My bag had not caused me many issues throughout the weekend, although the Friday night before the race was spent up and down most of the night, emptying the anxious wind which always arrives when I am nervous. I get very little sleep before any event because my stoma is very….active. But I know what to expect and I don’t let it put me off. During the cycles my bag had been fine, although the cycle through the storm was so brutal that even if my bag had come off completely I don’t think I would have noticed! The same could not be said for the trek, which turned quite stressful half way through, due to a hideous bag issue.
Once on top of the hills, there was not much cover for sneaky toilet stops, and the cover got less and less as the trail continued down and around the corner of the hill. I could see the final ascent on the hill opposite, the path winding up the side of the hill, little multi coloured dots moving like tiny ants, as competitors made their slow way up the rocky terrain. Suddenly I felt my bag fill. And fill. And fill. Bloody hell. I needed to empty it, and right now. I looked around me. Walkers and runners everywhere to be seen, small gaps in between, but no gaps in time big enough for me to have time to stop and empty my bag. My anxiety beginning to rocket, I tried to stay calm, because nerves can only make the situation worse. By now I could feel my bag swinging like a grotesque warm pendulum, banging against the top of my leg. I tried to think logically, reminding myself that my bag had never actually come off completely like this, and the worse that could happen would be that it would leak. And I stank anyway after 2 days of not showering. So, if it was going to do anything please just let it leak, and then I can still finish the event with some dignity. You do little bargains like this all the time when you have a Bag Incident. My heart was hammering, and I could feel my stress beginning to escalate, as I realised that you could see the entire rest of the route, down into the little valley, and up the hill to the other side. There was literally nowhere to go. Nowhere at all. And then I had to sit in the kayak, crunched over rowing to the other side, putting even more pressure on the by now ballooning bag.
I scanned and scanned the path ahead, and then spotted a little tiny dip. I ran towards it, fumbled quickly with my clothes and emptied my bag. Just wind after all that! PHEW. Like a true mad woman, I started laughing to myself with sheer relief. I never let things like this stop me from doing events, yes it certainly adds to the pressure sometimes, but hey, this is why I like to challenge myself! Never once has my bag actually leaked, or come off, and for the most part I never notice my bag at all. Can also be quite handy having a little bag on you at times!
I was almost giddy with excitement when I reached the foot of the ascent. I had managed to empty my bag, there was one hill to climb and then it was the kayak! The end was in sight!
I was elated when I reached the top of the hill as you can see in the video.