Sunday, 30 April 2017

Leap of faith

The Challenge is almost there. Or here. Or I'm almost there where the Challenge will be. In exactly one week I'll start my journey from home to Mallaig, Scotland. It will take me three days to get there and I'm not even walking! Since it is my first trip to Scotland I wanted to make the most of it, so I'll be stopping in Edinburgh first for a few days, to walk around without a rucksack, post my supply parcels for the Challenge and make any necessary last minute panic purchases. Like a plane ticket back to Finland.

It's not like I'm nervous. Because I'm not. Frankly, I'm terrified. I'm also super excited! What a lovely twofold feeling! Half of me can't wait to be in Scotland and start walking across it, while the oher half is screaming in agony. Why the bugger did I have to sign up for this? Why on earth did I think I can do it?

I have been walking and hiking a lot in the past 17 years, so I'm not new to this, per se. But I am new to the Challenge and the specific demands of it. So far, my longest hike duration-wise has been 8 days and distance-wise 110 kilometres. The Challenge will be 14 days and approximately 311 kilometres. Well, I suppose that's why they call it a challenge. Were it easy, they would be calling it The Great Outdoor Sunday Stroll in the Park.

Also, I'm physically not as fit as I'd like to be, and I'm not talking about dreaming of athlete fitness, but a regular "every limb works and there is no overall ache or pain until I actually start walking" -type of fitness would be nice. I don't have the luxury of that with my rheumatoid arthritis having decided this would be a good time to have a temper tantrum. A doctor's appointment on Friday will probably solve some of that with all the cortisone injections no doubt waiting for me there.

And then there's the actual training, as in "put your boots on and take your rucksack and go walking on the hills". Or the lack of it. The spring has been nonexistent in Finland so far. The last day of April, which is traditionally spent in light spring clothing sitting outside and sipping sparkling drinks, was not like that this year. It's like the installation of spring was accidentally forgotten in the headquarters of Season Control. So there hasn't been much of actual hiking. Fortunately, I do have a dog and my work is very dynamic, so I've been walking a lot, just not with a rucksack and not that much with the boots on. Also, there are no hills where I live.

So yes, it WILL be a challenge. But like someone, who has done it a lot of times, recently told me: the Challenge is for all. I suppose it includes me. So, I'm going to take a leap of faith and see where it goes. Hopefully all the way across Scotland to the east coast.

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