| 2019 | 12 | 02 | pears |

just in case it wasn't clear. this is my future husband. somehow. 


i'm not sure who this is meant to be. 

but it'll do. 

I'm finding it harder this year to train. it might be because i have many other areas i'd rather invest my time into. 

also coming back and covering old ground is a bit... less exciting. last year everything was new and shiny and the pain in my hands was novel and slightly unexpected. 

this year it's a waiting game for things to twinge. 

take sunday - our long paddle. 

no no actually. we need to sit down for this. 

we needed a long paddle on sunday. something to test the extremes of our fitness. we had no idea what to do with the thames being up, so had tentatively suggested 4 x bridge loops. 

bad idea when the flow is up. 

first loop flew by. quick stop for food. 

second loop. wow. the downstream was tough because i had no moment to rest. constant rudder adjustment is more exhausting than i had ever realised, as was the stabilising of the boat in the swirls. 

turning into the flow for the second time was started to feel the weight of it. 

by bourne end my head was in a terrible place. my body ached, my legs had had enough and my shoulder was starting to twinge something terrible. 

we were basically working against a treadmill. it had taken 5mph off our speed. every time we took our paddles out the water the boat was going backwards. teeth gritting. sweat was running down my back. 

i started by playing games with myself. 

i try to see how long i can avoid looking at my watch. 

then I try to see how long i can go without thinking about kayaking

then i'll put my focus onto different parts of my body. firstly i'll just fill my head with my feet, then work upwards. just spend some time with my knee caps. 

the next is counting. when i'm counting i know i've got a limited time left before a full blow out. 

it's basically counting the countdown to the countdown. 

i'll try to do 50 rights. 50 lefts. each is a negotiation. 

'50 more to the next 50'

then 20. when i'm at 10s its bad. it means my focus is so short that there's a real problem. 

my back hurt. my shoulder was barely holding in there. it crossed my mind that we could capsize and have to run back. my left hand was getting torn up by a blister. my right foot felt weird. 

every breath becomes arduous. it's ridiculous how a distance you can do so easily under other conditions can become impossible. forcing the discipline. the boat was getting heavier as the flow got stronger through the island. speed was down at 3mph. 

'sit up. breathe. left. right'

there were very real tears in my eyes. they were the tears of defeat. they were tears of frustration. 'its just the island sophie. you do this every day!!'

we kept plodding forward. the rhythm was there. the boat was still moving. but painfully. the swirls by the castle were worse the second time. 

as we pulled in to finish the lap, a quiet voice piped up behind me.

'i'm going to be honest. i can't do anymore'.

the relief washed through me. had i had to turn to a fresh k2 partner and say i was done, there would be some real shame involved. but if we were both spent, that meant we'd both given our all. 
i immediately felt guilty for feeling happy he was broken too, but sharing how low we'd both been reinforced the correct decision was to step back. 


a day later i've been able to reflect upon this particular incident. my mind could not defeat 'matter'. that's the closest i've been to the point of no return. 

it hurt.