everything ends

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Friday | Waiting for the boy after school in this spot for the last time

About eight years ago, I wrote this piece about Kramstable, then known as Juniordwarf, getting ready to start kindergarten and how nervous I was that everything was about to change. I actually didn’t write that much because Sarah MacDonald from the ABC had just written a post on the same thing and she had written everything I was thinking so perfectly that I couldn’t have written a better post, so I copied it into my post (with permission, of course).

It is now just under eight years later. Kramstable has been at the same school all this time, moving from three days a week Kinder to full-time Prep and through the grades up to where he is now, Grade 6. During that time he, and I, have changed a lot and I am getting ready to say goodbye to the primary school where he has spent two-thirds of his life.

I don’t feel ready! I don’t feel like I should be the mother of a 12-year-old who will be starting high school in just under two months time. A near-teenager. Just like I didn’t feel ready to give up my four-year-old to the formal education system way back in 2011.

Primary school has been something that’s been constant. It’s formed part of my identity. My kid goes to that school. I’m a part of that school community (though I never was any good at participating in bake days and when I got raffle books I ended up buying all of the tickets myself). It’s something steady that has almost always been in my life and that, until this year, I had never given much thought to as being something that would one day end.

Yet it will, and that day is two days away.

I have been so incredibly lucky to have been able to participate in Kramstable’s school life in many ways. When he was little, I used to take him to his classroom and read books with him until the bell went. I used to take turns at parent help in his classroom, helping kids with their reading and other things I don’t actually remember. (It was a long time ago . . . ) I do remember leaving after these 90-minute sessions feeling happy to have been able to do it but so exhausted at having spent that much time working with a large group of four/five/six-year-olds. I was always in awe of the teachers not only doing this for six hours a day but for coming back day after day to do it again and again.

I went on excursions and never managed to lose a child, so I think I did pretty well there. I went to places I didn’t even know existed. I swung on ropes, I patted a shark (well I didn’t, but I could have), I went bushwalking, and I learned about sustainable buildings and Tasmanian Aboriginal culture. I really felt part of it, which was great, because Kramstable is one of those kids who gives away very little about what he does at school during the day. So one of my most treasured experiences was to sit in on his class waiting for an excursion to start and actually see the class in action.

As he got older, he didn’t want me to stay any more but I would still take him in most days. Some days I’d stay and talk to his teacher or chat to some of the other parents and I’d pick him up from outside his classroom. At the end of Grade 4, he said he didn’t want me to come in with him any more and that I could walk him to the school gate. The school gate quickly became the end of the street and, eventually, I hardly even saw the school in the mornings. No more chats with the teacher or catching up with other parents. That was it. I wrote about it here.

We used to catch the bus in together a couple of days a week and it got to the point earlier this year when he didn’t want me to go on the same bus with him. It wasn’t enough to leave him at the bus stop when we got off, he didn’t even want me to get on!

In the end, it worked out well because it meant I could go in earlier to work. I’d initially been reluctant because it was another thing to let go of, but there was no reason not to let him go by himself. He knew the way and was confident catching buses and it shifted into being the new normal rather quickly. One day I said to him that sometimes I might have to catch the bus with him and he said, “no mum, that’s old”. According to him, I couldn’t even catch the same bus as him, even if I wasn’t with him. He said he wouldn’t get on it if I was getting on; he’d wait for the next one. I did have the idea to leave earlier and walk to the next bus stop and get on there, after he was already on, so he’d have to be on the same bus as me but I never did it.

Now, one day a week, he’s stopped going to after school care and he comes home from school on the bus by himself. That was a big step too, though I’m home by the time he gets here so he isn’t coming home to an empty house.

In conjunction with all of the travel changes have been the new opportunities he’s had as he’s moved through the school.

In Grade 4 he joined the choir, which performed at the annual Combined Primary Schools Band and Choir concert at the Derwent Entertainment Centre, an event that has been running for over 40 years and is a wonderful celebration of primary school music. In Grade 5 he started playing the clarinet for the Year 5 band in the same event and this year he asked to take on the bass clarinet. His teacher had been concerned that he might have been too small to play this instrument but offered to let him have it at home over the holidays to practise and see if he could do it. Watching him find something he wanted to do and then devote himself to learning how to do it, and to work around his potential limitations, was something I will treasure always. And it was such a joy to go to the concert in November and to see the result of all the hard work the kids and the teachers had put in over the year.

