Anna Firth’s Journey
Anna first came to me a couple of months ago where she was in full swing for training for an expedition to climb Mont Blanc. The start of her journey had been way back in December where she had decided to start shedding some weight for the trip. By herself she managed to lose a few kilos however following this began to struggle, she decided to contact the BBG to help her continue her weight loss. With the help of Jason and a few other trainers she managed to lose a further 5kgs.
When I joined BBG in June Anna was well into her weight loss and training, however the new thought of adaptation soon entered her mind realising the need for specific training techniques were now necessary to prepare her in the best possible way to complete the 3000m climb. At the beginning of July we were paired up to begin this specific training schedule. Anna was walking hilly climbs most days of the week in the Kent countryside however, coming into BBG twice a week I began to challenge aspects of her training she hadn’t quite conquered. First we introduced a backpack heavier than the one she was to expect on the actual trip, this would provide an overload to her training and make the actual hike easier. In addition we recreated aspects such as rocky climbs and long hard uphill slogs. Each session Anna was getting stronger and fitter achieving PB’s every week.
In addition to this help I was able to educate and inform her around nutrition and what her preparation needed. She needed to prepare for the acclimatisation during the first few days of the expedition as this would be difficult and she needed nutritious, calorie dense food. We went through all the options that were available to her and ensured that she was prepared with such foods as carbohydrate gels. The trick with hikes is to get the most nutritious and calorie dense foods possible without weighing yourself down, which can often prove tricky. I also told Anna about a few supplements such as spralina which has been shown to help improve blood circulation, something that would come in useful for her when her climbing becomes reliant on the continuous supply of oxygenated blood.
So after doing everything we could to prepare Anna the time had come for her to attempt the trip of a lifetime, but just as the last arrangements were made disaster struck and Anna’s husband failed on his blood haemoglobin levels and was refused to exit the country and participate. Shaken but not stirred, Anna vowed to go and make her husband proud by taking lead of his group and proceeded with the trip. However, disaster struck again after her 2km acclimatisation climb, the night before they due were to climb the last 1km to the top of the summit a nasty storm had blown in and made conditions too dangerous to climb. Anna’s team were forced to abandon the climb and return to sea level and home. Bitterly disappointed Anna came back to see me on her return, in my eyes she had achieved so many amazing achievements but she still felt the goal hadn’t been reached. A few days later I saw Anna again and she had some news I could have never predicted, the leaders and guides were allowing her to go back one last time and try to reach the top before they closed the summit for Winter. She had been given another chance!
She organised a guide and decided to fly out that night, although this time it would be different. Instead of climbing over a few days and acclimatising over a week, she had just one day to climb the first 2km and needed to climb the last 1km to the top on the second. This was a challenge no one could have foreseen. Having seen Anna training the last few months I was confident she could do it and I knew that if she focused hard, she could do it. I left her with a card and a lot of good wishes telling her it was all a mental game now, she had to believe she could do it and I knew she would succeed.
It was a nail biting few days of waiting before receiving a text message early Saturday morning…
She had done it!
She managed to complete the unthinkable and just in the nick of time before the summit was closed. I am so incredibly proud of Anna for pursuing this journey against all odds and proving no matter what age, what training level or what gender if you want something enough you can definitely do it!
Anna you are my inspiration and role model, I am so incredibly proud and honoured to have worked with you through this journey, so there’s only one question left……what’s next?!
Who knows it could inspire you to do something different.
Better Body Group, Sevenoaks