It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Two years ago my only real hobby was moaning about how unhappy I was with the way I looked and telling people about how I used to run and be relatively fit but always had an excuse as to why I wasn’t anymore. I used to look at people around me who loved the gym and loved fitness and to be honest, assumed they were lying about it just to make me feel bad about enjoying biscuits.

Last week I ran my second marathon in 12 months. And I loved it. Nearly as much as I love a biscuit.

And yes I didn’t win it. In fact I came within the bottom 10. And for the first time in all of the races I’ve done in the last two years, I really didn’t care.

I love a trail. And I love a challenge. So at the beginning of this year, when I decided to take on the big 26.2 on two separate occasions, it seemed logical to do one road and one trail. As with all run’s I take part in, I choose them largely on how pretty I think they’ll be scenery-wise and if its somewhere I’d like to visit. I don’t remotely look at difficulty ratings or course maps. Maybe I should. But then if I did, I would almost certainly have not had as many enjoyable experiences in my last 24months.

2 years isn’t a great deal of time to go from barely being able to run up the stairs without feeling sick, to being able to say I am a marathon runner, but emotionally and physically it’s been one hell of a journey (sorry- X-Factor’s on!) . And it’s a journey I wouldn’t give up for the world. Well apart from about 5 miles in, up a hill, whilst running a marathon two days after having a sickness bug. Right then, I was never running again.

But 26.2 miles gives you a lot of thinking time. Time to realise that mentally I’ve been taking part in a marathon for quite some time. And like with Kielder, without the support of some pretty special people there would be no way I would have reached that finish line. And definitely no way that after promising the whole way through the race I’d never do another one, my accommodation for next year is booked already.

Because with a bit of support anything seems possible.

Firstly, before I get really soppy ( I haven’t ran in 8 days!!) it needs to be mentioned that as far as support goes, I dont think I’d have gotten through Kielder and certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed it without the other runners. I’ve done a lot of races in the last two years and met a few pleasent people, but nothing like those that were at Kielder Marathon. Absolutely every runner had something good to say to each other and I ran side by side with some fantastic supportive people. It is the main reason I cannot wait to do it again next year. There’s a lot to be said for a Marshall who see’s your name on your number and uses it to tell you to keep going, or a walker who stops to clap and promise you you’ll finish soon or another runner who just talks to you for a few mile so you can both keep your mind occupied and pretend that you’ve not got muscles hurting that you didn’t know existed.

Because in the hardest times, support is everything.

There’s an official Kielder picture I have of me crossing the finish line looking happier than I ever have. Mainly because I was at the finish and after running for nearly 6 hours, I knew there’d be tea and a banana in my near future. A lot of people have commented on how relaxed I look in that picture but what people don’t see is the man in the background smiling proudly with his camera phone after standing in Kielder Forest with no phone signal and subsequently no wi-fi for those same nearly 6 hours. As with every race I’ve ever done, Mr Husband has been at the finish line of every one of them. He’s also at home most Sunday’s doing all things Dad-like whilst I go off for 4+hours for my long runs and at home or waiting around at the gym whilst I train in classes or with Mr PT. He’s also the one helping us budget whilst I spend more of our money than I should on race entries, racing clothes, trainers, and accommodation/travel to which ever race I’ve booked without really thinking it through. He spends most of his time promising me I’m not fat and promising me I can absolutely do whatever I put my mind to whilst I accuse him of lying to me and then doesn’t remotely roll his eyes when Mr PT tells me the exact same thing and I believe him.

Mr Husband did two things this week that really gave him some serious Husband of a Runner brownie points.

