Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Don't You Remember?

You already put the bins out, don't you remember? We always put the cups in the cupboard next to the kettle, don't you remember? She works in an office, that's your other granddaughter, don't you remember? They came to visit you earlier today, don't you remember?

Dementia is a real bitch. It strikes at the very essence of what makes the people we love who they are it's a disease that leaves you with little dignity. Alzheimer's is probably the best known dementia disease, but there are plenty of others, and they can affect the young even more aggressively than the old.

This time last week I was doing a 200 mile round trip to attend a funeral. Tom's aunt suffered a massive seizure related to her early onset Alzheimer's and she sadly never regained consciousness. By contrast my own great-grandmother (yes, really) is 95 years old, she's pulled it back from the brink a dozen times in the last 5 years- everything from almost being evicted from her housing association bungalow because she had stopped paying the rent (awkward) to infections and choking on jelly babies. She's fought them all off but she currently thinks it's 1938 and wonders where all her new furniture she wanted to put into her new house is. She's violent when she's upset, prone to swearing more than me and when hospitalised we take bets on how long it will take for her to rip her own IV lines out. 

Dementia is not nice. It's not pretty. It's not dignified and without much needed support and research, we will continue to see our loved ones suffer the indignity of being unable to find the way to the bathroom in time or to not know who their husbands, wives or children are. Sounds like a serious message right? It is. I was approached recently by Alzheimer's Research UK to bring attention to a campaign called #RuningDownDementia and I could only think of reasons to say yes. 

So what's the deal?

You get 20 weeks to run a total of 100km or 250km and whilst you're at it, raise some vital funds and awareness for a charity committed to dealing with dementia diseases- there are currently 850,000 people suffering and another person is diagnosed every 3 seconds.

Sounds like a long way right? Back in 2015 I committed to racing 100km in a year, and 20 weeks is less than half that time... So here's a few ideas for you....

-Complete 20 consecutive Parkruns 
If you're completely new to running this is the perfect opportunity to build yourself up and enjoy the spirit of running in it's purest form.

- Train for your first 10k
Fancy a bigger challenge? Training for your first 10k should see you out there in your running shoes at least twice per week and the 10k is the cherry on the top.

Something Bigger? 
250km Is the next step up. It's averages out at 12.5 km per week, which means if you ran a Parkrun every week, you would need to run a further 8.5 km to hit your target- perhaps that's a longer run as you train for an event? Maybe it's the 3rd run in a week you don't always know how to make time for or perhaps, like me, it's the 'one more kilometre' on the end of your increasing long runs.

Are you in? I'm going to be tackling the 250km distance to see how I can increase my distance over the summer months- a time when I often make excuses not to get out there. Want to join Team Chloe Likes To Talk? Click HERE to sign up....

It's really easy to get set up and the website is set up to sync with lots of popular running apps like Strava and Garmin, so you don't even have to worry about recording your runs separately. There's a whole host of downloads for you to use on your social media too- you might notice the Chloe Likes To Talk Facebook page has taken an Alzheimer's Research UK theme....

The biggest thing to remember before you tell me 'I can't do that' or 'I'm not a runner' or 'I'll never run that fast' is that this challenge isn't a race. A 15 minute mile is just as far as a 7 minute mile, and as for runners.... we come in every shape, size and colour, we are men and women, transgender. We are trail and road. We are young and young at heart. We are for everybody. Running can be and should be one of the most accessible sports out there so lace up your trainers and let's show dementia who is boss. 

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