When I first had the idea of running the Centurion Grand Slam it seemed like a completely unachievable goal, so much so that it took me nearly eighteen months to mention it to my coach. When I did pluck up the courage to tell him about it, his response was unequivocal:
“Nothing you have stated you want to achieve is beyond you.”
That reply has been repeated in many forms on many occasions since, and so matter-of-fact was its delivery that I believed it almost unquestioningly. Yes, an occasional bad training session would dent my confidence, most notably the recce run of the Detling to Hollingbourne section of NDW100. Of course, my experience from my first 100 mile attempt taught me that however well prepared I was, I should never take a 100 mile finish for granted. But in the main, grand slamming became something thoroughly doable, an exercise in commitment rather than an epic, physical battle.
Which is why I was stunned to be nominated for my running club’s Extreme Performance (Female) award. Quite aside from the fact that a year of grand slamming has meant that I can count the number of times I’ve been to a club run this year on the fingers of one hand, running the four Centurion races was fun. This year has essentially consisted of four months of hard training, 101 hours of racing supported by absolutely amazing friends, and a whole heap of rest, recovery and taper.
And for this, ladies and gentlemen, I was lucky enough to be awarded a trophy.
I’m grinning all over again.