Monday, 19 March 2012

Firewalk With Me.

Hi folks,

So as you may know, on March 8th, I did a firewalk. Well, in actual fact, I did three firewalks. I thought I would tell you all about how fantastic it was.

Firstly, why did i decide to sign up for such an event? Well, I have developed an obsession with the TV programme Coach Trip, and on one of the episodes I saw, the coach trippers went firewalking. It looked very easy, but rather fun, and without thinking about it too much, I thought "oh, it's obviously just a trick and not that hot, but it looks fun and i'd like to try it sometime"

Fast forward a few months and a spam fax arrives at work: it's an advert for a firewalking event in aid of The Stroke Association, and it's being held just 20 mins or so away. Well, before I knew it i had signed myself up and paid the entry fee.

Of course everyone at work thought I was crazy. And then they looked firewalking up on the internet. It's only then that I realised that actually it's NOT a trick, and the coals really are rather warm ridiculously hot at between 400 and 500 degrees celsius.

I raised loads of money from all of my wonderful friends, colleagues, and family. In total to date I've raised about £296, which is really, really brilliant. I think people were so stunned by my stupidity at signing up that they just threw money at me hoping that i would actually use it to get my head seen to. Or for a nice shiny wheelchair after my feet were burned to stumps. If you would like to, you can still donate to my cause here. It would be REALLY awesome, in an OCD sort of way, to hit £300.

In  the days leading up to the firewalk, I started having weird dreams, many of which involved fire of some description. One notable dream included a rather horrific fiery death for a colleague at work, involving some fireworks :-S So I think it's safe to say that i was actually rather worried about the whole affair.

On the day, I finished work early and headed to my parents house. They wanted to come along and see me perform this wonderful feat. Actually, my Dad did seem generally rather worried about the whole thing. In order to distract myself, I straightened my hair. Whilst doing this, I almost burnt myself on my hot hair, then thought "oh Christ, this is only 220 degrees." So then the next most logical thing for me to do was to paint my toenails.

It was only after i had a set of beautifully, carefully painted lilac sparkly toenails that my Dad decided to remind me about how flammable nail polish is. Eek.

Then off we went to the venue. And lo, in the corner of the car park, we saw this sight:

Ummmm.... reassuring... ahem.

Too late to back out now though, so off I went to register, leaving a trail of panicking parents in my wake. The man who registered me seemed really very impressed and touched about the amount I had raised, and even gave me a hug to say thank you.

Then it was time for a firewalking seminar by UK Firewalk. All during the seminar I tried to be calm but felt more and more panicked. I thought it would all be about technique, and meditation, but it was actually very relaxed. We learned about a few key points which are absolute musts for successful firewalking:

1. Fire connection- you have to know that it is a real-life fire, not a trick, and that it is going to be really, very hot. We were encouraged to go and hold our hands above the coals so that we knew that it was hot before walking. Apparently, if you tell yourself it's not hot, it just doesn't work.

2. A belief in a theory. You need to have some faith that it works, and that you're not going to end up with charred stumps. The instructor went though a number of reasons why, from physics to auras, we are able to walk on fire. It doesn't matter which you believe, as long as you believe in one. I went for good old physics, where the conductivity of the coal is less than your feet, so there is a delay in transfer of heat to your feet.

3. Intention to walk. You need to stand at the start of the walk, and know and want to walk across the fire.

by this time i was rather terrified. We all went outside and the temperature of the coals was read... 540 degrees. But, as the first few people did their walk, I got more and more excited. So off I went...

The pictures make it look much less hot than it actually is!
Now I'll admit it... I did rather loudly swear half way through the first walk. I actually wasn't intending to walk again but there was a bit of a queue in my way to get back to my shoes, and the longer i waited the more i thought "Again, Again, Again!"

So off I went again...

And.... again....

The best way I can describe the feeling is, that it feels exactly like you would imagine walking over a barbecue would feel like- there is a background rather warm feeling, with little pinpricks of extreme heat. But, by the time you've registered this, you've already carried on walking, so the really hot bits are constantly shifting, so you don't really burn your feet in the end.

When I got home, I washed my feet and they really stung as i was washing them. Then i had a tingly, stinging sensation for a few hours, as if i had sunburnt feet. But, no blisters at all, and no burns.

The verdict? I want to do it AGAIN!

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