A wet dog and a pair of trainers

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This morning I woke feeling pretty rubbish. My body said no and my mind was pretty much saying the same thing. A rare weekend off and the lure of a lie-in was almost too much. Every day is a good day in varying degrees so they say and I’m a great believer in those little words of wisdom so today is a good day but in very varying degrees!

I could hear Daisy (dog) grumbling downstairs almost saying ‘get your sorry arse out of bed and lets go for a run’! So I dragged my sorry arse out of my comfy bed, donned my new trainers, grabbed her lead and off we went. I still felt rubbish, my legs felt like lead and as I shuffled through Salisbury Cathedral Close admiring the beauty of this sunny morning my mood started to turn, if only a little.

One of my training runs includes a set of 100 steps which I do a few times, getting more and more the fitter and stronger I get. This morning the little devil sat on my shoulder said ‘ahhh not today, lets take it easy, shuffle round and get home for a coffee ‘ Well, I thought, if that’s my attitude today then I’m pretty stuffed when it comes to bad days out on the mountains. I have a few big mountains to climb in the next 12 months and that type of attitude gets you nowhere. So the devil was brushed off, Daisy was bounding along and up and down, up and down those steps we went.

 

Did I feel any better by the time we got home. Not really. I still felt rubbish, legs like lead and still feeling pretty tired but I know that I put in 100% today despite my state of mind (and body) and I know that I am a little bit fitter than I was at 8am. I know that I pushed through a mind block and that type of attitude is the one I want on Ama Dablam in November and Everest in 10 months time.

Yes, 10 months time. The days are flying by, you can’t get time back and the effort I put in now should reap rewards when I am on those mountains. Every day up there will be a good day because I’ve worked so hard for it, but in varying degrees. I had some really low points on Manaslu but I pushed through, somehow, and that feeling is hugely empowering and will stay with me forever.

Yes, in 10 months time our merry team of 4 will be making our last preparations before flying out to Lukla and starting our trek up to Everest Base Camp, and beyond. Our DofE team of students will be just as excited and our EBC trekkers will be full of anticipation. We have a long road to travel before we even set foot on the mountain. The amount of funds we aim to raise is a mountain in itself. The more funds we raise quickly, the more funds go directly to the 2 charities which we are supporting – The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Support4Sherpas – so here is a plea from me to you.

Please support our journey, please support our charities and please support those who will benefit from your kind donations. I’m not asking you to put your hands in your pockets without getting something back. There has to be something in it for you too.

Here are 5 ways that you can be involved…..(all details on the website)

  1. Spend £25, £75 or £150 to buy a square on the Everest 500 Club banner, send me a photo and come on the journey with us to the top.
  2. Join us in the Brecon Beacons from 18-20 July for a very reasonable £144 and gain an insight into an Everest expedition, see the kit we need for 8 weeks on the mountain, hear stories from Everest summiteers and benefit from expert advice to help with your next challenge, meeting like minded people who are pushing their boundaries and also want to make a difference.
  3. Test your nerve and put a lid on your fear by abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth on Sunday 21st September. Registration fee is £85 and fundraising target of £200 split between the climb and our 2 charities.
  4. Can’t make it down to Portsmouth but are nearer to the Lakes? Then join us to test your nerve by abseiling off a rock cliff, details to follow very shortly.
  5. ‘Pimp my rucksack’ – details of this new fundraising initiative for companies will be announced shortly!!

The more funds that I raise now, the more funds go directly to those we are trying to support so please help me today. Thanks for spending the time to read this far, share this blog, share my journey. Where every step counts.

10 years ago

10 years ago today I landed back in Blighty on a flight from Peru full of stories about the most amazing adventure I’d just experienced, my first fundraising challenge. Little did I know that my adventure of a lifetime would turn into a lifetime of adventures!

10 years ago I was a very different person. Never did I imagine that I would ever climb Snowdon let alone an 8000m peak. I was always the one saying ‘I could never do that’ or ‘why would you want to do that’! Little did I know then exactly how much that challenge would change my life.

10 years ago I had a safe and sensible job, went to work in a suit, had a lovely house, weekends off, a big 4×4, went to the pub on a Friday night and had leisurely Sunday lunches with my friends. Oh how life has changed!

Back in Peru, I was the quiet one. The one who didn’t quite know what she’d let herself in for. The one who managed well with the altitude, the camping was bearable, tushing the bush was a new experience and so was eating unidentifiable meat. Little did I know that altitude gives you wind and just how cold it is sleeping at 4000m. Little did I know then that going commando is the best way where cycle shorts are concerned, that going with the flow will give you the greatest experience rather than getting annoyed when things don’t go quite according to plan. Little did I know that my vertigo was going to get a kick up the arse and that my quick exit from Machu Picchu from fear would see me back there on many occasions with groups of my own thinking, blimey….you can get over these fears when you really try, when you really want to.

Back in Peru our cycling was very different. We were given paper maps, note the ‘not to scale’ comment and just pedaled until we were told to stop. No Garmins, no worries about height gain, altitude, technology was left at home and we just pedaled and enjoyed it. I remember Dougie saying ‘it doesn’t rain this time of year’ just before we cycled through a thunderstorm. I remember getting sneezing fits and a seriously runny nose and Doc saying ‘never mind, you’ll be fine’, and I was. I also remember seeing Caroline meet her new group who had flown in to Cusco just before we flew out and remember thinking ‘what a cool job’. Little did I know way back then!

So life has changed somewhat. No fancy car, few weekends off, catching up with friends when I can in between trips, no more vertigo, eating unidentifiable meat is the norm as is wild wee’ing and having Sunday lunch with my friends is a real treat. My pay packet has taken a nosedive but my richness in life has increased beyond compare.

I am no longer the ‘I could never do that’ or ‘why would you want to’ person. I’m the ‘get out there and try it’ person. I remember so well the encouragement I received from Dougie, Caroline and Helen in Peru, from Joe and Caroline in New Zealand 18 months later, and from Jackie and Sneh in Cuba. 3 years after my first trip I sent off my CV to DA and got the call to come along to a crew selection weekend. I remember talking to the leaders and hearing their tales from trips thinking that I would never be able to do that. I remember on a London to Paris, in a truck with Jason, talking about this thing called an ML, how on earth I was going to get my foot on the outdoor ladder. I remember thinking that it was such a big leap but somehow I would get there.

So roll forward 10 years, 5th May 2014. I went for a leisurely Bank Holiday lunch with a great friend, Jenny. We talked about trips and about travels. We talked about what is going to happen in the next 12 months and we did a lot of planning for Everest 2015. I showed her my Peru photos in an album and the maps we were given on each day of the ride. Oh how life has changed!

Onto Everest 2015, such a huge project to raise the funds even before we even get to Nepal. Such a lot of support from my family, friends and even people who have never met me but want to live out a dream through someone else. Everest is one mountain that I said I would never do, I was definitely in the ‘why’ rather than ‘why not’ category. Sometimes you’ve just got to put a lid on the fear, take a deep breath and just get on with it.

Never say never.