Spring has sprung

half

Walking my gorgeous labradoodle Barney in the park yesterday I noticed the crocuses were out and a surprising solo fat bee was spotted. It could only mean one thing…. the marathon is getting closer!

Remind me why I wanted to do this?! Oh yes it’s for a good cause. It’s for charity. What was I thinking? It seemed a good idea back then in the summer. The weather was good and I had visions of just ambling along to the finish line in April without too much of an effort. Was the last hideous nightmare of running the marathon so awful that it has been erased from my mind? How had I fooled myself into thinking this would be fun?

But I have pushed myself out religiously, three times a week since this started back in August.  Even throughout January on some bitterly cold mornings. I have become a bit of a weather checker to see when the best day to run is. I have ‘strava’ on my phone to record my times and yes, there have been  evenings where I may have glanced back over it, ‘impressed’ with my progress! Where has this imposter called Ruth come from? I have even been accused of turning into my lycra and carbon fibre loving husband. Yes things are that bad. It has become a bit of an obsession. My Running World magazine drops through the letter box and I ‘can’t wait’ to read it!!! I have ordered a food shop with lots of non-alcoholic sparkling wines (they are actually very nice), and am obsessed with what fuel will get me round the course, even attempting home made flapjacks rather than ghastly running gels.  What is going on?!

Well I think I know and I shall try and explain. When I last did the marathon I hated it. I really actually quite resented it. It encroached on my life and made be grumpy. I just wanted it over. I did it just so that I could say “I’ve done it.” Which I said a lot. It was a tick on the bucket list and not a very inspiring reason. The difference with this marathon is the rationale for running it.  This time round I need it.

As you all know running has given me something else to think about other than cancer. It has definitely got me though my darkest days. Sometimes running with tears streaming down my face as I wait for results or when I think about not being there for my family.  Running tires me physically when my mind won’t stop the “what if’s?” It exhausts me so that when my head hits the pillow it allows me to sleep. It makes me feel well so I can convince myself that there is no more cancer. And I have lost 10lbs and have buns of steel!! What’s not to love? A friend commented recently that I seem more enthusiastic this time round and I am, because I feel so well on it. That feeling gives me peace and allows me to sleep.

As I approach the 3 year mark I know it will be hard, as it is the time many of us eye cancer lot have in our minds as ‘the average time it takes to get to the liver.’ I know I will need running more than ever then, which is lucky, as it will coincide with my longest training runs! So however much I still don’t love running, my need for it gets me out there. And of course I am  running for a fantastic charity, Ocumeluk,  which has allowed me to meet some quite wonderful people. Some of whom are no longer with us, some are still fighting their very courageous battles, a lot of whom show me strength and determination that I know I lack. And many of whom leave me in awe of just how they do it.  So for all you lovely OM’ers this marathon is for you and for my need to sleep!

p.s Next eye check is in February. All seems good on that front so not worried. Will keep you posted.

Ruth xxx

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ruthjohnston73

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The Sniper

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Well worn muddy trainers!

It’s been over 2 months since my last blog. I hadn’t realise the time slip away. There has been no reason other than I haven’t thought about it. Which equates to I haven’t thought about my cancer, which is a good thing.  I say ‘my’ cancer because I have been thinking about others peoples’ cancer. Other people with eye cancer that we have lost recently to this dreadful disease. Friends who haven’t had good news from scan results and are waiting for what comes next. More treatment hopefully. Treatments that work and can conquer the awful liver mets. Liver mets, the thing that gives us all sleepless nights.

It still shocks me how relentless and cruel cancer is. Getting bad results just before Christmas, or on birthdays or when you have to attend a child’s parents evening never seems right. But of course cancer doesn’t hold your diary and work out the best time to deliver devastating news. Is there ever a best time?  “Oh you’re blowing up balloons for your daughters birthday party? Sorry to disturb you, but you have something suspicious on your liver. Enjoy the cake and we’ll discuss options next week.” Relentless. Cruel. So my thoughts have been with them. Friends who are waiting, hoping for a cure, and slowly as you think of them, the fear creeps in. You can’t help it or stop it. So I keep my head down and keep busy.  Don’t write a blog, don’t draw attention to yourself, cancer may not notice me and move on to someone else.  I think of ocular melanoma as a sniper,  slowly picking us off  with what seems like no rhyme or reason. People with the same size tumours, same treatments,  have very different outcomes. I try and make sense as to why that person has died and I’m still here, but at the moment there is no sense to it. I hope research eventually explains the why and can give us treatments, so my friends don’t have to lose hope. I’m willing on these amazing immunotherapies so that they can come and quash the sniper, before he strikes again.

Now as most of you know, I am running the London marathon in April for Ocumeluk, the fantastic charity that helps us rare, unique eye cancer bunch with everything from practical appointment things to the more heavy emotional stuff. So just a little update on how it’s all going. Very well thank you!!  I’m shocked. My long runs are now 12 miles!! I can’t believe it. And I haven’t suffered a single blister yet. When I first started training I was running just over 3 miles and I just wanted to cross the finish line, but naturally as you run and improve, you start setting yourself little goals. I have two. The first is to beat my last marathon time of 4 hours 36 minutes. Hilariously to do this I thought the easiest way to achieve this would be to tell my husband and kids that I won’t be stopping to ‘chat’ with them when they come and support me. I haven’t broached that with the kids yet as my youngest was asking if she could make a banner and often cycles with me while I run. Could I pretend not to see them or not hear them when they call? Ha Ha! Get them back for calling me deaf and blind! Yes I know I can’t that would be mean,  I won’t have any choice but to stop, damm that just means I am going to have to just train harder!

Anyway, my second  goal is to run Richmond park  in under an hour. Now those that know Richmond park will know it has some ghastly hills. When I first did it in September I crawled up the hills and finished in 1 hour 15 minutes. Chuffed to bits, red in the face, looking like I was having a heart attack, but I did it. Yesterday my time was 1 hour 1 minute and 20 seconds! Woohoo!!

So I’m thrilled with how it’s all going. But just to clarify that I haven’t turned into a boring athlete who checks strava every few minutes like some people (Mr J!!). I’m still not a natural runner. I don’t look forward to my runs, I look forward to the end of my runs when I can eat and drink what I please.  A friend asked me today with all the training I’m now doing have I stopped drinking? What?! Of course not! I have eye cancer. Not insanity!!

So cheers to many more ‘end’ of runs. Fingers crossed for many successful treatments on the horizon for our friends and if anyone would like to sponsor me just follow the link below.

Ruth xxx

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ruthjohnston73