It was back in July of this year that I participated in and completed the Iceland Trek. I signed up in August last year, thinking that I had plenty of time to get my act together. How wrong I was – the time flew by!
I began training in February this year, beginning with small 30-minute walks, a couple of mornings a week. This progressed, and before I knew it, I was walking for hours at a time. I had taken it easy, progressing and building sensibly, sticking (in a way) to the fitness plan.
The week prior to the event I had contact from Beat, ensuring I was prepared, asking of any concerns or questions. On the morning of the departure, I felt incredibly nervous, yet excited too. I think it was trepidation of the unknown. How would I cope in a new environment? How would I cope with strangers? Was I prepared for this? I actually didn't feel ready for it at all.
A long transfer from the airport to our first base awaited us; this gave me chance to finally meet some of my fellow Trekkers. I felt at ease and comfortable as soon as I arrived at camp and met my "buddy". I was lucky – we shared a lot in common and got on right from the beginning!
The first day wasn't too bad, just cold, and I thought "one day down, two to go..."
The weather was totally unpredictable. Sunglasses out one minute, waterproofs and gloves the next. (Literally!) During tough moments I kept my head down and my eye on the prize: the finishing line and all that I'd trained and fundraised for. During the lighter moments, my head was up and I was able to take in and absorb the Icelandic landscape, stunning scenery that I can't put into words, really. Volcanic land, mountains, geysers, and snow-capped mountains – utterly breathtaking.
Tents were pitched at the end of the day and we came together as a group to discuss the day and each other’s lives, share stories and laughs, and compare blisters. After warm drinks, snacks and really good food, we resigned ourselves to a heavy sleep to rest our bodies in preparation to do it all again the following morning.
From beginning to end it was a complete team effort, helping each other pitch and dismantle tents (not fun in the wind and rain!), clearing the table after food, a brilliant team that provided really tasty meals and the guides and my fellow Trekkers offering help when in sticky situations, sharing plasters or distracting us when it got a little tough. We were with each other every step of the way.
My reward at the end was seeing the finishing point. I can't describe how proud of myself I felt for completing the route. We then got the coach back to our hotel for the night. (It felt like luxury and it was so nice to not have to pitch a tent!) The final night we got ready for a night in the town and sampled fine food at the local restaurant. Some went back to the hotel; others ventured out.
The following morning, myself and my buddy decided to walk and explore the capital before heading for the Blue Lagoon. We found a lovely coffee shop and walked around the local stores and the harbour. Beautiful weather made it all the better. Do this if you have time and your feet are not too sore!
I learned that I could cope in an unknown environment, change my routine, and push myself when I needed to. I signed up in the hope that it would provide me with a sense of achievement if I saw it through. It certainly did that, and I have a lot to thank myself and my body for.
Kelly answers some more questions about her fundraising here.