I’m not a runner. Yet this week I found myself at a local oval at 5.30am, puffing through laps with a running club. That same night I hit with some girlfriends and a coach at the tennis club. Now? I’m sore, I’m tired—and I’m excited.
My new fitness regimen is happening to get me in good enough shape to tackle an adventure that may be life changing.
My friend Kate and I are both mums of three, both business owners, both never do things by halves. I trust her in all things. So when she rang and asked if I’d do the Larapinta Trail Hike in the Northern Territory I said yes. A couple of last minute spots had opened up and Kate needed a fast decision.
Only later did I find out the spots are for the extreme hike. The website warns it’s “unrelentingly hard” and only for “experienced hikers seeking a spectacular challenge.” Walking up to 12 hours a day over rocky ridgelines and in unforgiving gorges. Kate will be fine—she’s a willowy ocean swimmer who looks like she could run for five hours without blowing out a candle—but I’ve always been more of a fan of your low impact exercise.
So, why am I doing it when it’s the opposite of everything I hold dear, including bathrooms and ambles down inner-city shopping strips? Good question, but I think that’s the exact reason. It’s going to not just take me out of my comfort zone—mental and physical—but perhaps redefine it.
At 50, with my eldest moving out for uni, I want to do something that proves to me what I’m made of. Stretching my capabilities and getting fitter in every way is forced self-care. My version of the Hawaiian Ironman.
Truth is, I’m feeling like one of the novices who gets pushed out of a helicopter in that SAS show. I’m not much of a camper. I’ve spent many years camping with old mates in Moama who know me for arriving with the king size mattress off the bed at home, armed with a white dressing gown with shoulder pads from Saks Fifth Avenue.
So you might say trekking is truly something new for me and has surprised many of my close friends and family.
I have expectations of what it will deliver: greater clarity about my life wants, more creativity I can deliver to clients (nature helps me dream up great ideas) and proving to myself I’m stronger and tougher in all ways than I think. Plus lots of additional magic I haven’t even considered. I know up-levelling myself will have incredible impacts on my work too.
For a few reasons I don’t need to talk about today, I’m in the process of creating a whole new life. I want to do that with vigour. I want to be brave. Bold. I want to swap that comfort zone for one of deep discomfort that lets me know I can do anything.
But first, I have to master running club. I was last over the line at my first outing. I may be again this week. But I’m turning up. I’m doing this.