Saturday, 2 April 2016

The inspirational (and a little bit mad) Mr Izzard

I have just watched Eddie Izzard's incredible achievement of 27 marathons in 27 days...suffice to say I am speechless as to how the human body AND mind can survive such endurance.

As a non-athelete, to complete such a huge challenge is really inspiring. The pain and mental exhaustion needed to finish those 27 days was staggering...but I guess a profound belief in your cause, yourself and the will power of a rhino is what it takes.

Now obviously I'm not undertaking anything as huge as what Eddie Izzard has just done - my adventure equates to just over 5 and half marathons in 9 days - but I was struck by the psychological impact his challenge had on him. Not necessarily the knowing you were only half way or had only completed an hour, but rather the way your body and brain literally have minds of their own - they work together to help each other out. So when the body has had enough of something it tells the brain this, and the brain kind of gives the body the 'ok' signal to stop...however, the human bit of us that takes over tries to override the brain, to tell it to keep going...crumbs I'm starting to sound like one of those science presenters on Radio 4!

I guess though that is something which usually in our everyday lives we don't need to worry about -it is only when we put ourselves under pressure do we realise that our bodies do that, and as such it can't actually be trained for. For me I'm not hitting those barriers at them moment, and the feet are holding up very well, but one of the most excruciating moments was at the end of one of Eddie's marathons where his calves were in so much pain that they felt like they were on fire, and even water couldn't cool them down. That is extreme endurance.

My longest days are 25 and 24 miles on days 6 and 8, so I'll never be doing an entire marathon in one day. At the moment my training days are just one 2hr walk per week (plus two 30 mins walks). Currently these are proving very easy and enjoyable. In 3 weeks time my training programme steps up a gear and I have to do back to back 4 hour walks - and I envisage that is when I will start to feel the real impact of my challenge, both mentally and physically.

Though I'm rather glad that I won't be encountering lions in the Cotswolds and needing a ranger with a rifle to walk alongside me, as Eddie did!! Perhaps just the odd badger with a headache...

This week's training walk was a cold one. I hadn't done one so early before and though it was 1 April, the temperature was only 3C.

But as you can see, what a beautifully crisp and clear morning it was. However, knowing the sun was out and that usually by the time I reach the 75 minute mark I am well warmed up (and heading for a day in the office) I elected to wear a little less clothing (no gloves either)...let's just I walked a little faster.

I am really enjoying getting to know the A320 - its quiet bits (there are some!), its woods and streams...there is actually a surprisingly large amount of countryside between Guildford and Woking, which is a very pleasant surprise. I am also enjoying 'Shakespeare's Restless World' on the iPlayer - first broadcast in 2012, these are 15 minute episodes considering Shakespeare's world in the context of specific objects.

Today's stats:
distance 11.23 km (6.9 miles)
time 1 hr 45mins
steps 13,499 (don't know why they tell you this!)

A huge thank you to everyone who has sponsored my walk so far - we'll release an update of the total raised so far very shortly. It really is inspiring that so many people believe in GSC and want to support us. THANK YOU.

The final word today I will leave to the man who inspired Eddie Izzard, Nelson Mandela; a quote which now hangs on the wall in the GSC office:

"It always seems impossible until it's done"

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