My friends had taken part in the Macmillan Jurassic Mighty Hike in 2018 and after hearing their stories about the event I wished that I had taken part with them. Fast forward to 2019 and lo and behold I had entered myself for this years hike.
So you may know from some of my previous posts that I have had some struggles with my mental health, namely anxiety and depression and I’m still on medication for it. When someone is dealing with these issues why on earth would they think that it’s a good idea to set themselves the enormous challenge of taking part in the Macmillan Jurassic Mighty Hike??! You see, in December it took all of my energy just to get myself dressed so how could I possibly go from that to hiking 26 miles along the Jurassic Coast, in the space of six months?
The Build up to the Hike
In the week leading up to the hike I was in a foul mood, I felt completely drained and I was finding it hard to breathe. For me, one of the causes of this mood was the pressure of having to raise £250 for Macmillan….my Just Giving page was creeping slowly up to £50 with a week to go…..at this point I could have quite easily cancelled….but as luck would have it, a beautiful old friend of mine donated a large amount so I was now over the minimum donation requirement, that was one less stress factor for me.
We arrive in Weymouth on the Friday night and I am anxious, all I want to do is get into bed but it takes me a while to go to sleep as I’m still shallow breathing.
The Hike Begins…
From this point I’m going to go through some of the battles in my head with you in the form of a conversation. Anything that is written in speech marks is the conversation that I was having with myself…
Saturday morning arrives, we check in and register and it starts raining…... ‘oh no I’m wearing the wrong shoes, I’ve only got one pair of socks, my waterproof is too thin, do I wear a jumper underneath, but that might get wet and then I’ll get cold, if I wear my waterproof it will cover up my event number and I’ll get disqualified…’
Warm up done and off we go, I’m still shallow breathing…..first hill....’breathe properly Sophie, breathe properly…..no….but now you’ve made it to the top….ooh there’s a long queue of people….phew, that means we can have a bit of a rest…..oh no, now you’re starting to get cold, you might get hypothermia….’
Finally through the gate and off again.….’oh no, another hill…made it to the top….now down a steep bit and up another hill…..First pit stop…AWESOME!! I need some food, I’ll have crisps, 2 Freddos, a bag of trail mix, an Alpen Bar and a bag of Skittles, oh and a cup of tea before we set off again…..’
From the first pit stop the hike then got brutal, the wind had really increased and would knock you off your feet. However, the scenary was stunning and only five more miles until lunch. We arrive at Durdle Door, have our picture taken and there’s a sign that says lunch this way. By now now I was feeling really tired and my legs were weak. I followed the signs to the marquee and it just kept going on and on for ages, I had a complete sense of humour bypass. Eventually I made it to the lunch tent. Suddenly I really didn’t feel like eating any food but I thought that I really should. I went to make myself and my friend a cup of tea….I picked up a packet of sugar and poured it into my tea….picked up another packet of sugar….and poured it into the bin….I knew then that I was exhausted and something wasn’t right….
From Durdle Door we walked down to Lulworth Cove….and then walk across the pebble beach…..‘my legs feel like jelly…..still can’t breathe….Breathe properly you’ll feel better…..nope not happening….phew, we reached the end of the pebbles, now to start walking up the steps….ooh I need to sit down…right Sophie, get up and start walking….oh now I feel a bit funny, take your bag off and sit down….have some water….ooh I feel sick….breathe Sophie breathe, don’t be sick…..nope it’s coming up….🤮’
Yes that’s right, I barfed up my lunch in front of everyone who was walking up the hill….#mortified
Strangely, after seeing the contents of my lunch again, I started to feel a bit better so I began walking again….a few steps at a time then stopped to catch my breath. Eventually I reached the top and phoned my friends who stopped and waited for me to catch up.
Luckily from that point on the hike went more in land and it became flatter. This was the best thing that could have happened to me and I was able to keep plodding. I actually didn’t have anymore head battles.
Finally, at 9.45pm, 12 hours after starting we get the finish line in sight, it’s only ‘in sight’ mind you and we had to walk another mile through some woods before we actually made it to the finish line. Someone hands you a medal and glass of Prosecco and you feel amazing, so proud of yourself for overcoming those mental battles.
So lets answer the question ‘Should someone with anxiety attempt the Jurassic Mighty Hike?’
I would say absolutely YES!!! It was definitely not a walk in the park (pardon the pun) and I could have really done without the vomiting incident. I should have lost more weight beforehand and I should definitely have done some training then I may not have had to overcome s many battles in my head. One of the things that made me keep going was the fact that people had donated so generously, so strangely, the thing that had caused me the most anxiety beforehand actually helped me to reach the finish.
What should this tell other people who are struggling with their mental health?? I’ll tell you what…..it tells you that you can still achieve great things and push yourself out of your comfort zone and you will survive….
COME ON FELLOW ANXIETY SUFFERERS! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!