Training & Preparation

Week one:

5 x thirty minutes on a cross trainer on level 10 followed by thirty minutes of stretching and strengthening exercises.

1 x one hour walk.

Training and preparation:

Short video clip of photos & videos taken during my first week of training.

You can check out one of my one hour walks here

My favourite photo from the week, checking out the tent I will spend 4 weeks living in:

Tent shenanigans

Week two:

6 x thirty minutes on the cross trainer on level 10 followed by twenty minute stretching and strengthening routine.

4 x one hour walks and 1 x two hour walk. Absolutely shattered after the two-hour walk and went home and slept for an hour. Need to make sure I keep the water intake up.

Check out my two-hour walk route here.

Training and preparation:

Clothing purchased:

T'shirts, pants, hat & windbreaker jacket

Itchy merino undies

Merino base layer

Everyone I spoke to said get merino base layer clothing so last Sunday afternoon I went on a little shopping trip. Spent a good portion of my savings for a little of comfort and to smell a little less on my trek.

Week three:

5 x thirty minutes on the cross trainer on level 10 followed by thirty minutes of stretching and strengthening exercises.

4 x one hour walks, promise I will go on one tomorrow – promise kept.

Training and preparation:

This week training was a struggle. I allowed life and excuses to stop me from going on a walk three days this week. Tuesday was thrown out of sync because I stayed over at a friend’s house to look after her daughter. Thursday the temperature rose to 36oC (96.8oF) and I suffer from heat headaches and really do not like the heat so decided to stay inside in the air conditioning. Friday an unexpected deadline for an opportunity came up so I spent the day writing then had to do some grocery shopping at the end of the day and time just slipped by. I know most of these are excuses however I am also aware that life can get hectic sometimes so I decided not to beat myself up about my lack of resolve this week.

Each morning while on the cross trainer I listened to a Good Life Project interview and this morning's interview was very relevant to the struggles I faced this week. After listening to this I realise that willpower alone will not always get me off my butt and go for a walk. Cues and rewards are also necessary to help form new habits. I particularly like the idea of rewards. My cues will be leaving my boots out somewhere I can see them and I will set myself little rewards for getting out and going for a walk. Today I had a melting moment biscuit (or cookie if you live in the US) with my coffee when I got back from my walk… mmm yum! I must find rewards that are not edible goodies. 

Week four:

2 x thirty minute cross trainer on level 11 followed by thirty minutes of stretches and strengthening exercises.

1 x one hour walk and 1 x forty minute walk.

Training and preparation:

We’ll, you can never predict life. Here I am thinking all is going well with my training schedule, dispute the craziness of Christmas and expected interruptions to getting out for a walk during this period of traditional celebrations, and boom something hits you that you did not expect.

On Christmas Day my lower back deteriorated becoming more painful as the day progressed. By the end of the day I was limping and found it difficult getting up out of a chair. I knew I was in for a rough night of sleep. After taking something to help me sleep I managed until the early hours of the morning. Boxing Day was spent mostly in bed drugged on Mersyndol Forte. The following day I only took an anti inflammatory, I don’t like taking too many drugs and avoid them as much as I can. Then off to the doctor on Friday. She said my pain was muscular and to continue taking the anti inflammatories, keep moving as much as I can and get a massage when I felt my back could take it.

Each day I feel a little better and on Saturday I managed a slow 40 minute walk and Sunday 30 minutes on the cross trainer. So slowly back to recovery and thankfully my fears of this injury putting a major dent in my training have been allayed. Sleeping and sitting for any length still causes my lower back to ache a lot, which I hope will improve with time. Especially sleeping as my bed will not be so comfortable when I am out camping on my trek. I aim to get back into my daily exercise routine this coming week, though I may be a little slower or may not be able to walk so far.

Life sometimes sends us trials to test our resolve, so unless things become dramatically worse I will continue as planned and I am still looking forward to starting out on the 1st of March.

Week 5

6 x thirty minute cross trainer on level 11 followed by thirty minutes of stretches and strengthening exercises.

