Training is now in full swing and the reality of what we have taken on is really very real. Did we really agree to attempt to walk 62 miles in under 30 hours? Yes, we did and embrace it we will! Trailwalker 2013 is a matter of weeks away, and as our toe nails begin to blacken and drop off, we know this challenge is very real! Our training walks have also confirmed just how EPIC a challenge this is going to be.
Our first memorable training walk was down in Cornwall, where Team Skin n Blisters set out to walk the Cornish Coastal path between Polperro and Plymouth, a distance of 28 miles. The skies were blue, the legs were strong and the M&M’s in good supply! It didn’t take us long to realise that this coastal path, was not going to have many flat bits along the way! In fact, I think there was about one flat section during the whole day! I’ll admit the terrain was tough, but the amazing views and scenery of this Cornish landscape seemed to make the miles pass with ease (well, the first 18 miles anyway!). It wasn’t long before the warm temperatures, warmed up our little tootsies, thus resulting in the first of many blisters that day. Goodness only knows how our feet will cope attempting 62 miles! As you would expect from 4 woman, the conversation never stopped, but I would say much of our conversations were to do with blister prevention! At this point, I would like to invite any top tips on blister prevention / treatment??? We were joined for the first time by one of our Support Crew for Trailwalker, Dave. It was indeed an absolute God send having him meet us along the route with water changes, fresh socks, flapjacks, egg rolls, talcum powder, deodorant and perhaps most importantly, a big hug every time we stopped and huge amounts of positive energy. It’s become very clear to me, that without a good Support Crew, Trailwalker would just not be possible. Our last few miles were very tough indeed, as Mandy had to stop due to severe back pain. I experienced my first (of many) lows shortly after her departure – tiredness, blister pain, muscle fatigue and boredom of the continuous walking motion without stopping for longer than 10 minutes. I think my real low, was as a result of thinking that this walk was just 28 miles – Trailwalker would be more than twice this. Anyway, as darkness descended at about 9.15pm and after more than 15 hours of non-stop walking we reached Plymouth and the huge ‘Davey hug’ that awaited us! I am ashamed to admit that I did not feel much euphoria at our achievements that day, unlike my very positive and upbeat team mates, had I bitten off more than I could chew? How on earth will I walk further than this?
With the blisters barely healed, just two weeks later we were off again, this time to take part in the organised walk that is the Clarendon Way Walk. A 26-mile route, between Winchester and Salisbury in aid of the Naomi House Children’s Hospice. This is a fabulous event and gave us a huge insight into what it would be like to walk alongside other walkers, something that we had not experienced before. The start was extremely busy and we set off at a pace far quicker than we were used to. I really didn’t enjoy the feeling of being overtaken by so many walkers, but our Team Captain reassured us that this was ok and that it’s the ‘Tortoise’ that wins the race! Once again, we were spoiled with stunning scenery and sunshine, but the warm conditions certainly helped our old friends, the blisters, make an unwelcome appearance! Poor old Laura learned an invaluable lesson that day too and that was to carry less! I think it was safe to say her back pack was as heavy as she was! Laura likes to pack for every eventuality – always has done, but I think the kitchen sink may have been a step too far!! (Only kidding sis!) The walk was tough, the legs were tired and I certainly wasn’t making a sprint for the finish line! I have never known muscle fatigue quite like it by the time we got off the coach back at Winchester, I had quite literally seized up! Oh no, those horrible negative thoughts were back……62 miles? I’d have to walk another 36 on top of what I had just done! Compared to the Coastal Path walk, this should have been an easier walk for us. However, we all felt this was much tougher and not exactly sure why. We reflected long and hard during the week that followed and agreed it just ‘wasn’t our day’! Having said that, another 26 miles in the bag, a few more £££’s raised for charity and I am still very much enjoying being part of this wonderful team and what’s going to be an unforgettable experience.
Next step is to rest, regroup and sort out some serious blister issues in readiness for our penultimate 37-mile walk before Trailwalker. Did I really just say 37 miles? We’ll see……………………….