself to the max. Brian and Steves 4 mile an hour pace dictated that it should take me and hour and a half to complete this, and knowing that Dad had produced such times as 93 minutes, my competitive juices were flowing. As I was leaving Mam had advised an extra fleece, describing the weather as "quite windy". It was indeed quite windy, and I appreciated the extra layer... for about the first 5 minutes, after which I quickly became too hot, and began relying on that quite windy wind to blow the sweat off my extra sweaty face (attractive I know, but if you're not used to this sort of mental imagery by now you're reading the wrong blog darlings). I kept my head down and marched. At the 2 mile normal turnaround point the dog hesitated, I could see his little doggy mind processing my movements as I trundled on, like a long haul lorry "Has she gotten confused, this is where we go home!" he wimpered but trotted dutifully after me. Turning round a mile later having conquered new territory I was jubilant, that wasn't so bad! Homewards I strode feeling chipper, until I completed the fourth mile. At this point my body expected to collapse on the sofa, but we were still 2 miles shy of home. The only way I can describe that fifth mile is hell. Absolute hell. Reaching the marker that told me I was only a mile from home now though I got some sort of second wind; the dog was trudging at this point and far from him assisting me, the Rudolph to my Santa of walking that I had imagined, it was me dragging him back over the threshold of home. 1 hour 24 minutes. Thats 84 minutes, 9 minutes faster than Dad and 6 minutes faster than the great Brian and Steve! However there's a chance I'll never walk again; which bodes well for my rugby match tomorrow; I'll let you know how that goes, and if Dad ever recovers from the mojitos....

Friday, 20 January 2012

Days 23, 24 and 25

After 3 days I'm sure you're all biting your nails in apprehension, but never fear I'm still here! On Wednesday we won our match 68 - nil so I consider that good excersise, and yesterday I'm afraid after some rough scrumming the day before (ok ok and some heavy drinking the night before) I wasn't much good for anything, so there was a rest day (thankyou Brian and Steve for inventing those!)
Today I'm back up north for Mams birthday - happy birthday mam - and so this morning she had a delightful birthday early morning with cards and a cup of coffee thrown at her before Dad went to work and I leashed up the dog for my walk. When I laced up my walking boots it felt like years rather than weeks since I'd last worn them and they were heavy! I quickly forgot any feelings of fond nostalgia I'd had for the dog too as he hauled me along. When I first started walking in London I commented how much easier it all is on pavement, and so the reverse was true once I got back into open country; boots weighing me down like I had 2 blocks of lead strapped to my feet, and the inclines making my legs burn, I was transported back to my first attempts at the effort. But al least I was back in the countryside; no children pointing and laughing, birds singing, no traffic... what on earth was that noise?! It was a van, and not just 1 van in fact but 2. 2 vans, on the walkway; WALK way, not VAN way, yet there they were, blocking my path. Durham County Council, what was going through your heads when you dispatched these vans to block my route? I'm struggling enough without you making it worse! "Morning" van driver 1 had the audacity to call as I stomped past, if looks could kill the 1 he got back from me would have had him 6 feet under, and he retreated behind his van to get on with whatever he was doing. I would have been terrified too if I was him I suppose, innocently getting on with my job (ridiculous and inconveniently located as it was) to then be borne down on by an angry huffing puffing tomato woman. Vans aside however I found that I did enjoy the country air, and became re-accustomed to the boots (and to the dog being an idiot, and the hills...) and got home in 59 minutes, so I'm happy still, and London hasn't done me too much harm.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Day 22

