10 days after GNR

Well the legs are a lot easier to walk on but are still pretty sore. I went for a swim last night which went really well, 100 lengths in an hour which is equalling my best pace. My fitness was a little lower than normal but that was expected. I still pushed hard and only gave myself one rest at 50 lengths. The pool water at Horwich Leisure Centre seems much cooler than I remember. I wonder if this is because of my 1,000 lengths overheating episode resulting in A&E via ambulance. Who knows?

I have put in about 10lbs in weight and I can feel it and see it in my face! This is because of not being able to go for a run so I think swimming twice a week whilst the leg repairs should do the trick as thankfully the leg doesn’t hurt much when I swim. I have taken on WAY to many calories lately including Saturday’s 13 pint fest with my top mate Jonathan Turnbull (Tough Mudder teammate) although that was training for the Germany Stag do in two weeks haha!

Two days after GNR, A&E trip no. 2

Back to A&E, second time since after the 1,000 length swim but this time there was no ambulance I am pleased to announce. The leg is still as painful as it was yesterday so I needed to get it checked out. I called 111 NHS Direct and they ordered me to go to A&E as they thought I might have had a stress fracture resulting in around 6 weeks out of action! Please God No!

Thankfully A&E confirmed that it was just tissue damage. The doctor assessing me REMEMBERED me from the last time I was in there, asking me “You do like punishing yourself don’t you?”.

So now I’m just caked up on painkillers and ibuprofen which has shot up my anxiety levels which isn’t nice. I’ve had to take the day off work which the boss has been cool about and I think I’ll need tomorrow off as Ang has the car and no way I can get the train in.

Post GNR Pain

Since yesterday I’ve had a sleep and I’ve woken up to the most agonising pain in my left leg. I can’t put any weight down at all on my left calf muscle. My sister is saying go to A&E but I’ll refrain from ever going to that place if I can. I’ve asked to see if I can borrow my dad’s crutches for the short term and at the moment I’m just wheeling about on my computer chair making brews and keeping busy whilst I enjoy the day off work.

Now with hindsight would I have done anything differently? No not really – the injuries are a result of over training when I should have been resting and walking on injured legs during the C2C2C challenge. The over training is the nature of the beast of doing Five Challenges in such a short period of time, that had ALSO been a huge challenge for me physically and mental to fit everything in.
I don’t regret running the GNR with a sore leg and I’m still proud of completing it without stopping. The time doesn’t bother me as I knew it became a completely different race after the half way mark when things started to hurt and it was just a matter of getting there in one or as little pieces as possible (drama queen).
I am tempted to do it again and aim to do it around 1:45 and NOT get an injury lol! I’d probably do it with someone else though who could push me around.

The Great North Run 2014 – Newcastle

I would like to continue from my previous post which I wrote before my planned 7pm bedtime so that I could get around 7 hours sleep before my 2am get up….

7:00pm ….That was until we realised that the neighbours decided to have a spontaneous house party – a party which involved many people, a DJ and disco lights etc. At first it was just a dull bass from next door trying to sleep through – until it went louder and louder and Ang went round (such a tough guy aren’t I) to tell them to turn it down. To be fair to them I wouldn’t have heard it if we were downstairs watching a film but we didn’t tell them we were going to bed at 7pm and they never told us they were having a house party so we were both to blame. They did turn it down enough for us to drift off eventually around 8:30pm

1:00am Was woken up at 1am by drunken shouting from them outside. Oh Well!

2:00am My alarm went off, I got downstairs giving Ang and Seb a bit of extra time in bed until my moving about actually woke up Seb so Ang got up anyway with him. I had my porridge berry special as usual and got my gear out for a photo and to double check I had everything.

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3:00am It was the start of a very long day ahead where I was going to see two moons in the same day – something I realised when packing the car. We got Seb into his seat with his cover and a pillow and at 3:20am we set off to South Shields, 156 miles, 2 hours 40 mins drive.

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6:00am The drive went very quickly and it was very easy in cruise control pretty much from start to finish with no traffic on the roads. I wanted to make sure we got a parking space as I was warned to get there before 7 to be guaranteed one. We arrived at South Shields bang on 6:00am…. and we were the only blooming car on the car park!!


But wow what a view when we arrived PLUS the beach was beautiful and Ang was made up knowing whilst I was away running there would be lots of nice things for her and Seb to enjoy in the day. Seb woke up in his car seat still in his dressing gown, I wrapped his blanket around him and pulled him outside to look at the beach and sea – there was a very cool sea breeze but Seb was warm and we had a lovely cuddle looking at the beach with Seb saying “WOW!!!!!”.

