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!

Saturday, 31 December 2011

A week of two halves

This week has been really good and really hard at the same time. Good because there have been more days off than normal because of Bank holidays. Good because it was my birthday, and I was spoilt for a day. Hard because I was really not well on Wednesday but had to work from 8.30am-7pm, and all I really wanted to do was curl up and sleep. Hard because yesterday was my first run since Sunday, and it was like running through treacle.
I like to run in the mornings because my exercise is done for the day, but this week I've been out of my routine and not feeling well, and the combination of the two has left me out of sorts.

I was dreading going out this morning simply because yesterdays run was so unenjoyable, but up and out I went, and I'm really glad I did. There was a light drizzle in the air which kept me cool, and I ran hard for three and a half miles and came home feeling so much better.

I can't afford to ease off now - the marathon is only sixteen weeks away, and I need to focus my energy, forget the bad training sessions, take motivation from the good training sessions and carry on.

Oh, and there's the small matter of fundraising, which is, after all why I'm doing all this.

Please, please, take a moment now and donate by text. Text Jass73 followed by £1/£2/£3 or £5 to 70070

All the money you donate goes directly to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign to help them continue their good work supporting families, and their research into this awful disease.

Thank you - your support really does mean a lot to me xx

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Tis the season to eat too much and go for a long run

All the family descended on us yesterday, and we enjoyed a scrummy meal cooked by hubby and a lovely afternoon together.
I was still full by the evening but couldn't quite resist the call of cream crackers and cheddar with cranberries, so today's long run was even more necessary than usual!
We went to Bournville this morning and had been invited to Mum-in-laws for lunch, so a rough calculation told me I could do my planned 10 mile run from Bournville to the outskirts of Bromsgrove and still arrive in time for lunch.
I set off along the A38 just after midday and expected to be running in the rain - it had gone very overcast - but other than a bit of drizzle early on it was a dry run, and an unseasonably warm 11 degrees. The biggest challenge was running into a strong wind for nearly the entire route.
About three miles into the run a fellow runner caught up with me, and we ran for about ten minutes together until a quick glance at my watch told me I was running at 9min/mile pace...too fast for me on a long run. He raced on ahead, and I dropped back down to a more leisurely 11min/mile pace.
Hubby kindly brought me water at the 5 mile mark which was very welcome. I waved him goodbye just the other side of Rubery and ran on to the M5 island, then left (past Catshill) towards the M42 island. Another mile on and I hit the steep hill that leads up to my in-laws.
In the end I only did 8 1/2 miles - I'd underestimated the distance - but at least I got my timing right; lunch was just being served.
So...two big meals in two days, a long run and lots of good company. And I get to have another lie in tomorrow. And Tuesday.

Friday, 23 December 2011

I know...I don't look old enough

Training seems to have gone a bit awry this week, as this morning was the first time I'd run since Tuesday. I think it was a combination of busy days at work, an ill cat, youngest daughter's birthday and a little bit of laziness.

I can't quite believe that I now have two teenagers in the house. It really doesn't seem long since they were little babies, but at least they sleep these days. Come to think of it, it's difficult to get them out of bed...

As for the ill cat, he's been fighting which has resulted in an abscess over his eye. Fortunately we have a brave vet who was prepared to take her life in her hands and lance it. He's not a cuddly cat at the best of times, so tending to his wound involves full protective clothing and the ability to dodge razor-sharp claws and a lot of teeth. Fun all round, really.

Anyway - back to this morning's run. I was up and out for half past six, and did a quick 2 miles. I went down to the village, out to Whettylane Bridge then back through the village and home.

It was really mild so I was overheating by the time I got home and felt like I'd had a really good workout. One of those 'good run' days when it just feels right.

I've got a ten mile run to fit in somewhere this weekend, but at least I'm not back to work until Wednesday so I've got some flexibility if the weather is as wet as predicted. Hoorah for a couple of days off and a bit of a sleep in tomorrow :o)

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Don't go shopping in lycra

Day off today, but no time for rest.

After Sunday's battery error and shorter-than-planned run, I decided I should make up for the lost mile and go further today.

I've got used to heading out onto a sparkly carpet of ice and the early morning felt slightly less magical with only muddy puddles to reflect the moonlight.
I took a route that I've often taken before, but in the opposite direction. What is usually a nice downhill towards the end of the run became a serious uphill slog minutes after setting out.

As I passed a bus stop I was hailed with a shout of 'No need to run, love, the bus will be along in a minute.' Thumbs up to him for making me laugh on a cold dark morning.

I headed back through the village and could see the butchers getting ready for the day. Without stopping to think, I popped my head round the door and asked if they could bone and roll some lamb for me to pick up at lunch time. It's funny how my green woolly hat/pink jacket/lycra leggings combination that I convince myself no-one can see in the dark mornings was suddenly in the spotlight in the butchers doorway. I mumbled my thanks to them and made a hasty exit.

