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Errigal, Twice in One Day!

Iain Miller DonegalSpending the Halloween bank holiday up a mountain leaves you feeling rather smug. While the majority of people lay in the foetal position after a weekend of festivities, Iain Miller from Unique Ascent, Ian Parke (my other half) and I donned our hiking boots and threw ourselves up Errigal. Twice.
For those unaware, I am currently training ahead of my biggest challenge to date. I aim to climb four of Ireland’s best known mountains in less than 24 hours (in 2018) and that training involved doing something I have never done before; climbing Donegal’s highest peak, Mt. Errigal, twice in one day.
We were blessed with good weather during the first climb. The sun was warm and inviting which made the trek quite pleasant. The guys happily chatted which meant I didn’t have to talk. This stopped me becoming short of breath which actually helped quite a bit! We flew up and took a moment to appreciate the views at the top before beginning our descent. I was pleased with our timings during climb one. We made it up in just over an hour which, for me, is good!

resize IanErrigalRound2.resizeClimb two was less straight forward. The weather changed from sunshine to thick mist and high winds making the climb more challenging. We were also battling fatigue, well, I was at least. Iain seemed happy to trek indefinitely. I swear, I don’t know where that man gets his energy! My right leg began to tire about half way up the second climb which was difficult to ‘put up with’. When your body tires before your mind it can be a frustrating experience as you genuinely want to keep up the pace but simply can’t. I like to play little games when this happens to distract myself. During one of the climbs we spotted a young guy coming up behind us moving with the ease of a Gazelle! I decided that I wasn’t going to slow down enough for him to catch up to us. He was my motivation without even knowing it.
Reaching the carpark after the second climb was a delicious moment. Dragging my weary body into my car and sitting down felt amazing. Using wipes to clean my hands and catching the familiar scent of cucumber made me feel instantly cleaner than I had felt moments before and it is those moments I enjoy the most when climbing. The small Nikki Iain Errigal2things suddenly feel like big things and you find yourself weeping with happiness! (Slight exaggeration) I genuinely enjoy doing things that test me because it makes the ‘ordinary’ feel extraordinary. Some of you reading this will know what I mean. For those who don’t I suggest you sign up to something that, on the surface, seems like a bit of a nightmare. 5k, marathon or Ironman. Whatever your poison. Do me a favour, get in touch afterwards and tell me how you felt when you crossed the finish line. I can almost guarantee it will be great! Even if the actual race/event doesn’t go according to plan, simply knowing you did your best and completed something you didn’t think you could, will be enough to make you feel amazeballs! I am fully aware that what I am planning to do, climbing four mountain peaks, on crutches, in 24 hours, will be the least fun thing I do next summer, however..
That feeling at the end will be worth it!

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