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

Let The Run Club Begin!

A while ago I undertook the British Athletics ‘Leadership in Running Fitness’ (LiRF) course with the mind to starting a run club in Newport that would be for women but all inclusive for all shapes, sizes and abilities. Well, this week after creating a Facebook and Twitter account for some shameless advertising we had our first two sessions!

To say I was nervous before the first one on Thursday is an understatement. What if no one turned up? What if they thought I was a joke? What if they all ran 10ks three times a week already? Well I didn’t need to worry. On Thursday evening I had 7 eager women arrive at the meeting place in one of our local parks. We had a quick chat, followed by a warm up. We then proceeded to do 1 minute on/1 minute off intervals with the women working to their own abilities. We then met back up again for a cool down and post session chat. I asked the women what their goals were and even floated the idea of entering a group into the Cardiff Half Marathon next year (which was actually quite well received). I was so proud of the women who attended, they created their own friendly atmosphere from the beginning and it was definitely inclusive which was my main objective.

imageWe had ladies who had never run before, ladies who regularly attend the gym and ladies who want to improve aspects of their running. For a first session of a new group I would definitely call it a success!

Then, yesterday we had our Sunday session. The general idea is during the midweek session we concentrate on technique and drills to improve the groups running whereas on the Sunday we would do a 5k route, implementing what had been learnt on the Thursday. After a night of no sleep due to the athletics being on I dragged myself out of bed to meet ladies for the session. Two ladies arrived. At first I was slightly disappointed but then I realised it just meant I could concentrate on these two ladies. After a warm up we set off on a 5 minute walk followed by 1 minute on/1 minute off. One of the ladies had never run before and managed to keep the pace! Here’s the proof!

imageSo where from here? Well I hope to expand the group and continue to build on the ladies skills and abilities within running while at the same time building their self confidence. In September I’ll be doing a coaching day with Julie Creffield from The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running/Too Fat to Run? of which I am part of the online running club called ‘The Clubhouse’. After this the name of the club will change and I’ll be able to run ‘5 Weeks to 5k’ programmes as well as ‘Go Slow’ groups. So come September/October it’ll all be change again!

But right now, I am so proud, of myself, of the ladies and so thankful to the clubhouse ladies who have supported me so much. So watch out Newport, the girls are coming!

Where to find us:

Twitter handle: JJ Running

Facebook group: JJ Running

Or contact via jjrunning@icloud.com

Enjoy the Olympics!

Peace out

JJ x

 

One ‘Massive’ Big Fat Run – Newport!

So last weekend, on Sunday July 31st 2016, a momentous thing happened. We had our very first Newport ‘One Big Fat Run’. It was all a bit of a rollercoaster really, it went from 20 people coming, to 15, to ending up having 6 including myself but it was perfect.

Myself and Jess (we’ll get onto how amazing she is later) went out the previous week to plot the route and we thought we’d cracked a pretty good one. Three laps of a local park (Tredegar Park for you lot from the port). Flat all the way round apart from one slight incline at the beginning of each lap. As it is a kind of oval shape it’s also good safety wise as you can see everyone all the time so although you may be running apart you can still keep an eye out.

So the night before I got my usual kit together with a few extras. Firstly I had a rucksack which  I never normally run with (and actually ended up leaving in the car for the run) but made sure I had information sheets for everyone to fill in and a first aid kit. The second special piece of kit was my limited edition ‘One Big Fat Run’ t-shirt. I was so excited when it arrived and wore it proudly on the day.

The morning of the run, i’m not going to lie, I was a little terrified, what if no one turned up? What if people did turn up and they were all much faster than me? Well I didn’t need to worry. The trusty crew (three of whom i’d never met) turned up and it was a very friendly affair. Email addresses were exchanged, stretches were done and then it was time for the run, but we couldn’t start before the obligatory ‘before’ picture!

13880153_10157375387695724_6093255643038560318_nIt truly was a great feeling having this picture, 6 women all different shapes, sizes and abilities coming together to run, jog or walk 5k. It’d also been planned that we’d set off at the same time as a few other groups so that was a really cool feeling. I also love how brightly coloured we all are, proud of our different bodies!

As we started the run three ladies were running, myself, ‘amazing jess’ as she has now been dubbed and Sarah G started off with a 5 minute warm up walk before Jess and myself going into 2 min/1 min run/walk intervals. It truly was a great run and even more a great morning with the girls! As pre mentioned Jess is now known as ‘amazing Jess’ when I speak of her. She started running with me not too long ago and went straight into 5k distances using run/walk intervals and on this particular day she got her PB. Not content with it she’s now aiming for a sub 40 so there are plans afoot!

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It wasn’t the easiest 5k i’ve ever run, next time we’ll start earlier as it was heating up as we went around but it was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Do I wish more people had turned up? Not really. This 1BFR has given us a core and from there we can only grow and I cannot wait for the next one!

13912739_10157375388125724_5771354548480036811_n(obligatory post run pic)

So here’s to many more One Big Fat Runs and Run Club sessions in Newport. As I didn’t completely mess up my first organised event i’ve decided to do a run club that you can look here for more details JJ Running (you just need to be female and in the Newport area) or contact me on here or at jjrunning@icloud.com and here’s to ‘amazing Jess’ breaking her 40 min 5k!

13900102_10157375387600724_5346259940205555575_nNot far off!

Hope you all enjoy your runs this weekend!

Peace!

JJ x

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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

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

Sometimes crazy things happen

So when I first started the 5 Weeks To 5k programme at the end of January I expected to get a bit of a kick up the back side regarding my running. What I didn’t expect was to get recognition from the virtual running club ‘The Clubhouse’ ran by  The Fat Girls Guide To Running. At the end of February (yeah I know, I’m a little late to the game) I was named the spotlight member of the month which was absolutely amazing. I’d answered some questions for a profile which can be seen in the link above. image(This is what happens when you run in GB, you run in the rain.)

Although I knew I’d been doing well at the 5 Weeks To 5k programme to get the recognition from other runners boosted my confidence immensely. It also made me feel like part of the running community, something I’ve wanted for several years. This profile has given me more confidence than any medal ever could.

So what for me now that the 5 Weeks To 5k programme is over? I’m planning on carrying on 3 to 4 runs a week mixed in with cross training and core work to build up to a 10k I’m doing in May. After that I’ll be training for my first half marathon in November.

When I look back to the beginning of this year I never would’ve guessed that this is where I’d be now. The 5 Weeks To 5k programme has not only made me feel part of a community but given me more confidence in my life than I’ve ever had before. Running doesn’t just improve your fitness, it improves your life as a whole and gives you a whole load of adventures to look forward to!

JJ ximage