3 Peaks, 24 hours, 34 fantastic people - the experience
This month I completed the 3 peaks challenge for Motor Neurone Disease, alongside 34 other Fitlifers.
The 3 Peaks challenge consists of climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon all in under 24 hours. This equaled 75k steps and 1200 floors (according to Fitbit!) It is a challenge not just for the body and your fitness, but certainly for your mind too!
I can't stop thinking about the experience, and how absolutely amazing it was. It was literally one of the best and one of the hardest things I have ever done.
Finishing it, injury free, and within the timeframe made me want to bow down to my body and thank it for pushing on up Scafell Pike, even though my knees were burning and the sun was beating down. For finding some strength to run down the final 15 minutes of Snowdon, and even managing to laugh most of the way!
Ben Nevis was the first test. And while I knew I was climbing a mountain, and I knew that it was going to be high, I honestly didn't realise how high it would be. The first hour of that walk was hard. Getting to realise the enormity of the task ahead was quite something, with the cloudy peak way, way out in the distance. Once my heart rate had settled it got... kind of easier. The top of Nevis was cold, snow cold, in the middle of June. Then going down my shoe lace came undone and I had to remove a glove to tie it back up. Getting a hand out in that cold cold weather turned it into a painful claw!
On the way up and down the mountain we chatted to each other, learning more and more about our mini bus family. Telling stories, jokes and sharing sweets.
It took 4 hours and 40 minutes to get us all off of the mountain and down to the mini buses.
Next up was Scafell Pike.
This was the shortest but the cruelest of the 3. The terrain was like huge, uneven steps. The sun was hot, the climb was sweaty. I rushed to the top as fast as I could just to get it over with, chasing after the speedy climber Charlotte all the way up!
But after reaching the top you then have the worst bit... the coming down. Coming down absolutely killed on the knees. Burning. It was the only one I thought that wow, I need to sit down. But we all pressed on. Nigel described Scafell Pike as relentless. And that it was. Not a rest break to be had. Just step after step.
Then we headed to snowdon.
It was dark when we reached snowdon and after a few good tunes in the mini bus we were all raring to go. Usher's Yeah is likely to get me in the mood for anything, even mountain climbing on no sleep! Head torches on, too many layers and our Fitlife Tees we headed off up into the mountain. Molly and I spoke most of the way about food, powered on by Jelly babies and the thoughts of brunch (and a good pep talk from Nigel) we found our way to the top. Snowdon felt very quiet as everyone was spread out, depending on their energy left in the tank. But I felt so safe, it was weird. I didn't even think that it was pitch black and we were walking close to the edges with no signal on our phones.
Weird things started to happen to me post Snowdon, which was the exhaustion I think. I was sure I saw a tortoise and a sheep. Both of which were rocks. I thought I saw a group of people, it was a collection of flower pots. Tiredness can do some funny things to you!
Running down the final hill on Snowdon (hurt less and got it done quicker!) meant that we got down with 27 minutes to spare of the 24 hours.
I feel so proud to say that I did it, and so glad to have made some great friends along the way.
If you ever get a chance to walk up and down those mountains, grab it. The scenery is... beautiful doesn't even cut it.
One more thing, I certainly will respect my body more than ever after this weekend. I will rest it when it tells me to, I will treat it with the love and respect it so deserves.
"Look after your body, it's the only place you have to live"