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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Packing my bag

One thing missing...
In a few minutes, I'll be setting off for the Reading Half Marathon.

I've trained enough. I think.

Running is my breathing space. With each weekly long run, after the usual round of doubts and grumbles as to why I can't really be bothered to run on that particular occasion, I tend to settle into an almost meditative state. I forget what I am doing and it just happens. Sometimes I spend the whole run chatting to my running partner and good friend, Louise. Other times, I think. And sometimes, nothing much enters my head at all! But every time I run, I return home better for it.

Although, normally confident about runs like this, I am nervous about tomorrow. Last week's final training run was cut short by the start of shin splints and a walk home. A bit annoying, really. Not least because I wasn't really dressed for walking in the cold temperatures of last Sunday morning. It took me a good hour or two to warm up afterwards. Same goes for Louise, too - who walked all the way back with me (thanks, mate).

This run is a special one, too. Unusually for me, I am running for a cause.

A good friend of mine, has recently had a stay at St. John's Hospice, Moggerhanger. She cannot speak highly enough about how wonderful everyone there has been to her, and how good a place it is when it comes to caring for people with cancer and other challenging illnesses.

The hospice has to raise £1 million each year to pay for its day to day running costs - and the fact it manages to achieve this shows how dear a place it is to a lot of people. When I decided to run for St. John's, I called the fundraising team - and was really struck by how lovely the people on the end of the phone were. They all seemed to work there because of a personal connection to the place - they were passionate about it, and were quick to tell me what a difference any money raised would make.

For a variety of reasons, I hadn't intended to write about this at all on here. And then the postman came, with a couple of cards from my friend and her family.

That is so like her - in the middle of cancer treatment, she manages to think about others. Her strength, positivity, and determination to continue to choose to find joy in life are just brilliant. As is her wicked sense of humour.

Her card reminded me I am running so that more people like her can receive the caring support that Sue Ryder hospices give people. It came at the right time to keep any of my own whines in perspective, and to overcome any natural sense of embarrassment about asking for money. You can sponsor me here if you want to.

...a Mars bar.

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