Sunday – We had been due to go to Haddon Hall with Mum and Dad and decided on Saturday evening that, even though they weren’t with us, it would still be a lovely idea to go.
We had a nice lazy lie in thanks to the rain waking us both up in the night. Refreshed and breakfasted we set off.
The house is beautiful, smaller than Chatsworth but just as lovely, very full of history and homely. Everywhere was decorated with evergreen foliage from the grounds, dried fruits, little Robin’s and the odd few glistening baubles.

With all the fires lit the atmosphere was one of old fashioned Christmas elegance. As I tried a few seasonally inspired cocktails and watched a lady making willow decorations, the fire alarm started to go off. A scary thing in a building that old, but thankfully a false alarm brought on by damp coal being placed on an upstairs fire.
Once back inside we listened to the choir sing as we explored the upstairs rooms, then headed to the parlour and listened to a talk by Patrick Harding, about festive facts behind the Christmas story and some of the traditions we have.
We left mid-afternoon and headed to Bakewell, where my fiancé set off to do a little shopping and I took roost in the bookshop cafe with a gorgeous piece of lemon cake!

Monday – The storm had passed enough for the rain to clear but it was still violently windy. I wrapped myself up well and set off for my recovery run. I had some tightness in my calves for the first 3K but it eased off for the second half of my run. I’d been anxious about whether I’d be able to run to my lower heart rate with my new watch…thankfully all was fine and I’d set my alarm so that, if it did raise into my aerobic zone then it would beep at me. I managed a solid mostly zone two run throughout, at a steady pace, with good cadence. Getting home I felt energised and alert, exactly how a recovery run should feel afterwards.
Due to illness in the team I needed to be at work early, so had a quick change and breakfast before setting off. I’m not sure where the morning went but it flew, I had an early lunch, a couple more crazy hours and then left at 2.30pm.
With my car needing to be dropped off at the dealers before my hospital appointment Tuesday morning, I was conscious of it needing a good clean. I took the easy option of the car wash and air vac…it actually looked like it had been valeted afterwards!
I felt really anxious about my hospital trip and so did Yoga for Stress Relief and Yoga for Neck and Shoulders. Feeling a lot more calm afterwards, I grabbed my reading book and a cup of tea for some extra down time before dinner.

Tuesday – I had the day off given I had both my oncology check up and car to sort out. I had contemplated getting the bus or train in from nearer Sheffield and leaving the car on the outskirts to collect easily, but had managed to talk the dealership into leaving it with them during the day.
That meant an early start but not as bad as Monday. I grabbed my mat and did a total body workout for 40minutes…you were supposed to just use your bodyweight, however I incorporated my weights now and then. I followed it with my daily yoga, doing Yoga for Gut Health. I’d a tightness in my hamstrings which the latter definitely helped with.
After a quick breakfast I drove through and dropped the car off…traffic was awful thanks to a couple of accidents enroute and so I missed the bus I was going to get. I ended up in an Uber but the wonderful driver made sure I was only a few minutes late…and I’d rung ahead to let the hospital know.
With not being there on time I saw one of my oncologists colleagues. She was really pleased with how well I’m doing, how much I’ve been able to build up my muscle mass since chemotherapy finished in February and my bone density results. I explained that I was still waiting for my psychotherapy referral, I have to say that seemed to be glanced over a little – I got the feeling there was nothing she could do about the waiting list for it, and so we moved on to other things.
I highlighted the fact I’d had a breakthrough bleed four days after my marathon, so before I left they had me give a blood test to ensure my hormone levels are still totally suppressed.
I left feeling really upbeat and with time to spare had a lovely walk in the rain into the City. I headed to M&S, browsed a little then found a nice seat in the cafe with a coffee and mince pie to read before my bus.

I’d felt anxious about my test drive at Audi, but the sales manager soon had me calmed, focused and brilliantly looked after. We chatted about my current model, what I wanted and then hit the road for a fun 20minutes. Once back and after ALOT more talking and number crunching I put pen to paper…in the new year I’ll be getting a new ‘beast’.
I got home feeling amazing, went to spin class and had a great time. Then got home and my mood just fell – I felt so stressed…my anxiety through the roof. I was worried about my finances (I’ll highlight now there was no reason so no-one reading this worry please) and getting my new car sorted out. I realised it wasn’t concern about money…it was concern about cancer – about it coming back. I’d hit the ‘if I do this and it comes back how will I pay my bills, how will we cope, what if it’s worse’ …what ifs filled my head and I caved. None of the concerns were about now…so many don’t appreciate this bit…they see only the news of a body that’s doing well, not realising the head is trailing behind…lost, scared and fearful. Salvation came in a message from two friends at exactly the right time…they pulled me back to earth, lifted me up and gave me my hope back. Thankfully I got to repay them a little on Thursday.

