Published: Wednesday October 28, 2015.
At 630am, my alarm went off. I had settled for sleep about six hours before and, sadly, didn’t get much proper shuteye in that time. It was dry and calm outside, and the side-effects of yesterday’s rain were evident. All the surface water had drained away, leaving mucky gullies and unearthed tat in the undergrowth. The large bundle of Yellow Pages that didn’t reach their intended destination and got slung into the ditch were particularly grubby today. That said, there was almost no traffic. I walked my usual route — home to the Marshgate junction and back — the length of which varies as the GPS in my phone goes a bit wonky. Google Maps says it’s 1.75 miles (2.8 km) to the top of the hill, so there and back is 3.5 miles (5.6 km). There’s apparently an incline of about 350 feet (106 m). This has been my go-to route for a few years, though I only restarted it this month.
I’ve done it seven times so far this month, and my time has improved almost every time:
I intend to close out October with three more walks of the same route, and hit a sub-58:00 time for each one. I promise myself I won’t turn into a fitness bore, but the pre-breakfast burn of 700+ calories and the post-walk chemical rush is rather pleasing. I’m buying more Under Armour clothing, too. I haven’t quite got to the stage where I wear the ideal gear for walking, but I’m gradually getting there. The last piece of the puzzle is to wear a base layer under my t-shirt. Most days I forget. I can’t imagine that my Dickies outlet jacket is the most appropriate top layer, either, but it’s fine for now. I’ve upgraded my high visibility waistcoat to a smaller size, too. That was a nice moment.
Today, Wednesday, is Craven Players rehearsal day. In five weeks, the rehearsals and productions will be done, and I can start to look forward to a holiday. I’m going to Madeira in December, sacking off the early part of winter and having some time in the sun. I’m also headed to Fuerteventura in January, for a similar reason. It’ll be the first time I have a winter holiday getaway with the sole purpose of not succumbing to the grey outdoors in Britain. I’m not feeling any apprehension about going away, but equally I’m not yet convinced it’ll be enough to stave off the winter blues. That’s part of the reason I’m walking more, and exploring the idea of changing my working hours over winter so I can make the most of the daylight.
I say all this from an office in Cornwall where the summers are sunny and the winters aren’t actually that bad, really. I want to go to Finland in 2017, and the winter daylight hours are few. The Azores is also on my to-do list, but that’ll have to wait until the pennies are ready. It’s dark outside by 6pm, and sunset will creep back another hour or two in the next couple of months. The best part, though, is that by the time I get back from Madeira the days will be gradually getting longer again, and spring will be a lot closer.
At 630am, my alarm went off. With a handful of hours sleep, the temptation to doze or prat around on a phone was high.
I got up, the fight began and three hours later I’m still winning.