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

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

 

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

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

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