Three years ago I was at the top of the Drolma La Pass on the Mount Kailash Kora in Tibet. At 5660m it was the high point, in more ways than one, of an amazing trip with great friends. In three weeks time I will be on a new adventure; running across Iceland. Hiking the Mount Kailash Kora was hard work and Iceland will be even harder but at least there will be more oxygen in the air there!
Read more about my Tibetan adventure here.
Travel Past and Future
I have been incredibly lucky in my life so far to have travelled to some wonderful countries. Meeting interesting people and seeing sights on foot, by bike or from a boat which are so easily missed when stuck inside the confines of a resort.
Cycling through the colourful landscapes of Kerala in Southern India and Cuba, kayaking through the Kong Lor Cave in Laos and amongst the limestone karsts of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and hiking in Tibet and Nepal are real highlights of my life. Experiencing the vibrancy of another culture and soaking up new landscapes really pushes my buttons.
Iceland is going to be one amazing experience. We are now reaching the final points in our planning and training. Sadly, one person has had to leave the trip which means four of us will be heading out for our epic 400 mile run. Sophie, whose idea this crazy trip was, Steph, who has become my early morning training partner and go to person for weird exchanges of information, Ruben, who will be flying from Norway to join us and little ol’ me!
Making it to the start line
So now the big aim is to make it to the start line, with all the gear we need and in good health. Steph and I both picked up annoying injuries in the last few weeks but both seem to be recovering. We headed out on a 30 mile run with Sophie last weekend, in the blazing heat. It was a bit of a gear (and legs) test but we all coped pretty well with heavy packs in relentless sunshine.
The run did illustrate just how difficult it will be to haul on those heavy packs and run day after day in Iceland. For a couple of days after our 30 miler my back and shoulders ached. Well, my whole body ached but they ached the most! When in Iceland our packs will weigh even more than they did that day and we will be spending the nights trying to sleep in bivy bags on the ground. It really brings home just how much we will all have to use mind over matter when we are out there.
A few people have mentioned that our trip could be a little *whispers* dangerous. My feel is that every trip has its dangers, in fact every time I step out of the door for a run there is danger. All we can do is try our hardest to be prepared.
A couple of us have purchased Spot Gen3 personal locator beacons, which will transmit our location via satellite. They also have an emergency text feature to alert search and rescue if needed. Steph is also plotting and sending our route to the Icelandic search and rescue service…just so they know where we are.
We will have to cross a fair few rivers and these could be tricky at times. But we are having some river crossing training from a friend and I have bought some fancy new walking/running poles to help (these will also help with my legs when I feel broken!).
Packing a sense of humour
I will be putting a kit list up here before I leave but have to say one of the most important things we all need to take is a sense of humour!
One of the best things about us meeting for our run last weekend was the laughter. The ability to joke about all the hard times Iceland is going to throw at us and laugh at any misfortunes will be an essential tool in getting through this trip.
In my last blog post I talked about positivity. I truly feel we choose the positivity in our lives and a lot of that comes from who we surround ourselves with. I make a choice to surround myself with positive people; those who bring happiness to my life with their outlook. Luckily, my teammates all seem to have a great outlook on life and I’m looking forward to spending more time with them.
With regards to other kit; I seem to spend every spare moment researching each and every thing I’m going to be taking. Sometimes I end up buying nothing and walking away from the computer have gone round in review and shopping site circles for hours. At other times I commit and click ‘buy now’ whilst fervently hoping I have made the right choice.
The countdown to Iceland begins
So this is it, the countdown has begun. In just three weeks time we will be on Icelandic soil and heading towards our start point. Each day from now the expectation and nerves will grow. Each day will need to count in some way in order for me to be ready in time. As I write now messages are pinging in from teammates about insurance. Another one to add to the shopping list!
We are so close now…let’s do this!!!