The chimp is running around, throwing stuff and screaming.
Me: Chimp, you need to calm it down a bit, how about a foam banana?
The foam banana is flung straight back at me.
The chimp: REALLY? Do you really think you can fob me off with that?
Me: OK let’s talk. What’s the problem?
The Chimp: Seriously? You need to ask? Isn’t it obvious? What is wrong with you? Are you a complete idiot?
Me: Can we take this down a notch and have a sensible conversation? I am listening.
The Chimp: What on earth were you thinking? This is insane. You have signed up to run further than we have ever run before (and we are not just talking just a couple of miles are we). Do more climbing that we have ever done before – I mean a further 7k feet – and I have short legs you know. Climb the equivalent of Ben Nevis twice during the night; such a good idea not. Run through two nights; and frankly those head torch things don’t really cut it. I won’t be able to see the lions which are coming to eat me, until it’s too late. What if we wander off the path? No support crew or runner so who is going to look after me? You don’t. Look at the state you were in over the Lairig Mor; if it wasn’t for Sarah those beasts making the strange noises would have got me. You would have felt bad if that had happened. And you never feed me enough bananas or water. Harrumph.
Me: Wow! You are going stroke out if you keep that up.
The chimp adopts a huffy pose and turns his back to me, chattering.
Me: Yes, it’s a bigger challenge, but we always try to find bigger challenges and we do OK. Remember we did just fine at Glenmore 24. You know I assess and plan and we do the training. We just have to take it steady don’t we. No rushing off at great speed, take the hills steady, chill out with some good music and take time to enjoy the countryside, take some photos. We can take 48 hours to do it if we want.
The Chimp: Your taste in music is shocking by the way and good luck taking photos in the dark.
Me: There are plenty of check points not too far apart with lots of yummy things to eat and drink and where we can take a wee rest.
The Chimp: Bet they won’t have foam bananas.
Me: No they will probably have real bananas, and they will have coffee and coke. There are no lions in Istria, just bears.
The chimp whimpers.
Me: Kidding. No bears.
The chimp throws me a withering look.
Me: The route is marked with lots of little flags and so I don’t think we will get lost. I have seen comments from people who have done it before who say it is very clearly marked. I am going to set an alert on my Garmin to go off regularly to remind me to eat and drink. So there won’t be a repeat of the Lairig Mor.
The Chimp: That’s what you think. Even if we eat that is a long time with no sleep.
Me: Yes, but we can cope with no sleep as long as we eat and drink.
The Chimp: What’s with the, ‘we’.
Me: Well I would be delighted if you want to take yourself off for some kip, and give me some peace.
The Chimp: There’s gratitude for you. Here I am looking out for our well-being and all you do is give me a load of attitude.
Me: Oi; that is the pot calling the kettle black. Anyway, we don’t have to finish it you know. We just have to be sensible and if it is too much we make a judgement call and take a rest or stop. It will be tough and there would be no shame in stopping as long as we had done our best. There are time limits. We could get timed out, especially if you drag for feet, or should I say knuckles.
The Chimp: That’s just rude. You are not helping.
Me: Sorry. We will be fine. You know that really. Anyway, think of all the pizza, ice cream and wine you can drink when we finish.
The Chimp: Hmm. Blergh; don’t like pizza and wine, but if I can eat four times my body weight in foam bananas I could be tempted.
Me: Only if you don’t throw up. Are you ready to calm down a bit now?
The Chimp: Maybe. I will think about it.
He clambers back into the box and scuffs about in a desultory manner.