January 14, 2017

You may have picked up from my New Year’s post that I didn’t make any resolutions this time around. Yet I have reformed my diet, am carefully considering my nutrition and am working out every day. Not for the fun of it, I assure you. The reason for this is that I have registered for the Oxfam Trailwalker in April. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a 100km walk in teams of four, over 48 hours. Our goal is to do it in around 28. Right now, I’ll be happy if I just finish! 

A little background about me. Since the age of about eight, I’ve been horrendously unenthused by any activity that was likely to induce even a mild sweat. I was one of those teenagers who refused to participate in PE, particularly if it was team based (what could be worse!?). I didn’t see the point of risking embarrassment for what I deemed to be a futile expenditure of energy. This habit from puberty is one I carry with me to this day. For example, I will refuse to run for public transport. If I miss it, I miss it. Chances are that this is due to a pattern of self-handicapping that stems from being raised by a perfectionist; you can’t fail if you don’t try. 

I’m also overly emphatic about my dedication to cake. And cupcakes. And muffins. And brownies. And pastries. Pastries most of all. Some people drink, others smoke, I try not to eat sugary desserts baked with love. My husband and I eat pretty healthily most of the time. We’re vegans who seldom eat packaged, processed crap, which really only leaves the good stuff. But we both eat too much of it. Brunch and spelt pasta are mostly to blame. 

So how does someone like me come to sign up for a 100km hike? Good question; I’m still trying to figure that out for myself. Luke (Husband) came home from work a couple of weeks ago and asked if I’d be interested in either participating or becoming a part of the support team. It was just before New Year’s Eve, so perhaps I was overcome with that unrealistic optimism that is characteristic of that time of year. Support Team? No way! I’ll be there, panting and sweating and shitting in front of strangers. After all, it’s for a fantastic cause, what could go wrong? Coming to say yes to what is quite possibly madness, is a journey that started in December 2015.  

I’d convinced Luke to come to a Beginners Hatha Workshop with me. It was just the two of us and our lovely teacher Jess. It felt very vulnerable to be there trying something for the first time without the buffer of other students. Afterward, though, I was sold. Over the next 10 months we were absolutely committed to our practice. Then around October, due to a combination of personal and work factors, practice took a back seat for the both of us. But something amazing happened when I started yoga. Suddenly, I found the competitive edge I’d been lacking. I needed to out-perform myself, push myself. I learned the beauty of sweat. Pain became a challenge, a dance between what was fear and what was truly harmful. Yoga is confronting. It’s just you, your body and your mat.  

So now I need to harness that self-motivation that I’ve finally found. But this is still completely unchartered territory for me. Luke has more experience with this than I do. I’ve watched him train exceptionally hard with personal trainers and I know what he can achieve. I, however, am untried and untested. 

For all the whinging and complaining that is likely to ensue, this is more than an insane personal challenge. I know right now that what will get me through the day and half of blisters and exhaustion will be reminding myself of why I’m doing it. As I write this, I stare down at the remnants of my veggie wrap and protein smoothie, and realise just how ridiculous it is that I could get that delivered to my front door in half an hour when there are people who lack access to clean and safe food and water. I have the privilege of sitting here, tapping away at my keyboard for my livelihood, when people are dying from preventable diseases. I’ve never been truly hungry, or without a toilet. What’s being uncomfortable for 100km when I know that at the end of it, I can have shower, go to bed and continue to be safe and healthy? I feel truly privileged that I even have the opportunity to commit to raising money that will be used to fight poverty; I know not everyone has this chance. 

I’ll keep you updated from time to time, mostly to keep myself accountable, but also to share any amazing recipes I come across. Any training/preparation tips are welcome. If you would like to donate or just find out more, head to our team page here

Caitlin x 


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