30 Jun 2013

540.38 - 550.38KM: Solo Run

After last weekend’s double header I was originally due to keep the momentum going and run the Humber Bridge Half Marathon today, however a number of reasons made me decide that it would be best to sit it out. So instead I got up early and went out this morning and counted this week’s run as a Solo Run.

So why did I opt against running the Humber Bridge Half Marathon? As I mentioned in the introduction there were quite a few factors that made my decision. Firstly how physically and mentally tired I have felt these past couple of weeks. Ever since the week where Jenny was in hospital and I was getting at best 4 hours of sleep a night, I have felt like my body has almost been freewheeling. Whilst Jenny is out of hospital now her health is still far from improving and this causes a lot of stress to both of us. There is also the matter of how physically wearing it is to ‘be in training’ for all these races on top of working a 9-5 and then coming home to look after Jenny and do everything else that needs doing. I needed a break before I collapsed both physically and mentally.

There was also the fact that last time I borrowed the car to go to a race and indirectly forced Jenny to walk home from work she ended up in hospital the following day. This certainly plagued on my mind when making the decision to not enter the race. After cancelling on the Humber Bridge 10k a few weeks ago and then today’s cancellation it appears that maybe I just really don’t want to go to Hull. 

Plus if I'm being honest I'm absolutely terrible with heights, so I'm not sure how I would cope running over that.

Despite being a few weeks ahead of schedule the majority of my running this year is still to come. Of the 6 marathons I have planned to run this year, so far I have only completed two, leaving four to run before January 1st. Potentially three of these, but at least two, come within a month of each other.  Conditioning is vital this year, in the six months so far I have ran more than the past couple of years combined and thought I would take the rare opportunity to 'rest'. 

As for today's run it was a fairly comfortable 10 kilometer run. I aimed to get out before the weather got too hot today, having made this mistake a few times before. I was hoping to finish in sub 45, but a very stop/start run meant that I took a few minutes longer, not that it really mattered as it was supposed to be a recovery run first and foremost. 

After this weekend I feel a lot more refreshed than I have for the past couple of weeks so I'm hoping to kick on and keep pushing hard towards my 1000km target. I put a lot of pressure on myself this year to enter as many races as I can, as I feel it helps validate the 1000km that I am running. There is therefore always a sense of guilt and frustration when I am unable to do so, regardless of the reasons why.

Tomorrow I am on BBC Radio Lincolnshire at 11am for a catch up interview now that I am halfway through the year. You can listen to that interview here.

As always, please visit http://www.justgiving.com/shanes1000km and donate what you can and please share news of what I am doing with others.


Distance: 10.00km | 6.2 miles

Time: 00:47:32
Average Pace: 04:45 min/km | 07:39 min/mi


View my run:

24 Jun 2013

520.34 - 540.38KM: Forging Towards The Sunset (Summer Solstice 10K & Underwood 10K)

Fresh off the back of last weekend's milestone reaching race, this week I kept the momentum going with another two races. With little over 30 seconds between the times recorded at both races you could be mistaken for thinking that my performances were reasonably identical. This would be far from the truth, the races couldn't have gone any more differently.

520.34 - 530.38KM: Summer Solstice 10k

First up was Friday's Summer Solstice 10k in Long Bennington. I spent the majority of the day keeping an eye on the weather as the consistent threat of rain looked to signal a rather damp race. I need not have worried however, as by the time race came the majority of the clouds had disappeared and made way for glorious, hot sunshine. In hindsight, I was perhaps a little too eager for the sun as the conditions bared a startling resemblance to my last Friday evening race, the Notts 10 Mile Road Race. Although at least this time I didn't throw up.

Definitely not raining
There is always slight trepidation when reading the runners' information pack before a race that my eyes will come across the following:
Unfortunately this past weekend this happened on both occasions.

I'm not sure on the science behind it, but there is no doubt that I am able to perform much better when running with music than I am without, if for no reason other than it acts as a distraction from how much I may or may not be hurting. I am in no doubt that if Rob Halford's screams wouldn't have come through my ears in the last mile at Silverstone, that I wouldn't have got as strong a PB as I did. There is also a certain level of fear that if I don't run as fast as I can that I might be letting Dave Hunt down personally.

Sorry Dave
As for the race, I have no one to blame but myself for how much of a struggle it was. I had spent the majority of the week running to and from work, without giving my body chance to rest. Furthermore I had spent the majority of the evenings organising various 500km milestone related celebrations so by the time that I was ready to go to sleep I was too tired to properly stretch out or use my foam roller.

