In April 2011 I ran the London Marathon and raised £2600 for Asthma UK. It was a 'once in a lifetime' experience...or so I thought. Bravely (or stupidly) I'm doing it again, and this blog will chart my progress while I train for my second London Marathon. Come with me on my journey towards the big day. Here I go...again!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Who let the dogs out...?

I collected hubby from the airport first thing yesterday, and while he headed to bed to sleep off his jet lag I should have gone straight out for a run...but instead I got comfy and read my book (Ken Follett's 'Fall of Giants').
I promised myself that I'd do my long weekend run later in the day, but never quite got round to it. Actually, I didn't really get round to doing very much at all yesterday. Lazy, but quite nice!
The clocks went back an hour last night so I used my 'extra hour' to get my run done early this morning, heading out just after half past six.
The weather forecast said that today would be dry and warm. Sadly it was neither that early in the day. The heavy drizzle soon turned into full-on rain, and within half a mile I was soaked through to the skin. Hey ho - nothing to do but keep going.
I'm still following a walk/run strategy but I've tweaked the ratio for the long runs; this morning I ran for two minutes and walked for one, then repeated for 4.2 miles.
The run/walk strategy means that even on longer runs I'm not too tired by the end, and looking at the breakdown of my timings when I got home I could see that my speed was picking up throughout and I ran a negative split (meaning that the second half of the run was quicker than the first). My pace is also not much slower than when I'm running all the time (averaging about 10 seconds a mile slower) so over the distance of the marathon I should feel fresher without losing out on time.
Half way round my run I went past a pub in the village. Two puppies came tumbling out of a side door and were pottering around on the car park...until they saw me. I suddenly gained two new best friends, and couldn't get away. Every time I started to run on, they followed me. I tried to ignore them. I tried to shoo them away. I tried to find their owner. In the end, to get away, I threw a stick for them and ran at top speed (7.7mph, according to my watch!) in the opposite direction.
The rest of the run continued without incident, and I got home just after quarter past seven. Another run - done.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Such a perfect day

I know a moan a bit (ok - a lot) about having to get up early to fit my training in before work, but today was one of those days when it all seemed effortless.
First of all, I was awake before the alarm, having had a wonderfully peaceful nights sleep. It's amazing what a difference earplugs make when there's ANOTHER party going on...not that I'm cross. Much.
Anyway, I digress.
I was awake before the alarm, my GPS watch found a signal straight away, and as I headed outside I was greeted by a clear sky full of twinkling stars. Truly beautiful.
I didn't go very far again - I'm saving myself for the long weekend run tomorrow - but every step seemed effortless and as I headed for home the sun was just starting to rise.
If only I could bottle that feeling and sell it I could solve all my fundraising dilemmas in one day.
On a personal note, today is my last full day in charge of the remote control, as hubby will be heading to the airport in the next four hours to begin his long journey home. All being well, I'll be meeting him at the airport early tomorrow morning.
Farewell remote, welcome back flicking between programmes, but best of all, welcome back hubby :o)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Quiet, please!

Hubby is now half way through his week in America, and I can't believe how quickly the time has gone. His absence has brought some unexpected bonuses - I get unrestricted access to the remote control, I don't keep finding windows open and there's no-one to kick me in the middle of the night - but I'm definitely missing him, and am looking forward to Saturday.
Unfortunately the weather here isn't the thirty degree Dallas heat that hubby is enjoying, so my morning run has involved long sleeves and a woolly hat.
Monday was a great run - I seemed to find a comfortable rhythm from the off and was disappointed when it was time to head back home.
This morning was a short but fast run. It was all I could manage, and I would have loved to stay in bed. (A neighbour's teenagers decided to have a party last night, and I wasn't able to get any sleep before 4am, so a 6.30am alarm call was the last thing I wanted to hear!) Please be impressed that I stuck to my schedule and still got up and went out. Dedication indeed.
At least tomorrow I get a lie in until 7am...Thursday's are 'rest days', so no running, no cross training, and hopefully no loud music through the walls. Now that sounds like a plan :o)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

It's a small world

I was up even earlier than usual this morning to take hubby and a work colleague of his to the airport - they're off to America for a conference.
They tried to convince me on the way that it would be an intensive week of work, but both seemed very up to date with the latest weather forecast over there (30 degrees, but a little breezy, apparently). I'm also a little unsure of how a trip to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium will help achieve operational excellence, but it seems they're willing to include it in their itinerary just in case!
Having waved them off at the airport I drove home and went straight out for my long run. It was a lovely morning for it - bright, twelve degrees, with a light breeze to keep me cool. Half way round I received a text message from hubby - he'd bumped into friends of ours in the departure lounge and they're on the same flight as him to Newark. A small world indeed. From Newark they're heading to Florida while he flies to Dallas.
So - I've done the airport transport, two loads of washing, a long run and let the chickens out...all before quarter past eight.
Surely I deserve a cuppa?

Friday, 21 October 2011

Can you spot a pattern emerging...?

