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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.

Going Long - gets under your skin

crawlingkiwiby crawlingkiwiMay 1st 2011
Since completing my absurdly long 125 mile race last weekend in very hard conditions and with a very high drop-out rate, my paddling partner and I have been searching around for something else to focus on.

I have found an adventure race we could do at the start of September - I really have my eye on the Nokia Coast to Coast in Scotland, but my running is fairly non existant at the moment, so I might aim for 2012 to complete that one. But we've found a good race with some running, mountain biking and kayaking, which is a good mix for us. It is on the same day my sister flies back to NZ, so we will need some organising to get us there, but it should be fun.

I am still hoping to be able to compete in my first quadrathlon this year, but only if my running gets sorted. There are one or two I could get to and since my daughter is hoping for GB selection to get to the Worlds this year (if her glandular fever ever goes away and lets her train again), I should be able to get to some events.

But this going long lark is really where it's at. Both Helen and I had found the Cheshire Ring - a 95 mile race aroundn the canals near Manchester, which go in a big ring. There are 92 portages, which given some of the problems we had during the DW might not be so good (at a few of the high portages, I had to get out and then haul Helen up by her buoyancy aid). After taking 27 hours 46 minutes last weekend, I really can't believe we are contemplating another absurdly long race, but somehow these long events really do get under your skin. I have repeatedly compared last week's race to childbirth, as the memory of the pain recedes the rose-tinted glasses make it all seem just a bit of fun. We seem to have forgetten the vomiting, the pain and the exhaustion - although I'm still left with a sore bum on one side. (I haven't decided if I've pulled something or just bruised it, but after paddling 18k yesterday, I really had numb-bum syndrome and couldn't rotate properly at all.)

I suppose we know we can do it. We know we can paddle in the dark (even if Helen did fall asleep in the front of the boat for a moment), but one of the problems of the Cheshire race is that some of the locals are renown for chucking rocks as the paddlers pass - sweet. And of course we're concerned about the sun, as this race is in June and if we had to face 28C in April, what the hell will it be like in June? Sunstroke last weekend was not pretty.

I've spent quite a bit of time over the last week, planning my races through to October and trying to get back to multi-sport training, mixing it up with cycling, running and a little swimming. I started this campaign 17 weeks ago with a single aim, to get round the DW race, probably over 4 days. We've achieved much more than that and while I'm still middle-aged, I've dropped a substantial amount of weight and have completely changed shape, which is a positive. Buit now I want to get properly fit, not just paddle stamina fit. And whatever races we do actually enter, going long is definitely up there.
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