Once the antibiotics had worn off I was up for eating but it still hurt mystomach to do so for about a month from leaving hospital. After 2 - 3 weeks it was starting to hurt less and I was able to start eating a bit more at mealtimes and not having to eat little and often more regularlythroughout the day.
About 2 weeks after coming home there was a running race happening in Petworth Park for the first time. My Dad was doing the half marathon and Nicky and our friend Jules came and did it too. My best friend Ben came down from London and sat around with me as we watched all the other race distances (10k, 5k and kids 1k) going off including the Canicross (racing with your dog). This was a really good day and so nice to be at a running event again as everyone is always sohappy, positive and having fun. It was nice to hang out with Ben and have a laugh all day and probably good for the others to do somethingwith me that wasn’t just sitting by my bedside in a hospital! Ha!
Jules and I met during the Lakeland 100 one year, doing the last 80 or so miles together. We don’t see each other that much but there is sucha bond through experiencing that together and we always have a lot offun. He’s always called us the A-Team from that day so he had managed to get a Mr T outfit to wear for the race!
This day helped me a lot by changing the routine I was in at home, getting out and doing something different and helping motivate and inspire to get better and do things like this again.
I was getting stronger on the walks in the park and going a lot faster and doing some hill repeats too. There are lots of small but steep hills in Petworth Park so I started to use those a lot in there, uphill for fitness and downhill to get some strength into my legs again. My calves and quads would get so tight from just this little amount of use. Every evening Mum and Dad would give them a quick rub as well as myback to ease them off. Its interesting, I don’t know if it was just basically because the muscles were so small they were actually being stressed quite a bit or because the levels of lactic and other chemicals in the blood were so all over the place.
I upped the mileage a little bit in the park but once around the edge is about 4 miles so didn’t really bother doing much more than that. I hadsome more appointments at the hospital and once or twice used this opportunity to walk the 13 miles from Chichester along the Canal to Chichester Harbour and out to West Witterings. This is the route from Chi that Nicky and I run when we go out for a big day and run from home down to the sea to the family institution of The Boulevard, one ofthe best restaurant / cafe places we’ve ever found and a family intitution for years! Normally Niko and I run all the way there which is about 34 miles through loads of really nice villages, over the downs, along the Roman Road into Chichester etc, to get an appetite for a ridiculous amount of food that comes as standard in there!
So walking down there after the hospital for an early dinner was all part of the rebuilding!
In mid June I came back down to Cornwall for the first time again over a long weekend to support Nicky running the Classic Quarter. We weresupposed to have been in the Alps running UTMB staying in the mountain huts enroute with a friend on this weekend, but that was all canceled while I was still in hospital. So Nicky had entered the quarter last minute, we both love this race! It passes about 4 miles from our house in Helston and over the years the weather has been idyllic for it sometimes, and to be running along the coast for 44 miles in the sun with your top off, going along good paths and finishing at Lands End isreally good. Its also how Nicky and I met in 2009, running together fora few miles around Kynance Cove and Mullion (me topless, holding it all in and flexing whenever I could, Nicky generally being in awe ;-) )
I got down on the Thursday and it was nice to be home. I didn’t do much just took it easy and hit some coffee places on the Friday. Mum and Dad had brought me down and so on the Saturday we followed the race. We went to Porthleven at about 8am and it was brilliant to see some good running friends also there to cheer people on. I’d messaged a few friends so I knew if some of them were running or not and it was really good to chat with them as we waited and then say hello to other friends as they came through, all of which I hadn’t seen for a few months but who had been very supportive during that time.
Then we moved on to Perranuthnoe which is roughly halfway at 22 miles, this is always a big checkpoint as people swap their teams and re-supply here so there were lots of people to say hello to again. It was brilliant to see so many friendly faces and chat to them again, good friends and people I don’t know so well all came up to me and said hello and how pleased they were to see me. It was really nice and really good fun but often nearly quite emotional!
Driving out of Perranuthnoe was an absolute nightmare! We were stuck there for nearly an hour as there were so many people trying to get in and out and there were so many cars parked on the roadside. We missed Nicky at Lamorna where we would have seen her next so went round to catch her somewhere else.
Some more friends Fliss and PJ had found us by then as they had very kindly driven all the way from Falmouth to say hello and give Niko a cheer! She even got a 'strictly' style spin round from PJ at the top of the steps coming down into the cove we were in which sped her up a bit!
Nicky hadn’t really been running over the last few months before the quarter as she was working a lot and coming up to Sussex in her free time. She wanted to do it but after a few miles it was obvious she was just going to have to trudge it out really and keep going. Her mental fortitude had been used up over the last few months and it was a hard-ish day for her. But she still looked strong and I think did really well to do it after just about zero running beforehand and do the whole thing, especially in about 8.30 -8.45 or so. It was even more impressive to see her afterwards during that evening and not be tired, but also the next morning when her legs were absolutely fine and not really stiff or hurting!
It was good to see everyone that had ran once we got to Lands End and chat with friends that had been running it that I hadn’t been able to catch up with before. One of them, Duncan had finished 3rd I think and Adam had raised LOADS of money for charity by finishing the racehe’d had a bad time on the year before.
Spending time with others that I hadn’t seen so much of for a while were some of the most positive and memorable times from the weekend. Everyone made it such a happy and positive weekend that was really nice to have and helped a lot with motivation, I had it beforebut this helped a lot.
The next week I saw the Oncologist on the Monday and started chemo on Thursday. Going to the hospital to see him and talk about the situation, and the upcoming treatment for the next 6 months I thought I’d choose a T-shirt that would let people know I’m not always weak, ill and at the mercy of fate...