Cowpats, fences and stinging nettles

Time has been a bit stretched the last few months. I’ve mostly been sat down – in the car, at my desk or at a hospital. A short while ago we had the conversation you all dread to hear. Cancer. My mum has been diagnosed with cancer. Before you can process it, you are knee deep in words, hospital appointments and working out what on earth half the acronyms mean.

This isn’t a post about being sad, upset or angry. Cancer is part of our lives and there is no avoiding it. People you know and love have it, there are races created to raise money for research and adverts flood our screens about it. Nothing quite prepares you for when you are told your loved one has it but we must stay positive and plod on. We must. We can’t just sit there and hope it’ll go away. Of course there are tears and emotions and we’ve all had (and continue to) have moments of sadness and anger. We are only human, after all.

Mum at Brighton Hospital. Spoiling her with strawberries and cream!

Mum at Brighton Hospital. Spoiling her with strawberries and cream!

My mum is doing well. She’s had two operations and she is currently being looked after by the good folk at Brighton Hospital. She is now at a stage where she has to recover before the Radiotherapy starts.

We know it will be a long journey but my mum is a pretty amazing woman.

After her first operation, she was up and about in no time – we were joking around, heading out for little walks (or waddles!) and she was determined to finish off her college work before the summer break. Cancer wasn’t going to stop her! And it didn’t, she finished, submitted and passed.

This is in no way a sob story, and I wouldn’t change a thing but I have neglected my own running and fitness as a result. I feel a little heavier, a little less fit and with each day thats passes the thought of running again seems harder and harder. I was talking to a friend and he reminded me that, when looking after others, you have to look after yourself too.

Today was the day – I got back out and went for a run.

4 miles around the fields, avoiding cowpats and climbing over fences. The hills almost killed me! I knew it would be a tough run, more mentally (“I can’t do this”) than physically but in the back of my mind, I knew my legs would remember what to do. And they did. It wasn’t easy but it was fun and I enjoyed it.

Most importantly, it reminded me what a great mental healer exercise can be.

When you stop moving, exercising and eating well you can easily full into a cycle that makes the thought of starting a challenge in itself. It is very hard to find something else that can allow your mind the chance to switch off or focus, whilst doing good things to your body. Running does that for me. If I am tired, it gives me a lift. Stressed, it mellows me out. Emotional, it gives me a chance to refocus.

Here it is, in writing. The start of a journey of running again so that I can feel better, be more positive for my mum and we can get through the next few months both making exciting plans for the future.


  1. Annette Atkins
    26th July 2016 / 00:31

    Very well put, Emily.
    I know only too well some of those feelings that can overwhelm you at times.
    It’s so important to take care of you while you’re supporting mum…..good on you for making yourself run again.
    That must have been hard.

  2. 26th July 2016 / 09:22

    I came across your blog via runningblogs on Twitter. I just wanted to say I hope your Mum is ok

    • 26th July 2016 / 09:25

      Thank you Rebecca, she’s okay (albeit bored of the hospital bed!) it’s just a long, slow journey from here.

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