96km in 26.5 hours. Could you do it?

A few months ago, friends of ours were preparing to enter teams in the 2013 Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge, a gruelling 96km hike through the GC hinterland, with a time limit of 39 hours*. When the men’s team was a man short, I was asked if I thought my husband, The Mechanic, would do it. “I think if you asked him in the right way he would!” I said. And then I encouraged him to say yes, when he was asked. What ensued was months of preparation – both physically and mentally – all leading up to this weekend. The ultimate endurance challenge.

Now that the event is behind them (but still very fresh in his memory), I thought I’d ask my husband about this experience and share that with you, along with some photos I took along the way.

How are you feeling? (6:45pm Sunday night – 9hrs post finish)
I have never felt so much discomfort in my entire life. The easiest tasks are painful and take time to plan, like getting off the couch or down stairs.

What were you thinking at the start of the event?
I was thinking let’s smash this, we are all feeling good, just stick to the game plan.

What were your team goals?
First and foremost was finish as a team of four, with a second goal of 24 hours. We accomplished the first goal, but not the second.

And personal ones?
Finish the walk for myself, make my family proud and do something amazing.

What made you say “yes” to start with?
I actually have no idea, getting some encouragement from people got it in my head that I could do it, but I don’t remember exactly what made me say yes.

Are you glad you did?
Extremely glad that I did it. If we could go back 6 months knowing what we know now, I’d do it all over again.

What was the highlight of the event?

The highlight was knowing that my wife and son were waiting at the finish line for me, actually brought tears to my eyes. (I can vouch for this, he was actually crying, and this is a man I’ve seen cry 3 times in 10 years)

What was the lowlight?
The lowlight was knowing I had two team members in pain for a considerable distance and all I could do was to keep telling them there were legends and doing a great job.

Did you ever consider quitting?
I considered quitting before I started, just had the demons in my head that I couldn’t do it.

What did you think finally crossing the finish line?
I thought that I had accomplished something amazing that would make my wife and son proud of me, and so glad to see all those smiling faces and cheering voices waiting for us.

What have you gained from doing this event?
The confidence that I can actually do something amazing if I put my and heart into it. That the spirit of the team, of brotherhood can rise above many personal demons that you may face.

What do you think are the keys to training, preparation and getting through this event?
The keys were just putting in the mileage, keeping the right mindset, making sure you have an amazing support team on the day and during all the training.

Would you recommend others do it?
I would recommend it to others only if they had the heart and drive and aspirations of doing something amazing.

Would you consider doing it again?
I would consider doing it again, obviously hindsight makes things look rosy and cheery and it probably wasn’t as bad as I thought it was during the race.

Any final thoughts or words?
It was an incredible experience and having an incredible bunch of guys made it all the more enjoyable. Some amazing people were met along the way and this is definitely something I don’t think I’ll forget for a very long time.

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at the start line

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the last post was followed by a shotgun start. tears much?

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arriving at the 2nd major check point

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a quick bite to eat before setting off for the 2nd half

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26.5 hours later, they reach the finish line together

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The Mechanic’s Runkeeper map

I would like to thank Ian, the support crew “captain” who was so fantastic. He went to EVERY check point, unloaded and loaded the car up, fed the boys, gave them supplies, water, food, encouragement and was just amazing. I’d also like to thank our friends and family who donated to the team, as well as some very special bloggers who have never met us in person – Sophie, Amanda, Josefa and Kyla and one who has – Linda. Thank you so much ladies! You were as much a part of this as we were.  I’m incredibly proud of my husband and his team who saw this through to the finish, despite the pain and emotional/mental demons they faced. Thank you to everyone who supported them on this adventure.

* It’s not just for shits and giggles, or to see who can do it in the fastest time. The Kokoda Challenge runs a program that helps Aussie teenagers who are struggling in life. It offers them a 12 month program to help them find their way. More details can be found here. This event this weekend has raised just shy of $700,000. If you are inspired at all by this story, I’d encourage you to head over to The Kokoda Challenge website and make a donation. I’d love to see that tally tick over to $700,000!

