A little section where I can collate all the stuff I’ve learnt along the way:-
- Patience and Tollerance. Not much explanation needed really and perhaps inappropriate to give one, suffice to say I’m getting plenty of practice with these 2 areas and the only way to cope it to develop them!
- Too much chocolate is still bad for you no matter how deficient your meal time calories. Our main meals may sometimes be small in portions and lacking in balance but using chocolate to keep you going is not great. Too much of it still makes you fat and sluggish. The sugar highs still exist along with the sugar lows and in general there is no substitute for proper, balanced food. I have probably eaten my won body weight in chocolate so far and the result is not a good one!
- When something is the right decision then all obstacles become surmountable life actually becomes quite easy as the one thing starts to guide decisions and no temptation will change your mind. It was very clear for me when I decided to do this race that nothing was going to prevent me from doing it. Of course there were problems to solve but I knew they were surmountable: family, friends, money, work, logistics etc. I’ve found a way to solve them all. It’s been a great learning about, how, if you are completely committed, solutions resent themselves and a positive ‘can do’ attitude makes things happen.
- My body needs fuel to keep warm was a big learning for me on level 3. It is something that I’d always known on a common sense level but somehow didn’t quite believe, probably because I’d never experienced it (now what does that tell you?). Level 3 training was particularly cold, not rising above minus figures for most of the week. Although cold, with many layers on and movement it was almost tolerable. However, there were points during the day when it became intolerable. What my body was telling me was that it was time to eat. Normally I don’t eat until my stomach tells me it’s hungry, I try to overrule my minds desire for food and listen to my stomach (there are a few exceptions to this rule, generally crisps or cheese!). On the boat during level 3 what I began to realise was that my body thermostat was telling me it was time to eat because mostly when the cold became intolerable it was 10 to 30 mins before meal times. Once I did get something to eat, the effect was almost instant, within 10 mins I was back to being just warm enoug
- Seek the help of friends who know more than you – Gillian and Ollie thank you for all my blog help it’s been invaluable, you’ve saved me hours and helped me to produce a much better result than I could on my own.
- Reading about what you are interested in/going to do helps you to prepare. I’ve enjoyed all the sailing books so far and passed most of them (well, the ones where no one died!) onto my Dad. The facebook discussion forum has been invaluable in terms of getting prepared with kit, sharing questions and fears and finding out about some logistical stuff.
- Communicating in a way that is appropriate for the recipient helps them to have a better grasp of what you are on about. My Dad is getting deafer by the minute, as a result talking with him can be a challenge. I’ve found, that by giving him reading material about the race, I can paint a better picture for him than I could if I just spoke to him.
- Allow more time to get dressed in the morning if something is unfamiliar. You wouldn’t believe how long it takes to make the right decision about layering, waterproofness, temperature control etc. on the first day of a new sport. It took me a couple of attempts to get my clothing right for the weather on each of my training weeks.
- Having no previous experience can be advantageous to achieving more. Learning to a sail a 68ft racing yacht is like learning to drive a Ferrari on a formula 1 race track. If you’ve never experienced a 1 litre Fiesta in a quiet residential street then you have no comparison so you just get on with driving your Ferrari as if it is normal. I had no pre-conceived ideas or benchmarks, this meant that I had no self-imposed limits or barriers. There’s also the fact that you just go for it because you don’t know what you are letting yourself in for!
- The biggest lows often preceed the greatest highs. Now I just need to remember this when I’m cold, tired, wet and scared and want to get off!