There are reasons I like cycling. They’re the same reasons I don’t like running.
I’m not, and never have been, a runner.
Maybe it’s my shorter than average legs. Or my higher than average body weight. Or my dodgy knees. Or my bad back. Not to mention the tight calf muscles…
And the effort.
On a bike, except in the most competitive environments or on the longest uphills, you can freewheel for a bit. You’ve got loads of gears to help you along.
Running? It’s just constant use of your legs, your lungs and your mental fortitude as far as I can see.
And on Sunday, I realised that none of them were in quite the right shape to take on the world.
Now I could blame five rounds of chemotherapy for this sad state of affairs. It would get me the sympathy vote.
But truth is I put in little or no training – chemo or no chemo. I’d also managed to put on a few extra pounds. And my pre-race Mother’s Day/Race Day brunch was two black pudding (fried, not grilled) rolls with lashings of HP sauce.
Apparently that’s not part of the 5km training plan, which I read just before I left the house for the Meadows Marathon festival. Who’d have thunk it?
That’s the excuses out of the way.
The good news is that I FINISHED THE RACE!
The better news is that I got the times through today and contrary to my initial thinking I WASN’T EVEN LAST.
No siree! I came an amazing 170th out of 171 runners and was third in my age/gender category. Out of three. But that’s still a bronze medal, right?
And guess what. I actually enjoyed it. Every step of each lap.
I may have walked about 75% of the way and slow jogged the rest, but for each of the 44 minutes and 23 seconds I was plodding along, I was smiling – if it wasn’t always on my face, it was certainly in my heart (no matter how hard it was pounding!).
I love the Meadows in Edinburgh. I especially love it on a blue sky sunny day.
There were times, mainly when I was walking with my head up taking in the wonderful views and being encouraged on by family members, friends, the general crowd and the exceptionally positive marshals, that I felt glad to be alive. Invigorated. Ready for the challenges ahead.
I also worked out that I was raising approx. £1 pound for every step I was taking in aid on the Maggie’s Cancer Centre in Edinburgh. A quid just for putting one foot in front of another.
My sponsors have been nothing short of amazing.
I set an initial target of £300, then raised in to £1000.
At the moment, with pledges still coming in, if you add the 25% Gift Aid from the Government and 25% that the organisers – the Edinburgh Students’ Charity Appeal – also say they’ll contribute, I think the numbers will be very close to a staggering £6,000!
Wow! And thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.
So, what next?
My wife wants to push me out of an airplane for my next fundraiser. I assume she means with a parachute. But as alluded to in a previous post, we’ve been through all the life insurance and I’m worth a helluva lot more dead than alive!
Nope, think I’ll concentrate on the treatment again before the next fundraising challenge.
On Thursday, I’m booked in to see my consultant to discuss, hopefully in some detail, the treatment options and plan for the next few months.
I’m coming to the end of my ‘normal’ chemotherapy, with Round 6 due to start next Monday.
After that the plan is to go into the more intensive and longer lasting stem cell transplant process.
That involves more high-dose chemo, lots of physical tests, transfusions, body conditioning, stem cell harvesting, stem cell re-implantation, long hospital stays, high risks of infections, and a long, slow recovery.
It’s a lot to take in and, to be honest, I’ve not asked the detailed or hard questions so far.
Maybe because ‘normal’ chemo has gone pretty well.
Or maybe because I’ve not quite been ready for the answers.
But time waits for no man, and I’ll need to start getting into the nitty gritty this week, no matter how unpalatable the answers might be.
Because this isn’t just about me. It’s about my wife, my kids, my family.
They need as clear a picture of what’s happening as I do. We need to plan for the good times, and prepare for the bad.
That’s the next challenge.