Note to self - buy a new running hat and don't combine shopping with running.

Anyhow - back home for just after 7am and on with the, cleaning, washing and more work on my 'Shareholders' assignment. Any offers of help gratefully appreciated - especially with the assignment!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Batteries not included

I fully intended to do my weekend run yesterday morning, but it was a very thick frost and I chickened out.
We were out for most of the day, and by the time we got home we only just had enough energy to put the kettle on for a cuppa...a run was just out of the question.
This morning there could be no excuses, and up and out I went. The frost was just as thick and it was below freezing, but the moon was bright in the sky and the streetlights on the pavements made for a beautiful scene.
Unfortunately I'd only got to the end of the road when my watch pancaked. I must have left it turned on after my last run, and there was no battery left at all.
I now realise just how much I rely on it. It's been a long time since I've planned a route - I just head out of the door and see where I end up, but this morning I was very conscious of how far I thought I'd gone, what pace I might be doing and when I should turn back for home.
I estimate that I did somewhere between 3 and 4 miles, but if I'm honest it was probably nearer 3 than 4. I'm telling myself to be pleased that I hauled myself out of bed on a cold morning to run, but I'm also a bit disappointed that I should have done more.
Hopefully 'jumping for joy is good exercise' as it's certainly been a happy weekend, and maybe that will make up for any shortfall out on the road.
Now...where did I put that docking cradle...?

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Calorie free cake (almost)

I went out for a meal with my work team last night. We had a lot of laughs, and a lot of very tasty food.
During the evening one of my team was telling me that she reads all my blog posts to her Dad. He used to live locally, so recognises the descriptions of the routes I run. So, hello to Mr Williams! Thank you for keeping up with my blog, and thank you for appreciating just how big some of the hills are round here!
I digress. Back to the meal. I'd like to say my willpower was such that I declined pudding, but alas no. I promised I'd go for an extra long run this morning to make up for it, but immediately regretted it when we left the restaurant to find a thick layer of ice on the cars, and very slippery pavements.
Fortunately the rain during the night lifted the temperature enough to melt the ice, so although it was a cold run there was no slipping and sliding around.
In the end I didn't go further than planned (just under 2 miles), but kept a good pace and must surely have burned off at least half of the calories in the cake. (The other half of the calories in the cake and those in the fudge sauce will have to wait until my long run on Saturday.)
And finally today I can't go without sharing a chicken update: I think while I've been out someone has swapped one of the chickens for an ostrich. Their eggs usually weigh 60-68g (not that I'm a bit obsessive about these things) but one of the eggs I collected today weighed in at an impressive 82g. There'll be fighting over who gets that one, but I stick by the very adult method of deciding; finders keepers!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Stay away from the fridge

I'm pleased and relieved that the twinges I felt on Saturday's long run have turned out to be nothing, and I've been training as normal this week. I have got a very achy back - not sure what I've done to get that - but ibuprofen seems to be keeping it at bay.
Yesterday I did a mile and a half run and this morning I did two miles. I've been heading out at 6.30am, and seem to have picked the best part of the day weather-wise. Yesterday it got windier as the day went on and rained quite heavily at times, and it started raining almost as soon as I got home today. It's been cold while I've been out, but at least I haven't got wet.
I'd like to say I've spent my days warming up, but we're having more work done in the front room - yesterday was new skirting boards and today is a new window, so I'm shivering away while trying to write my second CMI assignment.
The colder I feel, the more I'm eating (or is the cold just an excuse?!). I edged onto the scales this morning and jumped off again quickly. Maybe they need new batteries? The reading certainly doesn't seem as low as it should! So...I'll try to be good.
Except I'm going out for a meal with my team tonight, and customers have been bringing us boxes of biscuits and chocolates at work, and I'm on my course tomorrow and might need to have a bacon sandwich at lunch time...
Maybe being good can wait until January!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

