Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.”
Howard Thurman

On the verge of a New Year I felt it only right to reflect on all that 2019 has given. I have so much I’m grateful for… peoples support, kindness and help. For having my fiancé, my family and my friends, my running club family and my work family.

This is the year I started as a breast cancer patient, having just had cycle three of six rounds of chemotherapy, and a very different Christmas than ever expected.

Yes I got more and more poorly over the first few months of this year, but that made me more and more determined to live. I channelled fatigue and nausea, using the discomfort to motivate me to move, get fresh air as much as I could…and run! Not in a speedy, amazing sense – there was a lot of plodding…but…due to how slow that was I started to build an aerobic engine.

I never imagined I’d run the Longhorn 10K in one go in April… two months from finishing chemo…thank you to the man who I followed for the first 8.5K and used as a pacer!

Hitting a half marathon PB of 2.15.19 in Manchester in May, two days after finishing five weeks of radiotherapy…a dream come true…the pain I was in lifted for that couple of hours and I felt like I was flying.

My Race For Life 10K in June meant so much, I ran for me, my Dad, for all touched by cancer and especially those that could no longer run with me.

In July I showed cancer, chemo and my body who was boss. For my canceranniversary I hit the dizzy highs of my first 50K Ultra here in the Peak District…it was brutal, hard work in places but such a great experience. Making it back in 7.06.19 felt mixed at the time as I really wanted a sub 7hr finish…I look back now and realise that just actually running for over 7hrs was hard work enough, and a tremendous achievement. Thank you to the fabulous couple who silently advised me in the background to help me cross that line.

Loch Ness in October saw my first road marathon. It was one of the best pre-race gatherings I’ve experienced. The day after, as I ran along the bank of the Loch back to Inverness, I found out what pain was…and how deep I could dig. I wore my pain cave for 16miles to cross the line in 5hrs 6mins…and realised that if I could run 50K and it not hurt, and manage the agony of burnt out quads due to ill preparation for what an undulating marathon course could bring…that was proof I could run 100K.

In November, after a running break thanks to those quads, I enjoyed a fantastic foggy morning at the Tatton Park half marathon…a deferred place from the year before. I had no intentions other than to enjoy myself and not push myself too much…so getting a new PB of 2.14.35 felt brilliant.

A fortnight later I had the honour of running the Brigg 10K for the Poppy Appeal. A flat, fast, course saw me gain a PB of 57.10 and hit my old 5min a kilometre running times – the last 3K was lung busting and I admit I crossed that line somewhere between exhaustion and nausea.

At the end of November at Wollaton Hall I finished a challenge I’d set myself for 2019…to run my furthest and shortest distances in one year. Mo Run was my first ever 5K race, and so my official PB over that distance stands at 30.11.

Just before December started I pledged my months miles to a fellow Lonely Goat and running friend, to help him raise funds for The Maytree Respite Centre. It was an honour therefore to take part for him and them, in the Oulton Park half marathon. Only the night before did I realise just how undulating the course was. Therefore, once again I set out with no intention but to think of who I was running for, and enjoy myself. Incredibly taking my PB down by 8minutes to 2.06.38 ending the year on a high…and realising just how far I’ve come in body and mind.

My last run of the year took my December mileage to 123miles…a great round figure that, yes, I planned meticulously the evening before.

2019 has seen me take up yoga and I now practice daily when possible. It has not only helped me gain more flexibility and strength bodily, but in mind too. Towards the end of this year when social media notifications reminded me of all that I’d endured during the early stages of treatment, life became increasingly hard…I hit a low before Christmas, having flash backs and my confidence plummeting. Friends, my fiancé, work and my parents got me through – and while not 100% I do feel in a better place.

Ending the year having run 1334.3 miles seems incredible, surreal even.

I start the New Year, with some very large goals…2020 will be the year I run my first local marathon, the year I take on a 24hr endurance event…which happens to include a mountain, and the year I run my furthest distance to date…100K down the Thames Path in London.

There are bound to be other races – chasing the bling and maybe seeing if I can best some of my shorter distance times. In the in between there will be a lot of hard work, hours of running, life tailored to training. But it’s the bit I enjoy the most…time alone, doing what I love, being at one with nature.

Happy 2020 x

For a change, don’t add new things in your life as a New Years resolution. Instead, do more of what is already working for you.”

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