Tag Archives: running

Good News Friday #72-75

Honestly, I can’t keep up lately. There is so much I want to tell you about, good and annoying, but I just don’t know where the time is going lately. Well I do – appointments and work – but I am in denial. So it’s a good time to pause for thought. A time to remind myself, it isn’t all chaos here in Boo land. And the good stuff keeps coming.

So, here are some good news highlights:

1) Running: I ran a half marathon last weekend. I know I don’t post pics of me or identifiable pics of the kids on here, but those few of you who have met me in real life can testify to the fact that I don’t look like a runner. (In fact, I am now on a post-run diet.) And I struggle to call myself a runner. Running is what other people do. But last weekend, after months of following the most skeletal half marathon training I could and still have a reasonable chance of crossing the finish line, I did it. In 2 hours 12 on a hilly course. I am thrilled. Running is so important to me. I can’t say I like running itself that much, but I like the enforced me time, I like pushing myself in recognition of the challenges Boo faces every day, and mostly, I like raising money for good causes. Which I did. I am so grateful.

2) Statementing: Because of a not so happy accident I regaled on the blog’s Facebook page, I found out that Boo is going to be issued with a statement. We hope to have it next week. Of course, we can’t know what it will say and the battles may only just beginning, but our hope is that it supports him better and for longer in his nursery setting. It has been quite a journey so far, I hope the road ahead isn’t too long.

3) Boo: I have about 5 Small Steps Amazing Achievements posts I have to write to tell you about the new things Boo is doing. I don’t want to steal the thunder of the posts I want to write, but don’t set the bar too high. It’s not like he’s learned to walk, or sit, or roll. But you know what? Those inchstones keep coming lately. Little surprises, things I’d almost given up on are starting to happen. Odd words I wondered if I’d ever hear, gestures, small acts that are a very big deal in our world. Dare I say it, Boo’s on a bit of a roll. And it’s a fun ride to be on, let me tell you.

I hope you have lots of good news to share. Do let us know what’s going on in your world. We love to hear from you!


Good News Friday #54-57

I’ve been neglecting Good News Friday for a few weeks. It’s not because we haven’t had any. Far from it. It’s just that some of it – Boo learning to sit for longer and longer each week and the final emergence of that gorgeous word ‘Mum’ – have been so awesome that frankly I have had to write them up into whole posts, and I have run out of time for GNF.

So by way of a catch-up, and from somewhere inside the cyclone of our lives, here are some of the highlights of the past few weeks:

1) Sissyboo: What an awesome monkey she is turning out to be in a I’m-fabulous-but-I-am-also-six-and-therefore-maddening-and-know-everything kind of way. Her year 1 teacher left at Easter, which made Sissyboo, who is forced to deal with lots of change in her life on a regular basis,quite sad.

But in typical Sissyboo style, after bursting into tears in assembly when the announcement was made, and then spending the evening writing up an illustrated petition from all of her classmates to persuade her teacher to stay (which made her cry) she has taken everything in her stride. Her new teacher is now the best teacher in the world and Sissyboo continues to be very happy at school.

She has also managed to completely amaze me in the last few weeks and has reduced me to tears several times. Most spectacularly, this shy little girl (under whose modest exterior a secret exhibitionist lies) took part in a dance show, doing three different routines, in three dance styles in three constumes on a proper stage earlier in the month. OK, she didn’t remember every move. But the joy in her face was absolutely infectious and the confidence she displayed is something I couldn’t have mustered at her age and that I think any of her nursery teachers would struggle to believe she could ever have gained. Like her brother, she likes to surprise people.

And she has surprised me regularly over the past few weeks. I’ve made no secret on the blog that this anniversary season (from Boo’s birthday until the date 11 weeks later when he was supposed to be born) is hard on me. I am also a bit overwhelmed at the moment by a ridiculous workload and Boo battles on every front, it seems. I am exhausted and it shows, even though I try not to let it. Sissyboo doesn’t make a fuss about it or embarrass me by showing me she knows, but every week since Boo’s birthday in early April, she has left me odd little home-made badges with little messages on, or pictures telling me what an amazing mummy I am.

