I admit that I am obsessed. The Antarctic Odyssey has taken me to a whole new level of obsession. It is a constant in my life now and will be until well after I have completed it: how to get event sponsors/partners; how to hit the charity fundraising target; what other fundraising do I do to help hit that target; training plans; training sessions; clothing and kit; footwear; travel; publicity; website; blogging. The list goes on, and I talk about it on a daily basis. It is driving people insane: not least my nearest and dearest.
My long suffering husband and daughters have supported me well over the years. They have accompanied me to numerous events at an outrageously early hour and stood around for hours in all weathers to see me cross the finish line in various states of exhaustion.
They have cycled alongside me, and driven to obscure meeting points to hand out drinks and food, clothing and encouragement, often getting irritable responses from a tired runner.
As the girls have grown up, my 3 line whip has come to hold no power and their enthusiasm and attendance has waned; leaving a support team of one; who has frankly had enough, and so there is further rebellion in the ranks.
I have been gradually transitioning to self sufficiency and attending events on my own; for-going the smiles, waves and encouragement and (at times dodgy) finish line photos. Finding that perfect backpack and learning what to put in it, and what to put in the drop bags for the event check points.
But now I have reached an odd dichotomy. Now more than before, I need a support team as I extend my distances in both training and events; but I also need to self support. There will be no dedicated ‘Team Audrey’ support crew in Antarctica. The support crew will be small and responsible for all runners.
So, where does that leave me: in a state of continuous improvement. I continue the process of working out how to support myself: refining how much and what I carry, the essential back-pack contents, what goes in race drop bags. It is unlikely that I will be completely self supporting, and there are events that mandate a support team. I also, importantly, need to reach out to my network and build a new and extended ‘Team Audrey’ and offer my husband some much needed respite.