He participated in Tournament of Minds, his team winning honours at the state final last year and winning the competition this year, which enabled them to go to Darwin for the international final, where they were awarded honours. I loved watching how well he worked with the others, how committed he was to the project and how beautifully he performed.

He applied to go to a leadership conference earlier in the year, which he was accepted for. He put himself out there as a candidate for house captain and had to make a speech to the school about why they should vote for him. Even though he didn’t win, I was so proud of him for nominating himself. It couldn’t have been an easy thing to do. He and some of his classmates auditioned for a TV show and, while they didn’t get selected, Kramstable and another classmate were invited to take part in one of the episodes. That was very exciting!

Even though I haven’t been as closely involved at school this year, it’s been an amazing final year of primary school and I’m grateful that his school gives the students so many opportunities to stretch themselves. Watching him find things he loves and go out and do them has been wonderful and so rewarding for me as a parent.

Now I have to face the reality that his time at primary school is almost over and this will all be gone in two days time. We’ve been to the high school orientation day and it’s huge, with more kids in Year 7 than there are at his entire primary school. I asked him if he’s excited and he said no, he was “interested”.

Every time I think about this stage ending, I can feel the tears well up and I know that come tomorrow, when they have the leavers’ assembly, I will be a complete mess. It feels like such a big ending, the end of everything I’ve known for the past eight years. As I said at the start, primary school has been a constant, something that has always been there. I feel really sad that it’s ending. I’ve felt like it all year, knowing that this is the last time we will do this thing, or it’s his final something else. Last sports carnival. Last Book Week costume. Last swimming carnival. Last band performance. On Friday I waited for him for the last time at the spot where we meet on Fridays after school and yesterday we caught the bus home together for the last time. Today I got the last school newsletter and he caught the bus home for the last time. Next year he’ll walk.

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Monday | Waiting for the bus with the boy for the last time

It’s all been such a big part of his life, and mine by extension, for the last eight years and I think it’s okay to feel like this. I feel the way I feel and I’m not going to try and squash that.

But I also remind myself that, while this stage is coming to an end, he is moving into a new stage and he will have new opportunities when he gets to high school. When he’s there he will face new challenges and he will have new experiences to explore, new things to learn and new ways to grow – and those are goals I have for my own life. To constantly explore, learn, challenge myself, and grow. What he’s about to do is exactly what I aspire to and I want that for him just as much as I want it for myself. So, while the ending is sad, this stage has to end for the next stage to begin.

Thank you Kramstable’s primary school for all of the opportunities you have given him, for getting him ready to move into the next stage of his life and for giving me so many chances to be involved and to learn new things. Thank you to all his teachers and his principal for challenging him, encouraging him to grow and for supporting him when he needed it. Or, as he put it in a note to his principal, thank you for helping him evolve. I am proud to have been part of your community and to have watched my son go through the first eight years of his formal education within your walls. I will look back on this time with great fondness. I will have beautiful memories and he will go on to high school and make new ones.

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Tuesday | After his last bus trip home from school

 

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Point to Pinnacle: D-day

322 days ago, on 31 December 2017,  I posted a photo of kunanyi from near the bottom of the university with the caption, “One day, Mountain, I will walk to your summit”.IMG_8514

Today, I did it.

I didn’t specifically have the Point to Pinnacle in mind when I posted that photo and I didn’t have a time frame for doing it. It was just in the back of my mind as a “someday” thing.

When I signed up for the Point to Pinnacle in August I had every intention of following a training plan leading up to the event, doing lots of hill walks and feeling completely prepared to do the walk. I didn’t stick to the plan, I didn’t do lots of hill walks and, in the past month, have done very few morning walks at all. For someone who normally walks every day, I’ve found my lack of motivation very unusual and out of character, especially leading up to a 21.1 km walk up a 1270 metre high mountain.

So I didn’t feel prepared and was not-so-secretly worried that I wasn’t going to make it. There’s a time limit of 4 hours 40 minutes for the walk and I wasn’t at all confident about my hill-readiness. However, I’d signed up, I’d told people I was doing it and I’d found someone I knew a couple of days ago who said she’d walk with me. I was going ahead with it.

