Since becoming a Lifedge Pioneer, they have been a part of every journey and every adventure this year. Whilst on a mission to make the most from life, I find it’s easy to forget how much we’ve done and how far we’ve come. Today, I wanted to share with you my five favourite adventures from 2014 which will definitely get me excited for 2015 and I hope it does the same for you too!
1. Running London to Brighton
We all have those things we don’t think we’re good at, right? Historically for me, it’s been running. Despite finishing Ironman Wales in sub 13 hours and placing 8th in my age group, I didn’t enjoy running, felt I was no good at it and as such, it always fell to the bottom of the list of sports to spend my time doing. In 2014, I decided this had to change and set myself the challenge of running from London to Brighton. I figured that if I could run 100kms (62 miles) then surely I wouldn’t be able to accept any of my fears and doubts about running. At 5am one morning in March, Charley, myself and our friend Alex set off from our home in West London and headed off in the direction of the beach. 16.5 hours later we arrived; tired, in lots of pain and with a few blisters, but we had the biggest smiles and a huge amount of pride. We had made it!
2. Cycling London to Paris
Anyone who follows my blog will know that I love cycling from London to Paris! It was one of my first adventures and I’m always up for it. In March, joined by fellow adventurer Sean Conway (and Lifedge buddy), we headed off on a 24 hour London to Paris cycle. Between the pub stop on the way to the coast, the uncomfortable over night ferry crossing, cycling in the dark along the Avenue Verte, eating freshly baked croissants and cycling through a wet, grey day in France to finally arrive at the Eiffel Tower some 23 hours and 200 miles later… It’s quite the adventure and definitely has to be up there in my top 5.
3. Moving to Chamonix
Do you have a place you dream of living some day? A place that inspires you to do more of the things you love and make you feel happy? A place that gives you the opportunity to do it? It may be the sea that calls you, or the lure of a European city… for me, it’s the mountains. Not just the mountains, but specifically Chamonix. It’s the adventure capital of the world. World-class skiers, climbers, cyclists, runners and endurance athletes live, train and adventure here. Ever since the first time I set foot in Chamonix, I wanted to live here, but there was always something stopping me. Fear. Mainly around money and my career. It’s only when I moved to Chamonix in May 2014 that I made the break from my career as it was, working in the world of technology startups, and started focusing full time on Challenge Sophie and a career in adventure. Moving to Chamonix was the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. An adventure needs an element of risk, of uncertainty and challenge. Finding a home, making friends, living in the mountains and launching a new career has been an adventure in itself and it continues to be so. In between my social media photos of running and climbing in the mountains, there’s a daily challenge to make this dream happen. Each time I find the challenge gets to me, I remind myself that I am doing it, I’m living it and nothing worth having comes easy.
4. Climbing Mont Blanc on the Alpine Coast to Coast
In August I became the first and only person to climb the highest mountains in the eight Alpine countries and cycle the Alps between them. Joined by Charley for the climbs, the highest mountain we climbed was Mont Blanc. This was a very interesting summer in the Alps in that the weather was rather wet and cold. Standing on the summit of Mont Blanc at 9am and having been on the move since 2am, I can remember feeling happy yet a little anxious. Now on Day 25 of the challenge, it was starting to take it’s toll on my body and I was coming down with man-flu. Uncharacteristically for the time of year, it was minus 18 degrees with a howling wind. We could see the weather closing in already (hours ahead of the forecasted time) and by the time we were off the summit ridge there was zero visibility. Now descending in what felt like winter in Scotland, we had to pull together to get off the mountain. All our tracks and those of the hundreds of climbers on Mont Blanc that day had been blown over, it was extremely difficult to find our way down. Hours later we came out the other side arriving back at the hut we’d set off from that morning. We gave each other a huge hug, took a selfie in which we look giddy with tiredness and relief and continued down the mountain back to our home and cold beer.
5. Trail Running in Chamonix
The Autumn in Chamonix was blissful. The summer that never was arrived in the Autumn months and everyday just blew my mind in how beautiful it was. As the days grew shorter and the colours changed, the sun remained hot and the skies blue. Having spent much of the summer on my bike and climbing mountains, I needed something that would enable me to stretch my legs and keep my fitness up, but something that would fuel my soul and energy without demanding too much from me. This was my rest period and I had depleted my reserves mentally and physically. I found this in trail running. I began with gentle trails and found it a great way to make friends. Quickly, I set my sights higher and took on the challenge of the Vertical KM. The progress I’ve seen has been so encouraging. I can now breeze up trails that I would previously have to stop on many times. When I’m running I feel free and strong. I see things that stop me in my tracks; colours, skies and the majestic mountains. I come back two hours later and I’m at peace with the world, with myself and telling anyone who’ll listen how amazing my run was. It was just a run! How can it be so amazing? Come and run here, I’d love to share this playground with you and share the world I now call home.
Taking this with me into 2015, I’m getting excited about what the year will hold. In January 2014 not one of these things was in my plan for the year. Not one. It’s made me realise how much can happen if you want it to, if you go for it and if you create space for things to happen. That’s why I will keep setting big goals, but be flexible in my approach to them and open up opportunities for life to take me anywhere.
2015, let’s do this!
One life, Live it.
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