Monday, 30 January 2012

Janathon days 29 & 30: One more day to go

I was planning a long run yesterday morning and I was also planning a surprise baby shower for my best friend. I decided the least stressful plan was to bake in the morning and get everything ready for the baby shower to then pick my heavily pregnant friend up at 1:30. Trying to squeeze in a long run before was just not going to work so I planned to do it in the afternoon. The baking was a success and we managed to suitably surprise the mummy to be.

By the time I got home it was late, dark and I was tired. I was still feeling sore and Janathon had really started to take its toll. I could have happily snuggled on the sofa but I wasn’t giving up this late in the day. I headed out of the door and did my 5k route. I was tired and thirsty as amongst the excitement I had managed to forget to drink but I didn’t do too badly and felt really good once I’d been for a run. However my legs were throbbing when I got home. I am really in need of a sports massage and a rest.
RDC West was starting tonight and I had set my heart on going but when I woke up this morning, I knew it wasn’t a good idea. I made a decision before I left for work and left my kit at home so that I wouldn’t be tempted. When I started my training on 1st January I was clear that I wanted to exercise every day and I was going to try and run every day but only if my body would allow. My body needed a break tonight. I thought it was the best option to have a day off from the running and head to the pool instead so that’s what I did. I swam 40 lengths (1000m) and felt great and I’m now more excited than ever about RDC tomorrow.
I have enjoyed Janathon but if I’m being honest, I am looking forward to finishing tomorrow and having rest days. My body feels like it needs a break and so does my brain. I have managed to blog most days but there have been a couple of double whammies when I have just run out of hours in the day.  I am proud that I have managed to exercise every single day, although I swam on two days and walked on one. It still means that I have run for 27 out of 30 days so far. I am thrilled that day 31 has landed on a Tuesday and I can finish in style with my friends running by my side.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Janathon day 28: Can I call myself a runner yet?

As planned this morning I decided not to run today, but I didn’t slack off and walked 11.5km instead. 6.5km of that was with way too many shopping bags and my arms were ready to drop off when I got home. It was the first day that I haven’t changed into my kit to do my exercise and it felt strange so I’m looking forward to my long run tomorrow now. I did get the urge to just go out and run but it really is important to listen to your body. For me, Janathon has been a great way to kick start my training, but I want to stay healthy and injury free so I vowed at the start I would be sensible.
I got a pleasant surprise today when I found out that I’m in the March issue of Runner’s World magazine. A few months ago I volunteered myself as a case study for a feature on how to get your running mojo back. I sent this blog post and spoke to the journalist about how difficult I found it to get back to running once my first half marathon was complete. My solution was joining Run Dem Crew and running with friends. I never received any confirmation of when the feature was going to run so it was a good start to the weekend to hear that I made it in. I’ve always had a bit of an issue with calling myself a runner but I guess I’m a little step closer if I’m in a running magazine, right!(That’s what I’ll keep telling myself.)

Running can be solitary and although I enjoy my own company, I found running with friends to be really inspiring and motivating. It helped me to get back in the swing of things and to keep up the training too. Throughout Janathon, I think the most important thing that I have discovered is to not overthink and to just do things. The more you ponder, the more chance you will actually end up not going to the gym or out for that run. We are all different but I like the balance between running on my own and running with my friends. Agreeing to meet with friends commits you to the cause and it is much harder to back out.
We all have to get to know how we tick and what works for us individually but reading the feature in Runner's World today made me realise just how important my friends have been. Not only my friends at RDC, but my Twitter friends too. Throughout January I have received so much support and encouragement and although I am stubborn and giving up has not been an option, having so many people knowing what I have vowed to do has really helped me to knuckle down. I know it’s not over yet but I wanted to say thank you for every tweet, every comment on my blog and every word of support. Janathon day 29, I can’t wait to see you. The same goes for Janathon day 30 and Janathon day 31, I’m even more excited to see you. I think I will feel even closer to calling myself a runner if I can go out with a bang on Tuesday!

Janathon day 27: My guardian angel

After the track session on Thursday night I was feeling sore but if I was going to stay in the Janathon game on day 27, I needed to go running in the morning as I had plans for the evening. I reluctantly squeezed myself into my kit and forced myself out of the door before work. It hurt!
Whenever I am having a really tough run and I want to give up, I seem to have a little guardian angel that appears and snaps me back into reality just in time. I have seen this man in numerous different places and it’s always on days that I am struggling. On one occasion I was ready to give up in Richmond Park and I saw him and it made me determined to carry on. The same thing happened along the towpath in Putney. He has a prosthetic leg bladelike Oscar Pistorious to allow him to run as he only has one leg. I was struggling and hurting but he was looking strong and absolutely determined. He wasn’t letting his so called disability stop him as he sped past me, so I gritted my teeth and decided I wasn’t going to let my sore muscles stop me. Thank you to my running guardian angel that always seems to be in the right place at the right time, and helped me complete my short 3.5k morning run yesterday.

One thing I have learned this week is that track hurts. My muscles are more sore than they have been throughout the whole of Janathon and my legs feel tender in places that they never usually do. As for my poor glutes, sitting down and getting back up again is proving to be a challenge. I'm not giving up though, I will be seeing a track again in the next week or so.
I was originally planning to run today but I am going to see how I feel. I have a long run scheduled for tomorrow and I'm going to Run Dem Crew on both Monday and Tuesday as there is a new West crew starting this week. I want to finish Janathon in style, not in a limping mess, so it may make sense to take it a little easier today and skip my run and opt for some brisk walking instead. I will just wait and see as that little Janathon devil will probably start nagging me and I may just have to give in to the trainers.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Janathon day 25 & 26: The only way is up!

