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Katy Willings’ Mongol Derby blog: a life in numbers

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

Read all of Katy’s blogs

I have been a Derby Admin Machine since last I wrote…

Training sessions with Bruno: 2. He has been a bit kinder this week; it has got to the stage where, as I pick up my kit bag and tramp across Trafalgar Square to the gym, I start getting phantom pains in my back and limbs as my body realizes what it’s in for. I told him this. He did a little laugh, and made me do my favourite exercise – standing on upturned Bosu ball dragging heavy cable-weight across my body from ankle height to shoulder height. The fun part of this one is that you end up kissing your own bicep as you move the weight through its arc past your face. Simple things… It is getting to the stage now where what I cannot do on a Swiss ball isn’t worth doing. We have also established that I ought to consider riding days as contributing towards my training diary – in which case I had not had a day off for about twelve days as of Monday. I dutifully took Tuesday off…

Items of essential kit begged, borrowed, stolen: 4. It’s been a very productive week on the kit front actually. My bleatings of financial ruin have yielded some excellent freebies from friends who are also in the habit of doing silly adventures and therefore have accumulated some of the high tech kit I will be needing. I now have a tent, courtesy of Nik Cook – journalistic guru, massive hard nut and one-time slave driver round the Helly Hansen Adventure Race, in the bleak midwinter, all for a double page spread in 220 Triathlon Magazine (because pain is temporary, glory is permanent).

I also have a ground mat called a Thermarest which will apparently inflate and insulate me from the ground. I think I’ll need to practice deflating it again, without scaring the horses, well in advance. In fact, Mum has proposed staging a “Time Katy erecting tent whilst holding horse on leading rein” competition at home, possibly while setting the whippet on me in an attempt to have authentic marauding dogs in the mix too. I may also be able to get my hands on a sleeping bag which has already survived the Marathon des Sables, wrapped around my attractive friend, Fit Duncan From Queens, or FDFQ. This is a cheering prospect. He’s now a Ted Baker model as well as a general fittie, and having not seen him since we left Oxford five years ago I bumped into him at the gym on Monday and inevitably got talking about the Derby. This was the upshot.

Most exciting of all is the promise of some super pants from a firm called Carrots UK, who read of my underwear plight in an earlier blog and have put some of their fine merchandise in the post for me to test-ride. It’s like Christmas! Tune in again for an account of their performance…

Tropical diseases injected: 3. I am off to get more rabies on Friday as it happens. Joy. Luckily I was well peppered with injections for the Rickshaw Run in January, so this isn’t as expensive an undertaking as it might have been. Still, £55 for a rabies shot (one of three) is pretty eye-watering. Might start an “immunize Katy” appeal…

Regrettable experiments with very old bottles of fake tan found at parents’ house: 1.

Times I have watched Twilight and swooned at the improbably attractive vampire: 2.

Level of disappointment experienced when discovering that Robert Pattinson, the improbably attractive vampire mentioned above, is no relation of Maggie Pattinson, my endurance riding guru: high.

Assets sold: 1. I am selling my car, it’s official. I am slightly embarrassed to say that I produced an Excel model to help me make this decision, and realized that unless I placed an outlandish “convenience premium” of about £50 on each journey, the car is bleeding me dry. Especially given my penchant for attracting parking tickets and speeding fines (appeals to Lambeth Council Parking Unit this month: 2. Appeals won: 0).

Horses ridden: 0. Have two lined up for tonight and tomorrow morning however, and a full itinerary for the weekend.

Corporate fun runs completed: 1.

Feelings of solidarity with fellow corporate monkeys experienced: 0.

Sprint finishes attempted: 1.

Sprint finishes abandoned when actual finish, some 800 metres still to go, located: 1.

Improvement in placing following 100m sprint and 700m dribble: -50.

Gatorade consumed: c.100mls – how can anyone drink that stuff?!

Impulsive Topshop purchases averted: 3. I will not be needing Liberty print shorts in Mongolia. Ergo, I will NOT be buying them. Not today, not tomorrow, and not the day after. Ugh, life is hard.

Katy

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