7:30am: I got on the bus, left Ang & Seb and headed off towards the start line in Newcastle to meet up with the Great North Run Beer Tent Group.

8:00am: When I arrived I was quite chilled and realised I was an hour early for the group meeting so I went into a nearby cafe, had a cup of tea and starting affixing my running labels to my vest. At this point after a bit of research I discovered that there were no changing areas near the starting area so I decided to get ready in the cafe’s men’s toilets. I also realised that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to tape up my leg with the KT tape I invested in – but I thought my legs were feeling OK so I decided not to tape my legs.

9:00am: I met up with the Great North Run Beer Tent Group which was strange as I never met any of these people before – only having talked to them in the past for advice on the Facebook page where the group actually exists. I didn’t really feel part of the group being honest, no one came to say hello and I did try to speak to three people who were really difficult to talk to – making a good effort to begin conversation and then not to be spoken back to – Southerners! I just got unlucky ha!

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9:30am: I headed off towards the start area and I was amazed with the mass of people! Wherever you looked there were thousands of runners. I also realised that it was starting to get really warm from the weather. Who would have known a blue sky summer’s day for our run! I hoped that this didn’t slow me down.

I decided to go for a quick wee which involved queuing up at the toilets for 10 minutes – and then afterwards something crazy happened! After my toilet visit, considering there were 55,000 runners there PLUS friends/families I heard a “Paul?”…. no way that was meant for me and I heard it again “Paul?” and I turned around and saw a guy I didn’t recognise…. and he said “Hi Paul, I’m Andy, Jonathon Turnbull’s mate – the guy who Johnny was talking to you about staying in Durham”. On Saturday when I met up with Johnny he said he had a friend who was doing the GNR and was going to check if there was any availability at his hotel – which there wasn’t. He was telling me that he also is doing IronMan next year with him – and I flipping bumped into him regardless of the tens of thousands of people who were there! MADNESS! So we chatted and relaxed and talked about the run. Andy was in the Orange group which is for flipping FAST runners so I had a lot of respect for the really lovely top bloke I had the pleasure of speaking with.

10:15am: I went into my Greens starting area and took this selfie – picture does not do it justice of how many thousands of people there were.


This picture does it better…… taken HALF WAY DOWN!

Starting Line UP

10:20am: We started our warmups but I decided to do my own. I know how to warm up properly and prefer to do my own stretches.

10:30am: Warm up finished and now we had to wait for 10 minutes for the start to begin. I just stood there and starting feeling my left calf feeling a little tender when I stopped so I kept moving on it. I hoped that this would not cause me problems during the run and that it would die down. The big screen shows Mo Farah on the start line probably about 500 meters in front of me – I’ll give him a head start and I’ll catch him.

10:40am: The start of the Elite Men’s race and front groups start…. little did I know that it would still be around 30 minutes when we would be getting underway. We started walking slowly, edging towards the start line. I got chatting to a lady in her 50s who was nice and was in her second GNR in around 8 years. The Red Arrows flew over our heads which was cool!

11:11am / Mile 0: WE GO and I wish my new lady friend all the best and off we went. It’s pretty manic with people pushing to get ahead already.

Mile 1: I’m still running alongside my new lady friend until we went our separate ways. Just before we did I said to her louder than I should have “I Can’t Believe That There Are People Walking Already!” and then realised there was a woman walking nearby and she gave me a dirty look – oops!

Miles 2-4: So the calf was sore but it was OK, I finally knew what it felt like to run with thousands of other people…. pretty much like a standard run the roads at home – which didn’t feel any different – apart from there being thousands of people around you and THE CROWDS cheering you on – the kids high-fiving youincredible stuff. We ran over the Tyne Bridge and got a huge reception from the crowds and it was pretty cool when we went through road tunnels and people were shouting the iconic “Oggy Oggy Oggy Oi Oi Oi!!!“. The water stop was good – I emptied a full bottle of water over my head and grabbed another which I took a couple of swigs out of. At this point I started thinking that I really needed the toilet. I had to hold it in for now!

