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CSM 2008 - Part 2, or `I've Entered - Now What Do I Do?`
By:  Paul Broadbent   (2008/01/24)


This is the second article in a multi-part series. Be sure to read the first article
- CSM 2008 – Part 1, or 'How I Decided To Do Something Crazy'.

The euphoria of actually registering for the CSM eventually wore off (after about 48 hours) and left me with the realisation that I had, if not a mountain, then several very large hills to climb, in terms of my next steps. Having got my entry in, I asked myself “Now what do I do?” Good question, well-presented… Hmmm…

Let’s start with the questions I got from others – “When was the last time you skied 160 kms?” Um – never… “When was the last time you skied two full days?” Um – never… “When was the last time you were on cross-country skis?” Um – 20 years ago… “When was the last time you did anything as physically demanding?” Ah – half-marathon in 1992, I guess…

OK – so I guess the first issue is that, at the time I registered, I was not fit enough to do the full distance over two days (or three days, or four days, either). Although I was fitter than I had been for a few years (following abdominal surgery a year ago, I’d made the effort to get to the gym at least once a week for the past few months), that wasn’t going to be anywhere near good enough. Unfortunately, a long working day, plus 3 hours commuting daily, was going to cut in to training time.

Fortunately, my boss at the Ministry of Defence here in England and my boss (keen on fitness and a skier himself) proved very supportive of my quest and agreed to the idea of stretching out some of my lunch hours by going to the excellent on-site gym. I should add that, as a member of the Territorial Army (the UK version of the Militia), I was entitled to use it, but needed the cooperation of my boss to take the extra time necessary.

So, the problem of where and when to exercise was out of the way. What about getting to Canada? I checked out flights and experienced the shock of discovering, during winter, how much more expensive it is to fly to Ottawa than either Montreal or Toronto (and also harder to get cheap direct flights – demand must be lower). After a couple of weeks of “flexing” my budget, I had flights booked for myself and my girlfriend.

As time went by, and things started to come together, the list of things I needed to consider continued to grow. “Minor” issues, such as “I haven’t been on cross-country skis since 1987 – do I still know how to do it?”, “What about equipment?”, “Do they still wax skis?”, “What will I need to wear?”, “What will conditions be like?”, “What kind of pace will I need to maintain?”, “What kind of pace am I capable of?”, “What will I eat?”, “What will I drink?”

As the list of unknowns grew longer, I realised that, with my complete and utter lack of experience of this type of event, I seemed to be running headlong towards a learning curve that resembled a brick wall…

Paul Broadbent is a CSM virgin and he's inviting advice/suggestions to make his task easier. Email him at Madscanner@btinternet.com.

Interesting Reading. . .
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