Better late than never I hope!

Now that I have (mostly) sorted out my layout/theme woes, and can finally compose new blogs posts with half an idea that they will actually post properly, and my layout won’t go mad on me, I feel I can at last review how 2014 went for me.

I set myself the challenge of walking 500 miles in 2014, and finally hit that number on the 17th November, more than a month ahead of the year-end date that I’d set for myself.  My final miles for the whole of 2014 finished up at 528.6 miles in total.  I’m not quite sure what happened in those final 6 weeks, as my daily miles diminished, with December giving my lowest monthly total of the whole year, at a measly 26.3 miles.  I dare say the Christmas festivities, travelling between Ireland and the UK, visiting with family etc., all played their part in reducing my mileage.  I also had a week on the sofa, after a minor hospital procedure during that time.  All that aside,  I can only hope that reaching my target distance the previous month didn’t result in me relaxing my walking schedule, albeit unconsciously!

Just for fun I stuck ‘526.8 miles’ into Google and have since learnt that just by walking a couple of miles a day, 5/6 days a week, I could walk from Coolangatta to Brisbane in a year.  Obviously it’s highly unlikely to be something I’ll ever do, but knowing that I could made me smile!

An unexpected bonus of all that walking was losing 46 lbs over the year, without really trying.  That has also made me smile, really smile! 🙂

For 2015 I have decided to up the mileage a little more, and have set my goal at 550 miles for the year…or roughly the driving distance between Le Havre and Biarritz if you prefer! 😛

In January I only managed 41.6 miles…not helped by slipping on some ice during a recent hike and twisting my hip.  I tried walking it off for a few days, which didn’t have the desired effect. I then resorted to making myself take a week off from all exercise to give it a chance to heal properly.  Frustrating from an exercise point of view, but I did get lots of knitting done for my craft stall! [How very rock’n’roll!] “Every cloud…” and all that.  My hip is now feeling 99% good but that enforced break now leaves me with 508.4 miles to cover in the remaining 11 months (an average of 46.2 miles/month).  Wish me luck!

To finish of ‘my’ review of how 2014 went for me, I’d like to share some of the fun/strange/bizarre search terms that brought people here…welcome all!  But if some of the following brought you here, then I’m not entirely sure this is where you were hoping to end up…

  • the fat hiker – close but no cigar!
  • curvy pics – those pics are that way ->
  • buy tadpoles in Tipperary – I don’t think that it’s possible to buy tadpoles anywhere, let alone in Tipp?  Happy to be corrected though!
  • curvy blonde life – curvy I may be, but blonde I’m not, sorry.
  • mature curvy fencing – I don’t know, I just don’t know?
  • naughty hiker wife – when she just won’t do as she told!  Bad wife!  Actually, maybe that IS me?
  • going mountaineering in campervan – unless it’s a VW Syncro or a Unimog, I don’t think it’ll get far up the mountain?
  • curvy boy – Alas the husband is a slim jim, so they weren’t looking for him!

The number of search terms finding this blog, looking for curvy / large / xxl / 4xl /  plus size hiking gear is a very sad lament to the fact that the majority of outdoor gear manufacturers have very little to offer us, but that is a whole ‘nother blog post! So I’ll leave you with my favourite search term of 2014:

  • can you drink savlon – I think I’ve mentioned this one before, but it *always* makes me laugh out loud! But, if you’re not sure and you’re here looking for the answer, then no, you can’t drink Savlon!  That’s not what it’s for.
Sugarloaf Hill - Knockmealdowns - Summer 2014

Sugarloaf Hill – Summer 2014 ©The Curvy Hiker

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I did it!

I’m currently house-bound with an annoying dose of (wo)man flu.  This is frustrating me more than anything, because on weekends at this time of year I should be out selling my craftwares at various Christmas markets; and sitting at home, feeling crappy, when I know I should be out working hard during one of my busiest times of the year is quite infuriating!

However, I am finding time to get to things that have been neglected recently, not least of which is this blog.

Today, keeping me smiling through this fat-headed, blocked sinus feeling, is the knowledge that on Thursday, before this cold virus descended onto my chest and effectively put the brakes on any exercise plans, I finally reached my magical 500 miles goal!

500 miles

Not only did I reach the goal I set myself last January, I’ve done it with a full month to spare!  This being week 48 on the calendar, makes a rough average of 10.4 miles a week.  I’d love to say that I could pull off another 40 miles before the year’s end, but with my chest rattling like a bag of spanners, I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back walking…fingers crossed its very soon though!  Always happy to be corrected, especially if it means I can head out again; but I was recently advised that if my cold was a head cold then I was fine to exercise, but as soon as it hit my chest I should stop…and so I stopped.

