Things hurt in a different way to how they did at the start, I've toughened up for sure.
The miles seem a bit easier now, at the beginning of the day at least. I seem to be able to cover 12 or 13 every day, no problems.
My feet don't throb with pain at the end of each day, they're not swollen any more or feeling like clumsy stones at the end of my legs, slapping down onto the hard ground with each sorry step. Perhaps it was the hard hard couple of days between Knighton and Montgomery, with steep hill after steep hill, the backs of my ankles, the tendons burning as my feet bent awkwardly against the gradient. After going through that the ordinary hills felt easy, the flat sections feel like flying, I march along them, keeping up a good 3 mile an hour pace, when it's flat I can do that. On the hills, it's more like 1 mile an hour, plodding up and down them.
My feet just ache, nothing more. I rub them every night, I stretch every morning. It feels ok, not painless but ok.
I feel as if I'm developing a steely core, tough enough to walk and sleep and walk and sleep, 10 hours a day, day after day after day. When I look in the mirror I'm still the same pudgy goofball as ever but inside me there's real power; I feel solid, unstoppable.
I have two problems with the state of the walk at the moment.
One is my knees; every so often, usually coming downhill, they buckle a bit and a sharp stabbing pain shoots through them, mainly the left. They've also started to click. They've always crunched. I went to the doctor about a year ago, he told me not to worry.
I'm just trying to work on making sure I stretch out the rest of my body, so my thighs, my hamstrings, my calves can support my knees, so my joints aren't taking the strain of muscles that aren't able to keep up with the workload. I'm taking glucosamine sulphate and have just bought a couple of knee supports. I mainly hope that my body will increase in fitness before I overwork my joints.
The other problem is that I'm slow, well, slow compared to what I thought I'd be doing, what I planned to do, what my brain tells me I Should be doing....that killer Should, a poison in the brain, undermining achievement
I thought I'd be doing 15 miles a day by now, I planned to. But when I do, I'm exhausted at the end of a day. I'm carrying too much weight, I'm not fit enough, my body won't take it. I try not to worry about it, mostly I'm successful. I'll just keep going, I tell myself, just do as much as you can and either you cut the distance short or extend the time. Will the internet be offended if I only walk 2500 miles? Come on, the most critical person in judgement will be me, let's face it.
12 miles a day isn't a big distance - I am sluggish by comparison with most long distance walkers.
I've just had two days off and I'm tired, I wanted to sleep and sleep and sleep today. I set off to walk from Mach to Aberhosan today and only got as far as Cwmydyrgi, 5 miles and I still had an afternoon nap. I just have to keep going, not pressure myself and just do what I can - things like this are sometimes easy to think but difficult to actually believe.
I don't want to be the fastest, or the best, I just want to finish what I started, however long it takes me.