Maybe it was a touch of Januaryitis? You know, that common affliction every New Year where you set overly-lofty ambitions for the year? Often, they are unattainable goals.
For some it might mean a huge gym membership outlay only for it to dwindle away by March. Or it might be even farther fetched. I can recall one boozy evening with a good friend one year when we had resolved to row the Atlantic by midnight. Redgrave and Pinsent we were not and we remain so. I don’t think we ever even managed to get in a boat at all for a single training session!
Away from the pub bravado, I have made my own commitment for 2017 and I didn’t really see it coming. I made it sober too. I have booked a place in my first ever ultra-race with a confirmed entry at the Dartmoor Discovery this June. It is 32 daunting miles over the moor’s undulating and rugged landscape and – by all accounts – not for the faint hearted.
I have logged six marathons on my running CV, but I have never ventured beyond 26 miles. To be honest, I have yet to finish any marathon with any sense whatsoever that I could run another single step.
But as I attended training nights at Newton Abbot-based Teignbridge Trotters every week during January, I found myself picking up more and more on the conversations about the club’s cult ultra. Did you know it is the UK’s biggest single lap road race? A seed had been planted and it was beginning to grow. Without a particular goal for the year, suddenly this seemed like not such a ridiculous idea.
I also reside on the edge of Dartmoor and the notion of conquering this mystical and beautiful expanse of Devon landscape I have grown to love, started to become irresistible. So it was that I posted my entry and became one of 250 hardy souls preparing to explore our limits this summer.
There’s a long way to go – in more ways than one – but it’s a challenge that I am really warming to.