From chemo to Berlin Marathon – May Update

June 2, 2011

This Tuesday was 31st of May – one year since I was told I had cancer. I’m not sure what the “normal” way is to celebrate such anniversaries. I suppose it depends whether, like me, you have been lucky enough to kick cancer’s a** in the intervening year, or not. At any rate, I celebrated the day by running my first post-treatment race. It’s not like I haven’t been able to run races (I did in fact run a couple while I was in treatment), I just haven’t felt like it lately. All of a sudden, though, I got my racing mojo back and signed up for my local annual 5 km race, Rudersdalstaffet, with start and finish line about 50m from my front door (that’s me with #1016).  I was pleased with the result – 25:13. It’s a long way from last year’s result which earned me a second place and it’s also a long way from my 5 km personal record (22:54 from 2008) but it’s a mega improvement on just a few months ago!

Otherwise, on the surface of things, comparing this month’s stats with last suggests that it hasn’t been a great month running-wise, but I think that’s mostly I sign that I’ve been focused on other things, in particular my travelling at the beginning of the month. At 3300m (and hilly as hell), Cusco isn’t the ideal destination for runners unless you’re there for longer than I was as part of an altitude training programme! I did make one feeble and absolutely knackering attempt to run, which turned out to probably be my slowest run ever! Thereafter I decided to have a little break from running until I got to Washington DC, which, on the other hand is a great city for running in!

So here is the overview of 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  
May 2011 98 5:32  


So less mileage and slower than last month, but nonetheless  I think my fitness has improved – it looks like it if I compare the last week of April (23 km @ 5:26 min/km) and the last week of May 28km @ 5:23 min/km). And if we forget the stats and go by how I feel – I feel GREAT! I’m bubbling with energy and happiness and I love every minute I spend in my running shoes. It really doesn’t get much better than that!

Despite the fact that it is still almost 4 months until Berlin Marathon I have already raised 1,500kr for charity – thanks a billion to everyone who has made a donation (and if you haven’t and would like to you just click here. This month I was interviewed by a journalist from a Danish women’s magazine called Familie Journalen about my “running through chemo/training for Berlin” fundraising campaign, but I don’t yet know when it will be published. I will let you know when I do! If any of you have ideas or contacts that could lead to more publicity, then please let me know! The more attention I can get for the cause, the more money we can raise.

A related rather bizarre little story is that one of the Danish national newspapers ran an article last weekend about the phenomenon of women-only triathlons and chose to illustrate the article with the same photo of me that I have used on my fundraising campaign!  This photo was taken on the one and only occasion I took part in a triathlon which was in August 2009. Why they picked a photo of me out of all the thousands of photos of women participating in triathlons we will never know, but I guess I am flattered in some weird way! I almost feel obliged to sign up for an Ironman to prove I’m a real triathlete!


4 Responses to “From chemo to Berlin Marathon – May Update”

  1. Jo Stephenson Says:

    Well done Kirsten – so pleased to see you’re back racing. I’ve committed to running the last leg of The Round Norfolk Relay ( , 11.75 miles in Sept, a few weeks after finishing all my treatment. It’s certainly helping me focus on still getting out there to run. Sad to see my times are so bad now though, but your steady improvement on times is giving me something to look forward to.
    Keep it up!!!

    • Kirsten Says:

      Jo, I think it’s fantastic that you have set yourself a goal for after treatment – a good way to avoid the vacuum when it is over. And don’t worry about your times, you are a hero for running at all and you will get back after treatment (but if you are like me you won’t actually care that much any more!). The Norfolk Relay looks fantastic by the way! And I can see you won last year:-) Hope otherwise you are doing OK? Warm wishes, Kirsten

  2. Jo Says:

    Unfortunately the win was for the photography competition that they run with the event. Nothing to do with my running ability, all to do with standing still with the camera.

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