Half the fun is to plan the plan…

And learn how to read an altimeter it seems 🤔

The Plan

I know Pen Y Fan is 886M above sea level, and my plan was, loosely, to walk up increasingly higher hills in preparation……but how would I find out how high hills are? If only there was a list or something…..There is! Here: https://www.hill-bagging.co.uk. Great! This is going to make planning much easier…..

Hand photo created by drobotdean – www.freepik.com

Luckily, I live in Dorset, UK, with lots of hills close by that I can use for training while keeping within the current UK Government COVID19 guidelines. The nearest hill to home has a summit at 152.3M. Dorset (If you don’t know it) has an abundance of hills over 150M with the highest being Lewesden Hill (279M). Imagine if I lived in Norfolk!

Norfolk. Lovely County but flat as a pancake 😄

The Altimeter debacle!

The Verne Hill is 152.3M and I knew I was not starting at sea level, so I dig out my trusty GPSR. It read 120. I thought to myself “What the hell!? It almost kills me and I’m only gaining 30 Meters! I’m never going to do this” Then I realised (a couple of days later) it was set at feet not meters…..FML. Then the old anxiety kicked in, if I can’t use the equipment how am going to manage to navigate a mountain? (Flap flap flap panic panic).

When rational brain kicked in I realised that I had a similar learning curve when starting out Geocaching, and I have found thousands of caches, so I am hardly a novice at navigating, Phew! And that is the whole point of planning…..

Managing the ME/CFS

I want to be able to achieve this without resorting to Gabapentin (Pain killer). It makes me feel stoned and is a killer (ha!) to get off it again….

I was only given 3 sessions with a specialist nurse before I was let loose to manage my symptoms on my own. She was amazing and quickly realised I was a visual person and she could tell me to rest until she was blue in the face, it would not mean anything to me. So she likened the management of ME/CFS to a phone battery…..

If energy is at green level and pain is manageable, yay! crack on (but remember to keep checking battery and top up (rest) when it starts dropping….

If energy is at yellow level and pain is increasing – what the fork dude? take a rest!

Red level – you didn’t listen did you?! now try and get out of bed! Snort! ( No really, this is not a good place to be 😞).

This quick thinking Nurse has saved me from having to resort to bed rest as often as I might have. The batteries are an easy visual that I use several times a day to keep a check on how I am feeling, and whether I should rest or not. I will continue to use this as a monitor to how I am progressing with training for Pen Y Fan. I guess increasing distance/altitude/effort is similar to Graded Exercise Theory (GET). I do not know if GET is proven to work, but I refuse to let the ME beat me, I NEED to get out and live a little. However, I have zero patience and often get carried away with what I want to do, which leads to a massive crash…..And I have to learn to pace myself, but that is a whole other post! 🤣

Oh! and 120 feet is equal to 36 Meters. I gain an altitude of 100 M when I walk to the top of The Verne. I’m over 10% of my target already and I didn’t even realise it until today! Yay! (yes I know 36M and 100M does not equal 152.3M. I think the error relates to being unable to properly understand the altimeter yet. Anyone with more experience, if you could tell me why this is? cheers!)

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to leave comments and feedback


PS. I am currently looking at the latest research on GET and will make a post on this soon.

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