Fit to Drop

I already know I’m overweight, and I have a couple of medical conditions which cause me a problem, but I had not fully realised the magnitude of how unfit I am.

I can only blame myself.  2 years of working in a job I need to take my car to without compensating for the loss of the 3-mile round trip on foot or by bike are bound to have an effect.

As I stumbled up the hill to the very windy, blustery summit, I grimaced at the pains in my legs and dodgy, poorly constructed ankles, but I knew these would pass. I would have loved to blame asthma for the burning in my throat and lungs and using additional muscle groups (like the shoulders!) to try to breathe more air in – but I could not.

Admittedly, I still have a touch of the cold I started weeks ago, and was coughing a bit anyway, but no, my lungs were clear, and air was passing freely within them. I was out of breath because I am unfit and overweight, and I hated that feeling.

I remembered back to a time about 9 years ago, where I was ready for anything, and I climbed up Dungeon Ghyll Force to the Langdales without any problems. I want to do that again.

Anyway, I made it to the top of Cat Bells. Not a huge achievement for all you fell-runners out there, but to me it represented a huge acomplishment. Walking on such uneven, natural landscape is exhilarating, but for me it is also incredibly draining. I have to use a huge amount of concentration on placing my feet in order to remain upright. The play in my hyper-mobile ankles means the slightest unexpected deviation from level can cause the joint to give way – and it would mean I would fall. Hopefully I would only fall a few feet, but possibly it could mean I might fall a long way, with huge lumps of rock to break my fall (and probably my skin and bones in the process). Now that I’m home, well away from the fells it sounds bloody dangerous! I can’t think about falling as I walk, or I don’t think I’d ever do it.

I reached the top, and felt that moment of joy that made it all worth it. But then it was time to climb back down – where my poor cardio-vascular outputs were less of an issue, but my poor ankle stability was hugely difficult. I did slip a couple of times, and felt the rush of adrenaline in my bloodstream, and the contracting of muscles as I came to rest just inches lower than I had placed my foot. Phew!

It was a good walk. I had to fight my tendancy to try and do more than one thing at a time. If I need to put my gloves on or clean my glasses, I must stop walking. Even trying to talk and climb down can prove too much as it diverts attention away from choosing good foot-holds!!

But I made it.

I just need to improve my CV fitness and I’ll be back up Dungeon Ghyll in no time……

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3 Responses to “Fit to Drop”


  1. 1 Moobs 5 January 2007 at 7:27 pm

    I can honestly (and bitterly) say I have never climbed a big hill and thought “that makes it all worth while”. I always think “Oh bollocks – how long to get back home now?”

  2. 2 kingmagic 9 January 2007 at 12:33 am

    Cat Bells…one of my favourite walks. The Langdale Pikes are brilliant in winter especially if you get a clear blue sky.
    Was up Helvellyn a few weeks ago and did a fantastic mid level walk round St. Johns in the Vale.
    Can you not use neoprene ankle supports or semi-rigid climbing boots?

  3. 3 drunkenspaniel 9 January 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Hi Mr Magic – I strapped on my rather expensive ankle brace which prevents lateral movement, which was great for stability going uphill – except it made the other side of my foot hurt to the point where I just HAD to take it off again. Also, rigid ankles give you a different problem to ultra-moveable ones….. Its such a difficult balance to get the right amount of flexibility to be able to walk comfortably (without giving me knee and hip pain – did I mention how loose my hips were?? – Don’t lets start on that!) and enough rigidity to prevent sprains. Meh.
    What I need is more exercise, less weight and lots of concentration. I will do it, I will!

    P.S. I love Langdale too. xx


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