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Showing posts from 2011

and for 2012?

It wasn't meant to be a thousand miles in 2011...

My stated aim at the begining of the year was to do 100km a month, coming in at 1200km - 745miles... A good loading for anyone, and one I wasn't sure I was going to make given the various competing pressures for my time.

But with 11 miles and c24h to go, I think I'm going to make it... I'll go for a stroll this evening and then tomorrow walk along another section of a new
Long Distance Path - the Wirral Circular Path. This bit will take in industrial archeology, Napoleanic defenses, battles of the US Civil War and finish near one of my favourite nature reserves - Hilbre Island.

This thousand hasn't been quite as structured as the last one, which has meant when it became a possibility I was left with more miles than I normally would've wanted to do in a month. November was the crux - and the challenge for £40 to do 4 whttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifeeks of 40km for my 40th. That bought me to within 140 miles…

What sort of patient are you?

First off, apologies to my pure-bred disability activist friends this is going to look like its steeped in the medico-legal model rather than the evolved social model... But you may like seeing where I go with it...

I was asked by a colleague about whether there was any training for a relative on handling their recently diagnosed diabetes... and after the usual nudges towards Diabetes UK, I started reflecting on the stages of being a patient, and though I'm sure there's a lot written by psychologists I thought I'd throw my tuppence into cyberspace...

A Pure Patient

When we discover we're a patient we're just that a patient - we need to go to a doctor, find out our prognosis, what we can do to help mediate our conditions - we're pure, we may have some previous experience of others with our condition but as it affects us, none...

An Informed Patient

We've joined the support group, we've read the information pack, we're carrying the passport/wallet/sos tali…

Going Ultra...

A promise to a number of beautiful ladies (Ladies, I'm expecting sponsorship for that one ;-))...

The big events so far signed up for for 2012...

Excalibur Marathon - a 26.2 mile challenge walk (my companion in arms for this one a) denies I ever said it was a marathon and b) swore a lot when I suggested jogging any of it c) needs to man up... ;-)) - 12 hours time limit, 4600ft of up and down - 31 March

Belfast Marathon - a normal 26.2 marathon - 7 May

Nottingham Ultra - a 31mile ultramarathon - 7 Oct

These are the big ones, there's the usual scattering of 10ks and local runs that I'll do for fun, and enjoyment. Doesn't mean I won't push myself, does mean I won't jeopardise the overall fitness on one of these runs.

My training for the 1st 2 is going to overlap, and then provides the springboard for the 3rd. All of my distance runs (anything over a half) are based on a simple strategy - first distance then speed.

The best advice I was ever given was always protect the …

Me... a poetry anothology? must be course work...

Ok,

part of my OU course on poetry is to create an anthology of poems, culled from an anthology of animal orientated poetry...

The Bear - Frost (p23 - 24) beautiful imagery, hidden in a simple rhyming structure (though the repetition of Greek amuses, its as if he runs out of words)

Blue Moles - Plath (p39 - 40) more beautiful imagery, though perhaps vivid would be a better description

I have a Gentle Cock - Anon (p 126 - 127) made me laugh, and the switch between the straight description of the animal and then innuendo of the last line is stunning:-)

On a Dog of Lord Eglinton's - Burns (p188) the simile of a dog's life is pointedly made

Widgeon - Heaney (284) - Euwwww

In the Introduction to the Book of Beasts, the anthologist describes anthologists as despots, and maybe I am... My anthology is based on what attracted me in a single scan read through. So they tend to be shorter, punchier and cause an immediate emotional reaction - be that a smile in Frost description of the Bear's…

It's CHRISSTTTTTTMASSSSSSS (or something like that) and please double your donation!

Ok, its not even November...

But Reindeer have been spotted, discarded wrapping paper blown around like confetti, the inevitable bumps and scrapes (my right elbow), the mistaken paternity (me again... explanation below), oh and some bloke with a beard... went Ho Ho Ho a lot... wore a natty line in red, with white trimmings

I probably mangled my lines when I thanked some of our supporters and families for the help they've given CHF over the last year, but the reason I keep going and keep doing the mildly insane things I do is because of the look on the kids faces when they realise who they're going to see, and then that they can dance the night away.

