Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The long walk - the blister edition

On August 24, my team-mates and I lined up for the Oxfam Trailwalker. For those of you unfamiliar with the endurance event, the premise is: Teams of four; 101.5km; 48 hours. It is a fundraiser for some of the world's poorest people. A great reason to tackle the challenge.

We were full of hope and wonderment. We had done the training. We knew we could last at least half of the distance. We hoped our nutrition plan would do the job. We hoped our six hours of sleep would suffice. I hoped my blister-ridden feet could take the punishment. How would it all play out?

I had my first sock adjustment at about five kilometres when I discovered that my feet were getting numb in parts. I ditched the liner socks and things looked up.

I had my first serious blister care at CP1 (16.5km into the walk).

I had my first serious reservations at about 28kms when one blister turned into about sixteen. I was still feeling very strong in the muscle and mental health department though, so I was still sure I could finish.

I dug deep, made it to dinner (CP 3 44 kms) in my original shoes where I changed shoes, upped the ante on the pain management (opting to cycle nurofen and panadol) and began the real internal struggle with myself. The minestrone soup we ate was a sensation. It kept me focused until the next CP where I was promised another serve.

At  CP 4, my brother and chief Support Crew, began 'tough love' campaign and refused to let me stop when I, sort of jokingly, requested Harry Potter's invisibility cloak when my team was set to leave. I sucked it up and found my rhythm.

Half way between CP 4 and 5, I commenced panadeine forte and battled the long blinks. Note to self: taking sleep inducing medication at 2am will make you very tired.

The leg between CP5 and 6 was the hardest. While the blisters were pretty under control, it was the end of the night and beginning of the day. As dawn breaks, it is the coldest time of day. The CP was meant to be only 10kms long but it felt like 1000. The whole team funked a little, but we trudged on. Drawn by the promise of a bacon and egg roll.

At CP 6, my sister called and in an effort to motivate the team, stated that our team was travelling faster than my brother-in-law's team. Despite being known as competitive, I couldn't have cared less. I just wanted to finish. We scoffed our bacon and egg rolls, which were accompanied by the very inspired choice of a freshly squeezed juice, and headed off again.

As we approached CP7, the panadeine forte wore off and the state of my feet was back in the forefront of my mind. We made the decision to continue on, without stopping at the CP. I feared that if I had the opportunity to stop that I may not be able to go on. No scheduled cake. Boo hoo.

The final leg was pretty much down hill. It was torture on our feet and, especially our toes. I ran most of it - the different action seemed to relieve some of the blister pain. The spit bridge openned as we approached and we had to wait 10 minutes or so. We stiffened up immediately, reinforcing our decision to check in, check out at CP7.

We approached the finish line. All four of us joined together. We had walked the whole trail in a line, with me at the front (you should always put the slowest person first), but for this bit we walked side-by-side. We crossed with cry of jubilation.

We were a formidable team.

We finished in a time of 25:15minutes, almost three hours above our expectation.

We raised $2500, more than double our promise.

We completed together and, apart from my blisters, without incident or injury.

A complete success.

11 comments:

Tricia said...

I'm impressed! You have me in tears. Well done to all of you. Xx

Miss Pink said...

Um wow. You are AMAZING! That is a crazy distance in a crazy time.

Kelly Exeter said...

Oh yay you - Trailwalker is such a big deal - I have been waiting for this report and you did not disappoint. Well done Chris :)

Claireyhewitt said...

So well done. Ouch!!! And are you going to do it again?

Mama of 2 boys said...

Amazing account of your travels MM, what a brave & admirable thing to take do. You must feel so pleased with the efforts of your team...and a tad relieved it's all over too. I bet your little ones were so proud of Mum. Good on you xo

Maxabella said...

Well done, well done, well done. Could not be prouder of you all. x

Mum on the Run said...

Fantastic!
What a monumental effort - and blister!!
Congratulations - and ouch!
:-) xx

Petra said...

Congratulations on doing it in such a great time and finishing all together!

Sarah said...

What a fantastic achievement! You should all be incredibly proud, well done!

River said...

That's a helluva walk! Your feet have my deepest sympathies. Well done.

Kymmie said...

So proud of you. I've heard stories of the tears, the grueling experience, and witnessed the bandaged feet. It sure is an amazing fundraiser, and I'm so thrilled you could do it, and finish it. Because that in itself is an accomplishment!

xx

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