Sometimes achieving your dreams may not always be via the most direct route.

Vixx By Vixx, 14th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Exercise & Fitness

How a life long dream was achieved - step by step.

The Start of Achieving a Dream - and how we got there.

I’d like you to meet a friend of mine. Her name is Nicky.

She is the owner of a great achievement. The one achievement that I was most proud to be involved with in 2012. She is someone who I admire and am grateful to have the opportunity to call a friend.

Last October, Nicky completed a Half Marathon (13.1 miles). I know that many people have completed a half marathon, but this one was special. Nicky has a condition called Brittle Asthma, which means that her lungs cannot function to the degree that other people’s can – including other asthmatics. The medication is much stronger and the attacks can be much more severe. Nicky has spent time in hospital when attacks have occurred and has to use a nebuliser regularly throughout the day – and she needs to wear a subcutaneous pump 24 hours a day which delivers medication on a continual basis.

Getting to the Start Line.

Nicky first mentioned that she wanted to do a Half Marathon as I and Cathy, a friend of ours were preparing to run one. It had been a dream for years, but people had told her to forget about it because running is a no-no due to her lungs not being able to keep up with the demand for oxygen. Cathy knows a lot about asthma due to suffering from it herself, and so I discussed the idea with her that although Nicky couldn’t run the distance, the time limit on the race she wanted to do allowed for many people to walk if they needed to – so why couldn’t Nicky walk it? It would still allow her to achieve her dream, although not in the way that most people would have considered doing it.

The time limit for the race was not likely to be long enough, so I e-mailed the organisers (repeatedly) until I got a response. We (Cathy and I) agreed that we would take responsibility for Nicky’s wellbeing whilst on the race route, and any problems whatsoever would see us pull her from the race. They were kind enough to allow us to start the race before the main field – even the elite runners would start after us – to allow Nicky the best chance possible to complete the race before the roads had to be re-opened.

In the meantime, I’d given Nicky a training programme to work with, and we also looked at improving her dietary intake to allow her body to cope with the slowly increasing levels of exercise. We spent the biggest part of a year on this project, to allow Nicky to build up her fitness levels gradually, over and above what she was already used to. It did help that Nicky had an interest in horses and had built up a certain level of fitness through looking after them and mucking out stables as well as riding regularly.

Getting around the course.

The day itself arrived. Nicky was excited, and we had to keep the enthusiasm ticking over until we could get started as it would allow the adrenaline to stay in check for a while and stop Nicky ‘blowing up’ too soon in the race by using up all the energy she had in nervous excitement!

We started a good 25 minutes before the main field, but they caught us up just before we got to the 2 mile marker. A steady pace was kept, and regular drinks and snacks were taken on board by the team in order to keep Nicky’s strength up – Nicky, Cathy and I were also supported by Steve, so that if medical assistance were required there were two of us to stay with Nicky and one of us would be responsible for finding help. It was not an easy day, and Nicky had to work hard. Every 3 miles we would stop to allow a period of time for her to take medication, and a pain in her foot (which turned out post-race to be a stress fracture) started around 7 miles, causing a prominent limp. Still Nicky persisted. One foot in front of the other. Slowly but surely, the end goal was coming into view, and Nicky was determined that now she had started, nothing would stop her from crossing that finish line. This was a goal that she had wanted to meet for a long time and as each painful step took her toward the finish, she was focussing on that. Her lungs were beginning to complain as we started the last mile, and we took it steadily. Soon we rounded the corner and we could see the finish line. We had agreed that Nicky could jog the last 20 metres across the line, and as she did so our names were called out by the announcer, congratulating her on her efforts.

At the finish - Achieving what was thought to be impossible.

I had the honour of placing her hard-earned medal around her neck, and congratulated her on achieving her goal. It was a great day, hard going for her at times I think, but every time the going got tough, Nicky got tougher. We knew it would not be an easy task, and we had to remain responsible and objective at all times – Brittle Asthma is a serious condition, and we did not wish for Nicky to be put to unnecessary risk. I do not want people to think that this task was taken on lightly – a lot of preparation went into allowing Nicky to achieve her goal, and the end result on the day was due to a lot of effort put in during the months leading up to the race. Her achievement on the day was down to the time she put in beforehand, and she wanted this goal more than anything, getting her just reward on the day.

The End - if you want to call it that.

I had the honour of placing her hard-earned medal around her neck, and congratulated her on achieving her goal. It was a great day, hard going for her at times I think, but every time the going got tough, Nicky got tougher. We knew it would not be an easy task, and we had to remain responsible and objective at all times – Brittle Asthma is a serious condition, and we did not wish for Nicky to be put to unnecessary risk. I do not want people to think that this task was taken on lightly – a lot of preparation went into allowing Nicky to achieve her goal, and the end result on the day was due to a lot of effort put in during the months leading up to the race. Her achievement on the day was down to the time she put in beforehand, and she wanted this goal more than anything, getting her just reward on the day.

There is a phrase I hear a lot in running – “It doesn’t matter whether you are the Hare or the Tortoise, as long as you cross the line”. Essentially, whilst there are many runners who enjoy the thrill of competition at the sharp end of the field, the general idea is that we all appreciate the effort that people put into having a go at the event, and it is best that you strive for the goal of finishing, rather than never starting in the first place. First or last? It doesn’t matter as long as you do your very best to finish, however long it takes.

Nicky showed me that if you really want something badly enough, then whilst the quickest way may be the way for the majority of people, sometimes an alternative route can be found to allow you to achieve your dreams. Setbacks may occur and people may try to stop you from getting to where you need to be, but if it is something that you value and something that you really want to reach out for, then find the people who can help you to achieve that goal.

The people who say it can’t be done are usually the ones being passed by people who are doing it. Which one are you going to be?

Nicky's Comments

P.S. I did e-mail Nicky to ask permission for me to use her story, and she read it and sent me an e-mail back, some of which I am reproducing here for you:

"It doesnt seem like you're talking about me, I feel honoured that you even wanted to write about it, and so grateful to have friends like you, Cathy and Steve who support me through thick and thin.

I don't know if you want any extra stuff, but to gauge how often I'm in hospital I was in 6 times I think last year, and thinking of the planning for the half kept me sane and fighting to get better each time. There's nothing like a dream to keep you fighting when you're tied to Oxygen and IV drips and can't walk as far as a commode without needing a nebuliser and highflow O2. The last time, a picture of us all at the finish was on my table! It really gave me hope on the bad days when walking up stairs is hard and when I'm nebbing (taking the nebuliser) hourly.

Also, I don't know if it helps but you're the first people who haven't just laughed outright at me wanting to fulfil that dream to do a half, I've been called crazy, mad and daft for even thinking of it. Thank you so much."

Never let people take your dreams if you can possibly help it.

Tags

Asthma, Brittle Asthma, Fitness, Great Birmingham Run, Half Marathon, Walking

Meet the author

author avatar Vixx
I like to write about fitness, nutrition, my running efforts and race reviews.

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Comments

author avatar Eileen Ward Birch
14th May 2013 (#)

Well done to Nicki and thank you for being a kind friend.

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author avatar Vixx
14th May 2013 (#)

She is amazing. We did make sure that medically she was up to the challenge, and I would do that with all of my clients. If there was any doubt, she knew we would not let her do it. There is a way to achieve the things you want to though - and I thought this story was the best one to show that.

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author avatar Penny W-T
14th May 2013 (#)

I think you ar right, this story does show how wanting to do something badly enough will provide the will power to do it.

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