I shouldn't still be alive but running reminds me… cancer hasn't caught me yet

I SHOULD be dead.

If you believe the stats my bowel cancer should have got me by now, but I'm still standing – running, even!

I don't let myself plan more than about two weeks in advance, and live from scan to scan, hoping.

Holidays are booked with just a few days notice, and social plans are always changing – treatment takes priority.

So this last fortnight is one I've been looking forward to for the last three months.

You might think I've have some big blow out wedding, or a milestone birthday to celebrate.

But nope! I've got some running to do.

It's a reminder I'm still alive

Post-cancer, if someone asks me if I want to run a 10k I've typically responded with a, 'I don't know if I'll still be alive in three months'.

But when I was asked to do the Vitality 10k and the British Triathlon, for some reason I said yes.

Each time I face a dark patch, I have found the more active I am able to be, the more I feel alive

Then I did something psychologists say is key – I publicly committed to doing both, to ensure I went through with it.

I'm one down so far, having completed the Vitality 10k alongside a brilliant group of women all running in our undies last weekend.

I loved every second of it and felt a huge sense of achievement.

For some it was just another 10k run. For me, it was a milestone – a reminder I'm still alive when I really shouldn't be.

If my body can move, I can't be dying… right?

I honestly didn't think I'd be alive to complete it, when I signed up I was still hobbling after fracturing my ankle.

I figured it was a good way to get back into running.

The six weeks I was on crutches made me realise just how reliant I am on using exercise to keep my mental health in check.

I discovered my head follows my body.

And it was a downward spiral, if my body can't move then I must be about to die.

Cancer takes its toll mentally

Since my cancer diagnosis, I have found I get depressed quickly. My body isn't working as it should, and I get frustrated.

It takes a lot of mental (and physical) willpower to recover from each operation and treatment.

Often, I just want to curl up in a ball and sleep.

Each time I face a dark patch, I have found the more active I am able to be, the more I feel alive.

Running clears my head

Running makes me feel free.

It's my way of reminding myself it still works, and can feel relatively normal.

Ever since my diagnosis, I have always tried to run to the hospital for operations or to pick up scan results.

If I can run to get the news – good or bad – it's proof I'm not dead yet.

Like most of the population in the UK I self-medicate – and my choice of medicine is exercise.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good glass of wine, but when it comes to clearing my head – there's nothing better.

I've stopped caring if I'm last… turning up is a success

Cancer has changed my relationship with exercise, like it has so many other relationships.

I've stopped caring if I'm last in a race, or gym class.

When the battle is just turning up, you quickly stop worrying about where you finish.

Just turning up and getting through it is a success.

Since agreeing to do the Vitality 10k cancer has thrown more challenges in my way.

New tumours, two operations and some bad reactions to my drugs.

The ops left me sore, and the three new drugs I'm taking cause nasty skin reactions and leave me exhausted.

But last weekend I stood at the start line with 22,000 other runners and felt pretty chuffed with myself for making it that far.

The adrenaline got me through.

On a good day I knew my body could get me round, but it wasn't a good day.

So it was up to my mind, sheer determination and mental resilience to push myself round.

And now it's on to the next challenge, the British Triathlon in Leeds next weekend.

Am I nervous? Of course.

Will I make it round? I hope so, but I have faith in my mind to carry me through.

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