This time last year Janathon was over for me. This year I am still feeling strong and I’m looking forward to completing Janathon on a high. I have run every day except one, where I chose to swim as my leg wasn’t feeling great. I headed to the gym last night to battle with the treadmill again. My music helped a lot last time, so I opted for some loud old school tunes.
I put my headphones in and started to run but my music was quiet, so I adjusted the volume to the max. Still the volume was pretty pathetic but I kept running. Soon after, my boyfriend was tapping me on the back frantically waving his hand at me. Oh yes, it seems the reason my music was quiet was because I had pulled the headphones out and the whole gym was in for a treat with my speed garage compilation on loudspeaker. Shame!
I wanted to do 5km and wanted to improve my time. I had 27:30 in my head but I was tired and I was struggling at 1.5km. I decide 3km would be my lot but as 3km neared, another good song came on, I got an extra energy burst, so I carried on. I was making good time, so despite feeling tired I just kept going. I had to slow down a couple of times as I had severe heartburn, caused by ramming crisp bread and jalapenos down my throat whilst heading out of the door. I would definitely not recommend this. I am pleased to say, I finished my run exactly on target with a big smile on my face.

Tonight was track night and I’m not going to lie, I was scared. I did say recently though that it is good to be scared and also that I need to take my own advice more. I travelled 18 stops on the tube so that some of my lovely @rundemcrew friends could show me the ropes. I arrived and as a complete beginner I felt out of my depth but you sometimes  have to do things that are a little uncomfortable.
Everybody made me feel extremely welcome, giving me advice and helping me out during the group drill session before the track laps started. I did 3 x 400m warm up laps before the session really started. I then did 6 x 400m laps, with small walking rests in between each lap. I knew immediately that I hadn’t hydrated enough so after lap 3 I grabbed my bottle of water and felt much better. I ran at a speed that it was difficult to talk at and though it wasn’t fast compared to some of those speedy people whizzing around the track, it was faster than what I am used to. The warm down lap felt surprisingly easy after the fast laps. I'm hoping that a few mnore regualar track sessions will make my half marathin feel easy.

I finished, I survived and I was still smiling. I am determined to get quicker and I am happy to commit myself to track. I may not go all the way to Mile End every week (which really felt like Mile End on the journey home when I was ready to chew my own arm off) but I am going to venture along to my local track on the weeks  I don’t get to train with the RDC guys. It was great running with some really experienced people tonight  that were happy to share their knowledge. Thank you to @BangsandaBun and @RunUrb who encouraged me to come along and thank you to each and every person that took time out tonight to help me. Berlin Sub two hours, you will be mine!  

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Janathon day 24: Well and truly beaten

This time last year I had the worst run ever! I was aching, felt terrible and was on the verge of tears the whole way round. Little did I know at the time, but the reason I was feeling so ropey on 24th January, 2011, was because I was on the verge of coming down with flu. Not just a cold, but real flu where I couldn’t move from my bed.  I am so stubborn that even though it was my last run of Janathon 2011, I still stubbornly tried to exercise on day 25, only to crash and burn in style.

I was determined that I was going to enjoy tonight and it was only ever going to be positive that it landed on a Tuesday, as Tuesdays mean Run Dem Crew. I felt good when I arrived and was greeted by this. The Nike Make It Count campaign relates to me and really captures how I feel.All I ever want to do is to do everything to the absolute best of my ability. I touched on this in my Happy 30s post.
There were 147 people at RDC tonight and it was fantastic. There was such a positive and exciting vibe in the room and I chose to run in the fast hares.
RDC at 1948 (Picture courtesy of @RuthHooper)

It felt good and we saw some great Lomdon sights along the way. According to my endomondo app on my phone, we ran 8.3km but when speaking to other members of the group after the run, it seems we actually ran nearer 9.4km. This makes me happy, as it means I am probably cutting myself short on my runs but I’m cool with that. I guess it's better than not running enough.Our group split into two groups as it was quite large and I opted to go with the 'sightseeing runners' who were keen to get a glimpse of Tower Bridge. I've lived in London for most of my life, but I am always so impressed by it. The lovely @glennhancock led our smaller group and we had a fantastic run. Thank you all for letting us stop so that I could take the Tower Bridge snap below. I regretted not taking one last week so I wasn't going to let it slip through my fingers again.

The run tonight was considerably longer than last year’s poor attempt and the only glimpse of being near to tears, was when I saw one of the new RDC members run under the human arch that we created at the end of her run. She was nervous beforehand but she pushed on through, finished that run showing grit and determination and she made herself proud. That is what RCD is about!
It is magical when you see new people discover Run Dem Crew for the first time and even more special when they finish their first run with a beaming smile on their face. Tonight was always going to be better than last year because I was running with friends. Janathon day 25, I look forward to seeing you!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Janathon day 22 & 23: A little bit of of pug love

After an exercise filled month, my home was feeling a little neglected, so although I did my run yesterday, I just didn’t have time to blog. Yesterday the running gods were looking over us once more. I can’t get over how good the weather had been in comparison to this time last year. I have thoroughly enjoyed every single one of my long runs so far. Yes, it’s been cold but the sun has been shining and yesterday was no exception.  
I was aiming to run 13km yesterday and as it was such a lovely day I thought I’d do a figure of eight river run. I started at Barnes Bridge and ran along the Southbank towards Hammersmith. I then crossed the bridge and ran along the other side of the river up past Fulham Football Club and on to Putney Bridge. I crossed the river once more, past the many rowing clubs back to Hammersmith and then back across once again for the final leg past Dukes Meadows towards Barnes Bridge. You can tell it’s marathon training season as there were so many people running on the towpath.

Eastenders style running route

The highlight of my run was seeing two gorgeous pugs as I ran past Hammersmith Bridge. When I came round the corner to be greeted by their squidgy little faces a couple of kilometres into my run, I was instantly cheered up and I knew I was going to have a good run. As I ran I called out “thank you for cheering me up” to the ladies that were walking the dogs. I continued running but was annoyed that I didn’t take a photo.
A pair of uggs and a couple of pugs

I couldn’t believe my luck when I was running from Putney Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge. In the distance two familiar squidgy faces came into sight. It was like a mirage. I wasn’t letting them out of my grasp this time round and I confess, I did stop my run for a little stroke of the cheeky pugs and to take a picture. But look, how could I resist? I went on to complete my 13km with a beaming smile. It’s funny how things just crop up to keep you going.
Today I was not really in the mood for running. I ate a couple of crisp breads before pulling on my kit and heading out of the door. Within a minute or two, I realised that I was actually feeling pretty strong. I went on to complete my regular 5km route in the fastest time so far and when I arrived home I was feeling fantastic. Definitely a good start to the week and tomorrow is Run Dem Crew. Janathon day 24, I’m looking forward to meeting you. Last year you very nearly broke me but this time I am not about to be struck by flu and I will not cry! In fact, I know I am going to have a big smile on my face.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Janathon day 21: My first taste of yoga to end week 3