I spent all of yesterday in a tutorial for the finance module of my CMI course, and booked today off to finish my write up while it's all fresh in my mind. I say 'finish', but in reality I'll be glad to get 50% done - I think we've all underestimated just how much work there is to do before 4th November deadline. Gulp!
I got home yesterday to find that I've been sponsored by someone I met at the marathon last time round. I'd handed in my kit bag and was feeling a little lost and nervous when a voice said 'Hello Jas - I've been reading your blog!' She introduced herself as Lorraine - a fellow Asthma UK runner - and we chatted for a while before heading to the start. We've kept in touch via Facebook, and she's recently run a half marathon in a great time. I'm trying to convince her to run on a Gold Bond place again in 2012, but so far she's resisting my gentle nudges. Go on know you want to!
As it's a day off today I decided not to set my alarm, just to get up 'about half past 6'. I woke up at 6, thought I'd doze for a bit longer, and suddenly hubby's alarm was going off and it was five to seven. Oops, but never mind.
I headed out for a quick mile and a half, and made good time. It was much warmer this morning, but I'd gone out prepared for a cold start with woolly hat and gloves on, so half a mile in I was far too hot.
There was a beautiful sunrise this morning, and the sky was a stunning pinky-red - not a good sign if you believe the portents, but lovely to look at.
I'm glad to say I'm now tucked back up in bed with my netbook and coursework ready for a day of study.
Hmmm...maybe I should just finish stripping the wallpaper off the living room wall....

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A long day and a late run

Ok...I admit it...I pressed the snooze button this morning and stayed tucked up in bed when I should have been out running. If I'm allowed to present the case for the defence, I had a rotten night's sleep (or lack of) and woke up with a cracking headache.
Sadly I spent all day feeling guilty for my laziness and promised myself that I'd head out as soon as I got home from work.
Wednesday's are my long day - and late finish - at work, so I didn't get home until almost half past seven. I could feel my resolve was slipping, but youngest daughter (affectionately called Kong) offered to accompany me, so five minutes later we were heading through the door and into the cold night.
One minute from home we passed a group of teenage lads and were loudly cheered on our way - it's amazing how much you can up your pace when necessary!
We only did a quick, short run - just over a mile - but we were a lot warmer when we got home.
Best of all, Kong has promised to come out with me again soon, so I now have a choice of running partner this year. Marvelous!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Running and writing, and writing and procrastinating...

I usually run on a Monday morning, but I had to be in at work extra early for a server update yesterday so postponed my run until I got home...or at least that was the intention. I had 'one of those days' - if it could go wrong, it did...and then some - and by the time I got home it was dark and pouring with rain. I did the only sensible thing - kicked off my shoes, slumped in the chair and ordered pizza!
Today is my day off, and my plan was always to spend the day working on my finance assignment for my CMI course, so I got up early and went for a run with hubby in tow. It was decidedly chilly at half past six, but at least it was dry. We made good progress, picked up the speed a bit, and both felt a lot warmer and more awake on the return leg.
After stretching, feeding the dog and letting the chickens out (well - opening their door - they were still tucked up asleep on their perches!) I was back back in bed with a cup of tea by my side and my coursework open by 7.15am.
I've made reasonable progress through the morning, but seem to have hit a bit of a wall, so awarded myself a half hour break to make another cuppa and write my blog.
Now, what else needs doing...? Not that I'm procrastinating, of course...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

It's the thought that counts

I had the pleasure of hubby's company on my Friday morning run. It was still dark when we went out, and the streets were quiet, with just a few cars around. I stick close to home and on the main roads when I'm out on my own, so it was great to venture a bit further afield with him, and particularly pleasant to return through the park.
Hubby was a bit surprised when two collies charged past us out of the darkness, but they were only interested in returning to their owner.
Sadly our chocolate Labrador is a useless running companion - he spends all his time jumping up at me or wrapping himself round my ankles on the occasions I've tried to take him out with me - as I've often thought how nice it would be to have his company.
Oldest daughter promised she'd come out for a run with me this morning, but soon retracted her offer when she realised it would mean a) getting up earlier than she needed to, and b) running. Oh well...I guess it's the thought that counts.
The sun was up when I went out today, so despite the light frosting on the cars I was quickly warmed up. I ran through the village, past the shops (and past the balti restaurant where we had a rather delicious meal last night) and back towards home. Today was 'long slow run' day, but the route I took was shorter than I'd anticipated, so I added on another loop back towards the village before finally heading home.
I keep a record of how far I've run and my average speed and overall time on my training schedule, which is pinned to the notice board in the kitchen (so the family can moan at me if I haven't been out when I should). My GPS watch informed me that I'd burned 253 calories while I was out this morning...I make that just enough for a guilt-free piece of cake later.
I knew there was a reason I loved running!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Spot the deliberate mistake

I was up early again for this morning's run, although I'd have paid good money to stay in bed today. That said, it had warmed up again this morning and I came home suitably awake and refreshed.

For those of you who read my blog yesterday, did you spot the deliberate mistake on my card? First prize goes to Jenny who did notice it. She's now my official proof reader, and I'll be emailing my 120,000 word novel to her to check through later.

Sadly it wasn't noticed until the cards had already been printed, so 250 will be dropping through my letterbox any day now, all with typo's on.

