New Year 2106 - Summer 2016

In the New Year I had started to run more and was feeling stronger, I was waiting to hear from the Hospital about when I could have the reversal operation to take away the Stoma and Colostomy bag.  This came through in early January, with Op date the middle of February, at St Richards Hospital in Chichester - not wanting to go very near Treliske again…

Luckily they were able to do the Op keyhole so I wasn’t cut open again which made the healing much quicker.  Having had the colostomy bag since the April before it was a fairly big deal but it went ok and was surprisingly normal to not have it and go to the loo again.

I launched Freedom Racing with the Kernow Vertical Kilometre (KVK) the week after the Op (when I knew if I was actually going to be able to do it…) and it was nice to have been able to tell people about it and hear peoples comments and well wishes for me.  

Getting permissions for the Summer Sessions was taking an age - this was why the KVK hadn’t launched until quite late as well.  So I wasn’t able to launch the Sessions until just about the time of the KVK race which was a shame.

Kay has always been a friend and someone who helped and supported me through being ill and dealing with it.  She was really behind me starting Freedom and with At Your Pace was able to support the race directly with sponsorship - which amazingly included brilliant GPS running watches from Suunto!  I’m really pleased that this has carried on in most of the Freedom events so far, with At Your Pace being part of the Summer Sessions since they started to.


I had plenty to do though during getter better from the Op with buying everything we needed to put on a race for the first time.  Also things like banners and flags which I wanted to start to get right away as the ‘look’ of our events is really important to me.  We had parcels arriving almost daily it seemed, with everything I was thinking of that we would need - some things proved to be really good whilst others have been improved on since and changed.

We had some good friends from the Lake District come down for a weeks holiday and to do the race so early in the week before we went out and walked it with Kay from At Your Pace too. 

I’d had a strange lumpy-thing developing on my stomach though and it started to weep through the skin on the Tuesday before the first KVK race!  I ended up staying in Hospital the Wednesday night before the race but luckily saw another consultant who thought it would sort itself out. A Seroma is a collection of fluid that can develope after an operation and will usually be re-absorbed by the body or find a way out.  This had done the latter, and done it 4 days before our first event!  I had a Colostomy bag over the area to collect it and it gradually got bigger and opened up into a wound which took about 4 weeks to stop oozing.

The first KVK race day came on 10.4.16 and generally went really well, one or two near disastrous things happened but luckily were averted and everyone had a good time.  The route is hard enough on its own but that day the wind was just about storm-force and St Agnes Beacon really did feel like a proper mountain top which made it feel even more epic for everyone involved with the race!

The 13th of May was the first Summer Sessions, they kicked off with one of my favourites; Porthtowan.  This route really uses some of my favourite running in Cornwall and the paths I have always used for hill runs before bigger races we’re doing.  The path from Chapel Porth we take to the Wheal Coates car park is really good climbing, St Agnes Head has excellent fast singletrack running and it goes over St Agnes Beacon as well so I was looking forward to people running it!  In a little over a month from launching the race there were about 150 people that had entered and it had such a buzz and great atmosphere.  This went more smoothly than the KVK without any problems, we were really lucky with a hot sunny day and it was really good fun.

I was running again by the time of the race but not much, having taken time to get over and heal from the Op in February and then not wanting to make the weeping any worse.  Nicky and I went to Portugal at the end of May and luckily the weeping had just stopped in time so I could take the colostomy bag off and by the end of the holiday I didn’t have a dressing on it anymore.  

We have done the Classic Quarter most years but in 2016 we were at my Mum and Dads for a big family barbecue so missed it.  I hadn’t really been running very much by then anyway so probably wouldn’t have done it (certainly shouldn’t…)

But I was running reasonably regularly on the coastpath and enjoying the weather and being able to do so.  Also the positivity and buzz surrounding Freedom was just brilliant.