Northern Mummy

General thoughts and wittering about all sorts of things

Time to SHINE

on January 16, 2011

This post is entirely unrelated to cooking, reading and singing (well, almost – I did do a bit of singing during it!!) but I thought it would be useful to blog about a new project I have taken up this year, to train for the SHINE night time walk for Cancer Research UK. The one I have registered for is in Manchester on 1st May 2011 but there are also others taking place later in the year in Glasgow and London (see the website for more details).

Over the past few years I have taken part in various fundraising events for CRUK.  I began Race for Life, a 5km run for women, in 2007, after I walked into my local Tesco and saw a poster by the door proclaiming that everyone has a reason to take part.  At the time my Mum had recently been diagnosed with cancer, at first thought to be ovarian and then pronounced to be of the bowel and I immediately realised that this was something I wanted to do.  Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not a natural athlete, so the 5k was a real challenge.  I followed the training schedule on the website and managed to run the whole thing that year.  The following year I entered again but various changes in our circumstances meant that I didn’t really have time to train.  In addition my elder daughter, then aged 5, wanted to do it with me so I decided to walk the course so that I could stay with her.

Early the following year my Mum lost her fight and several members of my family decided to make that year (2009) a particularly big effort for fundraising.  My sister was doing a night-time walk in aid of the East Lancs Hospice where Mum had spent some time and my brother-in-law and Dad were both doing Great Runs – my brother-in-law’s the Manchester 10k and Dad’s the Great North Run – so I wanted to do something a bit more significant than walking 5k which I didn’t feel was very demanding.  I realised I didn’t have time to train to run again (I’d also found the first time round that I don’t like it much and it doesn’t really agree with me health-wise) but I was doing a fair amount of walking in my daily life, so I decided on a walk.  Not finding anything convenient in terms of organised charity walks I then registered with CRUK to do a half-marathon along the Northumberland Coast between Warkworth and Craster.  I really enjoyed that, although the weather had been very wet and I ended up with bleeding feet from all the wet sand by the time I got to my destination, and I felt it was something I’d like to do again in future, so when I saw SHINE advertised I knew it was for me.  I didn’t find out about it in time last year but put my name down as soon as I could for this year’s, and here I am.

So – the training schedule is for 12 weeks and the event is in 15 weeks’ time… I hadn’t actually worked this out until just now and didn’t realise how long I had!  However, the first 3 weeks are preparation weeks where you aim to walk 2-3 miles every day.  I know I won’t be able to manage this every day due to my schedule so if I spend 5-6 weeks doing it whenever I can, that will put me about right, I would have thought.  Today I had a book to take back to the library which is just over a mile away, so I walked there and back (about 2.3) miles.  It took me 40 minutes – not brilliant but I have got short legs!

To finish I’d just like to say a bit about Cancer Research UK.  Some people wonder why I continue to support them now that Mum has died.  My sister supports the hospice and we all do continue to support Macmillan whose nurses were such a huge support during Mum’s illness and whose online community was a comfort to me in the aftermath of her death.   But I know that CRUK represents all the research into cancer treatment which meant that, although Mum eventually did die, we had so much longer with her than we would have done if she had gone without treatment.  The ongoing work also means that many future cancer patients will have the hope of a cure and that a cancer diagnosis won’t be the death sentence that it once was.  There are many, many organisations who represent this research into individual cancers (breast cancer, in particular, gets a lot of attention) but in my mind CRUK is a kind of summary charity and one which I will continue to support.  If you’d like to sponsor me, visit my Justgiving page.

(By the way, if you’re still wondering, the singing involved was joining in to my MP3 player as I walked along!  I made a complete fool of myself as I neared home and skipped over the road, singing along to the Boo Radleys without noticing that the neighbour’s son was having a smoke outside!)

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