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Middle-aged, middle-weight, mother of 3 on mad marathon mission
Middle-aged, middle-weight, mother of 3 on mad marathon mission
When I started this blog, it was to track my progress from an occasional kayaker to taking on the Devizes to Westminster non stop 125 race. Little did I know that would start me on a long distance obsession which has resulted in my completing the 30th Marathon des Sables. It has been a strange and sometimes painful ... but always wonderfully challenging journey

This is my occasional account of a middle-age mother's attempt to take on things which are really quite beyond her.

A tough race - with a little ballet and squealing

crawlingkiwiby crawlingkiwiMar 20th 2011
Oh my - that was tough! My partner's knee was still too dodgy to risk racing today, so I opted to do the 19 miles on my own in a VERY HEAVY K1. The build up for the race was not ideal - 2 days off work ill on Thursday and Friday, then a 240 mile round trip yesterday to attend a moderation training day, in other words a day spent reading, marking and worst of all, indoors!

I barely ate yesterday and definitely didn't drink enough all day in preparation for today's race. But on the plus side, I did manage to drink all the fluid I had with me today and finished it just a 100m from the finish line. Even better, I managed to do the race on my own and to finish in not too bad a time for me (3hr 09). I was still unable to eat during the race or for about an hour afterwards and this could cause me big problems if I'm able to do the 125 miler. I managed a single jelly-baby which my husband managed to force into my mouth on one of the portages. Having made him get up at 7.30am to support and then made him drive to one of the portages with a bag of food, I did feel I had better eat something and one single jelly baby was better than nothing. Of course he did complain after the race about the 'long' walk he had to do to get from the car-park to where I portaged. Poor lamb, such effort was obviously a huge strain (it was about a 600m walk).

My K1 was obscenely heavy and while I coped on most of the portages, there's one exceptionally long walk on a footbridge and then along a path and I simply couldn't carry the boat.Ii had to put it down several times, change arms and then to make matters worse, the get-in was several feet below the bank. This means I have to perform one of my own super-special climbs back into the boat, which involve one leg in the boat, one leg doing an arabesque along the bank, a bit of bad language and several squeals as I manage to get into the boat without capsizing. I also had a horrid moment when getting out at the last portage, when the back of both thighs cramped badly. Cue another strange selection of ballet moves and curious high-pitched noises, until the cramp passed and I could successfully portage the lock. I do try and entertain those watching: anyone can portage smoothly and quickly, but I think adding a touch of inadvertent humour and curiosity to the proceedings is a bit of a must.

We're still not sure whether the DW race is feasible and at times today I felt it most definitely was not, but it's better in a K2 and if her knee holds up we could do it. We have to do next week's 25 miler with all the portages and can decide then. Between my partner's dislocating knee and my balletic moves with a bit of spreche-singe thrown in, we should make for an interesting pair paddling along.
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