Back on the Road

So I’m back on the road and it feels great to be moving again. And properly moving, not shuffling along like an alcoholic tramp. (Oi, don’t make up your own jokes!)

To begin with I felt like I’d made a mistake. I hadn’t felt a twinge of leg pain for at least a couple of weeks. A few days before leaving I did a practice 12-mile walk and there was a feeling of something, if not actually pain. Bugger it, I thought, I’ll restart anyway.

As my Flixbus approached Maastricht railway station, to where I’d managed to limp and quit back in June, my shin started to throb. It felt like a bad omen or maybe my body just really hates Maastricht.

The first day’s plan was just to get to a campsite, and the nearest one was only 10 km away. The leg had an odd feeling, like it could go all shin-splinty at any time, as though it was teasing me with the possibility of immediate failure.

So the next day I just did another 10 km, this time without a problem. Then 15, 15, 19, 23 and then 28.

I have a tactic that I hope will continue to work. If I feel anything in that leg at all, I slow down. And whenever I find a bench, it gets used. Germany is so well-stocked with benches that stopping on every one would turn a 20-km walk into a 36-hour ordeal. Luckily there’s currently a bit of a heatwave and so now I only stop at shady benches, which rules out 80% of them. Once the heatwave has gone I’ll have to come up with other selection criteria, like only ones facing south or something.

A friend recently told me about extensor tendonitis and how over-tight shoes or laces done up too tightly can be the cause, and perhaps that’s what set this all off in the first place. Despite being a size bigger than I usually buy, my last pair of trainers were a bit snug. I’m now in an old pair and loosely tied. Maybe that’s the difference. I just hope they don’t fall off my feet at some inopportune moment, like running across a busy road or dancing in a Greek restaurant.

So, all is well, for now at least.

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