I am sitting in the Shanker hotel in Kathmandu feeling that odd nausea that comes from nerves. It is a feeling like no other as if a swarm of giant butterflies are doing the can can with their tiny legs in the pit of your stomach.
Today is technical check, kit check, medical check and race briefing. Tomorrow we get on the bus for an eight hour drive to our first camp and the next day we start the Everest Trail Race –160km over 6 days with 15,000m of ascent.
I have been training and losing weight but I am by far the least impressive person in this group of ultra athletic, ultra determined, ultra runners. I am the Shetland pony in a stable full of Thoroughbreds and it is pretty intimidating.
All the races that my fellow runners have done ring through the air: UTMB, Grand to Grand, The Spine and do nothing to help quiet the dancing butterflies.
I know I can do the distance and the elevation gain but I have to race against the clock to make the cut off times or I will be pulled from the race and that is what is making me feel so apprehensive.
Steve Diederich of RunUltra who has kindly sponsored me for this says I can do it, “Run the flats and the downs and just do NOT STOP on the ups.” Those words are going to be ringing in my ears for the whole race.
My Mum also had sage advice, “Of course, you are feeling nervous, that is one of the reasons you do it. Try and enjoy even that feeling because it is part of the experience.”
This morning we went sightseeing round the temples of Kathmandu which was fascinating and full of the noise of chattering monkeys and the smell of incense. It filled me with energy and excitement. I will try and hold on to that for the next hours until the race starts and the mountains fill me with their energy and inspire me to do my best, to conquer my demons and to succeed, inchallah!
If you enjoyed this story, there are more in my books.