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?

london marathon

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

First of the Marathon blogs…

So yesterday I filled out the form to make my place for the 2018 London Marathon official. That’s right, this year I’m getting organised. I’ve got my preparation half marathons booked in, the Brighton half in February, the Bath half marathon in March and (haven’t booked it in yet) hopefully the Merthyr half marathon along the taff trail towards the end of March just before I begin tapering. Me and the London Marathon have some unfinished business. My place has actually been rolled over from last year. Last year I freaked myself out-

  • Would I be too slow?
  • Would I make it round?
  • What if I was last?

That last one was the worst one, I freaked myself out so much, nightmares of reaching the Mall and there being no one there – “sorry you’re too late”. I allowed this nightmare to scare me out of training runs, so much so that I became so behind on my training that I wouldn’t be able to complete the marathon. I’m aware this will probably be my only chance to do the London Marathon, so if I’m going to do it, I want to do it right.

My first fear, ‘would I be too slow?’ well, as long as I finish within 8 hours I won’t be too slow because I’ll still finish. A wonderful woman, an inspiration of mine and fellow member of the Too Fat to Run? Clubhouse finished within the final 10 minutes of the 8 hour cut off. She’s still a marathon runner! She’s still in the 1%. One of my fellow Run Wales bloggers finished in around the 2:45 mark, he is also amazing and I am in awe of his constant race wins but is one of these more of a marathon runner than the other? To me? No, they both crossed the start and finish lines, just in different times. I think it has taken knowing these two athletes for me to see that I can do this marathon and whatever time I get, I’ll still be a marathon runner and a London Marathon finisher.

Of course, this time round I’ll still get these thoughts, I’ll still get scared and worry but this year I won’t let take over my dreams. I won’t let anxiety win and I won’t let myself use epilepsy as an excuse.

I’ll still get that voice at the back of my head “How dare you think you can do this? You’re so fat and disgusting, you’re not a runner!” but you know what i AM a runner, no matter my size, I tie up my laces just the same as every other runner and I run, sometimes with walking breaks but I AM still a runner.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is if you want to do something, do it! Don’t let your brain tell you that you can’t do something when your heart’s telling you “yes you bloody can!”. So listen to your heart, listen to the encouraging people around you. Look out for those around you that you might be inspiring, maybe to not do a run but to just to start, to go for a walk, to take that first step, which, let’s be honest, is the hardest.

Stay tuned for more on my journey.

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

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 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

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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