Determination: My Strength and My Downfall

I never really thought of myself as determined until my cancer diagnosis. I have discovered that I am, well, quite stubborn and pig-headed when I decide to do something, even if it’s detrimental to myself. I’m not really competitive against others - I can’t be. My life is so different in so many ways, it’s fruitless to do that. Going back to University full time for 4 years when I was nearly 25 has put me in some ways, nearly 10 years ‘behind’ in my career compared to friends and family. My business is only 3 years old. Comparing that to peers who are directors of companies would be really stupid.

The London marathon was in April. I’ve done it twice. Both times since my diagnosis. I didn’t really exercise before cancer. But I found running. Well. I stupidly agreed to do a half marathon in 2009 and hadn’t done any proper exercise since I was a young teen - bad knees at school meant I was signed off sport from the age of 14 in 1999. I had brief dalliances with the gym in my late teens when my knees were much better, but nothing long standing.

The jogging bug

So a half marathon in 2009 and I got the running, well jogging, bug. Obviously, this meant doing the London marathon in 2012. Which I loved. As a first-year student, the training fit in easily. I loved it. I still had a social life. And the marathon itself was amazing. I felt so proud. I didn’t get the time I wanted, which was annoying. I did it in 5 hours 13. But for a first time, I was happy. So, decided to do it again. To get a better time. Because I compete against myself. All the time.

A place for 2015 but I had to defer. Fatigue was awful. When marathon training was meant to start, I was in my final year of my degree which was hell. I had no social life. I was in the library for 11 or 12 hours a day. I saw no one. I did nothing other than sleep and study. 2016 was the year to do it.

And I did. And it was horrific. Chronic fatigue was awful from the chemotherapy I was on. Setting up a business is really hard. It’s even harder when no one knows what you do. I’m a Naturopath by the way. Not really known about in the UK. But, I had said I was going to do it. So I did. And it ruined me. Emotionally. Physically. I was miserable for months during training. Everyone told me to drop out. But, I had been sponsored. I was doing it for charity. I was going to do it.

And I did. With a cough and a damaged knee, as I had fallen over the pavement on my last long run. I couldn’t walk for a week.

But I did it.

Disappointment instead of pride

And I feel so sad that I didn’t get a better time. I beat my first time by just over 15 minutes. If I had been 15 minutes faster, I would be ok. I wanted 4 and a half hours and did it in 4 hours 57. If I had done it in 4 hours 45 I would be ok.

But I’m not.

I’m so disappointed with myself for not doing better. If I hadn’t had a cough. Coughing for 26.2 miles is exhausting. And my knee really hurt from mile 12.

I know I should be proud that I did it when others wouldn’t.

This determination I have can have its downsides. But it’s also what gets me out of bed every day. It keeps me going. It means I don’t give in. It makes me, me. And that can’t be a bad thing. Right?!

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