So how did this crazy journey begin?
Like pretty much every ultra-running fan in the UK I have been glued to a computer/ipad/phone screen dot-watching the Spine and Spine Challenger competitors every January. Who were these seriously hard-core athletes that battled the grimmest of British winter weather for hundreds of miles? Each year, I was blown away by the super human efforts. Not once did I ever think "Hmm, that looks like a good idea. That could be fun." It was just too much of a leap to take. Far too extreme an event. I don't like the cold, I hate wind, I hate bogs, I'm not a great fan of running in the dark on my own for hours on end (I don't mind it for short periods of a an hour or two) so this race seemed to be everything I wouldn't want in a race. There was a whole array of reasons for me not to even consider entering such an event.
My parents (and most non-ultra-running people I know) always thought I was a bit daft with all this running malarkey. When I finished the Lakeland 100 I felt like I really impressed them. And I must have mentioned the Spine Race in some random conversation with my parents. My dad reminded me that in his younger days he had walked and wild camped the entire length of the Pennine Way. He's pretty tough, my dad.
*Lightbulb moment* (Be careful of those - you don't know what you'll end up doing!!)
So naturally, since I am such an 'against-the-grain' kind of person, it didn't take my husband too much effort to persuade me to send off my entry.
I thought to myself, "Don't worry, they won't let you in, you don't really have the winter experience, they won't accept you."
Congratulations, you entry to the Montane Spine Challenger has been accepted.
I didn't tell anyone for months. I doubted myself so much I thought they would all think I was completely crazy to enter such a huge race. They did! Ha. But clearly they thought I was the right kind of crazy to give it a bash. Either that or they were only saying that to my face. I dare say there were many out there who doubted I could do it. Myself more than anybody.
What had I done?