Runner's World (UK) - - LONDON CALLING - @Jreedy1976 justgiv­ /Jane-reedy2


‘ Last year, I was train­ing re­lent­lessly for sub-3:15 at Lon­don. This year, just fin­ish­ing will be enough, as I strug­gle to ad­just to my new body, life and self. In March 2016, I was di­ag­nosed with a rare and ag­gres­sive form of oe­sophageal can­cer. It most com­monly af­fects older peo­ple, and those who smoke or drink, not a fit 40-year-old fell run­ner who has a cou­ple of glasses of wine a week and has never smoked.

It started with heart­burn, in­di­ges­tion and dif­fi­culty swal­low­ing. And I knew my race re­sults weren’t re­flect­ing my train­ing. I was pre­scribed an in­di­ges­tion rem­edy and con­tin­ued train­ing, work­ing and do­ing ev­ery­thing a mum of a young child does, but the symp­toms wors­ened. Within weeks, I could only con­sume liq­uid foods and I re­turned to the doc­tors to be re­ferred for fur­ther tests. A bar­ium swal­low iden­ti­fied a “large ob­struc­tion”. Just days away from my daugh­ter’s fourth birth­day, it was con­firmed I had oe­sophageal can­cer.

I opted for the most ag­gres­sive treat­ment pos­si­ble: chemo­ther­apy, ra­dio­ther­apy, then surgery. Through­out chemo and ra­dio­ther­apy I man­aged to walk, jog or cy­cle most days. Mov­ing and be­ing out­side gave me calm, per­spec­tive, space, and phys­i­cal and men­tal strength.

I had the oe­sophagos­tomy in Septem­ber. The first few weeks af­ter­wards passed in a wave of mor­phine, de­bil­i­tat­ing cramps, sleep and un­cer­tainty. When the ma­jor­ity of the 15 tubes I was hooked up to were re­moved, I started to shuf­fle around in my py­ja­mas, com­pres­sion socks and slip­pers.

Three months post­surgery, I be­gan jog­ging for a minute or two with a walk in-be­tween and built from there. Pound­ing the roads has given me the chance to re­flect on 2016 and the jour­ney that I am still on. One thing I’ve learned is that our sport runs so much deeper than race re­sults.

Run­ning the Lon­don Marathon is a way of show­ing I in­tend to keep liv­ing this life to the full and make the very most of my sec­ond chance at it. I won’t be look­ing at my watch con­stantly or pac­ing to achieve a time, but I will be think­ing about what chal­lenges other run­ners have gone through, and their rea­sons for be­ing there. Hope­fully, reach­ing the fin­ish line will give us all a greater sense of mean­ing and the strength to move on.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.