I went to my first ever yoga session today. I must admit that I was slightly nervous and didn’t really know what to expect but the nerves were a complete waste of energy. I came out feeling calm, relaxed and positive.
I will tell you a little about myself that many may already be aware of. I can be a bit of a stress-head although it’s not always apparent to the outside world. I’m just not very good at relaxing unless I am in a gorgeous spa resort. It somehow gives you permission to relax if you are away from home and the household chores, wearing a fluffy white robe. When I go for a massage, I am always being told to “just relax”, as my shoulders are normally tucked tight up into my neck. I am aware I need to chill sometimes but it is quite difficult to unlearn certain behaviour and let go.
I work in PR and have recently started working on the Manuka account. Manuka produce a range of gorgeous, yoga, Pilates and fitness clothes that are innovative and eco-friendly. You can buy the products online and in several stores but they also have a beautiful boutique and fitness studio on the New Kings Road.  I was lucky enough to be invited along take part in a class and I jumped at the opportunity. I have considered trying yoga previously and have several books at home but I’ve never quite plucked up the courage to go.
The Manuka studio is quite different to a regular fitness studio in most gyms. It is absolutely beautiful with attention to detail throughout providing a peaceful, tranquil atmosphere. Each class only has about five people per instructor which is perfect for a beginner like me. In fact, in my class today it was just myself and one other student which allowed the instructor Natasha to help me throughout to ensure I was carrying out each of the poses correctly.

As soon as I stepped into the peaceful studio, I instantly felt calmer. The first part of the class was focused on concentrating on our breathing. I don’t think I have ever paid quite so much attention to how I breathe but it was a relaxing and calming experience. I have a tendency to rush through life, ticking off multiple things on my to do list, but it forced me to slow down and focus on just one thing. Although my mind did wander a few times, as I am a multi-tasker by nature and I do find it a little tricky to concentrate on just one thing.
We progressed to a number of different poses, constantly being reminded to focus on our breathing . There are a number of key poses I remember such as the downward facing dog, the cobra and the plank. There was one particular pose that I can’t remember the name of but that I found to be really beneficial for my tight hips, after three weeks of running.  Natasha mentioned that the pose was great to release tightness in the psoas and although it may feel uncomfortable at first, it would be helpful to persevere to show you that you can achieve things that are at first uncomfortable. This really struck a chord with me and is exactly how I feel about a lot of things in life, including my running.
It was very different to any other exercise class that I have been to and although it wasn’t high impact and energetic, I certainly felt like I’d worked hard in a different way and I was even glowing. (Yeah, I do actually mean sweating but it it’s not very feminine!) I found the experience to be positive, uplifting and my body was loving me for it. It was like an extended calming, stretching session with positive reminders along the way. At one stage we were encouraged to inhale and think of bright colours, then exhale whilst thinking of the colour grey. It was like letting go of negative thoughts. It was only my first yoga class but I really think I will benefit from regular attendance as I felt like a new woman when I left. Thank you to Natasha for a fantastic introduction to yoga.
As well as the yoga class which was 1hour 15 minutes, I also did some other exercise today as I felt really energetic, even though I was calm and relaxed. I walked to and from yoga which was a total of just over 10km and I then ran the 3km to the gym, before doing a 550m swim. At the end of week 3 of Janathon, I have completed a total of 119km running,an extra 10km walking, 1050m swimming and my very first yoga class. I ran a total of 40km this week and did my first Run Dem Crew run of the year. It has most definitely been a good week! 
I am really pleased that I have managed to run every day apart from one. I can be stubborn but I also know it is important to listen to your body sometimes to avoid injury. Last year I did exercise every day (until I got ill with flu towards the end of January) but I didn’t run every day, so I am thrilled with my progress. I feel great today and I’m looking forward to my long run tomorrow. My ankles are niggling me slightly but I’m just going to take it easy and enjoy it. Janathon week 3, over and out!  

