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
Official Time: 02:00:24
Average Pace: 05:01 min/km | 08:05 min/mi
Goody Bag: Mug, Crisps, Orange Juice, Chocolate, Lollipop and lots of cake
View my run: