Although the Neuroendocrine Cancer UK Virtual Pathway Challenge began in June, Dougie and I arrived a little late to the party. He had seen emails about it before, but in his heart he wasn’t ready to tell everyone about his cancer diagnosis. He knew that if we were going to to be part of the challenge, we would have to fundraise and that would mean being open about what’s been happening over the last three years.
But on 12 July he decided to take the plunge. We signed up as a couple to take part in the challenge. The charity is hoping that all participants will cover between them the equivalent distance (2100 miles) between Aberdeen and Leamington Spa either walking, running or cycling. It’s a circuitous route which includes popping over to Belfast and down to London and along the south coast. Dougie, always the competitor, plumped for a target of 1000 miles. This is nearly half the total distance and there’s only two of us. I suspect it was just the neatness of The Proclaimers song – 500 miles for him and 500 miles for me just seemed right.
We soon realised that this was going to be a huge ask, especially as we’d decided to do specific walks for the challenge rather than just add up our daily steps round the house or Tesco. The answer was to do some cycling to add to our mileage count. We dusted off the old exercise bike and he thumped it unceremoniously down the stairs before carting it out to our garage/shed.
This worked for a couple of days but I felt rather left out. Also I wasn’t too keen on hopping on the bike after his sweaty behind had just vacated it. I suggested we buy another bike. Facebook Marketplace came to the rescue and the next day we collected a foldable, working exercise bike just for me. 40 quid. Ideal.
So now we exercise side by side. Lincolnshire’s answer to Jason and Laura Kenny. We’ve even established a routine for our very intimate spin class. At about 7am I bring him a cup of tea in bed to gently wake him up then I head to the garage. I try to get a mile or two in before he arrives because he’s always faster than me. We pedal for about 30 to 40 minutes, accompanied by a variety of CDs on our trusty JVC player. There’s probably a suitable Spotify playlist on my phone but the old school vibe seems to work. Breakfast, shower and we’re usually done by 9. Of course it catches up with me later in the day. I keep missing the end of TV programmes zzzzzzzz.
It might just be the novelty, but the whole process of raising money, having a target and actually getting a decent daily workout is having a very beneficial effect on both of us. Rather than focus on our worries about Dougie’s health, we’re having a laugh and living in the moment. And that’s a very good place to be just now.
Here’s the link to our fundraising page – Dougie and Trish Burgess