If I had an ounce of common sense or the ability to listen to my body I would have taken the run steady. Instead I saw the opportunity on what was a relatively flat course to try and set a decent time, why not, I thought. Why not? Because it was too hot and I was too tired is why not. By the time this year is over I might finally realise that occasionally I should listen to my body and not push myself as hard as I can when I really shouldn't. In the mean time though it means I get to pull beautiful faces like the one below.

The pain quite clearly written across my face


Distance: 10.04km | 6.24 miles
Time: 00:43:58
Official Time: 
Average Pace: 04:23 min/km | 08:03 min/mi
Playlist: N/A
Goody Bag: Bottle of Beer, Glass, Crisps, Snickers & Bananas.


View my run:

530.38 - 540.38KM: Underwood 10k

If Friday's run was too hot, then I would have no complaints about Sunday's Underwood 10k. As I walked up the Late Entries table the wind caught the gazebo and it flew backwards and the rain poured onto the unsuspecting volunteers beneath. A sign of things to come?

Not quite, but the rain certainly didn't let up. As yet another first time race I knew very little of what to expect with the course. On the way down to the start line I heard runners talk amongst themselves about 'hills' and the race organiser at the beginning referred to the fact that there were a couple of hills, which was met with a knowing chuckle from previous participants. Having ran the St. Valentines 30k and Newton's Fraction Half earlier in the year, the talk of hills doesn't phase me, but the ones I ended up facing were a little tougher than I anticipated.

After Friday's reasonably disappointing race I was eager to put it behind me and record a strong time. I lined up at towards the front of the relatively small crowd and set off keeping reasonable pace with the front group and ran the first mile in 5:59. This was very much the peak of my race and my legs soon began to feel Friday's hard run and as the hills started to turn up I could feel myself getting much slower.

Definitely raining
To a non runner the following may sound strange, but Sunday's run felt like a PB performance even if it wasn't a PB time. The hills took a lot out of me, but the first mile was my fastest yet and on a flat surface I'm confident I could have built on that and at least come close to my time at Lincoln. Having checked my 5k split for both races, I was only 40 seconds or so behind Lincoln, a much flatter course.

Forty seconds is of course a lot over a relatively short distance, but after Friday's race it gives me some hope that the sub 40 challenge this year is still very much achievable. So achievable in fact that I have bet my hair on it.

I may live to regret this...

Finally, I recently recorded a video recently after reaching the 500km mark as a thank you message to those that have sponsored me so far and to give a recap of the year so far and a look ahead to what's to come.

Check it out.


Distance: 10.00km | 6.2 miles
Time: 00:43:26
Official Time: 00:43:19
Average Pace: 04:21 min/km | 08:05 min/mi
Playlist: N/A
Goody Bag: Bag & Bottle of Water


View my run:

16 Jun 2013

496.19 - 520.34KM: Ready for Salvation (Three Lakes Classic)

Last weekend I was set to run my 21st race of the year and reach the 500km milestone with the Humber Bridge 10k. Unfortunately these plans were scrapped when I had to take Jenny to hospital on Sunday after she was struck with her 7th bout of Eczema Herpeticum, she was later admitted. I am pleased to say that as of Friday she has been discharged from hospital and has returned home, a great relief after a horrible, horrible week. With Jenny slowly on the mend, and her mum taking care of her yesterday, I was free to have another attempt at breaking 500km with the Three Lakes Classic.

Important things first, Jenny has recovered well, although under doctor's orders she is pretty much housebound for the next couple of weeks, to prevent her health relapsing. She will be making a post on the whole ordeal over on her eczema blog (http://i-have-eczema.blogspot.co.uk/). If you haven't already done so, I ask you to please take a look and learn a little bit more about her condition and why I have been motivated to run so much this year.

Back to today's race, it was my second race so far this year around Rother Valley, with a third lined up next month with the Rother Valley 10k. I wouldn't be just running round Rother Valley though, the clue is in the name of the race, I would also be running around Treeton Dyke and Ulley Res. I had done a little bit of reading before the race of past runner's experience and learnt that a significant number of runners had got lost before, and saw many complaints about unclear markings and a lack of marshalling. I knew that I would be neither far enough at the front or towards the back for this to be too big of a concern, but I kept it in mind that I would always have to keep my eye on the runner in front.