Today after a morning of uni I undertook my first lunchtime London walk, setting off at 1pm, with sun shining, birds singing, and mercifully all the delightful little children at school (although walking past playgrounds full of kids on their dinner break is like walking past the monkey house at a zoo) The streets were empty and I felt like I owned the Isle of Dogs, until the offices of Canary Wharf opened for lunch and the commuters I had scooted past days before came pouring out. I was battling the tide of sark suits and my momentum dropped, however luckily they all trickled off into pret-a-mangers and starbucks quickly enough and the streets were mine again. To the tune of monkeys chattering, sorry I mean children playing, I stomped on. If this was a chick-lit novel (which will obviously become a best seller after the blockbuster starring Scarlett Johanssen/Jo Brand as me, following the failure of the proposal of the Madam Tomato childrens TV series) by now, three weeks in, I'd have discovered my inner love for walking (and probably have been getting the eye from some chiselled but shy male jogger that I pass every day but niether of us have the courage - or in my case the puff - to speak to each other, until one day I trip and he catches me, and we gaze into each others eyes and the rest is history... but I'm getting off topic) Anyway, after three weeks, I should have discovered my inner love for walking and every step should be like dancing over clouds. It's not like that. I suspect it never will be like that. I haven't magically dropped to a size 8 and there are no Orlando Bloom look alikes making eye contact with me as we pound the pavement together, but it is all getting a bit easier. I completed my efforts in 45 minutes again today so everything is progressing smoothly.
Dads training had been sporadic but successful in my absence in its own way, he veers from 4 miles in an hour to a couple of days of with the occasional 6 miler thrown in. Today was 6 miles in an hour and a half, so a good show by the old duffer (he is 51 you know!) I'm sure Ed is sprinting round South Sheilds faster than cars nowadays (smug long legged giant git) so everyones doing well.
Now I'm off to Waitrose for some quaills eggs for me Mam, because they have right posh stuff in that London the likes of which we up north can barely comprehend. Got a rugby match tomorrow so this is a bit of cliffhanger until Thursday for a double bill on our endevours, so look forward to that.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Day 21

A new week equals a new energy for me. Recapturing some of the gumption I had on Friday afte rmy weekend of varied excersise styles (yes I just referred to shopping as an excerise style) I was keen as mustard; the keenest of all the condiments I'm told, and was on my way by 8.20am. I was aching in the traditional day-after-a-rugby-match places (i.e evrywhere) but I steeled myself and limped form my bed. The cold snap that has hit has been affecting my fellow challengers Dad and Ed, but I wasn't going to let it stop me, in fact the colder it is the better for me really, as I reach such extreme hot and sweaty levels under normal conditions that minus degrees give me a fighting chance of remaining regular human temperature. With the crisp sparkling frost underfoot (yes I had this desney-fied rose tinted view of it) I set off, I was invinvcible, I was unbeatable, I was... flat on my backside after slipping on that ruddy good for nothing frost. Undeterred I sprang up (by which of course I mean incredibly deterred I scrambled to my feet cursing) and overcame this obstacle, reminding myself it won't be all fun and games on the mountain, and slightly more carefully than I had begun moved off again. The aforementioned frost seemed ot be keeping commuters off the streets, so I couldnt get my kick of walk race adrenaline, however there were plenty of cars. On a city route like mine its inevitable that you're going to have to cross some roads, and cars turning down these roads are something of a hinderance, leaving you stomping on the spot on the curb waiting for them to get out of the way. I wished for the countryside, where if you here a tractor in the distance you'd report home that there was heavy traffic out and about. The cars were almost as irritating to me as the dog at home stopping to sniff at bushes, but at least if you shout at the dog he moves (I should warn you all that cars do not move if you shout at them). So dodging BMWs on Byng Street and Maseratis on Manchester Road I made it home in 1 piece, in 45 minutes, which I feel proves that my endevours over the weekend were indeed the successes I claimed them to be, and thus I have proved that shopping is good for you. Thankyou.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Days 19 and 20

In the hit and miss spirit of this week, yesterday was something of a rest day. I was back in Kings Lynn and after the dramas of my last visit there I'd given up all hope of getting any excersize out of him. With that in mind, I did manage to get some movement out of him; we went shopping in Norwich. The city center is quite large and sprawling, with a Topshop and a Hollister amongst a few unique boutique shops. I explored every single one (and tried things on in most of them) and dragged Marty on several laps of the shopping malls. We certainly covered a few miles in this fashion, and Martys feet were killing him he whined, and several hours later he groaned that he'd rather have completed an official walk, so there was a success in its own way.
Today, although the second day in a row I did not complete an official walk, I did play 80 minutes of rugby today, which probably adds up to 4 miles of walking. We won 56 - 0, so that was another success in its own way, and I did do quite a lot of running around, jumping and tackling, so all muscles were excersized (and will hurt tomorrow!)
So without specifically power walking I have engaged in a weekend of excersize, and every little helps right? Stay tuned for more consistancy next week (fingers crossed) and see how this weekend of variety has affected my times.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Day 18

