After the failed South Wales trip, I felt really down, depressed. The main question was, 'is it time to quit?' Being dogged by ongoing illness was taking its toll. However, there was the TGO challenge. Mike had spent some time coaxing me around to the idea of doing another one. Gradually I had warmed to the thought of it. Excitement grew when we got our placing. Things took off from there. Many e mails where exchanged. Routes hammered out and agreed upon. There is even accommodation booked. It was too much just to walk away from.
The main problem was that my training program was in tatters. What to do? The urgent thing was to get some mileage back in to my legs. Revising some of my old marathon training routes, I roughed out a tentative plan. Pounding the pavements is not my forte, I had enough of it in my old running days. With little alternative though, I began heading out early mornings. Why so early? Simply because it is quieter, less traffic and people. It was and is, difficult. Mornings when a bitterly cold easterly wind was blowing, snow and ice. Conditions when the desire to stay in a nice warm bed bed was strong. A gradual start. Two hours of walking then three. That is now up to three and a half to four plus. It may surprise some folk, but in south London there are one or two streets with steep uphill sections.Those where gradually incorporated in to the daily routine. That and six flights of stairs.
One major problem when I first started was the stomach one. It normally meant taking imodeum before setting out. Even then problems occurred. Once I had to nip in to a builders porta loo in someones front garden. However, that has now eased.
Mind, early mornings can be interesting. Foxes casually checking out any rubbish lying about. Early morning workers stoically waiting at bus stops. Coats drawn tight, shoulders hunched against the cold. The there are the runners. Lithe, clad in body hugging Lycra. Head up, chests out. They move in liquid cadence, flowing swiftly, effortlessly over the pavement. Then there are the joggers. Their gait is vastly different, often a slow, shuffling affair. Arms flailing, breathing laboured, faces set in a grimace. Their clothing is vastly different too. Jog suit bottoms are a favourite. Some wear tights and baggy shorts. Light nylon tops of many varying colours. Woolly hats seem to be de rigour. Head gear of all shapes and designs. An early morning bin man doing the ..rounds, gives a broad grin and a cheery "mornin' darlin' "
This is maybe not the best way of doing things but it is a start. Having foregone a backpacking trip over the border, I devised a plan B. Later this week I am off to Dartmoor. Slotting a trip between hospital visits. It is a solo affair. The main aim is to push things around a tad, see what I am capable of. A no frills out and back affair. Hopefully I can slot in two more trips before May?