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For main website please visit: www.mikeseumarathons.eu

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Nov/Dec/Jan Update

Winter time and a time to reflect on my biggest running year yet.  And what has unexpectedly become the penultimate year of the challenge.


Unexpected as the UK has officially left the EU and therefore my planned final race in London, April 2021 is now obsolete to the challenge of running in all member states. I can't begin to explain how disappointed I am that this adventure is now ending up in Croatia and not in my home country amongst friends and with maximum media coverage for our cause.  Anyway, I can't wallow there's still a lot of running to be done and below is a quick update on what has been happening over the last 3 months.

Porto Marathon (no.24!)

On November 3rd I managed to clock up marathon 6 of the year in Porto.  It rained pretty much for the entire trip apart from the 4.5 hours of the race(!).  The race was very well organised and had some fantastic views and an uphill tunnel with screens showing Chariots Of Fire which was brilliant.


Trotting the many bridges of Porto

For full race report please click here.

£3500 in 6 weeks, £7K Year


2019 haul (Gloucs Half, Cyprus, Bratislava, Riga, Budapest, Bucharest, Porto)

I honestly didn't know if my injured hip flexor and tired legs could get through 3 marathons in 6 weekends.  Budapest was a real test and the first one I've done where I genuinely didn't know if I was going to be able to finish.  Getting through that and then a really hot race in Bucharest left me with Porto to finish the year.  I was hoping for a cold wet race as there has been in previous years there but again it didn't really materialise.  I was a bit faster in this one (not much) but overjoyed to have got through the hardest physical period of my short running career.


6 more crossed off

Seeing the messages flood through on Twitter, Facebook and my website kept me going and the many JustGiving email alerts of donations coming in was incredibly motivating.  I couldn't quite believe that £3.5K came in for the 3 races, I was so happy with that.  To get to £7K for the year and £21K for the entire challenge with just £5K to go was really such a boost.

Invest in ME £500K pledge

In December, Invest In ME put out a press release pledging £500K for research activities at the Quadrum Institute in Norwich.
UK Charity Invest in ME Research is pledging £500,000 for continued research into the disease myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME or ME/CFS) in Norwich Research Park, UK (NRP).
In a press release issued 2nd December 2019 the charity confirms a renewed commitment from the charity to developing a UK/European hub for high-quality biomedical research into ME.

This major investment builds on the foundations already made for a UK/European Centre of Excellence for ME research hub in Norwich Research Park.  The pledge covers joint funding of a PhD position in partnership with University of East Anglia and over 70% of the required funding for a clinical trial of Faecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) being performed alongside other high-quality biomedical research at the Quadram Institute (QI).

Invest in ME Research will now have funded or part funded five PhDs performing research into ME and working in partnership with researchers to initiate a foundation of high-quality research in one of the largest and most prestigious research parks in Europe.

I'm delighted to see the money I've raised go towards such promising research and the FMT trial and look forward to seeing what they come up with over the next few months.


There's more information through clicking this link

Xmas runs

We had Christmas in Haywards Heath this year with my sister Suz and family which was great fun for everyone, especially Lucy. 

                             
                    Icy start to Xmas Day                                                             Usual baby mayhem

I got out on Christmas Day morning before the kids woke up to their presents.  I had to be careful not to disturb Santa's footprints and I got out for a casual 6 miles which I found a bit tough after a lot of beer and cake the night before!


Christmas cracker 

Once in Jan I really got going and my times and weight started to drop. I had a 74 mile December and a 128 mile January, bigger is to come for February where I'll be running 35-40 miles per week.

Newport Half


Decent medal

Last year I ran Gloucester Half in the winter as part of training for Cyprus Marathon. I really enjoyed the chance to push myself over a shorter format in cold temperatures, raise more money and awareness for M.E research and also to meet the Gloucestershire ME Friendship Group.  To break up the brutal training plan and see if I can have the same success as last year with fundraising, I decided to enter Newport Half.

I'm not sure I can beat the PB of 1hr 40 mins from last year but it will be great to get another half marathon race under my belt to add to Bath, Devizes, Frome, Bridgwater and Gloucester.  The race is on Sunday March 1st and if anyone is in the area then you're more than welcome to come along.

Millions Missing Italy

Ahead of Rome Marathon in late March, I've had some amazing support from Italy from a variety of places.  I hope to have news of an incredibly generous donation to Invest In ME towards my target and I'm looking forward to having lunch with supporters the day before the race.


