Two years ago I had a job; I was a manager of a department, had my own office, an assistant and shiny company car. I had money. But I wasn't happy. Now I have a little home in the countryside with a husband who loves me, a mental collie called Toast and a couple of strange oversized guinea pigs. I drive an old four by four and spend my days riding, gardening, or pottering about seeing family and friends. I am happy.
There is one thing I miss from two years ago... I'd get home from the job I dreaded and I'd channel my frustration until endorphines coursed through my veins.
Anticipation as I tied my trainers, fixed my ipod for a particular playlist, stretched and headed out into whatever weather greeted me. One foot after the other out of the village past the houses towards the main road avoiding the potholes. A quick hop on the footpath and left along the main road, slightly uphill I'd feel the pull in my legs and my breath quicken, then before I know it there is a bridge over a dual carriageway. I'd gather momentum and launch myself up the steep slope; my legs burn but I reach in the apex and slow to absorb the impact down the other side into the neighbouring village. Past the high school and on to the back lanes, I've really found my pace now and the burn feels good as I push on out into fields.
As I make a turn back in the direction of home I meet a long stretch, the distance is deceptive and can feel never ending but months of perfecting my playlist produce a up in beat as the music changes to a dance track with attitude. I meet the tunnels that take me back under the dual carriageway and in the gloom my footsteps echo spurring me on to high step the logs to stop cars coming this way. On reaching the road back into my village I turn the opposite way, I'm not done yet, another change in music sends me north a couple of miles into another village at a steady pace. After the pub I take a narrow track that leads past fishing lakes and requires a great deal of side-stepping and jumping of puddles before reaching the river. Left along the flat grassy bank and my music has hit full pace, I can see the church near my house across the fields.
Up and down and small metal footbridge; taking two at a time up and grabbing both handrails and swinging down the other. The last stretch into the village I pick up speed, huge rolling strides, footsteps pounding along with my heart and the church is in reaching distance. One hand on the graveyard wall and a precarious leap over its lowest section then the hundred metre sprint for home. Back on the drive I walk out my throbbing muscles and feel the adrenaline fall with my pulse. Now I can relax.
That year I was signed up for the 10K Race for Life but two weeks before I developed a sharp pain in my ankle that meant I couldn't walk let alone run. It wasn't until months later I knew why the physiotherapist couldn't tell me why; the huge levels of cortisol produced by a cancerous tumour was weakening my bones. Within two months of the story I have just told I couldn't stand from a crouch, so weak were my legs.
Now after two years; after major surgery, drug therapy and two rounds of chemotherapy I can not run like that but with gritted teeth and an indescribable sense of rage at the life stolen from me I will be there at the Race for Life. Tomorrow I will line up with the Imagine It team to raise money for Cancer Research UK and put our energy into saving lives, save people from suffering what I have and will suffer.
I know just how many hundreds of you read this blog and if each of you just sponsor me a small amount we can make a big difference. I make no excuses, so neither should you.