27 Nov 2013

972.08 - 1003.35KM: The Final Chapter (Nottingham Mo Run 10K & Norwich Half Marathon)

Well it's over, done, finished and it hasn't quite sunk in yet. After 47 weeks and 47 races, travelling all over the country from Newcastle to Portsmouth and Norwich to Liverpool the 1000km was finally reached on Sunday at the City of Norwich Half Marathon. My body would however threaten to spoil the party as it waited until the final weekend to throw an injury shaped spanner in the works, or rather slam a table edge into my knee.

972.08 - 982.08KM: Nottingham Mo Run 10K

When I set out at the beginning of the year I had no idea how the year would pan out and especially how it would end. Week on week I would search for different races to run, trying to enter as many as I could, sometimes two or three a week. In the end it was my own personal hunt to run 52 races in a year that saw me end up running multiple races in a day and bring an end to my 1000KM around a month ahead of schedule.

Earlier in the week what should have been an innocuous knocking of my knee on my desk at work was 'Shanified' and instead I caught the very top of my knee cap on the corner of the desk, that felt like I nearly popped the whole thing off. A day or so later once the intense pain had warn off I had little reason to worry that I had done any permanent damage. After running to and from work a couple of days and not experiencing any pain I felt like I could put the injury behind me, for now.

A return to Wayne Manor
First up was the Nottingham Mo Run and a return to Wollaton Park for the first time since Easter weekend. Earlier in the month it became clear that it was no longer a case of if I reach the 1000KM target, but when. This then afforded me the luxury of being slightly more picky about the races I would enter, so when I stumbled across the MoRun and in particular the moustache shaped medal it made its way to the top of the list. I didn't realise it at the time when I signed up, but by doing so it would enable me to reach the 1000KM back 'home' at Norfolk with the City of Norwich Half Marathon.

I arrived at the start of the race unnaturally early, for me, over 30 minutes before go time, allowing me enough time to grab my race number, orange 'MoRunning' headband and go for my all too traditional pre race pee. Being primarily a fundraiser for Prostate Cancer the race felt like a Race for Life event, missing the air of competitiveness of most races I've entered this year. After posing for a quick photo, looking like a Swedish 70's tennis player, and watching the start of the 5K I joined the crowd of runners at the start line for the race. 

Björn Borg circa 2013
Like most of the races I'll run for the remainder of the year, Saturday wasn't about any time, rather just getting round in one piece. Although when I found myself stuck towards the back of the crowd at the start, I tried my best to squeeze through, what would be for most of the race, a very narrow path. After spending the first half a mile getting round the slower 10K runners, I then reached the back of the 5K group and then found myself having to do it all over again.

Despite having previously run a 10K around the grounds of Wollaton Park earlier in the year I was surprised by how undulating the course was. The MoRun took a slightly different route to the Notts Easter 10K, but I imagine most of it was down to me simply forgetting rather than the earlier race being considerably flatter. Once again though the course would be two, almost identical, laps but whilst the first lap went by without much concern a
s I came round for the second lap the knee injury from earlier week would come back.

My knee was hurting a little bit
It didn't force me to slow down that much, but it was having an noticeable affect on my running. Fortunately I would only have a couple of miles left to run so I focussed on doing these as quickly as I could and bringing the niggling pain to an end as quick as possible. Any kind of elation from crossing the line of my 46th race of the year and moving one step closer to the 1000KM soon made way for worry as I began to think about running Sunday's race with an 

Distance: 10.00km | 6.2 miles
Time: 00:47:07
Official Time: 00:47:03
Average Pace: 04:42 min/km | 07:35 min/mi

Playlist: Hell
Goody Bag: Medal


View my run:

982.08 - 1003.35KM: City of Norwich Half Marathon

If I made a list of the races that I would want to complete this challenge at, somewhere near the top would have been the City of Norwich Half Marathon. Not just because it was the biggest home county race, but also because it was one I had a little bit of history with. I had run the race three times before, but only finished twice as injury forced me to pull out half way years ago when I first started running. The same hip injury ravaged one of the other years too, but this time I was able to push on and armed with painkillers I managed to slowly get round to the finish line. So after banishing some demons earlier in the year at the North Norfolk Marathon, it was finally time to do the same again.

