Monday, 18 November 2013

A Right Royal Challenge Beckons


I have enjoyed the shape my paddling year has taken over the past few seasons. Events like the Hawkesbury Classic & a few open water races are motivation enough to get myself into gear and aim for a good showing. To do them properly means some form of conditioning program, which in themselves I find tremendously satisfying.
Once they're out of the way I've usually got enough base fitness and endurance to enjoy the  warm weather paddling I get up to for the rest of the summer & autumn, be it surfing in my sea kayak, chasing runners at sea in my ski or even lining up another big ocean paddle like a 'Degree in a Day'.
Even though so far this spring I've competed in the Hydrothon, Myall Classic & the Hawkesbury Classic, they have to an extent been means to an end, the terminus looming at this coming Saturday's Royal Challenge.

This is a 21km paddle split in half by a half-marathon run along the trail of Lady Carrington Drive in Sydney's Royal National Park (course map is HERE). The paddle part is something I've always been confident of completing, but I only started running in February, and herein lies my challenge. I have a long log of slow and consistent running build up since February, was fortunate enough to do a winter season with the Brighton Athletic Club, but even so I've only ever pushed myself past 15km once. That was last Thursday on a very hot arvo; I did a great job dismantling any confidence about my running that may have falsely began to develop!
Anyway, for some strange reason I enjoy the possibility of a nasty endurance surprise. It reminds me just how dedicated and talented the elite people who consistently do this stuff are, and allows a small glimpse into that world of deep inner examination. It's something like meditation combined with suffering, with a stopwatch making you meditate faster.
The race starts at 7am Saturday down at the weir at Audley, and I'm hoping to finish somewhere between 4 - 4 1/2 hours. That is a probably a bit optimistic considering I've never run a half marathon then tried to paddle 10km afterwards, but there you go, you can't go to jail for being an optimist.
Organiser Steve Southwell puts this race on for the KIDS Foundation. KIDS is an acronym for Kids In Dangerous Situations and their charter is to try to redress the startling childhood injury statistics in Australia. More children in Australia die from injury than from disease. Not only do they offer childhood programs on injury prevention, but also they also support hundreds of children and their families who have endured trauma, horrific burns and other injuries that have changed their lives. I'll admit to not knowing much about KIDS prior to becoming involved in the Royal Challenge as a sponsor, but seeing what they do makes me proud to be participating in an event to their benefit. 
I have a sponsorship donation page set up HERE. If you have a spare dollar or two any support for this worthy cause would be muchly appreciated.
Last minute tips from experienced long distance runners will be received with much gratitude.

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