A cold long run with a suprise at the end

There was already a heavy frost when we went to bed last night, so I knew this mornings run would be a cold one.
I laid out all my running gear on the radiator in preparation (warm shoes, gloves and hat are a must for heading out on a day like today!) but I put off leaving home until 9am in the hope that the sun would have melted some of the ice.
It hadn't.
The pavements were incredibly slippery, but the skies were clear and it was a lovely morning to be out.
Two miles in and I was feeling quite a tightness in my ankle/lower calf area on my right leg. The nerves kicked in as this was where I had an injury last year, so I spent much of the next two miles stopping to stretch and I dropped my pace right down.
More than once I was tempted to cut the run short, but I persevered and by mile five I was feeling much more comfortable and I completed my planned 8 miles.
The route (in the picture - uploaded from my Garmin) shows what a winding route I took as I kept doubling back to stay close to home.
I did a lot of stretching when I got back and will keep icing my calf, but I'm hopeful that it was just a bit of cramp and won't cause a hiccup in my training.
For anyone who would like a chicken update, I'm happy to report that Kiev is laying an egg every day now, as is either Korma or Nugget. (Korma and Nugget are a bit like Ant and Dec...always together, quite amusing, but no one really knows which is which.)
While I was cleaning out the nesting boxes - mid-ponder over which chicken isn't pulling her weight - I stumbled across an egg half hidden in the top of the compost bin. How exciting! What I now need to find out is if this is day one of all three chickens laying eggs, or if the dog has also been having egg for breakfast every day for the last week.
I think my route back from the hen house will be via the compost bin for the next few days, and we'll be keeping a close eye on where the dog is foraging while he's in the garden.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

(Don't) let it snow

There had been a fair bit of rain on Sunday night which froze as the temperature dropped, meaning that by Monday morning the pavements were treacherous. This made my run more like an ice skating session as I slid all over the place.
At one point - where the path went down hill and turned a corner - it was only a well place lamp post that kept me upright. It's saw.
What should have been a tempo run turned into a take-it-easy-and-don't-lose-your-balance run, but I still managed my 2 miles.
It was considerably warmer this morning when I went out - a tropical 2 degrees! - and there wasn't any ice around. This meant that I could get on with my tempo run - and it went really well. I just did 2 miles again, but was pleased with my times.
There's a lot of talk in the media about snow on the way, and I'm really hopeful that the forecasters have got their sums wrong. I hate snow. I hate going out in snow. I've never even tried running in snow. A very kind friend has let me borrow her treadmill for the winter months, so at least I have a plan B if the dreaded white stuff does arrive.
There is some great news today...Muscular Dystrophy sent it's marathon team details of 'The Big Give', where money donated to charities is matched, and these matched donations can count towards our fundraising total. A couple of donations today have really helped boost my total. It's only running until Friday, and the doubled donations are limited so you need to get online around 10am when the website opens, but is a fantastic initiative.
The direct link to the Muscular Dystrophy page is
You get a reference number when you donate...just let me know what it is and the donation can be linked to my fundraising.
Go know you want to...and it's all in a good cause :o)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

No excuses

Motivation can be hard to find sometimes, especially when there's so much else competing for my time, but I promised myself this year that I would just get out and run. I allowed myself to make an exception if I was ill - when running can be counterproductive - but otherwise it was 'no excuses'.
I was reading a fellow runners blog yesterday, and she said she tags on the words '...but it doesn't matter' to any excuses she might make, so 'It's raining this morning but it doesn't matter', I'm tired this morning but it doesn't matter' get the idea.
I like that, and I've decided to adopt that for my running sessions, and more generally in life, too.
So this morning, when I was really snug in bed, and I could hear the wind whistling outside, and I didn't want to get up I thought 'it doesn't matter' and went out and did my planned 4 mile run. And I really enjoyed it.
I timed it well - as I was huffing and puffing up the hill towards home I got a cheer from hubby and oldest daughter who were on their way out in the car.'s run is done, and another four week block of runs have been ticked off on my training schedule. It's a good milestone to reach, especially as I promised myself a reward each time I completed a block of training - and what a reward it will be today. Two of our chickens started laying eggs this week, so we've saved enough eggs to have with a bacon sandwich at lunch time.
After all the chocolate I've eaten this week I should be watching what I'm eating, but in keeping with my new doesn't matter!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

I say, I say, I say

Have you ever found that armchair critics are the most prolific at offering advice?
Hubby has helpfully pointed out that, while my blogs are informative, they could do with a few extra jokes inserted in them. (I'm guessing he was coming to this conclusion while snug and warm in bed when I was out running alone in the cold, dark mornings.)
Anyway, not one to shirk advice, here goes with a little light humour...

How do crazy runners get through a forest?
They take the psycho-path

Two hikers on a trail come around a bend to find an enormous brown bear about 50 metres up the trail. The bear spies them and begins running toward them at a full gallop. One hiker drops his backpack, sits down, throws off his boots, and starts lacing up a pair of running shoes. The other hiker says: “What are you doing? You will never outrun that bear!”. The first hiker replies: “I don’t have to outrun the bear …”

And finally, this one's for oldest daughter...

A blonde goes out for a run. She comes to a river and cannot see a bridge anywhere nearby. She spots another blonde on the opposite bank. "Yoohoo!" she shouts, "How can I get to the other side?" The second blonde looks up the river then down the river then shouts back, "You're already on the other side!"

So, hopefully that's fulfilled my joke quota for a while.

For those of you who read my blog to keep up with my training, I ran two miles this morning at a pace of 5mph.

Normal blog entries will resume tomorrow.