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We did the Oxfam walk over the weekend.
How it went. )
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So this time next week we'll be somewhere roughly near Lysterfield Lake. That's if our timings are even vaguely accurate of course!

If we're really powering on we'll have left Lysterfield lake and be heading toward Belgrave.

Our rough guesstimates are:
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Georgina was Grand Prixing all this weekend so it was just Karena, Priscilla and myself walking from checkpoints 2 to 4. We should be good at that bit - that was my third time, and the other two's fourth time walking it!

Again we covered CP2-3 quite quickly - bang on 3 hours - and even with a 45 minute break at CP 3 for Priscilla and I to have coffee (we got inspired by last week) and a 10-20 minute chat with an incensed local about plans for a 3km long flying fox to be put in the Hamer Aboretum[1] at Olinda we still finished the entire thing in 7 hours.

This was our last training walk - 2 weeks and 5 days to go, which is quite scary really. Apparently it's possible to follow team progress via a website, which I'll put up in case anyone wants to see how we're going (or not). The good thing for me is that I don't have netball for the next two weeks - I don't have time to heal properly now so I'm trying to be really careful about not injuring myself!

I'll probably do some short walks (around 10km or so) over Easter though. And we've still got to finalise some stuff.

Many thanks to everyone who's sponsored us!

[1] the locals found out by accident via the internet that their swimming pool and community centre (which also happens to be their fire refuge) were going to be bulldozed to make way for a car park to cater to an anticipated 2000 tourists per day for the 3km flying fox through the Aboretum. Apparently the government response is that they don't need planning permission as it's Crown land. The locals are unhappy with this, and given it's an election year are basically starting a major campaign against it. At least the local we met certainly was!
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We planned to do a long walk on the weekend. The length of the walk kept changing, but we eventually settled on from the start to CP4, which was 43.1km. I came into work on Friday all psyched up for the walk.

Then I checked my e-mail.
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This weekend we'd planned to do a longer walk, followed by fun run/walk tomorrow. That kind of fell by the board when Priscilla got sick, Georgina had a clash and Karena and I kept playing telephone tag and failing to communicate. We decided it was too much hassle to meet up with just two of us, so I went walking by myself today instead.
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There are photos of us at various points on the trail now up on our site, including the sarcastic thumbs up 23% gradient photo and a very dusty shot of me after falling in the dirt on the Melba track.
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Last night we walked from Belgrave station to CP4, in Olinda. In the dark.
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Interesting. Our walks so far have gone like this:
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After a sweltering week with high humidity we were lucky enough that the cool change came through on the Thursday, causing flash flooding a chaos around Melbourne's CBD (not helped by there being both an AC/DC and a Taylor Swift concert on in different central venues that night either). Saturday was cooler but still humid, when we set off from Woori Yallock Primary School at 7.45am Saturday morning. It was planned to be 7am, but a combination of a misunderstanding as to meeting point and the usual running late (7am is early!) meant that we didn't get off quite as quickly as hoped.
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Originally we'd planned to do the final stages of the Oxfam trail this weekend, but given the final stages are 20.4km of long and boring followed by 7km of strenuous excitement Karena thought that maybe giving her knees a week's break would be a better plan. So we opted for distance over excitement and upped the ante by 10% to roughly 30km.
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We started stage three of the trail training on Saturday, walking from checkpoints 4 to 6. This increased our distance dramatically to 27.4km, but we were confident we'd be OK as most of it was either downhill or flat. This turned out to be partially true.
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Sunday I met up with two of the Oxfam team to walk. This time we'd decided to do a more gentle walk along the coast, from Sandringham to Mentone (route here.) This started off badly for me when the parking machine firstly took my money, then refused to give me a ticket, then refused to give my money back. Even when I punched it. Grrr. I rang the 'faults' number - "Bayside council is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm." *click*

Uh, guys, if you're going to have really large signs with "Ticket Parking 8am-8pm incl. Public Holidays" on them, then you pretty much have to have a faults line open 8am-8pm every day of the year. Which reminds me, I need to ring and complain and try and get my money back. There was a delay while I moved my car out of the ticketed parking area and into the backstreets (I really don't trust revenue raisers ticket inspectors to read my note saying the machines aren't working) before we headed off along the coastal trail. Then another short delay while we found the coastal trail.