Linking up with Jess for #IBOT of course! Have you linked up yet?

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Fathers Day Edition: IBOT

When you lose someone you love, there are a few days throughout the course of the year that become a bit more difficult to deal with. Their birthday, Christmas, the anniversary of their passing, or a day that glorifies that relationship you’ve lost. Like Father’s Day.

I’m grateful for my husband and son, today of all days, because it gives us a chance for Father’s Day to still be about celebration, about the relationship of a father and a son, about their relationship. Without them, it would just be a giant reminder of the man we lost almost 2 years ago.

This photo was taken on Father’s Day, 2010. Less than a month later, he was no longer with us. I look back on this photo and wonder if he felt sick then. If he knew something was “off” or if he was just going about his business every day, not at all suspecting what was around the corner.

Dad’s death really made me start to question life. Why are we here? What is the point? The purpose? It’s probably responsible for the irrational fear of death I have – not that fearing death is irrational, but fearing a catastrophe if you walk out the door/get on a plane/drive a country road/ride a ride at a theme park…that probably is a bit irrational.

My dad wasn’t always a great dad, he probably didn’t really live up to anyone’s, including his own, expectations of being a father. But he did the best he could, or knew how, which sometimes is really all you can ask. He loved his grandson. He told me he may not have been a great dad, but he was going to be a great grandad. I know he loved us too, but I think too often and for too long he wasn’t quite sure how to. If my heart was broken over my loss, it was shattered into a million pieces for Nick’s loss.

But while I’m sad for not having my dad here for father’s day, I’m so happy to watch my husband and son, their special father/son bond, their relationship, which as any has it’s rough patches, but for the most part is so special. I took some time to ask Nick a few questions about dad for father’s day, and here’s what he said:

And sure enough, this father’s day, Nick and his dad have gone to Movie World and have had their picture taken with Batman!

Love these two boys so very much.

Linking up with Jess at Diary of a Stay at Home Mum for #IBOT

The Naturopath

I have this woman I see. She’s a healer, of sorts. She does bowen massage, reiki, floral acupuncture, Emotional Freedom Technique, and today we asked the Archangel Michael cards whether or not I would have another baby (will get to that in a minute).

I told her about my gratitude journal, and how after a short time I saw my outlook change. I no longer only saw the negative. In fact, I saw the negative, but chose to dismiss it and see the positives. I didn’t have to look so hard to see them, either. They just came to me. I told her about how I no longer worry about things I can not change and have no power over. She was so impressed she hugged me and told me how proud she was.

With her help, I have (honest to God) moved pass the disappointment of our wedding day (weather, illness, other things). I can talk about it and think about it without fuming inside. I have let go of the pain of my parents divorce. That was a long time coming, but thank God it is over. She has cured aches and pains (for both myself and my mum).

So back to our visit today, and talking about babies. She asked if I wanted to ask Archangel Michael, so I agreed. I wasn’t really sure I was ready to hear what the cards had to say. She selected one for my past, one for my present, and one of the future. The past talked about shielding, shielding myself from harmful substances, staying away from pubs and bars (boy should I have!). The present simply said, “let go of fear. NOW.” The future…the future simply said, “You are on the right path.”

This year has already been full of self-discovery, personal growth, enrichment and change.  Almost completely in thanks to Deb at Home Life Simplified and her SYL project, and my gratitude journal. Whether I have another baby or not, the path I am on now feels right. I’m figuring out what is important, what makes me happy, what really, truly matters in LIFE. So many people go their whole lives not knowing, or thinking it is money and other superficial things. It’s not.

If another child is not in our cards, if this little family of 3 is what we are meant to be, then we will be. And we will make the most of it, laughing, learning, living. But I’m not ready to accept that yet. I want to make sure we have exhausted all avenues first.