7 million Steps                          Blog 53

Getting Near the End Reflections

With 9 days to the end of the Warrior Momz Walk our epic journey, I have so many emotions going on in my head and my heart!

The first time I met Kelly was the moment we were introduced in Carlsbad before the Warrior Momz launch commenced. I never really got a chance to talk to her until later that night when we had dinner with Kay and Denise. Two strangers thrown together through a desperate face book post from me, asking for someone to join me on an “adventure”, destined to spend the next 6 months on this massive journey! It’s fair to say we have had our challenges, we are both so different, there were times when things felt, they were beyond reconciliation, then with no discussion we would “pull up our big girl panties” and get on with it! I think both of us will be relieved the when the Walk is over, yet there is certainly a part of me that has loved the simplicity / predictability of our lives, our near monastic lifestyle, early nights!                       

I remember my first steps in Carlsbad, I was in a “mindset” let’s just get this done! Everyone was in a celebratory mood, all I could think of, I got to get through this first day in one piece and not get lost!

Thank goodness for Lisa Rodman and Patty Johnson (my Carlsbad besties) leading the way through the back parts of Carlsbad, ensuring all the Warrior Momz stayed together, they we amazing getting us through the first 9 miles without injury or losing anyone! I remember thinking it is so hot!

Then there were 3 left to walk, Kay Lathrop, her friend Denise and I. They were both relaxed enjoying the walk, enjoying the scenery, watching the goats, I however, was totally focussed on getting through the day! I guess that has been the “attitude” I have adopted for the entire walk, just get through each day, try and get 22 miles done, stay on schedule!

Day 2, neither Kay or Denise could walk because of various injuries from the day before, Laquita had driven in from LA, she was ready to walk with me for 2 days. It was hot like the first day, the temperature hovered in the high 90s! A reality check for me, having left a Melbourne winter…

Together we walked on roads with no shoulders, at one stage Laquita said to me “do you realise we are only 6 inches from death!” I hadn’t thought about it, but we were! Here were 2 women walking on a very narrow path into traffic, with cars whizzing past us at 60 plus MPH!

Sadly for me, Laquita injured her knee, so there I was day 3 walking on my own…The following Tuesday, spent the day walking the high chaparral north of Temecula, with warrior mom Debbie, another day of no shoulders and dangerous traffic. By this stage my legs were covered in scratches and cuts from the various grasses, out with the cortisone every night! I walked everyday on my own after that day with Debbie, until I arrived in Flagstaff, where I walked into the City with a group from the physiotherapy unit at the UO Arizona and a warrior athlete. From that day I would walk on my own every day, until we reached Albuquerque and most days after!

A friend from Melbourne, Siobhan Sheridan became my mentor! Siobhan was a seasoned “hiker” having “walked” many of the great American trails! In one of her messages she said the walking is the easy part, it’s the managing of your mental attitude that’s the challenge long distance hikers / walkers face and that’s what does them in! Siobhan was so right!!!

Kelly and I stayed with Nanette and Terry in Temecula for the first 4 nights, they were both so wonderful and supportive, and nothing was too much for them! It felt so comfortable, hot showers every night, lots of love and support. In truth I didn’t want to leave, but we had too!

Before long Kelly and I were on our own heading into the unknown, Kelly on her adventure me on my mission.

As I reflect upon these past months, I am constantly reminded of the journey I shared with Josh, only this time it’s me with the “injury”! Although not actually injured, I have certainly experienced many of the “mind” “psychological” challenges someone with a spinal cord injury faces. The desperation, the abandonment, the loss, the isolation to name a few!

I always knew this journey would provide me with great insights, I was shocked by the parallels I had experienced with Josh. The Warrior Momz Walk, has certainly mirrored my book with the “darkness” the “glimmer” the “light!”

Thank goodness, I have been operating in the “light” since Jackson, I really felt the shift, and staying with Cassie in Meridian it was so relaxing and peaceful. While the walking has never gotten easier, my body has accepted it, and needs to walk no matter what!  My mind, is a lot clearer these days, I am actually enjoying the walking, an emotion I can honestly say I hadn’t experienced since commencing the walk!

Kelly is totally the opposite loving every day she rides, all she needs is a good road, and warmth!

I admire her enthusiasm!