Thursday, September 26, 2013

Run rabbit run

Every year since we moved to France I have toyed with the idea of signing up to run the Nice - Cannes marathon. It is supposed to be one of the most beautiful courses in the world, snaking along the Cote d'Azur coastline and taking in the sublime Cap d'Antibes but one thing stops me. The training, oh the training. And after two London marathons - which incidentally were two of the best days of my life - I'm not sure my poor 40-something knees can cope with a third.

But this year, thanks to Mougins School and Michelle Johnson, triathlete and sports teacher extraordinaire, who asked me to join their marathon relay team, I am getting the best of both worlds; running in the marathon but only for 10.8 km before passing the baton onto Livvy for the next leg.

I was getting very excited about having my cake and eating it until Livvy casually dropped into the conversation last night the fact that Mougins historically do brilliantly and always get placed as one of the fastest finishers. Suddenly my running-free summer of drinking rose and swimming a few laps every so often instead of pounding the streets three times a week looks like it wasn't such a good idea after all.

This morning, I set off with my running playlist on my phone to do my first 5km for some time. The first kilometre was hideous, but 10 minutes in, my legs remembered that they have done this before and it started to get more enjoyable. Calvin Harris, Daft Punk and The Police helped me along and by the last sprint (past the pompiers, so it had to be a sprint rather than a stagger) I was feeling on top of the world.

The last race I ran was the 10k in Grasse last year, a few months out of treatment. The buzz was indescribable so I am looking forward to that feeling again. It's great having a race to train for. I am going to run hard over the next six weeks so I can complete my leg as fast as possible so I don't let the team down. I am going to log my times and distances on Facebook so that I can follow my progress...hopefully the thought of public FB humiliation if I don't get quicker will be incentive enough. You have been warned.

Last weekend, I wrote a very personal piece for The Times Weekend section about how I changed my diet to cope with chemotherapy. I have been overwhelmed by the amazing response from friends, family and even strangers. It was a cathartic piece to write, and having had the all clear from my recent second year control tests (yay) it feels like I have drawn a thick black line underneath that experience. Closure, maybe. A good feeling, definitely.