I just got home from the Spine Race after dropping out just a few miles from the start.
I had thought about the race all last year. I got as much information as I could, read all the blogs, tested all my kit and reccied 80% of the course, often in pretty testing conditions. I enjoyed all this and was looking forward to the race.
On the day of the start, I didn't have the same anticipation of an adventure about to start that I usually do with a big event. The weather was benign by Spine standards; a bit of rain to start then two or three hours of dry, later a couple of hours with heavy rain showers and a chill but not excessive wind. The ground underfoot was quite testing, lots of boggy ground and mud which made uncertain sliding a constant threat and going downhill over pasture land tricky enough, but again, the regulars get this every year and I knew what I was getting into.
Once we got started I progressed well enough. I kept a pace that I was comfortable with, ate and drank plenty, and stayed warm and dry. I didn't make any navigational errors and eventually wound up at the first checkpoint at Hebden Bridge, 45 miles from the start, in seventeen and a half hours - a couple of hours slower than I would have guessed probably due to slow careful progress on the muddy downhills but certainly good enough to be comfortable for the exit cutoff of 24 hours. I checked in, had a shower and cleaned up my feet, no blisters or other significant damage, tea and a big bowl of chilli then slept for a couple of hours or so.
Half way through repacking my bag for the next leg, a sudden realisation hit me hard. I was doing this and I was doing ok but I just wasn't enjoying it. I was going to go on not enjoying it for the next six days and I didn't want the end result badly enough for that. My head simply wasn't in the right place.
So I stopped. I won't go again.
|Just before the M62 crossing|