As well as regular walking, part of the exercise regime drawn up after that pesky blood clot in my lung last year, is to climb stairs. Even to the extent of using the upstairs toilet rather than the downstairs one during my working day.
But, somehow, I don't think this is what they had in mind: climbing all 20 floors to the top of Leicestershire's tallest occupied building.
It seemed like a good idea at the time to sign up for the LOROS St George's Tower Run, to climb 351 steps.
And do you know what...it turned out to be a good idea all the way through.
The night before the event, on March 9th, I was starting to have a little anxiety about whether I'd be able to complete it. But, complete it I did...I pressed the big red button at the finishing line to claim my glass of Prosecco and finishers medal.
With everyone starting at intervals of 20 seconds, I expected to be quickly overtaken, but that only happened three times, and I really surprised myself to finish the climb in a matter of moments. Okay, I was a little breathless, and, yes, LOROS weren't kidding when they warned that leg burn was guaranteed. But what a sense of achievement. It was fantastic to do something I'd never considered before, and to help raise awareness of the incredible work that LOROS does.
Arriving at the entrance to the tower around 45 minutes before the start, I was issued with my race number to pin on my chest, and timing tags which normally go onto the competitors' trainer laces. But as I was doing it barefoot the timers were attached to elastic bands around my ankles.
Stewards were there on most floors, encouraging everyone along, and before I hardly knew it one of them was saying I was at the half-way mark. For the next few flights my breathing became more laboured, and the leg burn increased. I did notice a couple of people pausing on the landings, but, by then, I never doubted that I was going to finish it without having to stop.
However, the words of the steward on the penultimate landing were like music to my ears: "You're almost there...just two more flights, each with nine steps."
And then, there I was...on the 20th floor, with just a corridor down to the finish line. Crossed the line. Pressed the big red finish button. Presented with my finishers medal. Collected a glass of Prosecco. Had my official finishers photo taken. Looked at the wonderful view across Leicester. Chatted with fellow climbers about what a great event it was, and how LOROS impacts so positively on so many people's lives.
My Father-In-Law died in a hospice in London many years ago, so when the opportunity arose for me to help raise awareness for my local hospice in this way, I jumped at the chance.
I had actually been involved with LOROS, albeit in a minor way, around 20 years ago. I was an associate director with a full services marketing agency which was hired by LOROS to put their newsletter together, and I worked personally on writing and editing the publication. But this was the first time I've ever been involved in any of their activities.
LOROS is always organising superb fund-raising and awareness-raising events, and always on the lookout for volunteers.
Please do me a favour and check them out here: https://www.loros.co.uk/