13 October 2014

The (Bloody) Long Walk

I've always loved walking. If I had the choice, and the time, and a sherpa, I'd walk everywhere. Walking is when I feel calm and inspired; it's when I feel connected and present. I've dabbled with running, every now and again, but at some point I always remember that I really, really hate running. But I never, ever hate walking. 

So when I heard about The Bloody Long Walk a few months ago I got pretty excited, and I signed up for the Melbourne one without thinking too much about how exactly I was going to walk 35 kilometres in one hit. And I hadn't given it much more thought since then either. Until last week when my Bloody Long Walk buddy, Shannon, reminded me that it was coming up pretty bloody soon, and that we should maybe possibly start doing something about it. Message received, yesterday - in the glorious Sydney sunshine - I headed out for a 19 km 'long and steady' walk. 

The training program I'm following suggests these long walks are a chance to test out your kit and get a sense of what you're in for. Here's what I learnt: 

Sydney has a lot of hills. And when you pick a random path through the eastern suburbs you are going to walk up and down most of them. 

- Sydney has some seriously great views. Seriously great. Stunning, even. Sail boats and sparkling water and golden beaches and that bridge... The views pop up everywhere, constantly surprising you as you round a corner or crest a hill. They made me swear out loud in appreciation many times during my walk. 

- I walk twice as fast without the dogs. Which makes sense as I'm normally carrying Ferdi whilst dragging Elfi away from eating some thing mouldy and / or trying to take on a doberman. Not very conducive to a quick pace.

 - And I walk even faster again when I'm wearing my sneakers (I have a bad habit of walking longish distances in my Havaianas...). Who would have guessed that shoes made for exercise actually help you exercise? 

- I need a back up, back up battery pack. If my phone (and therefore Map My Walk) crashes during the big one and doesn't save my triumph (assuming I make it) for perpetuity (or at least for Facebook and Twitter) I will be a bit sad. 

- I may be mildly allergic to sunscreen but it needs to be an essential part of my kit. I learnt this the hard way. 

- Same goes for a hat (though luckily I'm not allergic to those...) 

- My left ankle is a bit of a mess, as is my right knee. But between the both of them I have one really awesome leg. Yay? 

Next weekend is a 21km walk. I've started planning a path that's a bit more westward, I think there's less hills out that way. And then it's 25km, and then the taper before the big event. I'm excited, and a I'm bit scared. Okay, a lot scared. To be honest, I really have no idea what I'm doing; there is a so much I don't know.

So I've just signed up as an Operation Move member. I plan on bombarding the forums with questions, but in the meantime - have you done any long walks or other endurance events? What did you take with you? What did you eat before, during and after? Any other tips? 

ps. The walk is a fundraiser for the Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. It's a bloody horrible disease, and a mysterious one too. If you feel like sponsoring me you can do so here. Thank you x

All iPhone shots, edited in VSCOcam.


  1. A loooong time ago, I did two half marathons. In the not so distant past, I did a few 5km and 10km runs without too much prep. But, a 21km walk... hmm. Are you a chatty walker? If so, you can chat your way through, but if not, I'd definitely bring music to break down the kilometers. I'd also bring a sport drink to supplement the water you'll likely get along the way. If they offer a banana along the run, take it, and see how you feel about eating it a bit by bit... I'm not a big fan of the gobbling of much food while running...I remember being really nauseous during/after the half marathons. Protein bars and such have probably come a long way since those long runs, but they did taste more delicious the longer I ran. :D

    1. Thanks Adri! I am so in awe of anyone who runs :)

      I'm not normally a chatty walker - I like the thinking time a walk brings. I write a LOT of blog posts on my walks (unfortunately their all still in my head, not on my blog!). But for this walk I am doing it with a friend, so we'll keep each other company.

      I agree re: eating...a banana does sound like a good option. And I know a lot of people who love protein bars, but all the one's I've tried still taste horrible to me!

      (ps. The 21 kms is just part of my training, the actual event is 35 kms! Eeeeep!)

  2. I'm working towards doing the first Adelaide version of this in September 2015 and was wondering how it all worked out?

    1. Hello! It worked out really well! We got through the walk no problems, it was probably only the last 5kms that started to hurt...great atmosphere on the day, lovely support staff - I'd say go for it! Just make sure you have well worn in, properly fitted runners (blisters would be horrible on the day), and a training plan leading up to it (last year they published one on their website). And don't forget the sunscreen! Let me know how you go if you sign up :)


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