Saturday, 11 April 2015

Keep on Walking

For years I was a runner. It was such a huge part of my life that I would define myself as a runner. Several times a week, wherever I happened to be I would go out for a run. I loved that feeling of escape, of being outdoors just me and the elements. And I was addicted to the buzz that came after a run. Plus there was that wonderful bonus of being able to eat whatever I liked and stay thin... I like food almost as much as I liked running! I was never particularly good or fast but enjoyed taking part in races. Mostly they were local and fairly short, 10k but I also have a few half marathons under my belt... and two London Marathons too. This is me wet and bedraggled, with my arm in plaster (broken whilst roller skating six weeks before!) crossing the finish line... seventeen years ago!
 
 
But unfortunately osteoarthritis in both knees put paid to my running days. I hated not being able to run and although I walked the dog every day it never provided the same buzz or feeling of achievement. And then when the dog died three years ago even walking stopped being a regular part of my life despite a couple of organised walks. But I have recently rediscovered the joy of regular walking.
 
 
By gradually increasing the distances I walk my knees seem to be okay... most of the time... and my long time ambition of completing the Coast to Coast walk actually seems to be something I might actually achieve rather than just being a dream. I've bought a couple of books of local walks and I plan to work my way through as many of them as possible. I like the idea of "being in training" and having something to aim for and realise that is what I've missed about my running days. I thrive on targets, goals and challenges. But I've also discovered that unlike running, when I'm out for a walk I have time to observe what is around me and it has made me want to learn more about local flora and fauna... something I know very little about. I can see this becoming a new obsession!
 

And when I'm not actually walking I have been reading about other people's long distance walks and I have just started Walking Home by Simon Armitage which is very entertaining. All of which, along with gardening and teaching this week, explains why I've not had much time for blogging! And I'm not the only one... Annie has been turning her thoughts to reading about walks too!
 
I had to laugh... whilst typing up this post, Joe, who usually plays football on a Saturday but doesn't have a game today decided he would go for a run instead. I've just opened the door to him on his return to be met with the words... "That was horrible". Just as well we don't all enjoy the same things I suppose!

26 comments:

  1. I couldn't run the length of myself, never could but I do enjoy a good walk. Unfortunately the winter makes you not want to walk but I really need to get out there again, if only for short walks because it does make you feel good.
    V x

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  2. It's great that you've morphed your passion into a new doable form, with added exploration and learning benefits!

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  3. Well this is very relevant to me at the moment! I sprained my knee last week while decorating and can't even walk very far at the moment. Looking forward to doing a bit more walking. Love the photo of you crossing the line :)

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  4. Hi Gina,

    I have been following you via email and now from my blogger dashboard - I love your bags, especially and all the other sewing you do) but haven't been brave enough to comment before, just starting to comment more now!

    I've been having problems with my knees too, and just this week we've been swimming twice and walking twice and today my knees are so much better than they have been. Mind you they do say the weather has a lot to do with it too! Let's hope it all continues to help with the knees!

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  5. Love your blog posts, Gina! I love running too, but wouldn`t define myself as a runner, since I only ran regularly for about 2 or 3 years, and have never entered a race, although I keep meaning to...I really just do it for myself. I have just started again, since my knee hasn`t been so bad since the physio has "fixed" my back!? Seems the 2 might have been related. But not enough time to train for the Belfast marathon or even the half one in 3 weeks`time. I used to be a bit of a fitness freak, going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, and playing basketball, walking and hiking loads...3 kids later, self-employed, etc, has meant that I don`t do anywhere near as much now, but I still manage to be relatively fit.(but I have to shift 5 kilos plus of baby fat and my youngest is now 4!! so, no excuse - think I need to go off cheese!) (Gardening also helps, and I bought myself a crosstrainer!) But that doesn`t compare to running outside. Still, I don`t think I would ever be so keen as to run a marathon with my arm in a cast!!!! you are amazing and inspiring...Keep up the good work xx

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  6. I've never been able to run. As a child I was the one who came in last and made everyone else feel a bit better. I love watching track events on TV and think it must be wonderful to be able to run. As soon as my leg recovers I am hoping to build up my walking again before I have to resort to a mobility scooter! Enjoy your walks.

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  7. I was always a cyclist. I would ride my bike for very long rides in hilly terrain, flat terrain. What have you. I loved the feeling of sweating up a hill and cruising down with the wind on my face. After my back surgery I found I could no longer ride. That was three years ago and I am still devastated over the loss of my biking days. I was always thin in summer. I swim now but it isn't the same. It is repetitive and boring but I do it because I am addicted to exercise. I do like walking but in winter I cannot go walking her in Boston. Too dangerous for slipping, walking in the roads etc. My hope is that when I get out to Arizona full time I will walk more. I always love hiking out there.