I don't really know the bayside suburbs of Melbourne at all, never having lived near them. The coastal route is really quite nice - we alternated between dirt paths on the cliff top, sandy beaches, rocky patches and concrete paths both combined with bike lanes and not. The coastline itself is reminiscent of the coast near Lorne in patches, and near Inverloch in others. We passed the wreck of the HMAS Cerebus, which looks like it's going to collapse any day now but will probably hang on longer than I think, passed three different surf lifesaving clubs (one hd just finished the Nippers training), passed the nude beach (no one on it going up, a couple of clothed people going back), went up and down some steep paths (still less steep than Hackett's Rd though) and finally stopped in Mentone before heading back again. On the way down we walked for a couple of kilometres with a guy who'd done the Trailwalker several years ago, and was in training for a 250km Sahara endurance race (it goes over 7 days, but you have to carry all your food). Personally I think that's nuts - I was finding it hard enough on the packed sand, and apparently 40km of the Sahara race is on shifting sands. Like what my camel in Egypt was sliding down. He was also helpfully telling us how he'd found the last 20km of the Trailwalker completely exhausting, which really? I don't want to hear right now. I know it's probably going to kill me, there's no need to actually mention this!

We also were passed by a huge number of runners and cyclists.

On the way back we stopped at a MrWhippy van so I could get a cold drink. I totally should have gotten an icecream as well, but I was worried about my co-ordination with both ice-cream and drink and walking.

The coastal walk left me seriously tired - much tireder despite being a shorter route than the previous two weeks in fact, which was at least partly due to the sand walking and partly to the concrete parts of the trail (the soles of my feet were killing me). But it was a very pretty walk, and I did make it home without falling asleep while driving (yes, that was an option a couple of times.)

Next week we're back to the trail. 11 weeks and four days to go. Argh.
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Oxfam training walk two started off well when BOM decided that the temperatures would not be as hot as the previous week. After a bit of humming and ha-ing we'd decided we'd walk another two checkpoints, starting from where we'd left off the week before at Lysterfield lake. Dean and I arrived at 7am as planned - because these checkpoints are inconveniently situated relative to where we live, and because Dean needed the car, we'd decided that instead of doing the car shuffle Dean would drop me off at checkpoint two, pick all of us up from checkpoint 4 and drop the others back to their cars at Lysterfield Lake. This also involved some phone co-ordination, which worked well.
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The route we walked is here, our team site is here and there will hopefully be some more photos (including the sarcastic thumbs up one, and some of us actually walking - heh) up soon.

Many thanks to everyone who's donated by the way, we really are grateful. If you're thinking of donating to the Haiti cause and would like to guilt trip encourage us to keep going, Oxfam are an official charity for the Haiti disaster. No, I didn't know they had official charities either, there you go.

[1] "That's not my car! It's a motorbike! It's too small and only holds one person. That's not my car! It's a ute! It's too blue! That's not my car..."
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As I mentioned previously I'm participating in the Oxfam challenge this year. Yesterday we did our first major training walk. Actually, that's not strictly true - the other three did a walk just before Christmas but as I was still in the post-operative phase where I wasn't supposed to do major exercise I didn't go. (Also that was the day we were hosting Swedish Lisa's BBQ #1, so even if I could have gone I probably wouldn't have!)
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may cripple us for life.

In a fit of what may be insanity myself and three others have formed a team for next year's Oxfam walk. You can follow our training and support us (please!) here.

For me this is going to be slightly more interesting than strictly necessary as I'm going into hospital on the 23rd for a minor operation, and won't be able to train for 6 weeks after that.

So yeah, we'll see how this goes. Expect lots of "ouch" type entries. (Unless of course something goes wrong in hospital and I bail completely.)
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