I received a very disturbing e-mail today.
But before I launch into that I need to set the scene. I am a member of a walking group. Actually that sounds a bit formal. Me and three good friends go walking once a month and once a year we like to set ourselves a walking challenge. We kind of peaked the first year when we did trailwalker. The aim being to get your team of four 100km over the South Downs in under thirty hours. That's 63 miles with no sleeping. We did it in just over 29 hours. At this point I could wax lyrical about the highs (the camaraderie, the sunrise over the mist in the valley, the enormous sense of achievement) and the lows (the state of the toilets, the cramps, the blisters, the silent sobbing at 4am, what extreme endurance events do to your stomach hence the state of the toilets) but I shall refrain and simply say - great to have done it but NEVER EVER AGAIN.
Last year we attempted the Yorkshire Three Peaks and for the first time in the history of our walking challenges we didn't complete it. The weather was appalling and half way up the second peak I was blown over. Literally. At that point we decided to call it off after having visions of being trapped up there with only a dry stone wall for shelter and our rations dwindling to a bit of squashed Kendal Mint Cake which was sure to be lurking at the bottom of someones rucksack. We limped off the mountain in the driving rain (it almost goes without saying that we were at the furthest point away from the car)and began a very long, very wet, very depressing trudge back.
Safely back at the hotel, warm, dry and armed with a large tooth mug of wine each we vowed to return. So we are going back this year. The aim is to do the three mountains (23 miles) in under 12 hours. And this is the point where we get back to the e-mail. It transpires that my friends have been doing extra training. I am almost tempted to say extra secret training although to be fair they have all mentioned it before. Its just that its only just dawned on me that I have done nothing extra. Unless you can count my clothes shopping trip with eldest girl at the weekend as some sort of cross-training on the basis it involved walking round the shops and holding shopping bags?
We have a fifteen mile training walk on Sunday. Fingers crossed that I can keep up.