Eat. Sleep. Work. Train.

Returning from a week away on Monday I was met with my training program for this week and very quickly decided these 4 words would dictate the next three months of my life.

It is 3 months, 12 weeks or 89 days until I start walking across the Simpson Desert, and yet it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was travelling along the Capricorn Highway where I came up with the idea. It would be an understatement to say that a lot has happened since then, but I think I’ll stick with it anyway and say that a lot has happened since then. I am not sure where the time has gone, but I distinctly remember writing about how nervous I became when Michael wrote “considering you only have 6 months to go”. I am quite certain that he has realised this and as such has altered my training program to suit.

Generally I am quite self-motivated which considering my trainer lives around 1600km away is certainly a benefit in this situation. I did recently realise however that even living this far away there are some things that you can’t get away with. After the fundraiser in Adelaide the other night I woke up with a burning pain on the outside of my thigh and found it to be extremely sensitive to even the lightest touch. Not wanting to admit there and then that I knew what the problem was, I had planned on seeing it through until I got home and could rectify the situation myself without having to tell Michael I’d been skimping on one tiny little part of the training. However, when a physio turned up on the doorstep I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and enlisted his help to massage the tendon that runs from the hip to the knee. If, like I was, you are thinking ‘I never knew that existed’, then this can be the one thing you learn today. It is called your ITB (and from my grade 12 Phys. Ed class I’m thinking that stands for something like Illiotibial Band), and it can cause pure hell if given half a chance. I’m told this is quite a common problem for middle distance runners, however I am yet to figure out how a 435km walk fits in with middle distance running. Anyway, while the physio got to work he tried to ask me questions and talk to me about this and that, but unfortunately my eyesight was disappearing while tears started to well in my eyes from the pain, and as such left me in no mood to converse about daily life.

Previously I referred to skimping on a tiny part of training but as it turns out it’s not such a tiny part. In order to stretch this part of the body, you lie on your side with a relatively hard foam roller underneath your leg and proceed to roll over it. When the tendon is stretched this exercise should be relatively pain free (however this is only an assumption as I have never managed to complete it pain free). In my experience this exercise pretty much takes the cake as causing the most excruciating pain known, however it gets worse as you grit your teeth, attempt to continue breathing, try and refrain from letting expletives and tears escape, all the while holding yourself up in a sort of side plank position and rolling back and forth. So far the only other stretch that has come close to this and to be honest actually overtook it tonight, is using the foam roller on my calves. Apparently the standard stretches for calf muscles become null and void after a period of time and in order to keep them stretched and loose you need to do things that feel like you are sticking knives into them. Here I was thinking a nice gentle stretch was the way to go.

Now that I’ve explained all the terrible things I have to do, which surprisingly is only 1, I can go on and talk about how excited I am to turn into a hermit for the next 3 months. The past week seemed to rejuvenate me a little and after a ridiculous number of flights, a successful fundraiser and a wedding weekend which took in swimming, breakdancing, viral videos and the great BBQ, I am ready to hit the road and power on to June 25th. This of course though is subject to change at the discretion of my body and mind and unfortunately for my trainer he’ll probably cop the brunt of it so I apologise now. I am however extremely excited at the increase in training and itching to see how much I can put my body through. Needless to say that for the next 89 days my life will (happily) consist of eating, sleeping, working and training, and come d-day should leave me with some chance of making it through the desert with nothing more than some sore feet, a few blisters, a couple of aches and maybe a few lost friends, depending on how friendly we all are at the end.

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