Former international pony dressage rider Katy Willings’ latest update on her progress training for the Mongol Derby

People are starting to stare. As I thundered over Hungerford Bridge to Waterloo last night for another riding double whammy in the Shire, people seemed to be giving me a wide berth, and literally slowing to watch me stride past. No, it was not a good hair day. Far from it.

On Monday lunch time, flush from a weekend’s excess, I signed up for a circuits class called Last Man Standing at the gym. Memories of rowing ‘land training’ came flooding back, including the odd reflex which appears to happen only to me, of starting to cry when in the middle of a medley of squat jumps. Hopefully none of the Men Standing noticed.

Anyway, time galloped on in the haze of press-ups, burpees, dead lifts etc, and I had to forego a shower and wobble back across Trafalgar Square to the office in the interests of time. One of those special ‘get naked and wave your arms around under the air-con’ showers (in the gym, not the office). Bit scummy, I know, but all good training.

My walk has got progressively funnier since then really. Another gym session yesterday lunchtime didn’t really serve to loosen me up. Bruno the fitness guru prowled past and turned my cross trainer up to make me sweat a bit more. And proceeded to grill me on my navigating and fending for self skills (as yet these only exist on paper). He is apparently ex-military and can teach me all sorts of useful stuff besides hamstring curls. I love this guy!

By last night I had a kind of Simon Schama walking lunge on — and this despite consuming most of a foil of Nurofen. Hmm. Anyway, add to the Schama 2 hours in the saddle, with about 6 hours sleep in between, and you have yourself a very, very funny walk. Competing Tucker on Friday and Sunday, so some useful practice under out belts this morning. Will not be doing any more squat jumps between now and then…