Yesterday, she drew a picture of her and me in a space rocket. It was accompanied by these words: ‘Mummy, you are amazing and my hero. I love you so much it wood take us up to spase’. Spelling isn’t her strong point. Compassion and empathy most certainly are. This is one amazingly lucky Mummy.

2. Nursery has successfully transitioned into nursery room. This means that for the first time since he started at nursery, he is with kids his own age and some nearly 12 months older. Of course, he can’t access activities without support or run around with his new friends. But he can hold his own and is happy. The kids look after him, bringing him toys and books while he is in his chair or playing games with him on his standing frame. It is amazing to watch. His former keyworker in his previous room is a big loss for Boo and us, but luckily she is staying on as Boo’s SENCO and is being very hands on, which is lovely. She said to me the other day that Boo’s absence from his old room has left a crater and the kids were really sad for the first two days and kept calling for Boo! Apparently they had to take some of them down to the garden to see him as they were worried he had disappeared…

3. Kit I finally have some cutlery (after finally getting some advice in an ‘urgent’ appointment with the OT about various things that was 3 months overdue) that I think might take the fight out of mealtimes. Boo can’t feed himself without hand over hand or elbow support as his arms won’t reliably raise to his mouth and even if they do he can’t twist his wrist to get the food off. His solution is to take his head to the spoon, fork, or plate. He’s not that bothered how he gets his food as long as he gets it. He is determined to feed himself and has started to refuse food at home and nursery if we feed him. Anyway, so now we have some lovely plastic curved cutlery and some great scooping/high sided plates which I think might be just the thing. I’ll let you know.

4. Running I am in training for a half marathon in September to raise money for an organisation that has helped us a lot since Boo’s birth. I am very time poor, unfit and my back is not in a good state. But this week, so far, I have somehow managed two 5 mile runs. I can’t say they were easy or even felt that good, but it was terrific to clear that hurdle and I am determined to do this. I have also raised several hunderd pounds already in just a few days!

And finally in good news:

5. Boo just keeps going from strength to strength. Yesterday in Portage he tried, unprompted, to say ‘tiger’ and said ‘bear’, ‘up’, ‘o’ for ‘go’ and the pet name the kids give to my Dad. If he says it to my Dad this weekend I predict gallons of tears. Oh and very excitingly, we have a walker on loan to try. It’s very early days, but expect a post on that soon…

So over to you. I hope you have lots of good news in your life and would love to hear it in the comments below.



Running for Self Care

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will have gathered that I live my life by lists. I organise my life around lists. And I tyrannise myself with lists. Lately, the pressures of looking after the kids (6-year-old whirling dervish, Sissyboo, and 2-year-old, Boo, my little bundle of amazingness who just happens to have cerebral palsy), holding down my job, managing Boo’s gazillion appointments (3-5 a week), daily therapies, keep on top of house stuff, well … I can’t finish the sentence because I’m too tired to think about it. Let’s just say, it’s a struggle.

And now, I find I can’t remember the simplest things. Everything has to be written down or it doesn’t happen. Everyday the lists get longer (despite me ticking off things) and I go to bed each night thinking of everything left to do. I even made a list in a dream the other night. I am not kidding.

The one thing that is never on the list is me. My list is organised in categories: Boo (he has separate lists for equipment, therapy and a new one for schooling – get the feeling I’m a bit anal?); Sissyboo, House, Work and Miscellaneous. I don’t even give myself space in the miscellaneous list.

I don’t have the time to think about me. Which is why my eyes haven’t been tested for 3 years, and I am long overdue a couple of routine medical things at the GPs.

But I also can’t ignore me either because I am not just a parent, I am a carer. If I break, other things won’t work so well either. I’m not indispensable (who is?) but not looking after myself will make the Boos’ lives a lot harder, as my recent back problems (the consequence of lifting an immobile and lengthy toddler-who-can’t-toddle) have painfully brought home.

