Monday, 12 December 2016
Bringing you right up to date...Part 1
To bring you up to date, here's how it began...
Up to the age of 39 my exercise of choice was running. My average weekly distance was 20 miles, and I loved every one of them. Then, unexpectedly after one of my runs, my left hip collapsed and I unceremoniously dropped to the floor. Nothing elegant about it, and the struggle to get upright again was nothing short of undignified. After resting up for a couple of weeks and a visit to the physiotherapist there was still no improvement so I visited my G.P who couldn't immediately identify anything and sent me for an x-ray. After 4 years of trying (and failing) to run again combined with various painkillers, seeing a consultant, physio appointments and scans I was still in pain every time I ran and no nearer knowing the cause. It was with much regret that I had no choice but to find an alternative form of exercise, and Yoga being a big no-no after a previous attempt at 'downward dog' in 1999 resulted in a sprained wrist and bruised ego.
One of my best friends suggested that I try swimming with her and although my parents had insisted that my sister, brother and I had swimming lessons as children, horrific memories come to mind of a particular dive incident which included a nasty face plant, I hadn't swum since I left primary school, except for a few lengths on holiday each year. I found a tired and worn out costume at the back of a drawer circa 1995 and pre children (need I say more?) and a beach towel that had 'reserved' written on it, (I am nothing if not cool!) and off we went. The first time I swam 30 lengths of a 20 metre pool doing breast stroke. I was really chuffed AND I didn't even get my hair wet!
The second time I borrowed some goggles from my friend, and managed another 30 lengths. I also discovered that breast stroke was as painful to my hips as running was, however I'd really been enjoying it, and so the next time I tried front crawl, but only managed 20 lengths. It was exhausting but not painful. Hooray!
I made the decision to join the gym and booked myself to have some stroke improvement lessons. The first one was like the scene from there film Elf, where he is sitting on a chair amongst the other smaller elves. That was me - swimming alongside groups of children! It didn't put me off, in fact it made determined to crack it regardless of how ridiculous I looked, and I did look ridiculous. The sympathetic/amused looks from the parents told me all I needed to know.
At the same time I was talking with a colleague, a keen swimmer, who has since become a very good friend, partner in crime and swim buddy who invited me to join her. We swam for half an hour, and had a two hour visit to the cafe for coffee and cake afterwards which sealed our fate.
In the September of 2014 my son, who was 15 at the time, unexpectedly lost all of his hair. Following many tests the specialists at the hospital were unable to identify the cause, and suggested various treatments that may help. We tried them all, bar one, including steroids being injected into his head. My poor boy, it broke my heart to see his crying, and it was after this treatment and long discussions with him that we decided to stop. You may be wondering what the point is of me telling you this, and here it is...
Shark (swim buddy) and I enjoyed our swimming so much that we began looking for a challenge. Something to train and push ourselves for the following year. It just so happened that one evening my son and I were watching Stand Up To Cancer, hosted by Davina McCall, and a young boy was on who had cancer, and no hair due to the treatment he was receiving. We were both very moved by his story, and as we say there my son said "see mum, mine's not that bad is it?" I realised at that moment what a brave and resilient young man he was. This is the point when a swimming challenge also became a fundraising opportunity, and that in order to raise a decent amount we'd really need to pull something out of the bag!