Friday, 20 January 2012

Janathon day 20: A forgotten costume = foam rolling

I planned a chilled out relaxing night in the Jacuzzi and steam room but first I had to work for it. I hate feeling beaten and I’m determined to get over this hatred of the treadmill. As I have mentioned previously in this post, I have chosen to train without music. I tend to do most of my runs outside and as I said in yesterday’s post, I love enjoying the sights and sounds of the outdoors. The reason I find the treadmill so painful is because it is excruciatingly boring.
I decided to spice things up with some music in the form of one of my old garage albums and it was the best idea I’ve had all year. Don’t get me wrong, being in the gym on a Friday night isn’t the coolest thing ever but my old school music livened up the session more than you could ever imagine. The familiar sound of tunes I used to dance to when I was in my teens gave me the edge to keep pushing through, with a beaming smile on my face.
 It was still really difficult and I was absolutely dripping with sweat but the music just made it all the more pleasurable. I love the way music can trigger great memories and as if by magic, when I took my earphones out and stepped off the treadmill, the Paris half marathon theme tune was on. It was the song that was played as we all crossed the start line (Barbra Streisand by Duck Sauce) and I can’t help but smile and get a good feeling when I hear it. It takes me back to the excitement and anticipation of the big day, my first ever half marathon.
After a hot and hard 5k I really felt like I deserved a wallowing session in the Jacuzzi and a stretch in the steam room. The sheer devastation when I realised I had left my costume on the radiator! I couldn’t believe it and felt really hard done by because I pushed hard to complete my fastest 5k in a long time. My calves and shins were sore and were screaming for a massage and the jets in the spa pool would have worked perfectly. I left my boyfriend to relax and headed back up the stairs to the gym for a stretching session.
As a qualified sports massage therapist, I am aware of the benefits of stretching but I have to confess, I don’t always dedicate as much time as I should which is probably why my legs are feeling tight. I did some work on my glutes first followed by a little planking and then headed for the foam roller. If you haven’t used a foam roller and you enjoy running, then I seriously recommend that you consider giving it a go. It is simply a large cylindrical foam roll, as the name would suggest.
The foam roller is a great tool for lengthening and elongating muscles, and they are especially helpful for runners who are suffering from tight and fatigued muscles. When used correctly, they can help you to avoid sport-related injuries by conducting self myofascial release, which can work in a similar way to a massage. The roller is effective on different areas of your body and you can use your body weight to apply pressure to sore muscles.  You can control how much pressure you apply to the tissues that you're working on, and you can locate and focus on areas that are problematic. It allows you to apply deep pressure to areas that may otherwise be difficult to stretch.
It’s not a replacement for proper stretching, warming up or cooling down, but it can be used as a tool to limit soreness and tightness.  I will warn you, much like a sports massage, it is not particularly pleasurable but it does definitely help to relieve sore legs and prevent injury.
The iliotibial band (IT band) is one of the areas most susceptible to injury in runners. It is the band that runs on the outside of the leg from the hip to the knee. You can use the foam roller on this area by rolling across it, slowly back and forth towards the top of the leg, particularly focusing on the quad where it meets the IT band and using your body weight to apply more pressure. This will cause you to make ugly faces and strange noises but your legs will thank you. It can also be used on other areas of the body such as the glutes, calves and the piriformis, all areas that can become tight in runners. Have a look at these videos (courtesy of which do a great job of showing you how to use the roller in some of these key areas.
A hard run accompanied by some decent tunes, followed by a stretching and rolling session has left me feeling great on day 20 of Janathon. I would recommend the use of a foam roller during training but I would also highly recommend going for regular sports massage as a means of preventing injury.  I am not saying this simply because I am a massage therapist but because I truly believe in the benefits however, I will delve more deeply into the benefits of massage in another post.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Janathon day 19: Sometimes running is really tough

I am not a fan of treadmills. The thing I love about running is the freedom of being outside and the opportunity to take in all of the sights sounds and smells along the way. Perhaps this is why I find running on a treadmill so difficult. For me, it is far more challenging both physically and mentally. Although my feeling is that the physical difficulty stems from the fact that I find it so tiresome mentally.
I have to admit; I am starting to feel a little weary 19 days into Janathon and my legs were really sore and aching today. I thought that a stretching session in the steam room would do me some good but only after I’d done my run. I pushed myself on the treadmill and I wanted to stop so many times. The 5k felt like about 50.
Although I ate a lot of food last night, looking back at today, I hadn’t eaten nearly enough or taken in enough water in order to run well. The fuel is so important to allow your body to perform. I wanted to stop after about 30 seconds and I felt so tired. It reminded me of when I’d just started running and I thought back to how determined I was when I started out; wanting to run but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t let it beat me,   persevered and I have achieved things I never thought possible. I gritted my teeth and just kept going but I hate having a constant reminder of how much further you have to go on the screen.
In all honesty I didn’t enjoy my run tonight. The only part that I did enjoy was pressing stop and treading off the treadmill. I finished day 19 with some serious stretching in the steam room and although I’m sleepy, I’m aching less and I’m pleased that I’m still in.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Janathon day 18: The day I forgot about Janathon

Last night was Run Dem Crew and when I woke up this morning I was tired. The last thing I wanted to do was go out for a run in the rain, so I didn’t. I knew I had plans to go out with work tonight and if I didn’t run this morning I was going to be out of the game.
We went for dinner and after over two weeks of healthy eating I went on a full on carb-fest. The length of our table was laden with pizza. I was so full I even turned down ice cream but I made up for it on the dairy quota with the volume of cheese I ate. Pretty good going for a girl that avoids dairy!

I knew that after a bellyful of delicious food, fizz and wine I was well and truly out of Janathon. With each mouthful, Janathon just disappeared but I got home and I spotted my trainers glaring at me. I didn’t want to be beaten on day 18 so I considered some kind of half-hearted strength training routine that I could do on my floor. Still my trainers continued to glare.

There was nothing for it. I still wanted to be in this game so I pulled on my kit and ran out of the door before I had a chance to change my mind. I did a 3k run and kept to the main roads for safety reasons. I actually really enjoyed the calm of running tonight and I’m glad I went. A ton of rich food and booze is not the ideal preparation for a run but I got round, I’m still in Janathon and best of all I’ve got a smile on my face.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Janathon day 17: Run Dem Crew is back!

Tonight was the return of Run Dem Crew and damn it was good. Yesterday was my first non-running day in January and I opted for swimming instead of a run. Believe it or not, I haven’t really ached much since starting the running regime on 1st January but today my butt cheeks were seriously sore. I think my body took the ‘running rest’ as an opportunity to relax and make me hurt.
If I was running at home I may have re-considered whether I was even going to run tonight but there was no chance on earth that I was missing RDC. The buzz and excitement in the room was incredible. It was like going back to school but with far more excitement and enthusiasm than I’ve ever experienced towards school (and I was a geek that liked school)!
Charlie Dark was inspirational and funny as always and I met some great people brimming with positive vibes. I saw old friends as well as new and it felt good to be back. An 8.5km bridges run and it was the perfect night for a river run. Cold but calm and peaceful. I just wish I’d taken some pictures of Tower Bridge as it looked absolutely spectacular glowing over the river.
I left RDC with a warm fuzzy feeling inside and I’m so glad it’s back. Every time I go, my faith in humanity is restored. I know that sounds a bit dramatic but there are some seriously good people there. I only ever leave feeling positive and excited about life. I turned 30 on Christmas day and I talked about being the best I can be and Charlie talked about this tonight. I don't want to restrict this to my running but to everything that I do.
I have arranged to go to track next week with a couple of the RDC girls. If I'm going to get a sub two time in Berlin, I need to start 'proper' running training.  I’m not going to lie, I’m absolutely terrified but I need to start facing my demons! On a positive note, I'm pleased that my running mojo has returned and I’m loving it. Janathon day 17, I can safely say that you are well and truly ticked off the list, despite some mightily sore buttocks. If you see a blonde girl hobbling tomorrow morning, on the train to Clapham, then please be nice to her and maybe even offer her your seat. I'm sure she would be forever grateful.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Janathon day 16: Exchanging running for swimming

