The original couch potato walked not 7km but 10km!
One of my objectives for 2016 was to walk 5km in an official challenge/race. One morning in January, I was browsing Facebook and came across The Heart of Galway Walk on 14 February a 7km walk in aid of Foroige Big Brother, Big Sister Charity.
Before I knew it Paypal was open and I had paid the 20 Euro entry. Now I only had two hurdles in my way – raise 80 Euro in sponsorship and get fit enough to walk 7km. I made it public by writing about it here, and there was no going back.
Thanks to friends and family the money was soon raised and the reality of walking 7km started to sink in.
At school I was the child that always had a sore tummy on sports day. I have terrible eye hand co-ordination and combined with Asthma I always ensured that I didn’t participate in sports. I avoided physical activity at all costs.
Fast forward 30 odd years and I was quite probably the most unfit person you knew. Walking to the shop (a mere 5 minute walk) would have me reaching for the car keys.
My fitness journey started about 4 years ago and regular readers of my blog will have read about when I bought my first pair of trainers, and when I felt the joy of walking on sand dunes.
Slowly and steadily I have built up my fitness levels, primarily through walking. One foot in front of another and steadily increasing the distance and the pace.
For Christmas I was lucky enough to be given a Fitbit. As a closet techie this really delighted me. I could count the steps, monitor the calorie burning and set myself targets.
Sunday 14 February 2016 – the day of the 7km walk, I woke up with a migraine! And this is where commitment comes into play. If I had not committed to doing the walk, raised the funds and promised to be there, I would have taken painkillers and turned over in bed for another hour at least. But, I had committed so I got up and got ready for my first ever official walk.
Walking (or running) for a good cause is even better. As I arrived at 56 Central I was greeted by friends and fellow walkers who encouraged me and told me that I could do it. I stood in line for my number and T-shirt and readied myself for the off.
A quick thank you here to friends and family who were there for me. I needed that support so very much.
The race took off with the runners in front and the walkers behind. My first thought was that I would come last. Then I realised I was not competing with anyone else. I was competing with myself. I just needed to do it.
It was a long walk – and turned out to be 10km rather than 7km. It’s a good thing it wasn’t advertised correctly as I never believed I could do it. I won’t lie, the last third was hard. I pushed myself and had my walking companion pointing out that I was 60% of the way there, then 65% and then 70%.
Close to the end I met up with some fellow walkers and we got a second (or was it third or fourth) wind and strided with pride up Shop Street in Galway to the finish line.
Now I had a beautiful medal to go with my T-shirt and race number. I did it!
This blog post would not be complete without a mention of the very good cause that we were raising funds for. Project Impact is a new charity initiative put together by Pat Divilly, Gill Carroll and a fabulous team. Project Impact raises money for charity with no expenses so everything raised will go to the charity.
For this event the money goes to Foroige – Big Brother Big Sister. This is an internationally recognised youth mentoring charity where a Big is matched with a Little to support and inspire. The funds raised from this even will go to sending 100 ‘couples’ to a youth adventure centre. In this way not only will the relationships strengthen but the importance of physical activity be emphasised.
I honestly wish I hadn’t waited for middle age to embrace fitness. It is never too late though!
Onward to the next event.
A sincere thank you to everyone who supported me. And thank you for reading.