“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you implement that effort into your life…every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs. Keep going. Remember why you started” – (The Iron Angel)

Sunday – My lie in didn’t go exactly according to plan, I managed to sleep in but had a restless last couple of hours…excited about the day to come! I love having my parents and Stanley over to see us, have a good catch up and just take time out together. This was one of those Sundays. They brought our Christmas decorations over, and I made them a thank you of homemade pie and mince pies.

We had a wonderful few hours chatting, eating and tea drinking. As soon as they’d gone I set to and made the Christmas cake…both myself and my fiancé stirring a wish in. As it baked I did my daily yoga and then we had time curled up together to end our weekend…thankfully the cake cooked before bedtime!

Monday – While foam rolling on Sunday evening I’d had discomfort in my left glute and hamstring. As I warmed up ready for my recovery run I realised my left side felt fine again…the tightness gone, it felt such a relief. It was supposed to be a rainy mild start and thankfully was dry for most of my run.

I had no issues and especially no calf ache like the Monday before. I’d felt as if I was pacing too fast but actually managed a mostly heart rate zone 2 run…I was so proud! My data showed my cadence was up, something I’m slowly managing to do more at lower heart rate levels. I got back refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Monday morning my hormone injection was due, but I needed to be at work as soon as I could aswell to help out. I left home early only to find the surgery closed until 9am. Once in my GP saw me in good time and I was at work for 10am. I’m not sure where the day went and it was suddenly home time, we hadn’t been especially busy but the day had flowed.
Once home, even though it was raining, I popped out and did half an hour of gardening – we had so many fallen leaves in the pots that needed clearing, plus fragile plants that needed moving into the greenhouse. Once in and warmed back up I started my dusting of the house ready for Christmas before my supper, and a daily yoga session to relax me ready for a good nights sleep.

Tuesday – With not having spin class in the evening…due to my works Christmas do…I decided on a leisurely start. I had a lie in until 6.30am and then grabbed my mat for a 40minute circuit, body weight, strength session then a spot of Yoga for Hope and Yoga for Brain Power…the first to ground me for whatever Tuesday brought, and the latter to boost my oxygen levels and set me up for the working day.
Don’t you find that the days you have plans, and you’re excited to be doing something, that the time before it drags! We had our work family Christmas do booked in and were going straight to the venue after we’d finished…cue the longest Tuesday EVER! We all left hungry and fidgety for time together away from the office.
Our do this year was held at a local pub, in beautiful Millers Dale. The atmosphere and room were warm and friendly and we had a lovely evening with great food.

I was thankful that I’d ordered the soup and then the lamb shank…and not a dessert aswell. The portions were as big as Christmas cheer should be and we dined well. Many taking dessert home with them! Tired and so full it was hard to move I ventured home…but wasn’t able to do all my physio exercises…one carrot too many maybe!

Wednesday – Due to Sunday being my last race of 2019, I wanted a run where I had to work a little but ensure I didn’t overdo things. Plus Thursday was going to be a double day! As I warmed up I noticed tightness in my left abductor…but also a little in my back – I’d not stretched my back out fully the evening before and it had caused a bit of tension. Nothing hurt or caused discomfort as I ran though.
I had 13K to complete and set off slowly to warm up well for the first kilometre. There was no speed in my legs as I got over the 2K mark, gas and strength were in the tank but at a minimum…a speed session was a no no and I also didn’t want to push myself to that so close to a race day. So I did hill repeats instead, the first was hard work but as I turned to double back and start my first repeat, something took over. I made sure to squeeze my glutes and power through them, instead of my legs, as I went uphill. I then remembered to turn the brain, and brakes, off as I went downhill at pace but safely. An odd foggy air hung from mid hill at either side making visibility hard…but I kept going and paced well. I completed 2.5 repeats then headed into the local village for a bit of flat road, I’d been gone long enough to need a gel and visibility being poor on the hill meant it wasn’t worth risking my legs trying to eat and run. I got to see some of the local Christmas lights…

and as I headed back to the hill I realised how much the sun was starting to lighten the sky behind the church.

Another hill climb and I was soon home.

Both abductors tightened as I stopped and so I walked half a kilometre before heading indoors to stretch and get myself ready for the day.
With not needing to leave until 10.30am I did a little housework and also my daily yoga…20minutes of Yoga for Throat Chakra. It was an amazing yoga experience…I highly recommend that particular video, it cleared my head and calmed me no end.
Unlike Tuesday the afternoon passed quickly and I was soon home again. For the first time all week my fiancé joined me and we had a nice restful evening together.

