You're probably thinking that was a marathon, or some other spectacular feat of human endurance, right? Wrong. It was a paltry 5k. But, for me, running that first 5k was one of the biggest achievements of my life. I am not co-ordinated or sporty, at all. The only sport I can engage in with any level of competence is skiing, and that's only because my dad bought me my first pair of Mickey Mouse skis when I was two so I had a head-start. My whole life I had been told, and I had believed, that sport, or just exercise really, was simply not my thing. And that was ok, because I was clever, and musical, and arty, and you can't be good at everything. I was embarrassed by my own unfitness, I couldn't even run for the bus, and so I avoided anything that might expose this flaw, this failing.
All of which is a long-winded way of saying, you might have noticed a new button on the right-hand side of this page. This year, as I've mentioned already, I'm taking it a (small) step further and running as part of a relay team in the Edinburgh Marathon on 22 May. My leg is only (only!) 5.4 miles, or just under 9k. The charity we're running for is Breast Cancer Care, which provides free practical and emotional support to people affected by breast cancer. They have information resources and helplines, they run workshops, they promote awareness (including Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day - woohoo, fun times) and they have a forum where people can share their stories and fears with other people in the same boat (the Secondaries: Inspiring news and stories section is a particular favourite of mine. I avoid the End of Life forum though. No thanks).
I want to make it very, VERY clear that I do not AT ALL expect readers of this blog to sponsor me. However, I know that some of my "real-life" family and friends read this (hi family and friends!) and I will be pestering them for support. I want to make it as easy as possible for them to donate, so I have put the link to our JustGiving page up here primarily for that reason. Clearly, if anyone else does want to contribute, well, obviously that would be incredible and I'm not saying you *can't* sponsor me if that is something you feel you would like to do. I do want to raise as much money as I can for a charity that has directly supported me and made me feel a little bit less bewildered and alone. But please, please, please do not feel that you have to sponsor me. This blog is not about taking money from you, whether for charity or otherwise (well, apart from the 27p).
And if there is someone close to you who has or has had breast cancer, please let me know (either in the comments or by email) and I will write their name on my back, and keep them in my thoughts, on race day. Because it is not just about my mum (although her name will, of course, be the biggest!). It is about Julie, and Sophie, and every single person who is fighting this disease. Whenever I am out running and start to feel tired, or in pain, and I want to stop, I always think about the painful, exhausting, de-humanising treatment that people with cancer endure just to stay alive.