28 Jul 2013

600.23 - 616.32KM: Heckington Show 10 Mile Road Race

It's hard to think that I'm now through the first seven months of my 1000km challenge, the time has flown by. This week however I decided to take it easy with just the one race. Saturday's race would mark my 27th of the year so far (in just 30 weeks) as I competed at the Heckington Show, the largest Village Show in England, in it's 147th year. 

After a slight bit of confusion over where to park I arrived just in time to go to the toilet before joining the rest of the competitors outside the main arena. The setting for the race felt a little strange, I never thought I would be classed as an attraction at a Village Show, an attraction in a travelling circus maybe. The race began with two laps around the inside of the arena, which again felt slightly odd, before then leaving to run through Heckington, and nearby villages.

Throughout the race I was a little unsure as to how to pace myself, the 10 miler is not a distance I am overly familiar with, having only ran that distance once before. With potentially three Marathons in the next 12 weeks I'm approaching many races cautiously so as to avoid any frustrating injuries. In the end I went with the 'see what happens' approach and ended up gauging my pace based on my instincts and the impressions of those around me.

The course was a fairly simple, flat affair with a 4 mile section you would run round twice before heading back to the arena. In recent weeks I've had a bit of 'writers block' when it comes to talking about the races, nothing against the races themselves, but some courses are certainly a lot more easier to describe and dare I say it, 'exciting', than others. Unfortunately, with running through mostly empty country roads, this was a case of the former. 

One significant event to come from this race was the winning a secret, personal battle of mine against another runner. There is a club runner who I have seen at at least 15 of my 27 races so far this year who always seems that little bit out of reach. At times I have effectively used him as a pacer and always try to keep him in sight, but no matter how hard I try I never managed to catch him. Things got a little personal at a race earlier in the year as he overtook me in the last 50 or so metres. On Saturday however, the familiar sight of the back of his head came in to view and, after an initial bout of excitement, I made my move and overtook him. The next two miles were then spent desperately hoping that he wouldn't then come storming past me again and as I crossed the line a quick look behind revealed he was no where to be seen.

This little battle would have been completely unbeknownst to him of course, if only for the fact that he's always in front of me. But after 7 long months of seeing the over familiar sight of the back of his head at seemingly every race it's now 14 - 1. 

I have since checked my time against the Notts 10 Mile Road Race and found that I actually was a little bit faster this time. This comes as quite a shock as I felt I was running at a much more relaxed pace, although I guess a significantly cooler day and not stopping half way round to throw up probably helped.

After the race I went for a little wander around the Show to see what it had on offer. As a competitor I was granted free entry to the show, so I thought whilst I was there I may as well make the most of it and recorded a, mostly sideways, video.

So that's me done for July, I will be following this post up with a monthly review post shortly along with another Video. In the mean time my charity raffle is still running so please head over to http://runshanerun.co.uk/raffle to find out more and to buy a ticket.

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: 16.09km | 10.00 miles
Time: 01:14:12
Official Time: T:B:A
Average Pace: 04:37 min/km | 7:25 min/mi
Playlist: N/A
Goody Bag: T-shirt and Medal


23 Jul 2013

580.23 - 600.23KM: Two Races One Day (Rother Valley 10k & Man of Steel)

This weekend was another weekend of firsts with two races on one day that would see me reach the 600km mark. Despite initially being a weekend worth celebrating it would end on a sour note. 

580.23 - 590.23KM: Rother Valley 10k (10am)

The weekend started with the Rother Valley 10k . Throughout this year I have been hoping to inspire others to start running and convince them to join me on one of my many races this year. Despite this it was still a surprise when my sister, who as of two months ago had not done any running since school, signed herself up to a race. The race would have the largest family contingent so far this year, with myself, Mum, Dad and sister taking part. I still need to get round to pressuring my oldest brother into signing up to a race before the end of the year, so far he's been conveniently busy.

As for the run the course was a simple two and a bit times around the lake, my third race around it so far this year. With an easy, flat course, it was a good opportunity to try for sub 40, but I could tell early on that my legs weren't up for it. It probably wouldn't have been a good idea with another race in the afternoon anyway, so instead I settled for a slightly comfortable pace and came in around 43 minutes. 

Once I had crossed the line I found a free space of grace to lay down/stretch out on. Typically I'm really bad for not stretching after a race, but with another, more physically demanding 10k in just over five hours I wasn't taking any chances.

Relaxing after race #1

Distance: 10.00km | 6.21 miles
Time: 00:43:55
Official Time: 00:43:48
Average Pace: 04:24 min/km | 07:04 min/mi
Playlist: Powerwolf
Goody Bag: Wattle Bottle.


