Sunday, 18 January 2015

thinkin' about fightin'

A Rocky Road: run 100 miles NYC to Philadelphia
One man’s dream to run 100 miles non-stop, no sleep, from New York to the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia.



In January 2013 I started writing a blog called “Simon’s Rocky Road”. It described a journey which began with the idea of running 100 miles non-stop from New York to Philadelphia. It described the training and the diet, and it travelled thru the ups & the downs of what it would take for one over-weight amateur runner, who had never even ran a half-marathon before, to achieve his ambition in less than 4 months. It also gave an insight into living with mental health issues.

I did it to fulfil a childhood ambition. As little boys watching Rocky with my bro, Stephen, we always dreamt of being Rocky Balboa running up the legendary steps. On 28th April 2013, my brother’s 40th birthday, after hypothermia, hallucinations, sun-stroke, sleep deprivation and 29 hours constant forward motion I finally reached those goddamn Rocky Steps. You can see the VIDEO CLICK HERE.

Why did I do this? Y’see, exactly twenty years prior to this my bro had had a mental breakdown. He was just 20 years old when it had happened and he had never really recovered since. Mental illness had crushed half his life; and cast a huge shadow over mine. That goddamn 100 miles of pure pain was my birthday present to him, a chance to raise awareness for mental health, and time to realise our dream. It was a metaphor of our life as brothers: one half of the run in happy daylight sunshine and one half in the cold agonising darkness as we both have grappled with mental illness. And, as at January 2015, I’ve raised over £25,000 for MIND, the UK’s largest mental health charity.

My bro and me when we were little
So what now.

What most people remember about the first Rocky film (yes, the very first one that won Oscars for best picture, best director and best film editing in 1976 – co-incidentally the year I was born) are the celebrations at the end of the fight/film with Rocky screaming “Adrian” before telling her that he loves her. They also remember him getting ridiculed – labelled with no chance of going the distance against the World Champion, Apollo Creed, let alone winning the fight

What a lot of people don’t remember is that although Rocky went the distance with Apollo he actually lost the fight. It was Apollo that won. For a while it didn’t matter to Rocky. He even said to Adrian while he couldn’t sleep the night before the fight:

I can't do it.
ROCKY:I can't beat him.
Yeah. I been out there walkin' around, thinkin'. I mean, who am I kiddin'? I ain't even in the guy's league.
What are we gonna do?
I don't know.
You worked so hard.
ROCKY:Yeah, that don't matter. 'Cause I was nobody before.
Don't say that.
Ah come on, Adrian, it's true. I was nobody. But that don't matter either, you know? 'Cause I was thinkin', it really don't matter if I lose this fight. It really don't matter if this guy opens my head, either. 'Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood.

It’s true, the fact that an amateur like Rocky with so little time to train had even lasted the distance with the mighty champion Apollo Creed should have been enough to satisfy him. But it wasn’t enough. Rocky went the distance but he didn’t beat Apollo.

Hence the reason for Rocky II.

When did you get home? I thought you were at work.

No, I... I ain't at work no more. I got, uh... I got canned today.

Oh. - What happened?

- I don't know. I was... It was nobody's fault. They were just cutting back. It was economics.

- What are you gonna do?

- I don't know. I was, um... ...thinkin' about fightin'.

What about your eye? The doctor said you shouldn't fight any more.

No, no. He recommended I don't fight, and I recommend that I do.

Y’see, for me I went the distance. All that way from New York to Philadelphia. I did that 100 miles in 29 hours non-stop, no sleep. But y’see, I didn’t beat it. I didn’t win.


Like how people remember Rocky celebrating at the end of the fight in the first Rocky film, what most people remember about my first run almost two years ago is the photos celebrating at the Rocky Steps. But, what most people don’t remember is that at mile 78, after about 24 hours non-stop running I suffered a complete emotional, physical, mental shutdown. I couldn’t move anymore and I just lay there crying on the lawn of a crumby gas station just outside a goddamn dump called Trenton. I couldn’t move anymore. The pain was too much I swear to God.
MILE 78:

But from somewhere I found the will to stand up. And once I stood up I could move forward again. It was slow and it was painful but I kept moving forward. I walked maybe 7 miles, my thigh splitting open in agony.We calculated that it would take another 10 hours walking before reaching the Rocky Steps. But y’see I didn’t do it. I didn’t walk or run the remaining 15-20 miles. Mike and Janie, who had been brilliant running and helping the previous 27 hours, needed to work morning the next day back in New York. Like Dave, Eleni and Naz they had also sacrificed a night’s sleep too. It was Sunday afternoon and there was a small crowd of people already gathered waiting for us at the Steps in Philly. It was approx. mile 85 when I made the call to cycle the remaining 15-20 miles to reach the Rocky Steps so that we could celebrate with everyone. I could have kept walking, and maybe I would have started running again. But I didn’t. My mind was playing tricks on me, my heart was beating irregularly and it just felt like the right thing to do at the time.


