Exercise: 100km Walk – Jells Park to Wesburn (Ravens)

Wow, where do I start!!

Everything went to plan. Perfect weather (okay a little bit cold at the start but it warmed up very quickly!!).

We got to Jells Park with plenty of time to get organised. Tony was our support crew for the day. He is now so experienced at crewing for us, he can do it with his eyes closed!! As always, my trusty bestest buddy was there to see us off at the start 😀

We had t-shirts made up with our team name on the back. They certainly attracted alot of attention!!

It was great to see Emma, who met us halfway out of Checkpoint 1 and walked with us back to where her car was parked!

Michelle was at the gates of Churchill Park (having ridden there on her bike) to cheer us on. Unfortunately they weren’t letting anyone into the park, so it was short and sweet!

We walked straight through Checkpoint 1, only stopping to check in and out and grab a freebie bag of raisins and nuts!!

We hit the first of many hills, with everyone powering to the top 😀

We stopped and had some lunch at Lysterfield Lake. Michelle had also ridden to the lake, so there was plenty of company! Tony of course was there doing a magnificent job of support crew!

From Checkpoint 2 we were about to encounter the majority of the hills on the course. The first one up the back streets of Belgrave took the breath out of me, and then the alleyway up to the train station made my legs realise they were in for a hard time!! The old man, who claimed he was 85 and wanted to race us up to the station did put a smile on my face, although it may have looked like a grimace to anyone else 🙄

Another quick checkpoint, just filling up the water bottles and checking in and out! We all added a layer of clothing as it was starting to cool down! Everyone still feeling great!

Hacketts Road seems to get easier every time I walk up it, so we got to the top in no time at all! Headed into Olinda looking out for Tony, who was waiting for us, ready with all our gear! Dinner and a change into our warmer clothes saw us heading back out and on our way to Mt Evelyn.

There was a little bit less chat happening, so Sara had some conversation starters with her. I learnt alot more about everyone during this time 😀

We were very lucky not to get soaked when the heavens opened up. We’d just stopped at the footy oval so that Sara could check her feet and luckily it was under a shelter. As I’d been very optimistic that it wasn’t going to rain, neither Sara or myself had worn our rain jackets 😳

I think that everyone was becoming very weary as we made our way into Mt Evelyn Checkpoint. Our Support crew changed and Sara’s boyfriend Dean took over the reins. I was having a little problem with my ankle so grabbed some Advil, mixed with a couple of sudafed as my cold had decided that it was now a good time to make an appearance, so by the time we left the checkpoint, all pain had disappeared 😀

I must apologise to everyone who texted me after about 7pm as my phone had run out of battery and I’d forgotten to bring my charger with me :0(

Tony walked with us up to Wandin where we said goodbye to him. Mark and Michelle were also there and Michelle walked with us a little way down the trail 😀

From experience I knew that the Warby Trail is probably the toughest part of the course as it was dark and the trail was long and straight and seemed to go on forever!! I turned my ipod on and sang a few songs to the team, but I think my voice may have scared them (and anyone else around who was in earshot!) so shut up after a couple of songs!

Michelle and Mark had parked up at Woori Yallock and ran out to meet us and then walked back with us to the checkpoint 😀

Sara’s sister Prue had taken over from Dean and was all set up and waiting for us when we arrived. Coffee was the main thing on my agenda and that along with some more Advil made me feel much better!

So now for the longest leg. 20.5km to Warburton, with a rest stop at 15.5km. Talking became scarce, everyone just putting one foot in front of the other, with other teams around us every now and then! It was very dark walking down Don Road and up to the Aquaduct trail. The small trail leading up to the trail was really slippery and it took all my energy and concentration to get to the top without falling and sliding back down to the bottom, which would have meant taking Sara, Vic and TW Michelle with me as they were all following behind 😯

The Aquaduct trail is another long, winding trail that can sap your motivation and energy, and by the time we got to the rest stop, there wasn’t much left in anyone’s tank. Knowing that there was only 5km to Warburton kept me going. Was great to see Mark and Michelle once again. They’d run up from Warburton to meet us and walk back down into the checkpoint with us.

Walking down the steep street into Warburton hurt the soles of my feet pretty badly and they were throbbing by the time I sat down at the checkpoint! More Advil, very quickly, was needed! I was deliriously happy to see Prue heading our way with steaming hot cups of Latte! All I could think was OMG, OMG, OMG!! It was exactly what I needed to cheer me up 😀

Then the last 7km trek to the finish line. I was worried that we’d lost Sara, but ever the trooper she got herself together and headed out with us. It started to rain as we make our way to the Backstairs track. Luckily we’d all put our rain jackets on before we left. Even better, it didn’t last very long and the sun even came out 😀

We made our way slowly up the track, taking breaks when we needed, but never stopping for long. Then it was a fairly fast downhill trek for a couple of km’s catching up to a couple of slower teams and also meeting back up with Mark and Michelle, who had run from the finish line to meet up with us. Then came Tanty hill. We gave it our all and made it to the top. We all had smiles on our faces knowing that there was only one last downhill to the finish line 😀

There were plenty of friends and family to see us cross the line, including Shells and her boyfriend, which was a wonderful surprise 😀

We didn’t hang around for long, just getting a team photo taken, before making our way home.

Once I’d gotten home, I jumped into a nice warm bath, then sat down on the couch for a while to relax. It didn’t take long before fatigue got the better of me and I hopped into my wonderfully comfortable bed. 17 hours later I woke up 😯

After standing up I can happily report that there are no really bad aches or pains. My knees are a little niggly, and my calves are a little bit tight, but other than that I am feeling really good. No blisters, no black toes, no strains. My ankle is not sore either 😀

So now for a few thankyous. Firstly to Tony. You are the best support crew. We are so lucky to have you as part of our team. Also to Dean and Prue. It was a cold, wet night. Thankyou for stepping into the support crew circle. You were fantastic. Then to Mark and Michelle, who spent the whole night out there, keeping us company on the trail at various points. And to everyone who texted us and kept track of us on the website, we really did appreciate it. Made us feel all warm and fuzzy. To everyone who donated, you made it possible for us to actually take part in the event, and your donation goes to a very worthy cause. And to anyone who I missed, thankyou too 😀

So to next year. It will be my 5th Trailwalker. I will get the coveted Legend Bandana. I just need to decide if I want to walk it or try to run it again. All I know is that I will be participating, all things being well 😀