At the weekend, I climbed Snowdon and doing something like that makes you realise things about yourself that you kind of didn’t want to discover.
However, first I wanted to note before I write this blog post about me and my personal experience that we made the climb for Cancer Research UK, a well worthy charity to raise funds for, as so many people are affected by the disease every day. If you have a few spare pounds it would mean so much if you could donate – click here for our fundraising page.
While it was an incredible experience I came home feeling disappointed in myself. I should have been proud, and I was proud, super proud of everyone else who climbed the mountain with me. They did amazing.
I’d completed training, I know I’m not super fit, so I did incline walking on the treadmill and walks in my boots months before the big day – perhaps not as often as I should have maybe – and I was doing legs at the gym to strengthen them.
But I struggled. Really struggled. It wasn’t my breathing or even my muscles but I was suddenly struck down with the worse cramp I’ve ever experienced in my life, worse than that moment in bed when you wake up and you think ‘please just end it now’ when your leg hurts so much from it.
It was in my quads one minute then in my calves the next and between the two, my legs were nearly buckling from the pain.
There were around 16 of us and the rest of the group whizzed ahead at speeds I just couldn’t match with the pain in my legs, but luckily one of my colleagues hung back and coaxed me on until I reached the summit. I can only imagine how frustrating that must have been for him. I felt like a such a giant baby. I couldn’t thank him enough for helping me.
Every step I took was agony. As we got closer to the summit I wasn’t sure if I could actually do it. At one point I didn’t want to take another step. But I did make it to the top but I was in so much pain I couldn’t even feel relief. I was just so angry and so disappointed, in myself and my body and my negativity and how I just can’t seem to shut up and get on with it.
Most people know I’m a bit of a pessimist, I try and use my negativity in a funny way and most of the time people laugh but I wish I could have a positive influence sometimes and not be the sarcastic downer complaining about the situation.
So I thought after all this I would take some time to reflect on the positive moments of the trip, which is something I should have done at the time.
We headed to Wales on the Friday afternoon and the car journey there was one filled with positive vibes, rude car games and an eventful toilet trip which I think we’ll still be giggling about in the future.
It took 6 hours to get there due to traffic and changing routes but we were having such a laugh in the car it really didn’t matter, Hannah who was driving even popped some mini Proseccos in the drink holders and we sipped those and ate snacks all the way.
When we reached the hotel we immediately threw our bags into our rooms and the hotel had left a little box of Lindt chocolates and a note saying ‘Good Luck Team Zazzle’, which I thought was really sweet and kind.
The rest of the evening was spent drinking wine (I only had two glasses while everyone else hit the alcohol a lot harder!) and playing pool. My room buddy and I headed up at around midnight to get some sleep while others stayed up until 4!
When we got up in the morning and went down to breakfast lots of people were already there, looking a little worse for wear from the night before and a few hours sleep but once we were outside the hotel in all our gear everyone was raring to go. It was drizzly but that wasn’t going to stop us.
The first bit of the climb wasn’t even on the mountain and I think it made me panic. It was so steep, like using every muscle in your thighs steep to get up but we all got there, panting and all looking a little shocked but I think it kind of made everyone more determined.
As we climbed, even with all the hill fog, the views were incredible. Like something out of LOTR on a grey day. We were one of very few groups at that time as well, so there were no queues or scrambling to get out of people’s way.
My walking boots were a good choice, despite the pain in my legs my feet were pretty comfy. I’d also done well with my clothing and the many layers I wore were keeping me warm without a coat.
Looking back on where we had come from was super satisfying, we were covering ground fast and reached the halfway point in just under an hour and half.
The first proper steep climb was where I began to struggle but when I reached everyone at the top they cheered. I inwardly took it badly, it made me feel like a failure being the last one but I should have accepted it and acknowledged it was everyone’s way of encouraging and supporting me.
I’m not sure when everyone suddenly went ahead I found myself lagging behind by about 15 minutes but everyone who passed me and Richard was encouraging, was telling me it was only 10 minutes to get to the top, that it would be worth it and Richard was encouraging, patient and told me stories all the way to try and distract me from the pain.
When we finally reached the summit we had a group picture and I was worried they wouldn’t wait to take one with me but they did. I made an effort to smile in it.
A stranger noticed I had cramp and told me to eat some ready salted crisps and drink plenty of water, advice I took and felt much better for.
Coming down the mountain felt very long but was much easier and I was in a slightly bigger group – although I was one of the last to get down of course.
It took 4 1/2 hours altogether when on average it takes most people between 5-6 and we took 29,000 steps!
This was my Fitbit at the end of the day.
But ultimately…we climbed it! We reached the top!
In my mood on Saturday I said I’d never do it again but looking back I think I would. I’d simply allow myself the whole day to get up and down, take my time and sit and rest regularly and take in the scenery all around.
I should have remained positive, taken in the happy vibes from my colleagues and pushed myself more. Climbing Snowdon has taught me a lesson, to stop being a downer and to think before I speak because when I’m feeling negative I say things I don’t mean.
However, it does confirm my lack of self confidence. As soon as I started struggling I hated myself, a voice in my head told me it knew I was going to fail, that I wasn’t good enough. It told me I was pathetic, that everyone thought I was stupid for even trying to climb the mountain.I need to block it out, it holds me back a lot.
I’m dealing with really sore and tight calf muscles now but I should be grateful that my legs, for all their faults, carried me to the top and back down again.