Is that a penguin I see before me?


No guesses as to who this little person is, and thanks to Alasdair (my husband) for the caption.

From what I gather I was a determined little individual from the start; and according to my Mum once I found my legs there was no stopping me. I would walk, and walk and walk, had a ton of energy and needed little sleep. Sound familiar? The photo shows a little person that is set to go and no messing.

I knew my mind and I knew what I wanted. I also knew what I did not want as the great ‘liver’ battle proved. As did saving up to buy my first contact lenses at the age of 13, when Mum had said no. I always knew best, or thought I did: the don’t run with the milk bottle incident that ended in A&E, a near miss on a vein and stitches in my wrist was not one of those moments. The pattern was set at a young age and continued into adulthood. I gave birth to two daughters with no pain relief, a source of great incredulity to doctor friends who could not understand why I would choose to suffer and turn down the safe pain relief that medical science had put so much effort into developing.

I am in short a determined, stubborn, control freak pain in the ass who does not like being told what to do. My husband has the patience of a saint.

Back to the walking thing: I was a ‘roly-poly’ child and, quite frankly, an overweight teenager. We have already covered my dislike of sport at school. A dear friend recently wrote that I ‘would struggle to run 50 yards at school’.  She was not far from the truth. Walking fine: school sport not fine. I was not good at sport, and particularly not good at team sports. The whole school PE thing was a source of great teenage angst for me. I hated the emphasis on being competitive and the pressure to be good. The PE staff, were, to me harridans with a sergeant major complex: quick to put you down and slow to praise. That whole knock you down to build you up thing just did not do it for me.

Who would have thought that this sport averse schoolgirl would end up an ultra runner and running in the Antarctic. Well, I think we just need to go back to that picture of the toddler. The teenage years were a blip.

Today, I was having a bit of a wobble. One of those,

Oh God, what was I thinking of moments’.

My confidence briefly deserted me. I am told that this is normal and had been warned to expect it. That fear that I am not prepared enough and that I am going to make a fool of myself and fail. Did I have the right kit? Would the kit be up to the job and pass the inspection? Have I trained enough? What if.... what if.... and there is so much still to do.

Alasdair’s response:

Now? Only now! It’s a bit late now. It will be fine’.  Alasdair knows me well enough and knew it would pass.

Others re-assured too.  ‘D’ for once did not tease:

Breathe, just start at the top:


running shoes......

and keep going until you run out of time.  You will have done enough and it will be great.

Finish and you will be more kick ass than 99.9999999% of the population.

I have trained and in my heart I know I am as fit and ready as I will ever be. I have trained and raced over 2000 miles, lost 8kgs in weight, reduced my BMI from 24.34 to 21.63, my resting heart rate has gone down from 56-58 to 45 beats per minute; and run 5 ultra marathons and 2 marathons in the last 12 months. Focus, sheer determination and stubbornness have seen me through to this point and will see me through the rest of the epic.

My kit is fine. It has been researched and tested and meets the stated specification. My travel and hotel have been booked and confirmed. All the other bits and pieces of gear have been acquired. I am a project manager, so a check list, a task list and prioritisation are second nature to me and all that I now need to get me to the start line.

Wobble over. It is time to set forth and enjoy the experience of a life time that is ahead, achieve something amazing and to raise a shed load of money for Alzheimer Scotland.

I dare say there will be a few more wobbly moments, but they too will pass. A few nerves give you an edge and make sure that you treat the challenge with respect.