I looked alive this morning, and brought myself back to basics on walking, including bright and early starts. I harkened fondly back to out "early" walks, 10am and the like, and was up and at'em at 8.30 today, feverish to compensate for yesterday, and get myself back on the right track. Dad and Ed weren't even awake yet, never mind walking. A few days ago I described the joys of the afternoon rush hour (doom in double buggy form) and this morning was about to experience the morning version. The hustle and bustle hit me as soon as I stomped out of the end of our street, there were cars busses and people everywhere, but this was a different kind of busy. Gone were the Mums with their kids meandering around the pavements (and I do mean meandering, I refuse to believe that it is impossible to keep a buggy moving in a straight line, yet these people manage to make them weave and wobble everywhere; they should have their own lanes in the road or something, they could only be a hinderance to each other there!) there weren't even many exotic birds of jogging, the streets were teeming with commuters, rushing to Canary Wharf in smart suits, with work shoes shoved into their bags and trainers on their feet for better command of the terrain. The atmosphere of industry was tangible and I honestly thought I could smell success in the air. Invigorated by the energy I dived in and set off, arms and legs flailing furiously and a curious phenomena arose; as I marched up behind the first commuter (tall man, dark grey suit) he turned his head, probably alerted to my presence from my aura of "I'm putting the power in power walk today" rather than my loud panting and the slap of my feet on the pavement (I've had a few days off and had gotten all excited this morning and set off rather quicker than I could handle I think, usually I'm as sleek and silent as a power walking panther you understand) and seeing that he was in range of being overtaken upped his pace. Seeing this as a gauntlet being thrown down I too upped my pace, slap-slap-slapping my way nearer and nearer until we were neck and neck, I saw sweat appearing on his brow before I put on a final surge and shot past him, Yes! Eat my dust! I thought, triumph coursing through me. There was no time to savour the moment though, as another commuter was drawing in (woman, brunette, blue suit this time) I made short work of her and in this way rocketed round the route in a series of mini races. This method while speedy, is exhausting. As well as being an emotional rollercoaster (thinking "Will I pass him before he turns into his building or won't I, will I? won't I?! DID IT!") I had been increasing my pace to practically the speed of light, and made it home in 48 minutes, a sweat drenched mess. As the adrenaline wears off I'll probably have a breakdown later today, or you'll find me racing randoms in the street at any opportunity, trying to get abck the buzz. However should I descend from respiratory problems to rehab I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Days 16 and 17

There was no walk yesterday, as life gets in the way on Wednesdays, with lectures all morning then rugby all afternoon (and then the pub all night) however Brain and Steve do advise 1 rest day a week, so it looks like mine are going to have to be Wednesdays. Rugby training was fairly strenuous though so not a total day off.
Today, following the pub all night, I am more than a little worse for wear. Previously in this blog I have described suffering the worlds worst hangover, well I stand corrected; today I have the worlds worst hangover. With this in mind having learned from past experience I didn't bother trying to do a proper walk, but on my travels around town today I did walk home from Canary Wharf, a distance I approximated as a mile, then google mapped to discover that it is 1.3 miles. I wasn't making particular effort (apart from the obvious effort it took to be out of my bed in the first place) and was on the phone to Grandma as I walked, but still did the distance in 20 minutes, which is a time I'm impressed with, could it be that I am getting fitter?
On the phone Grandma was telling me that Dad has had a day off today too because he's busy working, and yesterday he did an extra 2 miles to compensate for it... show off. I'm still awaiting my report from Eddie on his activities, but I'm sure hes doing well... show off. Hopefully I'll have something to show off about tomorrow.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Day 15

Today ws a delicate day for muscles, after some pretty heavy fitness training at rugby last night. (Readers I haven't been completely honest with you, I do have knowledge of some sport, however the athletics involved in rugby are minimal to be fair) It involved more running than walking, which according to my oracles Brain and Steve uses different muscles, but I'm sure every little must help right? My second city walk was was delayed by a couple of things today, firstly lectures (thankyou university) and then televison (thankyou housemates) I overcame the hurdle that is my cosy corner of the living room and struggled out of the door. I was prepared for the scorn of the bright lycra clad amazonian joggers of the Isle Of Dogs, however they were few and far between today. I didn't have to wonder where they were for long, as the reason they had made themselves scarce was soon apparent; the bell signalling the end of the school day was tolling, and children were flooding the streets. Something everyone should be made aware of is that the Isle Of Dogs has MANY schools. The one closest to us is Cubitt Town Primary School, and as I ducked and weaved through the crowds, double buggies blocking me at every turn, a child actually pointed and laughed at me. Muttering under my breath words that it would have been innapropriate for the little darlings to hear I barged onwards, hurtling forwards like a little northern marshmallow on legs, hitting every set of school gates just in time for children to pour out into my path. The fact that I was the same height (and in some case smaller) than most of them made it difficult for me to get through, but a cheery wave from the proprietor of out local Indian takeaway (which we have been known to order from up to three times a week) spurred me on, and I repeated my success (and increased my suspicion that the route can't really be 4 full miles) in arriving back at our house in 50 minutes.
Back home Dad has reverted to the original route and got it done in 1 hour 5 minutes, with minimal shin pains, so a good day for him too.
Further North still Eddie clocked in another smug time within the 50 minute range, so he's clearly cheating!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Day 14

