Shades - Member of the Month May 2008

Member of the Month May 2008


Fetch says: Normally, I bash out a couple of lines here about the winner of the Member of the Month award, and mention our wonderful sponsor ( - you've got to love them). But instead, I just wanted to point out the tiny wee birdy in the pic. And no, I've not gone all 1950's, I mean the little flying one in the pic. OK, so they're both flying! Isn't that just cool? Right, anyway, on with the show - keep your hands inside the car at all times.

Jen J asks: Congratulations :) Now that you've conquered the 10 in 10, what's the next big challenge?

Shades says: There isn't one, I'm going to just do my marathons and the odd ultra as per usual. I'm just about to do my 3rd 24 hour race and my ultimate goal is to record over 100 miles in one of these events…don't think it'll be this year though

John 66 asks: Congrats - what made you want to do this madness?

Shades says: Because the challenge hadn't been completed by a woman before. Also I missed a few marathons last year and this year due to injury so thought an extra 10 marathons would help me catch up a bit!

Velociraptor asks: A well-deserved win, Shades. What got you started as a long-distance runner, and when you ran your first marathon did you have any idea that this silly sport would become such a big part of your life? What advice would you give to people contemplating the 10-in-10.

Shades says: I saw the first London marathon on telly in 1981 and was amazed that it wasn't just whippet thin athletes that were taking part. At that point I decided that one day I would do a marathon, I started doing a bit of running (but not much) and didn't finally line up for my first marathon until 1995. I only intended to do the one marathon but liked it so much I decided to have another go, then I forgot to stop. I think the TiT is a bit like getting married, if you really want to do it, then do it. If you're not sure, then don't. Congrats BTW.

Homer asks: hi - which was the toughest of the 10?

Shades says: Day 9 was truly awful, the toughest day of my life…I still shudder at the memory

Snapstinget asks: How did you come up with your three-day marathon training programme in the first place?

Shades says: When I had my WRN group I had lots of ladies that wanted to run a marathon but because of work/children commitments just didn't have the time or motivation to follow a 5/6 day schedule. So I wrote a plan that would fit into the rest of their life and it worked.

Velociraptor asks: And how do you ALWAYS manage to look so glamorous at the end of races which leave the rest of us trailing past the finish looking like dishrags?

Shades says: I guess I'm lucky that no matter how awful a run I'm having it just doesn't show on my face. I've tried several times to drop out of a marathon but the marshalls always say "you look fine" so I usually end up finishing. To me a marathon is 'another day at the office' so full make up as usual and I always paint my nails the night before a marathon!

GordonG asks: hugely well done Shades, well deserved. sorry to sound negative but you must have had low moments during the T in T - what kept you motivated?

Shades says: I had lots of low moments during the TiT but the support of the other 10 runners kept me going, also I didn't want to let down all the folk that had sponsored me, nor did I want to report on here that I'd failed to do something that I said I was going to do. But on my worst day (Day 9) I forgot all about that and it was Marathon Maiden and John the physio that kept me going.

Hourglass asks: Congratulations on MOTM :-) - What gets you out the door when you really don't want to train/run?

Shades says: I just make excuses to myself…like everyone else does. But I love to train so not usually a problem for me.

LouLou asks: How old were you when you ran your first marathon?

Shades says: 38

mokina asks: well done shades! now...I blame YOU for making me run more than one marathon per year!! how do you defend yourself? what's your excuse????

Shades says: I accept full responsibility! And I knew you could do more than one marathon a year, you're getting faster and faster.

Too Much Water asks: well done Shades Why don't you like off road marathons - I know a few 100 club people who don't seem to be keen on them? What marathon would you not do again (apart from London)? Is there a reason for not liking L***n or is it none of my business?

Shades says: When I got to my 100th marathon I then decided to drop the marathons I didn't care for, mostly the off road ones, I'm no good at off road and although the scenery is usually lovely I like to settle into an even pace and find I just don't have the ability to do that off road. It's unlikely I'll ever do London again (too crowded). As for L****, well I like to see different things whilst running a marathon but drug dealing and burnt out cars hold no appeal for me, dreadful course IMHO too. Some of the 100 club are purists and think off road events are not 'proper marathons' so don't do them.

Fenland Runner asks: What's your secret to Marathon success?

Shades says: Success???, I'm still trying to get it right

mic asks: is there anything you feel you really must do before you finish training/running??

Shades says: Are you suggesting that I should retire from running? I would like to get that 100 miles in a 24 hour race and a few marathon PB's would be nice too. I'd quite like to get to 500 marathons too, not yet done by a woman in this country although I expect somebody will beat me to it.

