Cardiff WR10k ☀️

On Sunday I embarked on my second foray into a 10k race. Well that’s a bit of a lie, I’d done a couple of 10k RFL runs before and barely made it round. I’d actually previously done one in Bute Park where this Womens Running 10k was taking place, the first in their 2016 10k series, and had to be taken to hospital after for dehydration. This was before I realised you actually have to be prepared before a 10k.

This time I got my hydration just right by having a hydration drink the night before and then little bits of water in the morning along with taking full advantage of the two water stations along the course. I had also made sure along with planning my kit out I’d planned a slow release breakfast of overnight oats with strawberriesimage

    Kit ready for the morning, dinner and breakfast 😊

I’d really been looking forward to this race as it was the first time I’d be meeting up with a few ladies from Too Fat to Run? Clubhouse and another lady from the main Facebook page as well. We took our pre race pictures and joined in with the warm up.

The 5k run set off and then the 10k runners gathered, first behind various pacers and then the larger crowd. It was a good mix of serious club runners through to speed walkers and it was quite nice to know they didn’t have a cut off time. The route was really enjoyable taking in the fields of Bute Park all the way up to Cardiff castle and then back down through a more shaded area passing the river. imageThe only (ever so slight) niggle I have about the route is that I personally don’t enjoy runs as much when you have to do two laps. I think it’s a more in my head thing because you know what’s coming and what to look out for near the next km marker. However, I do think in this case doing two laps couldn’t be avoided and the route was beautiful. The volunteers along the way were full of encouragement and the woman on the tannoy was very enthusiastic.

My goal for this run was to try and stay below 8:30mins/km. Unfortunately I didn’t quite manage that but I did manage to hit my other goal by coming in under 1:30. My chip time was actually 1:26:17 which had me running in circles a little bit as my last 10k was 1:32:34.

With the heat on Sunday I’m proud of all of our times as the four of us all managed under 1:30. It must be said that a lot of people did stick around the cheer the final person over the finishing line and I think that speaks volumes for the organisers of the race. Personally the only thing I was slightly less impressed with was when we went through to get our goody bags and tshirts the only size they had left was XL, now I have no problem getting an XL tshirt as they’re always good for training, however, I’m a size 12-14, sometimes 16 in fitness clothing and when I put on this XL tshirt it felt rather fitted so it did leave me with a slight disappointment. The goody bag on the other hand was really good, full of healthy snacks, vitamins, water pouch and a Women’s Running magazine. Overall, I’d say a good haul.

So, looking back:

  • Good weather ✔️
  • Beautiful route ✔️
  • Amazing volunteers ✔️
  • Decent goody bag, tshirt (if small) and bling ✔️
  • Quick release of chip times ✔️
  • 10k PB ✔️

But I’ve got to say my overall favourite thing about the day was meeting up with ladies from The Too Fat to Run? Clubhouse and having a fun morning out. When I first starting running in January I would never have dreamed I’d be doing a 10k five months later. After my first 10k a couple of weeks ago I was slightly disappointed in myself for lack of training but for this one I did a 5k and 7k on the lead up and felt a lot more physically and mentally prepared. My next goal is to get 1:20 or under by the end of the year and I know I can do it with all the half marathon training I’ll be doing!

‘So if you think you can’t do it, you can. If you think you’re too slow, you’re not.’

Peace out,

JJ xx

 

 

 

Plan!

A couple of blogs ago I talked about ‘rebooting’ after a couple of runs where I’ve had some time to think I’m pretty sure I’ve come up with my exercise plan of attack.

  • Two runs in the week (either on Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Parkrun when possible on Saturdays.
  • Long runs on Sunday.
  • Rest day on Friday.
  • The remaining days either cross training such as weights/zumba or stretching and yoga.

I have enough time to do at least three runs a week and cross training can easily be done at home. By not having to travel for classes or the gym I’m releaving myself  not only of that stress but also of the ability to make excuses to not do something. I’m also looking into longer routes for half marathon and marathon training so I have some organised instead of winging it.

