Another week closer to ‘D’ day :-(, only 4 weeks to go and the last email from Adventure Peaks came through this week with all of the final details. Itinerary, flight details, equipment checklists, admin details and medical / emergency insights – all printed out ready for my laser like attention to detail….. think I will find someone else to read them too!
The 3 flights out carrying or wearing my big boots should be a joy, can’t wait to walk around Charles de Gaulle Airport with them on!! The section on HAPE and HACE (High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema or Cerebral Oedema) was a bit of a wakeup call too – just reminding myself that getting up isn’t as important as getting back safely!
One of the things exercising my mind this week, apart from the constant refrain of “am I physically fit enough and strong enough” is whether I am mentally fit enough and strong enough! Like any challenge, the mental rigour required to endure hardship, setbacks and extreme circumstances are probably more important than the physical ability. The body is an incredible tool, it will pretty well do anything we want it to, as long as the mind stays tough and focussed. I started upping the physical training back in May – and have been consciously working on my mental ability at the same time. I have continued to pursue the art of mindfulness using the Headspace app I have mentioned before. Whilst I don’t profess to be an expert in any way, I am getting better at being able to stay in the moment, recognise when my mind is wandering and try and hold myself to account for my thoughts and feelings. I am definitely better able to focus on my trudging steps (rather than burning lungs or legs) and to stay focussed on what I am trying to achieve. I have also been working really hard on being grateful and the ability to be appreciative in the moment – sorely tested in the wet and the rain, but a breakthrough nonetheless. I need to find ways of always being grateful and thinking ‘lucky me’…… when I am struggling up a scree slope, freezing in my tent at night, trying to defrost snow, eating another awful freeze dried meal or trying to pick up my poo at -30 degrees in the dark. 🙂
I have also dipped into the philosophy of stoicism and found it really helpful and enlightening. The teachings of Seneca or Marcus Aurelius have offered some great insights, at its heart I am holding onto “want less and appreciate that there is always someone in a worse situation.”
So as the countdown continues I am donning my ‘mental trainers’ as often as I am donning my boots and rucksack!
Onwards and upwards! 🙂