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Miles 5-7: So I hit the half way mark and my 10K split time was 60 minutes which was around my normal running pace of 6.5mph so I was pretty chuffed. My running wasn’t at all too bad and at this point I started thinking maybe I could achieve a 2 hour or nick a sub 2 hour run? The support continued to be amazing – there were bands everywhere and people who came out of their houses offering ice lollies, oranges, skittles and bags of other sweets – I grabbed the lot as it gave me a psychological lift knowing it would help my energy levels. I took on way too much than I needed but it didn’t slow me down lol. There were also lots of people with hose pipes spraying the runners and there were white tents which you ran through and it sprayed you with ice cold water! LOVELY! The Lucazade drink stop was OK but the drink was very warm and I was already taking on fuel – plus I was really needing the toilet and it was starting to get to my psychologically and I tried to ignore it.

Miles 8-10: Oh dear! The left calf was getting very sore, I was feeling it on the hills and I started slowing down. People were overtaking me and I started to realise my 2 hour target is gone. I started to feel really down and I needed to lift myself mentally. This was not a problem when I saw a guy who was partially sighted linking and running with another guy. Also I saw elderly guys giving it their best, I saw people dressed up, and most amazingly people running for people who had died – ie “Dave died last year of cancer. I’m running to raise money for cancer and I know he’s running alongside me now” – it was so powerful and this helped me push on – thinking to myself “Don’t be so pathetic wanting to give up – these guys have it miles harder. DO NOT STOP“…. Although I still really needed the toilet and I planned to go in the next bushes I found that were discrete.

Miles 11-12: Each mile felt like 3 miles, the pain now so bad I was doing a limp-run – but I Didn’t Stop! I was overtaking a lot of people at this point who were walking – at times a whole wide line of walkers making it hard to overtake. At this point we approached the slight incline hill that went forever and GOD I felt it in my calf. Here I thought there was no point going to the toilet and I will just go when I arrive at the finish line. I’m pretty fed up to be honest at this point – I thought I would feel jubilant, alive, being part of such a fantastic event but I was just done in with the amount of pain I had to deal with and I couldn’t think of anything else…. that and my need for a wee lol.

Mile 13: The final stint – it felt like forever. I just wanted it to end although the last mile had hundreds of people hugging the roads at least 20 people deep all the way to the finish – people shouting “You’re nearly there” – and it was great but it didn’t help much for me. At this stage my fitness wasn’t done in – it wasn’t a test in the end for my fitness but my mental grit of putting up with this injury for so long. We came down the hill to see the sea – I have to admit that bit was pretty awesome! Then the 800m to finish, 400m to finish, 200m to finish signs kept coming and coming and I honestly thought that it would never come. I actually thought I would be finishing around 2 hours 10 mins… until I realised that it would be longer… then after 2 hours 15 mins I started feeling really low, fed up and just wanted to finish.

Three times through this final mile – I actually started choking, holding back the tears. Why? I don’t know – maybe it was that I was feeling proud of myself – maybe it was because of having to deal with this slight trauma for so long and it was nearly the end. But the choking seemed to come when I was thinking of hugging Angela and Seb. I WAS PROUD! Yes definitely I DIDN’T STOP ONCE and I bloody earned the donations!

FINISH: And the end came at last – how did I feel – thank god that’s over. I was gutted that THAT was my actual general feeling. After the Great North Swim, Tough Mudder and arriving at each coast during the Coast To Coast I felt AMAZING and ELATED! Here, I felt down, in pain – my mind was battered and I was so tired mentally not just physically. I could finally walk and at this point I could actually feel how bad my calf was. I knew now even at this point that I couldn’t even start running now even if I wanted to.

I checked my phone to see where Ang was but her text made no sense. I wanted to find her and Seb for HUGE cuddles – more sympathetic than celebratory really! I tried texting her saying I will meet her at the family reunion area but the mobile network was rammed with everyone trying to use it.

A text came through – my automatic text to tell me my time of 2:21:35…. I didn’t know what to feel. I don’t think I cared about the time – I think it was just a realisation that ultimately this race was a matter of either stopping or keeping going and I kept going and I was pleased with that.

I carried on towards the family reunion area, to the C area and just before I get there I get a text from Angela saying she is there waiting. A HUGE HUG, Angela was amazing in making me feel better about myself. What an amazing wife! She opened up my goody bag for me which I couldn’t wait to open after the Great North Swim. She was cheering me up with things such as “Ooo look your medal… oooo and your T-Shirt you will have to wear this now… oh and these snacks…” and opening them and feeding me. Top Top lady! After 20 minutes of chilling on the grass, Sebastian who was asleep in his buggy when I arrived woke up and was smiley and really nice saying “HI DADDY”.

