Last year I ran the Great Manchester Run for the first time. I did it to raise funds for Findlay and Iona, and because I was looking for a new challenge (and as someone who is not a natural born runner, it definitely was!) and just because I could.
I managed to jog the whole course, and finished in just under 1 hour 22 minutes and vowed I'd never do it ever again.
Then 3 months later I was in hospital being told I had Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and then a month after that I was so ill that I wasn't even able to wash, dress or go to the toilet by myself.
My days of running 10k seemed far far behind me, and although it seemed somewhat ironic and ridiculous, to need help getting off the toilet when not that long ago I'd been a fit and healthy 28 year old, I almost didn't mind the idea of never being able to run again. In fact, there was a lot of stuff I was willing to forgo, if only I could just have my dignity back.
"If I can never run again, I don't mind, just please, let me be able to walk" I would think to myself. Or on really bad days: "If I can never walk again, I don't mind, just please, let me be able to at least pee and shower without assistance".
Then, quite quickly, the day came when I could pee alone, could shower alone, and not long after that I could in fact walk unaided.
And now, several months down the line, with my new diagnosis of CIDP, I'm not quite where I was at before all this started, but I'm closer to that version of me, than the version who couldn't lift her arm to brush her own hair, and it's almost time for this years' Great Manchester Run...and I think you can probably guess what I am about to say next...
Ok, so it may be bordering on insanity, and I can't say for sure that I'll be able to pull it off, but yes, I have in fact signed up to race again this year.
I say "race", but I will actually be walking rather than running. Although I have been off crutches completely now since January, I am not yet at the stage where 10k doesn't seem that far. I remember the course well, and it really really does seem far! But I have recently started walking Toby to nursery (and then walking back home) and doing the same to collect him from nursery too, which equates to about 6k in one day, and that's at least once, sometimes twice a week. I know it's not quite the same, because I am able to rest in between, but I figure I have time between now and race day to slowly improve on my fitness and stamina...well...just under 7 weeks anyway!
The run is on Sunday 18th May this year, so my taking part seems especially poignant as had I not miscarried back in October my due date would have been in May (10th May by LMP but 17th May by our early scan). So since I won't, in fact, be giving birth, I feel I should be doing something else slightly insane and incredible instead. And walking 10k for charity, in celebration of being able to use my legs and of being ALIVE seems like it fits that bill quite well.
So, if you'd like to show your support, you can visit my Just Giving Page, where all money raised is going to GAIN (Guillain-Barre and Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies Charity), who offer support to those with a diagnosis of GBS and CIDP.