Friday, 1 January 2016

One complete year of suffering! (A photo summary!)

It's fair to say it has been a rather epic year!  After Dad's good news in January, I decided to raise some money for Orchid, a male cancer charity.  I never imagined I would raise almost £3000; thank you so much to everyone who has sponsored me!!  I really am grateful!!

(If you've been meaning to, but never got round to it, it isn't too late!  You can still sponsor me at for a few weeks more.)

Flicking back through photos from 2015, it's hard to believe I have done quite so much!  I think I've only had about 2 or 3 weekends at home doing nothing all year.  I've either been away having adventures, racing, or at work!

January started with an incredible trip to climb Mount Kenya

S. W. Ridge on Neilion, Mount Kenya

The summit of Mount Kenya!

February included 2 awesome weekends of winter climbing in Scotland with Tom!  Crowberry Gully on the Buchaille, and then Route Major on Carn Etchachan

Scotland in sunshine (it's not the Alps, I promise!)

Crowberry Gully, Buchaille.

Route Major, Carn Etchachan

Back at the car with one BIG grin!

March came along with my first 'challenge'; the Island Race, a half marathon on Anglesey.
Nikki & Nicky!  Post-race... looking good :s

April started with a long weekend in the North West of Scotland (unfortunately winter evaded us...), before a quick trip to Paris for my first marathon.  Slower than hoped, but still good fun!

Easter weekend hit to Ullapool

Mandatory sight-seeing.

The only photo Tom managed to get of me...

May had me racing Slateman (challenge number three...) in rather disappointing form!  At the end of May we had a road-trip to the Orkney Islands to climb the Old Man of Hoy (challenge number four). Hoy was stunning, and I was fortunate enough to return again in September!

Getting ready to start Slateman.

Heather and the Old Man!

Disappearing into a sandy chimney... eurgh!

TEAM!  (Me, Tom, Heather & Johnny)

A speedy descent before darkness encroached.

My idea of heaven.  The bothy at Rackwick, Hoy.

June was when the suffering really began!  I cycled most of (less 50 miles) Land's End to John O'Groats over 7 days (after a set of night shifts! Challenge number five).  Unfortunately I stopped 50 miles before the end due to bad D&V.  Two weeks later, fully recovered and recharged I got back on my bike to Everest Froggatt! (challenge number six)

Day 1...

Day 2; still clean and happy.

Day 4; the father-in-law joined in for a few miles too!

Day 6; company appreciated! (a.k.a a wind-break!)

Day 8; back to Sheffield, broken!

Everesting, early on, still smiling.

Sunrise the next morning. Yawn...

I did it!  Hahahah! (Cue euphoria and bouncing around on pedals)

July saw me completing another ironman-distance triathlon (the Cotswold 226), and knocking a whole 2 hours off the previous year's time! This was challenge number seven.  Challenge number eight should have seen me climbing the matterhorn, but a warm summer meant it was closed due to rock fall.  We did a few other routes instead (and I had a rest!!)

A wet bike through the Cotswolds on the 226

Post-race with my rather proud Dad!

The Allalinhorn, my first alpine 4000m mountain (having faced my crevasse fear...)

The Jeginhorn, Switzerland.

August was a relatively quiet month, as I rotated jobs (away from a nice easy rota, to a rather more full-on one!), but I did do my first race in orange with TnT, a tri club I've trained with a bit over the last 2 years, and won my age group in the standard distance race; a first for me!

The Orange Army!!

September, and despite the new rota, the challenges continued!  Challenge number nine was the Inch-by-Inch swim-run race in Loch Lomond; certainly an interesting experience.  Whilst in Scotland I used the opportunity to re-do the last day of LEJOG from Inverness to John O'Groats (phew!!), then spent a few days of pure bliss exploring Orkney and Hoy on my bike.

Swim-running... We finished, that's something!!

Relieved to have finished the job! @ John O'Groats!

October; a bit late in the year for a 9 mile lake swim maybe??  Nah!!!!  I swam the length of Ullswater for challenge number ten.  It was a great day, with good weather and beautiful surroundings!

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Tired?  Just a bit!

November saw me try one of my more foolish ideas; running 7 marathons along the Thames path over 7 days.  Unfortunately my legs said no, and I stopped after 4 days with a bad calf strain.  Still great fun with Pippa, Bee and Duncan!  Challenge number eleven... not so successful!

The source of the Thames, in Kemble.

December, and challenge number twelve was equally frustrating!  I tried to run my first ultra; a hilly 38 miles in the Lake District.  I messed up on eating, and retired from the race at a disappointing 19 miles.  I enjoyed the half that I had run, and have certainly learnt a lot!

So, a rather crazy year!!!  Which would not have been possible without the support from all of my family and friends.  In particular, my husband Tom has been great at supporting me (especially when it's been nice weather and he could have been climbing instead!) throughout all of my challenges.  I have met lots of new and interesting people, and made some really good friends in the process!

2016 won't be about crazy challenges!  I'm sure I'll still be doing lots of similarly challenging things, but hopefully on a slightly less insane scale.  We're moving to Chamonix in February for 6 months, and I'm really looking forward to relaxing, skiing, and trying to focus my triathlon training a bit more!