New Year’s Resolutions?

Happy New Year! After a first Christmas in Edinburgh for many years (since Mum and Dad moved to Dublin, and before Grandpa died), thoughts naturally turn to the coming year.  Christmas was a lovely occasion, with plenty of excitement brought by our four year old twins, and with time spent consuming lots of good food and drink, flying a kite (one of my best birthday presents in ages) on Portobello beach in the winds of Storm Connor, playing all the games in the house, running parkrun at Cramond (on Christmas Eve in the tailwinds of Storm Barbara and New Year’s Eve in equally strong winds), seeing Grandma with her various great-grandchildren, looking at planes and particle physics accelerators in the museum, stunning new year fireworks (from the castle and Calton Hill with the added bonus of some from a local rugby club superimposed in front), ringing at the cathedral for Christmas services, making mud pies on the beach, hacking my way through Bach inventions on the piano, playing in the local park, picking up my trumpet for the first time in over a decade, travelling on buses and trams, ringing Christmas carols on handbells, learning how to solve a Rubik’s cube for the first time, etc, etc!

As for the new year, I can’t remember ever having made a new year’s resolution; generally if I’m going to do something I follow Dad’s adaption of Nike’s slogan: JFDI! However, at the beginning of May last year when I applied for a Crohn’s & Colitis charity place for the 2017 London marathon (on a high from finishing the 2016 London marathon the previous week), I resolved to write a blog as part of my fundraising efforts (and also resolved to raise a rather large amount of money…!). So here goes…

23 April, the date of this year’s marathon, is now 16 weeks away (it feels a long way away but it will come round quickly…), so my training plan started today, a steady-ish 11.5 km run along some frost covered Cheshire lanes. Over these 16 weeks I plan to write something each week to provide an update of how my training is going, as well as an insight into life with Crohn’s disease and a stoma (and without a colon).  My aim is hopefully to raise awareness of this relatively common but debilitating and not often spoken about illness (people (particularly British) don’t like talking about poo), while giving hope that with a bit of determination it’s possible to achieve some half decent things in life.

I would also like to raise some serious money for Crohn’s & Colitis UK, a charity that has supported me over the past 20 years and which among other things does lots to facilitate vital research into the causes of and treatments for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), to lobby the necessary authorities to improve the lives of people with IBD, and to raise public awareness of these diseases. An unashamed link to my fundraising page is here (don’t worry, I’ll post plenty of future reminders 😉 but please be generous!).

Away from the blog, I obviously need to train for and complete the marathon, hopefully in a respectable time. I was very pleased to run 3:12:24 last year, in only my second marathon. My first marathon was all of twelve years before, back in Auld Reekie, where I well and truly hit the “wall” in the last six miles uphill from Portobello up to the finish in Holyrood Park. As I will come back to in a future post, I was not particularly well with my Crohn’s at the time, my training had suffered as a result and so I suppose I probably did quite well to finish in 4 hours 16 minutes. This year, the target is hopefully 3 hours 5 minutes, the current qualifying time for an automatic place in 2018 – wish me luck!

Mark

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