Well someone’s been busy…

Yes like crazy busy! Run club’s been going well but not as well as I’d like but I guess that’s partially my fault for starting it up right in the middle of the summer holidays. There’s some super crazy fun stuff happening over the next few months so I guess I’ll do a bit of a timeline and catch up! (Proof of just how busy below!)

img_0959So I guess we start with what’s already happened. So a couple of weekends ago I did my first obstacle run. It was Pretty Muddy  for Cancer Research and was absolutely hilarious. If you’re thinking of doing it, do it! If you’ve never thought about doing it, still do it! I found that it was a great ‘toe in the water’ for obstacle runs and that I’m now in love with them. We had over 70 women on our team and it was insane! Insane but amazing! Believe me (and our poor car) you definitely get pretty muddy! Just see the before and after pictures!

So what was next after that muddy excursion? Well, honestly I wanted a challenge so I did something really quite stupid. I applied to be an ambassador for Cancer Research UK’s new series of trail runs called Tough 10 and then didn’t really think much of it for a while until I was told I’d got it! Well as you may remember my one and only previous trail run was only in August and this is going to be completely different conditions. We’ve got a team from the Too Fat to Run? Clubhouse, the online running club I’m a member off, doing the London event in October and some clubhouse ladies and some run club ladies doing the South Wales one in November (see what I mean about different conditions!).

There are loads of different location over the UK and lots of different abilities. For some of the ladies I’m doing it with it’ll be their first 10k and some their first trail, it’ll certainly be my first winter trail over such difficult terrain! So if you fancy a challenge, and who doesn’t let’s be honest? Sign up here today! So you can look forward to views like these: img_0946I mean it’s gonna be pretty stunning! So I’ll keep you updated on how training’s going and feel free to contact if you want to get involved!

So what’s around the corner? Well this weekend I have the Women’s Running 10k in Finsbury Park which is part of the same race series as the one I did earlier in the year in Cardiff. Again, we’ll be having a clubhouse meet up which I’m really looking forward to. Apparently there are also some mega hills! which I’m not so much looking forward to!

However, it’s all great training for the race I have after that which is my first half marathon! That’s right I’m finally biting the bullet and doing it and what a half I’ve chosen. The Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon is probably one of the most beautiful city half marathons there is and I get to do it for my favourite charity Epilepsy Action! I’m not going to lie and say my training’s been going amazing because when does it ever? But I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I’m gong to get round that course! Plus I’m still fundraising so any pennies would be much appreciated here! I’m so close to target and would hate to fall at the final hurdle.

So I think that’s about it for now! There’s loads more to come because of all the crazy races I’ve been entering lately (currently in the process of getting a team together for a 24 hour race next summer!) and will definitely keep you all updated on Tough 10!

Peace,

JJ xx

Plan B

This weekend has definitely been a learning curve. I think (if possible) I’ve actually grown up a bit this weekend. I’ve realised there’s certain people who are not a fixture in my life but just kind of simmering away in the background who just need to not be there anymore. Old habits may die hard but it really is time for these to go.

More importantly I’ve learnt a major lesson about control. Anyone who knows me and knows me well will tell you what a control freak I am. I write lists for practically everything and if the slightest thing goes wrong it’s like the world has come to an end, bring on the stress, anxiety and just chuck in an IBS flare up for good measure.

Well this weekend definitely did not go to plan. I was meant to be running the Great Newham 10k. I’d been looking forward to it since signing up. I love the Great Run series and this was in my home city starting and finishing in the Olympic park. It was going to be amazing. So ironically I chose to vlog the weekend on my Instagram page (JJSGETTINGFIT). It was all going ok until Saturday and it was boiling. My food and drink choices for fuelling weren’t on point but after Saturday dinner I was feeling pretty good. We’d worked out the travel plan and I was just about to go and sort out my kit when I felt a scratching in my eye. At first I thought I had something in it but after two inspections by the mother and husband there was nothing so I was tucked up into bed with the promise that the husband would wake me up early enough in the morning to do my kit. I wasn’t happy but I was exhausted so I fell asleep.

In the morning I awoke to the alarm and attempted to open my eye. That wasn’t happening. The pain had got worse. Now, I’ve had problems with my eyes since the age of 3 so I know by now when it’s something you can just wash out and when you need A&E. Well guess where I ended up?imageThat’s right, good old Kings A&E with a scratched eyeball and a rather gloopy ointment to apply four times a day for seven days. I just sat in those crappy hospital chairs thinking “I’d be meeting the girls right about now” then a little later “we’d be lining up to set off now”. I was so angry at myself. By the time I got back to my parents house I just wanted to chuck everything in the car and get home to Wales. I was knackered and had missed what was meant to be my highlight 10k of the year.

