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Couch to Camino: Andrea Smith came last, but managed to complete her first 5k


Andrea completes her first 5km. Photo: Twitter @AndreaMarySmith

Andrea completes her first 5km. Photo: Twitter @AndreaMarySmith

Andrea Smith is embarking on a healthy eating and walking programme.

Andrea Smith is embarking on a healthy eating and walking programme.


Andrea completes her first 5km. Photo: Twitter @AndreaMarySmith

This week, I decided it was high time I pulled on my fancy new trainers, and got up off my bum to get some walking done. In another moment of madness, which I seem to be having too many of lately, I agreed to do a 5k walk in Carlow last Sunday that had been organised to raise funds for The Rise Foundation.

I drove down from Dublin with Frances Black to Oak Park in Carlow, where a great crowd had gathered to register for the event at Carlow Hurling Club. Signing up and collecting my race number was an alien experience, but once that was done, I trotted off to the start line. Most of the athletes present were stretching and limbering up in their lycra and singlets, and they looked the part, unlike me who was wearing musical note-print leggings, a lacy top, cardigan and jacket.

I should mention that the majority of people were running the distance, and had a choice of 5k or 10k, while a few of of us were walking the 5k. I should also mention that it seemed like a sneaky extra kilometre walk down to the starting point!

The guys from PopUpRaces.ie were looking after the race, which was organised by fabulous locals, Cathy, Jenny, Liam and Harry, who had whipped up a great crowd of helpers and supporters to help it all run smoothly. Once the starting klaxon went off, the runners legged it off down the road and soon disappeared from sight. We walkers strolled after them a lot more sedately - a motley crew comprised of people, dogs, babies in buggies and kids on bikes.

I walked with Frances, Mary and Brenda, all of whom are doing the Camino with me in a few weeks, and we completed the walk comfortably in about one hour, 15 minutes, coming in Paddy Last. Mind you, we had stopped to chat to every horse, dog and sheep we encountered along the way.

I was pleased that I had managed to do it comfortably, if slowly, because I will be doing the equivalent of four of those walks on the Camino every day for six days, and not all will be on the flat. I was doubly pleased that the €14 socks I had shelled out for did their job, and I hadn't a single blister or sore spot.

According to my FitBit, I walked 11.59km (16,703 steps) that day, as I had also gone for a walk with the dogs before we left. The soles of my feet were definitely a little tender later that evening, but I suppose they're not used to me pounding the pavements like that.

I had burned 3,583 calories, the equivalent of 15-and-a-half Mars bars. Much as I was tempted, I didn't hoof it off to the nearest sweet shop, but treated myself to a slice of carrot cake after lunch at the nearby Dolmen hotel. After all, I had been following the paleo diet all week, a high-protein/low-carb regime, founded on the belief we should only eat meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and nuts like our caveman ancestors. And even Jesus endorsed breaking your fast on the Sabbath day.

Incidentally, I lost three lbs on the paleo diet, bringing the total loss to 20lbs. At this rate, I will have faded away to a baby elephant by the time I hit Spain on October 3!


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Health & Living