RED Day 6: Just keep going

Today I had planned on writing my piece on ‘Impossible things’ but a huge personal achievement has directed my thoughts in other ways, so you’ll just have to wait (with great anticipation) for that one!

Just three weeks ago I was not a runner, I was not interested in becoming a runner, running, quite frankly, was not for me. Then inspired by the RED community I thought I’d give it a go, just for a couple of months, and see how I got on… that was the beginning of something huge.

After another restless sleep (we’ll talk about insomnia another time), I was up early, running gear on, music selected (Tom Odell today’s choice), warmed up and out the door. Following yesterday’s successful run, where I really pushed myself and completed week 3 of the Couch to 5k programme (plus an extra run segment), today was going to be a rest day. I’d told my hubby last night that I was only going to do a couple of kilometres, just round the block, so to speak.

As always I started off with a brisk walk, just 3 minutes today, then began a very gentle jog; I decided to go in the opposite direction to all my other runs, maybe so Strava couldn’t make a comparison to my previous efforts! Just get as far as the park, I thought, then you can do a loop if you feel like it or just come straight back. Arrived at the park… hey I’m feeling good, maybe I’ll go as far as the supermarket, yeah I can do that, it’ll be about a mile of running, then I can walk back, no problem… Ok, so I’ve made it to the supermarket, doing really well, that’s a mile in the bag, reckon I can get to the sports club? Yeah, I’ll give it a go… YES, I MADE IT! WOW! Amazing, going to keep going, just keep going to the pub at the bottom of the village, you can do this, one and a half miles of running, just keep going. So I did, I just kept on going, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, I made it past the pub, touched the traffic light, did a little happy dance – it’s a ritual of mine!  And by keeping going I completed the most running I have ever done ever and I feel great!

As mantras for life go, ‘Just keep going’ is a good one. In living with depression you have to keep going, you hope that the next day will be better, even though you fear it won’t. You can’t give up, you take one day at a time, one hour at a time, just get through, just keep going, it’s so hard but eventually things do get better and keeping going is easier.

While I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, for 18 months, I kept going.  You learn to live from appointment to appointment, celebrating little milestones along the way to give a feeling that you were achieving something, that progress was being made. Well done, you’ve had two cycles of chemotherapy, that’s a third of the way through chemo. I’ve just had my ninth herceptin, that’s halfway, only nine more to go… you get the idea.

Cancer treatment is all consuming, you lose a huge chunk of your life because you are not living, you are surviving, you are doing whatever it takes to get through, day by day, to the next appointment, the next milestone. Even after treatment is completed, this learnt cancer mentality remains as, each year there are check ups, examinations and reviews, more milestones, more progress. You hope to get through to the next review symptom free and celebrate another year NED (no evidence of disease), a success of sorts.

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