Sahara On My Mind

Hello, yes I am still here! My blog updates keep dropping to the bottom of the priority list, which I am not too happy about; along with more mundane tasks, which I couldn’t care less about; all in the name of Sahara Trek training, which I am deeply obsessed about! My every waking moment is now taken up with planning walks, walking, deciding which boots to wear, routes, walking, mileage, stretching, walking, stretching, but don’t mention my feet as they now require a 10 minute daily routine all to themselves. Blister tally – 4, at present. Big ones. I am facing my blister fear and have fallen a little bit in love with Compeed. What a product.

Trek paraphernalia is being gathered at a great pace and is akin to sorting out your hospital bag at the end of pregnancy. You buy what you need with an enormous amount of excitement and then put it in the bag with a hefty amount of fear. The due-date approaches with alarming momentum and it’s all a bit surreal until the contractions kick-in. My labour will begin when I say goodbye to my boys at school on the morning of my departure and then will swiftly step up a gear as I catch the train to Gatwick, and again as I board the plane to Morocco. I imagine my transition phase (just before the second stage of labour, that point at which you ask for a taxi home because you’re not doing this anymore, can’t do it, won’t do it, the ‘this-can’t-be-for-real!’ moment of childbirth) will be when we are just far enough out into the desert that there is no choice about turning back, despite not wanting to take another step forward. I am anticipating this moment. There will be tears I’m sure (especially as I’m going to be pre-menstrual on the trek – why oh why?!?!) but then I plan on giving myself a stern word, just like the firm (but kindly!) midwife I used to be, and say “Yes you can do it! You are made of tough stuff!”.

Trek Training essentialsA little snapshot of my training essentials. Who knew you needed so much stuff for a little walk. I’ve been working on my trek track list for weeks, my latest addition is Bruce Springsteen. I’ve now got a very eclectic mix on there. Somewhat weird from classical to rock but I think there’ll be something for every mood in the desert! The deep freeze spray is amazing, working wonders on my plantar fasciitis and aching hips. I think the ‘Call the Midwife’ lip balm was made with me in mind. Yes it will be coming to the desert with me. My hubby had the little bag personalised for me for my birthday, oh that aswell, I turned 40 a couple of weeks ago, another sign I was coming ever closer to my big challenge.

Desert bootsOn the left you’ll find my waterproof boots, the ones that used to give me blisters but now are as comfortable as a pair of old slippers, whilst on the right, are the desert boots, not waterproof so can’t walk in the rain and snow in them, hard as nails and give me a new blister in a new spot every time I wear them. They are a mission in progress.

Back pack and bladderMy trusty back pack and hydration bladder. The Talon 33 is super comfy and I am carrying about 7-8 kilos in it at the moment. It will need to increase in weight over the next few weeks but it’s been good getting used to managing it out and about. I have been going to a yoga class twice a week (walking there and back obviously – 6 miles round trip) and it fits my yoga mat in perfectly. The stretching in the middle of my walks has been fantastic, really useful for my old body and weary hips and back. I will have to remember all the stretches/poses for the desert.

I achieved my personal best of 12.8 miles on Saturday which I was thrilled about. Not quite sure how I’m going to do that on several consecutive days and without a warm shower at the end of each day yet, but hey, some things will stay a mystery until I’m there. Thank you so much to all those who have very kindly sponsored me so far, I am really grateful for your support of my mission. Let’s face it, the whole thing will be miles easier than living with postnatal depression so if I can get through that, I can get through anything. The more women who receive help from Pandas in the future, all the better.

There, I’ve managed an update! Thanks for reading,

Emma x

2 thoughts on “Sahara On My Mind

  1. Have tried experimenting with different socks? A close-fitting thin pair next to the skin and thicker pair on top can help, that way the socks rub against each other not against your skin. Make sure your socks don’t absorb water.

    • Hi Phil, thanks for the advice! Yes, have tried more kinds of socks than hot dinners lately! Have found some brilliant MOD issue desert socks which are perfect for keeping your feet cool and dry. However size choices were 4-6.5 and 7-10. As a 6.5 I didn’t want them too tight so opted for the bigger ones which are actually too big (doh!) and I haven’t got a lot of spare room width-wise in my boots because of my plantar fasciitis insole so my toes went numb!!! Going to try the smaller ones (now out of stock! Doh again!). The complex first world issues of a middle aged woman embarking on a desert adventure. According to Ranulph Fiennes, my feet will look like they’ve been run over by a lawn mower at the end anyway.

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