Luckily for me however I found out that my trek could still go ahead so despite experiencing sadness for the Sherpa community I was happy I could still go to base camp as planned. I was relaxed despite the event that had already transpired and my normally highly stressed mother was cool as a cucumber knowing I was still going. Fast forward a few more days however and I hear of 2 more avalanches on the mountain, protests in Kathmandu and plenty of hiking adventurers stuck at Base Camp. I won't lie this news, of further avalanches, got me quite scared and physically sick with chest pain.
My thoughts of this long term goal had immediately changed. My initial reaction when thinking about what to do was to cry and be ok that the goal was over for now. But then my travel agent told me that my hike was still going ahead, this time I didn't get any excitement I was just afraid, worried and highly anxious. I pride myself on being mentally tough but I couldn't overcome this gut feeling that I shouldn't travel to Nepal. I cannot explain how I got to this I just did. It was a weird thought for me, to get up early in the mornings, travel to mountains, work hard at the gym, change your diet and the rest to then put my dream turned goal to bed. I wanted to be excited but I couldn't. I spoke to my travel agent and she said just wait and see how you feel when you get your papers, I didn't think I would feel any different. Then I got my papers.
I saw my VISA and my excitement came back. Nerves, which never left, were there too but with excitement. I smiled about my trip for the first time in a couple of weeks. It was a good feeling. Then 6 days out from leaving for Nepal still a little apprehensive but a bit excited too I prayed to be shown any sign or indication that I should or shouldn't follow through with the hike. Maintaining excitement I completed a 10km run the Saturday night (3rd May) which was very relaxed and enjoyable but not long after completing it I was coughing and splattering on my recliner and in chest pain that brought me to tears, at night I got nightmares of plane crashes and burning to death- it wasn't nice. Still, determined to make sure Everest would be happening I decided to go for a peaceful slow walk for about a kilometre from my parents place to a local fishing event, throughout this walk and upon finishing it I felt terrible. Tight in the chest, stabbing pains and I could only sleep flat on my back. Staying in a house on my own was a blessing because talking out loud meant that I had to be ok with cancelling a trip I have trained 18 months for. But on Monday 5 May I cancelled my trip to Mount Everest. How I feel can only be described as both a relief and a 'lull,' my mind is sort of blank. I imagine how I feel is like how a professional athlete feels when they have to pull themselves out of a competition because of an injury and they don't really want to. But I know that there is plenty of positives to gain from what I have been working on, my fitness hasn't gone anywhere, not has my preparation, my mindset is still strong, though I have learnt plenty about further training I would do for extreme climates, Mt Everest is not moving (other than by about 4mm each year to greater heights). I haven't lost anything. What's more there is something bigger to learn and gain from this.
For several years I have had dear friends talk to me about my attitude towards fitness, I have spoken about it before, that I know I have a 'switch' if you like whereby if I let my fitness passion get too far I can make fitness become my whole life to the point where I am sleep deprived, unhealthy and almost devoid of friendly attention. The biggest thing my closest friends have always said to me is that I needed to learn about REST. So in this same post I'm going to address this most important topic.
As you probably know life is a race, a hurry, a challenge, a competition. Whether we are privy to it or not we are all in this 'hunger games' race to juggle the compartments of life in a way that appears to outsmart the other. We are almost searching for the best way to win the 'game'- how does she do it? How does he do it? Why can't I do it? So much so that we forget about the mentality of loving life rather than competing for it.
Mt Everest was a goal I was going to complete successfully, and I will in due course there is no doubt about it. It was also a goal that rendered no less than 25 hours a week exercise in the gym, approximately 12 hours of hiking (minimum), a lot of hours reading (especially in initial stages) to understand the demands on the body, the nutritional requirements for the body at high altitudes and over long time frames and a lot of money. I do not regret training one bit, I loved every minute of it all but what is the point if you go away and your mindset isn't right or your potentially so anxious you've made yourself physically sick? There is no point. If there is one thing I know about myself it is this: I struggle to know how to rest and it is about time I learnt. So now on May 10 the day I am meant to be in Lukla beginning my ascent to Mt Everest via Namache Bazaar I am in a little coastal town in Queensland chilling out, taking exercise very slow and listening to my body. The chest pain has slowed but still there & I am now looking at a relaxing holiday in Melbourne to enjoy the cold, culture and the lovely Great Ocean Road to celebrate a long journey of effort. Switzerland and Europe is booked for Christmas for 6weeks and I'm ready to attack some Alps in the freezing cold where again I'll be in my element. Mt Everest will happen again but for now I'm looking after me.
Thanks for being patient for the post. Will write soon :)