Friday 11 July 2008

Race for Life 'training update'

I've been reminded by email that I promised to post regular updates on my 'training' for Race for Life at the end of the month.

The fact that I have put the word training in quotes might give a clue to my 'progress' (oh look! more quotes!) . . .

I fear I shall never be one of those lithe creatures who can lope effortlessly round a five-mile course with no alteration in breathing patterns or heart-rate, however hard I try.

This running malarkey does not come naturally to me, I have to say. I can walk for miles and miles - all day long when the opportunity arises or demands - without a qualm or [m]any consequential aches and pains. I can even cycle, ditto. But running bloody well hurts! And I'm sure this is mainly an age-related thing (although even at school I was a sprinter rather than a long-distance slogger).

My cardiovascular system, despite being uncompromised by tobacco or cholesterol, nevertheless protests, quite strenuously, at the demands I am making on it every evening these days. 'No, actually, thankyouverymuch', gasp my lungs, 'we will continue no longer: you will walk for a couple of minutes before we will resume this nonsense, on that we insist'.

So I humour them.

Despite the exhortations of my personal trainers (SDs#1&2) to keep on going. The Boy, particularly - a successful inter-schools cross-country competitor - has little conception that our 37-year age differential means that I can't sprint full-out for miles and miles like he can!

Luckily, Race for Life isn't really a 'race' at all. It's a big, warm, all-women fund-raising festival for a cause close to the hearts of everyone involved.

At least half the participants walk the course (or indeed are pushed in wheelchairs) rather than running it, and a lot of the 'runners' - I noted with relief last year - were, like me, somewhat challenged by the uphill, tussocky, woodland portions of the designated route at Essex University and took the opportunity to catch their breath for few minutes while hidden from the gaze of our friends and families.

Anyway, my so-called training has been somewhat sporadic these last weeks. It was right off the agenda for a while, after I walked at some speed into a solid immovable item of garden furniture and made a surprisingly deep dent in my lower shin. I had no feeling in my left foot for a couple of days! And it's still exquisitely painful to touch. So while I was back running again after a half a week, I have to be extra-careful when putting on my socks!

Tonight, returning after dark from a brisk two-hour march along the beach with the dog, on a warm but very wet evening, I accidentally crunched so many snails underfoot with my boots, and only narrowly avoided three or four small frogs, that I just couldn't bring myself to run in such conditions. The thought of skidding on a frog was more than I could bear to contemplate! Ugh!

As for 'training photos', I'm afraid that not a single one has been taken. But, mindful of the fact that some of my promised sponsorship apparently depends on such revelations (!), I did take this one while putting my feet up after yesterday's slog. Will that do? I hope so. Since I only venture out in my unbecoming lycra ensemble under cover of darkness, this is as good as it's going to get, I'm afraid:

Someone I used to look after when she was a baby had a mastectomy last week. She has three young children.

An old friend lost her 10-year-old son to cancer two years ago.

And regular readers will know that my lovely sister was married last year in the middle of chemo for breast cancer. She's subsequently had surgery and is doing fantastically well (and has been on stage all this week in a production of Verdi's A Masked Ball, for which she also made the masks and painted some of the scenery!).

Cancer touches us all.

Cancer Research UK is making the most enormous contribution to establishing the causes of different types of cancer and investigating treatments and cures. In addition to their clinical centres and research institutes, of course, a look at the organisation's homepage gives an indication of the diverse range of support and care that is offered to those with cancer and their families. Cancer Help UK offers free telephone advice, discussion forums and masses of vital online advice.

My very small contribution to this cause - which I'm running both in thanksgiving and also, sadly, in memoriam - is on 27th July. So not long to go now. If you can spare a few £££ to support the essential, life-saving work of Cancer Research UK, then please do so now, either by visiting my fundraising page, or by sending me a fiver (or more!) in an envelope, or by writing a cheque to Cancer Research UK.

Every Race for Life event around the country has a Donation Station, where you can leave unwanted clothes, books, CDs and other items, which will be sold in Cancer Research shops to raise yet more funds. Last year, in Colchester alone, over £14,500-worth of items were collected at Donation Stations, to be distributed to CRUK shops in the area. So I shall be turning out my wardrobe and bookshelves before the 27th. If you have anything you'd like to see recycled in aid of Cancer Research UK, then check out your nearest RfL here, or your nearest shop here and take some stuff along.

A huge thank you to those who have already sponsored me. It really does mean more than I can say - especially knowing the stories behind some of the donations. Many donations thus far have come from my generous, lovely, online friends, whom I've never met in real life but have grown to know in varying degrees over the past year of blogging. You know who you are. Thank you so much. (And special thanks to one donor whom I do not know at all, even online - I'm honoured that you have made your donation via my fundraising page.)

I promise that, regardless of dented shins, congenital lack of sporting prowess and even the sacrifice of innocent snails, I shall get round that course a fortnight on Sunday somehow, come rain or shine, and do everyone proud. And hopefully raise £500 for Cancer Research UK.

Thanks for listening.

Juliet xxxxxxxxxx


Anonymous said...

That's a wonderful post, J. I know how determined you are about this race - despite any setbacks to date.

I've just done a mental tally of those close to me who have had cancer; those who survived it - my brother (prostate), my mother and a close friend (skin) and several friends - including one very special blogging friend whom we both know - who have had breast cancer. And those who did not: my grandmother and a young cousin (pancreas), my grandfather and two uncles (lung), my father (bone marrow) and far too many good friends (breast cancer).

For all those reasons, it's a privilege to sponsor you.
Will be with you in spirit as you count down the days!

monix said...

I am filled with admiration for you, J. I hope you'll get some pleasant, dry and light evenings for the remaining days of your preparation. I've added your RfL widget to my sidebar and hope you might get a few more donations.