My first race

A group of new friends I didn’t know I had yet.

The day before – I have to get up at what time?

My very first real race with Notts Anaconda – a club I joined just two months ago. I’m feeling nervous and not altogether ready but definitely excited.A simple line in the race information pack shocks everything out of me. I need to get up at 5:30am on a Sunday!! My bag is already packed; it’s been packed for a while. I have repacked it twice just to calm the butterflies in my stomach and I’m re-reading the race info every five minutes.

Race day

It’s race day, it’s race day. The excitement sweeps away the earliness of the hour and I’m ready for the long journey to London way before my ride arrives. I check my kit one last time and hop into the car. I’m sharing with three other paddlers for the journey and we pass the time very quickly, talking about anything and everything except racing. I bring it up and suddenly realise that I’m not the only one who is nervous. The car is filled with nervous energy but everyone else seems more excited than worried. I’m not sure what the plan is as we arrive at camp. I put my name down to come and help everyone with the race. I’m looking forward to seeing my team in action.
There is lots to do, tents to put up, breakfast to be sorted, and toilets to be found… hey it was a long car journey! The first race comes up very quickly and I go to check the board. MY NAME IS ON IT! I’m racing in the first 200m race. I don’t have time to think about it before we are suddenly paddling to the start line. I’m checking everything – how’s my timing? Is my technique OK? I also realise I’m grinning from ear to ear.

“Attention… Go!”

A minute stretches into an eternity and yet it’s over in the blink of an eye. I try to remember everything from training and try to keep up. My arms are burning, and I can hear my heart beating like crazy as the helm calls ‘down’. Where did we come? Did we win? Right now I have no idea. I don’t really care about that at the moment though as I look around at my teammates in the boat. Everyone pats everyone they can reach on the back and the paddler to the left of me tells me “well done”. Right now, I only want to know one thing – when can I do that again?

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