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WEEK 3

I got goosebumps just writing ‘two weeks to go’….GULP – it’s coming around too fast!

To be honest, this week wasn’t one of my best weeks.


I ran seven miles (twice during the week) and a measly four miles at the weekend. I usually stop drinking water an hour before a run in case I need to pee – you wouldn’t see Pippa O’Connor or So Sue Me using that word!

Is there nothing better than eating the hot crispy skin from a roast chicken when it comes out of the oven? In our house, that skin is mine… ALL OF IT – even before going for a run! Okay, I planned to cook dinner before my run and then eat it when I got home, but do you think I could leave that delicious bird sit there on the counter waiting for me? Not a chance…

Between the salty skin and drinking very little water before my run, I started to regret my decision halfway through the 7-mile run. My mouth was as dry as the floor of a guinea pig’s cage, I was so thirsty! Perhaps I should change the title of this blog to ‘What not to do when training for a 10-mile run’; I think that’s a much better fit.

I read an article recently and it recommended ‘smiling while running’. Apparently, there is evidence that smiling reduces recovery time from stress and lowers a person’s heart rate. It also releases endorphins and serotonin.

HANDS UP! I gave this a go and still don’t know how I wasn’t picked up by the guards. I live and run in Waterford City, so there are far too many people and cars passing by, even the dogs were giving me strange looks…

Maybe this only works when running on country roads, eh?

While we are on the subject of smiling, it’s important to remember the reason why I’m doing this run.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35, just before I was scheduled to start radiotherapy and hormone therapy, my emotions got the better of me. I had stopped smiling, I was scared and felt overwhelmed with everything that happened in the months previous.

Once you receive a cancer diagnosis, you get caught up in a whirlwind of appointments with the consultant (surgeon), oncologist, radiologist etc., so you have very little time to process what is actually happening.

My first visit to the Solas Cancer Support Centre was the hardest, I stayed there for an hour and a half and probably cried for most of it. Thinking back, I’m not sure if the lady I spoke to understood half of what I was saying, I was probably making sounds only dolphins could hear. I left the Solas Cancer Support Centre drained and exhausted that day. In the days that followed, I felt more positive and ready to tackle the rest of my treatment.

I can’t say enough good things about the Solas Centre so by doing this run and blog, I hope to raise some funds and awareness about the great services on offer to those affected by cancer, their families and carers in the South East.

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WEEK 2

Has it really been one week since my first blog? Phew…that time went fast!

So, this week I learned not to trust technology. I clocked up 5 miles and 6.6 miles during the week so wanted to go that bit further over the weekend. You wouldn’t believe the euphoria when the nice lady on my running app echoed in my ear:

“Distance…. 8 miles.”
“Time…. 1 hour, 7 minutes.”

Are you serious lady? 8 miles? I did a little victory dance right there on the spot. I couldn’t believe I’d ran 8 miles and was still standing after it. I burst in the front door of my house and proudly announced my 8-mile achievement.

Doubting my athletic prowess, my partner Brian asked what route I took so I showed him the map. My jaw dropped, it looked like I attached the GPS to a drunk person trying to make their way home on a Saturday night.

I was gutted, to say the least. I had only run 6.8 miles, not 8.

I’d obviously lost signal a few times during the route and the app tried to figure out the rest of it.

There was only one thing for it: go out for dinner with the girls and inhale a burger the size of my face!__

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This is probably going to sound a bit daft but I only looked at the Run for Life route map a few days ago.

I was blissfully unaware of how long it is. The same goes for the day I received the breast cancer diagnosis, I had a simple plan: put the head down, follow the advice of my consultant and oncologist and crack on with the treatment.

I didn’t go online and Google scary breast cancer stories or read the large brown envelope packed with information and leaflets from the hospital. Sometimes I prefer not to know the finer details but in the case of a 10-mile run, it’s probably wise to get familiar with the route.

A few months after my treatment finished, I sat on my bedroom floor to clear out my locker and read through all the hospital leaflets I stored away. Ironically I thought to myself “Jeez these would have been handy if I’d read these during treatment”. Preparation is key people!

I’ve seen an increase in the number of people jogging and walking around Waterford City recently. A lot of them are wearing the Run and Walk for Life t-shirts. I have to say I get very excited when I see the bright orange T-shirts and want to wolf whistle (for moral support, obviously!).

I passed a guy the other day running along Waterford’s Ring Road, head to toe in orange. I thought to myself, the Solas Centre must really be pulling out all the stops this year with the merchandise, but sadly, his clothes had no Solas Centre logo.

He just loves the colour orange. You go man!

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WEEK 1

Hi, you might remember me from Beat’s Feel Good Friday last year!

I completed treatment for breast cancer in November and the guys in Beat surprised me on-air with an unforgettable day of pampering.

This time last year I set a goal for 2017 and said if I get through all my treatment ok, I’m going to run the ten mile Solas Centre Run as I found their staff and services invaluable. With less than four weeks to go to the big day, I’ll be checking-in weekly to give you an update.

I did zero exercise during my treatment as energy levels were low and I wanted time to heal after the surgery & radiotherapy. So, if I was going to do this, it would be from the very bottom.

I started making shapes in February this year. I started walking and jogging on my lunch break in work twice a week and slowly built up to jogging without taking so many breaks.

Back then, I gauged my fitness on how quietly I could run up behind people before they would hear me and move to the side of the footpath to let me pass! In other words, when I started running, I was so noisey, you could hear my heavy legs pounding the pavement a mile away while gasping loudly for air.

My aim was to be a stealth bomber – that’s yet to happen!

I’m not going to pretend I love running, I find it hard mentally. I’m constantly arguing with myself to just get to the next pole, gate, anything really. People told me ‘once you get into running, you will love it’. The only part I love is taking the runners off after it’s all over!

When I think about the run, I compare it to childbirth. As my due date for my little fella Billy got closer I couldn’t wait for the labour to start. I tried to will it on while silently fist pumping the air saying “let’s do this”, but once the labour started I was thinking “oh no, what have I done?”

Will I be like that on Sunday the 8th of October?

My objective is to run the full 10 miles. A friend gave me a useful tip, he said: ‘Your slowest run will always be quicker than your fastest walk’. This has been my mantra when I feel like giving up. At the moment I’m running four miles, three times a week so I really need to increase the distance over the next few weeks.

Wish me luck!!

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