Monday, April 28, 2014

Step by Step 2009 ~ part 4

Hi everyone,

Please pause for a moment and pray with me for the families of the five British service members who lost their lives over the weekend in a crash in Afghanistan and also all those lost during the tornado outbreak across the US...

Heavenly Father, in blessed repose grant eternal rest to those who have passed away. Gracious Lord, we ask that you enfold their families and friends in your ever loving, comforting arms and grant them a sense of peace amid their grief and sorrow. In your Holy Name we pray ~ Amen

Today we continue our look back at the Step by Step journal from the 2009 challenge. If you've missed the previous posts in the series you can read them HERE, the link opens in a new tab.

December 12 - Walk minus 16 days! I completed another 12 mile training hike this morning. I can't believe there are, weather permitting, only another five 12 milers to do, as well as 4 shorter ones.

What a difference a day makes. The weather today was a total change from yesterday, the sun was out and it was even warm enough to not wear my coat.

I'm REALLY looking forward to tomorrow's rest day. It will be a day of COMPLETE rest. I've not been able to sleep in for two weeks, as although last Sunday was a rest day, I was up really early to meet a friend. So tomorrow...

I explained some of the "physical" aspects of my training route yesterday. Today I'll explain some of the "mental" aspects. What I think about while getting ready to go out and while I'm out there.

Tiredness has been an issue some days and was somewhat this morning. Do I really want to get up, before 6:00 am and get out there; wouldn't I rather stay in bed, in the warmth? The instant answer that comes to mind is YES, I would rather stay in bed. That thought only stays with me momentarily though, I then think of the main reason why I'm doing this; to show my support for all those in the military, those men and women who give their all for peace.

As I leave the house, the thought of the 12 miles ahead of me can be quite daunting, even in the better weather, such as today. As I set out, I think back to the Battlefield trip I did during my 10th grade. I'm back on those battlefields, striding out, with the boy soldiers. They faced total uncertainty; I'm only facing 12 miles. I say to myself, "come on Em, they did it, you can too."

This is also the time that I think about all of those who are supporting me. It means so much to me knowing that you're all with me. This is why you may well see me saying "we", as opposed to "I" occasionally ; as to me, I'm not alone when I'm out there.

As I turn the corner of one road into another, after around a mile, the road stretches ahead of us. At this point, I'm concentrating on the surroundings as there are a few streets to cross. Safety is always uppermost in my mind. To make the journey more manageable, mentally as well as physically, I split it down into smaller sections; this is usually to the next visible bend in the road.

As I approach the three mile point, and safety isn't so high a priority, I'm thinking about everything that still needs doing. These where today's thoughts:
* Emails and phone calls to possible sponsors.
* Start getting kit together (I'll give a detailed kit list in another post).
* Further training, how many days are left.
* What I'll include in today's "blog" post, which is how I think of these posts.
* The date I'll switch back to UK time, and how I'll make that as easy as possible for myself.
* I also listen to what's around, the noise of the traffic, but also the birdsong coming from the trees.

Nearing the midpoint, I usually check the time. I can do each six mile half in exactly an hour. Am I on schedule? If not, I speed up a little. I'm lifted, mentally, as the midpoint approaches too. Here now, safety again becomes a priority, as the road no longer has a sidewalk.

With around a mile and a half to go, I'm back my neighborhood. I know that in around 20 minutes, the day's training will be over. I'm lifted mentally by this. Physically, we're feeling a little tired. Getting home, I'm filled with a sense of achievement. Another training session completed safely.

So far during the first two weeks of training, I've not yet felt creative in a composition sense. As I've concentrated on the physical and mental side of everything that needs doing. To be able to compose any sort of verse, whether it be for a client, or a friend, I need to be totally relaxed.

Today, for the first time, while out training, I began to put a few lines together in my mind. I'm intending to use tomorrow's rest day to see if those few lines become any more than that; to see if I can compose the first of what I hope will be a number of verses to commemorate this very special event.

December 13 - Walk minus 15 days! Rest day today and I'm determined to totally relax and enjoy it, as there aren't many left!
I've today completed the composition of the first verse for the hike, "HELPing my HEROES", after getting the first few lines while training yesterday…
As I stride out
to begin this epic journey
I know I'm not alone;
for I'm surrounded
by memories, by HEROES.
Memories of battlefields
long since visited
but with me, forever.
The cold of that February
took me back then
as it does now.
I'm walking with those boys,
HEROES one and all.
I feel what they felt;
fear, anxiety and dread,
but camaraderie and
comradeship too.
For I'm doing
what I believe in,
© Em L. Fairley
Composed today, Sunday, December 13, 2009
The capitalization in the verse is representative of the way the charity, “HELP for HEROES”, uses it on their wristbands.

December 14 - Walk minus 14 days! I can't believe how quick it's going.... Yesterday's rest day was just that. I was able to totally relax for the first time in a long time.

December 15 - Walk minus 13 days! Today was by far the worst I've felt during the last two and a bit weeks. Waking up this morning I felt as if I'd not gotten any sleep at all. I was physically, as well as emotionally drained. So much so that part of me didn't even feel like going out. That is SO unlike me.

As time went on, and I'd gotten through all the phone calls I had to make, I decided that it's better to get out there, even if I only do a few miles. At this stage, with only 13 days to go, it's the consistency, rather than the distance that matters. I decided on 6, as I knew that would make me feel better mentally.

Having said that, almost as soon as I got out there, my mind went back to this last Sunday, and to Major Phil Packer. He won the Helen Rollason award at BBC Sports Personality of The Year, after completing the London Marathon, in 13 days. This is despite the fact that Major Packer lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan with the British Army.

If Major Packer can do that, I can do 10 miles today; I don't have an any sort of excuse! For more on Major Packer, take a look here: ... 409139.stm
As for me, as I approached the halfway point today, I began relaxing. With that, the theme for a second composition came to me. Shortly after, the first lines did too, as well as the ending. It was only the middle lines I couldn't quite "see" without writing them down.

As soon as I got back, I completed the composition
"With Pride and Honor"Since time began
wars have been fought.
Battles have been won,
battles have been lost.
But through it all
since time began;
whether soldier, sailor,
airman or Marine.
Each has served,
many have died.
For their country,
for their flag.
They have given their all.
With Pride and Honor
© Em L. Fairley
Composed today, Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 16 - Walk minus 12 days! After completing today's 10 miles there is only another 3 similar and 3 shorter sessions left! WOW I can't believe how quick it's going!

I'm feeling really comfortable and relaxed now, so much so I was able to compose another verse this morning; it's about those of us doing the hike.

"Band of brothers and sisters" As we all signed up for
the H4H Christmas Hike 2009
we were strangers.
Right now, many still are;
much like when signing up
for military service itself.
Soon, all that will change,
Em, Seb, Bea and Zach,
Cj, Alex, Jake and Pip,
Dani, Graham, Emily and Terry.
All united, in service for
a cause we all believe in.
We will become
in such a short time,
like any military unit;
a close and strong
band of brothers and sisters.

© Em L. Fairley
Composed today, Wednesday, December 16, 2009.
As promised in a much earlier post, I've also now added the verses to the Verses page on the blog.

In Wednesday's post I'll be sharing the latest training notes from this year's challenge and also some of the battlefield trip photos from the high school vacation to the Somme, so I really hope you'll join me then.

God bless,

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