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Guest Blog: Big Guns and New Adventures

TriBlogsby TriBlogsSep 26th 2012
We've been really lucky to have adventure racer Fi Wilson who races for one of the UK's top adventure racing teams agree to write a guest blog for us.

Fi competes in mountain bike racing, road racing, adventure racing and ultra marathon running, and was part of the winning team in the 2011 Patagonian Expedition Race (probably the toughest race on the planet). Here she talks about the highs and lows of a season of adventure racing and the mindset that makes the difference between winning and wimping (out).
Guest Blog: Big Guns and New Adventures

Big Guns and New Adventures

This summer has been endurance sport heaven for me. In fact this year has been heaven. Early on in the cold dark wintery months, I focused on tackling the ¬'Sting in Stirling¬' ¬- a 5 day non stop expedition race in Scotland. My husband and I raced it with our team, For Goodness Shakes Adventure Racing Team, about a month ago. It was in so many ways the perfect race. We were strong ¬- strong enough to tackle 100 hours of hard racing in 5 days; we were a proper ¬'unit¬' ¬- so much so that overcoming a broken wheel and diarrhoea didn¬'t phase us; and we were fast ¬- fast enough to come 2nd in an international field.

The race was also everything we love all thrown together in one big mess of muddy, sweaty, sleep-deprived madness. There were mountains (lots), views, white water, and long running and biking stages through the Cairngorms and Ben Lawers. There were magic moments, like seeing a Brocken Spectre and herds of deer. There were tears, like when our other team had to pull out with injury. There was a lot of laughter. And there was pride and satisfaction from a job well done.

But actually, looking back, what made this race so perfect was that it provided an excuse to get out and tackle all sorts of long distance epics in the lead up. Would I, I wonder, have tackled several 20+ mile trail runs, numerous 100 mile road cycle sportives (and even a 125 mile ride to my own hen weekend), 12 hour mountain bike races and even two ultra marathons this year had it not been ¬'in the name¬' of the Sting? I suspect I might have found something else to do.

Now, though, I have been cast from endurance heaven to scrape around in the stinking pit of injury hell. Over-dramatic, moi?

It might have been the 15 munros we tackled during the adventure race. Who knows. But my Achilles is squeaky and sore like a mouse trapped in a jam jar. I can¬'t run and I can¬'t bike. I can¬'t even commute to work by bike! So yesterday, when this realisation struck, I knew I had a choice. It was ¬'sit on the sofa and get fat and grumpy¬' or ¬'see this as an opportunity¬'. I opted for the latter and have been telling anyone who will listen that I¬'m going to become the world¬'s best kayaker.
Guest Blog: Big Guns and New Adventures

Photo: In the Sea Kayak at Morthoe

What I mean is that I¬'m going to tackle sports that I can do. As an adventure racer, the kayaking gets rather neglected. I was a mountain bike racer before moving to multi-sport and the love I have for all forms of cycling pulses through every atom in my body. I even love running if there¬'s mud involved. So kayaking is pretty much permanently relegated to the ¬'to do¬' list. No longer. I am scouring ebay for a decent single boat (difficult to take an 8 metre sea kayak for a quick blast on your tod) and I¬'m going to attend my local club¬'s weekly pool session religiously. I¬'m even toying with the idea of doing Devizes to Westminster next year.

And then there¬'s swimming. I have a love-hate affair with swimming. There are no views and it¬'s a bit repetitive, but I admit it is good training and can be good fun with a club, so it was back in the pool for me this morning. I¬'m off for a weights session too, and have booked my friend and coach Piers at IRealize Fitness to write me a weight lifting program which I can do despite my injury.

No sofas, no self-pity, just big guns and new adventures!
Guest Blog: Big Guns and New Adventures

Photo: Patagonian Expedition Race Team 2011

TriRachby member: TriRach, Sep 26th 2012 10:04
Having suffered from Achilles problems myself I do like your description of a mouse trapped in a jam jar!
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