Sunday, 31 January 2010

Show spirit...

Yesterday marked 300km completed of my challenge to run 10k everyday & Monday 1st February is the 200mile mark. This week had a number of milestones, the one that closed the month, a good time to reflect and share the unsaid.

I've been very thankful for the support, donations, comments and following on the challenges I've faced so far. Completing the first month & 1/12th of the journey is very gratifying generally, made sweeter when I think back to the direct criticisms I received like: “it's not possible”, “there's a reason why its not been done before” and my favourite “you won't last a month”; which has been answered this weekend.

This week has been a good week starting with the Primary School Athletic event Monday 25th Jan. I'd been asked by Joyce Bundy to present the medals and I arrived early to watch the competition. It was great to see the spirit to achieve in each of them, pouring their energy into their event or supporting their team, attitudes that would serve them well in the future.

The picture here is of a school team who came to talk to me, sharing their enthusiasm and that their class were following and mapping my challenge as a project.
Their request for a photo & words caught my breath, like many moments over the past 4 weeks when people had contacted me directly sharing their stories about cancer affecting their friends & relatives; and that the challenge had been a reminder of the spirit their loved ones had shown.

The geographical length and breath of these stories has been another point that has taken me by surprise. The support, comments and friendship for the challenge to date has stretched beyond my home shores of Britain to: Canada, India, Spain, Greece, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Africa & USA (Texas, Atlanta, New York, LA & Chicago).

Thinking closer to home, this week I also was able to run with Grantham Athletics Club Road Team as I did on the first day. They plus the other people who I've been able to join through the month have really helped to put this challenge on literally a good footing.

Thank you to everyone who's got involved this month and I look forward to challenges in the next. That's it for now, I'm going to get ready for the next run – unfortunately with a bad ankle still.

Please take the time to share the 10k-everyday idea and encouraging others to get involved -its as good as donating. If you're on Face Book simply type “10k everyday” in the search bar.

You can find micro blogging of this challenge at:, &

Send a friend request with 10k-everyday in it and I'll accept.
I hope the momentum for goals and plans you made for the New Year are continuing. Good luck with any challenges you have planned. Be well, Tim

Monday, 18 January 2010

A bird set free...

The weather since I started my challenge of running 10km everyday has been exceptionally bad and nicely named “Frozen Britain”. In sixteen days I'd managed eight runs outside, one was the hardest run I had ever done – ironically it was 13th. Wednesday 13th Jan was “the big freeze” in the UK turning all the snow slush & any water, everywhere to ice – surfaces that looked a little wet were in fact black ice.

I had agreed to go running early with a friend that day, not knowing it would turn out to be the run from hell. We thought once we got going and the light got better we would be ok so long as we kept to the grass next to the paths, but nowhere was save. It took us 24mins to do 3km and I slipped on black ice to bang my knee on the pavement - so we ran in the local park, named Queen Elizabeth. It was not much better I slipped, slid and never managed to get a posture or pace to run, energy drained from us on every step and we completed the last 7km in 53mins - the same time it would have taken us to do 10km usually.

The following day I went back to the treadmill with my tail between my legs. In honesty my knee was sore and swollen, my confidence wilted, the careful planning flummoxed and all this in one morning. The banged knee ached and requiring more time to get going, as the joint needed more time to warm and loosen up – time I didn't have as fitting the challenge in generally was proving to be harder than I'd originally thought.

Running on a treadmill was torture and harder mentally with a distance like 10km. Your surroundings never change, the air stands still neither helping to cool or remain fresh and you're reminded of every second, every 100th of a km as it ever so slowly clocks up your distance. Each of the runs on the treadmill had lead to frustration a symptom due to the injured knee & monotony but caused by boredom - trapped for about 60mins.

The frustration & knee gnawed at me so when I woke Friday morning to find the drizzle over night had almost eradicated the ice & snow, it left me in a state of trepidation. Finally, I could go outside but how long would my knee let me run, would it get worse and would it halt the challenge.