View my run:

590.23 - 600.23KM: Sheffield Man of Steel 10k (4pm)

Whilst my first race of the day would be a rather simple, flat affair, the second race would be a little bit more difficult and eventful. Before the race I had done a little bit of research by watching videos previous year's participants had recorded of the event. As a result I was more than prepared for the monkey bars, cargo nets and numerous other obstacles I would face, even including the 'travellator', a hill climb so steep it requires a rope.

The first lap was fairly simple, through the Rugby team, under the cargo nets, over the walls, across the pond, pick up the sand bag, walk up the hill, walk back down the hill, run/walk/climb/pull myself up the travellator, up and down some more hills before going under a couple more cargo nets and across the monkey bars.

As I approached the cargo nets in the pond for the second time I felt that the camera had got caught in the net and after a couple of seconds of trying to unhook it a runner behind me jumped in and pulled the net back, ripping the camera off my head and into the pond. After spending the best part of the next 10 or so minutes on my hands and knees scrambling around to try and find the camera, whilst the rest of the competitors came past I eventually had to give up and finish the race.

I felt like I finished the second lap of the race much quicker than the first, as I was fuelled by frustration and anger, the sandbags felt lighter and the 'travellator' hill less steep. Once I made it to the finish line and grabbed my tshirt and medal I headed back to the pond for another look for the camera. I then waited for them remove the cargo nets from the pond with the faint hope that it would locate and hook the camera up with them, luck was far from on my side today though. Details have been left with the race organisers for them to be passed on to the park wardens, but in truth I don't expect them to bother trying to search the pond, but just on the off chance.

The camera would have been difficult to find again at the best of times, but in the middle of a race whilst other competitors are running through the area you were trying to search it was impossible. Hindsight revealed a whole host of solutions that would have prevented such a thing occurring, the marshal nearby even suggested that I should have had a flotation mechanism attached, yeah thanks for that, but after it felt almost too tight in the morning's race I couldn't have predicted it would come off at the worst possible time.

It simply just has to go down as 'one of those things' but 'one of those things' that always seems to happen to me. From what I gather the addition of the cargo net in the pond crossing section of the race was new this year too. I would have been massively frustrated had I lost the camera anyway, but to lose it in the middle of the race and subsequently lose the recordings rubs salt deeper into those wounds.

The whole situation is made worse by the fact that I was trying to record both races for purely selfless reasons, to raise awareness of my fundraising and the causes behind it this year. Instead I'm having to scramble to find the £300 or so to replace the camera and having to have a major rethink about what races I can now actually afford to do in the upcoming months.

With Jenny struggling to hold down even a part time job at times due to her health, it means that money is almost always tight. At the moment she is off work indefinitely whilst going through a rough patch in her withdrawal. This weekend was the first in a long while where I have left her to fend for herself for a couple of days and typically it was one of the worst weekends recently for her health wise.

Fortunately I already have the next couple of week's races booked up with the Heckington Show 10 Mile Road Race this Sunday, following by the York 10k in the first weekend in August.

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.

*Edit: If you're still interested in seeing what was involved in the second race on Sunday I have found two videos on YouTube by a couple of fellow competitors.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HiLtSHwL8o - Featuring a cameo by myself at 30 seconds.


Distance: 10.00km | 6.21 miles
Time: 01:07:35
Official Time: 01:12:07
Average Pace: 06:45 min/km | 10:53 min/mi
Playlist: N/A
Goody Bag: T-Shirt, medal & bottle of water.


View my run:

14 Jul 2013

560.38 - 580.23KM: Never Ending Hill (Berghaus 12.12)

I had been looking forward to today's race for quite sometime. Ever since driving through the Peak District a few months ago I had been eager to return with my trainers and run up these hills. Today I made good on that promise as I returned, this time in the blistering heat and armed with my brand spanking new trainers, to run a 12.12 mile race across Yorkshire's finest natural mounds.

After disappointingly having to cancel my planned mid week race due to some ridiculous traffic, my attention switched to Sunday's 12.12 race across the Peak District. The official race instructions stated that there was a mandatory set of kit requirements including: waterproof/windproof clothing, spare food and drink, a map, compass and whistle. As my first trail race of this level I followed these instructions to the letter and managed to squeeze them all into my rucksack  leaving just enough room for some flapjacks and a banana. 

I took a look round at my fellow runners at the beginning of the race and noticed that I seemed to be packing a lot more than others, some only seem to have a water bottle with them. In hindsight I probably should have dropped half of my gear back in the car, but with barely any time before the race I had little choice. As the race started I found myself mistakenly in the front group again and I remained there for the first half a mile before I started to drop back and others started to pull forward. I got the impression that many of the runners had competed in the race before, or were certainly more experienced than myself when it came to this type of race, safe to say I felt a little out of place. 