I've been interviewing patients over in Italy and will be featuring their take on what life is like there with M.E over the next few weeks.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some media coverage for them if we can get round the language barrier.



M.E Awareness Hour

It's great to see ME Awareness Hour back after a couple of years and it's been great to see it trending as high as #26 in the UK.  It feels like there's real momentum with this digital awareness advocacy and hopefully it'll soon get mainstream attention and the real-life stories that are featured are read by people who have misunderstood the illness.



Thanks for all your support, if you're feeling generous please leave a donation to M.E research for a cure to my fundraising page below....

www.justgiving.com/mikeseumarathons 

Total Sponsorship Raised: £21389
Social Media Followers: 2483
Miles Covered: 228
Average Temp: 9C
Lessons Learned: A quick break and back to it works for me.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Aug/Sept/Oct Update

Quick recap on an action-packed Summer meets Autumn where I ran 2 marathons and picked up a nasty injury where I had to pull of my homecoming Half (sob, sob).

Truro Half Press

Way back in August I was really happy to have some local press coverage in my home county of Cornwall.  The last time I was in the Cornish Guardian was when I ran London Marathon, aged 18 in 2001!  I wrote off to them with a bit of info on the challenge and telling the story of my friend Rebecca who lives in Penzance and her struggle with M.E.



Truro Half Marathon were kind enough to feature my challenge on their social media and website.  I was really looking forward to running the streets that I used to walk on as a teenager but an injury 2 weeks before meant that although I travelled down with the intention to run, it was just too painful to risk.

Booked Hamburg

I booked Hamburg as my German marathon for 2020 (number 26) after much deliberation.  I had been very keen to run Berlin as it is one of the Abbott Majors and the fastest course in the world.  But two failed ballot attempts and the risk of flight and hotels rocketing from when the ballot is drawn to when I would need to book made it difficult to justify.  I enjoy big races and the amazing support but sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming and tough to concentrate with space at a premium.


Pretty sure this is the Fischmarkt, we ended up here at 6am drinking and dancing I think.

I probably wouldn't have opted for Hamburg as a back up had I not met fellow EU marathon collector Tim Teege.  Tim lives in Hamburg and runs the race each year and offered to have us to stay which was extremely generous of him.  He has 4 daughters and we thought it would be really fun for Lucy, maybe they can teach her some German!  I've been to Hamburg once before on a stag do!  It was a lot of fun but extremely boozy.  We went to watch Hamburg FC in a match they had to win to avoid relegation (and they did!) as well as running around the bars of the infamous Reeperbahn district.


Will be great to meet up with Tim again, here we are at Copenhagen Marathon, May 2018.

An added bonus of running in Hamburg for me is how far north it is and with it being in April there's a good chance it will be cold and/or wet.  Hamburg Marathon recently got voted as the best marathon in the world online too, so not too shabby a race for me to run!

Brighton 


Lovely views, very hot morning on the south coast

Over the crazy hot summer that we had in England, I decided to run along the coast from Portslade to Peacehaven when visiting family in Sussex.  It was a really hot morning and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and views.  It was a nice break from the cycle paths of Bristol and even though it was really tough I would definitely do it again.

161 mile Aug

August has gone down as my biggest mileage month of the challenge so far.  161 miles in total which I was very happy with.  It clearly came at a cost though as I went down with a really painful hip flexor injury towards the end.


Wow, almost like a proper runner!

It was such a hot summer that I felt a bit disappointed that my times hadn't improved on previous years but the bigger issue was whether I would be fit in time for Budapest Marathon in late September.

M.E in Romania

I appealed to hear from M.E sufferers in Romania on Phoenix Rising and S4ME, after a while someone replied to my post.  It was the sister of a lady called Andreea who lived in a city called Iasi.  She suffers from severe M.E and I was extremely grateful to her and her sister for sharing her story.  I was able to introduce them to another Romanian with the illness a few weeks later which made me very happy, hopefully they can help each other somehow.

Click here to read Andreea's story.

Budapest Marathon




Gotta love the Danube

I managed to get around Budapest Marathon in one piece in a fairly cautious time of 4 hrs 43 mins.  It was a good temperature for running though got warm towards the end and came with fantastic views of the Danube pretty much throughout.  I was really pleased to get it done, I was genuinely relieved and hopeful I could recover in time for Bucharest Marathon 2 weeks later.

