Climbing Denali / Mt. McKinley, la Preparation

In January this year I knew Ihad to make up my mind and decide which company I wanted to climb with and book it as all groups were filling up quickly. I had four months to train, which seemed long at the time. To keep myself busy in the meantime I entered various half marathons and a 10K to keep the legs warm. My enthusiasm for running was tested in early February when I started developing pain in my right knee.

It was a typical runner’s mistake: doing a 10km pb one day and “accidently” running a half marathon distance training two days later. My glutes said no. After battling through the races in March, April and May with an excruciating pain I finally gave in and went to see a physio. He confirmed it was IT band related problem and had to work on strengthening the glutes. And strictly no running. I couldn’t possible cancel the half marathon in Geneva could I?! I was doing lots of exercises leading up to the Swiss trip but you never know how much progress you’ve done

until the run. It wasn’t my greatest half marathon (a sluggish 2h00) but the pain under the knee was still there the whole time and suffered with diarrhoea on race morning. One thing motivated me though, once the run was over I was heading down to Zermatt to spend a couple of days training (carrying an 18kg backpack 4-6hours every day) in the Alps. After the trip I knew I had a lot more glute strengthening and stretching to do and couldn’t let this injury jeopardising the Denali climb.

But there were fun times too during the training.. The Ironman 70.3 Austria is fast approaching (end of August 2015) so I knew it was time to upgrade my road bike and invest in something a wee lighter. When I read about the BMC teammachine I felt I found the one but when I tested it at the local Evans shop I fell in love! Having had old and rusty second hand bikes in the past to get me from A to B I found myself flying on these two wheels. Her name is 'Rocket' and it was only fair to enter a sportive in April - Wiggle Ups and Downs (you guessed, a hilly course with approx 4000ft elevation in the Surrey Hills and North Downs). Got a silver awards and found out I was the 3rd fastest woman.

For my 31st birthday in May, I decided to head up to Scotland and do some more weight carrying training in the Highlands. My love of Scotland meant it was the perfect getaway! Once back from Scotland, I purely focused on cycling (to and from work on the hybrid and longer rides on 'Rocket') and carrying a heavy backpack in the evening.

This is probably the best time to mention, that as a result of the Dailymail website article about my photography and climbing project featured on their website on 19 Feb ( if you haven’t read it: ) I finally had the guts to write to local business with my story

and sponsorship. To my surprise I had many responses but most of the companies had already spent their allocated funds. I was very excited when I heard that independent estate agent Robert HolmesPark Accounts and private GP and consultant medical practice Alexander House were keen to get on board! All I had to do before the trip was to arrange their logos embroided on my jackets, buy last minute munchies, say goodbyes and get myself mentally ready… and the next thing I realised I was off to the States!

© copyright 2021 by Alexandra Nemeth