'Over the hill and fighting the battle against the Flab' – why I'm doing MoonWalks and walking 1000 miles

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Hi I’m Jane, the one on the right – over the hill and fighting the battle against the Flab!  I had always been sporty, but until about 2006, I had never taken on anything out of my comfort zone.

I walked my first MoonWalk after being told I needed a major back operation, as I have structural damage. I decided then and there I wanted to walk a marathon (I still haven’t had the op yet).

I’ve done a few MoonWalks and raised funds and awareness for the breast cancer charity Walk the Walk. Last year I saw the #walk1000miles challenge in late January and decided to see what it was like. I only counted the miles I’d done training and in events (I call this a ‘boots on’ approach). I’d stopped walking after the Dublin marathon in late October 2017, because if I don’t have a training plan, then I don’t walk, and needed to get out there again. Doing the 1000 miles would do that for me – and I enjoyed being able to see my mileage build,  never having known before what mileage I had done in a month, let alone a year.

‘The 1000 miles challenge is a great way motivate me to get out there and start training early!’
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 This year I got ahead of the game and signed up for #walk1000miles before Christmas, ready to start in early January. This year I‘ve signed up to take on the London to Brighton 100k in May, as well as The MoonWalk London and the Nijmegen Marches in the Netherlands in July (4 marathons over 4 days), all raising money for Walk the Walk, as well as a few other events to break up the training. So the 1000 miles challenge is a great way motivate me to get out there and start training early – and keep up my momentum between events. As I see my total growing, I start to believe I can do the challenges ahead.

January was a cold wet month and sometimes it was hard to get outside the front door.

One morning I was debating with myself if I should stay inside in the warm by the fire, then I remembered that my lovely friend Pat, who I met last year at a Walk the Walk event, was having her last radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer that morning. It certainly kicked my butt to get out there and train. As I walked I thought how much she had gone through and how lucky I was to be able to do something I love doing.

I completed my first walking event of the year – The Winter Walk, a 20k walk around London – with Roger my husband, and friends Julie and Christine. We also saw and caught up with other Walk the Walk buddies – people who have become my walking family, ready to encourage, help, listen to and at times belly laugh with each other, when we get together.

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February has been icy and I have had to change my routes to get off the dangerous roads. I’m walking with Toni (a friend who joins me sometimes to pound the roads ) and she’s slipping all over the place, so our latest walk was off road. It was so cold but we wrapped up and walking shoes on, we headed off road for the countryside. I’m lucky to live by the South Downs, so hill work is always on the cards as we live in a valley, (just to let you know, I hate hills!) It was a slower walk, but we had time to look around and take in the beauty of where I live and still get those miles in.

Gynette, a Walk the Walk friend from Guernsey, came over to stay with us and take part in event number 2 this year - this time the Winter Run,  a 10k around London. It was a timed event, but I needed to pick my walking speed up and it was a good event to test it. With my husband Roger supporting, I walked with Andy, another Walk the Walk buddy. He is quick, so this pushes me to keep up, but my shin splints flare up and its painful. I finished around 2 minutes slower than last year.  I’m very competitive with myself and know my weight is affecting this – I need to sort it. Then it was off for another catch up with Walk the Walk friends who had finished. These events are very social!

‘Walking helps my mind solve problems, turning them from mountains into mole hills’

I’m lucky to have a great sports physio, Jane Newnham (the Sports Injury Clinic), who treats me regularly for my back, so this week it will definitely be the legs (ouch) ice packs and compressions. I’ll soon be back out there plodding the roads and tracks. Back to basic training and getting those miles in! 

I’m finding my training routes a bit boring and needed a change, so last weekend I arranged to walk with Julie and Christine, Walk the Walk buddies who live close by. They sorted a 14 mile route which was new to me. What a walk – the weather was fab, its always nice to have good weather, but it doesn’t usually happen in February. It wasn’t a day to sit inside! Mind you the route starts off with Butser Hill on the South Downs (now you know I hate hills!!). When I finally got to the top and caught up with the others, I looked around and took in the beauty of where I am, then off we went and managed to do a 14 miler, stopping in Petersfield for a quick drink at half way, (did I mention that the pubs were open?). However, water was the only option! The miles flew by as we chatted – it was a much-needed change.   

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I often walk alone, sometimes with my husband or maybe with friends I have met over the years doing Walk the Walk events. They are my walking family and we keep in contact via social media. Through doing all this I have built up a great network of similar minded friends. We meet up at walking events and support each other with encouragement and kindness, home truths and wit!

Walking helps my mind – I can think things through, go out stressed and come back de-stressed, put worries into boxes in my brain and start to solve problems, turning them from mountains into mole hills.

Miles to date - 239, boots on.

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