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Final training walk

June 1, 2015

We will set off for the Coast to Coast walk next Monday so our final training walk was planned for yesterday, Sunday. What could possibly go wrong?

Firstly, I still have this adverse neurodynamic tension (don’t ask) such that my left buttock and hamstring feel like they have been kicked and will snap at any moment but actually it’s all to do with my sciatic nerve getting irritated and trapped by various spinal misalignments. But intense physio is trying to sort that out as much as it can. But that really wasn’t the problem.

The problem started the night before. When friends invited us to a pop up restaurant in Fulham and the food was so shit we had to drown it out with copious amounts of wine. And then go back to theirs to continue. By one am listening to the Philppines answer to the Everley Brothers seemed a good idea. Hubby kept insisting we needed to test ourselves at getting up early and setting off so we were talking about getting to Princes Risborough for 9 am, which meant leaving home at 8am. Our friends said they’d come too and do the 20km walk with us. It all seemed such a good idea at the time.

Another friend texted at 640 am on the Sunday morning which woke me before the alarm and I started doing my exercises from the physio to loosen my back. I got up, drank a pint of water and put the kettle on. I couldn’t face eating as the bucket of Brie I’d had the night before was laying heavy on me. Forecast was rain all morning, easing off later so got dressed in showerproof trousers and top and packed my waterproofs in my rucksack. Took coffee up to hubby who told me to fuck off. Told him he’d wanted this early morning test so he should get up. He disagreed. I said we were meeting our friends at 9 in P Risborough. He didn’t believe me. Had no recollection of the conversation. Assumed they wouldn’t do it. I said we couldn’t assume that and had to get going. It was too early to text them to see if they were really coming as it was Sunday morning about 730 after a hard night before. But then they texted us to see if we really were still going for 9. We said yes. Hubby got up, we packed some nuts, flapjacks and apples and I filled my brand new camel pack to try it out. Took me about ten minutes to work out how to shut it, but got there eventually.

Bumbled around getting socks and boots, hubby packed the car as I went to the loo for the third time that morning and eventually we were ready to roll. We got to the agreed meeting place and hubby asked me for the book with the walk in it. I said I didn’t have it. He said “I gave it to you” I said “You didn’t” “He said, “I did, with my keys”. I said, “You didn’t” This is a common ‘joke’ he plays, but he wasn’t joking this time. We had no fucking map.

Our friends hadn’t yet arrived so we set off to look for a map shop. At 9 am on a Sunday no shops are open except garages and a newsagent. Surprisingly they didn’t sell OS maps. It was too far to go back home for it and come back. We needed to find a shop. I suggested Fox’s in Amersham which is an outdoor shop I’ve been to in the past. So we set the satnav, texted our friends what’s happened and set off. It seems to take forever to get there and hubby curses why we haven’t gone to High Wycombe or Aylesbury that are nearer. “Because I can’t get internet on my phone to find out if they have a walking shop”. Nothing was going in our favour.

Until we found Fox’s, it was open and we got the book with the walk in it. Got back to P Risborough where our friends had coffee and croissants in the car and bought us sandwiches for lunch. We set off at 1045, nearly two hours late, proving beyond doubt we can’t get up early and get out. or at least not with all the correct equipment.

The walk itself was easy, but even with the map we got lost numerous times and had to retrace or steps, adding on a couple of extra miles. It was more the text in the book is sometimes ambiguous and we seemed to opt for the wrong interpretation rather than poor map reading. But then we found a pub very near the end and had a swift one. I’d never do this on the Coast to Coast – partly because we won’t pass any pubs as we’ll be in the wilds of the North, not the suburban rurality that is the Chilterns, and partly because once I stop I don’t want to restart. I just want to bed in for the rest of the day. But we couldn’t do that as we were going out in the evening so had to be back in time to shower, change, get the glad rags on and get out.

So the final training wasn’t a complete success. But that’s what they say about dress rehearsals –  a bad one means a great opening night. Here’s hoping.

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