Saturday 16th January was a landmark day, representing a distance covered of 100 miles; to me personally it represented completing the first challenge in the journey of 10k everyday – the weather with only a sore knee and bruised confidence to show for it.

Having completed and decided Saturdays run had gone better than I had anticipated, I stepped outside on Sunday with a sense of urgency. Yes my knee hurt but it soon loosened off and it seemed to getting better. Listening to my MP3 player and letting go to being outside after 8 days cooped up on the treadmill, I began to feel my quads in my legs hardening and swelling. I tried to pick up me knees but they felt brittle slow – I looked at my Garmin watch in search of some clues and answers which came in the form of the reading 4:05min/km. I'd been running free like a bird, careless to the surroundings and my embraced freedom which had flown me straight into a trap –I'd not controlled my pace. Having run for nearly 8km at an average of 4.05mins/km the Lactic Acid had built up in my legs, the very thing I'd planned to avoid had happened – I'd gone for too long at a pace that would inhibit my performance the next day. No matter how much I stretched or tried to work the lactic off, Mondays run was going to be hard and painful.

Well today's Monday and as I could not delay running to later in the day due to commitments, I ran early which always gave little time for my muscles to recover but after Sundays run and the excessive lactic build up – meant this morning was torture. I endured this morning with a plan to run as late as possible Tuesday thus giving the most rest before exercising again.

This weekend I walked away with some sore legs and a few lessons learnt:
[1] enjoy running free from time to time but keep an eye on how free you run, too free could jeopardise those freedoms.
[2] No matter the challenges or plans we make be careful with the activities that distract us from the purpose of them.

That's it for now, I'm going to soothe these sore legs of mine in a hot bath. The weather reports seem good for the coming week, so I'm looking forward to being out … as planned!

Please take the time to share the 10k-everyday idea and encouraging others to get involved -its as good as donating. If you're on Face Book simply type “10k everyday” in the search bar.

You can find micro blogging of this challenge at:, &

Send a friend request with 10k-everyday in it and I'll accept.
Good luck will any goals or challenges you have planned. Be well, Tim

Saturday, 9 January 2010

A venture across country...

The 9th run of my challenge to run 10k everyday was at Belton Park, a National Trust location of a beautiful 240 acres.

Belton Park has a collection of meandering streams, idyllic ponds, long driveway leading to a stately home with an array of wildlife; all covered today in a blanket of snow.

The run was slow today due to the terrain but I was glad to have the company of Mark Gray, a long standing friend. The snow meant having to pick up our feet a little more than usual, but to be honest the run became secondary to the scenery & wildlife.

Thankful of the Garmin Forerunner405 that GPS'ed our run & informed us of our distance and progress, it was clear we had been distracted by our surroundings when the watch read 10.1km and we were 0.7km from our cars.

I'm loving the journey and challenge with moments and runs like today - but everyday day I love the subtle ache after exercise, the hot bath and the feeling of accomplishment.

That's it for now, todays run has been a real release from 5 days stuck on a treadmill. Tomorrow I'm considering running along the canal, with this snow it too should be beautiful.

Please take the time to share the 10k-everyday idea and encouraging others to get involved -its as good as donating. If you're on Face Book simply type “10k everyday” in the search bar.

You can find micro blogging of this challenge at:, &

Send a friend request with 10k-everyday in it and I'll accept.
Good luck will any goals or challenges you have planned. Be well, Tim

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

An unexpected bitter pill...

“...Popeye is a cartoon character Tim, he's not real – supermarkets don't do canned spinach!” was the reply my wife gave me when grocery shopping for the dietary requirements I needed to do my challenge of running 10k everyday. Thankfully you do get canned spinach, we'd bought the salad spinach but I was dreading the expense if it wasn't available in a can too.

