It’s that time of year again!

Yep! That’s right, it’s VLM ballot release week! I’ve always said i’d run London before I turned 30 so next 2018 is my last chance! Unfortunately I didn’t get a ballot place but i’ve luckily got a charity place running for the amazing Ron Pickering Memorial Fund who help up and coming athletes make the transition from juniors to professionals. Past grant recipients of RPMF grants are Mo Farah and Jess Ennis-Hill. So 29 year old me is running the London marathon, who’d have thunk it?

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So now begins the training, this year i’ve decided to follow an Asics training programme that’s on an app by them. I’m aiming to do 4 runs a week but I know I might not always be able to achieve this. From my time running i’ve learnt that one of the most important things is to set yourself realistic goals. By setting unrealistic goals all you’re doing is setting yourself up for failure and i’ve done that far too many times. I’ll be keeping everyone up to date here on my blog, on my facebook page and on my Youtube channel so please subscribe to stay up to date!

So now, the scary bit (apart from running 26.2 miles) raising the money! I’ve got a few ideas going around my head like:

  • Pub quiz
  • Virtual run
  • Afternoon tea
  • Customised Christmas gifts

If you’d like to donate (even a few pennies) you can here!

So yeah, in summary, at 16 stone (my biggest) i’ve decided to run the London Marathon, on my way i’ll be taking part in several different run including:

It’s going to be one hell of a ride so if you fancy doing any of these races with me, please do! Or if you want to come on a training run I can be contacted via here or my facebook page.

So, I might be fat and I might be slow but like it or not this marathon is happening!socrates

Peace

JJ xx

Catch Up – Royal Parks Half

Well this was quite a while ago now but I thought i’d update a little on what’s been going on. So on Sunday 9th of October I did my first ever half marathon. I’m not a fast runner and have never claimed to be so set myself a target of 3:30 and came in just a few seconds under! It was one of the best experiences of my life and is a truly beautiful race. The atmosphere was great with people staying to line the route right until the end. It’s definitely a half I would recommend to anyone.

One thing I wasn’t quite prepared for was the amount of emotions I would experience throughout the race. It was great to be there with some of the Too Fat To Run? ladies and to meet up before and see each other along the course. I also had a great cheer squad along the route including my mum, dad, hubby and friend. Every time I saw them I just burst into tears, mostly because I couldn’t believe that I was actually there and doing it. It was especially poignant for me as I was running for Epilepsy Action who have helped me so much over the years.

What I really learnt from my first half was that:

  • I really need to hydrate more during long races. Although I felt fine during the race I’ve had real problems with dried out hands and feet afterwards.
  • I’m capable of a lot more than I think I am and that I should challenge myself more.
  • I really love the atmosphere of big races and taking it all in instead of running with headphones.

So that was my first half marathon experience! Exciting, scary, exhilarating and terrifying all at once. I had a great week in London after as my sister came from France to visit my parents so we had some great family time. On the coach back to Cardiff after a long week and while still riding the half marathon wave I saw on the TFTR? Clubhouse page that we’d been given 5 spaces for the VLM 2017 from the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund. So I put my name in the ring and now have a place! That’s a whole other blog but expect a lot more half marathons in the future as part of my training and throughout 2017 as a whole!

Peace

JJ xx

 

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

One Very Hot Frolic!

Way back in May after completing my first 10km race my friend Tim’s (who’d done the race hungover and finished half an hour before me, not jealous at all!) Dad, Paul, messaged us both on Facebook about a trail run happening in August. The Elenden Farm Frolic, due to the word ‘frolic’ I went along with it because how can anything with the word ‘frolic’ in it ever be bad? Plus I was riding that 10k high.

Well, August rolled around and it was like “oh yeah we’re doing that run”, I was actually really looking forward to it because i’ve got a few half marathons coming up and still hadn’t managed to go over the 10k mark in training so thought i’d be able to push myself. The way the run was set up was that when you register you sign up for either 3 or 6 hours and see how many loops of the (frankly stunning) course you can do within that time. Myself and Tim signed up for the 3 hours having never done trail running before and Paul signed up for the 6 hours as he’s pretty much super human and does crazy ultra marathons and 24 hour runs. At the time I joked with Tim that he had the advantage because it was obviously in his genes. Little did I know!