The view from the top
Earlier in the week I decided to invest in some new trail trainers. I foolishly decided it was a good idea to place my old pair in the washing machine after a particularly muddy race earlier in the year. It's safe to say they didn't take kindly to this and kind of 'blew up' in protest. There was a bit of a compromise on price and ended up grabbing a pair of Adidas Kanadia TR5s from Sports Direct. I was impressed with how comfortable they felt and well they seemed to handle today's run, but it didn't stop me looking on in envy at other's Inov8s and Salomon Speedcross'.

Today's race was always going to be difficult being my first 10+ mile race without any gels for quite some time. Given the heat and the difficulty of the course this decision was either brave, stupid or somewhere in the middle. My hydration bag helped a lot, as did the glucotabs I was carrying but running without my gels was a mistake I don't wish to repeat.

For the most part I managed to follow the trail without any issues, mainly because I was always able to keep another runner in sight, the two times I went wrong almost led to hilarious consequences. The first mistake I made was after climbing to the top of one (of many) hills I failed to pay attention to which side of the hill the runner in front of me went down. So when I reached the summit I had to guess, and I guessed wrongly and ended up having to climb down the rocky side of the hill, complete with multiple 5 foot drops.

The true path on the left hand side or my way on the right
As I reached the bottom I started to see runners coming down from the other side of the hill and I realised my mistake. Whilst I wasn't racing particularly competitively this mistake cost me a fair bit a time and a few positions in the race. My second mistake came towards the end of the race as I carried on past the signed route for a few seconds after realising the path which I initially dismissed was the correct one and I had to quickly double back on myself.

I had made the decision before the race that I would be running it essentially as a tourist. It would probably be a while before I venture across the Peak District again so I made sure to arm myself with a camera this morning and take as many shots as I felt comfortable with. At one point in the race a goat ran out from the side of the track with little warning before running back into the bushes before I managed to successfully scramble for camera. Fortunately my camera was on hand later on when I came across his shy, docile cousins.

Four legged competitors
Once I reached the finish line I grabbed a couple of cups of water before laying down. I then suddenly remembered the flapjack I had packed in my bag, it's sweet, sugary goodness was an ideal pick me up after a gruelling ~20km run. Marathons aside, it was definitely the most challenging race I have competed in this year, in fact I'd probably say it was tougher than the London Marathon, but that might just be the dehydration talking. Going in to the race I felt like I had a decent amount of experience with hills to get me round without too much difficulty, but after today I realised how untrue that was.

Next year? Maybe. I still haven't decided what my plans are next year, running wise, but I'll certainly be running this race again at some point, only this time armed with more experience and more nutrition.

Now truly broken in

This past Wednesday I was interviewed on BBC Lincolnshire for a catchup having recently reached the halfway point of my challenge. This interview was originally planned for last Monday but had to be rearranged after I had to literally run to Jenny's aid as her health took a downward turn.

Take a listen below.

Next week I have the small matter of two races in one day. The Rother Valley 10k in the morning, followed by the Sheffield Man of Steel in the afternoon. I should hopefully be able to acquire a GoPro camera for next Sunday so I plan on recording the second race for everyone elses amusement.

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: 19.85km | 12.33 miles
Time: 02:08:30
Official Time: T:B:A
Average Pace: 06:28 min/km | 10:25 min/mi
Playlist: N/A
Goody Bag: T-shirt


View my run:

7 Jul 2013

550.38 - 560.38KM: Solo Run

This weekend with the temperatures in the mid to high 20s any run was going to be a struggle. With potentially two races lined up next week, the 12.12 on the Sunday and possibly the Toonie Trot on the Wednesday, I made sure to save my energy for those and run a simple 10k today.

There is very little to say about my solo runs in truth, with no race experiance to write about. Today was very hot and whilst a bottle of water would typically suffice on a 10k, I found myself emptying it within the first two miles. 

With the Nottingham marathon just under 12 weeks away, next week I am planning on starting my marathon training. Currently there isn't much structure to my training other than Hill Sprints on Tuesday and running to and from work when I feel like it. However on Friday my training took a slightly unusual turn after Jenny's car battery died the day before. So before work I ran a broken up 10 miles including 4 miles with a car battery in my backpack, before fitting it and then running back.

As mentioned previously next weekend I have the 12.12 race across the peak district, in truth I'm not entirely sure what I've got myself in to. On their website they state how you need a change of clothes, a compass, map and spare food and looking at the course profile there looks to be a beast of a climb after the first couple of miles.

It will certainly be a challenging run. The early forecast looks clear, if a little too hot, so visibility and navigation hopefully shouldn't be an issue. Ideally I need a new pair of trail trainers for the run, as my current pair are a bit battered, but I'm limiting myself to spending less than £40 on a pair which in itself is a challenge. 

