This is going to be my last blog post about my 2013 London Marathon adventure. It’s been emotional!
I started this blog because I wanted to capture the experience of running a marathon and fundraising for charity. I happen to have Ulcerative Colitis and Dilated Cardiomyopathy which (until now) I’d never really told anyone. I hoped that I’d raise awareness of the diseases that effect me and my family and in turn possibly help others suffering. I didn’t expect to have quite so many things to write about and would never have imagined the blog to be as popular as it has been. I have always hated the way that I write and have very little confidence in it but I would recommend blog writing to everyone, just jump in and do it!
I want to say one final massive Thank You!!! Thank you if you’ve sent me a nice message, sponsored me, asked me about the diseases, donated to the auction, cheered me along the marathon, cuddled me at the end of the marathon, hugged me when I’ve been upset or if you’re one of the thousands of people who’ve read my blog. I’ve never felt so supported in my whole life and I can’t believe the power of a blog!
The PR is still coming in and we’re hopefully going to be in some women’s magazines in the near future, so look out for us! I’m going to have a little break from silly exercise challenges and fundraising for a bit and work out how best to focus on the things I’m most passionate about when it comes to hearts: organ donation (opt out campaigning), heart screening of young people and research into turning heart disease around. I’ve enjoyed the blog so much that I’ll start a new blog soon, probably called ‘Lucy Lives Life’ – watch out for it on my social media.
Please don’t forget that when this blog’s long gone, there’ll still be young people dying of heart problems every week and there’ll be people dying while waiting for organs that are out there, just not on the donor list. Please continue to spread the word and use my family’s story as an example of how tragedy can be turned around simply by filling in an online form and telling your guardians. Today is Jack’s 3rd anniversary of his heart transplant and just writing that has made me burst into tears quite hysterically. You’ll never know how meaningful that silly organ card is until it happens to you, so please keep talking about it.
This week’s been a funny one. It’s the launch of a large project I’ve been working on for the past 4 months so I’ve been really busy at work. You may have seen it: Oxfam’s launched a partnership with Nectar. Clever! I’ve been working on the auction which is on Monday. We’ve got some amazing donations and the team I’m doing it with (Amy, Janine and Alan) have written and designed amazing promo materials (see poster below right). Then there’s the marathon…on Saturday Ben had his longest run and I cycled along side him giving him sports drinks, gels etc. Then mum and I walked 21 miles on Easter Monday along with my crazy friend Corinne who came along ‘for fun’. Finally there’s all of the press interviews I’ve been doing.
Our auction poster
The 21 mile walk was OK actually. It was freezing cold and stupidly windy but we got through it in 5 hours. We were proud of ourselves! Through the walk there were points where we were a little disheartened. For example when we’d walked 10 miles, 11, 12 and 13 seemed to go very slowly. I started to picture and talk about what we’d be seeing on the London marathon route at that point and how it’d be much better on the day. Secretly knowing that miles 13-18 are actually really quiet and we’ll probably get pretty bored. Anyway, we did it and we’re now confident that we can complete the marathon in 6.5-7 hours on the big day…which is less than 3 weeks away!
And the exciting news is that press teams are actually interested in my story! I had an interview with 2 newspapers this week and have another lined up for the end of the week. The first one was the Daily Mail in which I’ll feature next Tuesday. It’ll be an article covering heart conditions in young people with my story as the case study. I’m really pleased that such a large audience will read my story and hopefully understand more about heart conditions in young people and the need for organ donation sign ups. Today one of the local newspapers published my story online.
Thanks for all your support and sponsorship. It’s absolutely frickin’ amazing!
Another 10 miles run on Saturday and after last week’s 14 miler Benny and I are feeling like we can actually do this marathon. I’m please to report no chest pains or heart symptoms although the UC is making running and general day to day not so good. It seems that long distance running means I have a permanent flare up. I’m not giving up though. Through stitches, stomach cramps, blisters and needing the loo on our 10 miles this Sat we invented our team moto; Team Fenben: we don’t stop! And we didn’t.
Runs are getting so long now I’m getting bored of the music on my iPod. So I’ve started listening to a new album every run. It’s expensive but it works. I zone out and quickly get into my ‘plodding state’. That’s when I run so much that it becomes so natural just to keep putting one foot in front of the other and rock along. I’ve never meditated but I’d imagine it’s quite a similar feeling.
We’re at that midway point where running’s ok and the distances are bearable, we’re also getting faster. The next few weeks will start to get tough as we become exhausted by our training. I’m already waking up everyday with the dull ache in my legs knowing that I’m going to have to run again that evening. My list of reasons to be motivated is right by my bed!
Motivation always comes back to the fundraising and charities. This week I had 40 leather bags donated to me by a very generous high street retailer. I’m going to do a handbag sale at work and
hope to raise around £750. At the moment Oxfam could use the money we raise to buy blankets, stoves and hygiene kits for Syrian refugees who’ve fled war and are living in freezing refugee camps this bitter winter. Oxfam’s work is literally life saving for these people. Real refugee stories on the Oxfam website have inspired me to go out and run in the cold this week. The work is amazing.
This week’s been really interesting. I’ve learnt a lot about fundraising, networking and how Ben and I are going to be training together.
The great news is that we’ve had a few online sponsors (www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/fenben) from people that we don’t even know. It’s shown how talking to everyone about the challenge that we’re doing and the causes we’re raising money for really does work. Thanks to all those that have supported us to date.
My treasure map at work (previous blog post) isn’t going so well. It’s been there a week now and only 3 people have chosen a square. Outrage! However, tomorrow is Oxfam payday and I’m going to send a nice promotional email round. Fingers crossed for some more responses.
I’ve been on 2 training runs this week so far and even managed to fit one into my working day yesterday. It turns out that a cheeky 10k at 4pm then heading back into the office (in full lycra!) is a bit weird for my colleagues. Showing them blisters and other horrible parts of my feet didn’t go down too well either. I’ve learnt the boundaries now!
It looks like Ben and I will only be doing one run a week together which is probably for the best. That’ll be our weekend pace run. We did the first on Sunday and stuck to our marathon pace exactly (9 min miles) for 7 miles. We were really happy with that!
I’ve done some more work on my blog as well so please have a look around and read all about why Ben and I are challenging ourselves to this marathon.
I’m the running manager at Oxfam which means I’m meant to be a fundraising expert! The pressure’s on to hit my target on this one! There’s also the added pressure of caring an incredible amount about the charities I’m running … Continue reading →