Beat cancer, now runs and smiles through life
Three years ago, I wouldn't have been seen dead in a running vest.
Now, I have nothing against running vests - although they are a bit itchy and provide very little cover - but when you have a hip full of metal from major pelvic reconstruction surgery, they're not usually a wardrobe essential.
So, quite why I decided to pick up a pair of trainers during chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment in 2014 is a fact that continues to baffle me - and anyone who happens to know the pre-cancer version of me.
I was a non-runner who did her first ever 10k race (or, more specifically her own distinct brand of jog/walking) just days before her last chemo (with no hair and a training plan few would endorse) at the age of 32.
I survived, so I did another one to celebrate the end of active treatment (although I think my friends would have preferred it if we had just gone to the pub).
With three half marathons and a marathon under my belt (including one in a giant boob) and two pairs of trainers, I think I can now dare to call myself a (very, very slow) runner.
I know a hip full of metal, superglued stomach and tummy-fat filled right breast (from mastectomy surgery), oh, and asthma, do not the best running companions make. I know that my next run could be my last. I have been told - on more than one occasion - to find another hobby before I break myself completely.
But, when I'm running, I have everything to smile about. I am constantly reminded how beautiful life - and its little details - really are and I certainly didn't beat a life-threatening illness just to play it safe.
I am determined to keep going - even if my legs have other ideas.
That's why 2017 is all about making every step count. At 7.30am on London Marathon morning, my partner and I will be getting married on the Cutty Sark before running for our lives (and then trekking the Great Wall of China for our honeymoon). I know if I can make the starting line, I will make the finish. But, for me, making the starting line is the hardest bit.
The next six months will test me to the limit, but I am focused on enjoying the journey - and accepting the pain. I hope, by following this blog, you too, can enjoy that journey - and the blisters, fluorescent lycra, achy bits and missing toenails that are coming along for the ride.
Check back soon (and you can also find me on my cancer blog smallboobsbigsmiles.com or health and happiness blog thisdayforward.org) to see whether I make it to the finish line and beyond (and whether I ended up married)...