My compromised breathing, aka The Great Snot has been a real problem since the last Winter Walking League on 7th February. I have managed just three outings to the gym, the last of which I only lasted a mile on the treadmill before I had to stop.
And that is the problem with the gym, and the treadmill - once you feel unwell, you can just jump off.
So yesterday evening I did the Real Thing. No jumping off. I did an eight mile walk from my home via Lakeside, Groudle Road, Lonan Old Church Road to Baldrine and back. A reasonable time but nowhere near the pace of the Walking League. Lots of stiff little hills of course, and slowed down by TGS. But halfway into it, and I could smell the countryside and when I got home I could actually taste my food. For a couple of hours the nose was cleared, but it has come back. It seems I need constant exercise to keep it clear.
As to the Walking League, I have now done three rounds, the first and the two at Andreas. Each time I have knocked a couple of minutes off, and I have realised that when you are competing you are really going much quicker than training walks or even a blast in the gym. The competitive urge gives you that extra pace which is hard to replicate in a training walk.
In the first round at Andreas, Steve Partington was there giving encouragement and tips on techniques. Am I alone in following his advice as I walk past him each lap, and then lapsing into the usual trudge as soon as you think he is out of sight? Arms pumping, pushing off from the heels, while he watches, the usual flailing struggle out of sight.
The second round, after a bit more training, I was going much better - Steve still shouted his advice and I was managing to keep to his advice, even round the corner out of sight. But when you get tired, it is hard to keep your concentration going, to concentrate on keeping up the technique.
So it seems to me that the first thing to do is get really fit - then tiredness won't interfere with technique.
Finally, at the Walk in Andreas I met my fellow blogger, Dave Walker. I had presumed from the amount of training he was getting in that he might be a shift worker, and I guessed he might even be a Policeman.
It turns out however, that he is a much more important and valuble member of society than that.....
More 8 mile highs next week.......