"Nothing new on race day"
- Pace yourself, don't go off too quickly at the start
- Nothing new on race day (no new shoes, clothes or food)
As you know, the 40th London marathon was due to take place in April but COVID19 swiftly put a stop to that idea. It was moved to October but the opportunity for 40,000 of us to participate in our nation's capital has since been thwarted.
I have requested a deferred place in Oct 2021 and, if I'm honest, slacked off on the training. Out of the blue, Breast Cancer Now got in touch and offered me a virtual place - WTAF is that?
As a virtual participant, you can complete the 26.2 miles wherever and however you choose as long as it is done on 4th October and tracked via the app. I am keen not to injure myself so have decided to walk 26.2 miles along the Icknield Way which (rather conveniently) passes through our village.
I must admit, I'm feeling a little guilty for not running it but figured that this option means that I have the hound to keep me company and will limit injury to allow me to train through the winter.
If you would like to add your support then please do so here. I will update with photos of countryside and blisters tomorrow.
66 days in remission
This is a tough feeling to describe. It’s almost impossible to believe that this time five years ago I was receiving an emergency chest-drain courtesy of an infection that had developed from the mastectomy. Fast-forward five years to today where we took Erica to rugby training, had a lovely coffee in the Ely sunshine and I went for a run around the gorgeous frozen fenland that surrounds our village.
I always try to remember to be thankful for all of the second chances that I’ve been given. It’s great to be in remission but it is also a little scary. No longer will I have the six-monthly CT scans to search for any reoccurring cancer. From now on, scans will only be performed if I present with symptoms which puts the responsibility for spotting new symptoms squarely on my shoulders. Separating muscle aches from anything sinister is a challenge when you’re training for a marathon! Speaking of which…..
100 days till the marathon
Before you have the pedantic need to correct me, yes, it's actually 98 days until the marathon but that doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
I've never done a marathon (or even a half marathon) before and was massively overwhelmed until a lovely friend suggested that I watched "Brittany Runs a Marathon", a hilarious and motivating true story which is a must for anyone taking on a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)
My plan is to train well enough to be able to enjoy the atmosphere of the day itself. I am staggered by how many people are planning to make the journey into London and cheer me on, this helps in the dark training days, speaking of which....
350km training complete
Who the bloody hell decided to put the London marathon at the end of April? Yes, it will probably be a lovely spring day for many participants and spectators but it requires training through the WINTER!
For anyone who hasn't noticed, winter is cold, dark and scary. A colleague at work suggested a brilliant AI app called "Train as One". It creates a bespoke training plan and adjusts it based on your performance.
However, over the last couple of weeks it has royally been doing my head in. It keeps on planning looooong and slooooow runs which I have to complete at night in the deserted and scary country lanes surrounding our village where I am constantly convinced that I am about to be murdered. I was about the chuck the whole plan in the bin until.....
A surprise 1st place
I won a Park Run....!!!
Well, that's not strictly true, I came first place out of 19 other women in my age group. ParkRuns are awesome, a whopping 700 of them take place at 9am every Saturday morning all over the country. It's free to take part and they open to people of all abilities (which is probably why I won) take a look at this link to find your nearest event.
7 days sober
After winning my age category and knocking two whole minutes off my PB, it was no surprise that the likely accelerator was seven days of preceding sobriety. I had to face reality and have given up booze for the marathon.
Those of you who know me well are aware that this is a regular flip flop for me, I tend to quit for 3/4 of the year and then fall unceremoniously off the wagon again. Well, in the words of my fantastic dad "it's easy to quit, I've done it hundreds of times".
If giving up my beloved Rioja isn't enough of a reason to sponsor me then how about donating a little cash to get me through 26.2 miles (not counting the many hundreds of miles I will do in training).
We've raised £675 so far, Ocado have promised another £500. My folks and their lovely friends from our gorgeous Devonion community are working tirelessly to host fundraising dinners, sell greeting cards and generally motivate me to get my fat arse out of my warm bed at 4.30am to get out there and run my socks off.
If you are able to help us out then please do so through this link. Every single penny will go towards Breast Cancer Now who are working around the clock to develop all sorts of treatments and early diagnosis breakthroughs with the aim of stopping breast cancer in its tracks.
For the doubters
There are people who say that I won't make it to the marathon. Unsurprisingly, they are the same people who disappeared when I was diagnosed.
Those who doubt make me more determined. I'd like to thank the doubters for making me stronger but I'm saving my energy for the real friends and family who have supported us all along.
We will show you!
Well, here we are! I have been watching the flashing cursor for the last 20 minutes drawing a total blank. I’d forgotten just how much I loved writing this blog and, in turn, have forgotten how to write it. Here’s a recap for those of you who may be new to this hub of narcissism and also for those of you with a short memory. In true transformation-leadership style, I have created a timeline to support the narrative.
In a nutshell, I found a lump in September 2014, fought tooth and nail to be taken seriously, eventually got a diagnosis on new years eve and then jumped on the bandwagon of modern science; six operations, six months of chemo, 40 rounds of radiotherapy, six months of bisphosphonate infusions and hormone therapy, topped-off with a chemically induced menopause.
I am immensely happy with the reconstruction, it’s given me a new lease of life both in terms of confidence and the discovery of dormant cancer cells that the surgery uncovered. Once the shock of the recurrence receded, I was lucky enough to be offered state-of-the-art precision radiotherapy at Addenbrooke's hospital which blasted the little bastards whilst avoiding my heart and lungs.
This journey has been tough. When I look back at the blog I cringe at just how much I was trying to put on a brave face over the fear and the pain. It’s been tough on my marriage, my family, my friendships and on my career. We have all had to work really hard to keep this together but I’m confident that we will come through and we’ll be stronger for it.