After a 15k run yesterday I had a bit of a niggle in my foot and knee (old injuries). I really wanted to run every day throughout Janathon but I decided my longer term goals are more important. For the first time in a couple of weeks I didn’t run today but I’m still in the game as I exchanged my run for a swim.
On the eve of the return to Run Dem Crew, I decided that a swim was a much more sensible option. Tomorrow’s run will be longer than my regular daily run and I want to be fit and ready for it. I swam 20 lengths tonight (500m) and it got me thinking about the triathlon that I’ve signed myself up for in June. I can swim but I’m not technically very good and ahead of my first triathlon I am going to have to take the scary leap to swimming lessons. I’m terrified! If anybody has any triathlon tips I would absolutely love to hear from you.
After my run, I also enjoyed a steam room session and a Jacuzzi which felt great. I have to say that after 15 days of running, my legs feel surprisingly good and I am super excited about running with my friends tomorrow night. Away away away!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Janathon day 15: A weighty issue

I didn’t want my blog posts to be concentrated on body issues, but when you are concentrating on your body so much it is hard not to think about it. When I first started running I made a point that I’m not really built for running and I still stand by that point. I’m not sleek, slender or light on my feet and my breasts need strapping down in a serious way. However, this doesn’t mean that I can’t give it a go. The fact that I don’t look like a conventional ‘runner’ makes me even more determined to succeed and in the last year, I have learned that a huge percentage of reaching your goals in running is linked more to your head than your body.
Athletic records are broken year after year, and the limits of human performance continue to be debated. When we think something can’t be done, someone comes along and shows us that it indeed can be. There was a time when it seemed impossible for a human to run a four-minute mile but Roger Bannister achieved it in 1954 and soon, many others followed. A positive attitude accounts for so much. I find it is far more rewarding to concentrate on what you are achieving rather than what you are not and to focus on several goals rather than putting all your eggs in one basket.
So many people focus on weight loss as their main goal when starting an exercise regime but I feel strongly that this is not a healthy attitude to have. I am the first to admit that I would like to be slimmer but I try not to bore people with talk of calories and rice cakes. I have decided that the thing that is important to me is how I look and feel, not the number on the weighing scales. I would like to improve my physique but I’m not going to let the scales influence my feelings in any way. I have put on some weight and I have to admit, it is making running a little bit more challenging and nobody likes to feel their wobbly bits wobbling around when running but sometimes it’s just what has to be done if you’re going to make a change.
A couple of years ago I decided to start going to a ‘fat club’. I had put on quite a lot of weight and if I’m honest, I was in denial but I had to face up to it. When I stepped on the scales on the first night  I was absolutely devastated. I find it hard to put into words just how disappointed in myself I was that I had allowed myself to get up to that weight and abused my body in that way. I lost a couple of stone and managed to keep it off for a while but slowly as my diet changed so did my weight and it crept back up. I wanted to nip it in the bud so I headed back to fat club for a short, sharp shock.
Week after week I would go along and be weighed and then listen as we all made excuses for why we were still fat. I do accept that the moral support of the group can help but it actually made me feel terrible. The only goal we were focusing on or that was recognised as success was the number going down on the scales. I was working really hard with both my diet and with my exercise and for three weeks in a row my weight stayed exactly the same. I knew I was getting thinner as my clothes were getting looser. I also had a piece of string that I used to monitor my shrinking waist but I still felt totally demoralised and a complete failure when I was told three weeks in a row that I had effectively failed.

Another thing that is completely ridiculous is the huge amount of pressure that revolves around one weigh in, on one day every single week. I’m not going to lie, I was tactical about it. On weigh in days I would eat and drink less and try and wee more to be the lightest I could possibly be. I would NEVER consider wearing jeans or chunky jewellery as they may have increased my weight and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only fat club member that has behaved like this. It was quite normal to go home and pig out after weight in night too as I had a week to undo the damage. Surely this is not a healthy way to behave!
Different things can affect your weight too making it seem like you’ve failed. One particular week I had exercised every day and I naughtily weighed myself the night before to have a sneaky peek at how well I was doing. By the time the weekly weigh in came the following night, I had magically put on 4lbs. I looked like the girl that was full of excuses when they told me my weight. I was astounded, I couldn’t believe it. When I got home I stepped on my scales and sure enough, the fat club ones were correct. Amazingly, the following morning the 4lbs disappeared. The extra weight may have been water retention but it still went down in my fat club week as a ‘gain week’ which translates as failure! I am not saying that I completely disagree with slimming clubs as they do work for some people and I do still follow some of the eating guidelines.

I thought long and hard and in the end came to the conclusion that for me, to focus solely on weight is a ridiculous notion. On 1st January I took a number of pictures of myself in very few clothes and they are pretty shocking. I have taken a similar set every Sunday since and will continue to do so throughout my training to enable me to physically see how my body is changing. Getting slimmer isn’t my only goal but it is one of them. For me, running is about feeling good, working hard and achieving things you never ever thought you’d be able to achieve in order to be the absolute best that you can be for yourself.  
Today was another glorious day for a run. I headed out to do 11 or 12k and ended up running 15.35k. It was so beautiful and I was really enjoying it so I kept on running. I figured that the weather may not be as gorgeous next week so I should make the most of it. I even managed to incorporate some hills and still keep smiling. Just to make my day even better, I saw two pugs. A pug is a guaranteed happiness trigger when I’m out and about.
I took my phone with me and tracked my run but I intentionally didn’t take much notice of time. I worked hard but at this point in my training, my long runs are not about stressing myself with time goals. I thoroughly enjoyed today’s run and it was a great start to Janathon 2012 week 3.  

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Janathon day 14: The beauty of parkrun

I decided that this morning would be the day that I tackle the Richmond Park parkrun for the first time in 2012. Last year I ventured out on new year’s day to kick start my training. It’s a fairly tough course and I haven’t felt ready for it until now. Two weeks in to Janathon I can really see that my fitness has improved so at 8:30 this morning I headed to Richmond Park.

