Well we did it!
After 5 weeks of bronchitis and not being able to do the level of training and lost the weight I had hoped and I envisioned, I found myself on the starting line nervous, fearful and with not a whole lot of hope at all.
Yes, had thought of pulling out BUT people had sponsored me and I knew that the money and the support for awareness were so needed and you know what? I am not a quitter! Even if I didn't finish I was going to give this my very best shot.
The most I had even walked in training or an event was 13.6 km the week before. Before that 10km.
Now I kidded myself all week as did everyone I know with comments like, "Oh you have done retail/restaurant, barwork! You would of walked that far and more in a day" AND "Come on you backpacked last year in UK and Europe!"
Let me tell you all these comments? The ones I even made myself? Total and utterly WRONG!
It wasnt my level of fitness or lack of preparation. Other that the bout of bronchitis and the extra padding I have at the moment, I'm actually very cardio fit.
It is a mental challenge probably more than physical.
To walk for that distance, and it took us over 7 hours, is mentally challenging. If you are in anyway in any doubt you will finish, every sharper twinge in a muscle, evey miss step on a bush path, every puffed out cliff climb, YOU WILL DOUBT YOURSELF and you will do the math and think you cant take too many more of THOSE moments.
ENJOY IT! I only listened to music for the last 10km. It was more built up by that time and busy on the route with sun-seekers. I was also starting to really hurt physically and I did find it harder to focus. For me, and it may be different for others, I'm not judging here, but for me, I really enjoyed the silence. Well there was lots of bird song, ocean sounds and the occasional snippets of conversation from walkers we passed or were passed by, but I was in my own little world and on this route, the views where spectacular!
I thought A LOT during that time. I planned things with my art and writing, my life even. I wasn't;t focusing things, just thinking and day dreaming in a way. The rhythmic nature of walking brought a calmness to my mind. Oh except for the hills! :) But even those gave a dimension to the whole mental process. Feeling accomplishment after each set brought a surge of pride of accomplishment and happiness.
On this Walk ~ THE HILLS!!
I live in this area and have lived in Taylors Point, Avalon and now Frenchs Forest so I know the route incredibly well. Why didn't I remember all those hills??" The Palm Beach steps which i know well, were forgotten in my lead up and WOW those are JUST what you need to get the race started! :D
Putting one foot in front of the other for 35km HURTS YOUR FEET!
The souls of your feet may be on fire! Change socks lots but even then by about the 25km you will think you are walking on hot cement. You need to focus on other things and do not stop! Stopping makes your feet swell I think and makes it worse.
Play the Game your Way.
I went with The Admiral, he found it very monotonous. I actually found it very relaxing and enjoyable mentally up until about the 20th km. We stopped talking with each other at about the 10km mark. I stopped interacting as he was grumpy, his advice to me wasn't what I wanted to do (listen to music, drink a gatorade, NOT STOP FOR BREAKS!) Ok I never got those breaks, he was intent on finishing as fast as possible to get it over with. I had planned on three 15min full breaks. It wasn't going to happen and I didn't want to argue. Play the game your way? I had to watch his body language too, he wasn't happy, so I blocked him out and formed my own mental picture of the event. I walked in front of him and pretended I was alone. You need to be able to very quickly focus on getting your mental state clear if your partner/team mates are not playing the way that is working for you!
Finishing feels AMAZING.
like anything in life, when you work REALLY hard, don't take short cuts or have things handled to you on a plate, the victory is so damn sweet!
Two days later and I'm STILL smiling to myself and thinking '35km!!!!!!'
Now I know I have a long way to go on my fitness journey but this was proof to me that I still have it in me to achieve and to succeed. Things are a lot harder now as I spend A LOT of time these days on my butt writing and creating. Walking 35km in 7 and half hours through that hilly terrain has convinced me that it's all possible.
It wasn't just about ME!
This was a fund raising event and I am so grateful too those who sponsored not only me but everyone who took part. I raised $440 and ranked 174 out of 1,000 participants so not feeling so bad about that! Overall the event has now raised over $2 million in much needed funds into research.
What is the Event for?
"Mitochondrial disease (mito) is a debilitating genetic disorder that robs the body’s cells of energy, causing multiple organ dysfunction or failure and potentially death.
Mito can affect both children and adults; due to its genetic basis, the disease often affects multiple family members. The prognosis for children diagnosed with Mito is often dire with severe lifestyle impediments and significantly reduced life expectancy.
Initially thought to be a rare disease (affecting less than 1 in 20,000 people), with advances in genetic medicine it is now recognised as affecting 1 in 200 people (over 100,000 Australians), with 1 in 5,000 suffering a severe or life-threatening form of the disease. Those with mild or no symptoms are unknowingly at risk of passing the disease on to their children."
for more information:
Yes I WILL be doing it next year and if you want to join me I think putting a team together would be wonderful. Start training. I know that I was able to do (and tough) without enough training so with it, YOU CAN DO IT!