I'm back in London finally, and fresh in from my first city walk. The convenient 4 mile circuit round the Isle Of Dogs was marked out for me by my housemate Harriet, who although Welsh knows and loves E14 better than any East End wide boy/rude boy/whatever sort of boys they have down here (except that of course she's a girl) I had decided that my walking boots would not be neccessary for pavement pounding, and so set out clad in my pink trainers with leggings and a hoody, perfect city excersize clothng, dull and dark to blend in with the crowds I thought. How wrong I was, as soon as I stepped out of the end of our street a pair of flourescent lycra-clad lovelies streaked past me. More than once I was out-stripped by brightly clothed beauties, who seemed perturbed to have a squat sweaty northerner stomping around in their midst. I was heckled by workmen "Whats your hurry love!" So at least I was recognised to be travelling at speed. With no mile markers I navigated by pubs and DLR stations, which are plentifull, and bus stops, which there are many. I happened upon a fair few bus stops with busses pulling into them at the same time as I was huffing and puffing up to them, but I resisted the urge to jump on and pretend that I had completed the walk in record time. I  had been determined to set myself an admirable time, and my time in Kings Lynn taught me that walking on pavement is easier than in open country, and either my fitness is improving dramatically, or the walk was not quite 4 miles, because even walking faster than I ever have before I did not expect to finish in the genuine record time (without cheating on a bus) in 50 minutes. Maybe its city air not country air that will do me good.
In other news in efforts to begin afresh himself on his solo training Dad chose a new route through our local fields back home today too. I hear that he got himself lost, ended up carrying the dog, but completed 3.6 miles in an hour, so well done Dad.
The South Shields division is yet to clock in a time today, so technically me and Dad are ahead, in your face Ed.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Day 13

Due to my inability to participate in life as a whole yesterday, my return to London was put off. This was taken as a cue to squeeze in an extra walk today before I go, to start my endevours in our nations capital tomorrow. We decided (although in my state of semi-conciousness all day I don't exactly remember agreeing to anything) to make it a good one, and thus it was settled that we'd pop up Roseberry Topping. The Topping is half an hours drive from us, and we estimated that to the top and down again should take an hour, so to have this done before lunch (everything is worked out around meals in this family I'm sure you've worked out) we aimed to set off at 8.30. The alarms went off this morning and with only standard minor problems (Eddie didn't want to get out of bed, Dad didn't want to get out of bed, I didn't want to get out of bed etc) we set off at 8.33, and were at the foot of the hill ready to go at 9.07. Avid readers of this blog will recall a smug text I recieved from Dad and Ed while I was away, saying that they had conquered the Topping in 1 hour and 10 minutes, so as the experts I let them lead the way. We elected to take the "Storm Assault" route up, and would meander down the "Contour Path" on our way back. The Storm Assault seemed like quite an eay option; it had steps. My scoffing soon subsided as I mounted the first one and discovered that the height of each step was proportioned for giants! Again I cursed my tiny legs and hauled myself upwards. At the top of the steps was a last scramble to the summit, at which point Dad dropped to his knees and said he couldn't go on. It was at this juncture that Ed had to admit (owing to Dads lacking capacity to breathe never mind explain anything) that last time they had tried this Dad had had several "rest rocks" which he had not dared make use of this time in my prescence. We paused briefly then to mock and photograph Dad until he was back on his feet and we made it to the top. This was a place where Dad had previously been allowed a 10 minute rest, but I soon put a stop to that and urged him on back downwards. Soon enough the familiar whine "I'm 51 years old you know!" started up, but was nipped in the bud (for today at least) by a passing pair of walkers who retorted "51, your'e just a young lad!" The pair turned out to be 80 years old, and they tackled Roseberry Topping 6 days a week. They didn't even look out of breath and Dad was shamed into silence. Once he stopped complaining we found that he could keep up much better, as I light hearted from the revalations of the elderly gentlemen skipped down light footed as a mountain goat. Eddie too was striding out, until my second highlight of the day hit - he fell over. A kinder set of family members woyld have helped him up, or at least expressed concern, but following what had already happened with Dad, of course he and I just laughed until Eddie struggled up again. So despite the pair of them being the resident Roseberry Topping experts, I was the only one to remain upright for the whole climb, and as we returned to the car muddy and knackered (some more so than others) we clocked in a time of 55 minutes. I'm thinking of adding an 80 year old to the challenge to keep Dad moving, Granddad would have been perfect for it had he been here, but then again if he had been none of this would have been happening.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Day 12