If you’ve never heard of parkrun and are keen on running or thinking about starting to run, it is absolutely fantastic and you should check it out here. They are free weekly 5k runs that take place on Saturday mornings in parks around the country and globally too.
It started fairly locally to me in 2004 as a community project and it has grown miraculously. There are now 1,659 clubs in total. The first run started with just 13 runners in Bushy Park, Teddington and at the time it was the only weekly 5k timed running event in the UK. It was started by founder Paul with the intention of it being simple for anybody to take part, whenever it suited them. He wanted runners to compete against themselves and he always intended for it to be free. Although the event has grown, it is still free which is fantastic. It has a real community feel and relies on runners as volunteers to help organise the event each week.
The parkrun events offer a unique proposition to runners. It really is a fantastic event to help with training or if you want to just get out there and give running a go. Here is a quick rundown of what it is taken form the parkrun website:

·         A non-commercial, free, feel-good, community event
·         Runners sign up on the website once in their life… then just turn up and run at any event in their country
·         Results are emailed the same day and posted on the website with historical results and stats including age group records and age-graded performances (for those getting older!)
·         There are clubs and prizes to encourage participation a 50 Club for runners who've reached 50 runs, a 100 Club, and a Junior under-19 10 Club runners who've reached these milestones receive a free running t-shirt one runner per event receives the Sweatshop Monthly Prize – a free pair of trainers
·         There's an annual points prize at each event to encourage attendance
·         We keep in touch with runners through an emailed weekly newsletter and the website
·         And provide extra services free of charge free race photos, race reports, links to local clubs and races, and other news on the website
·         Lucozade sports scientists visit one event per month to provide advice and samples
Today’s run was my fifth and I still had butterflies at the start. It’s brilliant to emulate that unique experience that you get when you take part in a race/event. It’s a very different thing to running on your own.There is a buzz of anticipation as everybody heads for the start. People of all shapes, sizes and abilities join in and despite the frosty morning, Richmond Park saw 281 people take part today.
There are some fast people that take part and it can seem really daunting when you are overtaken by person after person. I felt slightly panicked until my phone buzzed telling me I had completed my fastest 1k so far since I started training two weeks ago. I kept going trying not to think about the faster runners, my blue toes or lips that were sore from the cold. Just after 2k, as I ran up towards Sheen gate, I could feel myself getting tired. It’s at this point on most runs that I could happily give up but I kept going as I know that once I pass 3k I tend to feel better. The park looked absolutely beautiful this today. It was cold but the sky was clear and blue, and the contrast of colours was magnificent. I was continually thinking about how lucky I am to have somewhere so spectacular to run.

The last part of the course is pretty tough, up a hill towards the end but a quick glance at my phone and I felt excited as a PB was in sight. Whenever the end is nearing, I can’t help but feel a little excited and emotional and I always need to have a quick word with myself to calm my breathing and stay focused. I ran through the cones at the end and really pushed myself, then grabbed the finishing token and got in the queue to get my barcode zapped. I forgot to stop my phone but I could see that my time was under 30 minutes.
My best time so far at this rather hilly course was 29:09 and I was really excited at the prospect of improving my time so soon after starting my training. The last time I did parkrun was on 22nd January last year. Today’s time was emailed to me this afternoon and although I only improved my time by 2 seconds it was still a PB. I also finished 6th in my age category. Two weeks ago on 1st January, my fastest 1k lap was 6 minutes 47 seconds and my fastest lap today was 5 minutes 12 seconds. There was a downhill section involved but I’m pretty happy with that.
After the run I went on to have a play in the park with my birthday present, my new camera. We headed to one of my favourite places, the Isabella Plantation. It was like a secret winter wonderland full of gorgeous frosty plants and trees and amazing wildlife. I was freezing when we got back to the car but it was worth it.

Janathon week 2 is now complete. This week I have ran a total of 41.5km taking me to a grand total of 79km in January 2012. I now need to concentrate on core strength. I said the same thing last week but it hasn’t happened yet. I will start week 3 with a long run tomorrow. I hope we have more of what we had today weather-wise and I will be a very happy Janathoner.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Janathon day 13: Better late than never

Last night’s post was written after dinner, cocktails and wine. Not the best prep for writing a blog post or for a 5k morning run. When the alarm went off this morning I peered out the window to see frost glistening from the rooftops of the cars. I snuggled back under the duvet for 40 minutes.
I know that had I have run this morning, it would not have been a good experience. I felt weary and dehydrated. Instead I went out after work. I ran my usual 5k route and it felt good. I am planning to do the Richmond Park parkrun tomorrow so I decided to take it easy tonight. As I was running I didn’t pay attention to the time until my last kilometre. I thought I was way behind schedule and I didn’t really mind, I just wanted to finish. I was pleasantly surprised that after a pretty easy going run, I was on track for one of my better times and I completed Janathon day 13 in the second fastest time that I’ve run so far.  
I can feel myself getting fitter and that makes me happy but I need to start facing my fears head on. My two biggest fears that I need to conquer are track and hills. Being scared is not a bad thing. Challenging yourself is scary but it feels so good when you smash through your goal. I saw an advert this week for a Canadian clothing brand and it featured a slogan saying “Do something every week that scares you.” I think it is a great piece of advice and I am going to start incorporating it into my world.
I really need to get accustomed to the track to improve my time but if I’m being honest I just don’t know where to start. I imagine the track to be a place where actual runners hang out talking in athlete tongues. I want to get better but I don’t want to feel stupid and out of place. I know that to be the best I can be, I need to make track be a part of my training. Two lovely ladies (Thank you @Bangsandabun & @Runurb)  have kindly volunteered to show me the ropes and I have accepted their offer of help, so I will be close to barfing at a track in London sometime soon.  

