Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Not The Spine Race Report - Part 1: An Unexpected Journey

If a small book like The Hobbit can be made into 3 films, then my paltry 8 hrs on the Spine course this year can be spread over 3 parts.

So here goes

Part 1: An Unexpected Journey

When I wrote my last blog on the Friday before the race, I was feeling really good. My training done, I was feeling fit, strong and mentally prepared. I had a plan. I was ready to really have a go at the Spine, to perform as I know I can. Secretly, I had hopes of a top 5 finish.

I went for a short run later that day and was relatively slow having done little that week but I didn’t think much of it.

The next morning, I woke with a sore throat and some vague cold symptoms. I wasn’t too bothered as I tend to get over these things pretty quickly. I was a bit worse on Sunday and felt tired.  Jenny came back from her cruise to Dubai with a filthy cold and we made a tactical decision for me to sleep in the spare room. I didn’t want to catch hers as well and I didn’t want her to catch mine, bearing in mind her impending trip to Minneapolis.

I seemed to be on the mend on Monday. Jenny was worse and spent the day in bed.

On Tuesday, I drove over to Newcastle for work. I felt dreadful; full of cold and absolutely wiped out. I had to leave late morning as I wasn’t capable of anything. Doubt started setting in. “Surely not the week before the Spine. Surely I can’t the miss the race”. I cancelled my trip to London on Wednesday but felt no better. I was really doubting whether I’d be OK for the weekend.

Would I be OK for The Challenger? Would it be possible to change? But that that would mean a day’s less recovery… but I couldn’t miss the race entirely… could I?

Thursday, I woke feeling great. Completely better. Brilliant. I messaged Scott, “Just to confirm that I’m better and will be on the start line of the Spine on Sunday”. I opened my secret Spine kit box and packed my kit. It didn’t take too long – I’ve got my Spine kit fairly well sorted. Food was left for Friday. I felt so pleased and really positive.

I woke on Friday with all kind of negative thoughts and doubts. Was it sensible to do a week long event straight after a viral illness? Did I really want to be out for a week? Was it fair on Jenny – she was still poorly and there was lots to do the following week on our barn renovation and then she was off to Minneapolis for 5 weeks on Saturday. Shouldn’t I be at home with my lovely wife? Shouldn’t I be at home to take her to the airport?

By 10am, I was in a mess; so confused and unable to make a decision. I didn’t want to miss the whole and if I did the Challenger I would be back by sometime on Sunday/Monday; but would it be possible to swap into the Challenger? A quick message to Scott confirmed that it could be done. Of course, I had no accommodation for Friday night so it would be on the floor at the Field Centre in Edale.

At 11am, Jenny asked me what I was going to do. I didn’t know. I was totally indecisive, unable to think straight. Eventually Jenny made the call – I was doing the Challenger. 

I now had an hour to sort out my food supplies before leaving to catch the train to Edale. I just threw everything into a bag; I would sort it out later. All this concentrated the mind and I knew it was the correct decision… even if I hadn’t actually made it. I was getting excited about the prospects of racing the Challenger.

On the way to the station, I rang up my B&B and cancelled my room for Saturday night. Amazingly they had a free single room that night and even better wouldn’t charge me for it. Brilliant – I’d have space to sort “my stuff” and a bed to sleep in.

Jenny dropped me at Oxenholme and I was off on my unexpected Friday journey to run the Spine Challenger.

Part 2 coming soon…

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