An Army Reservist, Rin is a Combat Medical Technician in the Royal Army Medical Corps, attached to 7 Rifles in Oxford. For her day job as a dietician she advises athletes on performance nutrition, and also works with patients in hospital.
So I’ve just got back from another epic training weekend with my fellow Ice Maidens and felt inspired to pen a few words to help you get a picture of what we’re up to in the run up to Exercise Ice Ready this coming November. Naturally I’m sat here with a performance enhancing coffee and nutritious blueberry muffin to help my creative juices flow and keep my brain suitably fuelled. Each month the #sisterswithsledges meet up for training to make sure we cover all the essential bits like crevasse rescue and expedition first-aid for heading back to Norway and hopefully beyond. It also gives us the chance to get to know each other a bit better.
Our latest venture took us to Ice Maiden Beth’s homeland, Wales, with the aim of beasting us, or in Army terminology “to undertake endurance training mimicking march routine”. Cue our illustrious leader, Ice Maiden Nat, a very well connected individual who just happened to know the chap organising a 42mile Ultra Marathon in the Brecon Beacons that same weekend…can you see where this is going? Fortunately she volunteered our services to collect the signs after the race rather than enter for the race itself and so we set off on Saturday morning doing 50 minutes walking with 5 minutes rest for the whole day, as per the Antarctic march routine.
One of the big challenges the team will need to overcome when down south is the solitude of skiing as the team of five will ski alone, one behind the other for 10hrs a day with little chance to interact except in the evenings…for 70 days! With this in mind, Ice Maiden Shiryn issued all of us with earplugs and we proceeded to march in silence, allowing us to be one with our thoughts…so what did I think about? Well I’m no stranger to having to occupy my mind for quite unsociable swathes of time from previous adventures (not to mention sitting in clinic where no-one’s turned up), but I did find myself pondering all sorts; the magnificent view, flapjack or munchy bag, trying to remember the words to “do you want to build a snowman”, and whether I needed to prioritise a pee at the next break. I have no doubt if you asked the other Ice Maidens, they’d come up with a similarly random mix of thoughts which has got to be better than repeating “just keep walking” in the voice of Dory.
At the top of Pen Y Fan, under beautiful blue skies with our left sided sunburn, we got the obligatory summit team pic with 20 miles under our belts and headed back to our beautiful Roundhouse Yurt for the night. Now this was not just any yurt, if M&S made yurts, this would have people salivating and was a definite upgrade from the Arctic bell tents we’d used in Norway! After a restful night’s sleep, we greeted the day outside with some sun salutations led by our very own yoga instructor Shiryn, much to the delight of the local village and farmers far and wide.
We finished off the weekend, trying out roller skis, an ingenious invention to help you train for Nordic skiing without snow. They’re definitely going to take some getting used to so will be yet another eyebrow raising feature of our training programmes, but then the Ice Maidens are used to these comical looks from our hours of dragging tyres.
Thanks to Ice Maiden Shiryn and Ice Maiden Beth for organising such a fantastic weekend and to Roundhouse Yurts for hosting us!
Follow Rin’s training on twitter @icemaidenrin