Well for me that's the Himalayan 100 mile stage race. 100 miles of trail running over 5 days. Considered by many to be the most stunning race in the whole World. Strangely achievable - so they say - and without doubt a 'once in a lifetime' experience. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
It was top of my 'to do' list long before I ever got ill, and it's never gone away. Strangely enough my illness has only made me more determined to live life to the full. To tackle those things that seem a bit out of reach and not to wait until tomorrow, next week or next year.. because when you've been through a major trauma.. you know it might never come.
So, when I was invited to participate in the Himalayan 100 as a journalist and to write a feature for Running fitness magazine, who was I to say no!? So in 6 weeks today I'll be on a plane to Delhi to take on what will undoubtedly be the most challenging and epic adventure of my life. I'm going to the Himalayas!!! Oh. My. God.
It would have been an immense undertaking before I ever got ill, but now with a stoma in tow, there will be a whole additional set of challenges. The biggest being dehydration, the risk of low electrolytes (which seems to be my biggest problem) and my limited diet/nutrition. For the average person a stomach upset might throw a spanner in the works, but for me it could be a show stopper, if not hospitalisation or worse.
Friends and family ask me how far I have to run.. and when I say 100 miles - in the Himalayas - at altitude - with a stoma - they shake their heads in disbelief, as if I'm some crazy lady. And perhaps they have a point. There can't be too many 42 year old mothers with ileostomies who would even consider it. But then that takes me back to my original point.. life is just too damn short not to do things you dream of. Even if you have a stoma.
So.. over the next few weeks, I'm going to be blogging about my preparation, training, and plans as I get ready for the trip and the race. I'm going to share the ups and downs, the good bits and the ugly bits.. and for anyone else living with a stoma, or about to have surgery to create one, a little bit of hope and inspiration that anything really is possible.
Life really does go on after such horrible illness and surgery - and for some people it can even be better with an ileostomy.
And just a quick recap, if you're still not sure what a stoma or ileostomy actually is.. check out an old blog http://bagthatruns.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/me-and-my-fake-stomach.html
That fantastic quote above just about sums it exactly where I'm at. Cue more goosebumps...
Please share, follow and stay tuned.. the best is yet to come.