In August 2017 I am going to walk over 500 miles around the perimeter of the Scottish Highlands in a goal time of 30 days. I will be taking on the majority of this route alone, mostly wild camping and carrying my kit and my food on my back. My plan is to track the road route as closely as I can of the North Coast 500 starting and ending in Inverness. From what I can find and the people I have spoken to this route has never been completed on foot.
The NC500 is a scenic drive around the coast of the Scottish Highlands launched in 2015 and was billed as Scotland's answer to Route 66, a romantic notion I fell for hook, line and sinker. Since then it has become my pipe dream and something I revisit the idea of every time I start itching for an adventure. If it was something that already existed I may have embarked on this adventure already but until I started reading about a huge variety of female adventurers (try this article for a wee taster) I never would have dreamed of going it alone or that it was even possible. Even after reading about them it has taken me a while to get to this point where I am announcing my plans to the world. What finally got me to give in to my ambition was the realisation that all these women have one thing in common, they are just normal people that one day decided to do something out the ordinary. It is these women that have inspired me, they have powered me into this journey. I am Girl Powered and I want to inspire other women to #begirlpowered
I don't have it all planned out yet and I'm honestly very scared but if I don't give it shot then I'll never know if I could do it and surely that's worse than never trying something at all.
I'l be updating this blog as my planning and training progresses, if anyone has any suggestions or advice then please do get in touch.
PB Alert PB Alert PB Alert. Elated to say that today I took part in the St. Helens 10k and manged a PB of 53.50 shaving off almost 5 minutes from my previous PB of 58.49.
This PB is even more shocking to me given the horrendous weather, the race elevation and my recent flare up of my dreaded runners knee. The rain was torrential , I like running in the rain but not like this, it was driving and by the time I finished you would have thought there was a swim section to the race I was so wet.
I had looked up the route when I signed up to the race and saw it went up a notorious hill, North Road in the town centre, but I didn't dwell on it. Then I saw a friend on a night out a London Marathon completer who told me it was the hardest 10k they have ever done and thats when the dread kicked in. In the end actually I didn't hate the route as much as I thought I would. North Road although was initially tough I tackled it well, in long strides I strode up it and with the promise of my friends at the top it got me through. When I reached the top of the hill I thought that was it but what I hadn't realised was that when we got to the bottom at the other side we where then going to snake back up and down this hill for around the next 5km as the path lapped a local park. I had to quickly make a decision about my race strategy, I slowed my pace down the hill and kept some energy in the tank rather than going full pelt downhill. During these undulating hills I realised something, I am passing more people on hills than I am anywhere else on the course, this is my strength and I must use it. I adapted my strategy to suit this and I think it really worked for me.
I constantly worried my knee was going to give out at any point and on some of the downhills it stared to twinge adding to my thought process that I am stronger on the uphills. I did get a wrench down one of the hills causing me to shout fuck at the top of my lungs so I slowed and concentrated on engaging my core and pronouncing my stride correctly. The pain subsided and I was able to carry on.
The support of my friends in this race was invaluable and I wouldn't have got through without them. Thanks to all the girls stood on the sidelines screaming and shouting giving me an energy boost. Hannah, Sarah and Helen taking part in their first event and inspiring me to keep going. Then Becky who I ran along with for spurring me on and giving me a pace I could set to. Those ladies today made me Girl Powered.