This Wednesday I am due back on BBC Lincolnshire at 11:30am for a catchup interview, my fourth time on the station so far this year and my fifth time on the radio. In my post last week I mentioned how I was originally scheduled to be interview this past Monday, however I had to cancel as I had to run home too look after Jenny as her skin took another turn for the worse.

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: 00:51:11
Average Pace: 05:12 min/km | 08:14 min/mi


View my run:

3 Jul 2013

June Review (458.94 - 550.38km)

June was supposed to be a month of celebration. I entered the month about 40km short of the 500km mark, so in a couple of weeks I would reach the big halfway milestone. However on reflection it feels like a month with little to celebrate. Jenny's health reached a new low, with her being hospitalised for a week and I experienced a couple of cancelled races. The 500km mark was achieved though and there was also plenty of cake, so it wasn't all bad.

On the 2nd of June I was due to get the month started with the Woodhall Spa 10k. As I had registered quite close to the event my race pack wouldn't be sent to me and I would have to instead collect it on the day. Events however transpired against me and I arrived at the registration desk with a couple of minutes to spare only to be told that my number had been sold on to another runner. So instead I was forced to get the month started with an impromptu Solo Run.

The second weekend didn't really see an improvement on the first week. On the Friday evening I had the first of two planned races, the Notts 10 Mile Road Race. I started the race tired and after pushing myself hard round the 10 mile course in the excessive heat, so hard that at one stage I threw up, I finished it drained of all energy. 

This was however to be the high point of the weekend, as the following day I had to take Jenny to hospital with suspected Eczema Herpeticum, her seventh outbreak. Jenny was issued with some medication and returned home, but as the evening wore on the infection was visibly getting worse at quite an alarming rate. The next morning Jenny woke up with both eyes swollen shut, and her face covered in dried crust where it had weeped throughout the night. Jenny was then admitted into hospital where she remained until the following Friday.

My attendance at the race I had lined up for that Sunday, the Humber Bridge 10k, was then obviously cancelled.

With my total sitting less than 4km short of the 500km milestone I would have to wait until the 16th of June with the Three Lakes Classic for another attempt at breaking it. The race was my second time running round Rother Valley, with another two planned races planned later in the year, and was one of my most enjoyable races yet. Before the race I read some reviews from previous participants that stressed the importance to keep an eye on the runner in front during the wooded sections, as it was easy to get lost. I followed this advice with reckless abandon as I had to chase down the runner in front at times to even get a glimpse of them, but this only added to the enjoyment.

The following week I aimed to make up for missing out on the Humber Bridge 10k but lining up a race on the Friday evening and another on the Sunday. On the first race, the Summer Solstice 10k, I again made the mistake of running harder than my body was prepared for given the heat and my general tiredness, which led to some hilarious photographic consequences.

Sunday's race would however bare a stark contrast, with wind and rain, an undulating course but an overall much more comfortable run. The Underwood 10k was one of a growing number of first time races for me this year, but one I'm definitely likely to have another crack at.

My final race of the month was again due to see me head up North across the Humber for the Humber Bridge Half Marathon. It was a race that I myself made the decision not to enter as Jenny's health had taken another turn for the worse and I felt it was much more important for me to be around her. That didn't mean that I got the weekend off from running however, as I took a well needed (and deserved) recovery run with a leisurely 10km solo run.

So that's June all wrapped up and I now find myself halfway through the year. I have recorded a video giving my review of the month too, so feel free to check that out. It was my intention to keep the video to around 5 minutes but I failed, still at least it is better than the 20 minute video I recorded last time. Who knows by the end of the year I might even look comfortable in front of the camera.

I would like to end this blog with some good news about Jenny's health, but unfortunately this past Monday she suffered yet another horrific set back when she woke up to find that her skin had been ripping itself open in her sleep. 

Please visit my JustGiving page and donate what you can. If you can't donate then please share my JustGiving page and news of what I'm doing with others, in case they can. The only way we can end the suffering that Jenny and millions of others go through on a daily basis is with your help.

June Stats:

1000KM Challenge Distance: 91.44km

Time Running Total: 07:30:41
Total Running Distance: 210.26km
Bananas Eaten: 40
Medals: 0

1000km Challenge Stats:

1000KM Challenge Distance: 550.38km 

Time Running Total: 46:51:59
Total Running Distance: 210.26km
Bananas Eaten: 268
Medals: 11


A look ahead to July

Confirmed Races
14/07 - 12.12

21/07 - Rother Valley 10K
21/07 - Sheffield Man of Steel

28/07 - Heckington Show 10 Mile Race

Unconfirmed Races

07/07 - Spires 10

10/07 - Toonie Trot