Today I am hungover. This is not just any hangover, never in the history of hangovers has anyone been so hungover as I am today. Except Eddie, he's quite hungover too. We were at a Wheres Wally themed 21st last night, and (I hope you'll forgive the obvious and feeble pun, with my brain feeling like its about to implode I'm doing my best) I made something of a wally of myself after a couple of pints of cosmopolitan (up north everything comes in a pint glass) amongst other things. This morning (it was 12.30) when I woke up, with no real recollection of getting home, the very last thing I wanted to do was walk; it took me approximately 10 minutes to gather the strength to reach for my phone to check the time. However in my first entry on this blog I recall brazenly declaring that I wouldn't let alcohol abuse hold me back, so with extreme effort, like the AA poster girl I am (or definitely should be) I got up and rallied Ed. As Dads chronic shin sprains (laziness) haven't cleared up yet he took 1 more day off to recouperate, while I - feeling as though death should come and relieve my pain at any moment - stuck to my guns. Having passed out in my Wheres Wally outfit last night and lacking physical and mental ability to find fresh clothes I pulled on my walking boots (it took several minutes and I came close to tears struggling with the laces) and the pair of mountain Wallys stomped off miserabley over the horizon. Even the dog seemed to have sympathy for us, for once walking obediently and not getting under anyones feet. Madam tomato was more of a green pepper today judging from my complexion, greenish grey tinged even under last nights smudged makeup, and my hip swinging was not so vigorous as it has been, as with every step I could feel and almost hear last nights drinks sloshing in my stomach. It was a gloomy walk today, with few words spoken besides the occasional "Oh God my head," and "Do you have to walk SO loudly?!"
When we reached the first mile marker and I had to stop to wretch we knew the only thing we could do was go home, we staggered back, pasty and sweaty and flopped through the door having completed 2 miles in 28 minutes, so although we couldn't go the distance our timing was good, probably due to our urgent need to return home to our beds. At least we tried I suppose.
I'm now going back to bed, if I don't post tomorrow, its probably because I haven't survived the night (in which case I would like McFly to perform at my funeral) So we can at least take a moral from today; never mind driving - don't drink and walk.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Day 11