Thursday – As I’d done extra kilometres on Wednesday morning I had a nice 5K run ahead of me. I’d a bit of tenderness in my lower back still, another good reason to take things gently. It was due to be a rainy morning, but I never found any and was pleased I’d not put my waterproof jacket on…it was so mild. On setting off my heart rate leapt up…so I stopped, did some deep breathing and then set off again. It worked and I was able to maintain a near perfect zone 2 heart rate run throughout. Neither leg played up and my back felt okay.
Home again I readied myself for spin class mid morning, making sure I’d my scoop of Rego made up aswell as my water.
I managed to get a bike with a tight wheel, I worked hard to keep going but it felt difficult and hard work for the full 45minutes. By the time I’d finished it was pouring off me and I was pleased to get home, showered and dry again.
With so much in my diary for the following days, weeks even, this was the only opportunity to get Christmassy. For the next 6hours I dusted, moved things and decorated the house for the coming festivities. By early evening I was pretty exhausted, but so pleased with how beautiful everything looked.

Friday – The preparation I’d done on Thursday had been fulfilling but I woke with a back that hated me. My left hand side had tightened considerably and I felt really uncomfortable. I laid 20minutes in bed before daring to move. I managed my half an hour upper body weight strength training, then nearly half an hour of Yoga For Stress…both easing my back and stretching me out no end. The discomfort felt like I’d compacted my muscles and was causing displacement pain in my glute and abductor…a niggle that had realistically been there all week. Thankfully I had my physio appointment just after 9am! My physio confirmed my thoughts, manipulating my back loose for me…an uncomfortable but necessary evil. I left feeling ten times better and without any discomfort in my left leg. I’ve to continue doing the exercises she has given me, and incorporate yoga cobras each day too. As I now start my period of full on off season running, with a good reduction in mileage and intensity, I won’t go back to my physio until a few weeks into my marathon training…when I’m in base building phase and any problems need finding and addressing.
Black Friday isn’t something I bother too much with so hadn’t given it a lot of thought, I needed a few last pieces of Christmas shopping so headed into the City, finding on arrival that everyone else was trying to find a bargain. I hate shopping, I’m one of those people who would rather shop online and spend my time doing more meaningful things. When I do go into the City I’m usually exasperated within half an hour…this was one of those days, I had to tell a lady off for shoving her pushchair into me in The Body Shop, struggle to get to the till in Boots and had a man walk into me on the high street! Ahhh Christmas!
Thankfully a little respite was found in M&S. I found the goods I wanted and realised I’d nearly an hour and a half left to my reflexology appointment, so headed to the cafe. The queue was huge but the spirit high…in typical British tradition we queued calmly and patiently. I popped and got a piece of cake and was going to go to the back of the queue…a lovely lady let me slip back infront of her instead and we chatted for the whole hour we queued, it was lovely and as we paid and made ready to sit down we wished each other a Merry Christmas.

My reflexology session at the Cavendish Centre was the last of my free complimentary therapies following my cancer treatment. It was wonderful and so relaxing, as I left they made sure I had a follow up appointment with the Counsellor. The hospital have still never contacted me with regards my psychotherapy referral, the ladies at the Centre were concerned about my PTSD symptoms and just how badly I’ve started to have flashbacks. My anxiety has been better since returning to work, but since the anniversary of it being a year since starting chemo things have gotten increasingly worse. I ended the day with a lengthy bus journey home…but it gave me time to have a browse online – I managed two Black Friday bargains, the first being a Garmin Forerunner 935…something I’ve had my eye on for a while and need for my 100K run next September. The second I started as I travelled and finalised once home…I made a crazy promise to myself to do each of the Great Run events, doing a minimum of one a year, but had nothing in for 2020. However I knew a fabulous lady was looking at running the Birmingham half marathon. I’d planned to go and shout support to her but an offer from the Great Run team now means that on 11th October 2020 we get to run together instead…infinitely more exciting!

Saturday – After a better nights rest and a lie in I got up feeling refreshed and rested. This was my rest day and although a few things needed to be done I was aware I needed to stay off my feet and relax as much as possible. All the Christmas presents are bought and cards written, so I spent the morning doing the last bit of wrapping and bagging of gifts ready for distribution, with only a slight interlude for homemade beetroot soup.
As evening set in I prepared my running kit and hydration vest ready for whatever Sunday brought.

Sunday – The turn of the calendar once more and the start of a month of festivities. We’re up early ready to set off for my last race event of the year – the Oulton Park half marathon. My back is still a little tight and I admit I’m tired after a busy year of treatment, running events and returning to work slowly….life is taking a toll…but today isn’t about getting a PB, seeing how fast I can pace or where I come in the pack as I cross the line – it’s about having fun and ending 2019s running year on a high.

Christmas, the merry and kindly
Is dawning again on the earth
How cheery and sweet are its pleasures
How sunny and peaceful its mirth
A season of gladness unclouded may
This Christmastide bring to your hearth.

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