April Is For Planning…

So most peoples years run from January to December right? Well mine seems to run from from April to April as my birthday is April the 5th and I like to plan things around my age (i’m not completely self centered i promise).

Well here’s the situation, next April i’m turning 30 and to be honest i’m a little terrified, i don’t feel like i’m old enough to be 30, that’s like an adult age! And I really don’t feel like an adult. So here’s what i’ve come up with, and bare with me because it might be a bit long winded…30 bannerSo 30 is 3 decades right? So throughout 2019 I want to set myself challenges around the number 3 or 30 while raising money for the amazing charity Epilepsy Action who’ve helped myself and my family so much over the years. So I’m asking for your help because let’s be honest this is going to take some planning! What I need right now is ideas! Here’s some i’ve got so far…

  • 3 mountains in one day
  • Walk 30 miles
  • Run 30km
  • 3 sports in one day
  • 3 half marathons/England, Scotland, Wales
  • Lose 30lbs (not sure about this one!)

So it’s going to be a busy year! I’m also going to need help with fundraising, organising, training and if you fancy joining me on one of my challenges it would be much appreciated! My main aim for the year is to raise as much money as physically possible for Epilepsy Action. The last few years have been quite turbulent with my Epilepsy and i’m so grateful for the people I have surrounding me including those from Epilepsy Action who’ve always been there for me and my family.

challengeSo for now i’ll leave it there, please reach out to me with your suggestions for challenges, especially if they’re ones you’d like to join me on! And if you feel like helping me out for 2018 please donate here to my Royal Parks Half Marathon fundraising for Epilepsy Action.

Stay tuned for updates!

Peace

JJ x

An anniversary and a new adventure…

Today is a very special day for me. It marks the day I completed the London Royal Parks Half Marathon exactly a year ago. Tomorrow I begin my training plan for the London Marathon in April.

I never thought I’d be a runner, I never thought I’d be someone who set their alarm on weekend mornings to go for a run yet here I am. All 16 stone of me. Now here’s the thing, I’ve known about my marathon place for several weeks now as it’s a charity place but as I’m at the heaviest i’ve ever been i’ve been putting off runs. I tell several women a week that they can start running, no matter what shape, size or ability but for some reason it’s taken this anniversary for me to listen to my own advice.

Tomorrow I will start training, it may not be fast or pretty but it’ll be a start and a few kilometres closer to that starting line. Sometimes, especially as women, I think we forget how strong we are. How we can do anything we set our minds to and that not everyone does it the same way. I need to stop concentrating on everyone else’s running and have a look at mine.

Most importantly I need to use these autumnal months (my favourite season) to fall back in love with running again.

I did manage parkrun (or rather walk) this weekend though!

Peace

JJ xx

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

It’s okay to be scared, or is it?

I admit. I’m scared. I’ve got some really scary stuff coming up and not just running related so yesterday and this morning I had a mini freak out and then a much needed “pull yourself together” chat with myself. So yeah, if anyone had been watching me the last few days they’d basically had seen me wandering around the house chatting and chanting to myself…

So why so scared? Well here’s a few of the things scaring me at the moment…

Races

No matter how many I’ve done, no matter how much I love them, the thought of races still scare me, but that’s the point, it’s the thought of them, the whole, will I be last? Will the finish line still be there? What if people laugh at me? For some reason it still scares me and then on the day I’m fine! Sounds silly but hey we’ve all got our thing! I guess I’m worrying so much at the moment over two especially, 1 is a local 10k I’ve entered and I guess because it’s a smaller race I know it’ll mostly be club runners and the time limit will probably be less than in a larger race. The 2nd one I’m worrying about is the Cardiff half but there’s more about that below and the 3rd is next year’s London Marathon. Not going to lie, I am terrified but I know in my heart of hearts if I follow a plan I will finish!

The Cardiff Half

So the Cardiff Half doesn’t scare me in itself it’s more the fact that it’s the first race ever that I’ve got a team entered in that I’m helping train. My focus on the day will be that those ladies have the best race day experience possible and getting them all over the finish line. They’re all doing so well at the moment and I couldn’t be prouder of them. We’re raising money for the Newport and Cardiff branch of Sands and if you’d like to donate please use this link here.

College

That’s right! Along with everything else that’s going on at the moment I’ve decided that it’s an excellent time to go back to college! At the age of 28 I’m going back to do my beauty therapies qualification and before the student day I was absolutely terrified but now I’m really excited yet still very scared. Mostly because I know training could go one of two ways, 1) completely out the window and I never run again or 2) the routine of college really helps me and training falls into a decent pattern. Knowing that I’m a person of extremes I’m really hoping it’s number 2…

Coach training

In November along with another Run Wales blogger I’ll be starting my Coaching in Running Fitness qualification. Run Wales were supportive enough to fund half of the course and I crowdfunded the rest, because of this I really feel I need to do well on the course and it’s slightly more daunting than doing the Leadership course as it’s over several weekend and I’ve heard rumours of an exam?!

