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parliament hill lido (1)

Looking back over a year of running, swimming and cycling in a spirit of celebration and thankfulness. It’s the sixth year I’ve done this and it’s my lowest running mileage thanks to my February stress fracture, but I made up for it in cycling and swimming.

Running first – 450 miles. I did a 20 mile run at the end of February and the following day I was interviewed for the Mo-Joe podcast while running along the river from Kew Bridge towards Hammersmith, reliving my chemo runs. And then I finally went to the physio about my swollen ankle and painful shin and, one MRI scan later, was diagnosed with the stress fracture which meant no Palestine marathon again for me. I had 15 weeks of no running at all from March to June and then a very slow and steady return, using an AlterG machine for several weeks at the start. I’m back to running twice a week, and the furthest I’ve run since February has been 10k.

I did 20 parkruns, eight in new locations: Peckham Rye, Dulwich, Margate, Riddlesdown, Gladstone Park, Bevendean Down, Lowestoft and Littleport. My one race this year was Osterley 10k. There are a few memorable runs, the first three while I was marathon training at the beginning of the year:

I’ve lost confidence in my running and I miss the carefree miles that I used to be able to do. I miss the headspace that it gave me and the creativity that it inspired. Cycling and swimming don’t quite do it for me in the same way. Who knows if that joy will return? Watch this space.

Swimming next – 100km, with the final 1.4km swum this morning in Hampton open air pool. I swam outdoors every week from mid-April to mid-October and absolutely loved it. This has been the hidden gift from a fractured leg. The picture above is from my last swim at Parliament Hill Lido which is my favourite and worth the trek across London. This year I have swum in Walpole Tidal pool in Margate; three London lakes – Shepperton, Heron and the Serpentine; five lidos – Brockwell, Hillingdon, London Fields, Tooting Bec and Parliament Hill; three outdoor pools – Oasis, Hampton and Richmond Pools on the Park; Hampstead Ladies Pond and ten Austrian lakes which I wrote about here. Plus indoor pools in Acton, Austria and Margate.

I did the two mile Serpentine swim in September but my favourite swims were in Shepperton Lake on an early Sunday morning after cycling there, with the sun shining through the mist and the swans settling at the edge of the lake to watch.

And then cycling – 1980 miles (plus a few more to and from the station most mornings). My bike made getting around with a stress fracture so much more manageable, as I could strap my crutches to the frame and head off to the station or the shops. I enjoyed cycling into work, cycling to various pools and lakes, cycling in Austria and I particularly enjoyed cycling back from Hampstead Ladies Pond one summer evening when England were playing in the World Cup and the streets were practically deserted.

Memorable cycle rides include:

So what lies ahead in 2019? I’ve learned not to have big public goals but I want to keep swimming, do a triathlon, and try and love running again. And parkrun, always parkrun.

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