I have to look after myself. I just have to. If I can’t do it for me, I have to for the Boos. And so I will.

And I am.

This week, and now that I have a lovely physio helping me to manage my back pain, I have started back in earnest doing something I never thought I would ever do before having Boo: running.

My running journey started just weeks after he got out of a 6-week NICU stay. I wanted to set myself a challenge. To do something tough to thank those who had helped Boo battle prematurity and meningitis. I wanted to help other families going through similar things, too. I wanted to raise money. So I rashly decided to run a half marathon. With no running history. With no fitness. With depression. With a newborn. While breastfeeding. I’ve told that story on the blog before, so I won’t tell it again. All you need to know is I did it. I ran a half marathon in 2 hours 11 minutes and raised £1500 for Bliss.

And then I got injured. And depression hit harder. And I returned to work. And… I stopped. But I knew I would start again. I knew I had to. And now I am training for a hilly (gulp!) half marathon in September to raise money for a charity that has done lots to help Boo and us in the past nine months.

Three years ago, running wouldn’t have sounded much like self care to me. You run, you get blisters. Your muscles ache. You get rained and sleeted on. If you have to run late at night (as I often do) you tread in dog crap and don’t realise until you find you can’t run away from the smell. It hurts for crying out loud. But for me, it is healing.

I’ve been trying to work out why.

It’s partly because it doesn’t feel selfish. I know rationally that doing something for me is for the kids, too, but can’t always persuade my heart to feel that way. Running is different. I run not to go faster or further but to fundraise. That gives me drive. And it helps get me fitter and boy, I need to be. Boo is getting bigger and bigger. My back has been in a terrible state and it just can’t be. You see despite all the gadgets and gizmos Boo is slowly getting through physio and OT, we as his parents, are the most essential pieces of equipment he has. Just as I clean and maintain his standing frame, chair and adapted buggy, I have to maintain me, too. Running helps me do that. It helps me work better for him. Knowing that means dashing out for a 30 minute jog feels much less selfish than it probably is.

I also run because it gives me head space. The only time my head is ever fully clear and free is when I run. Often I think a lot about Boo when I run. And I use Boo to keep me going when it’s tough. When my legs burn and my lungs feel overused, I think about every day he spent in the NICU, very time I’ve asked Boo to roll over again, or go from sitting to standing in physio when he hasn’t wanted to. I think about every negative pronouncement from medical professionals and how he has proved them wrong. He has never ever given up. Why should I?

But I also spend a lot of time running not thinking about Boo. On short runs (3 milers) I have taken to running in the graveyard near my house. OK, I know that sounds odd. Let me explain. I started doing it for practical reasons. The graveyard is large and I can run laps in it. But, I can also be home in 3 minutes, if I’m needed. When I was breastfeeding and when Boo was having seizures this felt important. Now I run there because I find peace in this place. Because it’s beautiful. And quiet. Because there are bluebells  and buttercups there now and the odd, confused bumble bee. Because there will be butterflies soon. Because I feel part of something bigger, a world beyond the claustrophobic one contained in our four walls. I need that. I need a little piece of a different life, if only for brief 30 minute intervals three times a week.

Running is respite. And respite is vital. If I didn’t run away sometimes, I worry I wouldn’t know just how much I want to come back.



Happy Anniversary

We’ve got some happy anniversaries coming up this year. My parents will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary next month, while The Grumposaur and I will have been together for two decades (!) in October.

But for the most part, since having Boo, anniversaries have left me in a cold sweat, panicky and a bundle of raw emotions that I can’t sort out. I’ve blogged about many of these days. The anniversary of Boo’s C-section date (10 weeks after he was born) prompted me to write the most read post on this blog to date. The anniversary of his due date (11 weeks after his birthday). The anniversary of the day he came home. A good day. And then much later the anniversary of the onset of his epilepsy. Indeed this whole blog started because I needed to come to terms with an anniversary: his first birthday. It was a lovely day and a very difficult one. A day to celebrate him, but also to come to terms with the challenges he faces and all that will likely never be.

