January has been a very busy month for us visiting friends across the country and unfortunately our weekend walks have suffered because of it, but we seem to be back on track now and Matt's been very good at keeping up his training during the week.  As some of you know, Teri will be working as a Postwoman again in two weeks time, so her fitness should improve dramatically once she's walking around four hours every day again!  A few weeks ago we walked around Castle Combe, and this weekend we went to the racing country of Fyfield Down, walking over a number of gallops.

We're also in the process of arranging some more fundraising events.  On Monday 9th February, Teri will be spending the day in Asda's foyer with collection tins so hopefully we should raise a fair amount of money from that.  Matt is planning a charity 'Pie & Poker Night', Teri is arranging a 'Girls' Night In' and we're both thinking of organising a Treasure Hunt for Easter weekend - please see the 'Events' page on this website where more information will be updated soon.

We received our next information pack from the British Heart Foundation yesterday, telling us more detailed information on insurance, weather, flights and what to expect on a typical day's travel.  Most days we have to rise at around 5am/5.30am, and on the final day of the trek we need to be up at 4am!!

The weeks seem to be moving really fast, and it's getting so exciting knowing that we'll be heading for Peru in just over three months time!

 

The last week or so has unfortunately been a bit slow for us on the training front, although we did walk 4-5 miles each day we were in Prague and this included walking up and down two towers of around 300 steps (the views from which can be seen below)!

Over Christmas we received some more donations from various people, so thank you very much to all of you that donated.  We also got some presents that will come in handy when training:
   Teri's Dad & Cheryl bought the walking boots mentioned in an earlier
   post and some walking trousers (yet to be purchased!)
   Teri's sister bought us fancy drinks bottles
   Teri's Auntie & Uncle bought us some walking socks
   and Matt's brother bought a headtorch

Matt's Mum & Dad also bought us a book about the Inca Trail, which I'm sure we will find interesting reading before we go!  We've thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas break, but once we're both back in Reading after the New Year, training will get really serious and we'll need to fully concentrate on raising and saving the last of the money.

 

With plastered up blisters we headed out to Barbury Castle Country Park for our walk this afternoon.  It was a very dull day, with freezing winds and some very steep, muddy and slippery hills, so we were quite pleased it was only four miles long!

We're trying to pick walks to do where there are things to see along the way, or little bits of history to learn about.  I'm hoping to start on our 'Peru' scrapbook soon, which will follow all our fundraising and training as well as the trek itself once we've returned.

It's going to be hard to find time to train for the two weeks over Christmas, especially as we're off to Prague for a few days and then we're dotted about over the UK visiting family and friends!  I'm sure we'll be dragging members of the family out and about with us to burn off those Christmas dinners.....!

 

We've managed to get through the first week of our training plan!  Two hours of stamina-building exercises during the week and a 5-mile walk at the weekend might not sound a lot to most of you, but as two people that have barely done any exercise for a good couple of years we need to build things up slowly!!!

Today was such a beautiful, crisp morning for a walk; if the weather's like this every weekend before we go we'll be laughing!  We walked from Ramsbury to Littlecote House near Hungerford (a stunning hotel I've been to before to set up a wedding).  We also passed the remains of a roman villa, which had a stunning mosaic floor that was uncovered back in 1727.  Before our walk we stopped off to shop for some walking boots for me, and I only came back with two blisters!

We're starting to think of our next fundraising events, and I'm thinking of planning a 'girls night in' sometime in the new year.  Virgin Vie, Ann Summers, Chocoholics, Body Shop and Pampered Chef parties all rolled into one night!  Sorry boys, but this night will be for girls only!

 

Matt's back from Amsterdam, so our official training programme starts now!  It consists of long walks at the weekend, mixed with other stamina building exercises during the week.  I think finding time for the stamina building stuff is going to be our biggest challenge!

We received our next information pack from the British Heart Foundation this week, and it contained a contact list of all the people we'll be trekking with.  We've been speaking to some of them via email/facebook and they seem really fun, and it's also another girl's birthday as well as mine during the week we're away!  I think we're going to have a whale of a time. 

There's also an option for us to stay in Peru a couple of days longer after the trek, and travel on the Andean Explorer train for a day (owned by the Orient Express) and explore Lake Titicaca.  It sounds really good but we're thinking that once we've finished the trek we'll be good and ready to come back home!