But its also the look on the parent's faces, brothers and sisters and the CHF Staff and volunteers, because it's about making all of those involved in making a kid with a heart condition a rounded human being enjoy themselves, have a laugh and a bop...

Which in a weird way brings me to my 40th, my friends (who are my family) ma…

A Really Shit Run (literally)

It was as if I was possessed by the spirit of Buster Keaton (younger readers, I suggest Wiki or YouTube)... Slapshit could be the new comedy genre...

But that's getting ahead of myself...

The plan was 5 miles... Up and over a not particularly pleasant hill, around the park, back over the hill and Bob's your auntie!

However, running into the park, I trod in dog muck...

Fine, I'll run on the grass, to clean my shoes off...

Reach the grass... Small yappy dog starts bounding around me (no owner to be seen)... sticks its nose in the back of my knee, causing my leg to buckle...

My hand goes down and straight into another pile of dog crap...

I try and stand up, dog still yapping around ankles and my other foot slips, and I drag my legs through more dog shit...

I now lock like I've had a severe case of the Paula Radcliffe's... And I'm a choice, run around to the sports centre and try and sort myself out, or jog the 3 km back to the office...

Avoiding eye contact with everyone I…

Week off over... Now the forward look...

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The job now is to carry on, not to do what I did after the Edinburgh Marathon and rest on my laurels and loose the gains I'd made (that 2:30 half marathon is tantalising close).

The week has been one of rest, stretch, recuperation, sports massage (thanksGina, it hurt but helped!), climb (as a stretch - and push the grade at a 6b top rope) and do a gentle walk.

So this week I carry on; trying to get out at lunchtime at work for 5km or 5miles, pushing the climbing, get a doctor's note so I can get a personalised programme at the gym (I love the insurance industry), and generally keep it up.

The aim? Well, I always said that this would be a year of challenges, and dear friend has thrown the weight loss one into the mix - to be fair I asked them to help - as a stone off before the Belfast Marathon would be rather useful.

And there's a couple of runs I'm looking at... As I seem to have all the abilities at swimming as a block of concrete tri's don't float my boat - so …

The post marathon post

Did it, finished it, completed it, got the T-shirt, got the medal... as ever heard the spinning of my PE teachers (and a few cardiologists) in their graves as someone with Fallots dared to believe they could try, and complete, a marathon... or two, or three...

The race itself wasn't particularly good, those ultra-supportive of the company that puts these runs on in Liverpool will say that its was the first time and there's bound to be teething trouble... Which is acceptable to a point, that point is when they forget some of the field...

What makes runs great, and I've checked with some others, isn't the pace of the front runner (unless they truly are one of the greats) is the heart and sheer guts of the last ones across the line. The 3+ hour half marathoners, the 7+ hour marathoners. Treat these people as you would the champions, the winners, and all will feel great.

I will always be a back of the pack runner, and I've been the last one across the line in races, and…

To Belfast I go... Just Liverpool to do first

The magazine was the one with the irradiate poison - also known as the Red Fleece of Doom... So 4 rejections from 4 attempts at the London Marathon ballot. London has a special attraction, and like the Great North Run has that element of "event" rather than "run".

Which is why I liked the look of the Belfast Marathon - I love Belfast as a city, its a quicker commute than London, and I'm in, paid for, with flights booked all for less than the train fare to London.

All of which is great, but by this time next week I'll have run another Marathon - my home one, in Liverpool - well starting on the Wirral...

Through the Mersey Tunnel...

Up and up out of the tunnel and up to the Cathedrals...

Around the parks

And I should be back for a late lunch...

I've had the protein heavy meal, the rest of the week is pasta, veg, hydration drinks and keeping myself ok...

As for the end of Sunday, all I can say is....

THERE WILL BE PIE!

TTFN

Paul

Schrondinger's Magazine... London Marathon - the Quantum Run

Somewhere in the Great British Postal system is a magazine at the moment it is a potential magazine...

Potential Magazine 1 - Puts me through hundreds of miles of running, absorbing hours and hours... with the ultimate goal of the London Marathon...

Potential Magazine 2 - Puts me through hundreds of miles of running, absorbing hours and hours... with the ultimate goal of an unchosen marathon next year...

Good running to all those who know already, especially No 10569

So as the postal system delves into the depths of quantum running, all I can do is wait concentrate on 9 days time and enjoy this:




Yes, its a video of the Great North Run, and yes you get a hint of the atmosphere...

