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Training and 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 onne 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 & 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 with the air conditioner on. Friday an unexpected deadline for an opportunity came up so 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 over my lack of resolve this week.

Each morning while on the cross trainer I listen to a Good Life Project interview and this mornings 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. :-D 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. Must find other rewards than edible goodies. :-o

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 Mercyndol Fort. 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 a 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 dint in my training have been allayed. Sleeping and sitting for any length still cause my lower back to ache a lot, which I hope will improve with time. Especially the 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 send 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 five

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 a 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 straight forward as on my laptop. I eventually sourced an app (BogPad Pro) that is best for editing posts and pages in Word Press. I will be using the Pages App to write my posts for copying and pasting because I will can access and edit documents when I am without 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 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 spazed 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 wall 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 thats 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 weighted 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 passed 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 up side 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. :-D

Off it came… six inches of hair.

Week eight

4 x thirty minutes 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

Major rethink of my gear this week. On Wednesday I met up with Rick who has walked multiple Camino Pilgrim walks over the past seven year and he said he only carries a 8kg pack. Admittedly he does not need to carry food or cooking gear but I realised that I do need to cut my pack weight down. All my gear I bought back in the 1990’s and so much has changed since then. You can buy gear that is so much lighter and more compact these days. My old Macpac pack in itself weighs 3kg without anything in it. You can now get some great packs that weigh 1kg and under that would be sufficient for my needs. Having a smaller capacity pack (I am looking at 40-45lt packs) also requires that I replace my old Macpac sleeping bag and Thermarest mat.

I pulled all my old gear together and took it to a second hand hiking gear pop up shop in Hobart. I sold half of my gear to the owner and have a few of my bigger items on consignment in her shop. Since then it has been a mad run around the local shop and looking on line for the best options fro replacing everything I have sold or will sell (hopefully) asap so I can get used to the gear before I head off in four weeks time. Aaarggg at the moment this is consuming all my time after my training walks each day and I feel a little stressed out about it. I just need to make decisions on what to purchase and get on with it.

This is what my lounge room floor now looks like!

On top of all this the $360 Scarpa boots I purchased two weeks ago proved to not be suitable for my feet. I now also have these on consignment in the pop up shop and trying to decide what to do in regards to shoes. They say they are the most important part of your kit! I am thinking I may buy some trail runners and swap between these and my current boots, which are a little big on me, filled out with some cushioning liners. Because I am meeting up with Paul at least every three days I will assess what type walking I will be doing and swap shoes over as I go along. Thinking this may be the best option than trying to buy a new pair of boots that will need to be broken in before I start.

New Scarpa boots.

I have also weighed all my gear individually, put all the weights in a spreadsheet. This has helped me to assess each item to know if I will carry it or not. I would love to have my pack weight down to 10kg but I am sure I will struggle to keep it under 12kg. Though this is better than the 20kg that it looked like I would have been carrying if I had stuck to all my old gear.

Good news is that my 750gm Tarp tent has arrived and it was as easy and quick to set up as they said to set up.

Tarp Tent set up.

Week nine

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

2 x one hour walk

2 x two hour hikes

1 x three hour hike

Training and preparation

Have finally made decisions on all my upgraded gear. I have a Sea to Summit sleeping bag (880g) and a Osprey Tallon 44lt pack (1kg) on the way in the post from Queensland. I purchased a second hand Exped inflatable sleeping mat (445g) and splurged out and bought a new Exped inflatable pillow (95g).

I have done a test run on my sleeping mat in my lounge room and I managed the whole night sleeping on it. My hips ached a little but not as much as on my very thing Thermarest. I am very happy with this purchase because for me being as comfortable as I can when sleeping is second in line to have good boots. Speaking of boots, I found some inner liners to put into my old boots and they have done the trick, they are quite comfy now. This being the case I will use these boots now as I am running out of time to break in a new pair before I go. I am also considering buying a pair of track runners as a back up pair of shoes.

Exped inflatable sleeping mat.

Exped inflatable pillow.

