Gillian Beveridge is a prolific MoonWalker – having now completed a dozen of the marathon walks run by #walk1000miles' charity partner Walk the Walk. This is her first year doing #walk1000miles too ...
Number of miles walked (boots on): 1261.2 miles
As I prepare for the final challenge of the year – the Big One NEW YORK – I want to write down how I have felt reaching this amazing achievement of walking 1000 miles in 2018.
I am very proud to announce that on Sunday 30th September I reached my milestone of 1000 miles. The challenge has taken me 8 months and 2 weeks. Those that know me, know I don’t do pride in myself and blush with any compliment, so to write this now I am squirming, but I want to share that it CAN be done. I would encourage everyone to take on this challenge next year, as it focuses the mind and builds fitness and stamina – all good things.
When Jen at Walk the Walk asked me in the middle of January to take on the 1000 miles challenge, I was 2 weeks behind everyone and I was not sure I could achieve this by the end of the year. Jen realistically said that with the challenges I was taking on this year, 1000 miles was very achievable. At this point I had signed up for 3 Land Challenge (London, Edinburgh and Iceland MoonWalks) and Disneyland Paris. She knew I was very close to signing for New York as well, so this would give me a good way to document my amazing year of walking and travelling.
Just to take you briefly back to the start, I am a traditionally built, 42 year old lady from the Scottish Highlands. 2 years ago I took the brave decision to end my 16-year relationship (my choice based on his actions). From this point I wanted to regain control of my life and find myself once again. I had been taking part in The MoonWalk Scotland for 3 years and wanted to do more. A week after this brave decision, I signed up for my first 3 Land Challenge and I haven’t looked back since. The New York Marathon will be my 14th event for Walk the Walk. I love the walking, but more importantly I have met people who are true inspirations and we have all supported each other through the highs and lows of life.
In signing up for #1000 miles in 2018 challenge, I chose to do this ‘boots on’, meaning I only count miles achieved when walking and not every step taken during the day. If I have walked more than 3 miles per day I have counted this, as this was my target miles to reach 1000. If I had started with everyone else on 1st January 2018, my target each day would have been 2.8 miles per day.
I was excited to take on this challenge, along with my others, but I knew this was a good way to keep me motivated between events. As we all remember, the beginning of the year was horrible with snow and extreme cold weather. Living in the North of Scotland I am used to this, but for the first time in 9 years our winter went from November 2017 until May 2018. The temperatures had been so cold that the paths remained icy and they were not conducive to speed walking. I had to swallow my fear and go in to the gym at my local leisure centre to use the treadmill. I attend Circuit and Cross Training classes, but I have an unwritten rule that the Gym and I should not become acquainted for the safety of us both. I chose Saturday mornings after Circuit training as it was a bit quieter and I could go on the furthest away treadmill, plug in to a TV programme and walk. It was hard work walking consistently at one speed and you do not realise how your pace varies when you are outside. I did this a few times to up my pace, as I could not stand more than 1 hour on the treadmill.
When I took part in the Dublin Marathon last year, I met Anne Conrad, who I have affectionately named my Task Master. She invited me to train with her, where she worked on speed as well as distance, as both were needed for this year’s challenges. I had to be brave when Anne suggested we do her local Parkrun in Edinburgh. This struck fear in me as I am not a runner and the thought of being so far behind everyone and probably more red faced than them was not something I looked forward to. But Anne had set a precedent, as she had attended as a walker a few times and there were more and more people choosing to walk. This was a turning point for me as Anne pushed me to walk faster than I have ever walked before. I felt so amazing after this walk I wanted to do it again. And so my training plan was formed. Once a month I travelled to Edinburgh and we would do the Parkrun then 2 more loops. In doing this as well as walking to and from the start gave me a 13 mile route. We also did a 20 mile training walk – where I wanted to shout at Anne at mile 18 as I was broken. In between Task Master sessions she kept an eye on me from afar. I cannot thank Anne enough for the emotional and physical support she has given me this year.
There have been so many other people who have helped me this year in one way or another and kept me going when I wanted to give up. I won’t name people as I do not want to miss anyone out but I hope you all know who you are and from the bottom of my walking shoes I thank you xx
So how have I felt this year?
Scared, excited, fed up, fabulous, proud… the list goes on.
A challenge is just that, a CHALLENGE. It’s no fun if it’s easy and you get to the end without breaking a sweat, swearing a little and wanting the world to stop for a minute and give you a break. I go through all these emotions on most walks, and even most days in work. This year I have experienced ‘the wall’, usually at 18 miles. It took me by surprise as I want to be walking, I love each event and training session, so why do I want to stop and cry at mile 18? I have improved my eating and drinking throughout each walk so I have energy to keep going and could not understand these feelings. I have now learnt to embrace this emotion and acknowledge it, but keep walking.
In listening to my body I have found the strength to walk a bit faster and push my boundaries but I have also had to acknowledge that the niggling pains will not go away and I need to make some changes before next year’s challenges begin. I have also learnt how much my head plays a part in a walk. A walk can be enhanced or ruined by those thoughts in my head. I use walking to destress and process what is in my head. At the beginning of the year I was having a tough time emotionally and forced myself out for a training walk. Usually after a few miles the endorphins kick in and I feel a new person, but not this time. I was walking on a rare sunny day, on a beautiful route and I hated it. Every step felt like I had concrete boots on and I had to cut the walk short and admit defeat as if I carried on, I would have ended up hating walking all together. Learning to acknowledge those feelings have improved my walking experience and knowing I had The Moonwalk London round the corner, as well as a #1000 mile challenge to complete, got me out again the next day and I enjoyed that walk.
This year has been one of highs and lows. Completing my second 3 Land Challenge, each of the 3 marathons completed in under 7 hours, was such a confidence boost for me and evidence that the mixed training works. To then go on and complete Disneyland Paris of a 10km and ½ marathon on consecutive days again both in personal best times, was an indescribable high. Now I just have to replicate this for a full marathon in New York. I have a time in mind that I want to complete this marathon, but I won’t share it and will be honest after the event if I achieve this. The main thing for me is to enjoy New York and take time to soak up the atmosphere of the event.
To all those who have completed their #1000 miles in 2018, I applaud you and hope you too feel the pride I have found in achieving this milestone. For those who are nearly there, you CAN do this, you will do this and there are still 8 weeks left of 2018 to achieve this. It is not written in stone that you have to complete this challenge by 31st December 2018 and if you need more time, then take it.
Looking forward to receiving my #1000mile medal to add to this year’s collection.
If anyone would like to sponsor me, my link is below. Thank you Walk the Walk and Country Walking Magazine for being a part of my 2018 journey
Talk again after New York