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Archive for the category “Health”


A while back, I laid out one of my main targets for next year, to do the Shine Nightwalk Marathon. And because of that, I also set myself the “lesser” challenge of walking a half-marathon, as a proof that I was at least capable of it.

I wanted to prove – as much to myself as to anyone else – that I could walk that 13.1 miles in a reasonable time, not fall apart by doing so (or afterwards) and really just that it was doable.  I also wanted to be get a rough outline of how long it would take, to give myself a feasible target time come September.

Yesterday, with sod-all planning or training, I went down to London (might as well do the trial in the same kind of place as the actual event, after all) and did it.

13.1 Miles of prime London walkingIt wasn’t as fast as I’d hoped for, but at the same time it was about what I expected. There’s still stuff to be done, and I’ll be working on all of it – more walks etc., better distances and better times – but for a first attempt, I’m pleased with how it went.

All told, I ended up walking about 15 miles in the end – as the map shows, the 13.1 miles took me so far, but I’d mis-judged things a bit, as I’d aimed for it be a lot closer to my destination at Euston station. Instead, I was a couple of miles away, so ended up still walking those miles back to Euston as well. (As has been said before, I’m a bloody idiot on occasion)

I’m less sure now that I’ll be able to do it in my intended six hour target, but an eight-hour will be certainly be doable, with seven being (I think) realistic, and I’ll be happy with that, although I’ll continue to aim towards the lower times and see how I do.  I slowed down significantly after about 8 or 9 miles, which was partly being tired, but also partly being held up by lots of slow-moving people.

I hurt a lot less than expected afterwards, too. Sore feet and some muscle aching in my legs, but that’s about it.

I’m pleased that I’ve done it, and that I’ve proved to myself I can do the full thing. I know the full thing is still double that distance, and that it’s still a big thing to complete, but I do feel more confident now that it’s something I can do.

Booked in Advance

Considering that I’m planning on a quieter year in 2017 without quite so many busy weekends, is it a good or bad thing that I’ve already got two things booked in for September 2017?

And of course, me being me, they’re both on the same weekend.

I suspect I may just be an irredeemable idiot.

2016’s Smaller Target

Following on from my decision about next year, and doing the Shine Moonlight Marathon (which is a much better name than the Night Walk, IMHO) I’ve also set myself a smaller challenge for completion by the end of 2016.

You guessed it, I’m going to walk a half-marathon distance. Not sponsored or owt (although if I do it, I might just chuck some money Cancer Research’s way anyway) but a bit of a reality check, a “can I do this?”.  I know the answer to that is “yes”, but it’ll be interesting to have some quantifiable evidence of it before I plunge into doing the full 26-and-a-bit miles.

I’ve certainly done days with more than 13 miles of walking, so this plan should be utterly doable. Indeed, it might even be easier than usual, if it’s done in one dollop rather than two 5-ish mile walks interspersed with breaks, food, stopping/starting, standing in queues etc.  I don’t know – and that’s why I want to find out.

It’ll also hopefully give me a rough outline of the time to aim for on the full event.  I’ve got a target time in mind, but again want to check whether that’s even vaguely feasible when faced with reality.

I’ll write more about it once it’s been done, but it’s definitely a goal for now…

2017’s Big Target

This year, I’ve missed out on having a big thing to aim at. (Oooer, missus)  The last couple of years, I’ve done Marie Curie’s “Walk to Remember”, an evening 10km walk around a random local-ish stately home, which have been fun, and suited me really well.  However, this year they decided to not organise them.

I did sign up this year for the challenge to climb the stairs of the Gherkin in London, but I ended up chickening out of it in the fact of saner voices and already-dodgy knees (No, not dodgyknees the Greek philosopher)

Anyway, although I’ve been doing a lot of walking this year, I’ve missed having a target, a thing to aim for at some point.  So I’ve pretty much decided on what my plan will be for 2017. It’s a big one, so there’ll actually be some preparation in the meantime.

So – my challenge for 2017 will be Shine’s Night Walk – an overnight walk of marathon distance in Central London. That’s 26.25 miles, or 41 km, so it’s significantly longer than the distances I usually walk.  I can (and do) easily cover 20km in a day when I’m in London or whatever, but I will be aiming at doing more (and longer) walks between now and then, getting used to the durations and distances.  I’m pretty sure I could do the walk right now, but I think I’d hurt quite a bit the day after, and I don’t want that to be the case in a year’s time.

So yes, that’s the plan. I can’t sign up for it yet (this year’s one hasn’t been done yet) but will do as soon as I can. In the meantime, I can start getting my ass in gear, now I’ve got a plan in mind.