We got up and I made my way to the toilets which I realised I wasn’t dying for anymore – must have been just the running. The walk around was slow – OUCH! – using Seb’s buggy to hold my weight off my left calf. We then located the National Autistic Society tent and I had a chat with one of the organisers about why I chose the charity and why they were amazing and she was grateful – It made me feel a bit better about my run – it was all for them and those who would benefit from the donations. The donations at this point was just under my £300 target but I knew there was more to come so I was made up with this!

I was going to join the Great North Run Beer Tent Group at this stage but I decided not to – I never really felt part of the group in the first place. I wore the wristband thinking I was part of this awesome running group but at the end of the day it was just a forum for advice.

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We decided to stay in the area for a while so that we didn’t queue up in traffic. We made our way to the pub for a pint and then we headed off to the steam train in the local park which Seb and I went for a ride in – he absolutely loved it! After this he went on some fairground rides and we headed back to the car.

Ang said she was OK to drive but I realised that I was on my final and THIRD phone battery, with this one at around 20% battery level. So I knew if I left this turned on with Sat Nav even if it was plugged into the car it would still drain the battery flat. So I knew I couldn’t sleep on the journey home and had to keep turning off the phone to charge in between each junction.

30 minutes into the drive I felt the tyre going over the white lines and cat eyes in the road…. I looked at Ang and her eyes were almost closing! I said immediately “Ang are you OK?” and she answered…. with a couple seconds of a delay …..”Ermmm Yeah!” – “RIGHT” I said “Pull over the next junction – I might not be able to drive as well as normal and I’m shattered but I’m still the safer drive of us both lol”. Ang was glad to be able to go to sleep and the drive back felt like an age lol.

I’ve done nothing but moan in this post haven’t I? That wasn’t my intentions it’s just that this event has been a bit of a disappointment. This was supposed to be the icing on the cake of the five challenges. Put in a good time, enjoy the day and have a huge smile on your face. This wasn’t the case at all – it was mentally torturing around the course. AGAIN though I am SO PROUD of having completed it considering the state my leg was in!

There is a happy ending though! We got a Chinese takeaway when we got back which was amazing and I had a beer before we retired early for bed.

Summary: Maybe the KT tape might have helped me but probably not much. I am proud that I managed to complete it and that I didn’t walk it once through the course. Would I do this again? Probably not unless one of my friends or family members did it and wanted my support.

I can honestly say that for each of the five challenges I gave it my all! I have also raised a hell of a lot of money for one person which I will reveal in another post. I am currently making a video which will have the best bits of the Fierce Five Challenges and it should look awesome 🙂

Thanks for reading

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T’was the night before GNR

Probably the least difficult of the ‘Fierce Five Challenges’ being honest, but the stress levels since Tuesday have been on another level and I mean REALLY stressed and anxious where I’ve had a dull sick feeling in my chest all week. Today it was the worst having headaches and being irritable and panicky and horrible. WHY? I don’t know!!!
Perhaps it’s to do with the fact that last night I posted my travel plans of parking at the finish line for 7am – everyone replied you’ve no chance parking at that time and cutting it short with getting to the start area in time. It wasn’t just that it was the way some spoke to me acting a little sinister and not nice. So today I’ve had to decide that we’re getting up at 2am to set off at 3am to arrive there for 6am. MADNESS! I met up with Jonathan Turnbull, the guy who did the Tough Mudder with me and we went through some hotels last minute. Not a chance. £200 a night in Newcastle and the £69 hotels 30 miles out were all booked. I was stressed because I didn’t particularly want to stay in a B&B the night before but I admit that getting up at 2am for a 10:40am start run is crazy.
Perhaps also the anxiety is also due to that my injuries have made a slight dull return today, my left hamstring, ankle and knee having been doing my head in. I bought some state of the art tape as recommended by Johnny and I’ve got everything ready.

Jonathan gave me some good advice and said to stop worrying about everything and just start concentrating on the race and on how much you’ll enjoy it! He’s absolutely right! I was buzzing and excited before the Great North Swim so I need to get into the same mentality for tomorrow.

I just hope my legs stay in there and I can put in a decent time of around 2 hours. A sub 2 hours was once achievable but now with the injuries and lack of running and fitness I’ll be happy with a 2 hour finish or there abouts.

4 days before GNR – Legs much better

The pains have almost completely gone from my calves and quadriceps, still a bit there on my left ankle bit in hoping that will also clear for Sunday.



The weather forecast looks perfect for the run. Not too hot, light winds – but again this is the North East and anything can change in terms of weather in the next 4 days.

I’m feeling relatively less anxious about it now although on Monday I was having a particular rubbish day with my anxiety getting me down, probably a mixture of pre-run nerves, being behind in work with my main job and also being behind in work with the extra part time work I also do including graphics work for a bar and teaching a guy about the basics of IT.