5 x one hour walks

Training and preparation:

For Christmas I received three wonderful gifts for my trek, thank you Paul, an iPad mini, iPad mini cover with an inbuilt keyboard and a solar charger for my iPad & iPhone. These items are essential for me to be able to Blog, Tweet & Facebook my thoughts and photos along the way. This past week and a half I have been familiarising myself with my new IT equipment so I am not trying to learn how to use it on the trail.

iPad mini and cover with inbuilt keyboard

At first I did not know how I would go touch typing on the tiny keyboard (it looks like a toy all set up) but I have found I have adapted rather well. I like being able to use the keyboard and interact with the iPad screen interface as a method of using the integrated system. Can’t wait till when they make laptops this way.

Editing a blog from an iPad is not as straightforward as on my laptop. I eventually sourced an app (BogPad Pro) that is best for editing posts and pages in WordPress. I will be using the Pages App to write my posts for copying and pasting because I will be able to access and edit documents when I am without an internet connection. Though I do need to revert to the iPad keyboard in this mode.

Solar Monkey Adventurer

Week six

4 x thirty minute on the cross trainer followed by 30 minutes of stretching and strengthening exercises.

2 x one hour walks

3 x two hour hikes

Training and preparation:

About a week ago I loaded my backpack and weighed it to see how many kilograms I potentially would be carrying. Well it came to about 16kg and there is still a lot more to pack in, including the most essential… food! Wow I realise that I need to consider very carefully everything I pack in my backpack. I began to think about the heaviest item, my tent. Even though it is considered a light one man tent weighing in at 1.8kg I decided to do a bit of internet searching for an alternative option.

Thanks to Scott, who provided some helpful links on his MeetUp page, I discovered Tarptent. After reading multiple reviews I made the decision that it was worth spending the money to save a whopping 1kg of weight and I have purchased the Notch which only weighs 750 grams. One kilogram does not seem much but when you are carrying it all on your back every gram counts, especially as I will be carrying my pack for 23 days. Now I am reassessing what I absolutely need to pack and what I can have Paul keep in the car to do swap overs when I meet up with him along the way. I am aiming to keep my pack weighing under 18 kilograms.

Hiking and walking

Next week I have decided to start wearing my semi loaded backpack on my one hour easy walks to start getting used to the feeling of it on my back. I am certain my hips will have the most to say about this, however I feel confident I will manage now that my lower back has improved so much over the last two weeks, to the point it feels better than before it spazzed out on Christmas Day. It is funny how things have turned around mentally for me as well, now I actually miss going out for a walk on my rest days, look forward to walking up hills (despite my body groaning as I do it) and I am excited about the prospect of attempting my first three hour walk later this week. Woo Hoo! All told my training and preparation is well underway.

Week seven

5 x thirty minute on the cross trainer followed by 30 minutes of stretching and strengthening exercises

2 x one hour walk with a 11.5kg pack

2 x two hour hikes

1 x three hour hike

Training and preparation:

First day out with a pack proved to be more challenging than expected. Not that I couldn’t do it, I could and at a reasonable pace too, however my body felt the strain, particularly in my upper back and my Achilles heel. I know if I keep going out with my pack on and I will get stronger each time so that's why it is important to include it in my training schedule over the next six weeks.

Tuesday was a cracker with the temperature soaring to 38oC (100oF) during the day in Hobart. I thought I would get out and walk my two hours early at 8am but this proved to not be early enough. I struggled, my body felt heavy and weighed down and the sweat dripped off me like melting wax. By the end of an hour I had a heat headache and all I wanted to do was get back, eat something, take two Nurofen and lie down. I trudged back and did just that, though it took me all afternoon to fully recover. I hope March does not have too many days of this type of heat, I will suffer if so!

Shade on a hot day makes you thankful for trees.

On a lighter note (probably inspired by the heat) on Wednesday I walked past my usual hairdressers and made a spur of the moment decision to have my long locks cut off. All it took was half an hour and I had six inches of less hair, oh my it does looks different! It has been many years since I have had my hair this short, the upside though is that it will be a lot easier to take care of while on my trek. My partner Paul was a little surprised when he saw my short locks and said it will take him a little while to get used to it, however we both know it will grow back, eventually.

Off it came… six inches of hair.