This week I have decided to put together a team to complete the Oxfam Trailwalker: 100km, teams of four, 48 hours.
Yes, it's true, 100km of non-stop walking.
Obviously it's a fabulous cause, but I confess the main reason I have decided to do it is because I desperately want to know what it's like to walk 100km. It's partly the challenge for itself, and partly the fantasy writer in me wanting to do some experiential research.
I want to experience the leaden muscles, the sore shoulders, the aching feet. I want to know what it's like to trek through bushland in the dead of night -- the sounds, the smells, the blackness. I want to know how the mind cycles through a challenge such as this -- will I feel the buzz of excitement or the heavy drag of despair?
When I first decided upon this course of action earlier in the week, I was probably a bit blase about it. Sure, it's a long way, but I walk to work a lot, so how hard could it be? Yeah, it would be tiring, but we'll have a support crew to provide us with coffee and chocolate along the way. Thousands of people have done it, so it must be achievable.
The more I look into it, however, I realise how big a deal it actually is. Yes, there's training involved -- I knew that. But the amount of recommended training is a little intimidating. Not only do they recommend short walks (3 times a week) and long walks, but they recommend long walks along the actual trail itself. They recommend you get your support crew involved so they effectively are in training as well. You're supposed to practice what snacks you eat, how often you eat them, walking the trail at night, what clothes to wear, navigation techniques etc. AND, you're advised to take out insurance to cover injury or death!
None of this has deterred me, but it has made me realise this is going to be a time-consuming (perhaps all consuming!) undertaking. It will be fabulous for my fitness and a wonderful experience, but it is also going to impinge on my life in a big way -- no doubt consuming vast chunks of valuable writing time. I could wring hands in frustration, but I'm not going to. I'm going to embrace it for what it is, and pledge to get more organised. Can't wait. Totally excited.