My First Kayak Marathon was the HCC in 2010.
Nothing can quite prepare you for the moment the Starter’s Gun fires for your first race.
During my lead up, I did keep a bit of a record of some of my training and preparation on a facebook page.
You can see that my boat choice was certainly not what would normally be considered as suitable for a long-distance event. Boat choice was all about actually being able to fit as the first objective! Yes, I had a hard time actually finding any off the shelf boat that I could actually fit in (or on in this case).
During the lead-up, I was out paddling at least once a week for the 6 months leading up to the race, and in the last 3 months before the race I was out at least twice a week and paddling between 20 and 30km. The weeks that I could not get out, I went to the gym and was doing a 2-3 hour cardio session – rowing machine, treadmill, bike.
My longest single paddle before the event was only 29km, but my coaches assured me that marathon paddling is mostly mental (Yes, being a mental case helps!) in so much that if you can paddle 30km, you can paddle 100km.
As the HCC is an overnight event, in my lead-up I was also doing a few night paddles. The very first time, it was almost like starting over again – it takes a little bit of getting used to!
With an event that spans over (up to) 20 hours, food and nutrition are also very important and something that I will discuss in more detail later.