Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

One step at a time

I made a rather foolish resolution at the beginning of this year.  I really should have just smiled and backed away when faced with the challenge, but no.  For some reason I said ‘Why not?  I can do that.’  And so now I’ve committed myself to walking 1,000 miles in 2016.

It’s not as bad as it sounds.  I prefer to think of it as less than 3 miles a day, which seems much more manageable.  Or actually, just one step at a time.  And two months in, I’m a bit behind schedule, but I’m walking further each day and have almost 150 miles on the clock.

January was the worst.  I’m a fair-weather walker, and I’ll walk everywhere in the summer but in the winter I tend not to walk unless I have to.  But I had to start straight away if I had any hope of making my 1,000 miles and so I reluctantly braved the cold and gloomy trek around the park every day.  My hip would start to hurt after a mile or so and I’d get home to slump on the sofa, wrap my fingers around a hot drink, and wonder whether I was crazy.  But things started to get a lot better in February.  My aches and pains disappeared, the days started to get longer, and I began to walk further.

swansNow if you’re picturing me striding across a deserted hillside, then think again.  I like the open countryside, but there isn’t much of it where I live.  But London has a surprising number of green spaces, and is criss-crossed by rivers and waterways, many of which have public footpaths running beside them.  Most of the routes I take have a little bit of green space or water along the way somewhere, and some places can be reached entirely via parks and footpaths.  I usually go out with some food for the water birds in my pocket, (not bread, I hasten to add) and I like to imagine that the swans recognise me – I’m sure they don’t, they just recognise the food!  According to the RSPB website, swans are quite partial to lettuce.  When these graceful Mute Swans know you have food in your pocket, they’re anything but mute!

CootmoorhensAnd in London, some of our wildlife isn’t all that wild.  In one of the parks I go to, Moorhens and Coots will walk right up to anyone they think has something for them, and if I stand still and quiet they’ll take food from my hand.  And what’s not to love about a creature whose feet are so big in comparison to the rest of it?

The birds are definitely in charge here, though.  The geese always seem to take a while to catch on, but when a phalanx comes marching towards me, making an awful racket, I know that it’s time to leave some food for them, and retreat to the path to watch.

An app on my phone tells me exactly how far I’ve walked, and uncharacteristically I actually know where I am for most of the time.  (This isn’t like me at all.  I have no sense of direction, and so my natural state of being is hopelessly lost.)  I can eat as much chocolate as I like, and now that the miles are beginning to add up on my spreadsheet, I’m starting to feel a sense of achievement.  And the other day, I left home with a few sketchy ideas for my next book, and arrived back with a full plot line in my head.  So it looks as if I’m going to be keeping going.  If I don’t make my 1,000 miles, then at least I’ll have tried.  Maybe it wasn’t such a crazy idea after all.

Have you ever had a bad idea that turned out not so bad in the end?  And do you have a favourite place for walking, either in the city or the countryside?


14 thoughts on “One step at a time”

  1. Hi Annie

    Oh what a great idea and it sounds like so much fun walking around London I have joined Weight Watchers (last July) and so I too am walking everyday now pretty much everyday I have a fitbit and I am now pretty much walking at least 10000 steps per day when I first started I could never walk this far due to pinched nerves in my back and very bad ankle but with the weight coming off and persistence I am feeling really good although I can’t wait for the cooler weather for walking it has been so hot over here and there is not much shade in the park I walk in but we do get galahs and cockatoos and some lorikeets while walking 🙂
    I too find it a great time for thinking although I want to get an ipod and put some audio books on it to listen to maybe I will walk even further.

    Have Fun

    1. Go Helen! Congratulations on your 10,000 steps per day and it’s great to hear that you’re feeling better for it. I guess we’re both looking forward to the next few months, but for different reasons – I’m wanting the warmer weather and you’re wanting it a bit cooler 🙂

      I loved all the colourful birds when I visited Australia, you are so lucky to have them in your local park.

  2. Great plan, Annie! In my other life, I run a dog-walking business and so I walk dogs all weathers every day and easily manage my 10k steps a day and have had to increase my calorie intake because I was losing too much weight! I walk on the beach, along the dunes, but the only bird life we get are gulls and crows, though there are plenty of rabbits, which the dogs are absolutely sure that they’ll catch one day.

    1. Sounds like the best of both worlds, Louisa – walking and getting paid for it 🙂 10k steps a day along the beach sounds amazing, although I imagine the wind’s pretty cold in the winter time – no wonder you need the extra calories!

  3. Good for you, Annie! I am officially singing what should be your theme-song by the Proclaimers: But I would walk 500 miles And I would walk 500 more Just to be the man who walked a 1000 miles.
    I stick to my neighborhood when I walk Milo my dog, but sometimes we hop in the car and go to the park. I find if I have to make too much preparation the odds of my actually walking go down. So usually I step right out the door and comb my local streets.