Click here for race report.

Booking no.25 - Rome, Italy.




Definitely one I'm looking forward to

I was very surprised to see Rome Marathon come back after 2 years of being cancelled.  It would appear that the council's issues with the organisers had finally been resolved so it was an easy decision to sign up.  The flight is from Bristol which is a massive bonus and it's a nice chance for Cat to see Rome for the first time.



2009 in Rome, great city, not so great result

The race starts at the iconic Collisseum and takes in a number of the sites there.  I've been once before with a friend over 10 years ago to watch Man Utd v Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Final.  We were outplayed, attending the match was actually kind of scary but I enjoyed seeing all the sites.

Romania

2 weeks after Budapest Marathon I headed back to Luton airport to fly out to Romania.  Ben came along to run too and we finished the course in brilliant sunshine (27c) before heading out for a few beers.  It was a nice course and well organised, I got round in 4hrs 38 mins and without too much pain.


Ben Scott and I win our first race!

Race report here


Quick hi-5

£20K

I hit a big landmark just before Porto, £20K raised through the challenge for Invest In M.E's biomedical research projects.


Not far to go to hit my target of £26.2K (mirroring the 26.2 miles in a marathon).

M.E in Portugal

I was very fortunate to find 3 people to interview from Portugal, all with excellent English and also a Facebook support group who very supportive.


Beautiful Porto

Click here to read Andre, Elle and Ana's stories.

One of the people I connected with had a family contact at a prominent Portuguese sports website and was happy to feature my challenge on there which was great news.

Click here to view Amma Magazine article.

Zagreb




August 2013 on our honeymoon, it was 30C!

Croatia only seems to have one road marathon that I can find.  So a trip back to Zagreb was always on the cards for the last international race of the challenge.  I have been before when Cat and I stopped off for a night on our honeymoon towards the Croatian islands.  It seemed like a nice town, not an obvious tourist destination but we enjoyed the awesome roof of St Mark's Church and the old town.

Cool Runnings?

As you probably know by now, I struggle massively in races over 22C.  The challenge was always going to be tricky from that perspective as I live in a country in Northern Europe where there aren't many days to train in those kind of temperatures. When I read the advanced forecast for Porto and saw with joy that it was going to be 15C it was rather exciting.  Below explains why!

Prague - 15c - May 2015

Helsinki - 24c - Aug 2015

Dublin - 14c - Oct 2015
Thessaloniki - 19c - Apr 2016
Stockholm - 24c - June 2016
Gdansk - 27c - Aug 2016
Brussels - 15c - Oct 2016
Toulouse - 22c - Oct 2016
Barcelona - 22c - Mar 2017
Luxembourg - 33c - June 2017
Vilnius - 19c - Sept 2017
Amsterdam - 21c - Oct 2017
Ljubljana - 20c - Oct 2017
Malta - 22c - Feb 2018
Vienna - 29c - Apr 2018
Copenhagen - 23c - May 2018
Tallinn - 21c - Sept 2018
Sofia - 20c - Oct 2018
Paphos - 23c - Mar 2019
Bratislava - 20c - Apr 2019
Riga - 27c - May 2019
Budapest - 22c - Sept 2019
Bucharest - 26c - Oct 2019

Average - 22c

Pete Thompson 



In 2017 I enjoyed following the challenge undertaken by Pete Thompson from Dorset who ran a marathon in all 44 countries in Europe in 44 consecutive days.  He was kind enough to feature my challenge on his website and social media.  Cheers Pete!

That's a wrap for now, back soon where I will have finished Porto (no.24) and will be training for Rome Marathon.

Thanks for all your support, if you're feeling generous please leave a donation to M.E research for a cure to my fundraising page below....

www.justgiving.com/mikeseumarathons 

Total Sponsorship Raised: £20,120
Social Media Followers: 2420
Miles Covered: 237
Average Temp: 19C
Lessons Learned: 3 marathons in 6 weekends on one working leg is possible, just.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

May/June/July Update

Happy Summer everyone!  It's been really hot here in the UK and I've been back training after a few weeks off following Riga Marathon.

