After 42 days, Jenny skied into the small basecamp that occupies
the pole with no fanfare. The two scientists based there didn’t even
know she was coming until they heard noises outside their tent.
“I think I’d skied for 18 hours that day. You can see the pole
quite far out and I just wanted to get there. I didn’t really feel
much when I arrived. I was very happy to be there, of course. But I
was in a lot of pain, so I just had a couple of beers then went to bed.”
The journey didn’t end at the pole. After three days waiting out a
storm, Jenny was flown to the main base camp in Antarctica at Union
Glacier. And there, perhaps, was her biggest challenge yet: to remove
the bandages that were on her leg; bandages that needed a long soaking
in a hot shower before they could be removed.
“I knew it was going to hurt when the doctor gave me a bottle of
whisky to drink in the shower and he stood behind the curtain ready to
provide me with painkillers for what were to be the most painful 40
minutes of my life, peeling off the layers of Granuflex dressing.”
Two days later, Jenny arrived back in the UK, and was whisked
straight to hospital where she had not one, but two operations –
including a skin graft – on her leg. It wasn’t until three weeks later
that she could really take in the experience.
“It took a while to process it all. I know I’m good at pushing
through pain, but I didn’t think I had it in me to ski through that.
Of course I’m over the moon about making it to the pole, even if I
didn’t break the record. Though actually, right now, I’m more excited
about the fact I can bend my knee again. It’s funny how you take this
really small movement for granted. I spent 42 days skiing, 15 hours a
day, and suddenly being able to bend my knee is a big deal.”
This pretty much sums Jenny up. She’s incredibly humble and down to
earth. It’s not that she underestimates her achievements; it’s more
that she just doesn’t think she’s more special than the rest of us.
“I believe anyone can do this kind of thing with the right
training, equipment and support. There’s nothing special about me.
You just have to really want to do it. You’ve got to figure out
what’s the end goal and how to get there. Your why has to be strong
because if you don’t really want it, you’ll give up when it starts
to get hard. But if you truly want it, I honestly believe you’ll
make it happen.”
Jenny’s training was intense, to say the least.
She started about
eight months out and her social life went out the window. She
trained for up to 14 hours at a time. The most common method was
walking on a treadmill, at max incline, pulling a weighted (with
100kgs) sled looking at a wall with nothing like music or
Netflix to distract her.
“Training was tough, particularly training without any external
stimulus. But it’s important to be able to empty your heard and stay
calm. You can’t be dependent on stuff like music. Because what if it
breaks out there? Would you still be able to carry on?”
Depending on where she was in her training schedule, Jenny would do
roughly three weight-lifting sessions per week, four general strength
and conditioning sessions, including “boring stuff” like foam rolling
and core training, a weekly swim and some bike sessions for cardio
fitness. And seeing as Jenny was still working during this time, she
had to use annual leave to take longer training sessions closer to departure.
But the hard work clearly paid off. Jenny wasn’t just physically
strong, she was mentally strong, too.
Follow Jenny's next adventures here