1) He made me rest. I’ve been training at Infinite air and running for two years now and he finally and softly pointed out after Kielder as I sobbed about how exhausted I was and tried to figure out how to walk on blister covered feet, that maybe it was time to take a little rest. After Edinburgh marathon on a Sunday, I was back training in PT the following Tuesday, and had a half marathon two weeks later-the DNF half that had absolutely nothing to do with my body being tired……..hmmmmmm.  So we agreed on a week. Probably just as well as although I’ve experienced runners blues before, never this quickly after a race. For the first time ever, despite being ridiculously proud of myself, I didn’t want to tell anyone. I was happy to sit in the spa hotel Mr Husband had booked us and cry constantly for absolutely no reason other than there wasn’t a muscle in my body that didn’t hurt. I didn’t even send Mr PT my normal “I’ve  finished” text – told you it was bad. Mr Husband and a few friends pointed out that actually mentally and physically it was probably time to have a few rest days. Everything I’d been working towards in fitness this year had finally ended and my body suddendly wanted to curl away and hide from those running shoes they treasure so much. Having ran one whole marathon before this one, I was super sure of how my body was going to react. The pain I’d be in on day one, how hungry I would be and how much i’d want to parade around telling people about that marathon I ran. OK, the last point is still valid and I have yet to fail to turn a conversation into marathon talk, but my body reacted completely different this time. My body just felt tired, but no where near as tired as my mind. I genuinely struggled to put a sentence together for the following two days after this one and i had zero appetite. Which probably explains the sadness, given that my favourite thing about distance running is the food I consume in the days that follow a long run. Mr Husband listened tirelessly to all of my runner woes and worries that I’d never want to train again and then I booked a session with Mr PT for this Tuesday and started talking about “when” i was running again and then Mr Husband caught me looking at 2018 races and normality has started to resume. Then Mr Husband did his second act of runner kindness in a week that made me see just how far we’d come in the last 2 years.

2) He booked accommodation for Kielder Marathon 2018. Because he just gets it. And suddenly the runners blues were no more.

This week’s my two year trainer-versary with Mr PT. I’ve seen a lot less of him in the last few months because getting out and running trails and hills became the priority for getting through Kielder. And now they’re not as much of a priority for the time being, I absolutely cannot wait to get back into regular training sessions. After every run, I always tell him I couldn’t have gotten through it without him. I don’t just say it to him, I big him up to a lot of people. And I’m not sure if anyone believes me. Least of all him. Yes, I get I did the training, I got myself round the course and the mental strength comes from within. But two years ago, I walked in that gym with no clue what I was capable of. I am still as much full of self doubt now as I was then and Mr PT just gets it. Somehow he just knows how to make me believe in myself and it’s his voice I hear pushing me through every tough mile of my races. When I tell him I couldn’t do it without him, I mean it. He’s not a runner, but he looks at every training plan, listens to all my running problems and gives me advice he knows I already know just because he knows that I need to hear it from him. Quite simply, I know that with Mr PT, I’m always going to love exercising and just for a little while, I cannot wait for that to not be about running. I’m finally starting to see how far I’ve come in the last two years but I can always rely on Mr PT to help me see how far I’ve still got to go!! Likewise I’ve made some amazing friends at Infinte air. Kielder has been the topic of conversation since it was booked at Christmas, yet they listen every week about my training like its the most interesting thing in the world and most importantly despite them all being super-fit, don’t ever look at me like I don’t belong there, which is normally how i feel.

I’ve always received amazing support about my running. Like Mr Husband, mum and dad are pretty good at telling me when I need to rest and then not commenting when I completely ignore them. I can pretty much guarantee that by the time I have finished a race I’ll have a text from Mum and a few close friends (you know who you are) asking how I’ve done and making sure I know how proud they are before they even know if I’ve finished. I work in a pretty big place and everyone wishes me well after a race and sits and listens about training and runs and ooooh and ahhhh at my medals, week after week. “When’s your next race” is a common a question for me to be asked by strangers in our work canteen as it is to ask a taxi driver “what time you on til”.

Sometimes a rest is just as good for the body and mind as training is. Because sometimes its good to take a step back and look at just how far you’ve come. Because if you put in the work and believe in yourself and your training, you can pretty much accomplish anything you want to.




Sorry, not sorry

It may come as a surprise, but I tend to enjoy talking to people who love fitness. People on running groups on social media, people at work, people at the gym. But whether it be face to face or online, I am starting to notice a common trend when it comes to fitness talk.

We love to putting ourselves down.

Almost every post I read or every conversation that I have starts with the five letter S word or some form of self negativity.

“Sorry I’m not as fast as some….”

“Sorry it wasn’t a long distance…..”