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  8. This is timely...I've never been a runner but I've neglected walking and swimming for months and months now. I also have OA, so I do need to get my rear in gear and get back out there. I'm so looking forward to spring weather so I can go out onto the woodland trails.

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  9. I do enjoy a walk but not anywhere near your type of walking and definitely not with the word marathon in it. I'm impressed by running a marathon with a broken arm, it must have unbalanced you a little and made the job harder. I have walked two bits if the SW Coastal Path, probably only about 3 miles in total but it is my claim to fame ;-) Walking is fabulous exercise and brings lots of benefits with it so long may you continue to enjoy it.

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  10. Well done on the walking Gina - if you ever want company, for about 5 or 6 miles, let me know and I'll be there. There's a lovely one around Much Hadham with cake at the end! x

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  11. What a great idea, walking from coast to coast. I might just join you for a day or two. I have run for years, although in my case running maybe describes the movement but not the speed.... I have plantar fascitis that does not seem to get any better even after I stopped the runs altogether three months ago. I am massively overweight, which I am sure doesn't help. But I do enjoy my dog walks and the cycle to work. You are right, there is a lot more to see when you slow down, I seem to spend a lot of time crawling through the undergrowth to have a closer look at something or other. Not good in tick infested woods :-)

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  12. You are good doing all that walking ... I never get around to it ... I only potter. I have to say, Gina, you are an excellent blogger and writer. Perhaps you could write your own walking book and make lots of money at it. YOU are a GOOD READ!!! xxx love xxx

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  13. I've never been a runner but I've always enjoyed walking. Coast go coast sounds very interesting x

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  14. I've never been a runner, nor do I like ' being in training' or setting goals. BUT I do love walking, it's where the inspiration for my work comes from and while walking compositions gradually come together in my mind.
    I love watching the seasons change as the flora and fauna do. So if you ever fancy a wildlife safari walk just give me a shout xx

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  15. I always regret not having taken to running when I was younger. I think I was the only one who enjoyed cross country running at school, but I never kept it up. But mr d does a lot of running and recently I have started going with him. I can just about manage a mile at a snail's pace! I love walking too and love the idea of a coast to coast walk. Good luck with the training.

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  16. Oooh, that coast to coast walk looks like lots of fun. Is that the walk along Hadrian's wall, or are they two different things? I would love to do something like that!

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  17. I've never been a runner, but have always loved walking. I do get a thrill after a particularly long, difficult trail that has taken me all day to complete :) The coast to coast trail sounds amazing! We just watched the movie "Wild" on the weekend ... about another trail hiker, which was really good.
    Wendy

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  18. Interesting to read all this, Gina, as I have always walked (did an 8 mile across the Pentlands with my son last week - spectacular!), but am now thinking of starting running also. I shall probs get loads of expensive gear and do it for 2 weeks before giving up! We'll see! xCathy

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  19. We've always fancied cycling coast to coast, but have never got any further than daydreaming. And one of our favourite books is 500 mile walkies. Re. the knees, himself finds that walking every day keeps them happy, and sitting still is the worst thing he can do. But he still cycles to get that buzz!

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  20. Gina, although some of my NYC friends are devotees of running, I have never for a minute been attracted to moving that fast. I do, however, love long walks, either on city sidewalks or roaming along Central Park pathways. It's that particular rate of motion that suits my appreciation of the areas I'm moving through.

    It's grand to report that at last some true spring weather has arrived here, and it was a pleasure earlier today to just pull on a thick sweater/jumper and take a walk across the Park, meet a friend for coffee and cake, and then continue walking along together through some interesting East Side neighborhoods. Good exercise, much to see, and great opportunities to chat and catch up, too.

    (I admit, I did take the bus home.) xo

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  21. I was never a runner but I love walking and we walk as often as we can. I am glad you have discovered a love of walking....you get less sweaty too!
    xxx

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  22. Oh, well done you and yes, I think it is good to have something to aim for. I was never sporty (I did ballet and other dancing most evenings for 13 years or so) but last year joined a running club which sounds ambitious but is for all abilities. I just need to get back into it!

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  23. Running has never interested me, but I love walking/trekking. Reading another blog recently I've been inspired to join a local rambling group. Glad the knees are coping and looking forward to the post(s) covering your coast to coast walk in the future x

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  24. I've never been able to run but I do love walking, there's something about being at one with nature that you don't get when you move faster. Well done for setting yourself a goal too, it's supposed to be a fabulous walk.

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  25. I knew you'd enjoy Simon Armitage. I loved all the references to the huge suitcase that got carted around everywhere! You can't beat walking and I think you should get yourself westwards and do the coast path in this part of Wales. I promise to show you the best bits... i.e the ones that are easy on the knees for women of a certain age (that's both of us I'm talking about!)

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  26. A belated thank you for the link Gina :o)

    I have never been a runner, but even now I have rheumatoid arthritis affecting my feet I endeavour to walk every day, even if it's not the six miles I used to do in an afternoon.

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