Thursday, 17 March 2011

A Positive Training Walk

I have to confess that last week I was feeling very despondent. Yes, we had a lovely weekend at Windsor, but my right ankle had been hurting quite a lot and the failure of another body part was getting me down. No sooner had my strained right thigh stopped hurting than my right ankle had decided to hurt instead. Add to that, I was feeling down that on the Sunday, I had begun to feel tired after only walking 4 miles.

And then to cap it all, the day after we got back, on the Monday, a cold sore erupted on my lip. Sigh!! I do tend to get cold sores if I'm feeling under the weather and possibly the bright sunlight over the weekend triggered it off. I hate getting cold sores! They make me feel so wretched!

So, Monday was a day full of negative thoughts. Do I really think I can walk 42 miles in April? How on earth can I do it? Should I just quit now? I am a great believer that goes on in your head has a huge influence on what you do. OK ..... positive thinking alone doesn't enable you to succeed; preparation still needs to happen. But, I do think that no matter how much you plan for something, if you feel negative about it, it does have an impact. At least by the end of Monday I recognised that I had to do something to change my mind set, but what exactly?

To start with ..... the ankle! I'm still not entirely sure why it had started hurting. On the walk in question, I had changed the socks I was wearing and I wondered if they were too thick so that, if the boots were too tight, it was some sort of pressure 'bruise'? However, there was no swelling, no bruising and no blister. I wondered if I'd inflamed the tendons round the ankle, so I decided to take Neurofen for 4 or 5 days to tackle any possible inflammation and see how I got on. Naturally enough, the pain went straight away (being a painkiller!!) but was this just a 'mask' ..... and might there be something more serious? Well, it was worth a try!

When we first started walking last Saturday, I was still feeling a bit down, wondering whether there was any real point in training. But as we started out, it was really quite strange! I found I felt incredibly strong! Possibly it was the lovely sunny day and the blossom out on all the trees. Possibly, stressing the body by walking over the three days we were away followed by resting from Monday to Friday had strengthened my muscles in some way? Not sure! I know nothing about the 'science' of training. However, I very quickly felt different again! Perhaps the NHS aught to run walking clubs as a way of helping people with (some forms of) depression?

We decided that, as it had been dry for some time, we would walk up the tow path along the Lea and then branch off at Fieldes Lock and walk up along the Stort. We hadn't done this since November of last year when the rain had made the tow path very muddy and tough going. However, on Saturday it was lovely.

The two photos below, by the way, were taken at the weir at Fieldes Lock. You walk across the weir on a narrow metal bridge and can look down on the water tumbling over the weir. The white foam and the sparkling water just appealed to me :)

For the first time on one of our longer walks, by the time we got home I didn't have a single muscle ache! The ankle hadn't hurt (although that was probably the Neurofen) and as we finished, I felt amazingly strong! I felt totally astonished and my spirits had lifted from the doldrums I started out in.

The only down side ...... in my efforts to not crush my ankle, I hadn't laced my boots up tightly so I realised once we were home that my feet had been sloping about a little and I had two not so lovely blisters, one on the edge of each foot. Plus a bruised big toe on my right foot from where my foot had obviously been knocking on the front of my boot! However, that was all.

So, we started out at 7:50am on Saturday 12th March. Total time out: 6hrs 39mins. Total time walking: 6hrs 16min. Distance: 21.3miles. Average moving speed: 3.4mph .

And finished feeling so much more positive :)


joy said...

I am a firm believer in how your mind affects you, and how negative thinking can lead to negative actions, and vice versa. well done for overcoming all your problems.
all winter I have had a really stiff and painful lower back, which led me to trying hard not to move it too much, but over the last couple of weeks I have been doing some digging in the garden and my back, instead of complaining and feeling worse, has actually loosened up and feels so much better, so by not using it I was actually making it worse.

Elaine said...

Hi Joy,
I'm with you on that one. However, sometimes when you are feeling down in the dumps, it can be hard to get yourself out of the negative spiral. I really feel for anyone who truely suffers from depression.

However, the mood-lifting effect of walking is one reason why I think we will be carrying on with walking even after we've done the long walk in April .... walking really lifts my spirits.

Also, when we couldn't walk because of the snow, I became aware of a low grade back ache primarily when I was in bed. This disappears with all the walking. I realised I'd had this aching for a long time but had just accepted it!

So, I guess it really is .... Use It or Lose It!

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