    I got a fitbit for my birthday last November so 10,000 steps is the goal each day, and most days I fall below it, especially if I’m in the writing cave, I barely move the monitor!
    I have some awesome memories of walking around London with you, Annie. I’ll never forget that morning when you ran me ragged. lol Thank you!
    I can give several bad ideas that turned out to be bad, but a bad idea that turns out good? hmm, let me think on that…

    1. You know that song’s been running around in my head for a while now, Lynne, and I couldn’t think for the life of me who sang it. So thank you for answering that!

      I agree on the preparation – there are some lovely walks just a bus-ride away from me, but I find that if I think about it too much, I end up not going out to walk. Maybe later in the year, when I get tired of the local parks, I’ll be ready to venture a little further. I reckon that 10,000 steps is about 5 miles? Poor Milo must be dreading the idea of your doing that every day 🙂

      I so loved running you ragged around London! I remember that day with such pleasure.

  4. Annie,
    I’m impressed. 1,000 miles is saying something. I look forward to hearing about your progress. I’ve had a number of ideas that sound good and turn into work but they are always rewarding in the end. I used to walk all the time and we have great places around my house to do so but now I go to the pool to get my exercise.

    1. Thank you Susan! Now that I’ve told you all what I’m up to, I dare not finish what I started, so I’ll definitely be asking you to accompany me across the finish line to a bottle of virtual champagne 🙂

      I’m told that swimming’s the best exercise of all! As one of those swimmers who proceeds at a very stately pace, without even getting my hair wet, it would take me a very long time to get to 1,000 water miles.

  5. I love walking and I’m very impressed with your resolution. I have a harder time walking in the winter due to ice and snow. When spring and summer hits and the sidewalks and paths clear I’ll be walking full stop again, but I doubt I would get a 1,000 miles in. If you did 800 more that would be the same distance as walking from where I live to New Orleans or Orlando. Quite a feat.

    1. Thank you Amy! Even our worst snowfalls are pretty minor in comparison to yours, but I have to admit I’m happy we haven’t had any snow this year in the South of England, as they would have kept me home, too.

      And I love your thinking! Walking around in circles, it didn’t occur to me to wonder how far I’d get if I was walking in a straight line, but I’m imagining now all the amazing things I’d see walking from Canada right through to New Orleans or Orlando. So far I reckon my 150 miles would have taken me into Devon, or if I’d travelled North, then up to the Peak District. Or if I could walk across the Channel, I could be in Bruges or Rouen. Paris, here I come!

  6. Annie, well done for taking on such a challenge and sticking to it! I can’t wait to help you celebrate when you clock up that final mile. I enjoy walking and walk 3-4 miles each day with my dog. I live opposite the Leeds-Liverpool canal so we tend to walk along the towpath and get to enjoy some really beautiful Lancashire scenery. It’s gorgeous whatever the weather although I prefer warm sunny to the recent downpours we’ve had!

    1. Thank you Jennifer! I definitely will be celebrating!

      How wonderful to have such a beautiful place to walk, right on your doorstep. And, of course, your dog gives you the nudge to go out every day 🙂 I have to say that there are some days when I think I might just give today a miss, but if I do I always regret it afterwards.

  7. 1,000 miles! That’s an amazing goal, and shames me because I’ve been a terrible slacker the past year or so when it comes to exercise. My daughter’s been nagging me about it – got me a FitBit for Christmas, and sends me various exercise plans and charts 🙂 Of course, she’s a marathon runner and makes up daily charts for herself, so extending (wimpy) ones to me comes naturally to her.

    My bad idea was really my piano teacher’s idea – I’d played piano from age 12, was the school accompanist, participated in a few competitions, etc. Ever since, I’ve mostly played classical music I already knew, or learned newer not-terribly-difficult stuff and played only for my own enjoyment. I liked my kids’ piano teacher, and decided to take lessons again to challenge myself more, but she ended up challenging me to participate in a Pianorama performance, which is 15 pianos on stage, each with two players. There are different levels from young children to, in our case, the advanced ensemble, which was comprised of accomplished high school students and piano teachers and…me. The audition was terrifying! And so was practicing with everyone. It was awful! The whole time kept asking myself why in the world I’d agreed to do this terribly scary thing. Then it was performance night. I hadn’t been on stage since high school – gulp! But in the end, I did okay and felt very proud of myself that I’d pushed my personal boundaries, since it’s all too easy to just cruise along doing the same-old, isn’t it?

    Best of luck with your wonderful goal, Annie! 🙂

    1. Oh, Robin, what a great story. It’s so true – sometimes the things we think we should never have tried will turn out to be the ones we’re the most proud of. What a fabulous achievement to make the advanced ensemble and then go on to play with them!

      I think that 10,000 steps is around five miles? So if your daughter’s nagging does have the desired effect, then you’ll be accompanying me across the finish line for 1,000 miles in a year 🙂

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