The Blog

Why You Shouldn't Let Anyone Stop You #MovingForward In Life

I started running because I wanted to show cancer that it could take a lot of things - my hair, my right boob, my tummy fat (to create the new boob) and my dignity - but it would never take my smile.

I'd like to dedicate this post to the three people in Greenwich Park who thought it was ok to laugh, point and imitate my running style when I hit mile three over the weekend.

It was because of them that I kept going at mile eight when I thought my knee was about to give way. It was because of them that I picked up another energy drink at mile 13 to help me go that little bit further. And, it was because of them that I completed my longest run ever.

Their insensitivity pushed me one step closer to that London Marathon starting line. And I couldn't be more grateful.

I resisted the urge to cover them in my energy drink and instead ran 21 miles up and down the Thames because I wanted to be stronger than the people trying to knock me down in life.

I get why they did it. I really do. On the face of it, I'm a non-runner with sticky-up hair and a rather odd running action.

But what disappoints me - and other people who are so quick to judge without even trying to walk a while in another's shoes - is that they wanted to mock me just for getting out there and giving it a go.

Yes, they could see where I was going that day. But what they didn't know, was just how far I've come.

I'm proud of my sticky-up hair (when you've been bald through chemo, any hair really is a blessing). I'm proud of my right foot that turns in (hip dysplasia makes me grateful for every step without pain). I'm proud of my dodgy gait (something to do with all that metal in my left hip). I'm proud of my odd right arm action (got to keep it moving to avoid lymphoedema - a permanent swelling that is linked to surgery for breast cancer). I'm proud of my 21 miles, because a week ago I was in so much pain, it was hard to run down the road.

And I'm proud to be out there running for my life because, two years ago, cancer was trying to take that life away.

I didn't start running during chemo because I thought it would be easy. I chose it because it would challenge me more than any other exercise.

I didn't start running because I thought I'd actually be good at it. I think it is fair to say I'm not a natural runner.

I started running because I wanted to show cancer that it could take a lot of things - my hair, my right boob, my tummy fat (to create the new boob) and my dignity - but it would never take my smile.

I started running because I needed to get out into the fresh air, feel the sun on my face, enjoy life's details and keep moving forward in life.

And, from that very first step less than two years ago, move forward is exactly what I've done.

Running puts me in control of my body, my happiness and my health. Running connects me with amazing people. Running helps me support charities such as Breast Cancer Care and actually change the lives of those affected by breast cancer. Running makes me feel alive. So it will take more than a girl and two boys to stop me running in my awkward way.

That day, when someone thought I couldn't or I shouldn't, I showed the world I could.

And that is what I want for each and every one of you reading this blog and following my journey.

I write about running not because I want to congratulate myself for keeping going. I write about running because I want to inspire people to find something that will help them move forward in life.

I love nothing more than receiving an email or comment from a friend or stranger who got back into their trainers because they wanted to get some space, forget about work or the stresses of life, find a way to escape their grief and be a person not just a parent.

Exercise (whatever that means to you) can mean so much to so many people and I don't believe anyone should feel embarrassed as they try to take steps to change their lives.

We don't all have to run marathons. We don't all have to push our bodies to the limit. But, by making small changes in our lives (taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking on the escalator and even getting off one stop further away from home) we can all find a way back to ourselves.

So, why not join me and my sticky-up hair and see just how far exercise can take you? Let's show the people in life who want to put us down, make us feel small and force us to question our abilities that we can do anything with a little bit of luck and a lot of determination.

The hardest part is taking the first step.

My mission is to get the nation #movingforward. If I can do it with my dodgy legs, cancer-scarred body and pneumonia-scarred lungs, so can you.

Who's with me?

Please comment or tweet @jackie8 to tell me all about your journey.