So the night before I did my usual running rituals of a hydration drink, laying out my gear in a ‘flat Joey’. I then continued to freak out for about two hours about whether to wear shorts for the first time or not. In the end I realised it was due to be so hot the following day it’d be stupid not to.

The morning of the run we set off at 7:30 after having our oats and made our way into the English countryside, Tim in his welsh football top and me in my TFTR? top. I don’t think these trail runners knew what was coming. We turned up at Elenden Farm and were one of the first groups there. One thing I have to say is this was certainly one of the friendliest runs i’ve ever taken part in. So we went and registered, got our numbers, shoe chips and free Cotswold Running bit of kit, me a tech vest, Tim a tech t-shirt and we awaited the arrival of Tim’s parents while struggling with attaching shoe chips for the first time. Tim’s parents arrived and I started to get really excited, I’ve always looked up to Paul as a runner so was looking forward to taking part in the same run as him. Obviously we took the obligatory ‘before run’ shots.

You may notice all our race numbers are pretty low. That’s because there was only 36 people running! Seeing as the smallest run i’ve ever done is Parkrun and our local one regularly hits over 400 people I was in for a bit of a shock.

We made our way up to the start where family and friends were setting up deck chairs, gazebos and picnic blankets – believe me it was an amazing atmosphere. We had our safety briefing off one of the friendliest guys in the world and like that we were off.

Had I mentioned I’d never previously tried trail running? Well a piece of advice, if you’re going to do a 3 hour trail run, try running across a field first at least. I managed to run the flat and downhill parts of the first lap and came across the checkpoint in a respectable (for me) 45 minutes(ish), during the second lap I was walking more and more. It was getting really hot. Another major difference in this run was that it started at 11 so by the time I was on my second lap the midday sun was beating down on my soon to be burnt shoulders. I’d been smart though and had laden my hubby with a cool bag of water bottles and jelly babies to grab as I crossed the checkpoint. My aim was 3 times round but in my head I really wanted 4. During my 3rd lap I really struggled, I was slightly light headed and couldn’t concentrate on the uneven terrain.

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Despite that I was actually really enjoying it and as I came up to the checkpoint I could smell the BBQ (told you it was a good event!) and just smiled to myself. I’d gone over 10k and therefore gone further than i’d ever gone before. On trail. In ridiculous heat. But I still wanted another lap. My body said no but my stubborn head said yes so I set off again, just one more lap I told myself. After rounding the first corner that i’d run the previous three times and not being able to on the fourth my head caught up with my body. I’d started new medication that week, I was dizzy and running further away from the checkpoint. There are sometimes when you’ve got to be brave enough to carry on and there’s sometimes you’ve got to be brave enough to realise you’re being too stubborn so I turned around and made my way back up the hill, collapsing into a camp chair. I’d reached my goal. 3 laps. Next year i’m aiming for 5.

After some full fat coke and sips of water one of the lovely race organisers came over and snipped off my shoe chip and gave me my medal. About 10 minutes later Tim came in after 5 laps and a while after that Paul joined us after 7 or 8.

All in all I really enjoyed my first trail run, i’d gone over what i’d ever done before and knew I’d really pushed myself to my own personal limit. It’s really funny actually because the night before I couldn’t sleep so I finished reading Chrissie Wellington’s book and this quote is at the top of one of the last chapters. Little did I know how many times it would run through my head the following day.

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So what next? Well all road races! Half marathons and full on training for the Paris marathon in April and in between that i’ve set up my own Run Club in Newport to get more women running (but that’s a whole other blog). I really hope to do more trail running and especially more against the clock stuff as I found that side of it really fun. The medal was really cool too!

How ironic that I had to leave Wales to get a sheep medal?!

Peace out

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!

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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