Training Update On The Walk

06th June 2019

As mentioned in one of my previous blogs, last year David and I together with my husband Tim and David’s wife Denise, signed up to take part in a 60 mile walk in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research. The walk takes place on 13th and 14th July in Wiltshire.

As previously blogged about, the reason we have decided to set about this walk is because my dad has late stage Alzheimer’s so we wanted to raise as much money as we could to raise awareness, help families living with loved ones with the disease, to fund support and fund much needed research.

Our training started back towards the end of January just doing some shorter walks, around 5 miles a couple of times a week, just to increase a bit of fitness. Our first bigger walk was in March when we walked along the canal from Willington to Sawley which was around 10/11 miles. It was at that stage we realised the extent of the challenge we had undertaken. We were so tired and aching after that walk reality hit in that we would have to do that same walk almost 6 times over. At that point we could barely stand!

Over the next couple of months, we tried to get out all together about once every couple of weeks and do some longer walks again, ranging from about 13 to 18 miles initially until those walks started to feel a bit more comfortable. Between those longer walks, in our couples, we also tried to do a couple of 5 mile walks after dinner in the evenings as the nights were starting to get a bit lighter.

The biggest challenge we were facing was that after our longer walks, it was apparent that the difficulty would be doing another long walk the day after as we had chosen to do 2 days of 30 miles. We were waking up so stiff and achy that there seemed no way this could be done.

We decided at that point to book a weekend in the diary so we could do a long walk on a Saturday, stay over in a B&B and walk back the following day.

Last weekend we all set off from my house in Stanley at 9.15am and walked just shy of 25 miles to Ashbourne following the Bonnie Prince Charlie footpaths. It was a difficult walk as although the route is quite a famous one, it seems just us 4 had used it in recent times so a lot of the paths were overgrown, full of nettles and brambles.

We arrived in Ashbourne about 6.45pm albeit sunburnt, covered in nettle stings, ankles bleeding from thistles and brambles but we got there fuelled by water, diet coke, and Denise’s lovely flapjack. We were all feeling relatively comfortable and all felt we could certainly do the additional 5 miles that was needed to complete the first day of the event.

After some pub grub, a few well-earned pints, we all had an early night ready for the return journey on Sunday.

We met up at 8.30am for breakfast and set off around 9.30am. The weather wasn’t looking great, so we decided to take a slightly different route following the Centenary Way footpaths which was around 22 miles.

After we set off, within about 4 miles it started to rain. We were all wearing Gore-Tex shoes to help keep our feet dry but after persistent rain and walking through fields of crops overgrowing the footpaths, all our feet were squelching and at that point we all started to get a little down. Luckily, the path took us out near to the main road in Brailsford, so we took a small detour to a lovely little tearoom to regroup, warm up, have a change of clothes and socks before setting back off.

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t improve and for the next 18 miles so we continued with soggy wet feet. At some point along the return journey, everyone hit a low point and felt like they couldn’t continue. Luckily, we were all there to support each other, egg each other on and know that once we were back home, we would feel like we had really achieved something special.

Our last pit-stop was in Duffield where we stopped for some snacks and drinks before continuing on the last 6 or so miles.

We finally got home about 6.00pm, very wet and tired with soggy and blistered feet from having our feet in wet socks for 8 hours. After feeling the day before that we could continue for the full 30 miles, none of us felt we could do that on Sunday. The psychological impact of being cold, wet and miserable, coupled with blistered feet seemed like an impossible task to complete a further 8 miles.

So, we are here today, our blisters are healing, our stiff and aching muscles are recovering, and I feel in a position to be able to head out tomorrow with a friend to do 10 miles leisurely stroll. We have one more big walk planned in a couple of weeks, but up until then, we are trying to get out a couple of times a week just to keep our legs moving until the big day in 5 weeks’ time.

If anyone would like to sponsor us, no matter how small a contribution, we will be eternally grateful. There is a link on the footer just below, or you can sponsor us directly on our JustGiving page

Lisa Cooke

6 June 2019

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