I am flying to Sydney on Monday to visit my mum and go to a conference. I will be away for a weeks and it will be challenging to keep up my training routine. I will endeavour to do the best I can. I had hoped to have my pack by now to take it with me to test it out. When I get back it will only be 3 weeks until I start my journey and it will be go go go organising food and the last bits and pieces. It will be hard to believe once I actually get started. I am looking forward to it more and more as the time draws closer.

Week ten

A change in my training schedule due to flying to Sydney to visit family and attend the RYPL circuit breaker series on Saturday 8th of February.

No cross trainer

1 x one and a half hour walk along beach at Batesmans Bay

Lots of walking around Sydney

Training and preparation

My backpack and sleeping bag arrived while I have been away and I am looking forward to checking them out, especially seeing how my backpack fits me. I am also interested to see how all the gear will fit into it. Refining what I pack, working out my food for my trek, learning to read my GPS and continuing to familiarise myself with the trail are all on the agenda for the next three weeks before I start on the 2nd of March.

Feeling excited and daunted at the same time.

Week eleven

Managed some 15 minute stints on the cross trainer followed by full routine of strength and stretching routine. I can not remember exactly what days I did this.

1 x one hour walk

1 x two hour hike

1 x three hour hike

Training and preparation

After arriving home on Monday night the week seemed to fly by with catching up with friends and sorting out backpack issues. On Thursday I finally loaded my new backpack that arrived while I was away to take it on a test walk. As soon as I put it on I knew something was wrong… arrrrg. I went back to the website to check the measurements again and discovered I had measured my back incorrectly and bought a size too big. I did not take it out on my hike and that evening I got Paul to measure my back again and got him to check how it looked on my back. Yep definitely too big, so madly I got back online to work out how to return this pack and find another one that was the right size. Unfortunately the place I purchased this one from did not have my size. Eventually I found one on Amazon for a reasonable price once I added on the priority shipping, then I just had to wait again for it to arrive. I had hoped to be out walking with it on to get used to it by now but that is the nature of preparing for anything like this sort of adventure you need to take the setbacks in your stride and not let them get to you.

Osprey Talon 44 size S/M

Week twelve

1 x One hour walk

2 x 2 hour hikes

1 x three hour hike

Training and preparation

Time feels like it is being squeezed out of me. Getting so close now and still a lot to do and prepare. Finally I have all my gear sorted and am happy with it all. It is great to finally have my correct fitting pack and it felt good on my 3 hour hike this morning. I am also feeling the benefits of using my walking poles correctly, it is actually good to be gaining some upper body strength while I am walking. My blog post The adventure begins (almost) this week has more details of all my gear. This weekend will be full of getting all the gear for the car sorted and writing up a big list of food to buy and another spreadsheet of my weekly menus to write.

Pack weights spreadsheet

Week thirteen

2 x One hour walks

Training and preparation

Seems my last week has involved more preparation than training. As the start date looms it has become imperative to have all our gear and food ready and this has taken precedents over everything else. I have been busy stripping away all packaging, dividing and repackaging food. At the end of each day I do not want to think ‘what are we going to eat.’ To make life easier on the road I have portioned out most of our breakfasts and evening meals. I have packed all the dry ingredients and Paul will buy fresh meat and vegetables when he can along the way to supplement most of our evening meals.

Sample of some main meals.

Breakfast will vary between muesli with powdered milk, home made muesli bars (made by my friend Rachel), toast (fried in a pan, yum yum) and I have decided to have egg & bacon at least once during the trip. Lunch will consist of cupa soups, dry biscuits such as via-wheat with cheese, tin chicken, or salami. I would like to include some vegetables to my lunch so I will pack some chopped carrot/celery/capsicum when I can. I found lunches the hardest to get my head around, but this is not unusual for me. Dinners will include pasta / rice / cous cous / Deb potato / dried peas supplemented with fresh vegetables and meat. I also have a version of a pizza made from scone mix that I am keen to try out. This recipe came from the e-book Food to go. It is worth the $20 to purchase as it has some great recipe’s and food suggestions. Snacks and sweets will be fruit cake, custard, scroggin and chocolate.

You can read all my Tasmanian Trail blog posts here.