This weekend I took part in the Oxfam 100km Trail Walk. I consider myself to be pretty fit and never pull out of anything, so I really couldn’t see myself not finishing. I do a lot of long distance running so thought 100km of walking would feel more or less the same. I was wrong! It was pouring rain so the ground was saturated and what I thought would be a day of chatting and strolling was actually climbing up rock faces and making my way through rivers. A lot of the walk was in darkness so trying to make it through without tripping was a massive challenge. I ended up having to retire after about 14 hours because the soles of my feet had blistered (and gone grey) from being soaking wet for so many hours. I am not sure whether I will be brave enough to do next years but will be doing ‘A Bloody Long Walk’ 35km hike in October with my Mum. I have so much admiration for everyone who finished!.
Here are the biggest 5 lessons I learnt from the trek:
1. Trekking poles are a must! They take so much pressure off your joints and stopped me from falling so many times. Make sure you don’t wear the straps around your wrists though. We had a team mate fall and nearly break her wrist in training because she couldn’t get out of them.
2. Get the best quality head torch you can and pack extra batteries. I had a cheap one for my training hikes and spent the whole time squinting and tripping.
3. Take a camel pack. It saves weight and you from having to constantly stop and get your bottle out of your bag each time you get thirsty.
4. Keep all your snacks in ziplock bags small enough to fit in your pockets. I didn’t, so the only chance I got to eat was at the check points because I didn’t want to hassle my team mates.
5. Build up the skin on the soles of your feet. No manicures or moisturiser for at least a month before to toughen them up. I made this mistake! Talcum powder is a great way to dry your feet out.