This morning my lovely furry alarm clock, Mogs, decided that I needed to be up at 7am. Any other day this week I’d have pretty much welcomed that but not today, it’s been a bit of a hectic week, I’ve been in Devon and London, been in hospital for myself and then also been in for my Grandad, today I really could have done with a lie in.
However, I’m always looking for a silver lining to my clouds and rather bizarrely I found it this morning in the shape of the #24hrtweetathon that was going on over on twitter. The #24hrtweet was brought to my attention by the lovely @martinhowitt who until this moment I always associated with getting up early (he is one of the few voices regularly found on twitter before 7am) and with eating frogs…in the metaphorical sense. From this day onwards Martin and a number of other fantastic souls, namely @DangerousMkting @cosmicjulie @rokkster @ChrisPenberthy and of course a dog @3daxs will take up the shape of a new mental image for me.
They have all been tweeting for the last 24hours to raise awareness of three local westcountry charities, St Loyes Foundation @stloyes who support people to get into work and become financially and socially independent; Headway Devon @headwaydevon who provide support to children and adults who have acquired a brain injury; and Hospiscare Devon @hospiscare who provide support and care to people at the end of life. The #24hrtweet was organised and run on a rota basis, you can see the fabulous people who deserve to take a bow for organising and bringing people into the mix on the timetable here. I just joined in with some waffle and banter for the past hour, I hadn’t picked up on the fact it was happening before (my bad as I’ve been very loosely engaging with twitter lately – shock horror) but I thought I’d scribble this blog post by way of explanation for anyone in my twitterstream who wonders what it was about…although most of them aren’t likely to surface much before midday
I believe the success of the #24hrtweet will be measured in raised awareness and new followers or contacts. I’m sure they’ve done a great job. For me there is a ripple effect, earlier this year my mate Dan died in Propsect Hospice in Swindon, you can read about our fundraising efforts and a little about his story here. As those of you who read this regularly will also know my Dad is terminally ill with cancer. At the moment Dad is still outwardly fine, he decided not to have any chemo yet this time, had his bloods and scan done this week and will meet his consultant again this week. He has also been referred to the palliative care team at Rowcroft, our local hospice.
So the thing about the #24hrtweet is I probably wont follow these amazing people or the charities they support (I’m trying to keep my follower numbers really low at the mo to cut out information overload) but I will check in on them occasionally and more importantly when the time comes, and my family are making use of the amazing care and support I confidently know that we can rely on from our local hospice I’ll sit there and know I’m not alone. Since I joined twitter (over two years ago) I’ve spent many an hour in hospital or hospices chatting on twitter or thinking about conversations or people I’ve met on twitter. After today there are new people added to that mental map of support and I thank you all.
None of us know when we’re likely to need the support of charities like St Loyes, Headway or Hospiscare but I’m bloody sure that if or when you do you’ll be thankful for the support they provide….and the efforts the #24hrtweeters have made to raising awareness, and hopefully in time funds, to support that is amazing. Thank you all.
This time last week I was getting ready to head to Cardiff for my first Half Marathon and was completely and utterly bricking it. Even though it’s taken a week for me to find time to update this blog I did survive, and better still (with a little dose of hindsight) I think I enjoyed it. I completed the course in 2hrs 14mins which I was truly delighted with as I’d not trained enough and thought it would take me much longer.
So I was happily floating around on a bubble of self-congratulatory delight all week, until someone came along with a big fat pin and burst it. It turns out that the race organisers had to re-route the course and it was 0.12miles short of the 13.1miles it should have been. They issued a statement of apology and have been taking some serious flack about it. I was gutted at first but then thought actually this is probably quite unique, how many people get to say they ran an official almost half-marathon, who knows maybe it’ll take off. Either way I suspect in the fullness of time it might bug me enough to motivate me to do it again, or find another course and try to run an actual half marathon.