With Eddie being South Sheilds already, and my departure back to London imminent, and Dad getting worse rather than better under the current training regime, my reign of terror as Training Captain seems to be over before it really had chance to begin.We have decided that we will all persue our own training methods for a while, until the first 6 weeks is done (which happily co-incides with my reading week) at which point we are supposed to up our walks to 6 miles a day. I'm happy for my brother (by which I mean seething with jealousy of course) who seems to be doing well, comfortably clocking in times on and around the hour mark, so I'm sure he'll continue to progress well. Without my motivational "Come ON Dad!"s however I can only hope I'm wrong in my prediction that the method Dad follows (gradually building up speed and stamina he calls it) will most likely drop back to the Allison family traditional journey between sofa and fridge. I myself already have a convenient 4 mile circuit basically on my doorstep at my London home on the Isle Of Dogs, so will be fine, nay brilliant I'm sure. The decision to trust Dad with his own training is a big one, as at the 6 week marker we move from 4 miles in an hour per walk to 6 miles in an hour and a half, and if Dad hasn't kept up, or made up the pace (crippled as he is by shin sprinkles) we may have to adjust all out prospective times and the big day (3 mountains in 24 hours) may have to change to a big weekend; which could still be considered an admirable challenge for people so lazy that if there was an Olympic event for eating and sleeping we could represent England and fill the podium. (Dad as the best all rounder would take gold I think, then between my eating and Eddies sleeping there could be an exciting jostle for silver, maybe I'll get in touch with the Olympics people, I'll already be in London afterall...) However we can all cross our fingers and toes that Dads shin springs clear up and he'll be OK, sturdy old mule that he is.
Today I set off late-ish, having taken Grandma to asda and the hairdressers. Once her ladyship was suitably coiffed I was dismissed to my own devices. Knowing I would be without Dad and Ed, and sure in the knowledge that I couldn't complete the walk without having someone with me I could use to get throught the extreme physical labour by wishing to kill, I reluctantly picked up the dogs lead as I left the house. First Newbie was excited by the sight of the lead; there was leaping around, tail wagging and barking, then at the sight of the person attached to it things got serious, the leaping stoppped, and the barking stilled (the only thing he couldnt control was his tail) as we squared up, cowboy and indian movie style, except hes a dog not a cowboy, and neither of us had guns, but you sense the atmosphere. Mam has a rather ridiculous check chain-collar-lead system for harnessing the dog, which may look simple to your average Joe, but to me it was something of a technical nightmare. I squatted down beside him, and the idiot animal began trying to lick my face, having batted him away, then managing to call him back, I wrapped the collar around his neck. It promptly fell off, and the dog sat down, obviously realising that this may take a while. 3 attempts later (thats as many as I'll admit to anyway) following much yelping and whining (from me you understand, not from the dog) I mastered it. Proud of myself I made to stand up, and Newbie, who had sat quietly and patiently waiting for me to manage, with mischeif in his little doggy eyes, as if he knew I owed him one for waiting like a good boy, sprung up before I was properly upright and pushed me over. Little monster.
So already muddy (thankyou Newbie) we set off, I kept Dads little warm up loop in the walk, as although its not at speed every little helps doesnt it, and today I'm amazed to tell you all that I almost enjoyed myself, if I hadnt been toiling along swinging my legs crazily to keep up the speed, sweating like something very sweaty and generally looking ridiculously unattractive, but these things one just has to bear. One thing churning inside me however was my pie. On a Friday, Grandma goes to the hairdressers, I think the comings and goings of Grandma are fairly well documented. Anyway near the hairdressers is the local butchers, where they do a cracking range of pies (being from the north I think I'm allowed to consider myself something of a pie connoisseur) and the custom has developed to have a pie after the hairdressers on a Friday. Luckily I havent been letting this walking malarky affect my eating (I'm the sort of girl who spells diet C-A-K-E) so I am still able to chomp down a hearty pie. I tell you this because I consider my time today of FIFTY NINE MINUTES to be pie powered, so I may just go have another one!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Day 10

Beginning to think I was too harsh on Dad yesterday, either that or he is really committed to getting out of training! We incorporated a warm up loop at the start of the walk today for him to ease himself into the pace, which he was fine with, but almost as soon as we increased speed and started the clock the limping began. After a couple of minutes of this slow progress we decided he should just go home and google shin shingles or whatever was wrong and find out how to fix them so that he could start doing things properly. As he hobbled home I realised that my first thoughts were not concern for my dear aged father (have you heard he is 51 years old you know) but ones of relief that he dropped out today early enough to not greatly affect the time in which I could still complete todays session. Maybe I'm taking this all too seriously, I pondered, ready to launch into some serious soul searching (whilst making sure that philosophical thought did not affect the speed which my legs were moving of course) or maybe Dad just needs to man up. So loving daughter to the end that I am I took off without him. On seeing that Dad was turning round Newbie tucked his tail between his legs and attempted to run after him, probably because last time he was left alone with me I dragged him through sleet and snow, maybe he needs to man up too.
On a more positive note, I have figured out how to cover more ground per step with these useless midget legs of mine (surely it's not politically incorrect for me to use midget and useless together in a sentence when I am the useless midget in question, I'm short so I can say what I like about the short right?) anyway, my method involves dramatic hip swinging, thus shooting my leg further out in front of me than I would on the average step. In the childrens TV show based on walking (it could be called Rosie's Round Routes) which will doubtless be the follow up to the movie starring Scarlett Johansson/Jo Brand as me, the presenter could demonstrate the exaggerated movement then there'd be a "Go on kids, you try now, how big can you make YOUR steps?" then there'd be a pause for the kids to try followed by a "Wow, amazing!" So redaers using you as my pilot audience laets give this a go:
Go on readers, you try it now, how big can you make YOUR steps?"
                    Wow, amazing!

However, I'm not entirely certain that the content would make a good kids TV show, as complete with my shiny red face I'm now mincing and shimmying along like some sort of madam tomato of the fruit and veg brothel, so perhaps of fitness DVD? Or "specailist adult website", the possibilities are endless...

