As the challenge of walking Hadrian’s wall rapidly approaches I need to up the distance on my training walks. So, this weekend I planned to follow the route of one of my first charity walks from Hastings Pier to Eastbourne Pier. But in reverse. I knew it was around 18 miles, 3 miles further than my last big walk.
The weather was against me as it was supposed to be rather wet late afternoon, and to hit Eastbourne pier would mean doubling back on myself. I headed to the seafront the quickest way and headed towards the marina. This is a fairly easy walk as it is mainly very flat. There are some hard going sections, which you can avoid, but I like the change of terrain and chose the route that takes you across about 2 miles of shingly beach. Around 6 miles in started raining lightly and as I wasn’t yet halfway I knew I was in for a soaking.
Another 2 miles and it was time for the waterproof jacket. It looked like the rain was here to stay, and having stupidly not packed my waterproof trousers, the walk turned into more of a mental challenge. On the last 6-8 miles I would pass quite close to 2-3 train stations that could easily tempt me. As my legs got wetter, and I could feel the cold affecting my muscles, it was hard to keep up the pace and make it to the end. My lunch stop in a beach shelter fortified me as did the words of encouragement from friends online and I forfeited my reward of a pint to jump on the first train home. I had lost a mile or so at the beginning but I was very pleased with my pace and completed 16.5 miles in 4 hours 20 minutes. Next week I hope to break 20 miles cross country with some tough hills thrown in.