I slept most of the way back to Wales and then continued to sleep for the majority of the afternoon and evening. When I woke up my husband was in the garden attempting to tackle our ridiculously long grass. Who was I actually angry with? Myself? I hadn’t purposefully hurt myself, I hadn’t used my eye as an excuse to get out of the run. It was out of my control. So I started to look at the week ahead. I have Wednesday off due to a hospital appointment so I decided if I couldn’t do Great Newham I’d at least do a 10k so I’ll be doing six laps around the park on Wednesday. That I can control. My choice to get up this morning and despite the pain, go into work, that I can control. The initial injury. I cannot control and that’s what I need to learn to accept, not just in running but in life.

When I did my LiRF training last weekend they spoke a lot about having a ‘plan B’ so now I always will. I guess in someways it’s me still having the control but in others it’s me knowing it’s ok for plans to change. There’s always a plan B.

This is extra significant as I’ve just realised a 3 hour time trial I’ve been training for is the 1st weekend of August, not the 3rd as I’d been planning for but I’ve decided to stick to my training plan and be happy with my plan B goal of 15k instead of the 20k I was originally aiming for.

Plan B isn’t just working for my running life but also my personal, however that’s a whole other entry. For now, well done all of you who have managed to run in the recent heat.

Peace

(a very chilled) JJ xx

Fat Girl Learning!

Life has nearly retreated back to normal after the madness that was Euro 2016 for Wales, don’t worry we’ll be back for the World Cup!

So back to running life. Well, it’s gone a little crazy recently. I’ve got the Great Newham Run next weekend (10k) and then following that at the start of August I’m doing a three hour trail run in which you have to do as many 5k laps as possible (I’m aiming for 20k as if you’ve started the lap within the 3rd hour you can finish it). Following this I’m going to do some shorter distances as from the first weekend in September I have a half marathon once a month for three months and then it’s full on marathon training for Paris!

So that’s a little catch up on my race life at the moment but what this post is really meant to be about is what I did yesterday. I took part in a ‘Leadership in Running Fitness’ (LiRF) course ran by english athletics which means I can now run meets and a running club if I wanted to. To be honest I was terrified about doing the course. I signed up for it and put it to the back of my mind. Then on Monday it sprung back into the forefront of my mind and the usual things started to cross my crazy stupid brain. What if I’m the fattest/ slowest/ most unfit one there? What if they all already know what they’re doing? What if they don’t take me seriously or laugh at me? I posted on the Too Fat To Run? Clubhouse  on Facebook and was given a lot of support. So on Friday once we’d finished work me and the hubby packed our bags and drove across the border to a pub b’n’b just outside Bristol. It was a nervous sleep with an unplanned early morning wake up. I decided to pull myself together and represent Too Fat to Run? the only way I knew how, by strapping on my TFTR? armour and a massive grin. image

I had my beans on toast breakfast and the hubby dropped me off at Yate Outdoor Sport Complex and while he went to visit a friend I was met by a friendly English Athletics uniformed woman and given directions into the 8 hour course. I had been partly right. They were all thinner than me (apart from one man who’s run several marathons) but apart from that during the drills the only thing different was that I wasn’t as quick. I was surprised I could do the same hill intervals as them all. While we were walking out across the athletics track (which I have never run on before) everyone took off their jumpers to reveal their club shirts (it really was quite a Clark Kent/Superman moment) and I won’t lie. I was a little intimidated. Then I remembered I had my own club shirt on and mine was orange. From that moment my confidence grew, I talked to others, exchanged ideas, swapped race stories and huddled together for lunch on flip down seats overlooking the athletics track chatting about why we were doing the course. For the first time ever I felt like I fitted in this world. I was holding my own.

The course itself was amazing and well worth the money. The two women running it were inspiring both on the practicals and the course discussions. I wasn’t treated any different due to my size and there was even a part of the course dedicated to how to make running clubs inclusive for everyone. It really made me feel proud to be part of such a forward thinking sport. At the end of the course we were all packing up and saying bye to the coaches. I went and thanked the two coaches when one asked me something I really hadn’t expected.