Before the race began there was a mildly amusing case of mistaken identity, where someone approached me believing me to be a member of the Runner's World forum. I've since discovered who I was mistaken for and can kind of see how, even though I'm at least 20 years younger. As the race started I was some way towards the back of the group, so slowly worked my way towards the front. At the beginning of the race I was just 4km short of the 500km milestone and thinking back that would have been reached somewhere in between the point where I stopped to go for a wee and where I tripped up over a rock and flew head first towards a fence, which seems oddly fitting.

Stopping to go to the toilet so soon into the race cost me dearly with positioning. Significant sections of the race were down what were essential single file paths, making it difficult to pass people in front of me. It would take the best part of the next 10 miles until I started to see members of the group I was initially running with at the beginning of the race. 

The route was described as 80% off road and I was aware of a significant hill around the 8 mile mark. Reading comments from previous years runners also highlighted the need to keep sight of a runner in front of you during the woodland sections, which I did even if it meant at times pushing myself harder in these sections than I normally would. Some recent hill training had prepared me for the the beast at 8 1/2 miles and it felt great to overtake a lot of runners going up that hill. 

By the time I reached the finish my body was feeling the last 15 miles, so the famous cake selection at the end was a sight for sore eyes. The photo below shows just one of the four tables filled with cake. After I'd drank my cup of tea and eaten just one of the cakes, I had to go a run the remaining .34 miles my watch was short. It may have been a case that the signal was lost during the woodland sections of the race, but I'm making sure on races like this that I don't cut myself short and run the fully advertised distance, even if this means running nearly another half mile past the finish line.

At the end of a lot of my posts this year I have ended with saying that the events of the previous week have reminded me why I'm fundraising this year, and served as motivation throughout the race. In fact I seem to remember saying it enough times that it has almost become, an albeit long and not very catchy, catchphrase. That said, it has never been more true than this week.

So please visit http://www.justgiving.com/shanes1000km and donate what you can and please share news of what I am doing with others.


Distance: 24.15km | 15.00 miles
Time: 02:01:25
Official Time: 02:00:24
Average Pace: 05:01 min/km | 08:05 min/mi
Playlist: Combichrist
Goody Bag: Mug, Crisps, Orange Juice, Chocolate, Lollipop and lots of cake


View my run:

9 Jun 2013

480.02 - 496.19KM - When fear is your only emotion (Notts 10 Mile Road Race)

This weekend was supposed to be one of celebration, the two races I had lined up would take me over the 500km mark and be my 20th and 21st race of the year. Instead I'm sat writing this introduction sat next to Jenny in hospital after she was admitted on Sunday with severe Eczema Herpeticum.

The weekend got off to an early start with the Notts 10 Mile Road Race around Holme Pierrepont on Friday evening. It was a very warm evening, at somewhere between 18°C and 20°C, and with another race on Sunday, it was a race that I should have run at a steady pace. Instead, I was conscious of the fact that Jenny was at work and that if I could I wanted to get back to give her a lift home, so foolishly I decided to run the race as hard as I could, which led to many hilarious faces, such as the one below.

About three miles into the run I got what initially felt like a stitch in my stomach area, but as the miles wore on and more gas built up I ended up having to burp my way to comfort, until at 6 miles the origin of this pain became apparent and I ended up throwing up in my mouth. Far, far from pleasant. With this discomfort dislodged I carried on for the remaining three and a bit miles, before crossing the line, grabbing my goody bag and heading home. My first race of the weekend completed and leaving me just 4km short of the halfway point.

When I got back home Jenny kept mentioning how itchy her eye was. A cause for concern for many, but an all too common complaint for someone with Jenny's conditions. It wasn't until the following morning when Jenny woke up that it became obvious it wasn't a typical itchy eye.

Initial thoughts didn't lead to herpeticum, instead Jenny thought it might be conjunctivitis, but closer inspection revealed the worst. After waiting a couple of hours for Jenny to get ready we made the trip to A&E where Jenny was eventually given some strong medication to hopefully fight of the infection.

As the evening wore on, the infection was visibly spreading at an alarming rate. On Sunday I was due to run the Humber Bridge 10k in Hessle, just south of Hull, these plans were soon scrapped however. What started as a relatively normal face with minimal swelling in the morning, had gone out of control. Jenny spent the majority of Saturday evening afraid of going to bed because she knew the discomfort that would follow in the morning. This photograph below was taken before Jenny went to bed on Saturday evening, a terrifying contrast to the photo I had taken just 14 hours prior.

On Sunday morning I half heartedly got ready for the race knowing nothing short of a miracle would enable me to go. When I checked on Jenny I could see her face had swollen to almost twice the size it was before and another trip to A&E was on the cards.

