Why I put myself through Dryathlon and Janathon

Jan 31, 2015

Huzzah! Drythalon is all but over and as I've just come back from a swim I've successfully completed Janathon!

January being the start of the year is probably the best time to reflect on life, especially as it’s pace is soo slow compared to the maelstrom of festivities, food and family chaos that is December. Going dry for the month as per Dryathlon and exercising everyday for Janathon really makes January the longest month of the year!

So why did I put myself through it for the second year running?

Well for the past 16 months Julia (the mrs) has been fighting breast cancer. Julia hates the fighting / survivor anology, comments “like you have any choice!” or “I just turn up to the appointments and do as I’m told - the rest is up to the treatment”. I can totally understand that, her body at some level might have been geared up for all the “fighting” but her mind has been focused on the now and family life.

When I think about last year I have two big thoughts*. Firstly, last winter was horrid - long, dark and looking back I felt like I was stuck in a fog of anxiety. This time last year Julia was nearing the end of her weekly Chemotherapy and was totally and utterly wiped out. The pure fatigue was shocking and as powerless I felt, I thought I could do my bit by joining Dryathlon and Janathon. The festive season was fun but my mood was low and knowing that exercising is soul food I was happy to do it. I struggled through the daily exercise and there were times I really could have done with a beer but I made it.

Fast forward a year and Julia is much better and the christmas season was busy, boozy and a hell of a lot of fun! It’s soo much nicer to have a functioning Julia to help out ;) To give something back and my liver a rest I signed up to Dryathlon and Janathon again - also people kept asking if I was doing it again which made it much harder to ignore.

This year I was determined to give Janathon a proper crack of the whip and go for it with a bit more effort. There’s been times when I’ve not wanted to do anything but I just had to do something, so I did a fast run round town - weirdly, I kept bumping into members of the Gaskells on my Thursday night dash. Dan Strong was my wingman on the long weekend runs making them less of a drag. Also, I should mention the Insanity workouts at the Knights Templar gym - they are serious fun and no word of a lie, I ached for 4 days after the first one but I still went back for 3 more and will be continuing the class. Here’s my Janathon numbers:

  • 7 hours running some 64km
  • 6 hours in the Gym
  • 4 hours swimming
  • 3 hours of Insanity workouts

I haven’t lost much weight, I ate too many biscuits at the start of the month for that, but my scales tell me I have reduced my fat percentage and I’m happy to trade fat for muscle.

This year, I’ve really enjoyed taking part and happily after her last Herceptin treatment, on the 12th of January Julia was finally declared cancer free and officially in remission! Thanks in no small part to the great work of Cancer Research and also to the lessons learnt in the past from those who’ve also had the misfortune get cancer. To help those in the future please donate anything you can:


* Whats the second thing? Well, as horrible as 2014 was it was also a year filled with love, laughter and friends. Julia and I made sure we enjoyed the year and looked forward with both honesty and optimism. Imogen and Felix have been brilliant and whilst you wouldn’t wish any 6 or 8 year olds to go through this, they have and continue to amaze Julia and I, you’re both brilliant xx