Delight (with an underlying bitterness)

August 24, 2011

Hurrah – on Sunday I completed my first half-marathon since I ran Broløbet last year on 11 June 2010 in a totally shell-shocked post-diagnosis but pre-treatment state. This time my mental state was definitely a lot better and supposedly my physical state too considering I had full-blown stage 2 cancer at that point and presumably I don’t at the moment. Frustrating then that it took me more than 14 minutes longer this time around, and that was me doing my best whereas for Broløbet I was taking it easy and enjoying the view. Compared to my personal best for half marathon (1:39:58) I was more than 21 minutes slower on Sunday – yep, you don’t need to be a arithmetical genius to figure out that that is a full minute slower per km.

Don’t get me wrong – I was overwhelmed that I finally managed to run a half-marathon, so much so that I burst into tears when I crossed the finish line. I’ve always loved half-marathons best out of all the racing distances and it felt great to be running it again. Plus it went well, I felt good and had no crises or strange pains or injuries underway. I just couldn’t run faster than I did. So it was a very mixed feeling. Delight at how far I’ve come since December, but with an underlying bitterness that I’m still not back to “normal” (hmm, delight with underlying bitterness sounds like a good chocolate – not that I’m fantasising about food or anything!).

For the lack of anything concrete to base it on, I think I probably imagined when I started out on my project Berlin Marathon at the beginning of the year that I would be back to something close to normal by now. How wrong I was! I wish at that point I had seen the information in the July 2011 issue of the US Runners’ World magazine which was dedicated to running and cancer (for those that are interested you can access the articles online here). Here I read that it is estimated that it normally takes about double the length of time you were in treatment to get back to post-cancer running form. For me we’re looking at spring 2012 then – still a long way off. I do try to be positive (and I think I am most of the time) but I can’t help but get angry about how that “healing” process totally devastated my body.

I’m still glad I started out on this mad marathon-running project though, even though it’s proving a lot tougher than I imagined. I believe that having Berlin as a goal has got me back on my feet much faster than I otherwise would have. However on Sunday I realised that I’m just not going to be satisfied when I complete the marathon, just as I wasn’t at completing the half-marathon. I’m going to be overwhelmed, and delighted and happy for sure, but I won’t be satisfied until I’m back in something like the form I was in before those Hodgkins nasties decided to invade.

Actually as a runner I probably won’t even be satisfied then, but at least that will be a normal kind of dissatisfaction!

Oh, and you might consider this an opportune moment to cheer me up by donating to my cause! http://www.betternow.org/projectskirstenejlskov

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2 Responses to “Delight (with an underlying bitterness)”

  1. Jo Stephenson Says:

    Huge congratulations on your Half Marathon. A brilliant achievement so soon.

    I’ve decided that rather than going out to get new PB’s I shall be going for PC’s for a while – Post Chemo’s. In other words a clean sheet where any time better than a PC will be a cause for celebration. So congratulations on your new PC.

    Thanks for pointing the Runners World article out to me, which I read last night. It’s helped reset my unrealistic expectations.

    • Kirsten Says:

      I love the PC idea – think I’ll gof that too! You should read all the Runners World articles there are some really inspiring stories there too!

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