Happy Happy Joy Joy
This morning, one of my colleagues asked me how my weekend was.
“Absolutely fantastic,” I responded and I really meant it.
So what did I do with my three day weekend? Well Friday I met up with a woman I’d never met before. A mutual friend introduced us because of our love of nature and trails.
I stopped by her house at 8am and off we went for a day of trekking at Lerderderg National Park. I had never been to Lerderderg before so it was a bit of a treat. My new friend is quite pregnant so the idea was that we would just trek at an easy pace to keep her heart rate down. Well, somehow we got a little off track (I think that may have been my fault). After 2.2km of straight uphill we started to descend sliding down on our backsides holding on to rocks, tree roots, basically anything that would stop us from falling. That was when we realised we were no longer following a trail. Oh well, the fastest way down was straight down so that was what we did.
We knew we would get back to the car if we followed the river so that was what we did, criss-crossing whenever the terrain on one side became obsolete or just ridiculous. This involved about 14 river crossings.
At one stage, I thought we could rock climb our way around the bend of the river. I was wrong. I had to scale my way back before heading straight through the river. We had no choice but by this stage the river was waist high. As I had filled my pack with 8kg of books in preparation for Atacama, you can understand that I was a little hesitant about getting my pack wet, so overhead it went.
I had flash backs of my CrossFit coach saying “this is important for real life.” I had often wondered what kind of a “real life” he lived. Now I understood – you never know when you will need to carry 8kg of books overhead in a National Park to protect them from a gushing river – do your overhead work!
After 5 hours we made it back to the car. What a blast!
Saturday morning the alarm went off at 5:00 am. I snoozed for three minutes. It was all I could afford. Then it was straight out the door to meet a few Dandenong Trail Runners for a few loops through the Dandies.
Another great morning – 32km run in total. New friends made and a few hills conquered.
Then it was time for recovery and the best recovery in my view comes from a green smoothie and Seinfield repeats.
Many thanks to a very special, generous and kind myotherapist who worked her magic on me Saturday afternoon.
Sunday morning I had decided I needed to make sure I got eight hours sleep so I set the alarm for 7:00am. I knew I needed to do 20km to reach my weekly target of 90km.
3km in and I was tired.
I kept reminding myself how I would feel if I turned back, if I didn’t achieve what I had set out to do. The very point of back to back training runs is to train when you’re tired. I remember how tired I was on day three of the Simpson Desert run in 2013. There was no option of giving up then. One must learn to persevere. So on I went, slow (oh so slow) and steady.
When the Garmin beeped 10km I gave myself a mental high five. I knew I could turn back now. I wanted to teach my mind a little lesson though so I pushed on an extra 2km, then I took the 10km loop back home – 22km in total.
When I opened my front door, my partner Liam greeted me, “You okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’m just a little fccked.” I said.
Then I took the rest of the day off to watch more Seinfield.
Some reflections I made over the last three days:
– There is nothing I love more than trail running.
– Training for a goal as big as Atacama can be really isolating when all your friends are non- runners and don’t understand why you need to be in bed at 8:30pm and up at 4:00am.
– Training for a goal as big as Atacama is so much easier when your training becomes your social life (big thank you to all the people who have been happy to plod along with me the last few weeks on my long runs, old friends and new – Jan, Tay, Anna, Jacque, Celesta to name just a few).
– The journey to a race like Atacama is just as rewarding as crossing the finishing line. Every week, I make progress, I achieve things I didn’t think I could, I learn something a little more about myself, I get stronger.
– People are incredibly kind. When you strive to achieve something that is really hard and really important to you on a personal level – people will get behind you. They will help in whatever way they can. I am overwhelmed at the kindness I have received from people offering to lend me expensive gear, treating me so that I remain injury free, helping with sponsorship ideas, donating their hard earned cash to Animals Australia and supporting me and believing in me.
Yes, I am really enjoying the journey to Atacama.