A few weeks ago, I blogged about losing my senses and signing up to the local Race for Life 5k to raise money for Breast Cancer research. Today was the big day & a few of you asked for some photos.
I’m currently curled up in bed with all the painkillers, shoulders loose (only 1 popped out), bruised, skin torn, & a bit crispy from the sun, but it was worth it!
I raced with Mic & Lizzie from my local wheelchair racing club. We used racing wheelchairs because they’re lighter & just like a decent pair of running shoes vs. work shoes, they’re built for sport.
Spoiler alert! We all finished in record time with Lizzie beating all 3000 runners by finishing the whole 5k in 1st place in 17 mins!! In her own words “disabled, ha! We’re enabled.” Mic finished in a stonking 27mins 18secs after aiming for sub 40 mins and I came in at 28mins 10 secs after aiming for sub 60 mins. Fair to say, we smashed it (mainly due to gorgeous people from our racing club positioning themselves along the course & shouting encouragement).
Joining us was the lovely tutu’d Rachel who despite only just being thrown into secondary teaching and arriving slightly wild eyed with the look of a woman who’s been surrounded by year 8s for the past fortnight, ran alongside me shouting classic encouraging statements like “get out the way! She can’t brake!”, “Don’t slow down for the dog! Move your hound!!!”, “8 minutes left!! Have any of your limbs begun to detach?”, “We’re 1k off!! We’re going to fucking make it!!” (Love you rach 💓).
To prepare, Mr Geek had learnt how to strap up my upper body with kinesiology (physio) tape and spent the morning creating a web of sticky fabric to hold my shoulders in place. This was supported by leather wrist braces & leather wheelchair gloves covered in latex cohesive bandage over my hands & wrists creating sticky paws that allow pushing of the rims whilst protecting my joints & skin (the last few sessions at training have resulted in either torn skin or massive blisters- EDS skin sucks). Today they held out perfectly.
Starting was difficult because of the sheer volume of people (3000 people running!). Lizzie is an absolute pro & took off like a rocket. In fact, she was so fast that Mr Geek didn’t get any finishing photos of her as she got back so fast she took everyone unawares with no time to grab the camera!
This is by far my favourite photo of Mic. The fighting spirit is strong in this one. She was clearly in pain and yet giving it absolutely every last ounce. EDS picked a tough fight with her & she’s kicking it’s arse.
It may have only been 5k, but you know what? It was hard. Pushing against the wind & on a camber for the first half left me like a big ball of lactic acid, panting and wondering if I’d actually make it. I was vaguely aware of my right shoulder wobbling, but had seen our coach on the way up and was not going to let him down by wussing out. Rachel double backed at the end and started running with me at the 2.5k point. Then I heard Kim shouting encouragement and something snapped inside me, but in a good way. This is going to hurt like a bitch anyway, so let’s make it count.
The crazy tutu’d woman & I went hell for leather on the way back, picking it up another notch on the final 1k. Adrenalin totally took over as my arms kept going despite feeling like they were on fire.
With a final “I can see the finish! We are fucking champions!!” from Rach, I looked up and saw our time. What you see here is utter elation at finishing what people said I couldn’t do & sticking a massive finger up at that “there’s no cure” diagnosis. Mr Geek found me shortly after & hugged me very tight. He got his kickass wife back a little bit today.
The after effects of kicking quite so much arse aren’t quite as much fun though. I expected my joints to hurt (and OMFG they do), but I also caught the sun which is very unlike me… Whilst wearing tape. This is not attractive. I also pulled the tape away from my boobs a bit too quickly, tearing off strips of skin! Cue much germolene over weeping open skin. At least it detracted from the joint pain!!
Despite feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus and knowing how hard the next week is going to be after pushing my limits over what anyone expected, it was totally worth it. Wheelchair racing has impacted my health both physically and mentally. I’ve rarely looked forward to physical exercise pretty much ever, but I buzz before racing. A lot of that is due to the people. We may all have disabilities, but we’re adaptive, bloody minded, slightly unhinged, and totally enabled.