My quadrathlon fears loom large


Eights weeks to go – and I am suddenly feeling anxious

Several weeks ago I walked seven Munros in one day on the South Glen Shiel Ridge. It was a day of glorious sunshine and fabulous views and although I felt tired by the end of the 16.5-mile hike, I didn’t feel completely exhausted.

However, when my partner – and team member in the forthcoming Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon – told me the total ascent of the Munros ridge I felt my knees go weak and my head spin.

Gordon had checked the total ascent of the seven Munros included in the Quadrathlon route in Perthshire and discovered that the ascent was almost 650 metres more than the Glen Shiel walk. I was stunned.

How on earth would I be able to swim 0.8 miles, walk the seven mountains over 15 miles and a total ascent of 2,465m, then kayak seven miles and cycle 34 miles? I suddenly felt anxious and utterly daunted by the event that we had willingly signed up for.

Since then Gordon and I have added another three-Munro day and a two-Munro day to our walking legs. We have been swimming once a week (it should be twice) and we cycle our mountain bikes and road bikes as often as possible.

noname-16 Gordon has also managed another two-Munros outing and I have been up and down our local hill, Dumgoyne, a few times. I also run with the dog when I can.

We haven’t even thought about the kayaking section although we know we must do a practice before the big day.

Fears and concerns

And so our anxieties go round and round in circles. While I worry about the Munros in the quadrathlon, Gordon fears the bike ride and the swim. Then, as I feel a little more confident about the walking section, he suddenly becomes concerned about his “dodgy” ankle.

Last weekend I rode the new Etape Loch Ness and enjoyed the 67-mile circuit of the famous loch. I came home 21st lady and felt strong. Another outcome, however, was a sore hamstring. This old injury has decided to reappear just as I am hoping to feel super-fit. Gordon has increasing nerves about swimming the 0.8 miles, while I hate open water temperatures and worry about being attacked by “creepy things” in the water. Neither of us mentions the kayaking. We both seem to have blanked it out. In just eight weeks, Gordon and I are fully expecting to be broken by the quadrathlon on 12 July. But we are still hoping to make progress.

The problem is that work and family life get in the way. Then there is the weather (not often favourable) and the four disciplines to train for. Last year I trained for the world age group triathlon championships and I thought that three sports were enough. For some reason I have decided to add another one – for luck, perhaps.

The training continues

Gordon and I have tried to sync our diaries. We have a few weekends of multiple Munro summits planned. One weekend is a birthday “treat” of Munro bagging. We are taking days off to climb and I have signed up for another cycle sportive to make sure I have riding muscles in my legs. Soon we will both add swimming at Loch Ard to our weekly sports. (I am still not quite brave enough to deal with the cold water). We will also ask a friend to lend us a kayak so that we can test out our double kayaking co-ordination.

I know there is not enough time to become fit enough to feel good throughout the quadrathlon but we hope to cope. We want to finish the event and not collapse halfway.

However, it is still a daunting thought. What if the weather is cold and wet?  What if Gordon’s ankle fails him? What if I become  cold/scared in the Loch Tay swim?  What if we find we can’t kayak together? What if we are too exhausted to make our legs pedal the final bike section?

From previous racing experience I know I am good at getting on with adversity but I have never raced so far or for so long before. Adversity during a two-hour triathlon or a three-and-a-half hour marathon is nothing compared to the long, long day of four sports that we will face in July.

Many previous competitors have told us it was the hardest challenge they have ever done. But they all praised its rewards. Perhaps the best thing I can do is keep plodding away at the training and focus on dreaming about the finish line and the money we’ll be raising for two great causes, Mercy Corps and Mary’s Meals.

If you want to help us with this challenge please do give a little to our fundraising efforts – and join us when we train/walk our Munros.

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