But I would walk 500 miles . . .

In early December I will – fingers crossed – reach my half-century (sorry, I’ve been trapped in the house with too much Test Match Special this week). My main priority is not to ‘party like a pig’ but to set out to be fitter at fifty than I’ve ever been. I read something a while ago (can’t remember where or who by) which talked about the Present You looking after the Future You. It’s common sense, really: I’d like to be fit and active and do crazy things for as long as I can so I need to lay the foundations for Old Age Action Granny now.

I’m looking at this holistically. Where diet’s concerned, I think I’m doing alright. All our meals are based heavily on fresh fruit and vegetables, mostly from the garden, and with a local supply of excellent fresh fish and seafood, free range chicken and eggs, food miles and shelf life are negligible.


Dinner from the garden.


PYO plums . . .


. . . and peaches

I eat masses of whole grains and pulses, I don’t have a sweet tooth and I’m not a cake- or cookie-monster. However, I am the first to admit that my biggest downfall is a love of red wine. I know, I know – all those empty calories, not to mention the alcohol: it’s a naughty habit and it’s encouraging middle-age spread to – well – spread. I’m not giving it up all together (a person needs a little fun now and again) but I’m seriously cutting back. Sparkling mineral water isn’t quite so appealing but I’m learning to like it. (At this point, I can sense several raised eyebrows amongst my nearest and dearest: honestly, folks, it’s happening – this is the new me!). πŸ™‚



Apart from my new ‘reduced Rioja’ lifestyle, my biggest challenge is maintaining a regular exercise habit. I’m not a couch potato by any means. Actually, far from it – I’m a bit of a fidget, really, but I’m not very good at finding the self-discipline needed to make myself get out there and exercise. I’ve started running a bit but it’s really hard work in these mountains, I’m doing some yoga and weights in the barn but it’s all a bit half-hearted.


Our home gym and yoga studio.

So . . . today I have signed up for the Country Walking #Walk 500 Miles challenge https://display.engagesciences.com/display/container/d/f28d4b95-c6e6-4d45-a9bf-ce6e8dd5a2df/details. Quite honestly, it’s madness on my part. I think the concept is brilliant: sign up in January to walk 1000 miles by the end of the year or in May to walk 500 miles. What a great way to encourage people to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and exercise. Unfortunately, I only read about it yesterday which gives me 148 days of the year left in which to walk 500 miles – that’s just under 3.5 miles per day everyΒ day. Gulp. Knowing that I’m going to spend three out of the next five days stuck in a car for hours and hours, this possibly isn’t my brightest move yet but hey, what’s life without a challenge?

In his inspiring Zen Habits website http://zenhabits.net/ Leo Babauta regularly encourages accountability as a useful tool in maintaining new habits. It makes sense: if I tell myself I’m going to walk 500 miles by the end of the year, I can talk myself out of it. If I tell other people, it’s not quite so easy. Great psychology. I know my blog doesn’t have a huge following (unlike Leo’s!) but from now on I shall start every new post with the cumulative total of my walking miles. I can start now as I’ve just walked exactly 3.5 miles: only 496.5 to go. Can I do it? Yes, of course I can if I really, really try. Will I do it? Mmm, we’ll see. Wish me luck! πŸ™‚


Time to get busy.


3 thoughts on “But I would walk 500 miles . . .

  1. Don’t cut out too much red wine! I think we’re fitter in our forties than we were in our twenties. This lifestyle is just good for you. I can’t believe you need additional exercise – all the heavy lifting, heavy weeding and landscaping, wood chopping etc. But since you signed up for the challenge, why not walk the Camino this autumn? I would love to do that! And you’re basically living on it.


  2. Well, I must admit I don’t feel too much different to how did when I was 18, I just don’t want to end up not being able to DO things when I’, officially old – whenever that is. I’m always very inspired and humbled by the people who run in Roger’s races in the 70+ and 80+ classes – they are amazing and always so cheerful. I’m planning lots of walks, definitely some on the coast path and the Camino (the prettier bits, anyway). Come down here and we’ll do it together!!!! πŸ™‚


  3. If you stay around there for a few years, I might! I can also highly recommend the coastal walk from San Esteban de Pravia towards Cudillero. Some fab beaches there.


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