Eating Well For Less

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been watching the BBC’s “Eat Well For Less” series.  It’s an interesting concept, helping people with their eating habits (and more accurately, their spending on food) by removing all the labelling and branding from food in people’s houses, removing all the prejudices etc. around their food spending.  They replace expensive branded stuff with ‘own-brand’ or cheaper alternatives (and in some cases with more expensive, but better/healthier options) and also leaving some things alone.  Additionally, they help people with recipes for their favourite meals, rather than buying pre-packaged and so on.

A lot of it is insanely annoying, but the core information is (in my opinion) worth it, for both the families on the programme, and people watching it.

But oh Dear God, those families are fucking pathetic. There’s lots of preconceptions about brands being preferred “because they wouldn’t be so popular if they weren’t the best” and so on, which drives me crackers.

The most recent one tonight, though, drove me crackers. One family member had been diagnosed as coeliac, and had spent six years eating salads he hated. Six. Fucking. Years.  How does anyone end up eating stuff they don’t like for six bloody years? There’s no logic in it that I can see – unless they haven’t done any enquiries or research about what’s got gluten in and so on?

In this case they were buying loads of pre-packaged food – and I get that more, because they were so worried about cross-contaminating from their foods to his, and making him ill – but with no thoughts or understanding. I think the peak point for me was buying pre-packaged “gluten-free” rice, not understanding that all rice is gluten-free, in the name of Jesus H Pant-shitting Christ.

So yeah, it’s been an interesting series, but Holy DogEggs, some people are fucking lazy/stupid/pathetic*.

(* Delete as applicable)

Speed Walking

With last week’s time in London, I did a lot of walking (as usual)

On the conference days, I was getting in to London early (before the main rush hour kicked in) and then had the option to grab a tube down to Charing Cross and walk from there to the venue, or say sod it, and walk the whole thing from Euston to  Westminster. (And then back in the evening, of course)

The first day, I opted for the Tube down, so I was there in plenty of time. That was easy, and once we were done for the day I walked back up, feeling the need for movement, having been sat for 95% of the day – I needed that walk! For the second day, I walked down in the morning, and back up once we were done.  And finally, on the Saturday I walked down, but grabbed the tube back up to Euston, as it was late and I didn’t fancy waiting for the final Train of the Damned.

But on each of those longer walks, I kept finding myself thinking about other people, and just how slow they are. And wondering just how people manage to live so slowly.

I walk fast, I know. Well, to me I walk at normal speed, and everyone else is just Slow – but I know that really means I walk fast! I consistently average at least 4mph – even when I think I’m dawdling along, knowing I’ve got plenty of time. Indeed, when I think I’m dawdling and going slow, I tend to be walking even faster than usual. But that’s just another weirdness of self-perception.

Regardless though, most people are just Slower. In pace, but also in reaction times – even when they look directly at me, they don’t seem to realise the speed I’m going, and still drift out in front of me, or just stop to do something else, or whatever. It’s amazing in many ways – not least that they’ve definitely got no concept of momentum and inertia, of what’ll happen if I do decide to keep going, and walk into them rather than permanently being the one to avoid, dodge, and get out of their way. By any stretch of the imagination, I’m a FMFB and could easily damage just about any of them, simply through colliding at speed.

Anyway, it always surprises me a bit, just how slow the people around me are. It gets tiring to keep on avoiding people, swerving and carving through crowds of slower people who don’t even realise I’m blasting through until I’m already past, staying aware of everything around me (including traffic when I have to go into the gutter to get past a whole pavement-width crowd of plodders) and all the possibilities.

It makes me wonder just what my speed would be in empty streets, to be honest. Although I do also speed up when I get annoyed by people, so it’s possible it would stay about the same.

Anyway, it meant I did a lot of walking over the last week, which is never a bad thing.


Illness and Self-sufficiency

While I was ill last week, it occurred to me – I had a fair amount of time to contemplate things, after all – that really it’s one of the few times where I’m less good at being self-reliant.

Being unwell and alone is, frankly, No Fun at all. I think the only times in the last four-or-more years that I’ve wished I weren’t single, when I’ve thought “It would be nice to have someone” have been when I’ve been ill. Not even to be nursed, or anything pathetic like that, but just someone to be there and vaguely sympathetic.

Hell, I’m not even good at being ill, or being cared for when I am ill. It’s just a shitty time for being on one’s own.

And really, that’s no good reason for a relationship, or for stopping being single, is it?

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