>Behind yet again and I have a few other entries which need to stand alone planned. So just a few thoughts this evening to catch up a bit.
The Oxford regatta was last weekend. It was my last regatta of the year most likely and I’m not sure how many I will do next year, if at all. I find them quite hard because although it’s a disability sailing event my disability and the set up clash rather a lot.
I made it out once on Saturday and was that cold and sore afterwards that I had a load of clonus and it was hard to get me out of the boat as we weren’t using the hoist for various (annoying) reasons. As a result of that and something that happened with another sailor it was decided on Sunday that there was room for my challenger on the new pontoon with the 2.4 people so I did my patented falling into the boat to get going from the beach and then went from the pontoon for the rest of the day so they could hoist me.
I did enjoy the sail that morning although I definitely pushed myself beyond my limits which may not have been a great idea. I’d decided part way through that there was no way I would make it out that afternoon and so I was going to sit it out that morning and keep going until the end regardless of what I probably should have been doing. Unfortunately it was blowing squalls which made the sailing a bit more challenging. And I’d lent my hat to a friend and borrowed my Dad’s to wear myself. His favourite one. Which blew away, never to be seen again. He wasn’t very happy about that.
Then someone else snapped at me and I was tired and cold and a bit damp and it all felt like a bit too much. But my Dad and I made up later and I had some lunch which warmed me up. Surprisingly I was the only one who sat out the afternoon, although several people did come in early. From what I’ve heard everyone struggled with the cold and the weather that day.
We came back a bit early and I spent two hours lying under my duvet not really awake but not fully asleep. Still felt a bit cold after that – so much so I actually took my temperature but it was normal.
Sunday the weather had improved a bit but it still wasn’t overly warm. I managed both sails that day although wasn’t out for the entire time in the second one. I was much happier that day partially because I didn’t get wet at all but also because it was a bit warmer. And hoist transfers make things so much easier! That turned out to be a Very Good Thing because when they got me out the boat the final time they hoisted me into my chair and I then tried to stand up but I barely got my bum off my seat (but just enough to pull the sling out). Had an hour to chill or so and then tried to get my towel out from under me and my waterproof trousers off. Usually I stand up, move the towel and pull my waterproofs down and then someone helps me get them off completely. Not that day. Stood up, my friend grabbed the towel and that was all I could manage. Stood up again and she ended up helping me pull my trousers down as well as off. Too sore and stiff for much else!
I must admit there was a very hard moment when someone asked if I’d chickened out by coming in early. I did point out to her that I was in a lot of pain and that was why I came in. She realises that it was something she shouldn’t have said, I’m sure, and probably didn’t mean anything by it. But I don’t think she realised just how hurtful it was.
That’s one of the things I dislike about these regattas is that to a certain extent they focus a lot on coming first etc which is important. But what about personal achievement and pushing your limits? That matters too. I’ve always thought that the fact you tried is one of the most important things when it comes to disability sports.
But this entry really needs to end on a happy note. I won one of the races for my class and came second in it for the regatta. To be completely honest, that was out of two people but I didn’t come last overall!! I was given the medal and cup for second despite that and got to go up and shake hands with the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire.
One of the guys from our sailing club said to me afterwards that the cup for me was more for getting out there and trying and pushing my limits than for coming second of two. And that’s how it should be.