Last Saturday I decided to make the most of the beautiful sunny, warm weather and go out for a slightly longer walk (as mentally I am secretly preparing for some serious hikes in the UK and abroad. One day). For now, though, I decided that Ashridge Forest was a good place to start and the app showed me a 20km circular route that seemed perfect.
The place is really beautiful, with many different landscapes and terrains, and I enjoyed it more and more as I was leaving the busiest sections of the trail behind. It is also good to know that if you want to take it a bit easier, there are many trails that cross the loop, so you can cut it shorter if you need.
I usually use OS Maps, but it has been a bit temperamental lately, so I switched to All Trails. Easy to use, good features also on the basic version and pretty easy to follow, even when you find multiple trails crossing and sometimes overlapping. Only in two spots I couldn’t -for the life of me- understand who to bring the blue dot on the map (me!) back on the reassuring red line, the line that makes you feel on the right way on the walk and in life in general. The first time it wasn’t such a big deal as the second time I lost the trail, mostly because in this occasion, I realised the blue dot wasn’t moving at all, no matter what I did. Why are you doing this to me, mighty satellite friend?
Turn GPS off and ON again. Turn data on. Close the app. Re open the app. Swear. This things always happen at the warmest time of the day, in the most open side of the trail with not a single tree in sight. You know what there was plenty of, instead? Bumbles. With the technology let down, I obviously decided that I was smart enough to find a shortcut to go back on my steps. Why going back using a beaten trail when you can walk through the bushes, get scratched in multiple places and maybe risk to bring some ticks home?
Well..Let’s say that eventually the blue dot went back on the red line 😉
Another big learning from the day started showing a few kms in. Never ever ever wear cushioned socks with my trainers. I use my Innov8 for pretty much everything and I love them, but clearly they don’t like thicker socks that end up squeezing your toes, and they made it pretty clear. Today is Tuesday and I have just gotten to curl my big toe again.
Also, big shout out to my 100%natural, plastic free, smelling fab, local Suds Deo Bar: I got all scratched and sore but still fresh and lavander-y even at km20!
Movement notes (of course this was coming, what else could you expect of me?!): I often notice when I walk that after some time my mid back hurts on the left side. That kicked in pretty soon on Saturday and hadn’t really subsided, no matter how mindful of my walking pattern I was. I can link that to my right side being always super tight, my hips being quite unstable and a number of other lovely consequences of being hypermobile. I have been working (i.e. Pilates-ing) a lot to improve this, but it’s a long way. Luckily, I love learning and seeing changes.
You know what really rocked, instead? NOT FEELING ANY OF IT the day after or tow days after.Yep. No sore muscles, no hip flexors crying fro mercy, no ache in my bottom.
THE PILATES EFFECT! What a treasure! Every time I push my self a little, I can’t help being surprised by how incredibly strong, resilient, well organised my body is thanks to Pilates. It’s like having an healthy place that mends you back and keep you safe whist you go around living your passions, running, cycling, climbing..or simply sitting.
Movement is freedom and Pilates really keeps you mobile and therefore free.
Enjoy what your body can do. Yes, many things you might not be able to do, but tons of others are there for you if you honour your body and take care of it, beacuse your body is WONDERFUL and POWERFUL (more than you think and regardless of the challenges it can have).