Hello Realbuzzers 😊
If you're on Facebook, you'll know that I haven't been feeling too smart for the past ten days having caught some kind of fluey type virus that doesn't know when to quit. My first Parkrun was walked in the hope that it would give the bug the heave ho but that didn't quite work out 😂😂 Sore throat, cough, spiking temperature, lack of appetite and a great desire to do very little (the latter not like me at all 😕). Weeks ago I booked the Action Challenge 20k Winter Walk to kick our Year off..at the time, I'd felt that 20k wasn't much of a challenge but mid week hopes of the virus having pushed off were dashed and after seeing the weather forecast for the day, I realised the real challenge would actually be pushing myself to take part and do my best on the day in vile weather. On Saturday morning I still had little energy and felt rotten and this wasn't helped by even worse sleep than usual through the week as any bug cranks up the AS inflammation and pain and it had certainly done that! I also lost 4lb last week courtesy of the bug - not good when you're only a lightweight anyway 😕 I felt so hacked off as I watched Richard go off to Parkrun, but knew that trying to take it easy for one more day was the sensible thing to do. I also felt guilty.Of course I could have done Parkrun. I don't usually do sensible but there's afirst time for everything I guess 😂😂
Sunday, challenge day, dawned very gloomy and very wet. I was up at 5.30 to get a few household jobs done before we left for London (it really helps to me loosen up). I still felt groggy but was delighted that overall I felt better than for the past week, except for the joints - they don't like cold damp weather so they were particularly achy. Little voice in the head says 'Toughies! Work with what you've got and get on with it' 😊 We'd had a dilemma on Saturday when the BBC put put a snow and ice alert for the southeast. We had planned on catching the first train of the day - the only one that would get us there in time and even that would be a tight squeeze. The last time we went to catch the first train to Putney (for the Thames Path Challenge back in September), it didn't turn up. We did get there in in time but had very little time to do anything other than drop our bag off before going into the start pen. We considered driving in but then realised there wasn't much in the way of parking anywhere within a reasonable distance. We were so grateful when one of our friends, Keith, stepped in and offered to give us a lift to Putney 😊 Keith picked us up at 7.15 and we were in Putney by 7.45 - brilliant 😀 We had to be registered by 8.20 and it was so nice to arrive early and have the chance to have a couple of cups of tea, chat to people, soak up the atmosphere and redistribute kit between backpack and jacket pockets etc.
We were called into the start pen at 8.40am and the usual safety briefing was given before going through a warm up routine led by a very enthusiastic fitness instructor. Must admit, I've never done a warm up like that in full wet weather gear 😂😂 As I started making my way to the front of the start line, Richard began to realise that I didn't intend hanging about and cast his eyes heavenward. We're not that well matched on walking pace. I like to walk as fast as I can but he likes to take his time and look around at everything. We usually compromise on a pace that works out about 5.5kph, having managed to maintain that (very almost) over both 50k and 100k challenges last year. But this was only 20k and hopefully he wouldn't notice if I tried to go a bit quicker 😂😂 My thinking on Sunday was to push the pace for the first few k's and see how long I could keep it up. I had no idea how long it would be before I started running out of oomph, so I wanted to get as far as I could before it happened and when/if the crash came, I'd deal with it and rely on the mind to try and push on.
I could have done without the soap bubble machine at the start but it did make people smile 😊 The start was on very muddy grass (possibly grassy mud, hard to tell), so it was good to be at the front rather than trying to dodge and overtake too many other people. We soon reached the pavement and went up and over Putney Bridge, heading east downriver with the rain steady and heavy. We'd each been given a free bobble hat at registration - very nice too but after five minutes I was overheating so that was the first thing to get tucked into a pocket. After ten minutes, the outer waterproof was unzipped and the fleece underneath a few minutes after that. I really didn't want to have to stop so early and take a layer off. Fortunately my hair got soaked pretty quickly and it was chilly enough to act as a natural cooling mechanism. As I warmed up, I tried to increase the pace a bit. Thanks Rob for the tip a few weeks ago about using the arms, I was surprised how much it helped even if it did wake up the healing right shoulder. It really was good seeing a part of London that was new to me, and because of the heavy rain, there weren't many pedestrians or cyclists around at all, so no people dodging. I set my sights on a chap about 15 metres in front with a yellow waterproof on. Slowly slowly I caught up, had a chat then pushed on again. I know Richard wasn't enjoying the faster pace at all but he stuck with it without a word of complaint bless him. I still wasn't pushing that hard though, breathing was steady, conversation easy. I felt pangs of guilt because I knew I could go faster, but we'd entered as a team so a team we were.
