If doing her first ironman wasn’t enough, 3 months later this intrepid woman went on to walk 100km for the Oxfam charity. This is a guest post from April Butt, who together with her Mum and teams of courageous others, really did walk 100km. All. At. Once!
Enjoy April’s story.
“Walking, I can walk!” I mean we can all walk, but what I wasn’t prepared for was for something that comes so naturally to the human body to become so challenging, not just physically, but mentally.
The event was the Oxfam Trailwalker in Perth, it is a global charity event with tracks all over the world, in teams of 4 you set off to conquer either the 100 kilometre track, or the 50 kilometre.
You walk consistently through the day and night, only stopping for short pit stops along the way to eat, change your clothes, refill your water bottles, tend to your blisters – whatever your needs may be.
“Struggle Street” our team was aptly called, 3 men and myself, we had never done a training walk together, in fact we hadn’t even all met, training individually to come together on the day.
It was October in Perth, usually mild temperatures in the 20’s, but on this 100km day we were headed for a high of 34 degrees, no wind, and a track with not much shade to offer. We start off strong, our Karratha training had seasoned two of us well for the heat, the struggle seemed to be placed on many other teams, with some falling prey to heat exhaustion and having to pull out.
As the sun sets you begin to realise you have now been walking for 12 hours. With the sun stealing away the last of the light you are void of visual stimulation, so your mind steps in to take centre stage, my team mate turns to me and says “Now the mind games begin”, he’s right, you are too tired to come up with conversation with your team mates so you are reliant on your thoughts for company.
What I really learnt was, your mind isn’t always your friend, and it’s not always right, too.
The amount of negative thoughts I had at that stage of the event were growing, the more I listened to them, the more pain I felt, and the more I believed them, the more I wanted to stop; and believe me there were times with tears streaming down my face that I wanted to stop! So instead I chose to observe my thoughts, instead of indulge in them – instantly my attitude changed.
I instead looked at my thoughts, physical sensations and emotions simply as just ‘expressions’ from my body, and then gave myself the option of either believing and behaving them, or disagreeing and switching those thoughts off and focusing on something positive.
In 31.5 hours, we crossed the finish line, all of us still together in our team of 4, grinning from ear to ear.
Yes we were in pain, battered, bruised, hobbling and no longer coherent, but we were all remarkably stronger!
I believe for myself, and for absolutely anyone, that you can train yourself to do anything, however it starts and it finishes in the mind. To be physically strong you also need to work on your mental ‘toughness’, you need to force positivity to outweigh negativity, and the body will follow!
Guest Post by April Butt, award winning holistic nutritionist from Red Rock Fitness. April you are an inspiration!