I have come to realise that as much as my head says, ‘I can’ the truth is that, at approaching 50, I am older in every sense than when I accompanied by Motty, Colin and Steve first stepped foot together in the Gobi desert in 2007. Quel surprise! The long-term effects of previous injuries and surgeries are all too evident, I creak, ache and make middle aged noises! All of Daniel’s efforts to extend my aerobic, anaerobic and several other capacities (whatever they are called) he can, chuffing up and down the garden in the shivering rain of Northants Winter and Spring mornings have all the images that one can conjure. For a start if I ever see that sodding rope again or a ‘bosu’ ball (what a stupid name for a bouncy ball!) or get talked into ‘tabata’ I will scream. For all the lung-busting and sweating, true, it has all extended me and my cranky frame beyond its natural limits and it will of course be invaluable in a few weeks when I am sat in a tent with Matt lit solely by the light of our head torches nursing blistered feet and cursing his very image. We shall see, that’s for another day, but today I’m aching from every body part and will eat sleep exercise repeat for another month until I finally pack my pack and head South.
That said I am, in a mildly masochistic way, looking forward to testing myself for one last time. I have been able to hide the pain long enough to give a good account in training and convince myself that I’m on the right path to line up on the start line on 30th April. The constant anxiety that I might let down those for whom I are hoping to raise money for and the loved ones around me that give the latitude and love for me to indulge this fading obsession one last time never goes away. This is one last hurrah and will close the chapter on desert adventure once and for all, no demons left out there and no more to prove to myself or others.