The sun is shining – to my left I can see as far as the eye can see, to my right I ‘see’ the sea and up above two gliders silently enjoy the birds eye view. I am sat on the top of the South Downs, enjoying an egg roll with my sister and wiggling my bare feet in the breeze, this is a good place to be. But what am I doing here? Shouldn’t I be taking a child to a Birthday party, hanging a load on the line, planning a food shop, catching up with reading homework? No, all that will just have to wait, as today is all about me and my quest to walk.

You see I am in training, serious training. As at the end of July this year, I will be taking on THE biggest physical and mental challenge of my life. I will be attempting the epic challenge that is TRAILWALKER! This is the UK’s biggest team challenge and I will be part of one of the 550 teams walking a route of 100km across the South Downs between Petersfield and Brighton. If that doesn’t sound bad enough, we will need to complete the challenge in less than 30 hours!!

The Team

The Team

So how on earth did this 40 something year old, over weight mother of two, find herself on this journey? Well pop the kettle on, flick off the biscuit tin lid, put your feet up and let me tell you all about it……

Last autumn, my lovely sister Laura, announced that she was going to take on Trailwalker 2013. She had attempted it in 2012, but the mud was so severe, that she had to pull out after 42 miles – she had been walking non-stop for 24 hours. She was bitterly disappointed not to have made it to the finish line, and as is her determined character, she vowed she would not give up and would be back to try it again! Laura is THE most positive, enthusiastic and inspiring person I know. This may have something to do with her profession; she is a physiotherapist specialising in the rehabilitation of civilian amputees. She has dedicated her life to getting people to overcome their fears and showing these amputees that with the right help, they can achieve whatever they want. So, following her decision to give Trailwalker another go, she set about trying to form a new team.

She asked me to consider joining the team in October last year and suggested I took time to think about it before giving my answer. I did an awful lot of soul searching, dithering, asking the opinion of my friends and husband’s and if I am honest, I just didn’t want to have to make a decision at all. Finally, I decided it just wasn’t the right time for me to take on something so big, as just didn’t think I could juggle training with family life, not to mention not actually being fit enough! Laura took the decision very graciously and didn’t once make me feel guilty. Meanwhile she continued recruiting the rest of her team.

Next to say yes was her life long friend, Becky. A wonderfully funny, loving and positive lady, physically strong too. Becky was diagnosed with cancer in 1999 and has fought her way back to full health. She was nervous about the challenge, but knew how much Laura wanted to give it another go.

Then the lovely Mandy, said yes. Mandy is one of our Farnham friends and is definitely the voice of reason, very calming, lovely and always smiling. Mandy didn’t need much persuading, she wanted to get fit, enjoy the fresh air and regain some much needed ‘me’ time away from a demanding family life.

One space left to fill! As I watched the team emerge, I started feeling envious of the three girls and the adventures they would share together, sad I had given up this amazing opportunity and all together a bit fed up with myself. So it was on a family walking holiday in Cumbria in February this year, when I had ascended a rather large mountain that I heard myself announcing to my husband that I was going to go for it after all! I actually felt quite empowered, for the first time in a long time.

And so Team Skin n Blisters was born!

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