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Janathon day 12: Don’t do snooze

Yesterday I was boasting about how I wasn’t tired and how energised I felt. That all went out of the window today, when I started pressing the snooze button. I should have just got up and jumped out of bed the minute I opened my eyes. But no, I had to press that button to give me a few more precious minutes of shut eye.
My philosophy in life is unless you’re going to do something properly don’t bother doing it at all. I really should listen to my own advice sometimes. The snooze nearly got the better of me today. I did manage to drag myself out of my pit and I completed my 5k. It was 90 seconds slower than it has been the last couple of times and I know the snoozing had made me sluggish but it was still a run. On the twelfth day of Janathon, I was still running!  
The snooze button is evil. The whole time I was running, I was thinking about it. I knew I had to get up so I should have just done it. Putting off the inevitable doesn’t make it any better! Ironically, whilst I was out running, my boyfriend had been struck by the curse of snooze today too. He was meant to get up early but instead, he clambered out of bed, got ready in a flash, ran to the station and jumped on the train huffing and puffing  as it was about to pull away.
If you are going to do something, you should do it properly and this should apply to getting out of bed. From now on I am going to try and do it with purpose. Generally I’m pretty good. I’m enthusiastic and lively in the morning but some days that button gets the better of me and it zaps my energy.
I went to dinner with my friend tonight and had a few glasses of *cough* grape juice so I’m hoping the snooze button curse doesn’t come to haunt me tomorrow morning. I am going to try and run in the morning but if snooze well and truly takes a grip, it will have to be Janathon Friday in the gym tomorrow night.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Janathon day 11: What a difference a year makes!

I had my cousin over for dinner tonight so planned to do my run this morning to get it ticked off the list. I was a bit nervous about it before I went to bed but I woke up and was raring to go, given an extra boost by emails from @Bangsandabun and @rundemcrew.
When I ran out of the door, the moon was glowing in the sky.  It was relatively mild considering it is January. The further along my 5k route I ran, the lighter it became and there was an absolutely breathtaking sunrise. The sky was glowing shades of red, pink and orange and I was so pleased I’d actually got up and out.  I really enjoyed my run today and it didn’t feel like a chore.
Since I started running again on 1st January I have been quite tired but today when I woke up I had loads of energy and I was excited about getting out. It can take a little while for your body to adjust but I love it when you start noticing a change in energy levels. I felt energised and ready for the day and so grateful that I hadn’t stayed in bed to miss what was going on in the sky outside. It’s great to appreciate what is around you all the time.
This time last year I was training for Paris and the weather was so different. In fact, it was absolutely freezing. I had to wrap up in woolly hat and gloves to even consider heading outside but today a friend of mine was enjoying breakfast al fresco in the sunshine. Some days it was so difficult to push myself to go but I knew that there were 19 other girls working just as hard as me and I didn’t want let them down as well as myself, so out on to the icy pavements I stepped.
This January, there is no ice in sight. Yes, it has been cold some days and rainy too but nowhere near as bad as last year. Fingers crossed it stays like this for the next 20 days. So far this week I’ve run 26.5k. I am going to aim to run 5k each day and I am going to take part in Park run on Saturday. Now I’ve blogged it, I have to do it!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Janathon day 10: Run Dem Crew Rehearsal

I was disappointed with myself yesterday. I wanted to start the day with a 5k but when I woke up I wasn’t feeling up to it. Tonight I wanted to make up for what I didn’t achieve yesterday. Tuesday nights are Run Dem Crew nights but Run Dem Crew is not waking up again until next Tuesday and I’m telling you, it can’t come soon enough. The RDC family are counting down. I’ve seen tweet after tweet in the last couple of weeks of people desperate to start up again. There have been a few break off groups running together while RDC has been closed but they are just that little too far for me.  What better time to have a Run Dem rehearsal than the Tuesday before we go back? 

Formed by Charlie Dark in the winter of 2007, the Run Dem Crew or RDC for short, is a running club based at 1948 in the arches in Shoreditch.  I say running club but in reality it is more of a running family. A collective of creative heads with a passion for running and the exchange of ideas, we meet every Tuesday and run the streets of London. Yes, we run but we’re not your average running club. It’s about more than running. Running can be a solitary activity but running with  RDC is about being part of a supportive and encouraging network of friends.  

Committed to change and the upliftment of the next generation, RDC works closely with young people across London providing mentoring and advice along with the opportunity to explore London in a safe, unique, positive and supportive environment. It has been an amazing experience to see the RDC youngers  grow and achieve their goals. It shows that if you put your mind to it and have the right support around you, you can achieve whatever you want to. A little encouragement goes a long way and this philosophy applies to life goals as well as running goals!  

I can’t tell you how much I have missed the Tuesday night sessions. I have written about RDC and the impact it has had on me before in this post. Every week I am inspired and motivated and always learn something new from people who are willing to give advice and support in any way they can. Just being surrounded by such inspiring people encourages you to dig that little bit deeper and not give up.
Some of the RDC family at the Greenwich Movember 10k 2011
RDC pants to match my top & a glittery gold moustache

We normally run for at least 45 minutes so I wanted to do a decent run tonight ready for next week. I ran my regular 5k route and then added an extra section to take it up to 8k and putting a big fat tick next to #Janathon day 10.  I am aiming to run 5k each week day this week so this takes me to 11.5k in two days, which is ahead of schedule. The first 2 kilometres were a struggle and my legs were tight but once I got going there was no chance I was giving up.

There were a couple of moments I really wanted to stop but I thought hard about what I need to do in order to achieve my goals and I just kept going. I also thought about how I can help people at Run Dem Crew more as I feel I have gained so much since joining. I’ve always been a little shy to step up and lead a group, scared of looking silly or getting the group lost as I’m not an East London girl but this year I am going to make it my aim to contribute more. I read this on the website and I feel this is so important.