Who the hell is that?! - Is that Rocky? Well, the prodigal son returns!

Mick, can I have my locker back?

- What's on your mind?

- Fightin'.

Fightin'? What? You wanna go blind?

- Nobody's goin' blind.
Now, listen, every pug thinks he has one good one left. Now forget it, cos your fightin' career is over, kid.

- Is that right? I spend my whole life gettin' a career. I get one, and you tell me it's over.

What's the matter? You shook the hell out of the champion of the whole wide world. - You be happy with that.
- Maybe we can do better this time.

- Or worse. What about that? I wanna show you somethin' now. Test you. Now, look, you look right there at the end of my nose, will ya? - I wanna test you. You look at my nose. When I bring my finger in, you tell me when you see it.
- There's the little thing. I see it.

- Now, wait. Now we'll try the other lamp. Now, look here, will ya? Now, tell me...
- I see it.
- No, you see nothin'. Creed would have caved in the whole side of your face. Now, forget it, kid. You got the heart, but you ain't got the tooth no more. Now, forget it!
- Is that right?
- That is right.
Yeah? Well, maybe it's you who ain't got it no more, you know that? Huh? Yeah. That's it.
Now, look, you didn't even see that comin', did ya? No. Well, that was from a broken-down pug like me. What do you think the champ would do to ya?
- I don't know. Hurt me bad.
- No. He'd hurt you permanent. Permanent.

Y’see, I went the distance. All that way from New York to Philadelphia. I did that 100 miles in 29 hours non-stop, no sleep. But y’see, I went the distance but I didn’t beat it. I didn’t win.

So, just like Apollo Creed mocks Rocky, calling him a fluke and taunting him for a re-match in the sequel Rocky II those goddamn crumby 100 miles have been taunting me for a re-match.

Why go after Balboa? Why?
Because there's still a lot of people that think he won. There's people accusin' me of havin' the fight fixed, of bein' a fake... ...and insultin' my kids at school.
- You wanna hear the truth?
- Yeah.
The truth is that last time he was damn lucky. Now he's all finished. He's been hangin' around doin' nothin' for six months. Any trainer worth anything wouldn't have nothin' to do with him. Now, I say let's go after some new meat. Forget this bum.
Do you think I beat him the last time? Do you? Hm?
- You got the decision.
- Man, I won, but I didn't beat him! What are you afraid of, Tony?
- Honest?
- Yeah, honest.
He's all wrong for us, baby. I saw you beat that man like I never saw no man get beat before... ...and the man kept coming after you. We don't need that kind of man in our life. I know what you're feelin'. Let it go. Let it go. You're the champ.
Thank you. You're in charge of my public relations. I want a new campaign started. I want somethin' done publicly to bring this man out, to jar this man's pride... get the people around him talkin'.
If we use this humiliation tactic, you're setting yourself up as the bad guy.
Whatever gets him in the ring.

Those goddamn crumby 100 miles have been taunting me for a re-match ever since I left those Rocky Steps in Philadelphia almost two years ago. I want to win. I have un-finished business I need to attend to. I want to go back to mile 78 and I want to beat it.

I want to run 100 miles non-stop.

I’ll say it again:


It’s true those goddamn 100 miles back in April 2013 busted my ankle up real good. Hell, I’m still doing physiotherapy after ankle reconstruction surgery in March 2014.

March 2014


It’s also true that due to a lack of training and lazy eat/drinking that I’m overweight and not managed to run more than 10 miles since October 2013. In this condition, and with this dodgy ankle I’ll need a miracle to reach those goddamn Rocky Steps once’n’for all.

Jeez, I’m dreading the training. The bitter cold mornings and the dark lonely evenings. But I need to begin. Climbing a mountain begins with a single step. Sometimes in life the most important step is the very first one. That first step into the unknown, facing your greatest fears. Visualise: set the goal, systematically work out how to get there, and never never never give up.


I have to remember WHY I'm doing it. This is the motivation: my brother. There will always be problems. There will always be excuses and injuries. I have overcome some horrific experiences over the past few years, and I still live with that goddamn 'black dog' always in my shadow. My body and mind will never be in perfect condition to do it. But f@ck it – if you dream of something and if you want it bad enough there comes to a time when you need to have the courage to overcome your fears. If you want something you’ve never had you will need to do something you’ve never done. I need to start.

The original Rocky film poster came with the heading:


And, with my dodgy ankle this goddamn 100 mile run attempt will be a million to one shot too.