“I know I’m not as fit as you….”

“I know I don’t lift as heavy…”

I am by no means exempt of this. In fact I’m probably worse than most for it.

But why? Why are we so quick to slap away our achievements by pointing out that we’re not as good as others? Why does it even matter? Are we really not proud of our achievement?

I can only answer the above for myself, but I know when I’m posting about my distances, my PT’s and my workouts it’s because I’m really bloody proud of how far I have come. Yet still I feel the need to play it down. I do the same in with Mr PT. despite knowing his praise is only given out when he really means it, I still finding myself disagreeing and claiming I could do better. At the end of any class at Infiite Air, there always seems to be a “I didn’t do as well as you” conversation .

It seems we’re so hell bent on lapping praise on each other that we counter act it by taking it away from ourselves.

Are you really sorry that you only ran 5 miles or 5k today? Are you really sorry that you lifted the heaviest that you have yet? That you went to the gym and worked your ass off? Are you really sorry that you ONLY ran a half marathon today?

I ran a marathon a few months ago and tend to tell the story with ‘ I ran a marathon but it took me over 5 hours”….a MARATHON. 2 years ago I couldn’t run up the stairs! And again,I can’t speak for anyone else but if someone tells me they have ran any distance or completed any sort of gym session I never think “oh is that all” and I certainly never think “I’m much better than that”.

I’ve made a concious effort in the last few weeks to be proud of myself and my achievements. Ok so sometimes I don’t stick to training schedules. I’ve touched upon it in previous posts but sometimes I just don’t want to run. Sometimes I feel tired when I train or I spend a PT glancing at the timer and praying it was over. Sometimes I would much rather spend half an hour being shouted at by Mr PT than 4 hours running on my own. And that’s ok. Because the only person it really effects is me. Because really, unless I’m going for Olympic gold, it doesn’t matter if i run a marathon in 5 hours or 5 minutes-its my achievement and i damn well deserve to be proud of that.

I’ve made quite a few decisions this year that at the beginning of the year I would have definitely seen as a failure. Would definitely apologise for. Deciding to withdraw from Total Warrior this year, deciding not to compete in the Great North Run, deciding not to do the Ultra next year that I had set my sights on. But actually I’m learning that you should be just as proud of the things you decide not to do as much as the things you did. Mr PT told me I’d been smart when I told him I had deferred total warrior for a year to concentrate on one run at a time with keilder coming up. Mr Husband looked relieved when I told him I wasn’t risking an injury for the great north run and was only doing runs that mattered rather than literally running myself into the ground and after both of them gently pointed out that juggling my job and Ultra training would leave little time for anything else, I finally admitted to myself that I actually enjoy the lifting and strength stuff as much as the running so will be dedicating next year to smaller distances but bigger challenges- obstacle races here I come!!

Yesterday I trained with Mr PT. I kept going until the end. I ran, I lifted and I burpee’d until the end for as long and as many as he told me to. And  when he told me I deserved to be pleased, I smiled and high-fived him back whilst I said thank you. Then I left the gym and realised that for the last few PT’s I hadn’t just enjoyed working out but had actually thoroughly enjoyed the session. Not just after training, but during, i had the biggest smile on my face. Because for the first time in a while, I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone but myself….and maybe Mr PT….a little bit.

It was my second training session of the weekend, my second training session of the week. Because last week I didn’t train. I worked from 12pm to 130pm and then I came home and helped my husband cook dinner. In the morning I put washing in and ran errands. Because sometimes life just takes over and that’s ok too. And you absolutely don’t have to apologise for that. Yes training is a part of my life but so is my work and so is my family. Sometimes running a bath is needed more than running miles. Because if your mind isn’t motivated, how can your body be?

So maybe it’s time we stopped saying sorry for being us. For being happy. I’m proud at how far I’ve come and what my body has acheived in the last few years. I’m proud I can train my body to its limit whilst I maintain a full time job and still have time to be a wife and step mum. I’m proud I can run, I’m proud I can lift, and I’m proud that once in a while I can sack it off to go out with my family.

Almost as proud as I am to admit I’ve had at least 4 chocolate biscuits whilst writing this….and I’m not even sorry!!


