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…

 

 

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

Landmark weekend

This weekend has been crazy but in a crazy good way. On Saturday instead of doing my usual Parkrun I marshalled at it instead as I was doing a run on Sunday. Volunteering at Parkrun is an amazing experience and if you go to your local Parkrun you really should give volunteering a go once in a while because it feels so good to give something back and you get more time to chat and get to know people. I was marshalling along the route and got so many high fives and shouts of thanks it was amazing and really makes you feel part of the community 😊image(and obviously you get to wear a rocking high vis!)

So, why wasn’t I doing my usual Parkrun you may ask. Well, as I’ve previously mentioned I was taking part in a Five Weeks To 5k programme run by Julie Creffield and the The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running team online. Well this was the final weekend of the programme where from the outset we all signed to walk/jog/run a 5k. To be honest from the outset in my mind I was planning to just go do my usual Parkrun and walk/run the 5k. However, a few weeks into the programme I found out that The Saint David’s Day Run was happening on the final Sunday of the programme so I signed up to the 5k run (there are 5,1 and 10k events on the day) and still aimed to walk/run it.

Well, yesterday was the big day. Two of our friends stayed over the night before to join my husband as part of my ‘cheer squad’ and we all set off to Cardiff on Sunday morning. We arrived at the event to an amazing atmosphere and very friendly volunteers. I’d been very nervous the night before but as soon as I got there the fears faded away. The warm up began and it was clear that everyone was there for the fun of it. Gathering at the start line the butterflies started again, we all counted down together and we were off. 1k went past and I was still jogging along. Then 2k, 3k and 4k. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t given in and started walking yet. As soon as I saw that 4k sign I was determined to keep going. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t magical, it was bloody hard but I did it. I ran the whole bloody thing and did it at a sub 40 minute time for the first time ever at 39 minutes 29 seconds.

After the run I seriously couldn’t quite believe it. I’d never run a whole 5k before and I hadn’t even planned to, mostly because I was scared I couldn’t, but this weekend I didn’t let fear stop me and I accomplished something that even on Sunday morning I didn’t believe was possible.

Well now I know anything is possible. I know I am strong and I am a runner. I’m also doing a 10k on May 15th and training starts today.

“Say no to fear and believe just how strong you are.”

JJ x

Speed isn’t everything

So this weekend after no running in the week due to a holiday I roused to once again attend my local Parkrun. To be honest I wasn’t expecting much because of the lack of runs in the week, I was tired, blah blah blah and some other excuses. Recently I’ve really been really trying to concentrate on pace because even though people have been telling me “the slower you go, the further you’ll go” I didn’t quite believe them. This week at Parkrun though I did listen and even though I didn’t get a PB I managed to run more of the course than ever before (usually a run/walker) and it seriously made me feel amazing. I came home completely buzzing it was seriously the first time I felt like I could call myself a ‘runner’ but that’s a whole other post for a whole other time. For now I just thought I’d spread the love and advice of “take it slow” because it honestly gave me the best weekend I’ve had in a longtime.

Peace out

JJ x