People tell me it gets easier with time. But they also tell me that the bittersweet nature of many premmie anniversaries never quite goes away.

This year I wouldn’t say I’m more prepared for things. Who knows how or what I’ll feel this time around. But as I enter anniversary season this year, I am at least prepared to be unprepared. And I vow to try (because frankly, I am not very good at this) to be kind to myself and let myself off the hook if things get tough. If I need to cry. Or get cross. Or go and sit in a room on my own for 10 minutes.

Last year anniversary season started for me with Mother’s Day. I remembered so vividly that I could taste and smell the same day the year before. It was a day when I had finally started to look properly pregnant but still had months to go before my son’s birth. When we enjoyed a family day trip to Brighton. A day of excitement, of looking forward to a life that wouldn’t look as we’d expected when it eventually came just days (not months) later.

This year the season’s started earlier. Because this time last year I ran a half marathon. For Boo. For the charity Bliss. I know I did it. I have the pictures and medal to prove it. I ran 13.1 miles in 2 hours 11 minutes. I still can’t imagine how. Our lives were frankly horrendous back then. I was severely depressed, acutely sleep deprived. Boo’s epilepsy and repeated hospitalisations put a massive dent in training that was vital for me, a non-runner all my life. Heck, I was still breastfeeding.

Boo got me to the end of that run. His determination and mine for him. My gratitude to Bliss kept one foot in front of the other. My gratitude to those who had sponsored me ensured thekept moving. I wept buckets when I crossed the finish line. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

And now I am training for another half marathon in September. And the memories of last year are flooding back.  Of how tough things were. I have re-experienced the same dry mouth and damp palms as I ran back to our front door, hoping that my beautiful sleeping Boo (I almost always have to run at night) had not had a seizure while I was out and his Dad was looking after him.

I don’t like feeling that way again. It’s hard. So hard.

But those moments are fleeting. Mostly on my runs now I hear my daughter cheering me on at 10 miles and see my Dad’s tears. I feel good that I did that run in adverse circumstances. That I raised so much money.

And above all, I feel grateful that now is not then. I like to put a positive spin on things on the blog, but I’m always truthful. I would be a liar if I said life was easy. It’s bloody impossible some days. But it’s also very good and so much better than I could have hoped it would be this time last year. OK, Boo’s still not sitting for long, rolling or standing. But the gut wrenching fear is no longer the signature note of our lives. He is well. He is still seizure free. He is happy and thriving according to his own schedule.

Like all of the anniversaries we’ve had since Boo’s birth, this one has brought mixed emotions. But the good far outweighs the bad. I hope this is the way of things to come as we plunge into the season of remembering. If not, well I promise not to beat myself up about it.

Gotta Run

Almost every email or phone call or conversation I have these days begins with an apology. ‘I’m so sorry not to have done this earlier’. Or: ‘So sorry not to have been in touch for ages, things have been unusually busy lately’. In fact, lately I’ve actually started to ditch the ‘unusually’. Because it isn’t unusual for things to be busy for us. It’s the norm.

It’s not just the regular stuff that fills our days. You know: keeping us all fed and watered; getting Sissyboo to school and to after-school activities; doing her reading and homework; getting Boo to nursery; and getting me to and through work. It’s all the appointments (we’re still averaging 3-4 a week, sometimes more). Then there’s the stuff that needs to be done post appointments, letters to read, reports to sign off on, equipment to source and information to pass on to other people involved in Boo’s care. And then there’s the therapies… Each day we try to include 2 physio sessions, standing frame time (30-60 minutes a day, building up to 2 hours) and speech and language work. There’s not much time for anything else. And because I often work in the evenings and because Boo’s sleep leaves a lot to be desired, I consider lucky if I get to watch one 30 minute comedy on DVD before bed. I rarely switch off.

Of course, there’s a lot of fun to be had in many of our daily activities, and I quite like being busy, but sometimes, it feels like a bit of a treadmill that I can’t get off because it’s moving so fast and I’ll be flung off the end if my legs stop moving and really do myself a mischief.

My solution to all this: add something else to the list.