Clearing things up


Sometimes I really don’t like running.

As a runner with a marathon coming up in 6 weeks time, I admit this isn’t the right attitude to have.

I can probably be excused. This is my second marathon, I’ve completed 3 halfs and a few 10ks this year so all that running and training can take it out of you. But to be honest, I don’t even think thats it.

Sometimes I just don’t want to run.

I have spoken a lot in the past about how running is my escape from the world and helps me put things into perspective. But what about when I don’t need to escape? What about when I like the real world I’m in? What about when I just want to lift heavy stuff, have Mr PT shout at me and not think at all?

I’ve been very clear that even in our darkest days, Mr Husband has always been very supportive of my running. This doesn’t just mean he stands and cheers at finish lines but also that he waits patiently to have dinner at 9pm in evenings so we can eat together after my training, puts up with every conversation we have being running related and barely whinges when we plan our family outings around my training schedules.

I have recently set my sights on an ultra marathon. 69miles. I mentioned it to Mr PT in training a few weeks ago. Can I do it? With the right training yes, but be prepared for that training to be your life. And what do you get from it- is the sense of achievement worth not having a life in between?

To be honest, i still haven’t answered that question. I have mentioned it to Mr Husband but its hard for him to give advice on a subject he really isn’t involved in. And we both know that I’ll do whatever I decide anyway. My selfishness is something we have both come to accept throughout our marriage. And although I have a very good friend wanting to do the 69 mile challenge with me, I am learning distance training can get a little lonely.

I’m very vocal about the struggles Mr Husband has faced this year alone and the strain that put on our marriage. Which is why it only seems fair to put myself out there a bit. As my Husband grows stronger and needs me less, I feel the need to be around him more. Suddenly I’m the one thats anxious. That worries when I’m out of the house for 4 hours that he’s not going to want me when I get back. It might have been the depression that made his thoughts irrational at times but how can you build a marriage if one of you is out of the house most of the time running up and down hills “finding themselves”. Because its all well and good finding yourself, but if you take too long doing so its pretty easy for those close to you to lose sight of who you are.

I see a lot of talk from runners about people around them not being supportive and others saying that if they loved you they’d support you in your hobbies but where’s the support back? Be honest, if your partner suddenly took up a hobby you had absolutely no interest in and that completely controlled your plans and how muc you saw them, could you hand on heart say you’d be 100% supportive and smiley?

We’re slowly building our marriage to be better than it’s ever been which means I no longer want to run away. I want to face our issues head on and work through them. Close that distance between us. And all this clinging to my marriage and training for distances means that i can’t actually remember the last time I saw my friends let alone ask any of them how they are. Because how do you prioritise running, family and friends when all three are of equal importance and need you the same? The only conclusion i can come up with is finding more hours in the day.

I put a lot of faith in the support of others. Everyone in my life supports my running when I do very little to support them back. I forget that listening is a tool that is not given enough credit and that those around me need to be heard too.

Yes I need to put the training in and i really am. I’m mixing the training up a little with a lot more strength training given the Keilder elevation chart. I’m hammering hills, increasing the speed and making sure the runs I do matter. But I’m not training for the Olympics. So if skipping the odd run now and again means I can have a water fight with my family, walk with my husband or have coffee with my friends, then so be it.

I support Mind. The mental health organisation committed to helping people with mental health issues see clearly.

I’ll always run. Because even on the days when I’m not really enjoying it, I love the strength it gives me both physically and mentally.  I’m starting to learn its ok to be Jill, wife, step mum, friend and daughter that runs rather than Jill the runner who has a family, husband and friends but has to run rather than see them because that’s just who she is.

I love running. Sometimes.  But is it really worth having if it’s all I’ve got? Maybe its time to clean those running tainted spectacles and see the clearer picture.



Catch you when I fall….

It’s dawned on me that my last 12 months of running was mainly to run away from my problems and help me focus on what I thought was important so I didn’t have to confront what was really important.

Running will always be in my life now but since my problems found a way to confront themselves, I’ve felt less pressure on myself to get it right and concentrated more on running to run.

Because I’m quickly learning what is right for me is not always right for everyone else.

