(all photos from hikes in Snowdonia 3 months ago)
Or should that be, “How to not prepare”?
Tomorrow, I shall be undertaking a challenge known as The Welsh 3000s. The challenge is to climb every peak in Wales over 3000ft, in under 24 hours. They thankfully all lie within Snowdonia, but it does mean you can walk or run between them all, and there are 14/15 peaks to climb. It’s nearly 30 miles of hiking in distance, and nearly 4000m of vertical ascent.
It’s not a challenge to be undertaken lightly.
Generally with such challenges, you start training a few months ahead, building up your endurance by running regularly, and also training on hills and rough terrain. You might look at changing your diet slightly, cutting out alcohol and eating healthily. You’d probably also undertake some strength training to improve your power and stability.
So how have I prepared? I have…drunk alcohol nearly every day from the end of May to the end of June (wedding and honeymoon); gone running sporadically (wedding planning, wedding and honeymoon definitely got in the way); eaten whatever food I’ve fancied (gelato, cheese and cured meats featured strongly on my menu), admittedly did about a week’s worth of hiking at altitude (thank god! something positive!) and spent a very long time sitting down in a car or at a desk. I have done no strength training to build up my leg muscles, work on my stability or improve my power. My knees, which have damaged cartilage and suffer from patellofemoral pain frequently are already crying in anticipation.
But, I’ve agreed to do it, and so I shall! I’ve been focusing on resting this week, hydrating and trying to get some sleep. We certainly won’t be getting any when we wake up at 4am on Saturday…
I have no idea how the day will go, there’s 3 of us undertaking the challenge – we have our route plotted out, our support vehicle points ready, snacks for days, litres of water, energy sachets and more. We have changes of clothes and shoes ready for us in the car if our outfits need changing due to mud/rain/chafing/sweat. In some ways we are prepared.
Equally I’m doing this with two guys (Dec and his best friend, Russ) who are much faster than I am. Back in April, Dec and I tried out some of the route, and I was struggling with my knees hurting. At this point, Dec turned around and said “maybe you should reconsider if you’re going to do this challenge”.
The words stung, and while I know he was concerned about the pain I was in, the timing wasn’t exactly perfect as we were in the middle of trying to train for the event! I asked him about his ambition, and he said he wanted to finish no matter what. I said my goal was to try, but my fear is that I will get left behind.
So this is what awaits me tomorrow. A super tough day out, that I’m not mentally or physically prepared for, and the possibility of being left behind if I’m not quick enough to keep up.
I’m hoping we all manage to help each other through, and help keep each others’ spirits high! This could be an absolutely amazing day out, and although we may be broken at the end, it would be incredible to say we’ve done it.
Keep your fingers crossed for us all tomorrow!