MoonWalk blog 9: "I'm in a better place emotionally when I have been walking."

Gillian 22nd June image 13 The sulphur was strong here.jpg

Gillian Beveridge is a prolific MoonWalker – having now completed ELEVEN 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): 803.5

Weeks until next Walk the Walk Adventure (Disneyland Paris – a 10k and Half Marathon):  6

Challenges already planned for next year: 3

Since I last wrote, I have not been resting with my feet up. I enjoyed the most amazing week with my family in Devon to celebrate the wedding of my beautiful niece and her equally beautiful new husband. New friends were made and old friendships were rejuvenated. More importantly I was assured by a number of people that they will sponsor me for Disneyland Paris, so I will be reminding them of this in the coming weeks.

Gillian image 1 9th August To prove I don’t live in tshirts & joggings trousers..jpg

It was quite a shock to have returned from Iceland, where we experienced snow showers and icy winds to be in the South of England, where most days the temperature reached 31 degrees.  I feel for all my friends in the South who have been training, walking large distances and trying to survive in the continued heat down there.

And so on 1st July, my training plan for Disneyland Paris began.  I had continued to walk, workout and swim while I was down south, but there is nothing like going out for a proper training walk to get the blood flowing and the excitement building.  I needed the break for a few weeks and had a wry smile as I read my friends’ posts about their training walks for different events, which have taken place recently, but I wanted to get back into walking when I returned home. Now the weather is warmer up here, I enjoy my walks and find that I am in a better place emotionally when I have been walking.

 Our beautiful woods.

Our beautiful woods.

Earlier this year my Task Master Anne Conrad had pencilled in my monthly training sessions with her in Edinburgh and thankfully one of those was for the first weekend I was home from Devon. This was exactly what I needed and although I was tired, it gave me a real kick start to the next phase of training. Anne had said we would walk to the Parkrun on the Saturday morning to warm up, take part in the Parkrun, quick break then 2 more laps of Parkrun and a longer route home to make a 16.5 mile walk.

As I said, I was not sitting relaxing while at the wedding and every day involved exercise of one form or the other. But even after the warm up of walking to the Parkrun, when the timed lap started, I felt like this was my first time. My shins started to burn quickly and I did not feel the power as I have done previously. By the half way point Anne had to walk on as she could not walk any slower and I could not walk any faster.  This was a kick in the teeth and a kick in the butt, but I kept on going and kept Anne in my sights. My time was my 2nd fastest and not as slow as my first time, so that was positive, but it made me realise I needed to get back to Circuit training and Cross training as well as Body Balance to get those muscles stretched.  On the Sunday we agreed to meet with another Walk the Walk sister Margaret MacLeod.  Margaret is another very fast walker and an Ultra Athlete having taken part in numerous Over the Moon (52.4 miles) events as well as the 50km John Muir Way. Margaret and Anne are really inspiring people and I have to say I was anxious about walking with both of them together.  One Task Master is enough for me. We had an amazing walk along the coast from Portobello to Prestonpans and back with a well-deserved ice cream at the end. We walked 14.5 miles on the Sunday which gave me 31 miles for the weekend – not a bad wee addition to my yearly tally.

 Sunday morning with Anne & Margaret

Sunday morning with Anne & Margaret

My first exercise class after the holiday was a nightmare. The exercises were impossible and I was a very red and sweaty mess at the end, but I knew things could only get better so I had to keep going back.

Last year I had the pleasure of looking after my friend’s dog for 10 days, when we covered 10 miles a day. When I was asked if I would do this again twice this year, I jumped at the chance. We agreed that instead of a gift back from their holiday or a meal out to thank me, my friends would give me a donation to my fundraising. What was not to like with this deal – I have to walk every day for 8 days and I get to boost my fundraising.

So I had my mini challenge of walking every morning, lunchtime and evening regardless of the weather for 8 days. As much as I dislike my alarm clock, there is something special about switching it off in the morning for a little face and wagging tail to appear beside the bed immediately.  I was blessed, in that apart from the Friday, Tam Dog was dropped off, it did not rain once and we had walks in the woods at lunchtime which kept the sun off us.  I even managed to attend my circuit and cross training classes. I ended up having Tam Dog for 9 days so we managed to achieve 80 miles over the week and we both slept like babies every night.

While I was taking on my mini challenge, many of my Walk the Walk family were in Holland taking part in the Nijmegen Marches – walking 40km every day for 4 days. To follow them every day on social media and see how this challenge affects you physically and emotionally, I knew this had to be my BIG challenge for next year. My Task Master is one of the biggest advocates for this challenge, having taken part in it twice, so she is delighted I want to try and gain a place for next year and for others to be able to believe they can achieve such an amazing challenge.  

 One of our lunchtime walks

One of our lunchtime walks

Last weekend I was back down to Edinburgh for my next Task Master training session. When I arrived on Friday, Anne informed me that I was doing Parkrun alone, as she was volunteering. This was my chance to prove to her and myself that I have the self-motivation to keep going for the full 5km at my fastest pace. So again on the Saturday we walked to the start as my warm up, then went full pace for the 5km loop at Crammond Promenade. The Fringe Festival has begun in Edinburgh and there were 690 people taking part in Parkrun from all over the world. This was amazing for Parkrun, but it meant the start was slow. For the first half km I almost started jogging as I felt I could keep up with everyone. Anne was at the half way point and I knew she would be behind me on the last part so I had to keep going to avoid the ‘banter’ from her. I came in 8 seconds slower than my personal best but I would like to think the slow start actually meant this was my fastest walk. I will be able to test this out next month!!  I felt great this time and being back in the full swing of exercise classes and walking was showing.  Again I walked the Parkrun loop twice more before walking home. I was allowed to take a shorter distance home so we walked 13 miles. On Sunday we walked 9.5 miles with some hills to help build stamina.

 If Anne & I are ever on stage this will be our poster

If Anne & I are ever on stage this will be our poster

So I feel I am fully back in training and I feel more confident about the Disneyland Paris Challenge, but I still have to push myself to be within the time limit for both events in Paris.

I hope everyone is doing well and we are all getting closer to our 1000 miles. Some have already achieved this; I congratulate you all on this amazing achievement. At the beginning of September I’m off to London to cheer on my Walk the Walk family taking part in the Thames Path 50 or 100km challenge.  I completed the 50km last year which was a wonderful experience and I am in admiration to my buddies who have taken this a step (or 50km further) and doing the 100km.

Bye for now and happy walking!

Gillian image 19   9th August   Sunday morning.jpg

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