Doing Something New In Loving Memory

- This post was produced in association with Kleenex -

One of my biggest challenges this year was to push myself and do things out of my comfort zone. I'm such a creature of habit, so I stick to what I know and love. But something I've learnt, which is pretty important, is that without pushing myself I won't ever get to feel that awesome sensation of accomplishment which I think is so vital in life. So this is exactly what today's post is all about, soon I’m going to be doing something completely out of my comfort zone for probably the most important reason I can think of.

WHAT & WHERE?

On July 2nd I'm going to be doing the Race for Life in Clumber Park which just happens to be one of my favourite places in the world. If you've never heard of Race for Life it's run by Cancer Research and people run/jog/walk round the course to raise awareness and money for the charity. It's something that I've always admired people so much for and I think it must be an experience that you never forget. I'm going to be walking the 10k with my best friend, she's done race for life before so I'm excited to be sharing my first experience with her.

Clumber Park is really local to me and I'm so fortunate to have so much of Sherwood Forest right on my doorstep. It's somewhere that was a large part of my childhood. Every single Sunday we would go for a walk and obviously, as a stroppy teenager I wasn't always that thrilled about it but it's somewhere that holds such precious memories with my mum. One of my favourite being when I started studying photography, she would get up at 5.30am with me so I could photograph the frost in Winter, which is why the whole event just feels that little bit more personal for me. It's a place that holds such lovely memories and even though going back without her has always been a little sad it will be amazing to go back and do something important.

WHY? 

I'm sure it's somewhat obvious why anyone does Race For Life but for me it's because cancer has touched my family in such a heart breaking way. My mum passed away in 2009 from a rare type of cancer.  She sadly deteriorated very quickly after getting her diagnosis and so wasn’t able  to be given a trial form of treatment which without charities like Cancer Research wouldn’t even have been an option.  That is why these charities are so important. , Sadly my mum didn't win her battle with cancer but so many women have and without that vital funding this wouldn't be able to happen. We all know that cancer is absolutely devastating but until it affects us personally it's so easy to just let it fall into the back of our minds.

My best friend has a different tale when it comes to cancer, her mum also has a rare type of cancer and lives with it on a daily basis so together we've both been affected but seen completely different sides of the disease. Not too long ago she got the news that she didn't have to see a consultant for every appointment and that was such incredible news to receive for their family. It's a disease that doesn't just wreak havoc on the person it's also the families of the patients so having a support system is so important.

I've always been very internal about my grief and not let people in and that's ok. But 8 years on I finally feel ready to be a little more open about it and I'm sure doing Race For Life will muster up a lot of emotion but it's something that I'm so excited to get involved with. Being around other women (& men) who will have shared the same emotions and pain as me isn't something I've done since I sat with my mum whilst she was receiving chemo and I remember just how much it helped to have people around who understood. Even though I'm probably not going to be having some deep intense conversations just having those people around is something that I think will be incredible. It will definitely be a very emotional moment for me and reason to have a Kleenex to hand (I’ll come on to that in a bit)

PREP

If I'd been doing this last year I would have definitely been running it and undergoing a training regime. But after a nasty knee injury and my knee still not quite feeling right when I run it means I will be walking. Which is good, because as my best friend has terrible asthma we’ve decided walking 10k will be the best thing for both of us. As we've got older we've gone from spending our weekends in the city shopping to going on countryside walks to it's something that we love to do. On the day our essentials will be; 

WORKOUT LEGGINGS: A 10k walk is no place for tight restricting jeans so workout leggings are the way to go. And in general when I know when I'm going to be walking anywhere I always pop on a pair. They're always the comfiest option and allow you to breathe and move freely. 

TRAINERS: Even though were not running having a comfortable pair of shoes on is key. As well as being comfortable they also need to be supportive as walking a few miles without sustainable support can lead to all sorts of injuries. I always reach for trainers, even if they are a little more fashion forward I still find them to offer up the support that I need when walking and when I ran they were perfect.

WATER: A no brainer, especially on a *hopefully* sunny day having a big bottle of water to stay hydrated is so important. 

TISSUES: Ah, tissues, a necessity in anyone's bag whether it’s for a happy or sad occasion we never know when we might need one. The event is going is obviously going to be emotional for so many people and there is something so lovely about being able to offer a Kleenex to someone when they need one and offer some comfort. It's something that especially when someone is feeling a little bit more vulnerable is the least we can do for them. Kleenex is teaming up with Race For Life this year and I can't imagine a more perfect match for the race. They will be attending all the Clumber Park Race For Life events to provide anybody with a tissue and generally support the event. 

Have you ever done Race For Life?