Back in May, Kate completed her Miles for MS challenge by cycling 500 miles over the month
Here she shares why she took part and how she hasn’t stopped cycling since!
I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in 2012, but like so many others I hadn't been well for some time prior to this. I since suffered several relapses, the worst of which was in 2016 when I ended up in hospital and in a wheelchair for some time. The last relapse in early 2019 enabled me to qualify for the drug Tysabri (Natalizumab), which I started in the Autumn 2019. This drug has made me feel so well and allowed me to exercise more, and I even joined a gym!
When I spotted the 'Miles for MS' challenge I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to push myself. I initially envisaged I would be cycling inside, I had lost my balance and couldn't ride a bicycle (except a tandem). When I tried an outdoor ride, not only could I do it- I loved it!
For my Miles for MS challenge I decided to cycle 500 miles over May, on both my stationary exercise bike and my outdoor mountain bike. I adore 'The Proclaimers' and I felt 500 miles would be a fitting tribute to them as well as a really good challenge!
I think the biggest challenge was making sure I did some miles every day. I have a toddler, and trying to fit in the miles around her, as well as my work wasn't always easy. There were some days when I did not feel like getting on the exercise bike to do the miles, but I made myself do at least some each day (being mindful about looking after my body) and kept pushing towards the end goal.
It felt fantastic to be part of something bigger, to challenge myself and realise just how much I can do now. Since doing the challenge I haven't stopped cycling! I have become quite addicted and have just bought myself a road bike which I try and get out on several times a week.
My advice to anyone who is thinking of doing a challenge like this is when deciding to take on a challenge it's important to make sure it's something you can realistically do in the timeframe, but is also something that will push your boundaries to feel the real sense of achievement at the end. It's also very important for it to be something you enjoy!
I am honoured to have helped the MS Trust, and am so grateful to them as they provide invaluable information to those affected by MS. As I got towards the end of the challenge I was overwhelmed by the support I received by family and friends. I ended up doing an interview for BBC Radio Somerset - I was absolutely terrified! My sister contacted The Proclaimers and they congratulated me, and when I arrived home on the last day I was met by several (socially distanced) friends from the village, and my wonderful neighbour wrote an updated version of 500 miles especially for the occasion!
Thank you to Kate and all the Miles for MS team for taking on these challenges to support the MS Trust.