New GPSTracklog Article On Trackables
My latest Geocaching article for GPSTracklog has gone live today. This month I provide an introduction to the world of trackables, covering a few of the basics and giving some handy tips. Be sure to check it out!
After I was off my pace for the last expedition, I was keen to get out and prove to myself that it was due to the manful rather than the hills. My usual geocaching crew were off doing a series I’d already done and whilst I don’t mind caching on my own, it’s more fun with someone (plus, it’s very difficult & time consuming to get into undergrowth currently with my legs like they are).
Not everyone can get up at 4am on a Sunday morning. I’ve learnt that it takes a special kind of willpower to do so, especially when the prospect is a day of aching feet and miles and miles of walking. Still the fact that I couldn’t go geocaching for so long has resulted in a sense of freedom when I now do. And the fact I can walk so far after all that has happened is a reminder of how hard I’ve had to work to get the leg back to a stage where I can do it. Like everything in life, sometimes you get knocked down. You either stay knocked down or you get up and come back stronger.
And I do feel stronger. I actually feel like I’m in the best condition since I started geocaching in 2008. But that doesn’t mean that at 4am on a Sunday I don’t feel like crap. As I did on this day, just over a week ago. I woke with a scratchy throat and was worried I had come down with this cold that is knocking everyone out around me. Still, I’d felt the same when I’d gone and done my record-breaking day near Peterborough so I just put it down to early mornings.
Our target for the day was the Kent / East Sussex border and a place called Brightling. It’s a place with a church and a couple of houses and nothing else. Except under the ground is a huge Gypsum mine. There’s very little evidence of the mine above ground except for a huge overland conveyor which looks like a massive snake working its way across the countryside.
So what do you do when you’ve done the impossible? Well you raise the bar up and challenge yourself again.
Following my 133 solo cache find day last month I’ve been feeling pretty proud of myself. I realise that personal challenges are just that and may mean absolutely nothing to anyone else, but for me to come back from the leg injury and set a new solo best felt like a major victory.
But I’m still getting stronger and felt like it was time to take on another challenge. I’m happy to let my solo record stand for some time. I can think of only a handful of people who could do that number on their own in a day, and none of them have bad legs.
Instead, this time I wanted to beat my all time daily record which stood at 135 (only 2 less than my new solo record). I’d identified a route near Peterborough to be able to beat this and enlisted my friend Westie to come help me.
Friday saw me in the Nene Valley near Kettering. Having finished my course in Birmingham earlier that day and due in Cambridge on Saturday it made sense to travel direct and stop off along the way to do some Geocaching.
Over the years I have worked for a number of companies that say they offer training and then in reality never do. So when the day job offered to send me to Birmingham for the week, I jumped at the chance. Whereas for most people a week away, stuck in a hotel, sounds like hell, for me it’s perfect.
I train during the day, get to geocache in a new area in the evening and then write when it gets dark. For me that’s pretty close to perfection.
I know there will be those that say that doing the impossible no longer makes it impossible. Likewise there will be those that say that my leg obviously can’t be that bad if I managed what I did on Monday. The truth is that for all my careful planning, all my insight, all my knowing of the secret limits of my body, I was so unsure whether I’d be able to complete this that I only told a couple of close friends where I was going, and only then so they knew which canal to dredge for my body should I not turn up for work on Tuesday.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1J1AA6XbaKw This will probably make no sense to you unless you are a Geocacher and are aware of the current 31 days of Geocaching challenge running through August. It uses the well-used meme of taking the scene of Hitler ranting from the brilliant film, Downfall, and changing the subtitles. May not be everyone’s taste (and it is very sweary!) but as someone trying to complete the 31 day challenge, it’s really amused me today.
I’ve decided that I’m very much a country person. Having been confined to pavement and tarmac these past few months has found me longing for the footpath, stile and corn field more than you can imagine.
As I blogged about previously, my Doctor forbid me to go Geocaching. This was a massive blow because I felt ready and to be told that no, I couldn’t felt like a step backwards. The legs are so badly damaged that even a scratch would have difficulty healing, and would in turn lead to a high risk of another infection. I’ve been miserable for a week about it.
But then I did some thinking about this. At all stages I have been sensible and proactive. I somehow managed to find the razor’s edge between exercising the leg and resting it so that the actual original hole, despite being the size of a tea plate, has knitted very nicely. It’s not a cause for arrogance but it is a sign I know my own body.
I seem to spend my days eternally grumpy about one thing or another these days. Maybe that’s down to age, or maybe that’s because of the leg. Either way I do feel that recently I always seem to be moaning and upset about something. And the latest is that I’m still banned from Geocaching for the foreseeable future.