We were fast tracked straight to see a doctor where we learnt that she would be admitted to hospital. When we got transferred to a ward a nurse began dealing with Jenny and putting a cannula in her hand. This is the part of the story when I find it wise to inform you that it was now 12:30, and I hadn't eaten since half 7, for those that know me this is a long time for me to go without eating. As I stood there holding Jenny's hand as she became distressed at the cannula action I began to feel a little weird, suddenly I'm struggling to see anything, I try and place the drink I had in my hand on the floor and then 'boom!', I faint.

Next thing I know I'm laying on the floor with 5/6 nurses/doctors around me, and I'm covered in both sweat and embarrassment. I'm not one for being squeamish at all, in fact I regularly give blood, so I have no issue with needles or anything, I'll just chalk this down to one of those things and me doing anything to get some free biscuits. Jenny seemed to find the whole event entertaining anyway, so I guess subconsciously I was just trying to distract her from her current situation or just attention seeking, one of those.

Currently Jenny is in hospital indefinitely whilst the infection remains. She's being treated with both antibiotics and acyclovir and whilst there isn't any sign of the infection getting better, it doesn't appear to be getting any worse, which given the rate it spread yesterday is a sign that the drugs are working. As it is the weekend there wasn't any dermatologists in the hospital, so hopefully tomorrow when she sees one we'll have a better understanding of the how's and why's and when she's likely to get discharged.

If you wish to keep updated on Jenny's health, check her blog http://i-have-eczema.blogspot.co.uk/, where we'll be trying to post updates.

This whole upsetting, eventful weekend reminded me of the evening when I pledged to myself to run this 1000km this year and to do whatever I can to try and bring some comfort to Jenny's life. It was the 3rd or 4th time that she had contracted eczema herpeticum, I think around October time, but my memory is hazy. We were both sat on the floor in the spare room, breaking down but trying to hold each other together as we wondered when this whole situation would get any better. Little did we know it would get much worse.

Eczema hepeticum if left untreated can lead to complete organ failure and then death. It is a condition Jenny and myself are all too familiar with now however, with it being the 7th time Jenny has had it. The severity of the outbreak this time was disturbing, it hasn't even reached the scabbing stage yet, when most of the time we've identified it, so what has caused this outbreak to be 10 times worse than the others is a mystery for the time being.

Not that I ever need reminding of why I'm running this year, but this weekend has just pushed me to run even harder in every race and do whatever I can to try and end the suffering for Jenny and others like her.

Please visit http://www.justgiving.com/shanes1000km and donate what you can.

2 Jun 2013

458.94 - 480.02KM: In a change to scheduled programming (Solo Run)

Well that didn't quite go to plan. Today was supposed to be about my 20th race of the year so far (in only 22 weeks) and potentially setting a new PB as I had every intention of trying to run a sub 40 10k this morning. Instead I'm sat here with ice on my knee, having just got home from a 21km Solo Run after being turned around at the registration point and being told that my number and chip had been resold.

I could sit here and make excuses for why I was late, such as unadvertised roadworks, slow Sunday traffic, being given four different directions to the registration place, stopping to go for a wee before collecting my number, but all they do is take responsibility away from myself. I arrived with enough time to collect my number at the start of the race had I known where to go, but once the Wild Goose chase was complete all I was left with was a twisted knee, after running into a rabbit hole, and frustration from being told that I was unable to enter the race.

To rub salt deeper into the wounds I was stuck in my car for five minutes whilst I waited for the Fun Runners to run past before I could eventually drive back to Lincoln. The 30 minutes or so car journey was filled with the venting of a lot of anger and frustration, best summed up in the above gif. The omens were there from the minute I woke up and my Garmin watch had completely died. I thought that maybe the battery had simply died, but it failed to respond when I plugged it in and 10 hours or so later is still not responding.

Once I got back to Lincoln and had stopped sulking I still needed to run to make up for being unable to start the race. So I opted to take advantage of the situation and run a half marathon instead, not before disposing of a banana which had essentially exploded in my bag all over my wallet, phone and mp3 player after the frantic run around earlier looking for the registration place.

I've placed a lot of pressure on myself this year in terms of all the running and fundraising. I'll touch on this in more detail in an upcoming post, but there reached a point last year when Jenny and myself felt so frustrated and hopeless with the situation that we found her health in that I decided to take action and do what I could to raise awareness of her condition, in the hope that it will some how ease her situation. At the moment I'm finding myself spending any time where I'm not either at work, running or looking after Jenny, trying to raise awareness of my fundraising challenge and scouting for potential future races. This pressure transfers to my races too, where I almost always try to run each race faster than the last, or run a harder route, in the hope that it will attract more attention and encourage sponsorship.