I'm still battling with some weird Achilles issues in both legs but general fitness is returning so hopefully I can manage my way through it and nothing snaps before I take a month off in November.  After an hour of running it feels like the achilles tendon is warmed up and I get full range of movement, which I guess makes sense, meaning that I actually seem to improve the longer I run for.

As I type, I've got 2 months to go until my toughest ever period of running.  3 marathons in the space of 5 weeks!  Budapest (29.09), Bucharest (13.10) and Porto (03.11) are coming up, hopefully I'll survive!


Lovely little city

Latvia

Riga (no.22 of 28) was a tough race for me, the toughest one yet.  I had real pain in both legs, a groin strain and the pleasure of running in yet another 28C race.  Our Air B'N'B host winced when he told me it was going to be the hottest day of the year and he wasn't wrong!

Still, I enjoyed what I could of the race and got it done.  It was very well supported, a nice varied route with a lot of little nice touches.  Full race report here.

                        


Ron Davis Biomarker

Real hope for patients came from the genius that is Ron Davis back in May.  Ron and his team have developed a blood test that precisely identifies chronic fatigue syndrome.

"Now, Davis; Rahim Esfandyarpour, PhD, a former Stanford research associate; and their colleagues have devised a blood-based test that successfully identified participants in a study with chronic fatigue syndrome. The test, which is still in a pilot phase, is based on how a person’s immune cells respond to stress. With blood samples from 40 people — 20 with chronic fatigue syndrome and 20 without — the test yielded precise results, accurately flagging all chronic fatigue syndrome patients and none of the healthy individuals. 



The man I believe is most likely to cure M.E.

The diagnostic platform could even help identify possible drugs to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. By exposing the participants’ blood samples to drug candidates and rerunning the diagnostic test, the scientists could potentially see whether the drug improved the immune cells’ response. Already, the team is using the platform to screen for potential drugs they hope can help people with chronic fatigue syndrome down the line"

Full article: click here

Whilst not a cure, it can be used to further understand the illness and silence any doubters that the M.E isn't a very real debillitating physical disease.

Marathon Trailer

When I ran in Copenhagen last year I met Alexander Weng Petersen whose partner struggles with M.E.  He very kindly offered to interview me and follow my race so he could put together a trailer explaining my challenge to help drive in sponsorship.

I'm so happy with it, he did an amazing job!  Check it out for yourself....


Millions Missing Bristol

I went along to support the event in Bristol on College Green this year which was excellently well organised full of emotional speeches from ME patients and families with a few superb musical performances too.

It was great to meet so many lovely people and chat in the sunshine as well as talk to passers-by about M.E and the devastating effect it has and the purpose of the protest.


Invest In ME Conference

I couldn't make it this year to the conference which was a shame but I heard it was the biggest one yet with even more representatives from different countries around the world.


There in spirit!

Invest In ME have posted the talks on youtube this year, if you're planning a binge-watch please consider dropping them a donation to say thanks.

IIME Conference #14 Videos

Natalie Price ME Video

I was really affected by the story of Natalie Price and her battle with M.E.  Natalie was a keen runner but is now bed-bound with extreme tiredness, fatigue, headaches and sensitivity.


Please have a look at her story below and accompanying video through this link. I really hope she recovers and my thoughts are with her and her family.  I'll be running for her in Budapest.

Bristol TV

I forwarded my trailer to my local TV station and they put it on 4 times an hour for 24 hours which was really kind of them!


I didn't get chance to see it on TV and I'm told it was cut down a little but really appreciate them picking it up.  Maybe it changed 1 person's view of M.E?  If it did, I'll take that.

Truro Half Marathon (Sunday 15th September)

I've never run a race in my home county believe it or not.  We'd booked a long weekend down in Cornwall to see friends and introduce Lucy to our favourite beaches and this race seemed to fit where we're staying and the training plan.


Looking forward to running in Kernow!

It's one of the toughest road half's in the UK due to it's elevation which will make it great training.  I won't be going for a PB on this one, just to enjoy it and do a steady sub 2hrs.  I've reached out to some local M.E groups and hope to raise some awareness down there nearer the time.

Meeting Peter Douben


Lucy photo-bombing as ever

I've chatted to fellow Invest In ME runner Peter Douben for a little while over email and it was great to meet him and his friend Peter (who suffers from M.E) when they came to Bristol for the weekend.

