On Tuesday evening at 7pm I was lining up at the start for an impromptu 31st race of the year, the Bolingbroke Breaker, (relatively) fresh off the back of Friday’s Sleaford Summer 10K. The race would pass without much issue, but when we returned home Jenny’s body would find new and challenging ways to take centre stage. At midnight we found ourselves sat in an ambulance waiting to be taken to hospital after Jenny had suffered a minor stroke.
First things first, the race. My attention had been drawn to the Bolingbroke Breaker on Facebook about a week before the race. With the race taking place midweek it meant I would be rushing to the start straight after work, hoping luck was on my side and that I wouldn’t miss the event this time. Fortunately with entry on the day, and an entry fee of only £3 I was willing to take that risk to get yet another race under my belt.
The ‘Breaker’ described itself as having ‘a very scenic but challenging course’, which in running terms means only one thing: hills. My attendance at the race was once again dependant on Jenny’s health, as I would need her to pick me up, and then drive to the race. Thankfully she was well enough to pick me up, and then even to come with me. On the drive to the race we entered the Lincolnshire Wold’s and whilst at first I was admiring the beauty of the rolling hills, this turned to nervous laughter as I started to see race signs and realised I was on the course. Having ran the 12.12 and Newton’s Fraction Half Marathon this year hill’s aren’t an issue when I am rested and have energy, on Tuesday I didn’t.
After parking up and then running across to sign up for the race in time, and to go to the toilet, I headed back to the car to get changed. Yet again I had been reckless with preparation prior to the event, it often gets too late, and I get too tired before I realise I haven’t stretched out or use my foam roller. So as I lined up at the start line I was tired and my muscles were tight, in truth I’d have rather had been at home in front of the TV, but instead I was about to run my 31st race of the year.
After a quick loop at the start we soon were on away towards the first hill, a nice 300ft incline in half a mile. Throughout the race I was taking it reasonably steady due to being tired and also experiencing an unnatural series of discomfort with a stitch, feeling like I was going to throw up, and needing the toilet (both). Thankfully I was soon able to run off the stitch and didn’t need to disperse of fluid from any direction, and was able to focus back on the race.
I often find in races that I overtake runners whilst climbing up hills, either because I’m putting too much effort in or they are deliberately putting in less. More often than not I stay in front of those I overtake whilst going up hills, but on Tuesday there was a little on going battle between myself and another runner as I overtook or came right up behind him whilst climbing a hill, only for him to then gain ground on the flats before disappearing off into the distance on the last mile. As much as I tried there was no catching him.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Julie and the rest of the Skegness Coasters for putting the event on, being so friendly and especially for sponsoring me/buying raffle tickets. It is an event that I would certainly do again, even if it was ‘challenging’.
Unfortunately, yet again, the race has to take the back seat as the focus for this blog post.
As if this year wasn’t already enough to deal with, last night at 10pm Jenny suffered a mini stroke. It was honestly one of the most terrifying things I’ve had to deal with, at times it looked like it would be the real deal.
It started about 10pm when her vision became blurred whilst she was preparing to have a shower. An hour later her vision began to return, but she then began to experience difficulty concentrating and reading anything. This soon developed into difficulty forming complete sentences, before it gradually regressed into not being able to say even simple words. Things soon begun to look serious and as I began to think about phoning for an Ambulance, Jenny suffered a panic attack and reported feeling her arm and lips go numb.
Fortunately we wouldn’t have to wait long before a paramedic arrived. After performing some checks to test for a stroke, an ambulance was then called. The ambulance crew did a great job at trying to keep Jenny (and I guess me) calm and I began to feel slightly hopeful that she would be OK. When Jenny then said that she could feel her face dropping on one side my heart sank, fortunately I could see it wasn’t but it was very distressing to hear.
By the time we reached the hospital she had regained most of her ability to talk and the symptoms were slowly disappearing. It then became a case of waiting a few hours for the doctors and nurses to perform their routine checks before being sent on our way and getting home about 530am.
After about 30 minutes sleep I foolishly decided it would be a good idea to go to work before being questioned why I turned up and being told to go home and sleep. I have mentioned previously on this blog about how this year is stretching me emotionally, physically and mentally far more than I could have ever have predicted. My emotions are always bubbling away just under the surface, and so when someone asked me if I was OK I just kind of broke down, not for the first time this year.
I won’t pretend to hide behind some pseudo-macho bullshit and I have never been any good at hiding my emotions. Neither am I a particularly closed guy, I’ve often found that if I feel I can trust someone I can easily hemorrhage my entire life story in 20 minutes. Yet this year the fact that whenever I’ve spoken to someone in person deeply about Jenny’s health, or how I’m feeling I’ve always been on the edge of breaking down, to me suggests that I simply do not do it enough. This is something that I am going to have to change if I am going to keep my mental, and physical, health this year and in the future.
Finally I am still running my Charity Raffle, with over £400 worth of prizes and tickets only costing £1. The draw will be taking place next week, so please get your tickets sooner rather than later. For more information, visit: http://runshanerun.co.uk/raffle.
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 | 6.22 miles
Official Time: 00:47:43
Average Pace: 04:47 min/km | 7:42 min/mi
Goody Bag: Water and Sweets
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