|Scrambling in the Alps (photo Jasmin Paris collection)|
After the excitement of the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon (LAMM) described in instalment 1, Bump’s adventures continued with a trip to Gran Paradiso National Park, in Italy. In theory, this was to be a relaxing week of ambling across the mountains, with frequent opportunities to sample the local cuisine. In reality, it started with a 2000m ascent out of the Aosta valley, carrying all of our gear (in Konrad’s case this included all of the group kit, in my case it included a 20 week old foetus), and continued with a fantastic technical scramble, fortunately aided by a plethora of ladders and chains. On day 2 we descended into the valley to rendez-vous with my brothers, and assured by them that they had plenty of food to last us all for the remainder of the trip, we re-ascended into the high mountains. For the next 3 days we climbed up and down (and up and down, and up and down...), swimming in icy mountain lakes (except Konrad, who is a wimp), and sleeping under the stars in the company of Ibex. Rather predictably, our food supplies dwindled, and in the face of rationing my threshold for what qualified as a ‘hard cheese’ (many soft cheeses being on the ‘no no’ list for pregnant ladies) became increasingly dubious, justified only as an effect of the day’s heat 😉 As is always the case, the week ended far too soon, and we parted from my brothers already making plans for how we’d manage wild camping with the Bump next year.
|Enjoying the Sun at Gran Paradiso (photo Jasmin Paris collection)|
|Bump reaching 3000m (photo Jasmin Paris collection)|
Upon returning home to Scotland we were keen to make the most of our altitude training, so looked around for a suitable challenge. The local Caerketton Hill race, a gnarly 3.6km out-and-back, with a testing 300m climb, seemed just the thing. Competition was fierce, and Bump put up a valiant fight against Bob, catching him at the summit, only to be overtaken again on the descent. I’ve promised Bob a re-match next year...
|Catching Bob at the summit (photo Steve Fallon)|
Unfortunately, this was Bump’s last race for some time, owing to a sacroiliac injury I sustained whilst scything the most overgrown area in our ridiculously large garden (I have since come to the conclusion that we should just get a couple of sheep). Since cycling had already become impossible (the forward position my bike forces me to adopt is not very compatible with a Bump), I contented myself with outdoor swimming – at least I did until about month 6 ½, when I could no longer do my wetsuit up.
At 7 months pregnant, just about able to run again, I took part in the ROC Mountain Marathon with my trusted partner mum. We opted for the Short Score Category, theorising that this would give us the option of taking the most direct route to mid-camp if necessary. As it was, the claggy conditions probably favoured our slow pace and ample navigation time, because we managed to collect quite a reasonable score, when one considers that our team included one baby, and one artificial hip, in addition to the required kit. Day 2 was splendid, and we enjoyed seeing the views we’d missed the previous day as we navigated our way back to the Event Centre. We finished as first Female Vet team, (48/114 overall), in spite of a 15-minute retrospective time penalty for having accidentally crossed a boundary line (we were just one of several teams that did this, and the Race Organiser agreed that the line was not visible enough on the maps, but understandably a penalty had to be imposed).
|Team Paris at the ROC (photo © Steve Ashworth)|
At 36 weeks pregnant I ran my first ever Parkrun (our local one is Vogrie), inspired by my dad Jeff, who has been participating (his local one is Glossop) for the last year, with an ever-faster weekly time. Konrad sped off and won easily, in 17 minutes something, whilst I started steady, and enjoyed the feeling of running on the flat rather than hauling the Bump up a hill. We gradually started making up places, and I finished feeling really good, in 23 minutes 35, which made me 4th lady on the day, and 30/148 overall.
The feeling of easy running didn’t last long though, as the Bump dropped down a few days later, settling in its new position directly atop my bladder. As a result, I felt for the first few days as if I was carrying a bowling ball between my legs, with my ‘running’ resembling a ‘fast-forward waddle’ rather than anything remotely athletic. My plan of running the Tinto Hill Race (7km, 460m ascent) two weeks later suddenly seemed like wishful thinking, but as the day approached I grew accustomed to Bump’s new position, and decided to give it a go after all. And so, at 38 weeks pregnant exactly, I lined up for the start of Tinto, along with 243 other runners, waiting for the starter’s signal. In the event, I didn’t actually hear this (I was so far back), but I knew from the forward rush of the mass in front that the race was underway.
|Bump racing at Tinto (photo Charlie Ramsay)|
The race was great. I started very slowly, and gradually moved up through the field. I think I must have smiled the whole way - I was having such fun. I lost a few places on the way down, since I was being very careful not to slip, but still surprised myself by finishing 148th, in 49:01 (for reference, our recce, done on a very windy day – but at 4 weeks less pregnant, had taken us 1 hour 8 minutes). Bump was very well behaved, and didn’t force a single wee stop 😉