“We choose to go…not because they are easy – but because they are hard!”
John F Kennedy and his speech-writers were spot on.
It’s easy to do nothing. It’s easy to just sit here. It’s hard to get out there and do stuff. But am I tough enough. Since I started my training for the London Marathon in April, I have seriously upped my running mileage. Even in the early weeks of my training programme I have doubled my running distances and it’s already having a bit of a toll.
You see as regular blog readers will remember from ages ago, I have dodgy-knees. Like many in the Forces (and not just the RAF I noticed, during my time working with the Army) I have developed injured and painful knees. Now this MAY have been brought on by a family history of dodgy knees – my Mother, Brother and one of my Sisters have a similar problem – but it might also be due to spending the early years of my working life on my knees crawling around under Tornados.
The worst job I remember was fitting one particularly heavy box to a door panel that was as close to the centre of the underneath of the fuselage as you could get – a box weighing some 15kgs. It had to be man-handled into position whilst you were on your knees under the middle of the aircraft. And these were back in the days of very little H&S and Protective Equipment – knee pads. And after fitting the box in place there was the usual myriad of connections and wires to fit to it.
This though was fairly easy compared to the Armourers who used to have to crawl underneath fitting the Missiles to the aircraft. I pity their knees now…
But anyway, the running. Despite getting my trainers fitted correctly to match my running gait, despite replacing the insoles inside the new trainers with shock-absorbing insoles, despite wearing knee strapping…the running hurts. But it’s got to be done. I could quit. But why? A little discomfort that will go as I increase the strength in my leg muscles and my legs get used to the increased milage? It’s worthwhile.
Because I must push myself. As I said it’s easy to NOT go running. It’s the hardest thing in the world at times, when I have not been sleeping well (another issue), and I have an hours journey home to see my wife, and still have work to do in the office and have to help my wife look after my 2 year old daughter. It’s hard to get out there. It’s hard to build up the enthusiasm to get the running gear on and go. And it’s hard when you know that it hurts, and that it will hurt.
But this is where Kennedy’s quote come it. I chose to do this. Not because it will be easy, but because it is hard. I have had an easy life. It’s been fairly privileged, and I have had pretty much what I wanted when I wanted it. I’ve not really had to struggle for a lot. But whilst what I am doing appears hard. There are always people out there who have it harder.
There are carers who simply can’t just decide to stop caring for their sick, ill or injured loved one…and who get no respite, day after day, day and night. There are those who are sick themselves – facing huge struggles to try and get better; to overcome life-threatening illnesses. A struggle that they just can’t give up…or else their life will be over.
There are those who are injured. People I know, people I worked with, people I shared time with, out in Afghan who were injured out there. Double amputees who face the struggle to try and rebuild their lives. They can’t just give up. They HAVE to go on.
So whilst it appears hard to me…it’s not really. In relation to these and their struggles mine is a trifle. Just put your trainers on and get out there…and that is when I do, I am doing it to aid the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. Please take the time to drop by my sponsorship page, because the RAFBF is helping those people I have listed here. They are helping the people who have serious, hard, sometimes insurmountable struggles.
Yeah, my knees hurt and my legs are aching, but I can still run. The feeling of being out there, in the air, the wind, the cold, the pounding on my feet on the roads, the music from my iPod in my ears…it’s not that hard…it’s fairly easy. And with a bit more training and a bit more strength work on my legs the pain will go. And if I keep running and you keep donating then maybe we can help some people let go a bit of their pain. Get some respite, get some care…get themselves a little bit better.