When I got to the casino, I could see the top of kunanyi was shrouded in mist and it seemed so far away. How was I going to do this? I’ve wondered this every time I’ve walked along Sandy Bay Road and looked up there. How is this possible?

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I’m walking up there???

The reported temperature on the summit was “feels like minus three”. I packed a jacket and gloves in my gear bag, which the bus takes to the top so the participants don’t have to carry stuff they don’t need on the walk (or run).

The walk started at 7am, after a warm-up and briefing. I have no idea how many walkers there were but there were a lot and I was in the middle of a huge pack of people trying to make their way as quickly and efficiently as is possible for a huge pack of people to get through a not-very-wide timing arch. It was happening. I was doing it.

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Getting ready to go

I caught up with my friend along Sandy Bay Road and we kept up a steady pace as we made our way to Davey Street. I felt a bit (not) sorry for the cars who hadn’t gotten to the Southern Outlet before it closed and were banking up along the road. I have no idea what happens in these situations; whether they let people through when there are gaps in the packs or if the cars just have to stay there until the roads reopen.

The walk was just as I remembered it from two months ago but without the cars and the fear that I could be run off the road at any time by a driver who wasn’t paying attention. This was definitely the way to do it! Allowing for the congestion at the start, which slows things down a bit, my revised goal was to get to the turnoff to kunanyi in one hour 45. We did the 9.7 km in one hour 48, leaving two hours 52 to do the final 11.4 km. We were both confident of making it, but the hill was the unknown. I knew I could easily walk 11 km in three hours. On the flat. But the lack of hill training was scaring me.

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On the run photo of reaching the turn-off

There was only one way to find out!

Not far up the road, we were informed we’d passed the half-way point, and soon came to a 10km sign. I initially thought it meant we’d walked 10 km, which made no sense if we’d already passed half-way, but my friend pointed out that this was actually 10 km to go. Ohhhhh. I’m not at my brightest in the morning. We were walking through the mist we could see from the bottom and it kept it very cool and was nice conditions for walking in.

I was grateful for the bathrooms at the Springs because I needed a break and told my friend to keep going rather than wait and I’d catch her up because her pace was a bit slower than mine. I power marched up the hill to catch her. She’d said a couple of times that if I wanted to go on ahead to go because she was slower. I felt bad leaving but she said she didn’t mind and I hadn’t actually factored doing this with anyone else when I was planning, so I said if that was okay I’d see her at the top. And continued my power march.

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Brief photo stop

Six km to go and it was nearly 10.00. Three hours in, one hour 40 to go. At my normal pace, I would easily do six km in an hour. On the flat. For some reason, my lack-of-sleep addled brain thought that this meant I should be able to cover a kilometre in six minutes and I was expecting the five km sign in six minutes. I was very put out when it took just over ten. I finally clicked to the actual rate I was walking and set myself a goal of the final five km 50 minutes.  Every time I saw one of the red signs I was a little bit more relieved. The mist had gone in one spot and we were walking in bright sunshine for a brief period, but that was short-lived and the rest of the ascent was in mist. Much better for walking.

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The mist and the not-mist

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A brief sunny spell before the mist again

I was a bit horrified at thinking I was nearly there, and then seeing the last big turn in the road to the pinnacle and OMG people walking up there!

Finally, there was one km to go and the end was in sight. I got a bit muddled as to where the finish line was and I was trying to take photos as well as look glamorous for the race photographer and I’m sure the photo of me crossing the line will be me trying to work out why my video wasn’t working. Ha!

It was great crossing the finish line with all the people standing there cheering and, because the race bibs have your name on them, they’re calling out encouragement especially for you! What a way to end. I had the biggest smile on my face and was so happy to have made it to the top. I didn’t feel like I was going to collapse in a heap like I’d expected! I felt like it had been a nice, somewhat more strenuous but not impossibly so, walk than some of my usual Sunday walks. It certainly hadn’t justified the fear I’d felt before the event. My final time was four hours, two minutes, which, if you subtract the toilet break, would have been under than four hours.