In this fashion then I hit the first 2 mile markers in exactly the right time! Then I got a bit too cocky though and lost 1 minute during mile 3, which then lead to a superhuman effort in making up that minute and finishing mile 4 exactly on time, yes I've hit the hour mark on the dot! I was so happy that I even managed a good boy to the dog, although there was no energy left in my reserves for a pat on the head. The fact that I have done this today should mean that I can now do it every day, but I can't promise anything, except that the madam tomato technique will remain.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Day 9

From a personal best yesterday - Eddie facebooked yesterday to say that he got his 4 miles done on the mean streets of South Sheilds in 58 minutes (smug little git) - to a team worst today...
It all started well, I have a very important lunch date with the girls today (although im sure you know me well enough by now to know that all meals are important to me) and Dad has a work meeting so we decided we'd try and be home from our walk today by 9am, which would mean setting off at 8am, our earliest start time yet. We managed this without too much grumbling ( "Who's stupid idea was all this anyway..." "YOURS Dad!" etc) and set off in the pre-sunrise blue light of the very early morning. After our success yesterday I even jubilantly allowed the dog to come with us, even if we did have to wake him such was the extreme earliness of our set off. At approximately 8.04am though we hit a snag. A big snag. A snag of gargantuan propartions. We call this snag Dad. (He is 51 years old you know! He may have mentioned it, a dozen or so times, per day!) Doctor Dad has diagnosed himself with a shin splint. Knowing full well that I don't know what one of those is, and therefore could not counter his demand that we must slow the pace from a march to a shuffle, and that he must limp, grimace and wince with every step in a way which I suppose was meant to inspire my pity. It didn't. For those of you who don't know my father, I can tell you that he has the attention span of a flea, and there is a chance that this project has exceeded it. Even with the best intentions, I'm sure he had imagined himself half a stone lighter by now, with a six pack, by some miracle the fresh air may have caused all his hair to grow back too, but after 8 days this is yet to happen, in fact as we try and pick up the pace training is yet to get easier. Is the point of a challenge not to be challenging then? I pleaded with him as he stumped laong getting more and more grumpy. The dog was not helping, the pace had slowed down so much that he was having time to sniff around at stuff, and firt chance to be a nuiscance he got he made use of, and tanggled his elad in a bush. Imbecile.
As far as I can tell without instant results Dad is getting bored. His shin splatter or whatever it is certainly wasn't troubling him when he posed for that smug little photo atop Roseberry Topping at the weekend, unless he was manfully disguising his agony (which is highly unlikely, by which I mean 100% impossible, as anyone who knows Stephen Allison will tell you, he is not a man to suffer in silence)
So in this ungainly fashion we reached the first mile marker "I can't go on, save yourself!" Our hero cried, collapsing onto a bench. To 'save myself' from much more of the amature dramatics, I allowed the training to be cut short and we began our undignified limp home, to the tune of "I am 51 years old you know..." sorrowfully echoing from the back. I have informed Dad that our friends Brian and Steve, authors of our challenge books and distinguished walkers, are both in their 50s, however Dad parried this attack by reminding me that they were not plagued with shin spots, or whatever it is exactly thats ailing him. Hercules himself would not have been able to walk 4 miles shouldering this burden, it wasn't his heel Achilles should have been worrying about apprently but his shins. So we trudged back to the house, having covered just 2 miles in 38 minutes, our worst time to date. Moral is low and Dad is in 'agony', ensconsed back in bed with coffee and toast, looking very pleased with himself... Whether this was just a well researched skive I'll never know, but I'll always have my suspicions. If its not then please everyone, I suggest that you all take note of Dads sacrifice, and possibly invest in a pair of shin pads for day to day use?

