626.32 – 636.32KM: The Heavy Metal Holiday (Hermitage 10K)

August 12, 2013

When I began planning out races for this year there was always one weekend that would prove to be difficult. Every August, for the past 6/7 years, Jenny and myself attend Bloodstock Open Air, a Heavy Metal festival in Derbyshire. Being stuck in a field, relatively in the middle of nowhere would prove difficult when it came to fitting in my weekly race. That was the least of our worries however, when a day or two before the festival we were seriously wondering whether Jenny was well enough to even leave the house.

Fortunately luck, or divine intervention from Odin, was on our side and at 2:30pm on Thursday we left Lincoln and headed South. Even on the way down I was realistic (or pessimistic) about the whole weekend, the fact that we had managed to get to the Hotel was victory enough. After only just recovering from a suspected eighth bout of Eczema Herpeticum I was anticipating having to pick and chose a day or sections of the day when we could go to watch some bands.

Aside from having to take an early night on the Friday, I’m pleased to say that Jenny managed to survive the entire weekend without many issues.

I expect a lot of this is down to Jenny being able to take refuge from the sun and much of the outside in the Rock Society tent. For this I can’t say ‘Thank You’ enough to Lisa, who was more than accommodating about Jenny’s situation, even upgrading us to ‘VIPs’ for the weekend and allowing me to bring my charity tin with me.

Many people questioned why I was still running a race when it was essentially my holiday and especially when it meant missing one of my favourite bands at the festival. The answer is simple, Jenny has no say on when her health is good or bad and it has prevented her from doing so much throughout her life. Missing one band is nothing compared to the sacrifices Jenny has had to make, even if it was my holiday I wasn’t allowing myself a weekend off from doing what I’ve already put so much into this year. I’m just going to keep running until Jenny is ‘cured’.

An insignificant sacrifice in the grand scheme of things

Fortunately I was able to find a 10k race within about 30 minutes drive of the festival, meaning I could head across to the race in the morning and then get back for the majority of the bands. The race described itself as ‘playfully undulating’, which essentially translates to it’s uphill all the way apart from the flat or downhill bits which you won’t actually notice. So whilst 16 miles away ‘000s of metalheads were about to be treated to some Irish Thrash Metal in the form of Gama Bomb I was lining up for my 29th race of the year. After last week’s mentally challenging¬†race I took a step back yesterday and allowed myself to enjoy a race, for what feels the first time in quite a while.

This year I’m taking any time below 45 minutes as a successful race, so with an official time of 45:55 the Hermitage 10K should fall just outside that. However taking into account the fact I, yet again, had to stop for the toilet half way round and the hills it would typically fall within the 45 minute cut off. Then when you allow for the fact that I was taking it steady and allowing myself to ‘enjoy’ the race it was definitely a successful race.

Is it a race I would do again? Possibly, the course was nice and challenging but unless it happens to fall on the same weekend as Bloodstock again, and I don’t care whether I miss the first couple of bands, it’s unlikely.

Back at Bloodstock. Ready to Rock.

For the second year it a row Bloodstock felt a bit flat to Jenny and myself. It seems to have come down to a combination of no longer camping, due to Jenny’s health making this impossible and an increasingly weaker lineup. This year in particular it barely feels like it happened as we were both mentally and physically tired going into it, it was more of a relief than anything. The festival has essentially become our ‘Heavy Metal’ holiday each year, neither of us can remember the last time we had a true holiday. After it was very much in doubt this year it was great to just have three days where we could stick two fingers up at Jenny’s illness in the name of ‘Heavy Metal’.

You certainly won’t find too many holidays that include watching a Danish gentleman, fast approaching his 60s, wearing makeup and signing falsetto, all in the name of entertainment.

Long live the King

It was a very important victory to have over Jenny’s illness. So far the year has been filled with very few positives, for it to have taken away the one thing we were both looking forward to all year would have been heart breaking.

So now it’s back to reality; hoovering the bed every morning, hoovering up after everywhere Jenny’s been on the evening, washing towels every day, trying to fit a day’s worth of housework and caring for Jenny into a couple of hours and never quite having the energy to do any of it.

Only about 1/4 of all the skin I hoovered this morning

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 | 6.20 miles
Time: 00:45:39
Official Time: 00:45:55
Average Pace: 04:33 min/km | 7:20 min/mi
Playlist: N/A
Goody Bag: T-shirt and Flapjack


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