Peter is doing really well with his running and hopes to add Berlin Marathon to his list so it was good to swap tips and chat to (the other) Peter about his experience with M.E.

WUCB Donation

Gunther, Els and the kind folks at Wake-Up Call Beweging have supported me since I ran Brussels Marathon in 2016.  They sent me a fantastic donation of 725Euros as they scale back their operations to look after their health (both suffer from M.E).


A couple of my favourite Belgians

Really grateful to them and I'm keen to congratulate them on all their hard work in Belgium to raise awareness and push for change to attitudes and healthcare.

Plans for the next 3 months

I've got a massive month of running coming in August, probably my biggest yet (over 155 miles) to get ready for the next 3 marathons.  It's all going to be hot and heavy so hopefully it'll pay off when it comes to those lovely cool Autumn tempts out there in Eastern Europe.

As well as Truro Half, I'm planning a 20 mile run on the Brighton coastline when I visit family which I'm looking forward to.  If you're around on Sunday August 25th at 7-10am then come throw some water at me!


Off to the seaside

I've got 2 Portugal M.E interviews ready to publish and have been given the opportunity of a feature in a major online sports website.  I'm desperately trying to track down Hungarian and Romanian patients who would like to tell me their story.  I hope someone comes forward and we can get a community going or at least highlighting the need for better healthcare.

            

Harbour and trails, Bristol Summer running is awesome

I'll be doing loads more running around Bristol over the next few weeks and mixing it up with some swimming at my local pool.  I'm pretty new to it, I get out of breath after a few lengths and get routinely over-taken by people twice my age but I'm going to stick to it and hopefully it'll help recovery and cardio.

2020 Races

After Porto in November, I'll only have 3 races left plus London which I really want to do again (as mentioned in previous blog).  As usual it's a logistical nightmare but I'm close to confirming races for the final stretch of the challenge.

The problem - I'd love to do Berlin but there is a ballot to enter which is oversubscribed and extremely unlikely to get through.  I wouldn't hear back until late November to hear whether I'd be successful.  If it's a 'no' from Berlin, then my back-up race (Hamburg in April) could be too expensive to get to as flights will have been out for a while. So a decision on Germany needs to be made pretty soon.  Munich was an option but it's likely to clash with Zagreb which is an essential immovable race for next year. If I choose Hamburg then I get to run with EU Marathon Completer and local Tim Teege who has become a good mate and it would be cool to hang out and see the city (my last trip there was on a boozy stag-do!).


Should I take my wellies?

Also proving tricky is Italy.  Rome looks like it will be cancelled again like this year due to the local council not granting them a licence (make of that what you will).  So options are Milan (Apr), Turin (Oct), Venice (Nov), Verona (Nov) or Florence (Nov).  Venice Marathon was flooded last year and whilst the videos of runners pretty much knee-deep in the sea were quite amusing, I'm not sure I fancy that much.  Milan and Turin will be too near to Hamburg.  Verona and Florence look likely to be the main choices.

Still with me?  Yep sorry, it is a bit of a saga isn't it.  Will confirm all soon.

Running and Positivity

I touched on mental health last time, just got a couple of other bits to say on the matter -this time from a slightly more positive (I hope) perspective.

I've been questioning my mental strength a lot this year and perhaps forgotten how I used to cope with big mileage, long runs and tough hot races.  I'd lost my way a bit through all the injuries of the last few months and withdrawn myself from running groups and conversations about running as I no longer identified myself as a runner.  Not being able to run had left me feeling flat, demotivated and frustrated but by writing up a big plan for the next 3 races, I feel like I'm climbing out of the pit.


The comeback has started!