So that’s a few things that I’m scared of at the moment and when I first started writing this blog it was called ‘Scary times ahead’ but it got me thinking, am I scared or am I excited? What would happen if every time I wanted to say I was scared about something I said I was excited about it? For example: “I am excited about taking part in a local race, it’ll give me a chance to meet more people from local running clubs and groups” or “I’m so excited for each one of my ladies to come across the finish line at the Cardiff half”. I’ve realised that sometimes in life I spend so much time being scared that I don’t see or take the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.

So from now on every time I want to say scared I’m going to say excited because it’s okay to be scared every now and again but it’s better to be excited!

scaredexcited

 

Peace

JJ

X

Spitfire Scramble – 24 Hour Relay!

It’s no lie that i’ve been having a crisis of confidence somewhat as of late, my mental health hasn’t been at it’s best and my running has really been suffering because of it. I’d signed up to Spitfire Scramble, a 24 hour relay race in Hornchurch, months ago as part of a team of 8 from the Too Fat to Run? clubhouse, along with another team and Julie going solo. On the run up to the race I nearly dropped out several times. I wasn’t able to leave the house alone, how the hell was I going to get down to London and camp for a weekend with a whole group of women I hardly knew or only knew online? Oh yeah and run several laps of a relay race. I’d also only tested my tent in the garden for the first time in 9 years…

However, I didn’t drop out, that’s the thing about the clubhouse ladies, they give you the confidence when you can’t give it to yourself. The fact that I knew I could run either 1 lap or 7 and still be celebrated as part of the team. So I plugged in my headphones and pulled on my massive backpack and away I went!

I met Kate outside Hornchurch station mid afternoon on the Friday and we made our way to the campsite where we duly met Julie who had acquired a lovely man to help put up her tent and then the two of ours as well. Tammy and her lovely hubby were next to arrive (with the most amazing camping skills, they had a STEAK dinner, did you hear that STEAK dinner while camping!) and after a few more of the club arriving, setting up camp and a few beers it was off to bed. So one thing i’ve learnt for next year is bring many, many layers for camping. The floor is freezing so you really do need something between your mattress and sleeping bag. In the morning we were up and fuelling ready for the start at 12 at which I was doing my first lap.

The siren went and we were off. I’d done the Great Bristol 10K in May with Steph, another member of the Clubhouse and knew I could get a 1:40 10k walking my pacing myself. My plan was if I did this my feet would be strong for at least another two laps. The course was actually nicer than i’d anticipated with bridges and a few different terrains. I’d ummed and ahhhed about bringing my trail shoes but in the end had stuck with my road shoes and was glad I did as the majority of the ground was firm underfoot especially as it was a mostly dry day. Next year I will however be bringing two pairs of shoes. I came across the line to change over with Tammy in 1:39 and returned to our base for some food, my parents also turned up to bring a double duvet and pillow (love them!) so I fuelled up and relaxed a bit in between cheering team members over the line. As the sun set over the camp it was actually quite stunning.

I was set to do my evening lap, lots of lights had been attached and i’d partnered up with someone from the TFTR? team so both of our laps would count. From the 2nd km mark I knew something was wrong, my feet were absolutely burning but we plodded on. The course seemed to go on forever and I started to really wish that i’d test run my headtorch before the event. Finally we returned to camp after a 2 hour lap. I limped back to camp and pulled off my trainers and socks to reveal throbbing feet. I drank two lucozades, downed a couple of ibuprofen and went to sleep.

I woke up in the morning thinking my feet would be okay, but no, two massive matching blisters on each foot. Since the race i’ve realised my socks were probably one of my old pairs and so had been worn thin on my pressure points. At first I was dissapointed in myself that I couldn’t do another lap but later on I looked at it and i’d managed to do a lap solo in the daytime and a buddied lap in the dark. I was proud and it’s given me the confidence to take control of my training again. Although i’ve dropped out of my August and September half marathons (i just wasn’t ready) i’m going to be ready for my October half and several 10ks.

I would thoroughly recomend Spitfire Scramble to anyone who wants to try a 24 hour race. It’s a thoroughly friendly race while still being competitive, even if most of that competitiveness is against yourself apart from the top 3 of each category winners. Next year i’m entered as a duo and will learn my lessons from this year. On the plus side, no chaffing to report!

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

Reboot Time

I’ve just got back from the most amazing week in Rhodes on the Too Fat to Run? retreat. I experienced everything from my first pork chop to an earthquake! Plus some running in between!

IMG_0038 It’s definitely been a life changing experience but for one main reason, the amazing women I met there. I feel truly privileged to have been able to get to meet such interesting and intelligent women (with the same taste for beer as me) but in all seriousness we did do a lot of exercise including:

  • HIIT
  • Swimming
  • Water polo
  • Running
  • Zumba
  • Yoga

We also had sessions about nutrition and mind set. One goal I had for the retreat was to try every meal and I did! In fact I tried over 10 foods that had never previously touched my lips. I’m now of the thinking that I’ll be eating mindfully and consciously. I didn’t go to the retreat to lose weight and I’m not sure if I have but I’ve definitely lost inches. I’m at my heaviest I’ve ever been and plan on making healthy changes to my eating habits rather than trying another diet. So this blog may involve a little more food talk but it won’t be diet talk.

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Right, I’m off for more kip because I’m absolutely knackered! These posts will become more frequent now as I run more and experience even more foods.

Peace

JJ xx