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Days 5, 6, 7, and 8

Happy New Year everyone! I haven't blogged for a while and know you will all have been worried, "Has she given up already?" I hear you cry, "has she finally eaten her own body weight in chocolate and exploded?!" Well fear not friends, firstly it would take a lot more chocolate than that to finish me off, but also the reason I have been away from my laptop for a while is that a spanner was thrown into the works, a Marty shaped spanner. Grandma has been insisting that we all "carry on with our lives" which involoves me taking my turn in New-Yearing at the boyfriends, as he fullfilled his duty in spending it up north last year. So after our training session on (day 4) the 30th I headed down to Kings Lynn, trainers and sports bra in my bag, ready to keep to my commitments with the walking, I had instructed Marty explicitly on how seriously I'm taking this, and made him solemly swear that we would do the walks properly, apart from New Years Eve which as you'll recall from my last post I had decided to allow as a day off.
So the next day dawned and I revelled in the thought of a day without marching around wishing I could drown Eddie in a ditch, my joy was short lived however when Dad texted me a photo of him and Eddie on the top of Roseberry Topping (our local hill) The rats! They're not having a day off at all! "Quick Marty! We need to find a hill!" I squawked. Ever charming Marty grunted and rolled over in bed. Frantically I scrambled up, dressed, and urged Marty into joggers and trainers before I remembered that being in Norfolk, the flattest county in the country, if not the world, we were going to struggle to find anything steeper than a high curb. Having to settle for 4 miles on the flat through the town we set off. Apparently Marty hadn't fully understood the term 'power walk' (being from Kings Lynn I should have suspected that there were too many syllables in the phrase for him to have correctly comprehended it,  but I suppose I had heard what I wanted to hear when he promised he had understood and would comply) so we began an awkward shuffle, me walking at the correct speed dragging him along with me "stop pulling meeeee!" he moaned like a petulant child "Well walk properly then!" I snapped back equally stroppily. The final straw came when he whipped out a packet of crisps, a packet of crisps! At this point I did scream at him and storm off, leaving him stumping along munching on his crisps, good for nothing son of a gun. Powered by rage I walked faster than I ever have before, a cloud of cartoon style dust must have risen from the ground behind me, stomping along I came to realise that I was approaching the only landmark I know in the town, a pub, The Retreat. Having reached it, to avoid getting lost the only thing I could do was turn around and walk back, hoping that it was a 4 mile round trip. 55 minutes later I was back and luckily the journey it turns out did cover 3.9 miles, so apart from the blazing row that followed with Marty (think "I cant believe you walked off and left me!" "I cant believe you wouldnt walk properly!" etc) my efforts were successfull (Marty also apologised in the end, as we have seen earlier I am always right, so it was only to be expected really) Then as is the tradition of New Years Eve, we went out and got drunk.
As part of the going-out-getting-drunk thing, I accidently clocked up an extra 2 miles of walking; in the small hours of the first morning of 2012, after much drinking, dancing, auld lang syne-ing and so on we staggered out of the premier night club of Kings Lynn 'Chicagos' (yes just as glamorous as it doesn't sound) and made the genius decision to walk back to Martys house from town. Lots of girls in preparation for a situation such as this put flip flops or some other form of flat shoe in their bag to save themselves from walking home in heels. I had thought similarly, but had taken out that night with me a very pretty but very small bag, too small for extra shoes, I had cleverly managed to squeeze a pair of socks in there though. These went on to do me little to no good as it had been raining when we left, and everyone knows how useless wet socks can be. 2 miles were covered though, essentially barefoot by me, in just over half an hour, so I'll leave it in your hands to decide whether this is allowed to count, but unless anyone tells me otherwise I'm going to count it! I did also complete a formal walk, at 8am the alarm I had cunningly set the night before went off, and without bothering to try and wake Marty I set off, not hungover yet as still probably slightly drunk. As a result of this the 3.9 miles to The Retreat and back passed in a 55 minute blur. Then the hangover hit me and the rest of the day was lost, so I was glad to have gotten up early in the end.
On day 7 I awoke to another text from Dad, saying that the weather at home was shocking, so he and Ed would take that day off today. Following their lead I too took a semi day off; in that I made Marty walk rather than drive the 4(ish) mile round trip to town, but at a more relaxed pace (which is what I imagine he had expected to happen all along) and we did stop while we were there and have a massive fry up.
Today I returned home, refreshed from my day off and chomping at the bit to get back out into the country air and back onto some rough terrain. Ed returned to college in South Sheilds yesterday, and I'm yet to hear how his town walking went today. I imagine, using common knowledge of 19 year old boys, that he stayed up all night drinking with his mates (or using more specific knowledge of my 19 year old brother, stayed up all night playing xbox) and has not moved far from his sofa today, but I remain hopefull and will let you know how the South Sheilds division of the troupe has faired when I know. Dad too was unable to participate today, being a grown up and having to return to work today (oh how I long to stay a student forever so that the world of work continues to not affect me) so I set off, so desperate fro company I even deigned to take the dog with me. After my day off and 2 previous days strolling on the pavements of Kings Lynn, the country air and rough terrain I had longed for quickly became tiresome, and when the shocking weather that Dad had mentioned from yesterday reared its ugly head again as I passed the first mile marker I was sorely tempted to turn around, cut the walk short and go home, but I bravely continued. As hailstones began to hit us and the dog began to whimper we upped the speed of the walk to mad dash between patches of shelter of trees and bushes. In this cold, wet and unpleasent fashion the remainder of the walk/jog passed speedily, such was our hurry to get back into the warm house, and we clocked back in in 1 hour and 1 minute,  my personal best (and 9 minutes faster than Dad and Eds best effort to date!)