RuthB2 asks: which was your favourite marathon personally to date and why? Huge congratulations too!

Shades says: Duchy 2005, I paced one of my WRN girls round for the first 14 miles (she was doing the 20 mile event) then carried on at the same pace socialising with other runners along the way At the 26 mile marker I realised I was on for a marathon PB, it was as near a perfect race as I've ever run, PB and a negative split by 30 seconds and honestly if was effortless. As near a pefect race that I've ever achieved.

Kittenheels Kath asks: Congratulations Shades, you're lovely. Do you think you might be just a tad obsessive?

Shades says: Completely and utterly….I have no natural ability so I have to be obsessive to achieve anything in the world of running.

John Bach asks: I am looking to do a UK marathon in 2009 other than one of my local ones (Snowdon/Anglesey) - which one would you recommend (bearing in mind "the lumpier the better" as far as I'm concerned)?

Shades says: Then you must do the Cornish, mid November, scenic, hilly, a great event and a pasty to all finishers.

Nightjar asks: From a purely physical point of view was doing 10 in 10 a good idea and do you think you (or the others) could have gone on to do more?

Shades says: No, it was a really stupid idea and I'm not doing it again. Yes, I guess we could have done more although about half of us were close to breaking point injury wise.

HarryB asks: 10 marathons in 10 days... Are you nuts? ;)

Shades says: I don't think so, the RO already has a list of 15 runners that want to do it next year.

Le Greg asks: 10 maras in 10 days is a piece of piss. The real test of physical endurance and mental toughness is going to Tesco's for a pint of milk 10 days in a row. Do you think this is something you'll ever attempt or is this one step too far?

Shades says: I couldn't do that, I know my limits and I wouldn't even attempt that challenge.

neems22 asks: What sort of food intake did you have to keep you well fuelled in the run up to and during the 10 marathons?

Shades says: Nothing special beforehand and during I found it hard to eat enough when I was tired. I was the only one not using sports drinks as they don't agree with me and I think that was a disadvantage for me as the others were probably getting 1500-2000 calories a day from them, plus food as well.

A bet MADE me asks: well done Shades and richly deserved.... While I for one, find you an incredibly inspiring [person], and was so pleased to meet you in Cork... who are the people who have inspired you to take on such a challenge?

Shades says: Talking to some ot the seven runners that did the challenge in 2007, especially Steve Edwards who broke the world record this year at the TiT by over 2 hours, he was very supportive before the challenge and answered all my stupid questions….I forgot to ask him if it would hurt though!

Ultracat asks: Which marathon have you done the most times? and which one would you not miss?

Shades says: Windermere 10 times, also I've done the Cornish 9 times and the Isle of Man 8 times, neither of these would I ever want to miss.

plodding hippo asks: well done Shades I have heard a scurrilous rumour that you are going to come and do Luton marathon from now on-is this true? :)

Shades says: I was f**king conned, tricked, deceived into agreeing to run L**** in 2009, I am so gullible. After Cork marathon we were in the bar enjoying a Guinness or two and this guy asked me to promise that I would be at his 100th marathon, I agreed and we shook hands on it, then he said it would be L**** 2009, he knew exactly how I feel about that race so it was a lousy trick to play on me. I now have 18 months to plan my revenge. Needless to say he's not a Fetchie, no Fetchie would be so underhand and cruel. All suggestions for a suitable revenge would be gratefully received.

oceanspirit asks: Why marathons?

Shades says: I don't know, it's always been marathons as they are the ultimate achievement for me. I didn't run my first half marathon until a year after my first marathon, how stupid is that!

barking asks: Was the fact it was the same marathon for 10 days a good thing, or would it have been easier if it was different, or in a different place, each day?

Shades says: A good thing, the thought of packing and travelling every day would have been a nightmare. I adore the Windermere course and can't wait to go back next year and just run it once on fresh legs. I know that course so well and I really miss it.

Pammie asks: What is the furthest (run/race/ultra) you would contemplate doing, if you haven't done so far?

Shades says: At the moment 24 hours, although I was asked recently if I was interested in a 6 day race in Germany next year and I stupidly said "yes"and they're sending me details, but in hindsight I'm not going to do it. I was also asked if I'd be interested in running 26 marathons in 26 days next year...I swiftly replied "NO."

paul a asks: What is your proudest moment in your running career?

Shades says: Doing my 100th marathon, Isle of Man 2003, magical day.

Bridget asks: How on earth do you stop your hair sticking to your face?

Shades says: Wear a visor or run faster. In my case I wear the visor!