I managed a run today, just under 7km and although I wasn’t as fast as I would’ve liked to have been I tried a few different terrains and included a couple of small hills that I would usually avoid. image

So overall I’m pretty happy with my plan. As I have a 10k race on Sunday I plan on another run around 7k on Wednesday and a shorter run on Friday with some yoga, stretching and core work on the remaining days. Hopefully I’ll notice the difference from the last 10k that I wasn’t prepared for. Feedback to come at the weekend!

Peace!

JJ xx

Don’t Worry About The Fat Plodder

This weekend I did what I said I would do. I did Parkrun. To be honest I really didn’t want to. I’d had an awful night’s sleep, been tossing and turning and woke up about 6. I wasn’t really in the mood for a soggy 5k. As I was messaging my friend to say I wasn’t coming I remembered I’d promised myself I would and that a change needed to happen so I got up and got ready.

Parkrun itself was fine, as my friend is coming back from injury and I was a weekend between 10k races we went at a 1:1 run/walk and it was easy enough. We were actually having a good time taking it slow and being able to catch up with a chat on the way round. Then something really quite weird happened. Now the reason this post isn’t titled about this incident directly is because I really don’t think the person in question meant any harm but that’s the whole point really isn’t it? Sometimes people just don’t think and don’t understand how what they’re saying might hurt someone’s feelings.

I’m a proud clubhouse member of The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running/Too Fat to Run? but it just so happened this was the first parkrun when I wasn’t wearing one of those shirts. Oh the irony. So basically, this guy, mid to late fifties came jogging up to us with the usual friendly parkrun “you can do it girls” and we had a bit of a chat. Then out of nowhere “well as soon as you drop a few pounds you’ll get quicker” I kind of smiled in a confused way. At no point had I asked this complete stranger for running or weight loss advice but for some reason he felt like he could just dole it out. We carried on chatting and I mentioned I’d done the Great Bristol 10k the previous weekend and he asked what my time was. When I told him I’d completed in 1:32, his reply? “Well at least you did it”. Excuse me? Did you enter the race? No. So technically I beat you mister.

I think the reason this caught me so off guard was mostly the location. My local parkrun is my friendly safety net. I know I can finish in whatever time and still get a cheer. Secondly, the sad fact is, of course I’ve been made fun of while out running but by teenagers and the odd escaped gym bunny giving me a dirty look but I have never had anything from male runners before. If anything while out on runs I get more encouragement from men who are also running. Now this is not a gender thing it’s just for me personally I would think if a fellow runner was going to comment on my weight I’d always figured it would’ve been a woman because from my experience women think about weight a lot more. So anyway. That happened.

I guess I was upset. I mean how dare this man take away from my accomplishment of the previous weekend? When you see the comments in black and white it does seem bad but I genuinely don’t think he meant to upset me. He seemed pretty old school and maybe it’s a generational thing. I think maybe what I’m trying to get at is it’s not so much the fact that it was said or who it was said by but the fact that they thought it was ok to say. It was like he was reassuring me that I’d lose weight and I’d run faster. Not even contemplating for a second that maybe I’m ok with being a fat plodder. Maybe I don’t run fast but I’ve always finished.

So now part of me is a bit “bet you wish you didn’t go to that parkrun now eh?” but actually I’m glad I went. In someways (but not many) I’m glad those comments were made to me because it made me realise I’m strong enough to not let them hurt me. The thing that worries me? What if it hadn’t of been me that he’d said it to? What if it had been someone who’d got up that morning after months of building up to it and mustered the courage to go to parkrun for the first time? because believe me if someone had said that to me when I first started running I probably would’ve given up then (after crawling back under my duvet as soon as I got home and not coming back out all day). That’s what worries me. I’m lucky and I’m well aware of it that when my self esteem is dropping I have someone at home who tells me I’m beautiful everyday no matter how I look. Not everyone has that. These comments matter and it’s wrong that people think that it’s ok. I even feel as if I’m sweeping it under the carpet a bit by saying it’s a ‘generational’ thing. I mean that’s a bit like saying it’s ok for older people to be racist or homophobic. I know these are exteme comparisons but it’s true.

