Updated: Aug 14, 2020
Three times in my life, I have found myself struggling to breathe on the top of a mountain ridge in British Columbia in August.
The first time was 11 years ago when I trained for and completed the Emperor's Challenge half marathon in Tumbler Ridge. This epic challenge was done as a fundraiser for my father's medical expenses from an unexpected accident that left him as a quadriplegic for life. It was the hardest thing I had ever physically and emotionally done. I was left exhausted and contending with wind and ice as I crossed the summit. But I finished with a silver medal and enough money from donors to buy him specialized equipment.
The second year I ran the same race at a slower pace for myself. I was hoping to find a way to enjoy the journey and the run, and as recovery therapy from the first race. It wasn't as cold, I ran much slower, but it was still extremely grueling even with all my training. I finished with a bronze this time. So, needless to say, I had long since checked off mountain climbing from my bucket list. Been there. Done That. Literally got the T.Shirt. Check. My two medals were packed as my focal points during my labour with my first child years later.
However, on almost the exact anniversary date of my last two summit climbs (one day off), it seems the universe had other plans for me. A friend invited me on a (don't bring your kids) hike to Chadsey Lake in Abbotsford, with goals of swimming and lounging around in a hammock, overlooking a pristine lake, for most of the afternoon. I had no idea I was about to embark on another mountain range climb with no training, no breakfast, and a simple salad and granola bar packed for my lunch.