Today I’ve hit my target.
Theoretically I don’t have to walk anywhere. I can sit at home, put my feet up on the sofa, turn on my XBOX and play a video game. Or watch the TV. Or a DVD. Or read a book.
I probably won’t however. I now find it irritating in the extreme to do absolutely nothing. I’m going to get in the shower after I’ve finished here, and then afterwards go and forage for coffee out in the big wide world.
Today I have to celebrate somehow though – because 24 hours before my one year anniversary of starting Slimming World I’ve just confirmed that (since April 16th 2016) I’ve walked the distance from Lands End to John o Groats AND BACK.
When I first started calculating my virtual walk from one end of the country to the other it was in September 2016 (link) and according to Wikipedia it was 847 miles. Things change, and route planners disagree – but that’s what I was working towards.
Google Maps this morning for instance says something else entirely. According to their iPhone app driving the route is 837 miles and walking is 811. Apple Maps (Google’s developmentally challenged cousin) thinks it’s 839 miles to drive and can’t manage to figure out walking at all.
I don’t care though – because this morning my spreadsheet looks like this:
In the last month (from the 14th March to the morning of the 14th April) I’ve walked 306 miles to make this happen. Thats an average of 9.87 miles a day.
So – you’ll have to forgive me. I’m going to indulge myself a little here.
In April 2016 I walked 27.9 miles. That was the sum total of ALL movements I made during a day. This comprised of typically walking to my car, walking from that into an office, walking to the kettle from my chair, walking back to my car, walking from there to the sofa, walking to the toilet, going to bed – and NOTHING ELSE.
Thats all I did – and I’d done that or something similar pretty much every day for a long long time. It had pretty much ruined my body.
When I tried to walk I couldn’t. When I put one foot in front of the other everything hurt. Muscles tore and my tendons pulled. I developed plantar fasciitis and shin splints. My heart beat like a drum. I was continually drenched in sweat. My back hurt. My thighs hurt. I couldn’t breathe. I was shaking all over after a hundred metres. When I sat down it took 10-15 minutes before I could stand up and start again. I couldn’t go anywhere without benches and a mile took me well over an hour.
A year on and I’ve conquered all of them. Through sheer force of will. They’re all gone.
I can now do a mile in 16 minutes and 33 seconds – and that’s bearing in mind that I’m still carrying the weight of a fridge freezer in fat around with me that I still need to lose.
Often I feel profoundly uncomfortable with pride in my accomplishments – and try whenever possible to just get on with what I do – but today dammit I feel prideful. I’m absolutely swelling up with it because when I started I not only looked very different – but I felt very different.
I was a man largely without hope, and absolutely no idea of what he could accomplish if he put his mind to it.
I’m not that man any more.