My top five physical challenges so far…..
In at Number 5
I am no fan of water – sea, lake or river – so getting in a boat that is seriously close to said water wasn’t my idea of fun. However, I will be totally honest with you now and say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the Dragon Boats Race at Ocean Terminal in June this year. I might have had a different opinion if I had fallen into that brown water (I really really hope it was brown because of the stormy weather making it all silty ) but here’s the thing. We didn’t fall in. It was great fun and yes, I would do it again.
I am not much of a fan of running either. But, as you can see in this photo, I ran a 5k and then a 10k for charity (that’s me in the turquoise top). The run took place at Hopetoun House and I did the 5k in 29minutes which is seriously impressive and the 10k in 1hour 4minutes. I practiced very very hard for both of these two runs. My running buddy was a very fit younger than me woman and was perfect for me as she pushed me hard to keep up with her. I’d love to do it again but have a recurring foot problem that I think would mean I had better stick to walking and cycling.
In the middle at Number 3
I am petrified of heights. Not even that keen to stand on a ladder. So, how come I found myself standing in a metal mesh basket (hey, it seems like a good description to me) hanging from a blooming great crane over the River Clyde? Well, that is all down to the guy sitting next to me at a dinner two weeks previous. He asked me about upcoming events and I mentioned the Zipslide over the Clyde. He asked if I was doing it and I said (words to this effect) Not likely mate. And he said, what if someone offered you £10,000? What was I supposed to say? No? I don’t think so! We shook hands, he gave me his money (and gift aided it so it was worth closer to £13000) and I shook for the next two weeks. Driving through to Glasgow that day I almost threw up with terror. I had to go to Boots to buy some Bach rescue remedy. For the record, and with the level of terror I was feeling, Bach rescue remedy had no effect whatsoever. I went up in that basket and when told to step off simply couldn’t. Duncan (owns the zipline company and takes you up in the basket) tried to persuade me to move forward but I was glued to the spot. I was sure I was going to disgrace myself and have to be taken back down. In my pocket I had a piece of paper with all the young people I had got to know and the names of some who hadn’t made it. I thought about how scared they must have been and how ridiculous it was for me to be scared to do this. And stepped off. Stepping off was horrible. No two ways about it. Zipping over the Clyde was amazing and let’s face it – took something like 18 seconds. Sometimes fear can get really out of proportion!
Coming in at Number 2
Trekking in the Sahara. When I told family and friends I was going to do the trek in the Sahara I was met with laughter. You in a tent? Are you serious? Going for days without a shower? What about the loo? etc etc etc. Well, I showed them. Six days of trekking across sand dunes and cracked earth was incredibly hard. The sand dunes were horrible to walk through. And the sand got everywhere. I had the biggest blister imaginable on my heel which had to be lanced by the paramedic on our trek. The tents were tiny and to begin with far too close to each other (we had one guy who snored for Britain and had to be moved to very far away from us so we could get some sleep!). One night I woke to see an animal run past the open door of our tent. I was sure it was a tiger. (yes I know it was Morocco. not many loose tigers there). Then the guy in the tent next door said he could see a train coming towards us with a huge light on the front. I was wearily looking for said train – poor guy is hallucinating I thought. Looked out the tent flap and realised he was looking at the sun rising over the horizon. We didn’t get lots of sleep that was for sure. Climbing the highest sand dune in Morocco was something else. Cheggaga it is called. And it is high. And the path is narrow and slippy. That’s me at the back as usual. Sand slips away from you right and left – though I don’t suppose it would hurt much if you fell. I found it a very emotional experience. I thought often of the young people I was doing it for – how most of them would have loved to be able to do what I was doing instead of sitting in a hospital ward attached to drips which were feeding powerful drugs into their young bodies to fight cancer cells. I look back on this trip with immense pride as my first real adventure.
In Number 1 spot is
The trek in Bhutan. Wow. To get to 4500m in the Himalayas is something I never, in a million years, thought I would do. Could do. And yet I did do. The peace that is Bhutan wraps itself around you. Friendly happy people looking after us. Beautiful stunning scenery surrounding us. Children in even the smallest villages wearing school uniform and walking miles to get to school. Brightly decorated houses (with, err some interesting designs. Look it up if you want more info!) and Dogs everywhere. I mean everywhere. It was very tough going and altitude sickness got to one of our trekkers big time. It was very cold at 4500m – our tent zip froze and all the tents had a layer of frost on them as we woke but oh my goodness what an amazing feeling standing at the base camp of Johmolhari –
I look forward with trepidation and pride to the physical challenges coming up in the next 18 months. Pedal for Paul in just seven weeks time, 5×50 challenge starting same day and then the Kilimanjaro trek in October 2013. You can push yourself to do things you wouldn’t otherwise contemplate. And hey, we are here only the once. Best make all you can of your time. I’d never heard of Bhutan before I trekked there. Kilimanjaro was a mountain I had read about but knew next to nothing really about it. And if in challenging myself I also raise funds for our charity so much the better. My body will thank me for getting fitter and our charity’s bank balance will thank me for raising the dosh!
(ps I saved up and paid for the challenges abroad myself – the only money I asked for was sponsorship and that went entirely to the charity I was fundraising for. I have already managed to save £1800 from car boot/gumtree/ebay sales towards my Kilimanjaro trek next year. )