I’ve taken a bit of step away from social media since hurting myself in the Durham Coast Half.  I’m still on there more than most by all accounts, but it’s starting to dawn on me that I haven’t got a great deal to say and maybe the things I have got worth saying should be saved for those that really want to hear me. Those that really care.  Because it’s starting to dawn on me that by “finding myself” on social media the last year or so, made me lose myself to those that really cared. Shut myself down from people who already loved me and from the possibility of new friendships.

It made me very lonely.

Because with any fight, with any loss of control in life, there is always someone being hurt. Always someone being forgotten about. Always someone you need to say sorry to. Because when you lose the person you are, its very easy to use the goodness in people around you.

I’ve spent the last few months being absolutely terrified of how in love I am with my husband. Ridiculous right?

Depression or no depression, we’ve had and have a great deal to work through. They say what doesn’t kill you,makes you stronger and we’ve both had times when we’ve genuinely thought it might get to the former in terms of our marriage. Since deciding to work through our problems we have definitely opened ourselves up to finding out about ourselves in order to support each other. I researched depression, I researched happy marriages and I researched my own behaviours and how I could look to be a better wife. I was prepared.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the hatred I would have for myself on the days when the light left his eyes and the frustration of not just being unable to support him but the heartbreak that he didn’t want me to.

We’ve had days in the last few weeks when he genuinely would have been happy for me to walk away. Days when he lost the fight. Days when the problems of the last few months…or even years… got too much for him to cope with and by being in the room, the only thing I seemed to do, was make that worse.

This last 12 months or so has seen me go from caring about nobody but myself, to realising that the grass really isn’t greener on the other side. And to get back to the green grass means running-metaphorically and literally -into the issues that made me take up running in the first place. And with that brought the realisation that I’d been using my selfish to blame anyone but myself for what was going on around me. I ran to make myself angry at everyone and everything. And then the situation made me run to face my fears. Losing myself became less important and losing those around me became more of a possibility. My friends. My family. My Husband.

And suddenly when the choice was taken away and losing them wasn’t up to me, I realised that I was pretty happy with the grass that I was already on.

There’s a lot of talk on running groups about non supportive partners and families. When it comes to all aspects of my life, particularly running, that couldn’t be further from the truth. My family all boast about my running (particularly physio mum who might have told someone I completed a marathon in 2hours35). I get good luck messages off all my friends and family before runs, they comment on all social media posts from training to events and they not just listen but ask questions about every run I do because they know how much it means to me. And they stick around. Even though I ask precisely 0 questions about them.

And do I ever think to let them know how grateful I am? Do I heck.

And what about Mr Husband? Is he as supportive as everyone else in my life?


Mr Husband is in a league of his own.

Him (and little step-son) have been at every finish line. Recorded every finish time. Played chauffeur to every run. Googled the best running diets. Taken sacrifices on meals out and treating himself so that Mrs Wife can buy yet another pair of running shoes that are identical but cleaner than the ones bought just weeks ago.

He makes me protein bars, mixes my protein shakes and listens about every training session.

And even when my ankle is twice the size of the other one, he gently suggested that maybe I shouldn’t train but listened and supported when I saw Mr PT anyway.

I never stopped training. Even when life fell apart around me I stuck to my running and Mr PT. And even though life was falling apart as we knew it, Mr Husband not only supported me through each run, but let me blog about our troubles for all to see.

And just like the sprained ankle that made me want to train more. Suddenly when something is taken away from you without your permission- like my marriage- that was the time I realised I wanted it most.

And just like my training, I realised that all good things come with hard work and some serious commitment. Every goal requires you to look at all aspects. Because you would think I would have learnt by now that there’s not much point in achievements if you have no one to share them with. And whats the point in focus, hard work and determination if you’re taking everyone down around you in the process. If friends and loved ones or even strangers virtual and real are offering support but your focus on making yourself feel better simply tears them down then is that really a goal worth achieving?

I’ve total warrior coming up next week and completed my first proper trail half marathon last week and suddenly the focus for Keilder full marathon is real. I don’t just need to put in hard work and training to make these events count, I need to support those supporting me. It’s not about wanting praise and encouragement but about giving praise and encouragement back.

