Monthly Archives: July 2017

A Tale of Two Cities

“My life has been full of terrible misfortunes…..most of which never happened”

I am 50, with MS, a tumour and moderate to severe clinical depression. But I run. A lot. Sometimes I have to run with the dogs. Sometimes I run for other people. Now and then I get to run for me. Those times are precious and can take on meaningless significance. Meaningless to anyone but me.

I am driven by the fear that tomorrow will be different. That my body will fail or my mind will break. It creates quite a focus considering in most ways I am lucky. My MS seems to be of the ‘diet’ variety. My tumour, the wonderful Nigel, sleeps. And the dogs can be run off, scared away. They are just dogs. But the fear remains and it is the fear that causes more damage than all my co-morbidities.

When I run for me the focus changes if I am lucky. And I was lucky in Leeds a couple of weeks ago. The Woodhouse Moor Parkrun, the first to be formed outside London, was a wonderfully friendly affair. Almost 400 people, my atheist church, came to worship. People came from as far as Dubai and the run was perfect. With that many people I found my rhythm within a few hundred metres.

For non runners that will be meaningless. For those that do, you will know what I mean, that perfect balance between pace, breathing and heart rate. It’s when running is a joy. When all you can do is run. By accident I went so fast I got my first ever sub 20 minute parkrun, stayed for the Red Welly Relay (you will have to look it up) and walked back to my hotel before heading off to York for this year’s Sprint Triathlon.

Readers of this blog know I have an affection and history with York. However from the overpacked train (York has a busy horserace track and it was a race day), to the slow puncture (thank you Fulford Cycles for fixing it), to the botched room at the inn it seemed nothing was quite going to work. It’s a beautiful place full of happy memories but, once again, I failed to hit the 69 minute target to finish the triathlon. Last year I had the excuse that I couldn’t find the bike in the transition area (twat). This year I was just….preoccupied. Once again I failed.

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The journey home didn’t help. I lost my kit bag which had huge sentimental value for me. It was my Dad’s who died a while back. And I had another course of steroids to start on the Monday after. From the high of Leeds, the events in York were…hard.

But that quote at the beginning, from the French essayist Michel de Montaigne, is the only way to focus on life. It’s shit but then there is Barcelona. Tale of Three Cities then 🙂

See you all on the starting line at Selva de Mar in October.