Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Is this Putney?" "That it be."

Distance covered last week: 21.17km.

Distance covered this week: 21.43km.

Distance covered yesterday: 11.31km in 1:20:59. Pretty rubbish but usual excuses will follow.

Current temperature: 34C

Today's orange pic: The highlighter pen with which I cross off days on our training plan.

Inspirational running music (don't judge me, running in 40C  + does stuff to your brain): Bon Jovi, Wanted Dead or Alive

We have reached the phase in our training when the distance we are running each week is greater than the distance of the race, which is 21.095km. So, if they could just let us run the race over a period of a week, I am sure we would do an absolutely grand job. But still, it's a milestone of sorts, with seven weeks to go as of yesterday.

This week's running has largely been defined by the fact that I have been in the UK which is absolutely great for running training in the short-term because, trust me, running six miles at 8am starting from Putney is paradise compared to running five miles at 7am in Dubai in August. However, the result of my six-day sojourn in the land of my forefathers means that running back here in the lovely old sandpit seems more torturous than ever.

Case in point, yesterday's run: Having vowed to sort out our laziness about getting up early to beat the heat, we carefully planned a seven-mile route around Downtown Dubai for yesterday morning but when it came to it, although the alarm was set for 5.30am, it went off, and my jetlagged body, which never particularly enjoys the effects of long-haul flying anyway, decided it was in fact UK time, ie, 2.30am, and therefore a profoundly unsuitable time to go running, so back to sleep we went. So t'was in the evening at our old haunt, Safa Park Running Track, that we set off with three and a quarter circuits of the 3.42km track in mind. This is what we did, but it was with horrid heartburn and the need to stop and walk some of it, for me at least, that we completed it.

Compare this to our blissful six mile gambol from my brother's flat in Putney, through parts of Roehampton to Richmond Park, which, for those not familiar with Blighty, benefits from scenes such as this:

There were no deer at the end of the park we were at, but, despite the lack of Bambi and friends, it was considerably more pleasant skipping over the rolling green scenery than toiling around admittedly flat concrete paths in the height of summer in the Vegas of the Middle East.

During the week, I also partook of shorter runs round the town of, not my birth, but my schooling, where my parentals live today, and encountered the delights of Southwell Trail, which was disappointingly free of the flasher who has apparently being hanging around there of recent according to the East Nottinghamshire gossip grapevine. A grave shame for a militant feminist such as myself, who would not at all be opposed to having an object of ridicule to amuse her on her merry way, and possibly, kick in the exposed nuts, but I can appreciate probably a relief for those who are of a more sensitive temperament.

I also ran around my old school, which has been flattened and rebuilt, for some mysterious reason, to resemble a giant, black prefabricated coal shed, presumably to exorcise the ghost of my terminally depressed teenage self who no doubt still walked the corridors picking fights with cool kids, bashing year-sevens with a range of musical instrument cases and perfecting the art of sarcasm to the extent that she herself was unsure what she was actually trying to say.

The getting on for 1,000-year-old Minster, where I spent many happy hours playing in school concerts and pointedly singing as loudly as possible and slightly sharp during school assemblies, is thankfully still there:

Although, they don't seem to have yet got the blue plaque commemorating the time I spent there, which is, frankly, just rude. Despite this disgraceful oversight by English Heritage, the trip home reminded me of why I am doing this half marathon lark because I spent some time with me Ma, who, currently feels like she has been run over by several combine harvesters.

I would hate to be the kind of person who distresses newly diagnosed Myeloma patients, who may come across this blog and think this is exactly what is in store for them, so, I should point out that Myeloma is a very individual disease, no two patients have the same experience of it. But, quite often I find that people have no idea what I'm talking about when I tell them about the disease and the charity for which I am raising money, so it is worth explaining a little bit of what it is like living with it.

My mum is currently undergoing her third cycle of treatment, having previously endured a stem cell transplant and a treatment with a drug called Velcade, which appeared to have been successful for a time, but as Myeloma is a disease that just keeps on coming back as it has no known cure, she is now taking a drug called Revlimid,  and, as well as experiencing horrible pain due to what doctors think is the encroachment of the disease in her spine, for which she may also need radiotherapy, she is trying to adjust to this new drug which has considerable side effects.

Those of you who have met my mum will know she is pretty tough, and, you will know if that there is anyone who can endure this, she can, but that doesn't stop me wishing she didn't have to, or anyone else for that matter.

We were asked recently why we are doing this half marathon in October, meaning we have to train through the summer in one of the hottest climates on earth, rather than wait until another event in December or February.

The short answer to that is this: We had wanted to do the race in March but it was postponed until October.

The long answer is this: I am big enough and ugly enough to know that a cancer that affects a relatively small number of people, compared with say, breast cancer, is not going to be number one priority when it comes to medical research, and that my paltry attempt at fundraising is not going to go particularly far in the scheme of things, but, other than on very dark days when the pain is just too horrible and the drugs are just too noxious, my Mum isn't showing signs of giving up yet, so, the least I can do for her is put up with bit of heat and getting up a bit earlier than usual to raise a few quid, which will hopefully go towards making life a bit less unpleasant for her and other Myeloma patients.

If you haven't already, and, have anything to spare, no matter how small, please sponsor us here.

This film is something I repeatedly post so please excuse it if you have seen it several times, but it explains the disease much better than I can.

Lastly, thanks and socially embarrassed hugs and back pats to all of you who have sponsored us so far. It really does keep us going when we feel like giving up.

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