There was also a list of suggested items to pack - and it was so long!  Lots of clothing, equipment and medical items!  We're getting some bits and pieces for Christmas, and there's a place where we can hire equipment from rather than buy it all in.

For those of you interested in what we'll be getting up to out there, we've updated the day to day itinerary (click on 'Inca Trail Trek' above).

 

This morning we realised it's exactly six months today that we will be heading off to Peru to complete the trek!  The last six months, since we started discussing it, has absolutely flown by and now the challenge that lies ahead is really starting to sink in.

Today we've been putting together our proper training programme, to start on 29th November (as some of you know Matt will be in Amsterdam for two weeks before then, training for his new job).

As we're both working full time we're unable to walk during the week until the evenings get lighter again, so we'll be combining our weekend walks with other forms of exercise such as swimming and going to the gym in the evening.  We have a couple of walking weekends away planned in April (the Lake District, Bath, Salisbury and possibly Wales), where we'll be walking around 30-40 miles each weekend.  It's going to be tough!  But at least we'll have bodies like professional athletes by the end of it.....

We're putting fundraising activities on hold until the new year, so if anybody has any ideas of how we can raise that last £900, please let us know!

Lastly, thankyou to those of you that have commented on our blog; it's really great to know that people are checking up on how we're getting on!

 

Although we're still putting our rigorous training plan together, which is due to start in November, we thought we'd take the opportunity on a sunny Saturday afternoon to get into the swing of things and complete a short 5-mile walk.  We bought a book on walks in Wiltshire, and headed to Great Bedwyn for the afternoon.  It was a fairly easy walk, and took us two hours altogether, during which time we learnt that:

*It's better for Matt to walk in front otherwise he treads on my heels

*I burn off a lot more calories as Matt's strides are about six times as long as mine

*We both need to buy a proper jacket/coat/waterproof and trousers for our training walks

*I really need to buy a pair of walking boots sooner rather than later

*We are going to get very wet and muddy training through the winter

*Neither of us are very fit and we need to do a lot of training

*It's going to be harder than we thought - times the distance of that walk by ten, fit it in to only three additional days, add ridiculously steep hills, a heavy backpack, hot sunshine and below freezing temperatures at night, and take away a lot of oxygen from the air we're breathing, and that takes us a little closer to what we're going to have to do in just over six months time!

Our next mission will be next Saturday, although we're still undecided on where we will go for our second training walk...we'll keep you posted!

 

First and foremost, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of you that attended the Ball or donated prizes or helped in any other way.  We really can't thank you enough!  Around 50 people attended the night in the end, and it really did mean so much that you were there supporting us.

We have counted up the pennies and, including profits from ticket sales, we raised a MASSIVE £1,821.91. 

Everybody seemed to enjoy having a flutter on the casino tables and the caricaturist was a great hit too!  Big winners of the night were Derek Viljoen, who won the most on the casinos and took home the huge suitcase hamper, and Gary Heffer, who took away the giant martini glass as he was closest to guessing there were 137 sweets inside.

We are now well on our way to hitting our fundraising target, and we will be in touch soon with details of any other events we'll be holding.  Our focus for the next few weeks is get a programme into place and start training!

If anybody has any photos from the Ball, please email them to me at teri.sl@gmail.com.  You can see some of the photos on the Events Page.

 

As most of you know, both of us have had a stomach bug over the last few days, which has put a slight halt on preparations!  Luckily most things are already sorted so we're not too far behind.  We're both feeling much better today so fortunately we caught the bug early enough so that we're ok in time for the ball.

We're really excited now, and looking forward to seeing you all there.

For those of you that can't make it, we've posted details of the auction items on the events page, so please take a look and contact us if you would like to make a proxy bid on any items.

 

It's less than a week till the Ball and final preparations are well under way!  We've now sold the majority of the tickets we wanted to and we're really pleased with the donations received for the auction, but we do still have tickets available if anyone else can make it - keep on asking all friends and family!! 

The list of auction items will be posted on this website, so if any of you are unable to come to the Ball but would like to make a proxy bid on an item, please let us know. 

We're looking forward to seeing you all there.  Start getting those outfits ready!