For the most part, general tiredness and frustration aside I seem to be coping ok with this strategy. Today, not so much. I appear to have had a minor falling out with common sense, it's safe to say we're not talking. So still full of frustration I decided to take my one good knee and run 21km tackling as many hills as I could, with only a 500ml bottle of water for company. Dehydration hit me fairly quickly and without my watch I had no idea of how far I had ran or what time I was doing it in. I was relying on my phone's GPS to give me some idea, but checking that every now and then was almost more hassle than it was worth.

After stopping to grab a litre bottle of water from Tesco with about a mile to go on my run and subsequently downing it, before then hobbling on in the direction of home. Once home I headed for the freezer to grab an ice pack (or in this case frozen fruit), to try and appease the damage I had potentially done to my knee.

Thankfully it doesn't seem too bad at the moment, the true test will be when I get up tomorrow. In the meantime I will spend the evening looking for other races to run this month that I might actually make to the start line on time.


Distance: 21.12 km | 13.12 miles
Time: 02:00:25
Average Pace: 05:42 min/km | 09:11 min/mi


View my run:

1 Jun 2013

May Review (349.80 - 458.94km)

May saw me run three races in a weekend, run my second Marathon, set a new personal best for a Half Marathon and bake lots and lots of cake. In the 5th month of the year I ran five races, collected 4 medals and added over 100km to my total.

My first race saw me return home to Norfolk for the Grand East Anglia Run, a 10k around the streets of King's Lynn. Last year I set a PB on this course, so this year I was keen to give it another go and try and break sub 40. Unfortunately the heat and some tired legs put pay to this and I ended up pushing myself harder than I perhaps should have.

In the second weekend in May I had not one, not two but three races; the Skelly 6, Zombie Run and Sheffield Half Marathon. The first race, the Skelly 6, was a six mile trail race in Skellingthorpe, a nearby village, on the Friday evening. As one of three races in three days I opted to run at a steady pace, although at points the competitively element took over and I tried to overtake the other runners in sight.

Next up on Saturday afternoon was the Zombie Run, a 5km obstacle course with the added bonus (danger?) of running through hordes of zombies. When I laid out my plans for this 1000km late last year I made the decision to not include any 5km runs, simply because they would only account for 0.05% of my overall target. However when I was offered the opportunity to run this race and I knew I could fit it alongside another longer race, I grabbed the chance. Some minor (major) difficulties aside it was a fun race and one I'll look to do again, even if I may need to wear a cup next time.

Sunday's race, the Sheffield Half Marathon, was the longest of the three and my first time running the event. A week before my second marathon of the year should have meant that I spent the weekend resting, deep into my tapering phase. What I should not have been doing is running three races in three days and running a new personal best on my third of these races. But somehow this is what happened, I didn't start the race with the intention of running as fast as I did it just kind of happened.


My fourth race of the month and my second marathon of the year was the opportunity to gain some retribution. Last year I ran the inaugural North Norfolk Marathon but after 18 miles I withdrew due to a combination of injury and poor training. With one marathon already under my belt I was much better prepared for the the NNM this time round. When I crossed the line after 4 hours and 20 minutes my body was in pieces, but I had won a very personal battle and completed what would be the most difficult marathon of the year.

The final weekend in May was my first race free weekend in quite a while (about 6-7 weeks), but it was a date that I had marked in my calender for sometime. I had planned to hold a Bake Sale this year as an alternate means of raising money and early on I identified the last weekend in May as the date for this. The bake sale was a much bigger success than I could have possibly predicted, raising over £150 towards my £6,000 target. On the Sunday I added another 21km+ to my total with a Solo Run.

May Stats:

1000KM Challenge Distance: 109.14km
Time Running Total: 09:47:48
Total Running Distance: 177.59km
Bananas Eaten: 39
Times punched in the nuts by a zombie: 1

Medals: 4

1000km Challenge Stats:

1000KM Challenge Distance: 458.94km 

Time Running Total: 39:21:18
Total Running Distance862.55km
Bananas Eaten: 228
Medals: 7


A look ahead to June

Confirmed Races
02/06 - Woodhall Spa 10k
15/06 - Three Lakes Classic
21/06 - Summer Solstice 10k

Unconfirmed Races

09/06 - Humber Bridge 10k
30/06 - Humber Bridge Half Marathon