Before I knew it we were passing the 5k sign. I can remember feeling hopeful then unimpressed as I was two minutes slower than on my first Parkrun and this was on solid ground! Then the first real niggle - left hip started to complain. This is the real downside of walking on tarmac/pavement for me - great footing but the impact is much harder on the joints. Five minutes later, the busy road crossings started. All the hard work spent pushing in gone as about ten people caught is up 😕 There were many of those crossings yet to come, but every single time I gave an extra kick to the pace to try and get back on target (6kph average so about 3.5 hours). Odd that none of those waits show as stopped time on Runmeter. Mind you, I was probably hopping from foot to foot 😂😂 Before we knew it we'd passed the 10k marker. We hadn't even talked about what we intended to do at the rest stop which was just after 10k. Usually I'd stop, stretch my back and hips and have a cup of tea to rehydrate a bit, have a nibble on some snacks if they had anything that I could eat without risking a reaction. Maybe 8 people already there as we were scanned in. Told Richard I wasn't having a cup of tea, saw there was nothing I could safely eat so grabbed a quick sip of water and had a quick loo break. Richard was having a cup of tea when I came out. Started marching on the spot to try and keep my legs going. Richard knew my intention already from my expression and must have scorched his throat drinking his tea that fast. He really is so tolerant 😊
Off we went again. I knew that a good few probably wouldn't have stopped at all. We hadn't been overtaken by anyone since the start and we'd only overtaken a few people up to 10k. Too late though, the rhythm had gone and now both hips and back were giving it some welly as I tried to recover the pace. Tried to drive with the arms again but by now the right shoulder (injured a few weeks ago£ was also joining in the general shouting 😕😡 I kept thinking of HD out there in the cold rain grinding out mile after painful mile. Shoulder to shoulder, just keep pushing. The slight uphill over Vauxhall Bridge and straight into the bitter wind blowing down the river - not nice at all. The slight downhill on the other side, legs seeming to be developing a mind of their own. Realised I'd been an idiot. The virus had sapped a lot of strength and I'd neither been eating or drinking for the first 10k 😕 Into the capacious pockets and down went two boxes of raisins. A few small sips of water to follow - probably nowhere near enough. In the waterproof jacket I was as wet from the inside as from the outside. 12km now and my feet and lower legs were pretty numb. They weren't cold at all, just the lack of sensation was getting much worse. I was having to watch my feet all the time and that made my neck kick off as well. I meant to take my meds at the 10k point and in my impatience, forgot. I unslung my pack, found the meds and took them without breaking step. At least 45 minutes before they started to kick in. Little voice in the head saying 'idiot, you started too fast, you can't do this to a recovering body'. Louder voice in there saying 'Ha! Take that virus, take that AS, I'm finishing so get your act together'. Got to say though, they were 45 minutes I hope not to have to repeat anytime soon. Thinking about HD's challenge that morning really kept me going through that toughest bit. I wasn't clock watching so had no idea how the pace was going but knew it had dropped. Every once in a while, I have myself a good talking to and tried to focus more and push a bit harder. I ate a whole bar of the most delicious fudge for a quick fix and that seemed to help a bit too. The feet and lower legs finally started coming back in the last 2km. Probably lost it in the first place because of muscles clamping down on nerves. We passed a park not long before the finish where a load of youngsters were turning out from rugby. Without exception they were head to toe in thick mud and we debated the possibility of several Mums having got home to find they'd taken the wrong lad 😂😂
The rain was still going as strong as ever as we entered the last km. tried to give one last kick and managed to sustain it to the finish 😊 Crossed the finish line hand in hand, arms raised in another huge shower of soap bubbles, grinning from ear to ear. Job done 😀 Felt like Bambi for the next half hour as five cups of tea slid down. They had great hot food but the only safe thing for me was a plate of spuds - better than nothing 😊 It was actually really pleasant to walk the 1.3 miles at a steady lurch across the bridge to the station, Richard saying if I walked at that pace again he'd tie my laces together 😂😂😂 The rain had finally lightened up, I knew HD had conquered his 18 miles and I had seriously kicked some virus and AS 😀 Even better to only have to wait 5 minutes for a train and spend 55 minutes thawing out on the way back. I'd been plenty warm doing the challenge, but had chilled right down after the finish and didn't take a dry shirt to change into afterwards - another huge mistake. Another 1.6 miles from the station to home with a stop at Costa to pick up a cup of tea to warm the hands on. I may not drink much during an event, but afterwards I rehydrate for hours! A lovely boiling hot soak when we got home and a tremendous bacon and egg sarnie for tea. I smiled quite a lot last night. My hips, back, neck, shoulder, right ankle and foot could be as unhappy as they liked now, we did it 😊😊😊
Happy training everyone, here's to the next challenge 😀