Happily I can at least spend my downtime searching online for some new trainers to do my daily walk in.  I think achieving my goal is a perfectly fitting milestone upon which to retire my current pair of trainers.  If I may propose a respectful moment of silence for these absolute road warriors…

trainer stats 2
They were overdue for replacement a few months ago in fairness, but I never seemed to get around to it…maybe I was waiting for this day?  I’ve tracked 847 miles on Runkeeper since January 2013, and I think it would be fair to say that these poor trainers have done at least 600-700 of those miles!

My beloved hiking boots do sterling work on the hills and trails at the weekends when we get the chance to head out for a decent hike; my hiking boots have even come into service whilst I’ve been trading at festivals during the summer when prolonged wet, muddy conditions have made my other footwear unwearable during the weekend.  However, these mighty little trainers have pounded the local lanes with me 5 days a week, 50-52 weeks of the year. On icy roads, on muddy roads, on sticky hot roads, into brambles, into ditches (narrowly avoiding local rally drivers neighbours speeding around the lanes, practising their Scandinavian Flick technique on the bends), through puddles, through cow sh*t (whichever way I turn at the end of our lane I go past a dairy farm!).  They’ve had an awful lot of abuse and, for what were a relatively cheap pair of Skechers, I have been extremely impressed at how durable they were.  I only hope that my next pair of trainers fully understand that they have a tough job to do, and a lot to live up to!

 So now, I have a quandary.  Obviously I will keep walking every day, religiously tracking and logging my miles on Runkeeper, up to the end of the year (and beyond, of course!).  But I have really enjoyed this challenge: its been something to aim for throughout the year, and some months where real-life has got in the way, and I haven’t been able to get so many miles in, I’ve been crunching the numbers, working out my averages, and checking my events calendar to see if I could still pull it off.  Daily walking is a great habit to have for numerous reasons, with the most obvious being the health benefits…and I always feel a million times better after I’ve come home from a walk, no matter how crappy I was feeling (either mentally or physically) before I set out, or how crappy the weather was…and this challenge has made it more fun, and made me more determined to get out walking as often as I could.  This, however, is my quandary: 2015 – should I re-pledge for another 500 miles…or push myself even harder and go for a higher target?

If you’re familiar with the SMART acronym, you’ll know that a goal needs to be:
Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Realistic – Time-bound
I’d love to try for 600 miles, but realistically, I don’t think it would be attainable in the time.  If I’ve learned nothing else this year I have learned that sometimes life gets in the way, and trying to hit an average of 50 miles a month would be a tough one to face, especially if halfway through the year, after a couple of months of not getting out hiking at weekends due to weather or work commitments, you can see that you’re way off mark, and have an almost impossible mileage to make up.  This year we haven’t managed to get out hiking nearly as often as we’d hoped to, as has possibly been evident by fewer blog posts this year.
If I’m honest, 500 miles has been a decent challenge for me, and at the beginning of the year I did wonder more than a few times if making my pledge public was a wise thing to have done.  Keeping it secret would have made it so much easier to give up.  Fortunately as the months passed by, and the miles ticked off, it looked more and more achievable.  But, I’ve shown myself that I can do 500 miles, with a consistent walking schedule, and some determination on those days when you just can’t find the motivation to put those trainers on in the morning.
I am leaning towards 550 – I may make the final decision at the end of December, when I see what my total for the whole year is.  I know I am highly unlikely to make 550 miles this year, December is a very busy month for my business, but I may well convince myself that with a little extra effort and determination, I *could* do it next year…

Would welcome your thoughts on this 😉

500 miles pledge – October update

My New Year’s Pledge this year was to walk 500 miles.

But I would walk 500 miles

A little late to update you all this month, but during the month of October, according to my Runkeeper app, I walked 34.5 miles.

In total, I have walked 463.4 miles so far in 2014, leaving just 36.6 more miles to go until I achieve my goal.

With some good planning, luck, and a little determination, I reckon I should reach my goal before the end of November!  I’m not quite sure how I’m going to celebrate the fact when I’ve done it (suggestions welcome! 😉 ), but the fact that I’m so close to achieving my goal is what helps me lace up my walking shoes each day to walk the local lanes, especially on these cold and damp November mornings.

One step at a time 🙂

It's all downhill from here!

It’s all downhill from here!

500 miles pledge – September update

My New Year’s Pledge this year was to walk 500 miles.

But I would walk 500 miles

During the month of September, according to my Runkeeper app, I walked 45.1 miles.

In total, I have walked 428.9 miles so far in 2014, leaving just 71.1 more miles to go until I achieve my goal.

I’m down to double digits remaining now, and I can almost see the finish line!

One step at a time 🙂

Looking back at Keeper Hill, North Tipperary

Looking back at Keeper Hill, North Tipperary