Barmy? Me? Never!

Actually, I’ve come to the conclusion that running is one of the sanest things I can do.

I started running in the summer 2012, when Boo was a few months old and a few weeks out of hospital. Somehow, I went from being chronically unfit, overweight, sleep deprived, breastfeeding and stressed out to someone who in March 2013 ran a half marathon in 2 hours 11 minutes. It was a minor miracle I crossed the finish line. The onset of Boo’s epilepsy, his medication induced insomnia and repeated hospitalisations and my development of severe depression and panic attacks screwed up my training as well as my mind, but somehow I did it.

My legs and lungs didn’t carry me to the finish line, though. I know that. It was my head. My determination not to give up and to earn every penny in sponsorship I could to start giving something back to Bliss who had done so much to help us following Boo’s premature birth was what got me through it. And it was a great feeling. You can read about my half marathon experience here.

But then I got a bad leg injury. And then I went back to work, which is good for the ever-strained family money box but terrible for my health, I have discovered. Once again, I am sleep deprived, a bit depressed, overweight etc. etc. Why? Because we have too much to do. Because life if hard sometimes and always hectic. Because I don’t get enough sleep. Because I don’t always eat well.

My solution? To enter another half marathon in my home town.

It’s not until September, but I will need every week between now and then to regain my fitness, especially as the last half I did was on a flat course and I live in a very hilly part of the country. But I need and want to do this.

If you met me you wouldn’t think I’m a runner. I sure as heck don’t look like one. But running has become a strangely important part of my life, post-Boo, not just as a thing I do, but a sort of mindset I inhabit.

I need some me-time badly, but find it hard to grasp. And this is a way of me getting guilt-free me-time, where I am doing something for me that I can feel OK about because it’s also for others (and where I can’t check emails or make lists or do some tidying at the same time). Because my running body is something I can use to give something back. Last year was just a start. I want to raise lots of money for some of the many organisations who have helped us since Boo’s birth. Lots and lots of it. My ultimate goal is to be able to do a full marathon in 2015 or 2016, although even I don’t quite believe I can do that yet.

And as much as I want to show how much I appreciate these organisations, I also want to show through my running how much I appreciate my kids. Life is not easy for either of the Boos, no matter how much I try to make it so. They both struggle, in different ways, with the bombshell that was Boo’s prematurity and the cerebral palsy that resulted. And yet we expect them to carry on, one step in front of the other towards the future. Everyday, I push Boo in physio or other therapies, distracting him when he’s tired or bored so we can eek out a few more minutes of practice that might make all the difference one day. He never gives up. Neither does his sister give up for herself or for her little brother. I have two wonderfully happy and determined children. If I had only an ounce of their guts, I could eat 26 odd miles for breakfast.

I must admit that training hasn’t got off to the best start. Boo was very ill from January 1st and I didn’t start running until the 10th. Since then, I have only managed five 2.5-3 mile (most 3 mile) runs. But it’s a start. And I already feel better for it. For 30 minutes to myself where I can think about what I want to rather than working my way down a to-do list. 30 minutes where I can push myself to reach my goals, rather than trying to push Boo gently towards achieving his potential. 30 minutes where I can show my kids that Mummy tries to be as determined as they are.

30 minutes where, despite the fury of my racing heart and aching limbs, I can actually relax and get off the treadmill.



A Blissful Afternoon Volunteering


Yesterday I had such a fun afternoon. I volunteered to help cheer on four amazing fundraisers competing in the 2013 London Triathlon for Bliss.

Back in March I did my own bit of fundraising for the same charity by running my first half marathon. I decided to start running (having been unwell, unfit,  depressed and never having run in my life) just weeks after Mr Boo left hospital. It was a mammoth task for me, especially after Boo developed infantile spasms. It was touch and go whether I would be able to do it, but Boo, the cause and the £1500 I raised in sponsorship kept me going. I blogged about it here.

I still find it hard to believe I did it but I have the finisher’s medal to prove it and for 3 months afterwards I had an injury (ITBS) to show for it, caused by having to up the distance too quickly in the last few weeks following Boo’s interruption to my training.