TTFN

Paul

The essence of a challenge...

So I asked for challenges... and I've got a beauty up first...

For me, to be effective a challenge needs to be just beyond what is normal; so 200km in a month is that. Especially as its a month where I've not got a weeks walking planned (nor can I fit one in).

It needs to have a symbolism... 40km a week for the first month of my 40th year... yup that ticks that box.

Needs to scare me a little... yup, the equivalent of just under a marathon a week for 5 weeks does that a little...

Can I do it, the answer should be yes... if everything works. However, I've things booked for every weekend in November (some will count to the total, some won't)...

As for this weekend, a nice gentle 15 miler from Hapton to Colne and then a cold cut in cancelling out the 10miler planned for today. At this stage it's not a major problem, I've done the miles, I just need to be fit for the day... so no pushing it when I don't need to!

TTFN

Paul

If Carling did Half Marathons...

They'd be just like the Great North Run...

There'll be those who don't like the crowds - part of the joy is the rest of the 54,000 people out sharing the experience

There'll be those who don't like the focus on charity runners - tough

There'll be those who say you can't get a PB - I have 2 years running

There'll be those who realise somewhere between Newcastle & Southshields that they actually enjoy this running lark - I did, and it reminds me every year!




:-)


Other than that, my annual check up was fine - when my cardiologist is pretty much egging me on for a PB he can't be too worried.

So, the taper has begun....

TTFN

Paul

The Psychology of a Bad Run

It was a bad run...

My legs felt heavy - check the fuelling strategy & effort in the preceeding week; ok busy week in the office, not a brilliant diet; inc walking 26 miles in the previous 6 days... Hmmm, that's a fairly heavy loading...

It was into a strong head wind, for 10 miles - Man up, nought you can do to change that!

It was humid - you don't cope well with humidity, you know that, nought you can do about that in 4 weeks

The water bladder spring a leak - buy a new one, test camelbak's lifetime warranty

It was a bad run, deal with it.

Analyse it yes, obsess on it no. I've been out to 18 miles already, on race day 18 miles will be middle of Sefton Park, heading back towards town.

I have to plant it into context, it was one bad run in a training programme that has seen me do my first fell run, first trail run, first cross country and perform better than I expected. My fuelling the week before the 20 miler could've been better - and I know what to do (and not do)…

It takes more guts to go slow than to go fast...

I paraphrase one of the elite group of ultrarunners talking to the author of a book I've devoured in a train ride and a coffee! Born to Run, by Chris McDougall, seriously it covers the evolutionary basis of running, one man's struggle to run without getting injured and at its core was a love of running shared by these elites and a tribe of indigenous Mexicans.... Rarely do I choke up reading a book, let alone a sports one and this one did that to me...


However, the quote is a truism... If you're one of those lucky people who can pick up a pair of trainers, do no training and on your first go Half marathon and knock off in under 2 hours then brilliant, you are something I will never be a natural athlete.

Whether that not being a "natural athlete" is because of my heart condition or my diabetes I will never know and quite frankly don't intend to worry to much about it. 

What I will worry about is anyone who like me has to work hard to get around a run, be it;…

Countdowns and a request for challenges!

Countdowns tick on and on...


12 days to my 20 miler (I'm doing 2 x 18 and 1 x 20)

13 days to the Nun Run - 5k dressed as Nun

16 days to my annual check up

20 days until the Great North Run - the world's largest Half marathon, just me and 54,000 friends out for a jog;-)

40 days until the Liverpool Marathon - running from one side of the Mersey to the other, with about 12,000 of my friends - through the tunnel, past the brewery and a finish next to a world heritage site... Just hope they don't run out of T-shirts...

62 days until I'm 40... Deary me, 40, how did that happen! Seriously, given the chances I've been given at various points in my life to reach 1 year, 16, 21, 30 reaching 40 is a little strange... and doing it while being as fit as I've ever been is making me grin like a loon!

More than one of my friends has asked what insane stunt I'm going to be doing during my 40th year, and to be honest I'm not sure... As I've done more and more the in…

Test Blog - does the video work for people?

Video tracking...