This week someone told me that we often hear the phrase “treat those like you want to be treat” but actually isn’t it more important to “treat those like they want to be treat” ?

So to those around me who have supported, trusted and been there for me…maybe it’s my turn to give back. Even if giving back is just accepting that all good runners much take a fall sometimes and learn how to get back up and carry on.

This week Mr Husband put on his trainers and ran with me. He didn’t run far and he’s not sure he’ll keep running but he tried.

Total Warrior is just 2 weeks away after struggling but finishing my trail half last week, I’m under no illusion how tough it is going to be. The training has been done. Mr PT has put in his hours and supplied workouts when hes been unable to train me to make sure I have the tools to be ready. And physically I need to put back what he’s given me and show all supporting me that I have worked hard for this. But what I wasn’t expecting when this journey began was the training received by Mr Husband.

It’s not jus about climbing ropes, running hills and lifting weights. The strength comes from within. The strength comes from others. Comes from recognising where you went so terribly wrong and figuring out how to try and put it just a little bit right.

So I continue to move forward. Who knows where it’ll take me?

I’m 98% certain there will be blood, sweat and tears.

I’m 99% certain there’ll be plenty of unexpected obstacles in the process.

But I’m 100% sure that I’ll do all it takes to learn my lessons. To stop worrying about the possibility of me falling and instead start to get rid of the barriers I place around to prevent others from falling in the first place.

So this is my sorry. To those around me that have been there and supported me in any way in the past. To those I forgot to thank for the support and took for granted.

Can I promise I won’t do it again? Probably not.

Can I promise to work harder that I ever have before to try? Absolutely.



Did not finish. 3 words every runner fears.  3 words that I always knew were a possibility but always hoped I would never have to associate myself with.

I was wrong.

Another 3 words I’m not great at saying.

I think deep down I knew Durham Coast Half Marathon was going to be a struggle both mentally and physically. Only 2 weeks after my first full marathon (have I mentioned I ran a marathon??!) I was straight back into the gym and every run I had between the two races made my legs hurt, my mind tired and my body slow.

But the thing is-I love this race! It’s start line is 5 minutes away from my home and its scenic route makes even the toughest mile a joy to run. So off I went, ignoring how tired my body seemed and how mentally drained I felt. As soon as we set off, I just felt……well….off.

The first 2 miles is mainly uphill and I genuinely thought about walking it. I didn’t and then passed the time from mile 2-3 giving myself a good talking to Mr PT style, about how I had to get my head in the game whilst secretly wondering how on earth I was going to get through it.

Turns out I needn’t have worried. Less than half a mile later as I was just perking up at a down hill, I stumbled and suddenly had the most excruciating pain in my ankle.

1hour in a wooded dene, 3 paramedics, a national trust van, my husband and an x ray later and it was confirmed it was just a sprain and I was sent home with the order of rest, ice and elevation. I took it upon my self to include a very large dollop of self pity.

You see, that’s why its taken me so long to write about this. I thought about it whilst I was whinging to anyone that would listen and eating my own body weight in cake about how it was so unfair I couldn’t run but then it started to dawn on me that this DNF might be in the top ten best things I’ve taken from running.

Because once the self pity faded,the epicness of the people that I had the pleasure of meeting and the other lessons I have learnt from running really began to hit me.

I was in too much hysterical pain to really notice how many people stopped as I fell, but I do remember people running back to help, running miles back to try and locate a paramedic and sitting with me for ages whilst help came. People were giving me tablets, sweets, sports drinks, hydration salts, tissues and hugs a plenty to try and reassure me it wasn’t the end of the world. And then, once I’d cried to all the actual people I could find, once I was back home and the gravel scrubbed from my knee, I broadened my sympathy search on good old social media and as our little running world is so small, up popped some of the people that helped me. And within the space of 3 hours there was suddenly a group of lovely ladies who will be running the course with me as soon as I’m back up and literally running again.

The rest of social media was also incredibly supportive-as always. And the race organisers were incredible. I still have my t shirt and medal- brought to my home, and I get to run it next year, with a friend….for free!

Total Warrior were also amazing and have moved my race date to the Lake District in August so all in all, I made a big fuss about nothing.