The injury’s gone now and so, to my shame, is my fitness and waistline. My return to work in May has been good for our family bank balance and terrible for my health. I want to get back into running. I can’t say I love running the way serious runners do. Often I can’t bear it, to be frank, but in 30 minutes I can run over 3 miles, clear my head and do something for me that also helps my kids. They need me to be strong. Life is often difficult. Being fit helps. I can really see that now I’m for not.

But running also helped my mental well being. Exercise is not a universal cure for depression and anyone who thinks that telling someone who is depressed that they should go for a jog clearly has no idea what they are talking about. But it has helped me. I tried to get at why this is the case in my Keep on Running post a few months ago but I still can’t quite claim to understand fully. It is partly about turning the difficulties we face into a positive. It’s partly about wanting to do all I can through fundraising to prevent others going through what we have or making it easier for them, by supporting Bliss, if they do. It’s also, largely I think, about acknowledging Boo’s challenges and achievements.

Nothing comes easy for Boo. As you’ll know if you’ve read this blog before, at 13.5 months corrected (16 months actual), Boo can’t roll, sit, crawl or stand. Getting full head control was a major step. Reaching over his head another. Playing with toys in a supported sitting position another minor miracle. We do therapy with him a few times a day every day. We work for months on the same skills. He gets grumpy, frustrated and tired. I distract him and then expect him to keep going. We push him, but miraculously he also pushes himself. He never gives up. And I will never give up on him. When you look at it like that, a half marathon or triathlon is a walk in the park.

Seeing the Bliss participants yesterday and cheering them and others on reminded me of what a resilient, determined, compassionate and optimistic bunch we humans are and how much we can achieve when so much is at stake. I feel reinvigorated to get back into running and, as I’d always planned, I feel compelled to find another fundraising  challenge for next year. Watch this space.

Yesterday has also convinced me to do more volunteering of this kind. I had a great time and the Bliss triathletes really seemed to appreciate our whoops, claps and screams. There were only two of us, but we were loud. Others saw the Bliss flag and our clapping sticks and shouted ‘great charity’ as they ran past. Putting the charity on others’ radar is so important. When there was a cloudburst and we got soaked for 10 minutes and other charity supporters ran for cover we stayed out and *we* got clapped and thanked by runners for various charities for being out there to support them.

Not everyone can run a half marathon or compete in a triathlon. But anyone can clap and cheer and, believe me, it can make all the difference as you drag yourself to the finish line. So please consider volunteering to help your favourite charity in this way. And if you fancy doing it for Bliss take a look at this website and maybe I’ll see you there some time. Next time, I’m taking Sissyboo!


magic moments

Keep on Running


This wasn’t the blog post I planned to write tonight. Like many people worldwide, I spent most of last night (when I should have been thinking about my next blog post) gazing blankly at the TV in disbelief at the devastating news from Boston.

I first heard of the bombings on Twitter and periodically checked the hundreds of tweets expressing anger, condolences and admiration for the many acts of kindness that emerged from this appalling tragedy throughout the night. All acts of terrorism are horrifically irrational and unfeeling. But there is something especially senseless about yesterday’s atrocity. As David Baddiel tweeted shortly after the news broke: ‘Who the f*** blows up marathon runners?’ (And their supporters, we might add.) Who indeed?

I started running a month after Mr Boo was discharged from the NICU. I have never been, or even aspired to be, particularly fit and the last time I had a gym membership was early 2007. I had meant to try to get more active after Sissyboo was born, but the combination of a young and wonderfully distracting child, a commute, a job and a botched caesarian, put paid to that. But something changed after having Mr Boo. As he got strong enough to come home I started to worry whether I was strong enough to look after him and his sister. Physically and emotionally I was running on empty after six weeks in two NICUS. My children needed me to be healthy. Getting fit wasn’t about getting into pre-maternity clothes or looking a bit more like seemingly every other Surrey mummy when I picked up Sissyboo from nursery. It was a responsibility.

