Wednesday, January 06, 2016

The Spine 2016 v5

On Saturday morning I will be standing on the start line of the Spine for the 5th time. That’s every running of the Spine Race.


Well, quite frankly, at this precise moment I have absolutely no idea. The thought of spending 6 days outside in the current weather isn’t exactly filling me with glee.

With finishes in 2013 and 2015, I don’t really need to prove anything to anybody. But I feel I do. Continually.

Every summer, I have this vision of the Spine being held in perfect winter conditions. Some frost and snow on the ground, lovely blue skies. A week outside in these conditions calls me, and even the thought of it makes me smile. And I enter!

The Spine is a calling and I find myself unable to ignore it, unable to turn my back on it, unable to walk away. I have made so many really good friends through competing in the Spine. It really is one big family. 

Jenny is on the support team again this year and has been promoted to checkpoint manager! She is part of the Spine family and I am eternally grateful for her support. I think we runners don't always realise the stress an event like this puts on our loved ones. I know that last year Jenny barely slept all week, nervously watching my little dot on the tracker. Thanks my darling.

I’m as physically fit as I’ve been for ages. I’m leaner than I was through the summer. In good conditions, I’d be expecting a cracking run.

However, mentally I’m nowhere. I hate this continual greyness; it’s had a massive negative effect on me. Everything is negative even though everything should be positive. I’m probably talking myself right out of the event, but I just can’t just see myself finishing. I can’t visualize it.

At least I’ve packed my kit with due diligence. In 2014, I got all my kit out and then put it all away again. I just didn’t want to do it at all. I did start and had a miserable first few hours, eventually DNF’ing just before Hawes. I was very wet and cold, but if I’d really wanted it I could have continued. I didn’t.

You have to really want this event or it will rip you to pieces.

Last year, I was in great shape and my head was absolutely in the right place. I really wanted it and had a great time eating my way up the cake shops of England, finishing in joint 10th place.

My plan this year was to give it a real crack. Is to give it a real crack.

So, I will be on the start line and once we get going, I’m sure everything will fall into its Spiney place.

Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end.”

Ultimately, as I wrote last year, the Spine is what I do in January…..but I think 5 starts is enough. 

It's certainly enough for Jenny! 

Incidentally, I hope I meet this lovely waitress again....