So what now? Well if I see that guy at parkrun again, which I probably will, I’ll give him a smile. I don’t do grudges. No one suffers but yourself. I do think however, if someone were to make a comment like that to me again I might just reply with a simple “I’m happy the way I am thanks” not in a sarcastic tone but just to let them know they don’t have to worry about the fat plodder. She’s doing her thing.

I would just like to say that this is in no way a general reflection on parkrun, possibly one of the most inclusive and friendly (and free!) public runs there is. Run completely by volunteers and always with an encouraging smile.

Happy walking/jogging/plodding/running and being you.

Peace

JJ xx

Time For A Reboot!

Right, I’m not going to lie I have been positively lazy recently (last 6 weeks or so) and I’m not talking “oh I missed Zumba this week and ate a slice of bread!” I’m talking “whoops I’ve been lying on the sofa watching Judge Judy and eating a pack of minstrels every day”. Yeah. That kind of lazy. The problem is I actually did alright in my recent 10k. With little training I still finished (which had become my main goal) but you know what happened after the elation of knowing I could do a 10k? The pure realisation that I could’ve done better. Not by loads, but if I’d even done parkrun every week I would’ve put myself in a better set up and now it’s not just 10ks I have to worry about it’s a few half marathons and the Paris marathon in April and I don’t want these bad habits to creep in to that training. So I’m rebooting. Hopefully two runs in the week, parkrun on Saturday and a long run on Sunday. I’ve also found a gym near my house (literally walking distance) for weight training so I have no excuse.

To get my mind really sorted I wrote down today a list of all the runs I’ve got this year, both organised and virtual. image

If that’s not incentive I don’t know what is. A lot of the virtual ones I’ll either do as training runs as an extra boost or at the same time as organised events.

So what have I learnt from this? That, to be honest, I expect a lot more of myself than at the beginning of the year. I could’ve and should’ve got a better time on that 10k and next time I will. I need to be more disciplined with getting my foot out the door and improve my eating habits (but one thing at a time maybe). So tomorrow my lovely friend is coming to pick me up and I’ll do our local parkrun for the first time in ages. It’s not a massive step considering I have another 10k next weekend but it’s a step in the right direction and that’s good enough for me.

Peace.

JJ xx

First 10k!

So yesterday I undertook my first non Race for Life 10k. In other words, the first 10k I was actually taking seriously. To say I was nervous was an understatement. Would I finish? Would I be last? Would the sweeper pass me? With all this going through my head I didn’t get any sleep the night before but I was prepared hydration and carb wise by being very sensible on the Saturday. We left early on the Sunday morning to get to Bristol and boy was it worth it! We got there, the sun was shining, music was playing and there was a great atmosphere. I started to relax and get into the atmosphere.

I’d initially signed up for the run with one of my best friends but he was in a different wave to me because he’s quite quick (he finished in about 57 minutes) so I met up with one of the girls from The Too Fat to Run? Clubhouse and we made our way over to the pink wave start. After a bit of nervous chatter we were off.

