Friday, 13 April 2012

Ain't nothin' gonna break-a my stride

In just under a month I'm taking part, for the third time, in the London MoonWalk -- a marathon-length, overnight walk through the city in specially-decorated bras (and not much else) to raise money and awareness for breast cancer care and research. I've persuaded my sister and my cousin to take part as well, and have joined forces with a local lass as walking buddies, and the training is coming on apace. (Pun intended. Sort of.)

Twice a week we pound the local pavements for an hour and a half, two hours. Last week we walked a round ten miles from Victoria Station and back again (via the pub). If I'm without my walking buddy I'll go to the gym and notch up a couple of miles on the treadmill.

I'm not one of life's natural gym bunnies. Let me explain:


Elle in Legally Blonde, smartening up on a treadmill


Cleveland, The Cleveland Show, via here
But when I get in the zone, I am In The Zone. I have a playlist of specially selected 'gym music'*, a time limit (I've increased this incrementally since before Christmas and can now last an hour on the treadmill with small breaks every 15-20 minutes) and I'm well away. The songs I choose have to keep me walking at an average pace of 6.5km/h (roughly 4mph). At one point I hit 7.5km/h (about 4.6mph) which I think is my utmost limit because of this song:

Richard Marx – Colder

When I walk at 7.5km/h I look a bit like this (which is sadly unsustainable for 26.2 miles but I do try):

via here. (PS I'm less pixellated when I walk.)
*Other top walking tunes are:

Tanita Tikaram – A Good Tradition
Electric Light Orchestra – Hold On Tight
Jane Wiedlin – Rush Hour
Planet Perfecto – Bullet In The Gun
The O. T. Quartet – Hold That Sucker Down (Builds Like A Skyscraper Mix)
Natalie Browne – Marvellous
Siouxsie & the Banshees – Passenger
The Miracles – Love Machine
Sash! – Stay

So quite an eclectic collection!

I'm currently reading Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I don't run (my body wasn't built for it, is my excuse) but I can relate to, and appreciate, a lot of what he says about the correlation between writers who run (or in my case walk) long distances. And about accepting the limitations and reality of your own body as it goes through the ageing process. And about finding your own way, essentially.

But regardless of all these statistics, tricks and training regimes the crucial thing to me is to start the walk, sustain the walk, and complete the walk.

OK, the training is important, of course, but nothing really prepares you for the main event and often it's adrenalin and willpower, rather than physicality, that get you over that finish line.

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