Before moving to London I enjoyed nothing more than donning my walking boots and exploring the glorious Lake District with our crazy English Setter Poppy. Then, I ventured south, joined the big smoke, and well, to put it bluntly, became lazy. With so much public transport on offer, why walk anywhere!?
But a year in and I was getting itchy feet. I missed putting one foot in front of the other, missed the fresh air and decided I needed a challenge. That’s when I heard about “Shine for Cancer Research”, a charity night time walking marathon wearing the brightest, loudest clothes you own. Perfect I thought!…I’m a great walker, I love the outdoors and following Mama Obia’s Breast Cancer diagnosis in 2012, I couldn’t think of a better charity to support.
Before I knew it, I’d gathered (coerced perhaps!?) a few friends to join me, bought a new pair of trainers and bum bag and signed up. Let the training commence… We created a training plan that involved 3 walks, a cardio session and a strength session every week (we knew we’d need strong legs and gluts to get us all the way round) and off we went, choosing different areas of London to train in every time. It was the perfect excuse to explore all that London had to offer.
For the first 8 weeks, we nailed it, speed walking through Richmond, Oxford Street, Hackney Marshes, Highgate Woods and always managing to find a pub to finish in (wine is a protein right?!) . My all time favourite walk to date was Tower Hill to Richmond on a gloriously sunny Saturday morning. Obviously, such a long walk deserved a reward…and our chosen reward of the day was Pimms…lots and lots of Pimms!! Safe to say we returned home very merry on Sunday morning…oops! I was thoroughly enjoying the training; the weather had been fantastic and I had seen parts of London I never even knew existed. Everything was great until we hit 16 miles and my legs (hamstrings to be precise) literally gave up on me. I could walk no further. I practically crawled home…tears in my eyes as the pain set in and the panic of not being able to walk the full 26 miles dawned on me.
Thank goodness for Julia at Back in Action UK! She told me that my hamstrings were inflamed and I had simply been over doing it. Rejoice…I was still allowed to train! Just at a much steadier pace and with a new and improved walking technique. Together we looked at my walking style, practised strengthening glut exercises and I had several acupuncture sessions to relieve the pressure and inflammation that had built up behind my knees. Phew, I thought, I can do this! With a slower, more thought out technique, I continued my weekly training closely monitored by Julia.
I am now only 4 weeks away (eek!) from the event, I’ve seen the final route and I’m very happy to say I managed 24 miles pain free on Friday in less than 6 hours. In the coming weeks, I will continue to walk the streets of London, purchase some suitably bright face paints, raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research and PRAY for a dry evening on Sat 28th September. Please Mr Weatherman, don’t let it rain!
Wish me and all the other 14,000 fabulous participants luck and I will see you on the other side!
If you have any questions, give me a tweet @KerryOPhysio and if you too have been training hard call 02074805976 to book a physiotherapy appointment with Back in Action UK.