One of the main causes for concern going into this year was whether or not I would get through to the end without any illness or injury. For any normal person it would be a tough ask to get through the year, running as much as I would without getting injured. But I'm far from normal and for the past 10+ years if it hasn't been my knees, it was my hips and they've both at some stage stopped me from entering or completing a race. I guess I should be relieved that I saved my first proper, race affecting injury until the last day of the challenge. That didn't stop it being very frustrating as it occurred in such a trivial manner, similarly to when I ran hip first into a bollard earlier in the year.

About to finish the first lap
The morning of the race though I had to put it to the back of my mind, I knew it would come into play at some point during the race, it was just a matter of when. There was nothing I could do to prevent it, so the best thing I could do was ignore it for the time being. Sure enough with almost the first step of the race the injury would flare up, but I wasn't in the mood to have this party spoiled. The Norwich Half Marathon is almost  with bad weather, so I was relieved that it would atleast stay dry and the winds kept to a minimum as I would need all the help I could get.

One of the things that has always annoyed me about the Norwich Half Marathon is that it takes place outside of the city centre around mostly farms. So rather than running past any iconic landmarks the best you can hope for is sighting some slightly bemused sheep. More so than any other race this year Sunday was about finishing, I didn't need to set a good time I just needed to run the remaining 18km of my challenge and then the last 3km of the race in one piece.

Thinking back most of the race is a bit of a blur, the lack of distinguishable landmarks throughout the course didn't help. Neither did the fact that my knee was hurting from the get go, so most has been blocked out. Each mile ended with me in more pain than when I started it, but grit and determination allowed me to tick each mile off as they came.

My knee was hurting a lot
As the finish line came into view it was time to finish this. I could barely bend my leg, but I knew it was a matter of crossing the line and if it needed to be that would be that. So I simply put my head down and Quasimodo'd it across the line, my knee was in pieces, I was in a lot of pain, pain which was etched across my face but after 47 long weeks it was over.

When I crossed the line I just stopped, stuck between knowing how or whether to celebrate I ended up just slumping over a barrier for about 5 minutes trying to catch my breath and summoning up the energy and courage to try walking on my knee. 
It says a lot for how much faster I have been able to run this year that I managed to set what last year would have been on PB on one knee. Eventually I hobbled round to meet up with Jenny and after waiting for my Dad to finish we headed home on the promise of cake. 

It's over....or is it?
So what happens next? Well I've still got another three races left in the year that I've already signed up for; the Turkey Trot Half Marathon, Lincoln Santa Fun Run and Liverbird New Year's Eve Marathon to bring my total to 50. On my quest to reach 52 races this year I also have my eye on the Silkstone Shuffle this Sunday and Gaddesby Gallop on the 14th, as well as a local traditional Christmas Cross Country race, meaning that weather permitting I should be on track to achieve it.

I haven't decided yet whether I will be posting a write up later this week upon completing the 1000KM challenge or wait until the end of the year to include the 3 (or 5) other races I have still to run. I imagine I will have a lot to say as I look back through the 12 months of this challenge and the many, many races. Next year I intend to cherish my Sunday mornings a little more and have another proper crack at a couple of illusive PBs.

Finally, I just want to take the opportunity to thank those that have supported me and sponsored me this year, it is very much appreciated. If you haven't sponsored me but want to, please visit http://www.justgiving.com/shanes1000km and donate what you can and please share news of what I have done with others.

Distance: 21.27km | 13.22 miles
Time: 01:44:16
Official Time: N/A
Average Pace: 04:53 min/km | 07:53 min/mi
Playlist: N/A
Goody Bag: Medal


View my run:

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