I often wondered what it was like for people who trained for adventures, and how they got their mind to override their body when its screaming at them to stop. This week I have given myself a peek at what its like as I start the real hard yards of training for this walk. With 6 months to go it is probably appropriate that I start painting the blank canvas.
When I decided to create a blog for this walk I thought I would just put news of sponsors and any other exciting news that surfaces over time. However, after reading a few blogs created by other people I have decided to take another route, and in some way try and take you all with me through the ups and downs of my trek preparation. While I’m sure I won’t be able to put everything I do into interesting words, I do hope some of my future blogs will give you an idea of what its like to organise and train for a 400km+ walk across a desert.
To start with I have recently acquired a shoulder harness, to which I attach a tyre to and then slug away at dragging it up a sandhill. Great idea on theory, terrible idea in practice. It always looks really great on tv when they (not me) are pulling them across the beach, but when they become me and beach becomes sandhill, a new form of torture is created. It is the first time I’ve ever actually experienced that feeling of wanting to cry whilst exercising, when with each step you slide back down the sand a little, and when you get off balance, staying where you fall seems mighty appealing! I can only assume that my decision to leave the steel rim in place was not an informed one. In saying that I continue to do it, so maybe the couple of Irish who called me crazy for walking across a desert were onto something!
I have also found a new toy in kettlebells which I gave a whirl yesterday. Needless to say I am extremely sore today, and I strongly believe my legs don’t appreciate me one, single bit right now. On the upside though kettlebells are my new favourite toy, and owing to fact it didn’t fly out of my hand and through the wall I would call my first workout with them a success! A very unique form of training, quite easy to grasp the basic movements and leaves you sweating. That said, I’m not 100% sure if it was the workout or ridiculously hot weather that caused the sweating. Birdsville weather certainly does add another dimension to training especially when it is 30 degrees at 6am!
So basically at the moment I am willingly putting myself through torture to paint the canvas and give myself every chance of making it from the first sandhill to the last. My only concern now is that if I can do this without a personal trainer, exactly what is it that’s worse then pulling a tyre up a sandhill, and what “grand” ideas they’ll have in store for me. To my body…my mind says sorry in advance!
Wondering what the story is behind the funny word?
This year I had the opportunity to go to Africa and at one point I found myself standing on the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. While slugging away on the trek, with no where near enough oxygen for my body to function, I got to speaking with my guides who were walking with me at the back of the pack. During the monotonous effort of putting one foot in front of the other I began to learn some of their language…Swahili. For anyone who has climbed kili, the familiar “poley poley” (slowly slowly) is perhaps the best known phrase in Swahili.
So back onto why uvumilivu. It means endurance or persistence in Swahili and is something that I drew on to get myself to the roof of Africa, and is something that I no doubt will need in bucket fulls come June 25th next year. The thought of crossing 1000+ sandhills has certainly put a lead weight in my stomach on the odd occasion, but with some simple uvumilivu I’ll get there eventually!
I am looking for a personal trainer to help with my preparation for The Long Walk Home. Endurance training experience is desirable, as well as being able to deal with never actually meeting me face to face. The phone and internet shall be our friend! The joys of isolation…
If anyone out there is interested or knows just the person please get me in touch with them, or them with me. In keeping with the spirit of the walk, it will have to be pro bono but we can talk about exposure in different media, and think of how good it will look on your resume!
Nearly down to 6 months until departure so better get stuck into it!
The Long Walk Home has received its first donations which are going straight to supporting the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Thanks to those who have donated and for your kind words, the support is really appreciated. Now that the fundraising has kicked off its time to think of some quirky ideas to give the event some exposure. You never know what ideas could evolve over Christmas lunch! Watch the space…
Back in September I was asked what my dream job was and when I wasn’t able to answer I got to thinking about it. During a long drive from Rockhampton to Birdsville I realised that being able to walk through all the natural and wilderness areas of the world would be it. After realising this I decided that considering I had the Simpson Desert on my doorstep why not start with walking across it. 400km of parrallel sandunes is quite a unique natural wonder and the potential feeling of walking into my home town after crossing it was far too exciting to pass up. It is funny where ideas come from and how one little question can change your life.
The walk is not a new one and many people have already crossed the Simpson Desert, but for me the exciting thing is to be the first local from Birdsville to do it. I am not doing it to break any records or to find new ways to cross it, I am doing it because it is a challenge (and I love them), to raise funds for the RFDS and because it is a good way to start working on my dream job! My grandma grew up living in the Simpson Desert and many locals have strong connections to it, so I hope that this walk will in some way bring the community together and maybe even a few will join me for an hour or a day while I walk.
The RFDS was chosen as the beneficiary of the walk for the simple reason that they are critical to the survival of rural and remote Australia. They not only provide emergency medical care but also enable residents in remote areas access to basic medical care on regular occasions.
I will have the support crew of Megan, Steve, Clare and Alex there to deliver words of encouragement when it all just seems a little too hard. They might even have a warm cup of soup waiting for me at the end of the day!
I am in the process of approaching businesses and people for sponsorship to cover the costs of the walk, and have just created an online fundraising page for public donations at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/jenna_brook. If anyone is interested in event sponsorship please drop me a line at email@example.com and we can chat about possibilites…I am pretty sure they are endless.
I’ll be trying to keep this updated with the latest sponsors, fundraisers and information, and look forward to announcing exciting news as it happens!