More than that, though, I needed to do something positive to counter the difficulties that we had faced as a family and the challenges, it was becoming all too horribly clear to us, Mr Boo would likely face for the rest of his life. I wanted to commemorate the determination he’d shown as he overcame oxygen dependence, terrible silent reflux and meningitis to get home to us. I needed to show how proud I was of him and I wanted to thank Bliss, the UK’s charity for babies born too soon, too small, or too sick, whose leaflets, website, phonelines and training of medical professionals had helped us (and continues to help us) more than I can say. If I could raise money, maybe I could help make a difference. Maybe other families might not have to go what we and so many others have gone through. I entered a half marathon. If I could push myself to the end of 13.1 miles, I figured, then maybe we could all get through anything. Maybe it would all be alright.

My first ‘run’ was a full 30 seconds before my first walking interval of a minute. Never has 30 seconds seemed so long. But over the weeks and months between June and Christmas, I managed gradually to build up my running times and mileage by sneaking out 2-3 times a week, usually after the children were in bed. I was still breastfeeding and I was sleep deprived. But it made me feel good, nonetheless. Then Mr Boo started having seizures and on Boxing Day was admitted to hospital where he was diagnosed with infantile spasms. I’ll write more about this devastating and thankfully relatively rare form of epilepsy in a future post. For now, it’s enough to know that we were admitted to hospital and discharged subject to daily blood pressure and blood sugar tests in the Children’s Assessment Unit to monitor Mr Boo while he was on a dose of steroids that adults with severe arthritis might be prescribed. On these visits to the germ factory, as I not so fondly call it, he contracted RSV and bronchiolitis. He was still fitting a week after treatment started and we were readmitted to hospital.

The steroids stopped the spasms a day later (please, please let them be gone for good…), but there followed another 5 long weeks of steroid treatment. These were the worst 5 weeks of my life. Apart from the constant anxiety caused by the fear of the spasms coming back, we had to deal with Mr Boo’s uncharacteristic irritability and incessant hunger (I lost 7lbs in 5 days while eating normally). Worst of all, though, was the acute insomnia. For the next month or so, Mr Boo was only able to sleep for a maximum of 3 hours A DAY in chunks of 50 minutes of less. His sleep is still not back to normal.

I nearly lost my mind. I have never felt so ill. I couldn’t run. I could barely stand. With 6 weeks to go, and a longest run of 6 miles some weeks behind me, I knew wouldn’t be able to do the half marathon.

But I did. Because I wanted to. No: because I had to. For me, for Mr Boo, for Bliss. (I clearly had lost my mind!) Over the next few weeks I ramped up the mileage (a little too quickly for comfort) and was forced to run less frequently than was sensible as Mr Boo’s steroid-suppressed immune system failed to battle a constant stream of illnesses.

I think I was the only runner fundraising for Bliss at the event. But the sea of brightly coloured vests I saw ahead of me, and sometimes passed, showed that the vast majority of the field was also running for worthy causes. It was clear that for most people racing that day, the 13.1 miles was the easy bit. This was the part of the journey that was manageable because unlike the illness, tragedy or grief that had inspired us to run in the first place, it was finite. The race would end.

When I crossed finished the line, I burst into a flood of tears. So did my partner, my Dad and sister. Sissyboo screamed like a wailing banshee and Mr Boo looked bemused. I hadn’t just run 13.1 miles (I still can’t believe I can say that). I had got through 11 of the most difficult months of my life. And now I knew that, no matter how hard it got, I could get through whatever else was thrown in our way.

For all the sadness that had brought people to the start line that day, the overwhelming emotions I felt during the race were hope and optimism. It was completely exhilirating to see how far people were prepared to push themselves, how much they wanted to help others through their fundraising and the words and expressions of encouragement that strangers shared as we willed each other to the finish line.

And this is yet one final reason why yesterday’s atrocity is so utterly senseless. Because what yesterday shows, is how resilient we are and how the most appalling tragedies only make us stronger.

Our optimism cannot be suppressed. Our determination knows no bounds.