Today is Sunday 18th January. Today I decided I’m going to run 100 miles non-stop from New York to Philadelphia on April 25th 2015, no matter how long it takes and no matter how hard it is. If I can’t run it then I’ll walk. If I can’t walk then I’ll crawl. But man I promise not to use a bike for the last 15 miles. LOL.

Hell, today I decide that no-one in the goddamn world will stop me.

I really have no idea what I'm letting myself in for over the next 3 months, but I do know one thing:

Come Sunday 26th April 2015 I’ll be exhausted on the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia with a sign saying on it:

Yo Steve! Happy Birthday!

(my bro will be 42 years old on 28th April 2015)

A wise man once said that you can mock the man who has silly ideas but his will to fulfil them should be feared by all... 


Instagram: @simonsrockyroad

Twitter: @simonsrockyroad

Facebook: Simon Whitehouse ‘Simons Rocky Road’ group



I am running for MIND, the largest mental health charity in the UK


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Worst Tickling in the World ---> SOLLETICARE


This week I learnt a new Italian word:

It means:

You know, like when you'd wriggle like a little worm when your mom or dad or crazy uncle Pat would tickle you when you were just a little kid.

   My dad would get me'n'my bro and tickle us to death. I mean, we would be gaspin'n'gaspin' for air. You know, like when your voice goes all goddamn hoarse and sounds like Darth Vader or Barry goddamn White just because you can't take anymore tickin'. That's what my Dad would do to me'n'my bro are a regular basis when we were little.

It was torture. Torture tickin' with his finger jabbin' non-stop into our neck, our armpits, our ribcage. He would call it "THE FINGER". He could pin both me'n'my bro down on the floor, one finger from one hand on me and one finger from the other hand on my bro. It was torture. We would cry. We would beg for him to stop. We loved every goddamn second of it. We would beg for more. If you could bottle that feeling and sell it you'd be a billionaire.

You'd squiggle like a little snake, and holler like a little pig but they'd carry on all the goddamn same laughing at you?


 It's been a super frustrating two weeks since this goddamn surgery. I'm not a patient patient that's for sure. I've needed to remain horizontal with the leg elevated. Every time standing up to go to the loo or make a goddamn cup of coffee the blood rushes down to the injury and just pumps'n'pumps PAIN into it like a madman pumping air into a rubber dingy on the beach. It makes it pretty much impossible to move at all or do anything.

 Every morning I need to inject a needle of Clexane into my stomach to reduce the chance of contracting deep vein thrombosis. I've done this 16 times now since the surgery and my little beer belly has gone'n'got all goddamn black, blue'n'bruised over somehow from the injections. It's pretty goddamn disgusting it really is. I was worried, so I even googled it and found some pretty goddamn shocking things regards this Clexane. But it's all safe - just unfortunately it's a necessity to prevent deep vein thrombosis, which can actually kill a person. I got 7 more injections to go. It's pretty goddamn serious it really is.



At least I've been able to count on some super good friends bringing me fruit & vegetables, and my girl's been here the last few days baking me up some tasty treats in the kitchen to take good care of me. Hell, I'm one lucky goddamn son of a gun I swear to God.

Friday, two days ago, I went to the hospital again for a few hours to get the wound cleaned and substitute the cast from the old plaster cast into a lighter fibreglass cast.
 Now, it's one more week that I need to keep it elevated and then I need to change the cast again for one that is possible to walk with, so to begin to put some weight on the ankle/foot.

I asked the doctor for some time-scales on when I could possible begin to exercise again (I'm really feelin' like one big ol' lazy soft fat cat during this goddamn recovery period, it's a pretty low, digusting feelin' I swear to God). He told me I can:

2 months from surgery date
- this means attempt first swim 7th May

4 months from surgery date
- this means attempt first jog 7th July

This news kinda cheered me up a little bit. It means waiting just 6 weeks until I can go to the swimming pool and finally do a bit. Finally blow off some of the cobwebs.

Then this doctor , totally out of the blue, started rubbing solution all over my goddamn foot and ankle. No warning. Just like that. Stroking quickly this cold solution all over my foot and ankle and leg, and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

It was like the worst tickling in the whole goddamn world, because it made you twitch and laugh, but was super painful at the same time as you'd feel all your nerves and tendons respond to it and JOLT your goddamn foot all over the shop!!

We took a video and some photos to show you...

And that will be all until next time.
Ciao ciao ciao for now...




 I'm doing this to raise money for MIND - the UK's largest mental health charity.

You could donate by clicking this link:
1 in 4 people
will suffer from
mental illness.

It WILL affect you directly or indirectly at some stage of your life.

Let's help each other.


WE can save lives.