Months ago now I was looking for a challenge: a goal to aim for in my quest to get over my panic attacks. A test of my own strength, I guess, and so I decided to bite the bullet and sign up for my local Race for Life. The event is something that’s been running for a few years now with events nationwide. Women from all walks of life are encouraged to come together and walk/jog/run a 5km (ok, some events people also do 10 km) distance to raise money for Cancer Research UK. It’s been one of those things that I’ve sat at home on the couch and thought what a fantastic idea but never actually got up and done. This year I made it my personal challenge because, well, you can’t deny the huge numbers of families/lives that are touched by cancer in all its forms. It’s awful that the diagnosis of that big c word still strikes fear into the hearts of so many. Something needs to be done. We have to find a way to beat it and stop so many loved ones losing this terrible battle with an awful disease. Cancer Research UK is the charity taking up that fight. How could you not support that? A worthy cause and the best possible motivation to show panic who’s boss.
There were on the day 5100 women taking part in my event and that’s before you count all the volunteers, families and supporters. We’re talking a big crowd of people that not that long ago I would have found totally impossible to deal with without dissolving into a jabbering shaking mess and potentially throwing up all over my shoes. Keeping my cool enough to complete what is for me a physical challenge would have been impossible, but I love a challenge and I’m telling you I can be dam bloody minded when I put some effort into it. That and the advert claimed that anyone could complete 5km. I figure of all my friends I am the most overweight, the most unfit, the panic attack sufferer who has motivation issues… in short the person LEAST likely to complete the task so I got it into my mind to put this “anyone ” theory to the test.
I decided to bring Skates (my cuddly version of the Chicago Wolves mascot) as my lucky charm. I don’t know why, but I often have this guy in my pocket when I’m going somewhere that makes me nervous. I find it helps. It could be because Skates is the coolest mascot I’ve ever seen. I mean the guy has flames coming out of his paws and for some reason always makes me giggle or because he’s a wolf and ain’t scared of nothing. Maybe its because he was given to me by someone who believes I can get over the panic thing (waves to acknowledge Gadget Guy this time :P) or because he reminds me of happy times spent in Chicago. It could simply be that having an object to focus on other than the thing that’s making me panic helps. It doesn’t really matter why he makes a difference… he does and so Skates was Racing for Life too.
On the day I will admit I had a few wobbles as the crowed was encouraged to move closer together and gather for the warm up. I started to feel pretty claustrophobic (being a short person in a large crowd will do that to ya) I also felt pretty intimidated going through the starting line with all these spectators looking on. I know, they are supporting but I don’t deal well with the feeling that people are watching me. HOWEVER there was no way I was going to let these things stop me not after I had decided to carry not only my own dedications but also those of other of my blog friends (helpfully provided via Twitter as I was getting ready to leave.) Plus, anyway, thinking about the battles people go through everyday with cancer puts a little panic into perspective and keeps those feet moving.
I found the distance actually easier than I thought it would be. Only one small issue: as I passed the 3KM marker, my foot hit the floor and my knee cap moved sideways in a way it’s not meant to. Thankfully it went back to the correct position and I just carried on. By the 4km mark there was no stopping me and I even walked the last km with a stone stuck in my shoe… just because I had my mind focused on that finish line and was too stubborn to stop and remove it. The heavens opened as I was covering the last 500m. Torrential rain, and by the time I crossed the line I was soaked but the task was done. YAAAY !
I felt so proud of myself for finishing in one piece without a panic episode. But most of all, for being able to do something – all be it a small thing – in honor of a few people who have fought /are fighting the REAL battle I did the race for life for:
* Butiful Mess‘s mum Judy who is loved and missed everyday
*Both of Geek By Marriage’s Uncles
* Mrs Bhatti who lost her battle with breast cancer last year
* Philly Gower who left us to young
* Carol & Lyinda who survived
* In Due Time‘s Aunt K who is currently fighting
*Kicking some ass for anyone touched by the “Big C”
And even though at the end I was cold, very wet and really stiff… despite the fact that the adrenaline eventually wore off and last night my knee was killing me worse than it has in months, I have to say this: some causes are worth a little pain and I would do it all again in a minute. In fact I have been set a new goal: KM has challenged me to take on 10k next time. Like I say I love a challenge so watch this space .
The Race For Life taught me:
Cancer affects more families than even I realized. It seems everyone has been touched in some way.
If you have knee problems you really should not leave home and forget your knee brace as you WILL pay for it later.
Don’t forget the sun cream.
Next time, do not wear a white t-shirt because it might rain and the wet t-shirt look DOES NOT suit me.
When you get a stone in your shoe and still have 1km to go, STOP and take the dang thing out.
Being bloody minded can work to your advantage and should not be underestimated.
Adrenaline is powerful stuff!
Lots of people, each doing a small thing, really does make a difference.
I am stronger than I though I was.
Sometimes pain is worth it.
And now for the photo proof :
Proof. Anyone Really can do it .
P.S. If you wanted to make a donation to Cancer Reseach this is my sponsorship page.