Monday, 18 June 2012

An excess of walking

White ducks following one another along a path
Ducks in Norfolk, July 2011
The annual Leamington Peace Festival was held at the weekend, but unlike the last couple of years, it poured with rain, albeit intermittently. I walked through the site on my way back from buying hoover bags in town because there's usually something interesting to see. This year I was in no way tempted to hang about, except that the band that was on at the time sounded pretty good. The stalls were exactly the same as ever, including the usual reiki nutters waving their hands about, and the punters sitting in front of them with their eyes closed imagining goodness knows what.

But I walked on without even taking a photo because it was raining very hard, and the site (in fact, the whole town) was swarming with young people forming large groups and getting in the way, squealing at each other, and wearing wholly unsuitable clothing that in no way protected them from the rain. Nobody at all was wearing a coat, and most had no more than a very damp T shirt. Young people, I don't know. When I was their age, we never did anything stupid, like gathering on the local golf course and lighting bonfires. I'm sure that if we did, we would have worn coats and sensible waterproof shoes. Definitely.

On Sunday, in contrast, I did a kind of sponsored walk backed by the local radio station, in aid of the hospital baby care unit. Although it was a sponsored walk I didn't really get round to doing anything about raising any money, I just gave them a contribution. Asking people to give you money for walking is quite tiresome, and I don't like being asked for such favours (although I often oblige), so I didn't bother.

I was suckered into the walk by colleagues at work who had signed up. In the end the one who had put the most pressure on me dropped out, but I carried on regardless. It was twelve miles from Warwick to Coventry, and three of us started out at around 10 o'clock. One of my colleagues is a 'power walker' who regularly goes out on ten-mile walks FOR FUN, so she hung around for about a mile before zooming off into the distance. My other colleague stuck with me, but still set a blistering pace - I kept up with her, even at the end when I started to wonder why I had agreed to such a stupid idea in the first place. We finished in about three and a half hours, which is a pretty good time, especially for an old-timer like me.

I am suffering now though, with my feet a little tender and hips aching quite a lot. Walking twelve miles at that speed certainly feels like an achievement, but it was not fun, and I am perfectly happy with using badminton as a leisure activity without spending hours at the weekend walking so fast for so long that it hurts afterwards. So I shall be keeping the 'medal' that was awarded, if only to remind myself never to do it again. Meanwhile, the colleague who set the pace for me is working towards a marathon in October. She's welcome to it.

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