Firstly, you will find Part 1 Here, however as a recap myself and 3 other crazy chicks thought it would be a good idea to take part in Coastrek, the ultimate team trekking and fundraising challenge, proudly supporting Beyond Blue.
Along with over 10,000 other Coastrekkers, mostly women, our team will be walking a really, really long way to support the three million people in Australia living with anxiety and depression, and those affected by suicide.
The treck goes from Cape Schanck Lighthouse to Point Nepean, so our team name, SCHANCKS FOR THE WALK, BUT WHAT’S THE POINT, plays homage to that. Please donate in support of the clever pun name if nothing else.
Scheduling our training as a team has been trickier than even we expected. We are on all 4 corners of Melbourne, and with busy schedules it has proven unachievable to get 4 girls in 1 place, however we have managed to train in our own ways, and in our own locations. We have been able to schedule a few trails walks on sections of the actual trail we will be doing on the big day.
The first training trek I did was with Tara and we decided that we would start at the start. We wanted to get some experience of walking on sand and just take some of the fear away of what to expect. It gave us a bit of an opportunity to scout out the terrain, practice navigation, see what we had in store and find where the good spots are to rest, recuperate, toilet breaks, that sort of thing.
We started at Cape Schank nice and early, grabbed the backpacks, got everything ready, got ourselves all set to go, and started walking out of the car park and then I realized I forgot my walking poles that I bought especially for the occasion so that I could get used to using them. Oops. Big mistake. Anyhoo, we proceeded onwards and upwards.
The initial stages are coastal bush so we were wandering through shrubbery, but it wasn’t too long before we had to navigate some nice, big, deep sand dunes to get onto the beach to walk about a kilometre.
A quick snack to scout the terrain. It was quite windy, actually - really, really windy on the beach, but going the same direction as us so was pushing us along. It was definitely much easier to walk on the wet sand, so we walked as close to the ocean waterline as we could without getting wet feet. And it's actually quite enjoyable. The wind was pretty hectic, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves when we turned around due to personal time constraints.
On the way back, the walk on a beach was a lot tougher because that tailwind had become headwind. It was a case of head down and concentrate on walking and keeping a consistent pace. I found it at one stage easier to walk backwards. By the time we got back to the cars we were pretty fatigued from fighting the wind, and I had to stop for a nap on the long car drive home.
The second training we did was a big one - 30ks in fact In support of Charlie’s Run 4 Kids. They were running 150ks in 5 days, so we decided to walk the same distance they would run on the day. Unfortunately the day turned out to be a warm one in Melbourne, and in hindsight the distance was probably a bit ambitious for the second session. The trek has virtually zero shade from the sun, which was 28 degrees by the start of the day. Despite a 3 litre water bladder, hydrolytes and an icy pole from a friendly detour, plus walking poles to assist, I suffered from dehydration, severe & painful inflammation of joints and digits, and what I now suspect was a little heatstroke. We had started at Cape Schanck again and made it to Sorrento – tired, cranky, drained and sore. It shook my mindset quite a bit so was concerned that we might have bitten off more than we can chew by committing to 45ks.
I have done a few other training walks with team members since then, as well as with my dedicated training support dog Jacko, and whilst I’m not going to say it gave the complete confidence I will be able to complete the 45ks on the day, it has given me some confidence that I have the right tools and supports in place, both in terms of my team and my equipment, so maximise my success. It’s a daunting task no doubt, but then if it was easy or achievable, then it wouldn’t allow me to grow.
Our last team walk we decided to aim for 25ks, and thought it would be good to check out the other end of the trail, than we hadn’t tried out yet. We started from Sorrento and headed on out to Point Nepean. The sand parts were a little less daunting, and we were able to try out the steps at Sorrento back beach and Point Nepean itself. It didn’t feel that bad, but I’m mindful at about 40ks in I might not feel the same way. It was a great opportunity though for us to voice our requirements and boundaries as a team. How we would like to be treated, what to expect from each other and to understand our fears, failings and plan for setbacks and concerns. I think the biggest challenge for us as a team is to step into our vulnerabilities. We are all loyal and dedicated team mates, and the fear of letting the team down or not living up to team expectations is very real for all of us I can imagine. It will be just as much of a mental challenge for us to trust ourselves, trust in each other and being Ok with failing, then the physical challenge of going the distance will be. That being said, I have the most amazing, incredible team of strong, independent and resilient women, who have already achieved incredible things in their lifetimes, so I know that whatever happens on the day, we will have each others backs.
The Big day is Friday 27th May, so keep your eyes peeled for part three, and in the meantime, don’t forget to donate to this worthy cause.