Wednesday – A dry lull in the stormy weather made for a refreshing start to the morning. I, as with last week, had an energy gel as I warmed up for my 10K. As mentioned before this isn’t for any particular benefit…it’s purely to use up some older gels and keep my digestion used to them.
I set off at a nice slow easy pace, sticking to heart rate zone 2 throughout the first kilometre. With no aches or discomfort I decided on some low speed, speed work. With the first kilometre over I sped up enough to put me in my aerobic zone, then at the next kilometre quickened again to threshold level…it felt harder but comfortable and so I maintained it a while. Then slowed, even stopping at one point, to really lower my heart rate down again before going through the process of running through each zone again. The next time I got to threshold, I then upped my cadence at kilometre 7 to work a bit harder and then did lamppost to lamppost sprints…faster in kilometre 8 and then slowing at kilometre 9 to cool down and drop back to aerobic before I finished. It felt really good…and most importantly fun. I got back happy and ready for my day, not drained in any way.
With not needing to be at work until mid-morning I took the opportunity to do Yoga For Mood Swings…find some inner calm, sort out a few financial matters and then head to work.
I felt completely lost, almost as if I’d had a week off instead of a day! I struggled until lunchtime, got some fresh air and went back with a positive mindset…it helped but I still felt as if I was fudging through. It was a relief to leave and be back home, snuggled in for the night…while the rain poured yet again.

Thursday – My Mums birthday, a day of celebration the strongest woman I know. My Mum has had some cracking birthdays…last year we celebrated around my chemo cycles, we’ve had ice skating expeditions in the past…and the year all the family came together to celebrate and then ended up with norovirus, has gone down in family history.
I started her day with a run, 6.5K of fun in the first snow we’ve had in the Valley itself. It fell slowly and gently and made the world feel very festive. With needing to be back to call her, I set out to do a heart rate zone 3 run…and pretty much managed to keep at my aerobic zone all the way. It can be notoriously hard to stay in that zone, the desire to speed up takes over… or you just naturally do so. Running at zone 3 has huge health benefits…boosting fitness and endurance without hampering your recovery like speed work or constantly running quickly do. It’s something I shall need to do more and more of in the run up to my marathon in April, and for my 100K.
Once finished I called Mum and sang Happy Birthday to her as I walked back home. Having a good natter and putting the world right before I got home and had to head to work.
We had a crazy day in the office, for the first time in a while I didn’t get everything done. A piece of work I share with a colleague ended up being passed to him to complete…I felt so guilty.
After leaving I got home and donned my PJs for a while to do a little Moon Yoga…again with my Mum in mind. Then headed to the local Indian Restaurant for a meal out with the girls, to celebrate a little more.

We had an absolute feast and a great catch up – time with them is total soul therapy.

Friday – I think it was 2am when I first woke up and I felt very wide awake. By 3.30am I began to consider getting up to do my strength training and then go back to bed. My alarm woke me and I reset it an hour ahead and managed to catch up on a little sleep…but not a lot.
I fitted in half an hour of upper body strength training and a session of Yoga For Tired Legs before work. It was national Christmas jumper day for Save The Children. I, like all my colleagues, donned as much Christmas fashion as possible – I couldn’t find my reindeer Christmas jumper and so went with my M&S one…and snowman earrings.

A typical Friday 13th…it was a minefield day, poured with rain at lunchtime, was flooded on the way home and then the Christmas tree lights fused! To be honest I was pleased to get to bedtime and look forward to our delayed family weekend.

Saturday – If I’d dwelt on it even a minute or two more I would never have left for my run…I got up to sleet lashing against the window and the wind still howling…it sounded horrific. As I needed to be at Hardwick Hall for 11am, a later run was out of the question. I had 10miles to cover so grabbed a banana and got warmed up, put my lights and reflective vest on…and a mental pair of big girl pants!
Once out the door the weather wasn’t as bad as I’d expected, but that didn’t make the first kilometre or two any easier…especially in a brutal side wind. Heading towards the next village you could see the wall of rain…and I braced myself for running into it. Thankfully the rain meant it was slightly warmer than what was only a few minutes behind me. The wind direction was different too, and so I got into my stride and felt like I was flying. Leaving the village and heading towards the hills meant a head wind, but it was easier to cope with then with it at my side. Near the foot of Mam Tor I hid behind a wall, caught my breath and had an energy gel.

I also realised I’d only 7K left, so had to adjust my route home that was originally around 9K! Once heading back and the wind behind me joy caught me up, I hit my flow, ran surging full of endorphins.

Just under two hours after setting off I was home and could have easily, and gladly ran longer. I had no tightness in my back or legs and felt really good. My post run ice bath was awful…but the benefits outlay the 5minutes of hell!
Once warmed up, changed and breakfasted I set off for Hardwick. I was having the day with my Mum and Dad to celebrate Mums birthday, give Dad a nice day out and us all experience something a bit different. What finer way to start than a buggy ride from Santa up to the house!

We strolled round, chatted to strangers, enjoyed a spot of live music from the Great Hall and took in the festive atmosphere. It was super and so great to see the Hall decorated…but in very natural, artistic ways.

After lunch we headed back and had the afternoon chatting together before a meal out at the local pub to round off the day.

Sunday – Another family day and one to be taken at ease and slowly. Mum and Dad don’t have to check out until mid-morning, so we’ve had time for a lazy start. Nothing is pressing…although I am on a mission to find which light has fused on our Christmas tree!

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