<a href="http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/46821514">Imported Garmin Route (17/08/2011)</a> and more runs in on MapMyRUN. <a href="http://www.mapmyrun.com">Find run</a>

The internal monologue...

Running is at its core very simple - you put one foot in front of the other, at a pace faster than walking...

Which is why it gets so complicated in my head...

Have I set off too fast, or too slow? Is that twinge a twinge I can run off or something I can ignore, if I ignore it for how long? How many miles have my shoes done, do I need a new pair? what flavour are these energy sweets meant to be? What's for tea? Why didn't that pair of cyclists go into single file, it meant I had to run through the puddle? What meetings have I got this week at work? How's my heart rate? Hail!!! Bloody hell that hurt! Am I going too fast, or too slow? That twinge has moved... where's it going next? What time do John Lewis' stop doing Sunday lunch? Someonestexted, it can wait for my next minutes walking... How many sweets have I got left? Definitely new shoes for the GNR & Marathon, that stone hurt... Bugger the sun's come out, take jacket off or leave it on?

And then for a few g…

I don't like bullies... I do like running

This blog will never be read by the people who should read it...

I gave a talk on CHD on Wednesday night, and the topic of bullying came up...

I don't like bullies... I never have I never will...

Bullies don't have discussions, or even arguments, they make statements and if you don't agree with them you are either frozen out of the group or attacked.

Bullies attack people, they don't discuss ideas and come to a consensus or an agreement to disagree, they just attack.

Some are trolls (in the online sense) who are trying to get a reaction, others are just dogmatic and so convinced they are right no other argument has the right to be heard.

Bullies will cite the rules, but not even consider what they're claiming applies equally to them.

Bullies come in all sizes and shapes, some use emotional blackmail, some try to threaten, some are just unpleasant...

The best way of handling bullies, in my experience, is first realising what they are and then employing whatever range of tec…

Don't sponsor me - sponsor them - The Norfolk Coastal Path...

There a couple of similarities between the Norfolk Coastal Path and the Coast 2 Coast...

They have the word coast in...

And my luck with the weather seemed to stay set to "Wet"...

The main similarity is that walking any reasonable distance day after day has a cumulative effect on your body, its in some ways harder to walk (with a days food water and gear) 2 half marathons on consecutive days than it is to run a marathon in a day.

Day 1 - Cromer to Weybourne

A blustery, wet day... An inspired route out of Cromer, but went into interesting woodlands and pretty much the only hills of the walk... A day for testing waterproofs and finding decent tea shops in Sheringham (to drip in and drink tea!)

Day 2 - Weybourne to Stiffkey

SHINGLE!!!!!

And Sausages... It's a long story... But Cley Next the Sea wins the best named, and accurate, bus stop name - Delicatessen.

Day 3 - Skiffkey to BurnhamOveryStaithe

Finishing with a long hard section on the sand, with the wind howling wasn't the ea…

Now that was a weekend:-D

Where to start...

Awareness raising?

Sleeping at the Science Museum?

Running in the heat with 25,000 of my friends?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

I'll start with the pure joy, of seeing a whole bunch of kids, kids with heart conditions and their brothers or sisters and occasional best friend firing rockets, checking out what makes us us, trying to send action man into space, watching at IMAX movie... or my favourite bit sleeping at the museum, right next to the Apollo lander... I also ended up promising the kids that my snoring kept the ninga trained giant rats at bay... (Thank you Museum Usher Person!!!!)

Also for reasons best known to themselves, the kids decided I was super-adult... Resulting in my ritual humiliation in front of a room full of people as I was presented with my prizes - a Galileo thermometer and a science museum mug! Both of which will be on my desk in the morning:-D

To use the jargon, hopefully Friday night broke down the isolation that many kids with heart conditions face. O…

A question of fundraising....

I've been asked a question... From a mate at work... They've been thinking about doing a direct debit donation to a charity and were just curious on my views on what sort of charity to give to...

In the interests of fairness, to them, I should point out that they've got personal interest in a number areas other than this crazy dicky ticker world of mine - so I wasn't going to give them any of the details for Children's Heart Federation... Unless they asked;-) Which they didn't, but they have supported me in the past...

So, how would I decide...

1) Check it's a charity... If it brings in more that £5000 a year they should have a charity number, and you should be able to find them on the charity commission website (of which more later)... If its smaller than that, then I'd probably ask if they've a constitution (there are plenty of model ones out there if they haven't you may be helping them).