A while ago I talked about how difficult it is to support people in these situations. However this weekend I realised even more how important those supporters are, and if done well, how much they can contribute to your own success. First up has to be @fergusbisset who had an unfailing belief in my ability to haul myself around that course, we had run together a few times and I felt that he would have a good enough idea but I’m still not sure I really believed it myself until I crossed the finish line…he was like a virtual monkey on my shoulder all the way round though. As in most areas of life it is much easier to believe in your own ability if someone else believe’s it too. I also am completely indebted to @amcunningham and her husband Chris, who provided dinner, company, wit, debate and a 150% distraction the night before – it was a real shame that there was a run to be done as we had to break the fun up shortly after midnight! I’d never met Anne Marie in real life before and her generosity and humour and fun spirit was also with me around that course….together with the threat that she might be stood at the side with a camera! I should also thank @ekennedy229 who was the original inspiration and who I cursed routinely throughout the 13miles.
I’d also like to thank all the random strangers along the route. If anyone is interested in running a half-marathon then I’d definitely recommend Cardiff – Welsh people are so completely and utterly genuine (sweeping statement alert I know), there were old people standing clapping in their bedroom windows; kids with brilliant banners – one of my favourites was ‘not far to go now mummy and then you can make us our dinner’ at about 9miles, but there were lots along the way; an old guy stood on the street corner waving his stick (I did wonder whether he was waving in fury because he wanted to cross the road but I don’t think so); lots of smiley Policemen; and lots of people lining the route who were obviously there to support an individual but who clapped and encouraged so many of us. I’ve supported a few people at different races and I often feel a little self-conscious as I utter words of encouragement at random strangers – never again, it made such a difference to me and I will now proudly utter encouragements at anyone who is putting themselves through their paces.
So there we have it, I’ve completed my first Not Quite Half Marathon and haven’t been put off for life. More to the point I’d definitely recommend it to each and every one of you
This weekend I’ll be attempting to complete the Cardiff Half Marathon. I signed up to this in a fit of enthusiasm and naive optimism back in May, in no small part due to Erin’s account of her marathon. At the time I commented that:
Ha ha ha, how I chuckle as I read that now. I am still 100% certain it’s a mental battle, however I seem to have believed my own hype a little too much and stopped training far too prematurely. In fact if I’m honest I’ve never really got into training this year…although I’ve made an olympic standard effort at Carb loading for the past month!
No seriously, I’ve not been out anywhere near as much as I’d have liked to. I don’t feel as prepared as I would have liked to. I am still adding to the list of excuses for not running on a daily basis – and still well aware that they’re excuses and nothing more.
On Sunday I’ll join 10,999 other people to stumble around Cardiff. I’m confident I’ll be fine for the first 5 or 6 miles (as long as I don’t get sucked into running too fast to start with) and I’m sure adrenalin will carry me for the past 2 so it’s only the middle 5 miles that I really need to worry about! I figure at worse I’ll walk it. This is a battle with myself, no one else. I am truly grateful that I am able to run/jog/walk it and I’m just hoping that the urge I felt to run when we did the walk in memory of my mate Dan, will re-emerge at the critical time.
A few people have been asking if I’m running for charity. I’m not this time. I’ve done a few sponsored events in the past year or so and am conscious that I don’t want to keep asking the same people for support. Instead I’ll keep cancer as my motivator, it can sit smugly on my shoulder and when I’m doubting whether I’ll complete it I’ll remind myself of how lucky I am to have the chance to do so. I’ll raise funds another day, this time it’s between me, my head and the tarmac. Wish me luck!
Tonight I started a new blog, www.acknowledgers.wordpress.com as a way of sharing some love for acknowledgements pages! As a student I spent many hours reading other people’s acknowledgements pages in a desperate attempt to provide a light diversion from the task in hand and also as a reminder that I had some opportunity to express myself, outwith the rules and regulations of academic writing.
The plan for the blog is that it will provide an opportunity for people to share their pages, or to write one if they haven’t had any cause to do so to date. To kick things off I’ve included my own, rather embarrassingly sentimental page (I was *extremely* tired, stressed and emotional by the time I finally got that far) #dontjudgeme which you can read here. If you’d like to know more about the thinking behind the blog the about page is here.
Please spread the word and let me know if you have anything you’d like acknowledged. For now I’ll leave you with a quote I borrowed from TSElliot.
“We shall not cease from exploration
and the end of our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time” T.S.Elliot, Little Gidding