Tuesday, 23 April 2013
100kms conquered - $6k+ raised for charity - how was it and what's next?
So we did it!!! A team of four all walked 100kms (62 miles) each, together as a team, for charity!!! Besides a couple of quick food intake breaks and one 45 minute one whilst a team member had their feet re-strapped we went straight through and accomplished the task in 25 hours and 35 minutes.
I’ve had a couple of days to reflect on the achievement and given I was so full of adrenalin on Saturday and Sunday I didn’t want to post my thoughts as they could reflect quite a bit of my delirium.
For those who aren’t familiar with Trailwalker, a team of four must start and finish together over the full 100km trail distance. Ok we averaged just under 4 kms per hour, but do not forget this was on trails, we had over 2,300 metres in elevation, at some stages the hills were astronomical (there is a section called the 1,000 steps so you get what I mean). Below is a copy of the Garmin elevation readout to give you some concept.
After going on such a massive excursion with three fellow walkers there is so much I could share with the readers here, but I don’t want to bore you, so I’ll be doing my best to keep it brief.
Although travelling 100 kms on foot is obviously a personal achievement, this was a team journey, an odyssey. Could we do it???
I learned so much about my fellow walkers (and support crew) during our 25 hour journey, and I’m not talking about now knowing their first pet’s name. I learned about their characters, their motivations, their breaking points and their commitments to a team challenge. Potentially this experience could break a range of friendships but I personally believe that with the group I was fortunate enough to walk with I now have a special bond that has only strengthened our relationships. Sounds corny doesn’t it? Let’s see if any of them talk to me over the coming months!!!!
The journey itself was tortuous, with the long Warburton Trail flat section being one of the most strenuous as it is monotonous and you’re walking it at night with only a headlamp illuminating about 10 metres ahead of you. At this stage you have been walking for about 15 hours so you are exhausted and feeling sleep deprived. This is when the cracks began to really appear – the banter was kept to a minimum and the humour was a little less appreciated than earlier in the day and even fellow trailwalkers were less willing to engage in conversation. I got through a huge section of that trail by putting on Beck’s “Guero” album via the iPod and danced, shuffled, marched along with my walking pole, getting strange looks for all around, but hey I was naturally hallucinating, why not take advantage of it???
Another highlight was the warm pumpkin and lentil soup that met us as we arrived at Graham Colling Reserve, we’d just climbed 1200 odd metres, and gone back down the mountain and the sun had set and the temperature had dropped to about 3 degrees celcius. The home made warm soup with bread was enough to refuel and hit another 16kms or so before the next scheduled refuel stop. Stops themselves not really consisting of much other than a quick banana, a couple of mouthfuls of rice or pasta, two more anti-infalm tablets, a black coffee and maybe an extra layer of clothing and off again.
The other section that was absolute pain was the last 6.7kms – this consisted of a steep climb up, another down, up again and then a massive down to the finish line. The last kilometre of this journey took our team 33 minutes to complete as one of our team member’s knees couldn’t cope with the downhill walk and he had to complete it backwards. I personally had my knee lock on me about 2 kilometres from the finish line after I’d just finished the second last climb and was waiting for one of my team mates at the top of the hill, my left leg would literally NOT bend, it took a good five minutes of leaning on team mates, attempting to stretch and bend before a click occurred and I slowly warmed up again.
All of this was being done with massive blisters, as mentioned above, one team mate had to take a 45 minute break at one of the stops to get his feet re-strapped by podiatrists. I personally self treated my blisters, which was probably not the best approach as the photo below shows.
All up a most amazing experience and one that I will never forget. The thanks go far and wide, to my fellow walkers, to our support crew, to my wife who has put up with the training and now the bandaging and bandaging of my feet, the people who donated to the charity (as at today was have raised over $6,500 and there will be more coming), the people who attended our fundraising events, those who sent us words of encouragement throughout the vent itself and I’m sure there are plenty more who I’ve missed.
All I can leave you with is……what’s the next big challenge????? I’ll need a few days to think about that (it will take me that long before I’ll be able to run again)