Velociraptor asks: I read on your article on the RW site that you typically run 100mpw. How do you fit it in with work and life and ... oh, yes. Your "ladies". You're a long way from the stereotypical self-obsessed ultra-runner. Tell us about the work you've put into training and supporting other runners.

Shades says: That was a slight misquote, I do build up my mileage and peak at 100mpw for the 2 weeks over Xmas and New Year when I'm on holiday, rest of the time is generally 50-80mpw. I get up at 4.30 a.m. to train and do a few doubles to tot up the mileage. Fitting it all in is hard, so training comes first, then work, then social life. I'm lucky I live on my own so don't have to consider anyone else so if I'm too tired to do the housework, so be it...<>. I no longer have any 'ladies', resigned from WRN 18 months ago, now I just email out training plans and answer emails re training queries and a bit of support on RW forum.

Marathon Maiden asks: The advice is to 'respect the distance'. I not only respect it, I am frankly afraid of it, which is really annoying, and doing one marathon hasn't really changed that. (I should have carried on after Windermere and kept going, but fizzled out instead, though have stayed half-mara fit, but only just..) I'd like to have a more positive, laid-back approach to the whole notion of 26 miles, such that my training is not blighted by nerves and fear - can you share your thoughts/attitude with us? When I walked with you on mara 9, you seemed so matter-of-fact about the challenge of the 10-in-10 and the pain in your legs, I so admired that ... Is it just a case of de-sensitising yourself by doing it lots, or is there something else? When I finish a half marathon, my first thought is usually "thanks goodness I don't have to go round again" Given that some marathons are 2 laps, how the heck do you get your head round doing it all again?

Shades says: Being a bit scared of a marathon is a good thing, marathons will bite back the moment you relax and think "this is only a marathon". That respect is what should stop you going off too fast, will make you take on adequate fluid/fuel etc.during the race. Confidence will come from doing the long runs in training and preparing yourself as best you can for the day. You know you can do the distance (you've done it before) so that's a massive boost of confidence that you didn't have when you lined up for your first marathon. You don't run a marathon as fast and hard as a half marathon. But so much of marathon running is by using your brain, if you tell yourself you're going to run 13.1 miles there's no way you want (or feel you can) run any further. If you tell yourself you're going to run 26.2 miles, then that's exactly what you will do, but you do it by taking just one mile at a time.

Loon Dod asks: Do you buy into technical gear and Fancy motion control shoes or do you think them a gimmick and that all you need is a t shirt and basic foot wear and the will to want to run.

Shades says: I still haven't bought a Garmin, I probably will one day but it's not an essential. I do have an HRM which I use for all my training. Good shoes that are right for the runner are crucial IMHO. I love shopping for running kit and am well impressed by compression tights. But I think the 'will to run' is what makes a runner. Over the last couple of years all the gadget buying has gone crazy. I must admit that if I see a runner out with Garmin, Ipod and God knows what other gadgets, it screams at me "BEGINNER". (Sorry if I've offended anyone with that remark).

Blackcat5573 asks: Ever thought about running from John O'Groats to Lands End?

Shades says: Yes, briefly. A friend of mine asked me to run it with her but she wants to do it off road and I want all road. I'll have to wait until I retire as I don't have enough holiday leave as it would take me weeks.

MarkC asks: What would be your next big passion if you couldn't run?

Shades says: I don't know, but as an obsessive type of person I guess I'd find something…let's hope I never have to. I want to carry on running as long as I want to run.

micknphil asks: 10 marathons in 10 days You say never again i say you will ????

Shades says: No, I won't. Several reasons:- a) it takes too big a chunk out of my holiday leave , I haven't sacrificed any of my other races but I'm having to do loads of overtime at work to get time of in lieu, and I still have a backlog of paperwork at home from my other committments and haven't yet dealt with all the emails that I received whist I was away. b) I wouldn't want to risk again the chances of a long term injury. c) (and this is the main reason) I wouldn't be part of the same group of 11 that did the TiT, we were a team, there were no cross words even through all the tiredness and injuries. We all agreed on this and are having a reunion next year at Connemara marathon, we shared something special this year and that can't be recreated.

chris.52 asks: Do you have a considered opinion you'd like to share on Pose/Chi/Stride Mechanics/all the others/

Shades says: If it ain't broke then don't try and fix it. But if your current running style is the cause of your injuries then yes you should try and do something about it.

Max71 asks: What have you learnt about yourself? (I dont mean running wise)

Shades says: I don't really know, I was shocked at how much I hurt mentally and physically, I didn't think it was possible to hurt so much…I'm a bit of a wimp really.

Fetch says: And there we have it - another marathon completed - cheers Shades! A bit more training, and you'll thrash that robin next time :-)

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