Today I feel much better and after tonight I can start to relax and think about the run and calm my mind.

I just don’t want to get another injury or niggle which will ruin my run and I just want to enjoy the day.

6 days before GNR – Progress/Injuries Report….

Legs are getting there but are still a bit sore at times around the left ankle and left quads. The left calf seems OK now and my right leg is absolutely fine. I’d LOVE to go out for a run but terrified of picking up an injury or stressing my legs ruining my chances of doing the GNR on Sunday. 

So I don’t plan to run this week which will be 3 weeks or around 12 runs I’ve missed out on because of the injury. 13 miles is going to be so tough but like the other four challenges I’ve done this year I am SO mentally strong and I WILL complete this on Sunday unless I receive a horrific injury. The good news is that Angela and Sebastian will be there so this will encourage me massively to get it done when comparing it to having no one there.

The weather is looking pretty decent for it although this is 6 days away AND being the North East which is unpredictable. 


I’ve already said I’ll have missed 3 weeks of running because of the injury and it’s beginning to show, putting on 7lbs of weight due to still eating and drinking like a king. Friday I didn’t have any beers but I more than made up for this on Saturday’s pretty much all day session football and a surprise 30th party. Yesterday I was hungover, had huge oven fish and chips and Eaton mess which I made for me and Ang – so I can’t COMPLETELY blame the injury for the weight gain. It’ll all come off though pretty quickly as my metabolism is still decent at the moment.

I suppose because I know I can’t do Sunday to a high pace I’ve just been laid back with the diet and not being able to train – I’m just going to go for it at an easy 70% pace and enjoy the day – this is after all the cherry on the top of a hard summer of events for me!

Quick Swim whilst legs are still not 100% right for running

In June after completing the Great North Swim 2014 I said I would never swim again, however since I have the Great North Run in 10 days and since my legs are not well enough to run on I needed to maintain my fitness so I thought swimming would be perfect since it’s less strenuous on the muscles and I’m pretty good at it and will be able to push my fitness levels and form.

Well…. I was pretty good at it although I had no idea how my form would be once I got into the pool. I set myself an hour’s swim and I thought if my pace was terrible I’d push an easy 50 lengths. I got in and BOY it was cold – was it this cold when I used to train here back in May? – 3 months ago!!! Perhaps they’ve decreased the temperature of the pool ever since I ended up being taken to hospital when I attempted the 1,000 length swim challenge due to it being too warm. 

I played about with my goggles for the first 6 lengths trying to get them right and there was a guy in the same lane who was trying to impress with his speed and technique – come on everyone does it! – what just me? I’m so vain!

Finally I got my goggles right and started pushing to see how my fitness and breathing was. I noticed that my technique was good and I felt like I hadn’t been away for 3 months and started getting faster and faster – I was happy to see that I was still by miles the fastest guy in the pool like I used to be at the beginning of summer. The guy I was sharing my lane with was quite impressed that I was catching up to him in the fast lane doing breaststroke whilst he was doing a fast crawl… and having to take regular breaks. I took 1 rest break overall which was only about a couple of minutes when I has done 50 lengths. I wanted to aim for 100 so I pushed myself hard laughing at that I ONLY had to do 100 lengths and not aiming for milestones of 500 or 700 lengths when I used to do the boring monotonous training. 

I noticed a woman swimming in the lane next to mine and she was wearing some basic headphones. I realised that I really missed swimming but damn it got boring and some headphones like these Fenis Neptune underwater MP3 player would be a good investment. We shall have to see!

I managed 100 lengths in the 60 minutes and my pace (0.73 MtPS, 1.76 LPM, 1.63 MPH, 2.64 KPH) is as it was back in May so I’m really chuffed!

Unfortunately for me having a good swimming fitness and form does not mean that I have a good running fitness and form. I shall do what I can in 10 days so I just hope that my legs repair so I can do the small 13 mile run.

And still the legs are broken :oops:

It’s now been 15 days since my last proper training run which was only an 8 mile run. My legs, ankles etc are still not right which is really concerning me. It isn’t ache pain either but a dull injured pain which flares up when getting out of a chair or walking down to the station.

I feel stupid knowing the cause of it was the 10 mile run 8 days ago which I cancelled 3 miles into after forcing myself to run on sore legs. Silly boy. I’m definitely not going to be able to do the Great North Run elegantly in 11 days but I shall give it my all even if I’m limp/walking.