Towards the end of August one of my colleagues suggested we do The Bloody Long Walk. A few others agreed & I also got roped into it. The Bloody Long Walk is a 35km challenge to cure Mitochondrial Disease, a debilitating genetic disorder that robs the body’s cells of energy, causing multiple organ dysfunction or failure & potentially death.
The walk starts at the iconic Victoria Park football ground in Abbotsford, follows the main Yarra trail to Crown Casino, continues down alongside the tram tracks to Port Melbourne & concludes at North Road Reserve in Brighton.
We started our training in September, aiming to increase the kilometres with each training session. Since we started, the team has done around 80 kilometres, & I have personally done over 100 kilometres.
We have trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne, Casey Fields in Cranbourne, Peninsula Link around Frankston & walked several parts of the route.
The Bloody Long Walk
Another of our colleagues was nice enough to pick me & some others up at the crack of dawn to be there for our start time of 7:40am. I was expecting to finish around 4pm, but it later turned out that my calculations were wrong as I was hoping do it in 7 hours (at 5km/h for 35km), with about 20 minutes allowed for breaks therefore should have finished around 3pm.
The scenery throughout the entire walk was magnificent & it was nice to see some parts of the course we hadn’t already trained at. The first 8 or so kilometers had quite a few steep inclines that we weren’t really expecting. We knew there were some at the start but didn’t realise how many, or how grueling they would be.
There were check points roughly every 5 kilometres, which had bananas, oranges & water. I took full advantage of the food here as I was rationing the food I bought from home.
We were lucky to have a spare car driving around to meet us at different points with our bags so we didn’t have to carry anything. I had a bum bag with my phone, camera, a protein bar & a water bottle. The car also had an eski with fresh cold water.
I changed my socks at about half way & was surprised at how much it seemed to help. I was a smart & taped my feet in the morning before I even left the house. A wide piece across my heel because that was where I had been having issues during training. I also put some on the outside of my big & little toes as they rub a little bit sometimes. Finally I put some across the ball of my foot, right up to the bottom of my toes.
Once we got to the beach at Port Melbourne I knew we only had about 10 kilometres to go. I will admit the last 3 were the absolute hardest. I found I was walking on my own as we all seemed to be going at a different pace. Although I spent most of the walk at the back of our group I was in the middle for the last stretch. Towards the end my hips where incredibly sore (my guess is from the bum bag, I had a lot of relief once I took it off), I was trying to keep my breathing steady to avoid a panic attack all while trying not to cry with all the emotions & feelings I was experiencing.
The Finish Line
We crossed the finish line as a team & I was so happy to see my husband waiting for me after all I had been through. When I hugged him at the end & said I was going to kill Tania (the colleague that convinced me to participate), I was about to cry but managed to turn it into a bit of a laugh. It would have been quite embarrassing if I did cry but I’m sure I would not have been the only one.
I had a very hot bath when I got home & went to be at about 8pm. I slept like a baby. I’m not as sore as I was expecting to be today but I am very sun burned. My poor virgin white skin on my legs got an awful beating especially along the beach with the wind. Hopefully it calms down soon & isn’t too uncomfortable.
Would I do it again?
The Bloody Long Walk is not something I want to do again. During training I joked that I might do a marathon next, after all it’s only an additional 7 kilometres. That is certainly a funny joke now.