I even got asked to answer some questions for a popular running magazine about my favourite race and an old friend who dedicates his time to connecting people together wo suffer with mental illness featured an interview with me in his blog, proving that regardless of physical state, their are still plenty of opportunities running can give you.

I know the big lesson should be about listening to my body and embracing the need for rest but the reality is I was back in the gym with Mr PT on Saturday- upper body only though so if the pain in my arms is anything to go by today, I shouldn’t have any issues with strength by August!

The actual lesson learnt in the whole week I had without any training came with the thinking time it gave me. I couldn’t train away my thoughts anymore. And so I started actually listening to other people’s. I read comments on running communities ad recognised other people’s achievements and realised just how much I don’t do that.

The harsh reality of loving running because I am so self absorbed suddenly hit me. I started to embrace what was going on around me. I started to realise those closest to me have things going on and actually started paying attention to them.

Poor Mr Husband has to live me as well as deal with is own emotional state of mind and this week, being unable to run away or run off to the gym, meant we actually talked properly. Not just the type where I listen but then get defensive when he mentions my behaviour or training. The type where I let him get everything off his chest and actually acknowledged that for the most part he was right. The type where I actually realised how supportive he continues to be when I swan round pretending to support him.

We’re all allowed to feel sorry for ourselves from time to time, and their is certainly nothing wrong with feeling sad but I found this week, that their is always someone that needs you and its very easy to bury yourself in negativity and miss that without realising that these people are still finding the time to support you.

Honestly, I can’t promise to change. I’ve learnt a lesson but old dogs…new tricks…and all that. But I do promise to try. To try and see the great things everyone in my life, reality and virtually, bring and to try and see the positives. I promise to try and embrace opportunity and not forget about those around me that might want a little bit of encouragement themselves. Or maybe, as a redhead in the UK, I’ve just spent a little bit too much time in the sun!!!!



26.2 miles at a time

I did it!!!! With all the grace of a pained baby elephant, but I did it. Edinburgh marathon in 5hours 23minutes. And I’m proud of every second.

It was slower than I really wanted but I really don’t care.

I ran 26.2 miles for Mind.

When I took running back up 18months ago, a marathon was always something I knew I would aim towards and although I always knew it would be tough, I really underestimated the work that would go into running for almost 5 and a half hours and I am completely in awe of anyone that has put themselves through it.

I had a PT the Tuesday prior to the race and Mr PT did his best not bothered face and told me I had nothing to worry about and that I should be feeling confident so I went into Sunday feeling pretty motivated.

I prepped well, didn’t alter anything I had done in training and suddenly it was time to run a marathon.

And I didn’t just run it but I enjoyed it. The course was along beautiful coastlines and the atmosphere was fantastic. The support from other runners, the general public and course marshalls was something I had never experienced before and got me through some pretty tough times.

The running online community told me to believe in my training and I really did. Up until about mile 15 when my head started saying “this is a long way” and despite my best efforts of thinking about food, work, life and food again, I could not get my head to shut up. And at mile 17, the prospect of running another 9 miles literally made me cry. And then I prayed for a sign, a miracle that would show me I would get through. It’s not something I really believe in but I would have done anything at that point. And as ever in times of crisis, it was my grandad I turned to. Begging him. If he was watching I needed a sign, something to show me he was watching and egging me on. And then I turned the corner to see a band. Who just happened to play a song my grandad sang to me and loved as I reached them. And whether it was a sign, whether it was coincidence, I knew at that moment I was finishing this run.

Those last 6 miles were the slowest, most painful and emotional miles I have ever run but I did them. And I have never been so proud of myself.

Mr husband was there waiting for me at the finish and cried with me with pride. Step-son was with his grandma but kept in touch with his daddy for updates and I got not one but two well dones from Mr PT!!!

And then yesterday…two days later…I was back in the gym and back at PT….doing squats. Slowly and more sluggish than I’ve done anything in my life but I did them.

12 months ago, shortly after my first half marathon, I remember waking up in excruciating pains and taking a week off any form of training. Yet after double the distance my body took a whole 12 hours to sort itself out and it felt great to be back in the gym.

