Where would we be without our support crews, our champions?
I am a bit of a solo sailor. My circle isn’t big but it’s built with real stuff. That’s what we need to move forward, to accomplish things we never dreamed we were capable of isn’t it?
A support crew with champions (and a little space for fluidity as we change). An honest crew that supports, motivates, inspires and gets us. A crew that’s not competing with us nor expecting us to be who we’re not – the ones who contribute to us becoming who we are.
I think any story or life changing adventure is filled with champions. The kind words, the listening ear, the fist pump or hug that says you’ve got this, the friend who trains with you, the one who reminds you not to doubt yourself, the artists who inspire you and the people who take a chance on you.
It’s because I believe that every great story has champions that I’ve started a page to thank each and every one of mine. I want to recognise them as they walk through this door with me.
Katy from Salomon is a champion of this Camino Trek for One Girl story. On behalf of Salomon she said yes to sponsoring my shoes for the hike.
A nice coincidence because I’ve been thinking about the importance of building a solid base from sturdy foundations. The confidence to hike over 800kms for charity over 30 nights, (with 4 kids at home) demands it. Foundations and shoes seem to fit well together don’t you think?
After my fourth child was born my sister invited me to be a part of an OXFAM trailwalker siblings crew. I am one of 4. It had been a while between adventures so excitedly I said ‘yes’. A 100km overnight trail walk for poverty. Of course I could do that – I wanted to do that – Jeez, I needed to do that. Say yes and then work it out as you go, that’s me.
Hmm…a bit like this project.
I can still recall the first time I went bush again. I’d been so busy growing babies and building a home that I hadn’t hiked alone for a number of years.
We took the Kokoda Trail Memorial Walk and the 1,000 steps in the Dandenong ranges for our first training walk. It was so peaceful, blissful actually. (Mind you that track can be mad busy so thankfully we were hiking ‘off peak’.)
I distinctly remember the sound of the birds singing and thinking ‘I’ve really missed this’. Somewhere amongst the busyness of life I’d forgotten that that sound existed.
At that time I had two young kids at home and two at school so training wasn’t as simple as walking out the front door. I knew that if I didn’t train I wouldn’t be able to complete the trail. I needed walk fitness.
I hired a treadmill and I trained most days at home (10kms fast walking) while the baby slept and Lucas who was 4 at the time watched Fireman Sam on an iPad next to me. On the weekends I’d do a long walk with my sister or a friend. The first long walk was about 25kms and afterwards I felt like my legs were on fire. I wondered how the heck I was going to do 100km.
And then I did! (I did it in Salomon’s too – excellent synchronicity, right?)
That was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I learnt just how mentally strong I was, I lost a load of baby weight, I gained a ton of confidence and I was back in the adventure zone – moving and challenging myself. I may have pissed my sister off a little as I do like to hike hard (24 hours of hiking is emotional). Don’t worry she forgave me and has since become a harder hiker than me – she met Everest Base Camp earlier this year.
I swore never again – the blisters (my feet are prone and a few rookie mistakes but thankfully I’ve learnt to prevent and manage them early now). After a few days I decided I’d go again the next year with the goal of coming in under 24hrs – we came in at 23 hrs 46 mins (in the same shoes).
Neither of those treks would have happened without support. Our one man crew who had hot meals waiting at each rest stop, the cuppas, the tent he’d set up for our 2hr, 2am kip – the kip that I credit with giving us the energy to hike it in under 24hrs. The parents who babysat the kids and brought the baby to our dinner spot for him to have his breastfeed before bed.
Of course we all have to walk to the finish line ourselves but support crews get us over it. More importantly, our support crews get us to the start of the line.
Those three standing in the photo with me got me to the start and the finish. They came along for the 24hr ride. Through the highs and lows of emotions, the aches, the pains and they jogged the last couple of kms so that we could achieve our goal.
I’m not sure that under 24hrs was as important to them as it was to me so I am still in awe of each of them. I have since mellowed my competitive approach to beating times.
Ok, maybe that’s not entirely true. When I summited Mt. Mulhacén this year…I may have trail ran down the mountain trying to beat my husbands time from the day before. I did. I’m can be a tiny bit competitive, not in the Camino though – different kind of walk.
Thank you Salomon for being in my support crew. I’m glad you’re part of the foundations. I will now donate the money I would have spent on shoes to my One Girl fundraiser and we’ll be close to getting two girls educated next year.
My mum always said when I was a troublesome teenager that I’d end up ok because my base was strong. She was right. Annoyingly, mums often are. Mine was. I’m more than ok, she knows me well.
As I continue to water this seed of inspiration by creating this project. I’m starting by building a solid base with strong foundations and a supportive crew.
Hiking tales really are a metaphor for life aren’t they?
We don’t all want to hike 800kms and the OXFAM Trailwalker can be done in a more leisurely 48hrs and at a shorter distance of 50kms, any kind of walk is worthwhile because hearing the birds sing – well, that’s something worth remembering – don’t you think?
If you find yourself out on the trail, no matter for how long or how far and want to share, please tag it #hikeforonegirl so I can find it. Singing birds are well worth the effort.
Check in for my diary updates – Camino 2018 One Girl Project.
I’ve added a thank you page for the champions of this story here. Support crews are everything.
A few more opportunities for corporate sponsorship.
Lovely, kind readers – I’m not on Facebook or Twitter but if you are and you enjoyed the read or you know anyone who might want to help, or follow along, I’m cool if you share.
Camino Frances 2018 (769km) – Trek for One Girl Sponsors:
2 thoughts on “Support crews are everything. One thing I learnt on the Oxfam Australia Trailwalker (100kms).”
Great story Fran..you are building so many great life stories!
It’s all one big artwork isn’t it? Life. A sorry filled with chapters. One day I asked myself will I feel like I’ve lived – now I can say ‘Yes’ I have. x x