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Unlocking my lockdown joints with a 5K walk.

This morning I just needed to get walking again. Whilst I have walked 30 minutes locally every day through lockdown, I can feel how tight my joints are and my unusual gait is more pronounced. Which means my muscles are working harder – and they ache. A lot.

I know there are two things which, in combination, help me manage my hip dysplasia and painful knee: Swimming and Striding.  Since I still can’t get into the pool to do the laps I love, I decided to pack my poles, don my walking boots and drive to somewhere I could walk a bit further, and a bit faster with the help of the poles.  My target was to walk 5K – to also support my friend Caitlin Limmer and the Bearcat Running Club as today was supposed to be the annual Turks Head 10K.

Just before lockdown I moved from Twickenham to Walton-on-Thames.  So it took just 17 minutes to drive to Ockham Common, park up, and start walking through the woodland. It was just what I needed!  As I got out of the car I could hear the birds and smell the trees (the recent rain really helped) and I immediately felt my body relax. And I was surprised how quickly, with the help of my trusty poles, I was able to get into my stride.

I love woodland walks. I’m always reminded of walking with my parents up to Lockerbrook Farm above Derwent Water in the Peak District.  Thankfully today was much flatter but equally beautiful. 

I’ve never been to this Surrey Wildlife Trust land and was struck me most was the variety of terrain.  I took a path through the bracken, under the tall canopy of deciduous trees and quickly got to the edge of a lake.  There I could see baby frogs hopping towards the water through the rushes.  I made my way into the forest along wooden planks above the bog, and into the beautiful English woodland.  Here amidst more bracken were beautiful rhododendrons in dappled light.  Eventually I reached a small road, across which was the most amazing wild-flower meadow.  I stood and watched the butterflies playing with the tall daisies in the morning sun.  I made my way back through the woodland to the car but since I’d walked less than 4K I decided to take another path.  And I’m so glad I did.  Here I was amongst tall conifers and walking uphill on fine, chalky ground, to a clearing. And the landscape changed again.  Suddenly I was amidst heather, birch saplings and small Christmas trees! And a big sky.

After a round loop I made it back to the car having walked over 5K.  It was enough to stretch my joint, but not too much for a first outing.  I have managed to book my first osteo appointment in 2 weeks’ time and hope to start swimming in July to really re-align my body.

Because now I have the walking bug again.  Which feels simply wonderful.

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