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Thank you, unknown person, for taking my photo

I never thought I would do it in that time and I have a niggling thought that maybe, just maybe, I might want to go back and do it again next year so I can break the four hours.

I have 12 months to talk myself out of it!

On the way back down on the bus with my friend, who also made it in the time limit, yay!, we commented on how it seemed so unreal that we had walked up there. Back at the casino, looking up where we had been, it was like it had never happened.

I suspect my legs will tell a different story tomorrow.

Point to Pinnacle: Mount Nelson

My training for the Point to Pinnacle has basically been non-existent for the last three weeks. I have really struggled to get out of bed in the mornings and I’ve been lucky if I’ve managed more than one walk a week.

This is Not Good when the event is on IN TWO WEEKS!

I can blame going on holidays and not being able to get back into the habit of walking, but I walked every day of the holidays. I don’t know what has caused my reluctance to walk, because I usually have no problem at all, but whatever it is, it’s my responsibility to fix it. If I don’t make it to the top of the mountain because I didn’t train enough it’s entirely my fault.

Anyway, what’s done is done and I can’t get those three weeks back, so I have to make the most of the two weeks I have left and strike a balance between getting some km in and not overdoing it so I’m not exhausted on event day.

If you’ve been following the story so far, you’ll know that I walked to the Mount Nelson Signal Station on the Truganini Track way back in August. Today I decided to go there again but this time to take the road. After all, I’ll be walking up a road in the Point to Pinnacle so it made sense to walk up a smaller mountain in similar conditions. Okay, at 352 metres, it’s nowhere near as high as the 1270 metres I’ll be walking up IN TWO WEEKS. But it’s better than no hill.

To get to Mount Nelson, you need to find Nelson Road, which turns off Sandy Bay Road and dog legs across Churchill Avenue. I decided to take it easy, so I took my camera with me and walked the scenic route along Churchill Avenue. It took me about an hour and a half, with a few photo stops, to walk the almost 8 km to the Nelson Road turn off.IMG_7801

Nelson Road is known for its bends, and I had no idea how far it was to the top or how long it would take. When you get to Bend 3, there’s access to a footpath that shortcuts up to Bend 7. While that would have been a whole lot quicker, and most likely safer too, since there was very little in the way of footpath on the road, the point was to have as long a walk as possible, so that would have been cheating, I think.IMG_7802

The road it was. It was a nice walk with lots of lovely houses to look at, though most of them were hidden behind trees. I was overtaken by a couple of cyclists also on the way up, some dog walkers on the way down and mercifully few cars. This was a lot more civilised than the 70km/h road to Fern Tree.

I wasn’t sure how many bends there were. I thought it was eight, and the distance between them seemed to increase between each bend. At Bend 7 is the Bend 7 Reservoir, which is fenced off and accessible to “Authorised personnel only”.  IMG_7805

That’s not me, so I kept going. I’m not sure if there is a Bend 8, but eventually, I made it to the top of Nelson Road, where it joins Olinda Grove. That was almost four km from the Churchill Avenue turn off and it took me a bit under 50 minutes. After that, I wasn’t sure how to get to the Signal Station. There was one sign pointing me in the direction that Nelson Road continued, so on I went.

The further I went, the more it started to feel like I was in the middle of the country. I had no idea where I was going or if I’d missed a turn to the Signal Station. I felt like I’d been walking forever. I could have checked a map but figured I wasn’t exactly going to get lost, and that the road would have to end-somewhere-eventually. And it did, a bit more than two km along the road.

It felt longer.

Total distance: 14.29km, time: two hours 47 minutes (with several pauses).IMG_7820_2According to Discover Tasmania

The signal station was built in 1811 and was the first of a chain of signal stations that once linked Hobart Town with Port Arthur. A short message from Hobart to Port Arthur and return reply could be completed in approximately fifteen minutes – under clear conditions.

The closure of the station on Mount Nelson came with the arrival of the telegraph in 1880.

There are great panoramic views of Hobart and the Derwent from here and one thing I really noticed was how much the Grand Chancellor stands out in the city. I had some fun taking photos of the Signal Station and eventually decided I could go no longer without coffee. Fortunately, there’s a coffee shop.IMG_7828_2There’s a track leading down from one of the lookout points that takes you to Sandy Bay, so I thought it would be fun to see where that went. It leads through Bicentennial Park, which is described as

A downhill walk, the first half of which is through open forest with views of the city, whilst the second half is amongst wetter forest.

