Well, there we have it, it would seem that as of Saturday 10th March, I officially became ‘in training” to climb Ben Nevis! Is that challenge not what every unfit, pleasantly plump, gin loving, exercise hating 44 (soon to be 45) year old woman and her cancer fighting husband does????????
Lets give you a little background here. Each year, I like to set myself a challenge. Admittedly, these days it is usually a challenge that exercises my brain or adds to my repertoire of talents (yeah, that home furnishings course really made my curtain making first class…) rather than my very weak and feeble muscles. I had been struggling to find a challenge this year that I fancied, nothing was floating my boat or speaking to me. Inspiration was needed.
Last year, as you may have read in my post (An Uplifting and Emotional day – A Life Post ) you would have read how proud we were of our boys and the money they raised for Macmillan Cancer Research. They did the 12 mile, 25 obstacle Tough Mudder run, and it really inspired my husband and I to look at doing something that was a challenge, after he had completed and healed from the challenge of beating cancer of course!
Now, over the years, we have done various challenges – white water rafting in dangerous rapids, a sky dive, a bungee jump, night time ship wreck dives, we’ve climbed Ayers Rock (as per the first picture), and deep cave potholed to name but a few. But, they were in our younger and fitter days! These days I look for something a little gentler……….
So, of course, when my gorgeous sister in law phoned on Friday to see if we fancied setting ourselves the challenge to climb Ben Nevis in Scotland this year, it seems that the word Yes was out of my mouth before I could say “How Fricking High”! It also seemed, that within the hour, our train, hotel and car hire was booked! Well, we did have Scotland on our travel wishlist this year…
Challenge, is the word to take note of here. If I told you that walking up the very mild hill that I walk when I take my dog out leaves my lungs screaming and my heart raving to a un-natural beat, I would not be exaggerating! My fitness levels are zero. I have not taken part in any form of cardio type exercise for about 6 years. I have knackered knees from too many years of netball, I have way too much excess weight to be dragging up a hill let alone a mountain, and don’t even talk to me about those ugly walking boots, you have seen my shoe collection, right??
But, its on. As many of you know, our family has faced some pretty huge challenges over the last couple of years, and they proved to be no match for us. As the saying goes, “They looked in the eye of the Challenge and Gave it a Wink”. That is us. We are embracing this one fully.
So Mr Nevis, lets look at a few of your credentials, (just so you all get an idea what we are up against).
*Ben Nevis is the highest Mountain in the British Isles
*It stands just over 4400 feet above sea level
*It takes the average climber 4-5 hours to climb up (so thats about 2 days for me then)
*Ben Nevis is located in the Scottish Highlands, close to Fort William
*It was once an active volcano. Great. Thats just fab…..
*Its known as the mountain with its head in the clouds as the summit is shrouded in mist
*There are two main routes up the mountain, one thought of as more challenging than the other. Wonder what one we will be doing…….
I have to say, being the nature geek that I am, I am already excited about the scenery on route, and in Scotland itself. It looks so beautiful. We are going to need to get some advice on the best way to train for it, thats for sure. We are leaving the UK at the end of August, climbing the mountain early September, so we have 6 months. That is bloody scary! Just six months!!!!!!
The training – My eldest son has qualified to be a personal trainer, and has played high level football all of his teenage life. He is willing to help with our training, but he is a hard task master, (very bossy) so I think I may be pulling rank on him when he is telling me to run up hills! Apparently thats what we need to be aiming for! Someone best get a truck load of Victoria sponge at the top of the hill if they want me running up it, just sayin….
All joking aside, me and my sister in law, Mandi, think this will be really good for all of us. A very positive focus. Nik and I both feel that our life has been on pause while he has had his battle with cancer, which followed losing his Mum etc, and we need lots and lots of positive things in the diary moving forward. I told you in my goals post for 2018, we plan on grabbing this year by its hairy ones! We lost Niks Mum, my wonderful mother in law, to cancer 2 years ago, so Mandi, and her husband Kristian, also feel the same strong need for positive focus. I think it is a great thing for the four of us. Our family have done various things over the years to fund raise for cancer charities, and this will be another one that we will work hard to achieve. I also think setting challenges is incredibly beneficial to our mental health. It gives focus, aids a sense of achievement and adds new experiences to your life. Its all about living and experiencing life eh!
So, as long as Niks next couple of hurdles he has to get over are sorted and done, we will be climbing Ben Nevis in September. He finishes chemo in two weeks, so training will begin. If any of you have done anything similar, or have any advice to offer, I would be so grateful! Any training tips or guidance, hit me with it!
Id love to hear if you have set yourself any challenges over the years, of any form. Physical, mental, learning new skills, anything! Tell me all about them. Im interested. Do you think setting challenges helps with mental health? Is there something that you have in mind that you would like to try to do? What is your biggest challenge to date? Let me know in the comments xx