From chemo to Berlin Marathon – April Update

April 29, 2011

April has been a great month for running! I seem to have successfully defeated the injury that plagued me in March and I’ve been able to see a measurable improvement from week to week which is really motivating. For the first time since I started cancer treatment I haven’t felt like I have just been hanging in there, but have been feeling great and able to really push myself. It’s a great circle to be in, because the more I push myself, the  more I improve, the more I improve, the more motivated I become, the motivation gives me more energy which allows me to push myself more and so on! All in all it is much more fun.

The focus this month has been on picking up my speed rather than running long distances – my runs haven’t been more than about 8km max, but I’ve been doing a lot of intervals and fartleg which I love. Particularly the intervals! And it works, as you will see in my progress table below. I’ve been running 4 times a week as well as hitting the gym 2-3 times a week for weight training and sessions on the cross trainer.

My biggest challenge has been the sun! Normally I love the sun and we’ve been having a surprisingly sunny April here this year. However I’m supposed to avoid sun on the areas where I had radiotherapy, which in my case is my entire upper body from chest to chin. It is a bit of a challenge running in the sun without getting sun on your neck and throat and I’m still trying to figure it out. So far I’m slathering on the factor 30 and wearing a buff round my neck but it isn’t ideal as the buff slides down and doesn’t really cover my neck/throat as high up as I really need. If anyone has any suggestions here, I’m very open to good ideas!

It’s now less than 5 months to Berlin Marathon, but I am starting to feel more optimistic that not only will I be able to complete the marathon, but it might be a half-way decent time. A new Personal Record still seems out of reach, but I haven’t entirely given up hope – particularly if I keep on improving the way I have been! Here is a summary if my progress to date:

Month #km Average pace min/km Comments
April 2010 132 5:07 Typical month pre-cancer treatment
October 2010 88 5:54 Last chemo on 18 Oct.
November 2010 100 5:46 First radiotherapy 15 Nov
December 2010 49 6:08 Last radiotherapy 8 Dec
January 2011 100 5:53  
February 2011 103 5:44  
March 2011 47 5:43 Injured!
April 2011 113 5:27 🙂

 It would also be really motivating for me if you felt like donating to my campaign to raise money for the Danish Cancer Society (Kræftens Bekæmpelse)! Just click here: http://uk.betternow.org/projects/kirstenejlskov

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