That may sound paranoid, but there's unscrupulous com…

And I'm last, and it felt good:-D

Yes, finally I'm last:-)

It's been a long time since school and the torture of being slow clapped over the finish line, but 25 years is a long time for a milestone and I'm happy to be there again:-D

Competitive runners, or anyone with a competitive bone will be confused by now...

So a bit of explanation... I'm happy to be out there and running, I was running to try out new things and for the first time in a month...

No stress, no pressure, hell I only entered the race on Monday...

All I had to do was get around, I kept to my variant of a walk/run routine - 1min walk/4 min run and kept it going for 10k.

I was trying out some off road shoes, they worked... I was trying out running with my new day sack (there is a reason, if I want to run over bits of the peak district I'll need a few more bits than my running pack with take) that worked... It was the first test of the new skin on my feet, that worked:-D

So why did coming last not bother me... Well, first I'm 25 years ol…

Nothing about us, without us...

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Is the clarion call of the disability movement for a long time, and its as relevant today as it was in the 60's & 70's... The core of this is having the "us" to stand up and be the one to be "about"... That's about being advocates, which is what this blog is about...

I've been "commissioned" to put down what I think this is all about, so these are my thoughts, what I try and explain in a day or over the course of week to people who've volunteered for the privilege...

It's also critically important for the congenital heart community, especially those of us who are adults. Yeah, us, the other 18's the ones who pick who we vote for, sleep with and should be control of our own lives and the things that affect us.

(And I'm a very strong advocate for independent living, so everyone who wants to have a safe expression of their own identity should be allowed to do so... and when its the big questions then their input should be …

Reflections...

This would've been the last night of the coast 2 coast, so a suitable point to review what I did, what went well and what didn't go well...

I did, 83 miles & 16,000ft of ascent, that is a damn good weeks walking in most people's books. I did it with a full camping load, and I enjoyed it.

Apart from the "Orton incident" navigation was spot on, timings were there or there abouts, food & water worked and worked well. The gear worked, the tent is cracking, the camping mat comfy and warm and there wasn't a walker out there who had dry boots.

I got a collection of 3 blisters, all on 1 foot my left. If it had just been the heel one (the most spectacular) and the one on the toe then I'd have been very tempted to carry on. However, the one of the pad made walking very difficult and when loaded almost impossible. Never had one there again, and despite someone suggesting they're indicative of wearing stilettos I still have no idea how it got there.

Am I d…

C2C - Maps and Numbers

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The post based on my walking journal will come in a couple of days... However for the number and map fiends out there!

Oh, and some of the problem with my foot seems to be linked to the footbed, it seems to have swollen in the wet (Days 1 - 5 inc) and rucked up slightly at the back and the surface material's come loose where the pad of my left foot would've been hitting it. Slender margins, but enough to wreck a walk...

TTFN

Paul




Day 1 St Bees to Ennerdale Water

Day 2 - Ennerdale Water to Borrowdale


Day 3 - Borrowdale to Grasmere


Day 4 - Grasmere to Patterdale

Day 5 - Patterdale to Shap


Day 6 - Shap to Kirkby Stephen

The totals:


MilesFt ascentkmm ascentCaloriesDay 1193,790311,1553,546Day 282,010136061,532Day 382,000126091,500Day 492,193136681,718Day 515

Nope, I'm not going to change...

There's been a bit of a debate on Facebook... that's debate as in "debate".

Basically, a GUCH has suggested that me putting up my adventures may make other GUCHs who aren't as healthy as me feel bad. And that in some way I'm letting them down by not admitting my frailties...

The debate is here, and as you'll see I got angry at the suggestion I never say how hard things are... http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10150256757410960&id=634670959&notif_t=feed_comment

I've been told this before, and I rejected it then and I reject it now.

I enjoy what I do, as I've said this blog will be honest and those who've read most of the posts will have seen the runs that didn't go to plan, shared in my successes (both on my feet and in other areas) and seen the days when all I've wanted to do is curl up in a ball and cry and wish my friends were alive, healthy and well.

