I've been amazed how much planning and preparation I've put into this race - I may have only officially signed up in October last year but I knew I was going to do it months before that, and just had to get a few things straight before I could sign that little disclaimer that says, and I quote:
"I fully realise the dangers of participating in a running, mountain biking and cross country skiing race held in Yukon, Canada during winter conditions, and fully assume the risk associated with such participation, including but not limited to the following dangers: dehydration, hypothermia, frostbite.... falling through thin ice....." I'll stop there as you are no doubt, by now, starting to get the picture.
One of the things that I've had to get my head around is the sheer amount of kit that you need for this race. It's not as if it's the sort of stuff you have lying around the house either - Arctic sleeping bag rated to -57C anyone? Thought not. In some ways this has been more problematic for me than actually getting out and training - after all, how hard is it to put on your trainers and go out for little jog around London, or run up and down Camber Sands pulling a kiddies sledge full of sand (surprisingly enjoyable, even if you do get a few strange looks from the kite surfers and dog walkers). Just identifying what I needed and then working out what was the best bit of kit within budget has become a bit of an obsession.
Some things were straight-forward (like the sleeping bag - warmest I could get hold of from an expedition hire company) but others I've agonised over for weeks on end before making a decision. Like what to to wear on my feet. Boots would be too heavy, normal running shoes not waterproof or warm enough. I've settled on a pair of waterproof Saloman trail shoes that were recommended by a previous competitor along with a pair of merino base layer socks and seal skinz waterproof socks.
Favourite bit off kit so far is a toss up between my PHD polar mitts which are so incredibly warm but still squash down into a tiny bag for storage and my Montane Extreme smock which I only bought a couple of weeks ago, but frankly, should have bought when I decided to do this thing.
Obviously the proof of how well I've chosen my kit will be how well it performs at the weekend, but, in the meantime, it doesn't feel like such a worry.
Fly out to Canada on Wednesday afternoon so final kit check and obligatory panic because I can't find my passport tomorrow night and then the trip is on........