The pic above shows the very lovely Petrina B and the very grizzled IannodaTruffe after a delightful run along The Granite Way, a disused railway line skirting the Northern edge of Dartmoor. The section we ran on had neither trains nor rails, but is a very civilised tarmac foot and cycleway.
While Petrina and I have known each other for years, this was our first time running together. This run was her W9R2, so I was there to offer theoretical help and frankly have a darned good natter. So much so that I, the one supposedly in charge of time and distance, let things slip abominably and, especially after remonstrating with some of you on here about exceeding the programmed runs………..I sheepishly admit that we exceeded Petrina’s programmed run. Not a good idea, but in my defence, the pace which we had settled to was extremely gentle and we were chatting away, which is the way to define an “easy” pace.
So, while Petrina is the newbie in the running stakes, I am the newbie in the world of living with cancer. Over the years we have watched this incredible woman battle with breast cancer, through some very dark episodes, but her spirit and love of life has been an inspiration to all who know her. She now has cancer in her bones and lung………….and she is just about to graduate from C25k and plans to go on to run a half marathon next year. She will do it.
My prostate cancer diagnosis, in June this year, has seen me come to terms with the challenges ahead and Petrina’s advice and example have been invaluable to me. She was the one who welcomed me into the club that nobody wants to belong to. Running has been a boon, getting me out regularly, apart from a couple of annoying non running injuries, and being part of the natural world, has helped me to appreciate every day and every run. The hormone treatment that I have been on for the past few months has robbed me of a lot of muscle strength and my pace has gradually been dropping off to the lowest since I started running. The satisfaction that is gained from each run has almost been the inverse, possibly because running slowly is very gratifying or maybe because my reduced testosterone levels mean that a large part of my male arrogance and vanity about my pace, has dissolved and frankly, I don’t give a damn. I am fortunate not to have yet suffered the fatigue that often accompanies this form of treatment. Interestingly, to overcome the fatigue, regular exercise is prescribed; maybe I was already doing enough.
As we passed the cloud covered moor, scattered and shattered by the scars of quarrying, which are slowly being subsumed by the green cloak of nature, we talked about running and we talked about cancer. We agreed that our diagnoses and prognoses had changed our lives forever, (a bit like running) but also that the Big C had given us a gift of clarity about what is truly important in this world and in our lives. For both of us, making plans for the future is as important as living each ordinary day with an appreciation and reverence for life. It might sound strange, but we are lucky. So much of how we experience the world is dependant on a positive outlook.
On Monday, I am hoping to squeeze in my last run before I am hospitalised overnight after an internal dose of radiotherapy; brachytherapy. After that I am looking forward to having some time off work, as I come to terms with any possible side effects and prepare for daily radiotherapy, which will continue until mid January.
After that………..who knows……....nobody for sure. I have every intention of getting running again, as soon as possible, joining Petrina for another glorious run and aiming, provisionally, for a half marathon of my own, some time next year. I don’t care how long it takes.
Life is good and life is for living. Make the most of it.
Keep running, keep smiling.