From the historic Mt Nelson Signal Station the track descends gently downhill as it winds pleasantly through open forest. This section of track receives good sun making it an ideal choice for a winter walk. Dogs on lead are permitted as far as the Enterprise Road junction.

The track grade then becomes steeper and the forest increasingly shady and damp. After crossing Lambert Rivulet the creek is followed downstream to Lambert Avenue.

It was an interesting walk because, although I knew I wasn’t very far from civilisation, it felt very deserted. Especially when I got to the point where the track forked into two and the signpost had been knocked over and there was only an arrow pointing in one direction.

I could see Mt Wellington on my left and kept freaking out that I was going to be walking up there IN TWO WEEKS. Whilever the track was still formed, I felt relatively secure that I was still going the right way, even though there were times I felt like I should be dropping breadcrumbs. There were lots of stony steps but absolutely no indication of where I was. The backs of houses came into view, which left me none the wiser.IMG_4131

Eventually, I got to a sign that mentioned the contribution of Dr DJ Walters in the development of Lambert Park and, not much further on, I emerged at Churchill Avenue, just a short distance from the Nelson Road turnoff I’d taken earlier in the morning. I didn’t track that section of the walk so I have no idea how long it took or how far it was but based on the metadata on my photos, I reckon it took me about an hour.

So, that was a great Sunday morning adventure and probably the last big walk I’ll do before the Point to Pinnacle, which is IN TWO WEEKS. I know I have let myself down over the last three weeks and I’m not happy about that, but I also know I’m not going to get super-fit within the next two weeks. I’m going to stay as active as I can and give it my very best shot.

Point to Pinnacle: Fern Tree

Sunday 23 September (57 days to go)

Today’s plan was to walk to Fern Tree to see if I have any chance of completing the Point to Pinnacle in 57 days time . . . The official race guidelines say all competitors have to have passed the kunanyi turnoff by 9:40 am, which means you have two hours 40 minutes to get there from Wrest Point. By my calculations it’s about 10 km, which should be walkable in about two hours, leaving two hours 40 minutes to do the 11 km up the mountain.

That seems to be cutting it a bit fine, since the mountain is uphill all the way, so I think the goal to the turn off should be less than two hours to that point to give me longer to get up the mountain.

My first question before I set out was whether to take my raincoat or my camera because I couldn’t fit both in my new tiny walking backpack. The raincoat won because rain was forecast and I wasn’t going to do this walk to take photos. I can do that another day. It proved to be the right choice because it started raining not more than 20 minutes from home. Also, it’s bright red, giving me a better chance of being seen by manic car drivers along the more dodgy bits of the road.

The first stage of the walk was getting to Wrest Point, the start of the event. This is about seven km from my house and takes a bit over an hour. It’s not a challenging walk.

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Home to Casino: 1:11:43 for 7.13 km.

That was just to get to the starting point.

Wrest Point to the Southern Outlet along Davey Street was 2.3 km and that took 23:09. That was a perfect pace, I think.

After that, the course begins to get more hilly as Davey Street becomes Huon Road. I was a bit worried about this stage because I hadn’t done much hill walking up to this point and I remember driving up it and thinking it would be hard work.

The first section was probably the hardest and I was wondering why I had signed up for this. I decided to look at the beautiful houses and make some plans to come back later and take some photos. There are some gorgeous places there that I never knew about. That made the walk slightly less painful.

After a bit of a climb, it became a lot gentler slope and easier walking. The main thing I was afraid of when I realised this wasn’t a hill that was going to kill me was the cars. You get to a point where the footpath ends and the speed limit goes up to 70km/h. I felt not the safest I’d ever felt and was glad of the red raincoat and the red backpack giving me, I hoped, a reasonable chance of being seen.

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Wellington Park

It wasn’t too bad of a walk and felt easier than some of the other hills I’ve walked. I don’t know if it was really flatter or if the bush air was making me feel more energised. There was intermittent rain and not rain, so again, grateful for the raincoat decision, but it didn’t get overly windy or cold. My feet did get wet and my new shoes are covered in mud.

