Small steps, giant leaps

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6.30am – the almost awake look

This week, I was really proud of myself. It’s not often I make a statement like that, but I was. I didn’t save any lives, make a remarkable discovery, or understand even a tiny bit of what Professor Brian Cox was talking about on Stargazing Live. There weren’t any demonstrations of extreme bravery, I didn’t make the perfect chocolate fondant and I am still working on being a more patient mother. So what did I do which allowed me to think the rare thought ‘I am proud of myself’? I STUCK TO MY TRAINING PLAN. That’s all. I just did what I promised myself I would do, but it felt like all the small steps were resulting in a giant leap.

In last week’s blog I set a training plan of working out 5 out of 7 days a week, to include one long walk of at least 10 miles. As discussed in previous blogs, I have had weeks when I have wheeled out every excuse under the sun not to exercise and pretty much every week up until this one, I have ended the week feeling I should have done more. Not this week. It has really helped having a specific plan and not just starting the week thinking that I’ll do as much as I can. Inevitably this has meant that it’s very easy to convince myself of very legitimate reasons that I can’t possible fit any exercise in on any particular day. On Monday I went to a fitness class which I’ve never been to before, with a mummy friend and some of her friends. It was good fun and I will definitely go regularly. Tuesday and Wednesday I did my exercise DVD at home, Thursday and Friday were my rest days, and then came Saturday.

At the weekends my husband and I try to have one lie in each to catch up a bit on some rest. This week I decided to forgo my lie in – SHOCK, HORROR – to go for a walk. Anyone with a busy life, especially which involves children who don’t sleep through the night, work, relatives in hospital, chores, as well as trying to make time for nice things like seeing friends and trying to have the odd hobby, will understand the weight of this sacrifice. I got up at 6am and left a house of cosy, snoring bodies at 6.30am. As well as being a good use of time at the weekend, it was also useful practice as we will have a very early start on the actual trek. (The only difference is that, rather than finishing at 10.30am, we will continue walking until 4am the following day. Anyway, let’s not focus too much on that bit.) It was a sunny, hazy morning and I set off towards the east, immediately regretting not picking up my sunglasses. I walked across the fields and saw one solitary dog walker but apart from that the peace and stillness was quite enchanting. For the initial part of the walk I resisted the urge to put my music on because that quiet is so rare I felt I had to listen to it. I could hear a faint rumble of the A39 but apart from that, birdsong, breezes and the occasional tractor waking up.

I had a vague plan of where I wanted to go and I had looked at a map of footpaths so knew where I was heading. The beginning of the walk was a route I had done before so the first 3 or 4 miles were simple. After this I crossed a road, as planned, and entered unchartered territory. And this was where the footpath signs stopped. It was as though one side of the road was a friendly accomplice who was as helpful as possible in making walkers feel at home, while the other side of the road was not really up for visitors and would much rather everyone just left it alone by making things as tricky as possible for them. So, from this point on I felt my stride was interrupted and I didn’t so much Walk as just Wander About. I fully expected at any point a farmer would come marching out of a barn brandishing a shotgun and shouting “git orf moi laaand…”. Then, in some unfortunate accident – the details of which I hadn’t quite worked out – he would shoot me with the shotgun. At this point I realised I was getting carried away, and this was quite possibly to do with having watched some of the Neighbours 30th anniversary programmes which included the scene when Kerry Mangle got shot in a fateful incident involving a duck hunter. Anyway…

Eventually I stumbled across a well secreted public footpath sign and felt I was making progress. However, as quickly as I had been assisted I was stopped, as once again that path ended suddenly. I spent a good half an hour wandering around a small wood at the top of a hill, turning back on myself, looping round, ending up where I started, scratching my head and looking confused. By this time the world was waking up and I was sure that someone was watching me and laughing from one of the houses nearby. It doesn’t help that I seem to have bought an almost entirely purple walking kit and I stick out like a Ribena berry. My movements would have been rather amusing had they been filmed from a height, sped up and set to the Benny Hill music. One good thing about this part of the walk was that I ended up going up and down what was quite a steep hill a good number of times – very good training. I even went up and down on purpose a couple of times, which must have made me look even more peculiar. I definitely need to buy an Ordnance Survey map… in fact I could probably download some sort of snazzy App onto my iPhone which does the same thing. Only I’ll have to get my younger, far cooler and more technology minded sister to help me.

In the end, after once more thinking I was making progress only to find the public footpath gate tied so I couldn’t get through (naughty naughty), I decided to turn back. It was only 8.30am and I wasn’t ready to go home as I had wanted to do a four hour walk. I walked a very scenic way home, deliberately going the long way round when possible to include hills and walking up and down the same hill more than once again. I got home at 10.30 so had achieved my 4 hour target and had probably walked about 11-12 miles, but somehow I felt a bit dissatisfied because I hadn’t really got to a destination.

Lessons learnt this week –

  1. Take sunglasses with me
  2. Buy / download Ordnance Survey map
  3. Wear bulletproof vest, just in case

So, today is Sunday and it is my fifth day of exercise. I’m thinking maybe a walk up the Tor, around the village or at the nature reserve. Something outdoors and with the family – perfect Sunday.

Next week will involve sticking to my training plan once again and also thinking about ways in which I can raise another £300 to take me to £2000 in sponsorship. I have a couple of ideas, but need to think about logistics and costings. Watch this space (…or instead of just hanging around watching a space, sponsor me, if you haven’t already. Go on. The link is below. Easy Peasy).

Till next week, onwards and upwards, this time with a map.

Louise x

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=LouiseAtkinson1&pageUrl=2

Beautiful Somerset

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8 comments

  1. Amazing!! Must have felt so good to have achieved so much before most had even struggled out of their pyjamas. Do hope you don’t get shot at by a hot fuzz-esq farmer though. xxx

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  2. Yet another entertaining blog, in which you paint a vivid picture of getting lost! But I am well impressed by your 6.30 start considering that you left the family ( even Connie! ) fast asleep. I’m sure that the lighter mornings make that more achievable. Well done for sticking to your training plan. I wonder if the others in your Lake District team are being as consciencious as you are. Keep going. See you later in the week, when once again I will have the greatest pleasure in baby minding, whilst you do all the hard work. Lots of love mum xxxx ps ‘snazzy’ doesn’t make you old!!

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    • Thanks Mum. It was quite amusing, in fact I thought that Ian would have laughed at me bimbling around. Looking forward to seeing you this week. As ever, I really appreciate both of your help xx

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  3. Well done Louise. I can recommend the OS app. It’s a good map which tracks you, so you always know where you are –
    And how you’ve gone wrong!

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  4. Hi Louise. I don’t think we’ve met. I’ve been introduced to your amazing challenge by Ron’s village email – we live at the top end, on the way to Stawell. We’ll be very glad to sponsor you – what a really important cause. You probably have it all well nailed down, but if you wanted to talk through the 4 peaks and the challenges of the routes, I know them quite well having walked them many times and even run some. Pete

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    • Thank you very much for your sponsorship – I really appreciate your support. It would be good to talk through the peaks as I have never climbed any of them before and I don’t know the Lakes too well. Perhaps we could meet in the pub sometime. Thank you! x

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