I’d decided from the get go I was going to that I was probably going to do run/walk intervals and on the day I was so glad because it was so hot and there was no shade at all (apart from one part of the route that was through a tunnel). So I decided early that I just wanted finish, regardless of time. This run was the Great Bristol 10K and I’d be told the Great Run series was always really well organised with amazing routes. I definitely wasn’t disappointed. The route was mostly flat and as it was my first road race to be honest for me the hardest thing at the beginning  was getting used to running on the tarmac of the road. One thing that I found really helpful with the organisation of the race was the confidence built in the first 2k. I thought I was going really slow because I hadn’t yet spotted the 1k marker but then all of a sudden I saw the 2k one! Those cheeky organisers! I was so happy and I felt I’d hit a good run/walk pace. The markers came past and I was feeling good, if a little hot, soon I saw the 5k marker, I was halfway there! Getting up to the 6k marker I really needed to wee, probably because of all that hydration! It was really warm and I knew I could either carry on and not keep taking sips of my hydration drink or go to the portaloo stop and waste a few minutes. If I’d been doing this run last year I probably wouldn’t have stopped but I knew from what I’d learnt from The Fat Girls Guide To Running to have a chance of finishing the race in a healthy way that I would benefit from in the long run I needed to sacrifice those few minutes. After the wee stop I didn’t really get back into the same pace that I’d been in before but I was still feeling confident. Then the 8k marker came and then suddenly 400m, 200m and then I was crossing the finish. I couldn’t quite believe I’d done it. In my mind I’d kind of wanted to do it under 1:40 even though I’d been saying I just wanted to finish but I ended up with 1:32:34! I was in complete disbelieve.

I had the best support on the day not on,y knowing my best friend was running it too but knowing my husband was somewhere along the route (he actually ended up being just after the 400m mark and got a video of me running. I’d also had major support from the Clubhouse ladies. To me this will always be a very special run for me because, almost by accident, I ended up doing the run without headphones. I just wanted to soak up the atmosphere and it was great. I know really know what people mean when they talk about ‘race atmosphere’ and ‘race adrenaline’. I’m still getting over the fact that I only started running in January with the Too Fat to Run? 5 weeks to 5k programme did my first 5k in February and just completed my first 10k! I mean, it just sounds silly!

So what’s next for me? Well funnily enough another 10k! On May 29th I’ll be doing the Women’s Running 10k in Cardiff with a group of women from Too Fat To Run? and I really can’t wait. I’m hoping to get into the 1:20’s. I’ve got a few more 10k’s through the summer along with training to prepare for:

  • September – Lee Valley Race for Life Half Marathon
  • October – Royal Parks Half Marathon for Epilepsy Action (please sponsor!!!)
  • November – Freaks events Half Marathom – Western Super Mare
  • April – Paris Marathon!!! (also for Epilepsy Action).

I look at that and it’s like ‘wow! That’s a real runners timetable’. I’m still getting used to referring myself as a runner but it’s getting easier the more distance I cover. So thank you to everyone for their support both pre and post race. You’ve all been amazing helping me in my running journey.

Run and have fun!

Peace!

JJ xx

 

 

9 days to 10k

So it’s nine days (I think) until my first 10k. I started off training really well getting up to 7k but that was over a month ago. Life’s got in the way. Stress and anxiety has got in the way and I’ve retreated back to my old habits of not being able to leave the house. I’ve done the whole spiral. I feel pathetic, not worth anything, stupid, ridiculous and even contemplated pulling out of the run. Then I thought, for the first time I may add, where would that get me? If I pull out I’ll definitely feel like crap. If I try and do some training in the time I have left yeah it won’t be my best run ever but I’ve got more of a shot of finishing. Sometimes running isn’t about the marathons (have one next year but think I’ll get through the 10k first) it’s about having the belief in yourself that if you fall down you can pick yourself back up again. If I come last? So what? I’ll have finished the run and not quit. I’m not going to bollocks around and say I’m feeling great at the moment because I’m not. In fact I’m really struggling but I get so much support from the women at The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running that I know I can do this and I am not a failure. Julie who is the founder of The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running has entered a pitch to Richard Brandson’s Voom competition which would allow the group to grow so much and to reach so many other women like me. So please watch the pitch, pledge and share it as many times as you can at Too Fat To Run? It’s time there was a change in the running world, that overweight women feel accepted everywhere and inactive women aren’t afraid to take those first tentative steps. Believe me guys, Julie’s leading us there. So wish me luck for my 10k as I plod along proudly wearing my Too Fat To Run? race vest.

Keep on plodding

JJ x