It’s been quite a while since I did any decent mileage walking. Last year, a bad lower back stopped a lot of long distance caching expeditions and just as I was building that back up, BOOM!, the leg exploded. The journey back to being able to do 20 – 25 mile caching walks is proving a very long one.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been carefully building my walking mileage back up, first with just a walk around the block and then round the estate. It’s been slow progress. Not only am I trying to battle a weakened leg but also a lack of general fitness from being rested up. Overdo it and I could damage the leg, don’t do enough and risk problems with the circulation. It’s been a careful balancing game.
One of the problems has been the fact that I actually find it harder to stop walking than I do to carry on. I get myself into a rhythm that takes force of will to break. Good when you just need to shut down the pain and keep on walking on mile 30 of a 32 mile walk, not so good when you want to ease yourself into distance.
In the last month I’ve managed to hit 5 miles, a small milestone but a significant one. As always, I felt I could do more (even if 5 miles felt like 20), and I’ve been prepping myself to do a 10 miler.
Because I have to avoid anything banging into my legs, and because I was on call this weekend with the day job, I worked out a 2-lap route based on my previous 5 miler that basically did a figure of 8 round the house. This also meant that if I needed to stop for water or anti-chaffing measures I could do so.
Because we’re having a rare bit of summer I decided to set off early so at 5:40am yesterday, with the Man of Steel soundtrack to keep me company I started my challenge.

10 Miles Complete  And In Desperate Need Of A Shower!

10 Miles Complete And IN Desperate Need Of A Shower!

I must have looked a right tramp though. I found on the 5 miler that carrying my phone and iPod caused my shoulder to ache after a couple of miles and putting them in trouser pockets just caused more friction on the legs. So I dug out an old caching top with 2 breast pockets and enough bramble and thorn tears that a sane person would have thrown it out by now. Came in handy though! Book beard also needs a trim!
I’ve also just been walking in little more than slippers and thought that 10 miles might need a bit more in the way of arch support. Whilst I kept away from my caching boots, I did wear a pair of proper shoes, which after mile 4 made my feet feel very heavy.
What was interesting was that with each mile I seemed to speed up slightly. I took a drinks pit stop at the local shops in mile 7 and then put in my best mile right after. By mile 8 I was wondering whether I should carry on and make it a half-marathon but soon after the chaffing really started (despite my preliminary measures of ‘lathering myself up’ as I like to call it). By mile 9 I was looking forward to the end.
My route cut the mileage pretty tight but I had a plan if I was short. Thankfully though, a third of a mile from the finish line I hit 10 miles. Heat more than anything stopped me from continuing as I could feel myself burning (and I burn very easily).
If I’m honest, distances still feel a lot further than they did, and I need to put in a couple more 10 milers over the coming months. I’ll pretty much suffer all this week because of it but there’s something nice about getting a 10 mile walk done by 9am so you can be a justifiable sloth for the rest of the day!