“So you’re going to do further coaching courses right? It won’t make you rich but it’ll make you damn happy and you’ve got the right stuff for it”.

Out of all those runners in there it was me that she’d pulled to the side to encourage. She was talking about me doing this as some sort of a career. This is a whole new thing to get my head around but I know I will be forever grateful to Rachel for giving me more confidence I’ve had in a long time.

Anyone who is thinking of becoming a leader I would encourage you to. Don’t think you can’t because of your size, your fitness level, your running experience. If you have the will to do it you’ll be great and if you’re like me, you might even enjoy it. image

It seems like all I’ve done this year is stretch my boundaries, constantly pushing myself  out of my comfort zone mostly because of Julie Creffield and all the women in Too Fat To Run? and you know what? That’s not a bad thing. I don’t want to feel comfortable anymore. I want to constantly be pushing to be the best me I can be and with the help of my personal trainer, the TFTR? girls and the support I continuously get from my amazing family and friends, especially my husband. I’m getting there, to the right level of discomfort.

Peace out

JJ xx

Stepping Up A Gear

The husband is currently watching Wales beat Russia at the football (2-0 half time, who knows what’ll happen) so I figured this was a good time to do a blog.

Firstly, some exciting news, I’ll be doing my LiRF course at the beginning of July which will be my first step in spreading my passion for running and encouraging others to begin. Over the next few weeks I’m doing a couple of runs with friends who are either just starting running or haven’t run much so I’m really looking forward to being able to encourage them on their own running journeys as well as, slightly selfishly, having some physical running buddies along with all my amazing virtual ones.

I guess my biggest thing this week is that I’ve got my first session with a personal trainer tomorrow. I’ve never had a personal trainer before apart from inductions at gyms. I’m really hoping this’ll be the kick up the bum I need at the moment as I feel recently I’ve become slightly complacent.

Due to all of this my mind’s kind of been wandering around to what my next challenge will be after the Paris marathon in April. An ultra marathon, an iron man, a triathlon? To be honest I want to do them all. To think that I’ve gone from signing up for a 5 weeks to 5k programme on a whim in January to even considering doing an Iton Man or Ultra Marathon is a bit crazy but I love it. I love telling people that I’m a runner and them asking when my next race is.

The last few days my epilepsy hasn’t been great so I haven’t been able to keep up with my training but instead of getting upset I’m trying to stay really positive. I know I’ll go into my next race as prepared as I can be because I’m doing my best and that’s all I can ask of myself.

In other news I’ve just discovered Chrissie Wellington and ordered her book. I’m slightly worried I may be getting Iron Man obsessed! I’m currently waiting for her book to arrive for some weekend reading so that’ll be another blog for another time!

image

For now, it’s back to pretending I’m slightly excited in 22 men chasing a ball around a field…

Peace out

JJ xx

p.s/ it’s now 3-0 to Wales, I’m never going to hear the end of this…

 

 

Back To Work, Back To Reality…

I’m not going to lie. I’m an amazing planner. I can plan the heck out of most things. The problem? My follow through. My half marathon training plan has been stuck on my fridge for two weeks now and I’ve done one morning of strength training plus a week of walking roughly 6k a day to get to and from work. So not exactly sticking to plan seeing as that doesn’t include any actual running!

When I first started running back in January (seems like a lifetime ago) I wasn’t really in work because of sickness and haven’t been back properly since so I had time to run in the daytime when no one else was really around. The pavements were mine and mine alone. However, last week I began a new job. It’s good hours (10-4) so it’s not even like I’d have to go out super early or super late to get a run in I’m just much more aware that I’ll be running where there’s other people and especially other runners. The pavements will no longer be my own. This does scare me and I think, subconsciously, it may have been why I haven’t been going for runs the last couple of weeks.

So what am I going to do about it? Well to be frank I’m going to get my big girl pants on and deal with it. The majority of runners don’t get the special treatment of empty pavements so why should I? Plus I’m not going to be letting down anyone else by not training, just myself and with three 10ks, four half marathons plus the Paris marathon all to train for I’m not in a position to let myself down. I’ve got my work life back on track, now time for my running life. I am holding myself completely accountable and refuse to take my own excuses any longer as I’m the only one who’s going to end up upset if I can’t manage to finish my first half.

Sorry if this is a bit ranty. It just needed to be. I needed to rant at myself. The last two weeks have been forgiven, bring on the next ten!

Peace

JJ x

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