Scroll down to yesterday's post to see if you can spot the mistake...

If you find it, you have to text 'Jass73' £1 to 70070

If you can't find it, text 'Jass73' £1 to 70070 and I'll point it out to you!

100% of all contributions go towards my fundraising :o)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Wheezy does it

I went for my annual asthma check-up today, and am pleased to say that it all went very well. I'm officially the right weight for my height at last (I'm usually told I could do with losing a bit of weight which only ever encourages me to eat more chocolate!) and my lung capacity is above the expected level - another big plus.
I know that the running I've done over the last couple of years has made a big difference to my breathing and I'm hoping I escape a chest infection again this winter.
The only problem was when the nurse came to print off my inhaler prescription - the new computer system said 'No', so I've had to 'leave it with her' and I can collect it tomorrow. Hopefully.
I've ordered some 'business cards' again, as I found them really useful last time round for giving out my fundraising details.
What do you think of the design...?
Hopefully I've got all the details right on there.
Sadly there wasn't a picture of jelly beans to match my blog's background, so I plumped for a running shoe instead. I'm not sure my running shoes have ever gone as fast as the one on the card, but I'm working on it.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Blown away - three times in one day!

I was up and out early again this morning for a training run, and the wind was blowing a gale. At times I felt like I was leaning 45 degrees into the wind just to make any headway, so although I only did a mile and a half I think it should actually count as 3!

I had a busy day at work and came home exhausted, so nearly didn't check my emails this evening...but am so glad that I did. There was a new email with 'Congratulations' in the title. It was from the Muscular Dystrophy Events team and the opening line read...

"Thank you for your application for the London Marathon. I am delighted to be able to offer you a place on our 2012 London Marathon team."

Much squealing followed! It's official - I'm in!
Not just in, but running for a charity that is very close to my heart, because my Dad had Muscular Dystrophy. If ever I need a reason to get up and out on cold winter mornings, this is it.

The rest of the evening has been taken up in setting up my Just Giving page (which you can visit at ...and while you're there, you could make a quick donation!)
I'm also rather excited to have set up a 'donation by text' facility. By texting Jass73 followed by the amount you want to donate to 70070 you can help me raise funds really quickly and easily...and it's quite good fun, too!
We've had to try it out to make sure it works. I'm glad to say it does. Isn't technology clever?!
I'm intending to get it printed on the back of my running tops in the hope that people will take pity on the red-faced-huffing-and-puffing woman on her training runs and make a donation!

The third thing that blew me away today was when my youngest daughter called me up to her room - she'd tidied it without being asked! It's the first time we've seen the carpet since 2007. Now that really does make today a special day!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Good company

Yesterday was a busy day, so I saved my weekend run for this morning.
Getting up and heading out early was made much easier because I had company...hubby volunteered to accompany me.
There had been a fair bit of rain overnight, so we were playing dodge the puddles - and dodge the slugs! Where do they come from? They are the size of house bricks, and double up as hurdles. It's a shame I didn't take a carrier bag out with me to collect them...they would have kept the chickens happy all week.
A good marker for effort is being able to hold a conversation while running. As I usually run alone, it's not a test I do often. (I get enough odd looks without talking to myself as well.) I'm glad to say that hubby and I managed to chat all the way round, and it really did make the time go quicker.
Now...what are the chances of him coming with me tomorrow morning? I'm going to say not good.
Anyone else free at 6.30am tomorrow?

Friday, 7 October 2011

Round the block

I should have had my annual asthma check up a month ago, but couldn't book the appointment because the doctors were installing a new computer system. Time went on, I didn't get round to making an appointment, and now I've run out of my preventer inhaler and my wheezing is increasing by the day. Not the best start to a training programme.
With this in mind, I've been doing circuits of our road so that I'm never too far from home.
I've got the day off work today because we've got tickets to 'Grand Designs Live' at the NEC, but instead of having a nice lie in I was up before 7am and out for my run.
This morning was decidedly colder than two days ago, but a couple of minutes into my run I'd warmed up nicely and was able to enjoy being out.
I found out yesterday about three more people that I know that have a place in the marathon, so there should be plenty of opportunities for training together. Very exciting, and much more fun than training alone...especially on the long runs.
So - the easy part of the day is out of the way - the run. Now comes the difficult bit - stopping hubby from spending our savings on things we don't need at the NEC!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Back to early mornings

I won't know for sure about my Gold Bond place for another couple of weeks (I'll tell you more about that when I can), but I've started my training programme anyway.
Those of you who know me will confirm that I'm not a morning person, and getting out of bed at silly o'clock to go for a run was by far the hardest part of training last time round. So, at silly o'clock this morning, it was with a heavy heart that I dragged myself out of my warm bed, donned my running kit and Garmin watch and tumbled out onto the pavement.
Having been dogged by injury during the run up to the 2011 marathon I'm determined to take it easy, so did just over a mile this morning followed by plenty of stretching.
I'd forgotten how lovely it is to be out in the quiet of the morning, but give me a couple of weeks when the mornings are darker, colder and wetter and I might reassess my opinion.
So, day one of week one's training - done. Just another 29 weeks to go!