Note to self: pack spare shoes, socks, a jacket, a beanie and another pair of walking pants into your gear bag for the event.

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Getting closer.

It’s not a walk I’m overly keen to repeat when the road’s open though. It’s not designed for pedestrians and there are parts where the shoulder is really narrow. A couple of times I walked on the wrong side of the road because there was hardly any gap between the road and the rockface, and my thinking was if there was a rogue car I’d have a better chance of living if I rolled down the hill on the other side than if I got crushed against the rockface. How cheerful.

Of course, that didn’t happen and I was mighty relieved to see the sign telling me the turnoff to kunanyi was only 100 metres away. Time to the turnoff: 2:51:40 from when I left home, 1:39:57 from the Casino, distance 16.71 km from home, 9.58 km from the Casino.

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Made it!

If I can hold that pace on event day, 1:40, that will leave me three hours to cover the 11.5 km to the top of the mountain. I’m starting to think it might be possible. When I got to the turnoff I wasn’t sure what to do. I felt like I could keep going but I had a commitment in town that involved someone coming to get me because of the woeful bus service and I wouldn’t have had enough time to walk back down again. So I walked for a few more minutes up the mountain road, dodging cars and, once it started raining, I decided I really didn’t want to be outside any more and headed for the pub with its log fire and coffee.

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Poor new shoes

Total distance: 17.82km, total time 3:03:54.

Tomorrow is a rest day.

Point to Pinnacle: Truganini Track

Sunday 12 August (97 days to go)

Not far from my house is the Truganini Track, which is a 2.1 km medium grade bush walk from the Cartwright Reserve on Sandy Bay Road up to the Mt Nelson Signal Station, an elevation of 350 metres. Ever since I found out it was there, I’d wanted to walk it and I put it on my list of things I was going to do this year.

Lils Sis said she’d do it with me, so we booked in a day to do it and I was ready. Then on Thursday, she pulled out because she wasn’t feeling well. I was already committed so I decided to do it by myself. I need to get some hill walks in before the Point to Pinnacle and I thought this would be a good test of my ability.

For some reason, I’d thought it was a two-hour one-way walk so I thought I’d need a whole morning to do it and that I’d get there in time to have coffee and get Slabs to come and pick me up late morning.

I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning, but as I was trying to talk myself into getting up I realised I didn’t need to leave until it was light. It would have been stupid to go on a bushwalk in the dark! So I left home at about 7.00 am. The first part of the walk was easy, along the main road to the start of the track. Then the proper walk began. 

The forest was very thick almost from the very start but the first thing I noticed was that I could hear chickens, so even though I was surrounded by forest and couldn’t see any houses, I could tell I was very close to civilisation.

According to Tastrails this is wet sclerophyll forest and this section “can often be quite muddy after wet weather”. I can confirm this is 100 per cent true. It was very muddy and slippery and I learned from experience that cutting grass is not a good thing to hold onto if you think you’re about to fall.20180812 Truganini Track 06 edit copy It occurred to me after that incident that I didn’t have a first aid kit and I had no plan for what I’d do if I actually injured myself on this track. I was fairly confident that wouldn’t happen but you hear all these stories about underprepared bushwalkers getting lost and having to have Search & Rescue come and look for them and I was doing this walk alone on a track I didn’t know and . . . Barb, the track is two kilometres. You are no more than a kilometre from a main road wherever you are. There are relatively new looking footprints on the track; people probably come through here every day. You have a phone; you aren’t in the wilderness. If anything happens someone will find you pretty quickly.20180812 Truganini Track 07 edit copyOkay, that sorted I carried on. It’s definitely not an easy climb. Apart from the slipperiness, many of the steps are big, especially for someone with short legs like me, so climbing was awkward. It was also rocky underfoot, so not the most comfortable walk.20180812 Truganini Track 10 edit copy As you continue on the walk, the forest changes to dry sclerophyll and you can start to see glimpses of the river between the trees. You can see that you’ve climbed a long way (if you weren’t already feeling it in your legs and your breath).20180812 Truganini Track 11 edit copyAs I got closer to the top, I noticed a structure and realised I was back near civilisation. I have no idea what this was, but the track started to flatten out. 20180812 Truganini Track 12 edit copyI came across the Truganini Memorial, which is dedicated to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people and their descendants. This was very simple and moving. I realised I was at the end and it had taken me less than an hour to complete the climb. It was only just 8.30 and the coffee shop wouldn’t open for another 30 minutes. There wasn’t a lot to see. The view wasn’t very clear. I took a couple of photos but they weren’t very good because the sky was misty.

