What do you do when you wake up on one of the most important and nerve-wracking days in your life to discover your 2-year-old has a 105 degrees F temperature?
You rage and rant and breathe fire until the dog hides under the dining table, the baby pretends to be asleep by making HUGE pretend snoring noises and your OH tries to lock himself in the garage… unsuccessfully.
As you can probably tell, this is a real life story and this happened to me yesterday. The occasion was ‘Race for Life 2013’ organised by Cancer Research UK to raise money towards raising awareness and money for, as their name suggests, Cancer research.
I had signed up in early June just after my aunt passed away following a long and painful battle with cancer . Not wanting to sit around and mope, I decided to channel my focus onto something so difficult, arduous and unfathomable (at least for me) that it would stop me from thinking about the whys and the wherefores of life and death.
I rang the sign-up hotline and casually asked how many usually took part after paying the £15 registration fee.
‘10,000 people running?’
‘Oh’ The penny dropped.
The girl on the other end, scrambled to salvage the situation.
‘Not everyone runs, you know. Some walk, some jog, some even dance.’
‘It’s the taking part that matters,’ she finished tentatively,
Some of the (very few) extremely competitive genes that I have inherited from my Mum rebelled.
I couldn’t just walk… It would be embarrassing!
‘Extreme false position’ as my Mum would brand such situations where someone didn’t live up to expectations and opened themselves unto gossip. She is quite old-school.
First stop was a sports shop.
I rocked up to the sales assistant and asked, ‘Do you have any really cool looking running shoes for people with dodgy knees?’
He looked me up and down and gave me a life lesson, ‘Girl, the best running shoes are not pretty, unless they are custom-made. Are you after some custom-made trainers?’
I left the store with some very sensible running shoes.
I had high hopes of going running with Hobbes. That idea soon came to naught. Hobbes would just get confused and try to hug me in a misguided attempt to make me calm down and just walk.
Taking Rohan was another non-starter of a plan. As soon as I started running, he would run, invariably, either towards some ‘birdies’ or the children’s play area.
I had to go alone. I started jogging the one kilometer to Rohan’s nursery every morning and went running in the park on the way back. Sometimes my knees would kill me, sometimes my asthma would leave me winded. On other occasions, I would be too cold to continue in the driving rain and blustery wind, often returning home shivering like a drowned rat. If ever I felt too lazy, telling myself I was too asthmatic to continue, I would remind myself of Oscar Pistorius. If he could run that fast without legs, I definitely could run a measly 5K on one normal and one ‘plastic fantastic’ knee.
Never having run in my life except after buses, it was a race that I undertook to also see how much I could push myself.
Finally, the day arrived and after nearly not making it to Hyde Park on time, we did. Rohan’s forehead burned, but the train and bus rides made him very cheerful. I made him glug paracetamol and orange juice. He had a couple of bags of M&Ms while OH and I looked the other way.
It was so hot and dusty, everything was a blur. OH kept reminding me that it was the taking part that mattered, not running or finishing it in record time.
I promised him that I would try hard not to kill myself. When I lined up at the start line, I thought of my Aunt, her struggle with the disease and her final moments. And when the klaxon sounded, I took off.
I would usually walk/run during my practice sessions trying very hard not to snap my ‘pure plastic’ knee or exacerbate my asthma and finish the 5k in between 43-45 mins, Yesterday I surprised myself by finishing the race in 39 minutes and a few seconds.
I raised £410 and got a medal of completion in return.
Those who were watching closely would have seen tears streaming down my face as I crossed the finish line.
I had conquered my demons and hopefully those of some suffering from cancer too.