Our shopping was due to the developments of my pondering over Christmas, which in honesty generally includes indulgences of food and drink. I'd found myself in the week leading up to the New Year thinking more & more about the sort of diet I would need during this challenge. Gradually my thinking lead me to knowing I would need help on the nutritional aspects and I suddenly realised this would play a greater role in ensuring I could complete this challenge. So I'd gone in search of a nutritionist, someone with experience in endurance events & their personal experience of endurance was high on my list. I found a recently appointed Triathlete Coach & Personal Trainer Stef Lawrence, who's got involved in Coaching & Training following his successes of always finishing in the top 6 of the Triathlons he enters.

My meetings with Stef had confirmed the nutritional requirements of the challenge were unique, where many sports people & athletes load up on nutrients a few days before & or after events to support their body; I would not have that privilege. I'd be continually putting demands on my body that needed to be repaired & recovered between runs everyday. This meant having a sound nutritional diet to maintain performance, my body and support my immune system.

I had originally thought I would be on a non-lenient, strict diet and to be honest its that part I knew would drain on me – I'd need a lot of support to keep to that sort of diet. You can imagine my surprise when Stef advised me I should continue to have my treats, such as take aways of Indian, Chinese, Thai and so on; only roughly knowing what I was eating, how it benefits me & the challenge. Knowing the benefits really meant “their nutritional value” and we spoke quite a bit about calories, food sources and what I nicknamed “dead calories” which are calories in chocolates, crisps & other such snack food & of no nutritional value.

The focus of the diet was simply a “balanced one of calorie percentages”: 60% Carbohydrates, 25% Fat and 15% Protein. The really interesting part came when discussing what to buy. As it turns out the most common diet mistakes is calculating a balanced diet, as mentioned above but using “grammes”. Apparently, its an easy & common mistake because supermarkets & manufacturers provide 100g label illustrations on their food about its content. The problem occurs when reading a label like this Fish Finger one:
As sold per 100g provides, Protein 10.5g, Carbohydrates 22.2g, Fat 17.5g, Fibre 0.6g & Sodium 1.4g
This totals 51.2g, so the remaining 48.8g will be water as it is frozen. One might think as it read “per 100g” that there's 17.5% Fat, however water doesn't count so it is in-fact 34.18% of the nutritional weight but not its nutrition or Kcalorie value. I learnt that the rough calories value of Carbohydrates per gramme is 4, Protein is 4 and Fat is 9. Making these Fish Fingers actually having a Kcal content of 88.8 Carbs (36.7%), 157.5 Fat (65.2%) & 42 Protein (17.4%); Fibre will pass through & sodium will dehydrate as we'd have lost most of the water cooking.

The answer to this Fish Finger meal problem for me would be to have loads of vegetables, but what? I learnt generally any food rich in colour light or dark are high in nutritional content like peppers, chillies and so on but dark greens are the best (cabbage, brussel sprouts, spinach (to replace lettuce, as it mostly fibre), broccoli, watercress etc.). Spinach is a 1st Class food and a great replacement for lettuce in salads or generally adding spinach to meals as it contains a lot of Iron which helps boost the immune system.

As marvellous as all the science behind food was, it still left me with what to eat & how much. Stef explained getting enough Protein was going be the big problem, based on the demand I was going to be putting on my body, it will be breaking down muscle during each event but if I didn't feed that need it would continue taking just to repair itself. He confirmed this challenge will change my body type and keeping healthy specifically in regards to Protein & watching my weight loss was important.

Until this point I'd been mostly concerned about injury as being the main point stopping me on this challenge and I knew that my body would change a little, mostly for the better I'd hoped – so I'm left with an unexpected bitter pill to swallow, feeling worried and nervous that my body type could dramatically change and my body giving way due to nutritional aspects causing illness, heavy fatigue and with fatigue mood swings. Although I'm loving the challenge at the moment 6 days in, however I feel I'm going to learn a lot about myself over the months to come.

That's it for now, I'll share a bit about how I've translated the nutritional demands into meals another time. Thank you for all the comments on the Face Book page, private emails, pip-ping car horns over last weekend.