So I've gone back to basics to fight off the negativity and demons that get into my head on the long runs.  Here's some mental tricks that I've used in the past and will be dusting off again (don't laugh!):
  • Intensity - I've been too passive on runs.  I'm going to enjoy the fact I can run. I'm going to air-drum and sing more. I'm not bothered who can see or hear it haha.
  • I run better when it becomes a war - I like to run angry to keep adrenaline up.  I think about stuff that annoys me and channel it like I'm fighting an end of computer game boss (like Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII).
  • I'm lucky to run and represent millions who want to but can't.
  • On a long straight road I never look at the horizon - eyes down, one step at a time, I'm making progress.  Never look up a hill, follow the white lines and get it done.
  • Get an hour into the run and breathing will sort itself and it'll get much easier.
  • Run your own run, don't chase people.
  • I'll never run my last step again - I'm one step nearer towards the finish.
  • It's OK to feel pain and discomfort - But it's not going to stop me, I'm a slow train that can't be stopped by anything getting on the line.
  • 26 miles is just 13 miles and back - bite the elephant one piece at a time.
  • You'll miss the challenge immensely when it's all over. Enjoy it.
  • I'm short and round, but 'stubborn bastard' is my superpower.
  • Running in 30C now will mean running at 20C in Autumn will feel easy.
  • I can do something that not many people can if I work hard.
  • Ignore the demon in your brain that wants you to stop and walk. You're in control.
  • Walking to a tune by a dead musician is desecrating their memory and can't be allowed.
  • Uploading the run to Garmin is going to feel heroic later.
  • It'll be over soon and you can get a shower and a pint.


                       Sweaty death-stare                                                 It's a long road, don't look too far ahead


Thanks for reading and following.  I'm hoping I'll be ready for the mayhem that's going to follow but all the nice messages and donations keep me going and give many of my friends hope of a cure.

If you'd like to sponsor me you can do below!

www.justgiving.com/mikeseumarathons 

Total Sponsorship Raised: £18070
Social Media Followers: 2368
Miles Covered: 156
Average Temp: 23C
Lessons Learned: It's possible to come back and even run through injury if managed properly.


Monday, 6 May 2019

Feb/Mar/April Update


Heading up to 4 years since my first marathon on the challenge!  It's been a testing 3 months in my world.  I've completed 2 more races; Cyprus and Slovakia and a few weeks away from my 3rd marathon in 8 weeks over in Latvia.

I've had two colds, tonsilitis, tendonitis and a really scary flight.  It's been the hardest section of the challenge so far, trying to get enough sleep with a small noisy baby to train and an increase in responsibility at work.  But pleased to say that so far I'm just about holding it all together and with just 7 races left I'm starting to think more about what to do when I'm done.


6 months old!

Unfortunately I wasn't able to find anyone with M.E to interview in Cyprus so raising awareness there wasn't really possible.  It was a bit surprising given how many english speakers there are there but I know from my trip to Greece that there aren't many/any communities there for people with the illness and it's almost unilaterally ignored by doctors and government.  I did meet someone with M.E immediately after the race who saw my flag and we had a quick chat, she was very kind enough to sponsor me.

Cyprus Marathon (no.20)




One day I'll win a race for real, maybe.

I went into this one feeling like I'd trained pretty well but unfortunately as I tapered training I picked up a cold which meant that it was a very hot snotty run.  I've always been surprised by how much a common cold can affect running. It's not just feeling light-headed and difficult to get a good breathing rhythm, it seems to make quads heavy and has a big affect on increasing heart rate.

In the end I got it done, full report here


Geordie Mark, great guy and impressive mara list for one so young.

I really enjoyed meeting fellow european marathon collector Mark Openshaw before and after the race.  He was on his 20th country too and it was great to swap stories on the races we'd completed and had lined up. I know that Mark really values running as a tool for positive mental health which I share too (more on this later).

ME in Slovakia




Michal from Bratislava

Ahead of my trip to Bratislava I interviewed Michal who has M.E.  I also met him for a drink after the marathon and he told me about the work that he was doing to try and raise the profile of M.E there.  Click here to read more.

Bratislava Marathon (no.21)




Tough but an improvement on Cyprus.

Coming into this one I had real problems with achilles tendonitis, it was a little painful to walk so I had to make sure I had enough painkillers for race day.  My friend Mike was good enough to come with me as he had in Sofia in October when Cat was too pregnant to fly.  On this occasion it was a bit too expensive to fly Lucy and Cat out with me for just one night so it was great to have some company.


Always there with a beer at the end, top friend.

We had a good tour of Bratislava, heading to the Expo, Old Town and Castle with some time to have a cheeky beer in the sun.  Race day was almost perfect conditions for the first half then warming up, click here for race report.

Website

My first real run-in with Brexit occured in February when I was ordered to surrender my website as it ends with '.eu'.  Hopefully I've figured out a way around it without losing the domain.  I guess it's a sign of things to come as we get closer to leaving.  I have definitely noticed that it's been harder to get publicity through the marathon races and papers this last year or so.  I can't help but feel that as I'm from the UK, there's a bit of anymosity there, I can't really blame them.  The arrogance of how the UK government has treated the process would have me struggling to respect anyone wanting a favour too.  When I interact with new people in Europe I can definitely feel an uneasiness coming from them when they realise I'm British.   I'm certainly glad to have run so many races before the Brexit debacle that's for sure.