I was glad to have made it to the top and ticked this trail off my list. It was a nice, challenging Sunday morning walk.

Point to Pinnacle part 3

A backlog of posts about my Point to Pinnacle experience, being a not overly fit, desk-bound, not-getting-any-younger casual walker. 

Friday 3 August (106 days to go)

I’m going to try to follow the 12-week training plan they have suggested for the event. So that means I’ll start it in the week of 27 August and I have three complete weeks to work up to the level where I can start it.

I notice that this doesn’t say all competitors need to go to their GP. It’s more gentle and suggests

If you are over 35 and haven’t been exercising for a while have a check up with your GP and let him/her know what you’re planning. You will be met with great support, however, it pays to make sure you know where your true starting point is.

Well, I’m over 35 but I walk every day, so that’s exercise, right? I think I’ll be okay. Right?

I’ve put my “half marathon” on 18 November into Runkeeper. It’s now an official goal!

I’m going to start logging my walks. For now, I will do two km every morning with an aim to do it under 20 minutes and start building up my Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday walks. I’ll also walk to the top of our street as an add-on to each two km walk to start getting some hills in.

Monday 6 August (103 days to go)

I went out at lunch time to get some new shoes. My Asics are older than I’d thought. I got them in 2014. I told the girl what I was planning and she said she was going to do it too. She said she’d moved here from Melbourne and had never heard of it before she got here, so it’s her first time as well. But she is young and looks fit! She says she’s going to attempt to run it.

I am going to attempt to not die.

After a few pairs of shoes that weren’t quite right, including some Brooks, which I really liked but were just too slippy on my feet, I settled on some adidas. She said they are super cushiony because they have this technology which means you don’t step on the same part of the cushioning two times in a row, so it makes the shoes last longer. Yay!

Tuesday 7 August (102 days to go)

20180807 Walking my runners to work edit

I walked the old shoes into work this morning to keep under my desk and inspire me to go walking at lunchtime instead of spending all my money in bookshops.

What are my chances?

Point to Pinnacle Part 2

A backlog of posts about my Point to Pinnacle experience, being a not overly fit, desk-bound, not-getting-any-younger casual walker. 

Wednesday 1 August

The Point to Pinnacle entries opened today. I thought I had set myself up a reminder at 7.00 am so I’d remember to go in and enter pretty much as soon as the website went live. Unfortunately, I hadn’t and I completely forgot about it. I’d only set it to come up in my to-do app as a task for today, so I didn’t see it until later in the evening.

I saw the reminder. “Oh shit,” I thought. It’s today.”

I went to the website and had a read through the information there. It all seemed perfectly reasonable. Nothing scary here at all . . .

The toughest half-marathon in the world

The course is 21.1km long and just over 1,270 metres in elevation

This race is physically challenging . . .

All competitors MUST BE PAST the junction of Davey Street and the Southern Outlet by 8:40 am.

All competitors MUST BE PAST the turn onto Pillinger Drive off Huon Road by 9:40 am.

All competitors must complete the course by 11.40am (Walk: 4 hours 40 minutes).

Any competitor who has not completed the course by 11.40am will be instructed by Tasmania Police to hop on the final bus as it comes down the mountain.

WARNING: We advise all competitors to contact your GP before undertaking the Point to Pinnacle.

A medical warning in bold caps. “World’s toughest half marathon”. “Physically challenging . . .”

Is this really a good idea?

It was late and I figured it could wait until tomorrow.

But I knew what would happen if I left it until tomorrow. Tomorrow would become the next day, and that would become the day after until it became the day the event sold out and I couldn’t sign up. No. If I was going to do this, I was committing right here and now. No excuses.

So, I did it, and now I have 108 days to get into shape for this.

There’s a 12-week training program they recommend. Now I have no excuse. I’ve paid my money, I’m committed. I HAVE to do it.