It’s been a mixed month in the world of Ice Warrior, and it’s not even over yet.
The start of the month was spent in Somerset, dragging tyres over tufted grass, up over hills and through muddy lanes. It took 2 hours to drag Rocky and Sylvester (my tyres) 4 miles. It was challenging to say the least. In London I can generally drag Rocky and Sylvester 3 miles an hour, but the hills and the grass was a struggle. Every bump and rock was slowing me down; pulling the tyres over grass was like wading through treacle. Every part of my body was working – and it was working hard. The 4 mile loop that I usually run, felt slow, harrowing and made me get the hunger like never before. My parents dog ‘Tom Tom’ the spaniel came with me too – he didn’t like my slow pace. He had a look on his face of ‘will you hurry up please, I’ve rabbits to catch’.
I was pleased when the session was finished and pleased that I had pushed myself through the walk. Training needs to be tough, so that when it’s tough on the ice, I am mentally prepared.
The next day in Somerset I went clay pigeon shooting to attempt to make myself familiar with a rifle. I hate guns and the last time I had one in my hand at a shooting range, I cried. I am scared of them; I hate the noise of them. They have caused so many unnecessary deaths and injuries … I guess it’s not the guns fault, it’s the user!
My dad’s friend is a dab hand with a rifle (for shooting clays and the occasional mammal) so I went with him to practice. I held the rifle like a scared child whilst I was being informed what not to do, what I should do and what to expect when it goes off. The first clay released from the trap, I shot the rifle and closed my eyes. This caused some amusement. After several practice shots and attempts to follow the clay into the air, I managed to shoot a few and keep my eyes open. I didn’t like it, but I felt more comfortable with the rifle in my hands. Clays were placed on the ground which I also shot. An hour and a half later, I wasn’t a quivering wreck; I didn’t feel like my heart was about to pop out of my chest and although still not entirely at ease with the rifle, I did feel better and more competent. I still need more practice, but it’s progression from my day in Svalbard crying whenever anyone let a bullet fly out the gun.
I’ve been really pleased with my fitness training over the past month (and few months for that matter); Steph at BootcampSE16 is working with me to strengthen my hips and glutes; to compliment my tyre dragging. I am also doing lots of upper body work 2-3 times a week, training chest, back and arms which has been great fun. I also ran a half marathon after work last week. It’s all go and I have muscles 🙂
This week took a different direction: the decision was made to postpone the expedition until 2016. This will allow us to use 2015 to complete some crucial preparation and to maximise the communication benefit for sponsors i.e. build a proper campaign around what we are doing. This will also allow us to work with Ocean Outdoor to add a high impact digital outdoor campaign to the opportunity…. which will hopefully get us more coverage and interest in what we are doing. The main benefit of having an extra year is to work on the science. Bjorn is doing a great job at linking our efforts across the world; we have China, Russia, USA, France, UK and Canada involved at the moment. I think another year will make this expedition bigger and better, although at the moment, I just want to get out on the ice!
I’ve no idea what the rest of the month will hold, but as I’ve 21 days to go, it could lead me anywhere…
Til soon 🙂