Please take the time to share the 10k-everyday idea and encouraging others to get involved -its as good as donating. If you're on Face Book simply type “10k everyday” in the search bar.

You can find micro blogging of this challenge at:, &

Send a friend request with 10k-everyday in it and I'll accept.
Good luck will any goals or challenges you have planned. Be well, Tim

Friday, 1 January 2010

The Start ... & a New Year

“...are you feeling really nervous right now as you're about to start on this giant challenge?” was the opening question from Jake the BBC TV Look North News Reporter, as we stood outside the hotel and starting point of 10k everyday.

The day had started like any other, except I'd got a little lie-in and the phone rang whilst I made the tea for both my wife & I; Penny was holding on to the night and fighting the light drifting through the curtains by hiding in bed waiting for her tea. She was going to have to wait for the tea though because BBC Radio Lincolnshire was on the phone wanting a live catch about my challenge & the first run. The time between 08:45, BBC Radio Lincs phone call, and 10:30am moved swiftly and no sooner had we got our daughters ready was it time to de-freeze the car, loosen up before going to the starting point for 11:10am.

I didn't know what to expect, I wasn't nervous but there was an electric energy about the moment and an excitement to know what was going to happen. When I arrived at the hotel all was quite, no-one around and I wondered what had happened to everyone. As I got to the hotel the automatic doors opened and … a video camera was the first thing I saw. Stepping forward was a photographer I recognised and he seized the moment, & video camera for an interview before more people arrived.

Shortly after running round corners for action shots, the hotels Assistant Manager came out and I suddenly noticed heads popping up around the car park obviously ready for a run. Before I knew it I was taking my jacket off again for an video interview with a new reporter and being advised they'd be following me on the route. Finding a personal moment was difficult, I seemed to move from audience to audience never quite achieving the space or time to warm up. Time was quickly passing through my fingers like water -although on this day despite the sunny sky it would have frozen soon after slipping through them, the air had a nip to it and steam curled replacing each breath. I'd cooled down considerably as I was having to take my jacket off for each interview so that the 10k-everyday T-shirt was present & visible. I eventually worked my way to a little space & time to gather my head & warm up.

Having determined the running strategy to warm up and cool down in the run, mobility stretching had been the style of the warmup routine. I heard a remark “the ministry of silly warm ups” and I caught the eye of who'd made the remark, smiled and continued to chuckle as I couldn't get rid of a vision of John Cleese 10k with me in the fashion of “the ministry of silly walks”.

Making a quick scan of the crowd at the front of the hotel I became aware that I hadn't seen Lady Sarah McCorquodale and 12noon was not too far away. As if the Road Running Captain read my mind, he spoke quietly saying “Lady Sarah McCorquodale's here, I'm sure you'll recognise who she is – though I know you might not have met.” Intrigued I looked round, casually as you do (!) and suddenly remembered how she had described her Sheriffs Uniform and why Paul had worded his reassurance as he had. With a warm smile, that seemed to heat the hold off the nip in the air, she asked if I were Tim and we greeted. Obviously the press didn't wait long for an interview with her but I was thankful to meet her husband and speak with them briefly before we had to start the challenge.

We all lined up under the arches of the hotel entrance, the horn sounded and then we were away, onlookers cheering and clapping. The run went really well and I enjoyed taking time to view the points which I had chosen for the route, with a light blue sunny sky back drop. We ran 6.5miles, 10k is 6.2miles and my companions kept the pace to the end – leaving me as I slowed into my cool down in the last mile so that at the end, they were lined in a tunnel to celebrate.

Thank you to all those who came to support this challenge today. The interest, friendliness and support of the media and the cheers & encouragement made the start of this challenge special.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope 2010 brings all you wish for.
Please take the time to share the 10k-everyday idea, Become a Fan and encouraging others to following is as good as donating.
You can find micro blogging of this challenge at:,,, &

Send a friend request with 10k-everyday in it and I'll accept.
I hope all that read this have a great New Year, that your wishes and challenges come true. Be well, Tim