Friday, January 9, 2015

Make it a good one.

Today I attended the funeral of a woman who was a year younger than me. She didn't have MS, she had a far crueler disease - cancer. It was a celebration of her life and there was much to celebrate, a life lived fully. Not a life of death defying feats but a life that in the end she said she loved.

 I saw her rarely but when you saw her one of the first things that struck you was her smile. She had a radiant smile, the kind of smile we all wish we had. She was tiny but radiated strength and calm not weakness. She had the kind of life that sitcoms show and we all think is too fantastic to be real but she had achieved it simply by being herself and giving of herself to those around her.

The tributes did have some tears but over all they were wonderful. Not the over flowery eulogies that come out on such occasions but honest glimpses of how she impacted on others in everyday life. Her youngest son talking about her distraction while typing on the computer and trying to answer his questions revealed a close and caring relationship. Her children shared precious memories of being with her and were absolute tributes to the fantastic mother that she was and how much she will be missed. As her oldest son discovered they don't live in a magic house that does everything, she simply made it seem so.

My MS is not the galloping horse that cancer is but I'm glad I'm at the point I'm at. I do not regret my raging against the wrongness of it in the beginning but now I'm embracing two mantras. 1) we're not here for a long time,  we're here for a good time. (so let's make it a good one) and 2) do it while you still can. There's no point in focusing on what you can't do to the point of missing out on what you can. Since I've had my diagnosis I've done more than I'd done preMS. I've travelled to the US, I've flown across states alone, I've got a tattoo, I've volunteered to help on extreme events, I've returned to running, I've pretty much taught myself to walk again. I am focusing on what matters and all the rest be damned . Who knows when the party will end so enjoy every minute of it that you can.

I'm putting the service order up on my inspirational board because she was an inspiration. Now I just need to learn to smile like her. My resting bitch  face syndrome may make that a bit of a big ask though.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Off road adventure

At the weekend I decided to really challenge myself. I was in Rotorua so I decided to go and run a section of the Tarawera  Ultra route. I was dropping four people off at the Falls carpark  so they could do the 40k to the finish so it seemed like a good idea to run from the Falls carpark to the Outlet.

This is a pleasant track that passes by the Tarawera Falls and is very nicely maintained. It's a popular walking route so I saw plenty of people along the way. 

It is 5.1k from the car park to the Outlet, where there is a popular swimming hole and a campground, complete with compost toilet - pooey!
Of course once I got there I had to get back so it meant turning around and running back.

I didn't run up steep Hills or down the steep stairs but I managed the rest. It is sheltered by the trees so was really pleasant on a hot day.

There and back took me 1h47 and I had a wee look around at the Outlet. I was very pleased and it certainly built up my confidence. It may have been fairly tame trails but it was trail all the same so I was thrilled to have wrestled something else back from MS. The other benefit of running trail is that you need the right pair of shoes. More shoes yay ! I got a very bright pair of city to trail type shoes. They had the added benefit that if I fell in the river people should notice me floating by.

That was another great experience to make me appreciate being alive.