Guest Post: Running

Today’s guest post is written by Tish Kirkland, owner of Hatiheri a business which sells headwear and accessories for hair loss. Hatiheri was born out of Tish’s frustration at not being able to find a simple, elegant, and practical headscarf while undergoing chemotherapy. Today she tells her story of her next challenge..running a 10km race in Brisbane, Australia.

Part of me can’t believe that I’m going to do run a 10km run in August. Three years ago I would never have considered running for enjoyment, and certainly not 10km. But a few things have changed since then. Goalposts have shifted several times – ones over which I had no control.

These goalposts I can control. Training for a run means I can work towards a goal which I am responsible for. I can choose the results by choosing how much I put in to training. If I train, I can run. If I want to challenge myself, I can run further. Yes, it’s hard work, but nothing compared with chemo.

The effort and energy I place into running is the same as the effort and energy I placed into waking and walking when I was going through chemo and radiation. Only this time, the results are much much more pleasant.

After chemo finished, after radiation finished, after I grew accustomed to managing fatigue and emotions, I gradually felt better and better.  I still remember the single days when it felt so good to be alive; when I actually had the energy to feel my own vitality and the exuberance this brought me. Running is somewhat similar; it reminds me that I am alive and that I have spirit.

My next goal is running those 10km in a charity fundraising run.  I know I can do 5km, so I’m halfway there. The best part is that I know I am running these events for a reason – not just for myself but to help raise money and awareness about organisations I feel passionate about.  I want to give back to the communities who helped me so much at such a difficult time and this is my way to do that.

The 4.5km Brisbane Mother’s Day Classic (8 May 2011) was to raise money for breast cancer research and the major beneficiary of the 5kmRotary Fun Run(22 May 2011) was the breast cancer support group I belong to. Next is an 8kmRoyal Run for Research (24 July 2011), for the research arm of my hospital and my 10km run will be with the Brisbane Running Festival, raising money for the Cancer Council Queensland.You can read more about my reasons for running on the Brisbane Running Festival’s “Inspiration” page.

What aspects of your life have changed since you came out the other side of intense treatment? Do you do something now that you had never previously considered?