If I was just a running/climbing/sporty GUCH and only posted abou…

Coast 2 Coast - the kit list

With 2 weeks to go, I've just spent a couple of days pottering around the shops looking for those little bits and bobs that'll make my life a little less uncomfortable (yes that written correctly)... Kit lists are one of those things that can gnarly between walkers, do you include water, do you include food... For the purposes of telling you lot what I'm going to be carrying I'll include both...

Feet -

1 pair of Hi-TecCascadia's - thank you Hi Tec!!! Over 50 miles walked in a variety of conditions and they feel comfy & supportive

3 pairs of Bridgedalemidweight socks - 1 on, 1 drying and 1 spare

Legwear -

2 x salomon trail shorts - my new favourite legwear
1 x walking trousers - probably my paramo's, but if the long range weather looks iffy then a pair of lightweight softshellmontane's

Tops -

3 x walking t-shirts (same rotation as the socks)
1 x lightweight shirt

Headwear -

1 x North Face flight series baseball cap
1 x apex running glasses

Waterproofs -

ParamoFuera j…

The Lure of 26.2

It's Ballot Day...

All around the world people are filling in the online form for the London Marathon. I've filled it in 3 times before and not got in, so get to enter early... Fingers crossed, I've no more chance than anyone entering today but looking at the list of Facebook friends who've entered makes me smile and try and work out why 26.2 tantalises and lures us in...

It's the legendary distance... almost a palindrome 26.2

You can be fast or slow it doesn't matter... its 26.2

You earn the right to say you've run it, like no other distance... it can only be 26.2

You get the thousand yard stare as you recall the pain... of the 26.2

This isn't just a run... its 26.2

This isn't just a run, for 3 - 6 months its your life... the all consuming 26.2

You become an expert on nutrition, hydration and chaffing... all to finish the 26.2

You know yourself, your body and your mind as never before... all for the 26.2

And then once its done, you feel empty... Your focu…

Who the hell do you think you are...

Went the general gist of the question... By email... from someone who took umbrage at something I'd said about Safe and Sustainable...

My response was to confirm I'm not a parent, but have seen more congenital heart kids than most non-medics. I'm not a doctor, but my degree and postgrad are biology based and I've spent 8 of the last 15 years tearing science apart and rebuilding it to test it for veracity.

And most of all - I do care. To argue for the best care isn't saying one centre is better than another, isn't saying one configuration is better than another... Its to argue for the best care. And again I have to say read the documents, make the arguments based on something, anything, but don't attack those who have a different point of view or whose point of view is that this process has been overdue for 10 years, so lets get a bloody welly on - we owe that to the kids of tomorrow!

Rant over...

Anyway, it did make me think who the hell am I...

- I'm…

Hi-Tec Cascadia - First Proper Walk

Everyone whose heard me rant on about the poor level of service in helping choose boots, trainers or any other form of technical footwear will know I'm a bit of a stickler for making sure boots fit and do what they say on tin.

So taking the boots kindly donated by Hi-Tec out on a 13 mile walk as their first major outing was bordering on the unfair, before the walk I'd worn them around the office and decided that they were a little high volume for my feet. So I found some of the Hi-Tec memory foam replacement insoles and was ready to go...

The measure of a good pair of boots (and a good backpack) is that you don't notice them, either during the walk or after it. So 13 miles on riverside paths, in the unseasonally hot April was a good test of the pounding effect (did my feet feel tired), overheating (sweaty feet can result in blisters) and annoyance (how many times did I have to retie the laces, fiddle with the sock tops etc)...

The great news was my feet felt fresh, no tired…

Personal Bests, long walks and GUCHs

It's been a week...

Give a presentation to new people to my work - no pressure, just try and sell them on what we want our culture to be, rather than what they might think it is...

Have a promotion interview (only for 6 months, but you got to go for these things), result on Monday...

Run a 10km personal best... And crack a personal challenge I set myself years ago - the 70 min 10km... Which I did:-) Not by much, but I think a psychological blockage may have shifted. I'm looking forward to the challenge again, taking my running apart and rebuilding parts of it from the ground up - revisiting my mental mantras, checking my posture and basically seeing what I can do.




Walk over 13 miles with the GUCH Walking Club, returning to an old favourite though a art we've not done before - the Thames Path, from Radley to Eynsham.



The whole point of the GWC is to enjoy the countryside, to take part in some exercise and enjoy each other company - and that's what we did. 3 of the gang …