I feel stronger some how. Mentally that is. I suddenly have the ability to see clear again. Run towards my fears rather than away from them. Mr Husband has even signed up for Rat Race stockton in August and is more motivated than I have seen him in a long time. We have our wobbles but are both more focussed on resolving them now.

So that’s challenge one done.

And now the focus on TotalWarrior can begin. I feel focussed and strong. Mr PT has really honed in on the upper body stuff and I really feel like I’m making progress.

My training is teaching me the importance of pushing through the pain barriers and believe in myself and I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere.

So it’s time for a different type of training for the next few weeks and I’m really going to need Infinite Air’s help.




13.1 stages of convincing the mind

Just a quick one tonight folks.

Today I acheived my Half Marathon PB. It’s not quick by a lot of peoples standards, but by mine I was very happy with my 02:11:04 time. More so as it was a PB of over 5 minutes!!!

I felt good, listened to my body and enjoyed every step.

I met twitter friends and the stranger support was epic.

And more than ever today I realised that my upcoming marathon really will be 40% body and 60% mental…. Actually when I realised my body had this today, I started listening to my mind

MILE 1 – OK, we’re off…settle in don’t go out too quick… why oh why am i doing this.

MILE 2  8.30min miles….are you crazy lady??! I’m going to die. I hate running. All of these people think I’m a fraud

MILE 3 – I love running! I’ve totally got this…downhill is great…I’m a machine!!!! Only 3 parkruns left…who’s idea was it to put water in bags!!

MILE 4 – argh uphill. I hate running. I can’t do this. Some one tell that Marshall WE ARE NOT NEARLY THERE I’m giving up running after this race. Sort yourself out woman- you’re body can handle this- actually I feel pretty good. I might have a look at those Ultra marathons when i get home

MILE 5 – High 5 children! I am totally a role model. Ah who am i kidding. I might take up knitting I’ve had a good life.I don’t NEED to be healthy. Oh i might have a jelly baby.

MILE 6 – I wonder if this charity vest makes me look fat….I’m definitely fat. I bet people are thinking I look stupid. I might write my next blog on how no one thinks I look stupid. I think i could actually speed up….oh I forgot to have that jelly baby.

MILE 7 I’m past half way. I’ve totally got this . I’m a machine…i wonder if I could catch Paula Radcliffe.

MILE 7.5 I’m totally not catching Paula Radcliffe.

MILE 8 Oh hello voice of Mr PT, ok I’ll dig in, you’re right, its not a case of if I’ll finish, it’s a case of when… I’ve so got this….suck it up butter cup…

MILE 9 – oh crap now i have build it up, buttercup in my head…i hate that song…ooooh butter…..or cake…I’d love some cake

MILE 10 – Must not walk. Must not walk. Must not walk. I hate running. I hope that boy that was handing out ice pops last year is back this year. I might walk when I get the hill round this corner. Why are all these people overtaking me. I’m so slow… i bet I’m last

MILE 10.5 – I LOVE HILLS-Look at me running up this hill….I know I’m slow…. all these people think I look stupid. Ok Voice of Mr PT I’m going im going

MILE 11 – I love running downhill – weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee……oh I really want ice cream

MILE 12 – That Marshall isn’t lying, we’re nearly there!!! Oh the ice pop boy wasn’t there. I hope there’s a Kit Kat in the goody bag. I hope Mr Husband has bought Coca Cola .

MILE 12.5 -Right I’m so close I can smell the finish line…and chips…i can definitely smell chips.

MILE 13 – I’m at mile 13!!!!! My legs hurt-i can’t do a full marathon…I’m going to have to quit Edinburgh.  I’ve just over taken someone. I love running…. I’m getting faster… listen to all these people cheering…. I love running . Sprint finish!!!

MILE 13.1 – I’M DONE!!!!!! It was faster than last year. Where’s my medal. In 3 weeks I’ll only be half way… I should properly keep running……

So there you have it – a downright terrifying look into how my mind keeps itself occupied on race day proving running is very much in the mind….and will I put myself through it all again…. just so I can gloat, get a shiny medal and guilt free order pizza… betcha!!!!!!

J x