Part 31. Running. What’s the worst case scenario?
Bald, fat and likely with drainage.
When I told Liz I had signed up for the 10k happening this Sunday, April 14th, she looked shocked. She was visiting to go though my current health status ahead of signing me up to a back-to-fitness project run by a local charity for cancer patients following treatment. We were in my lounge sometime in summer 2018. I may even have still had drains hanging out of me following surgery – sexy. I hadn’t exercised for at least 8 months, had gained weight throughout the chemo/steroid regime and was probably as heavy as I was in my 2nd pregnancy – also sexy. I wasn’t and hope I never will be as heavy as the first pregnancy! G was 10lbs 2oz and I lost over a stone as soon as she was born. Jesus I got fat. The cheesecake didn’t help (but it was good).
Anyway. Liz was, I think, taken aback by the bald, fat, obviously disadvantaged woman sitting opposite her. Drains are enough to put anyone off. I didn’t look like someone who might, in 8 months time, be able to run away from a drowsy wasp, let alone 6.2 miles for ‘charidy’. She asked me how I intended to do it and I replied quite sensibly. I’d start very slowly and see how it went. Couch to 5k app and slow down or stop if anything hurt. She then moved straight to race day (terminology I find hard cos I ain’t racin nobody!) and asked what the worst case scenario would be. I was a bit confused for a minute having gone through the potential for a very worst case scenario, aka dying, in recent months. Then I realised she meant, what if I can’t run? Easy, I replied, I’ll walk (obvs?!).
Why run 10k?
The rationale for signing up was never to be some physical miracle. I will not be at some comfortable spot in the middle of the pack of hundreds running in a style that looks like actual running. No. I’ll be lumbering, sweating, sometimes walking to recover a bit, then lumbering some more. So if I get to ‘worst case’ and walk half of it having realised that I can now run 5k albeit at the pace of a tortoise, that’s more than fine. It’s frigging great!
8 months-ish after meeting Liz, I’ve completed the Couch to 5k training. I downloaded some lesser, crap app to move me towards 10k. Then I just did some running when I could around mumming and ft work, with and sometimes without music. I’ve done 3 Park Runs with good, supportive, patient and encouraging mates. And I took myself for a sunday run 3 weeks ago that ended up being 8.5k with some stupid Brighton hills that made me walk. I got home purple and drenched in face sweat (that’s the sweatiest part of me…why?!) and was greeted by subtle amazement and congratulations from my 15 year old who told me I’d been really quick (I really hadn’t) and there was no way she could do that. I lay on the floor like a purple sack of shit smiling at my very own (slow) pb. I can still do something my physically fit 15 year old can’t. Get in!
My body can move and 25 of my beautiful friends and family are moving with me this Sunday. Eeeeek, it’s this friggin Sunday, Brighton Marathon day!! We have #KnightsArmy t-shirts, a place for drinks and lunch booked afterwards, some awesome crowd support and, most importantly we’ve raised more than double our target for the chemo unit, as we now approach £2,500! Some of the 25 are runners, some haven’t even trained and may stop for a flask of tea and a sarnie on the way round. One, my gorgeous friend KT, was bullied by her wife, me and our mate Malc in to this and last week she thanked me because she has discovered a real love for running. How ace is that!
Worst case scenario bar has shifted. Now it’s that I break my ankle between now and Sunday or get this virus everyone around me seems to have. Or it’s that I get swept up with the excitement of the ‘race’ and go too fast, which will still be a comfortable walk for most, and totally screw myself. I envisage St John’s ambulance and some minor drama/max embarrassment. But worse than all of that, I could do a Paula and shit myself. Now THAT would be pretty worst case wouldn’t it. Oh, hi local paper photographer, yes, that’s right, I put on red lipstick for this ‘race’ that I’m not racing, then I accessorise with my own poo. You’re welcome!
Fortunately runners trots haven’t been a thing for me. There’s no worst case for Sunday. As long as I’m ALIVE(!), there, I get to the end and all 25 of us celebrate getting over the line, I will be so happy, likely very emosh and my legs might be jelly.
I love my body for what it’s achieved. It’s fought off a beast, has a replacement hip and a replacement tit, and it’s continuing to function and allow itself to be pushed. Humans are bloody great and I can’t wait to be amongst thousands of them running for pleasure, for personal reasons and for charity. My people are incredible, supporting both physically, emotionally and financially with this particular part of the ‘jooouuurney’. Bring it!