Four 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 multiple half marathons under my belt (including one in a giant boob) and two pairs of trainers, 2016 was the year I tentatively started to call myself a (very, very slow) runner. It was the year I ran my first marathon. When I started out on this journey, I never thought I would talk openly about blisters, fluorescent lycra, achy bits and missing toenails. I never thought I would run 26.2 miles without stopping. And I certainly didn’t expect to run another one on my wedding day, after being the first couple to get married on the Cutty Sark before completing the London Marathon on 23 April 2017. 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. Exercise is my post-cancer life insurance policy. I am determined to keep going and make every step count - even if my legs have other ideas. Join me on my #Milesbetter2018 journey and help turn your exercise-related miles into smiles! Check back soon (and you can also find me blogging on smallboobsbigsmiles.com or www.thisdayforward.org/thoughtful-blog/, tweeting @Jackie8 or posting sweaty photos on creative888 instagram)
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