Shoes/Tendonitis

As I type I'm currently unable to run through injury.  It's fair to say I've led a bit of a charmed life when it comes to injury, I've not been able to run maybe 3 or 4 times in 4 and a bit years so I can't complain too much.  But two races in a 6 week period with another one around the corner is taking it's toll.  I've got problems with both calves again, hopefully I can sort with another massage as I can't get beyond a mile without the pain stopping me from continuing.  On top of that I've got a groin strain and lower back which is uncomfortable rather than run preventing.


Weird calves

Martin, my massage guy took one look at my trainers and reckons they've been the problem.  He literally folded them in half and looked at me with a grin on his face.  They've only lasted 150 miles as opposed to the usual 300-400 but two long continuous runs (4-4.5 hrs) where your running form deteroriates the longer the run goes on, are enough to wreck them nicely.  If you can bend the shoe in half then there's no support at all and it leaves your calves is exposed to strains.  Needless to say I've immediately gone out and bought some but the damage is done for now.  So I'm having a complete break from running until race day.  I know I'll lose fitness in this time but Riga will be about completing it not a tilt for PB so I feel like the pressure is off on this one.  Maybe by running slower I might even enjoy it who knows!  I'll loosely aim for 4.5 hrs and then focus on re-building for the 3 autumn races where I usually do my best running.

Mental Battles

I'm keen to talk about mental health for the first time on this challenge.  A lot of people have asked me if I'm feeling mentally fatigued with the challenge.  I guess this is because I've been posting a bit less on social media (mainly down to time limitations with work and baby) and also I'm guessing they're wondering how I stay motivated after all this time.  The truth is that I'm not fatigued, I think at the moment I'm just a bit down on how some of the races have gone and the lack of improvement I've been showing.  Outside of being an elite runner I think it's chemically impossible not to feel happy about finishing a marathon.  But for 18 out of 21 races I've come away with regret as to how I've run even though I know I've trained pretty well.

I'm relatively happy with some of the press/media awareness I've managed to get for M.E and everyone I've met in each country has been fantastic.  I have to still be pushing to hit a time in a race or I struggle to get motivated to train.  Everything so far has been to consistently get finished in under 4 hours but I've found this increasingly tough since 2017.  I'm not sure I can put it down to age, I routinely get passed by runners 20 years older than me.  It must be the training schedule for the most part but I think also the mental strength required.


I feel like I've lost the ability to run through pain, fatigue and dig deep.  I don't know why.  I'm still determined and dedicated but something has changed.  Could be that it isn't life or death for me anymore, I've got parental responsibilities and maybe I have more perspective.  Or it could be that I'm just not as mentally strong.  I think marathon races are a dangerous hobby for people like me.  When a 4 hour pacer passes you with a few miles to go you feel like giving up and walking off the course.  The feeling of failure and 'wasted' effort of training is a real killer both in the race and on the plane home.  Running is good for mental health if you can reconcile some reasonable expectations with yourself.  If you think too much about what you 'ought' to be capable of I can't think of a more destructive hobby for you to take part in.

I need to re-wire my brain and reset some parameters.  On the start line of a race I often feel like a striker too afraid to miss a penalty than being excited at the opportunity to score.  I think I've become so self-critical of my training and race running that I'm in a difficult mental cycle to break.  The only thing that seems to help is meeting people in each country before the race and reading messages from supporters, it reminds me that it's not about times (I'm the only one who will be bothered), it's about trying to help people.




Well done to all of those who have completed marathons over the last few weeks for Invest In ME including my buddy Ben Scott, Jimmy Alexander and Steve Martin.

Thanks once again for sticking with me.  I'm looking forward to taking part in Millions Missing in Bristol next weekend and trying to do you all proud in Riga on the 19th.

If you'd like to sponsor me you can do below!

www.justgiving.com/mikeseumarathons 

Total Sponsorship Raised: £16272
Social Media Followers: 2324
Miles Covered: 254
Average Temp: 12C
Lessons Learned: Completing marathons are still impressive.