Run Dem Crew, rehearsal done, I’m no sponge. This year I am going to put in even more than I get out of RDC…away away away, can’t come soon enough!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Janathon day 9: It’s not always fun

I had plans after work tonight so the only way I was going to fit my run in was by going before work. When I woke up, running was the last thing I wanted to do. My running kit was all over the place and I felt terrible but I wasn’t prepared to let Janathon beat me on day 9.
Trainers on, I headed out the door with the aim of doing my 3.5k route. It was hard and I just wanted to get it done. Although it’s a struggle, normally once I get going I enjoy myself but today I didn’t enjoy any of my run. In fact, that is a lie! I really enjoyed seeing the end in sight and knowing that despite feeling rubbish, I challenged myself and completed 3.5k. In order to achieve your goals and dreams, you sometimes have to battle through to get there, doing things you’re not particularly keen on along the way.
One of the reasons I signed up to do Janathon again was to kick start my training and really test myself. In order to complete the Berlin half marathon in under two hours, I am going to have to do things I don’t really like such as battle with hills. I figured that if I could start by running every day, even on the days I really didn’t want to, it would help to boost my confidence and my belief in myself. Some may think running every day is a stupid idea that will result in injiry, but I’m going to listen carefully to my body along the way to avoid injury.
Although today was a struggle, I am looking forward to a new day and a new run tomorrow when we’ll be into Janathon double figures.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Janathon day 8: Run to no beat

When I started training for my first half marathon this time last year, I took my i-pod on every run and listened to the same compilation album on every run. The Mash up mix album played for just over an hour and I knew where every beat was and every high and low. Different tracks would let me know how far I had gone and others would give me just the boost I needed.
There have been several studies done that suggest music can really help to motivate you and there is no doubt, on certain days when I was close to giving up,  certain tracks would come on and I had a new lease of life. This time round you may be surprised to hear, I have chosen to train without music.
In March last year, I ran my first half marathon in Paris. I was aiming to complete it in less than 2 hours 10 minutes, so I knew that my trusty running album wasn’t going to be enough time-wise. I didn’t want to be interrupted when I was in the zone to re-start the album and I didn’t want to be without music. I opted to transfer my must-have playlist on to my i-phone, along with another album I sometimes listen to at the gym, Ministry of Sound Running Trax. I thought the easiest thing to do was to play the albums on shuffle so that I didn't have to play with my phone mid-run. Even though I’m really proud that I finished the run in 2 hours 11 minutes , I crossed the finish line a minute slower than I wanted to and I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I think I would have done if my music had gone to plan.

Throughout the run, not one of my magical booster songs came on. I didn’t get a chance to have that goosebumpy moment where you hear the beats of your favourite tune and you have no choice but to move your arms and legs faster. Instead I found that lots of the tracks annoyed and aggravated me. One after the other, another banging dance track came on and with each I got more annoyed.  I was especially peeved that no sooner had I crossed the finish line, absolutely exhausted, one of all-time favourite tunes started to play.  It was the track I had been hoping for when I was really struggling through the last couple of kilometres. It came on as I walked to meet my boyfriend in a post-run haze. Don’t get me wrong, I was pleased to hear it but I couldn’t help thinking that if it had come on earlier, I may just have shaved another minute off my time. I know a minute is not but it would have meant so much to me.  

I didn’t want to make excuses for my time in Paris and for a first half mara I’m pretty pleased  with what I achieved but I vowed to myself that I didn’t want to have to rely on anything other than hard work and my determination in the future. When training for the Greenwich Run To The Beat half marathon in the summer, it was definitely a struggle at first to do it without music. I knew that on the day there would be music and atmosphere the whole way round to keep me going, it was the music marathon after all. However, this wasn’t strictly true! Thank goodness that the lovely @thrutheblue had advised that I keep my i-pod with me. The music was pretty non-existent, apart from a few burger vans blaring tunes along the way and the route was hot & hilly. If it wasn’t for that i-pod, I’m pretty convinced I wouldn’t have made it round. Melissa, thank you so much for your advice!
The music is making me happy at RTTB 2011

All of my runs in January have been with no music and I am finding it absolutely fine. It’s a little disconcerting to hear your heavy breathing initially but I think it has helped me to keep it under control and to steady my pace. Not to mention, there is a safety aspect to consider too. When running alone in the dark it is so important to be aware of what is going on around you. I’m not saying that I will not have my i-pod on the big day but I want to be sure that I can finish my half marathon in Berlin in less than two hours, music or no music!

I ran 10k today and I really enjoyed it. Running without headphones let me enjoy everything that was going on around me. I could hear the tweeting of the birds, the calling of the rowers on the river, families giggling and chatting on the towpath but it was not all nice, I could also hear my constant sniffling as I have a cold. I was planning to go out at 8:30 this morning but I was feeling really stuffed up so I had a little breakfast and waited until I was less congested before heading off. It’s great to arrive home after your run when most people are still snuggled up in bed and I felt brilliant. A fantastic way to start week 2 of Janathon!
This week I am going to concentrate on hydrating more before my runs, building up strength and stretching, especially my legs. I want to work hard but I also want to do everything possible to look after myself and avoid injury along the way.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Janathon day 7: A little tea and a week of running

Today I completed my seventh day of Janathon and this time round, I have managed to run every day. I have also improved my speed as the week has gone on which I’m really pleased about. After a rubbish night’s sleep dreaming about all sorts of weird horrors, I woke up to a throat that felt like I’d been swallowing a cocktail of razor blades and broken glass and a blocked up nose. Running wasn’t an option.
 I took it easy and had a lovely day just mooching around Richmond instead. I walked along the river and to a cute little tea room called the Hollyhock cafe, hidden away in Terrace Gardens overlooking the river. I've never been here before and it is quite a little find. It is a fairtrade cafe, the sister cafe to the Tide Tables cafe under Richmond Bridge which I love. It's a fantastic place to come in the summer. Both places are vegetarian and even though I'm not I absolutely love the food. Tide Tables was closed today but I saw a sign on the door directing me to Terrace Gardens so I went to explore.
The location is just gorgeous, in a beautiful garden overlooking the river. It was cold but I still sat outside and they even offer hot water bottles to keep you toasty while you enjoy your tea. After half an hour or so I was cold so I carried on walking along the river and headed for the town centre.

I went on to another favourite place of mine, The Tea Box on Paradise road. I actually blogged about it last year at about the same time funnily enough. I felt tired and I really felt like my body needed to relax so I spent the day taking it easy and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I love The Tea Box. It is a speciality tea house on Paradise Road and it is just delightful. A vintage styled interior that doesn't try to be 'cool' or pretentious, it's the perfect little hideaway to relax and sip tea whilst reading a favourite book or catching up on precious time with friends. They have a fantastic selection of tea available and if you want something a little naughty you can even have an alcoholic tea. I had one before Christmas that had Baileys in and it was absolutely delicious!

I love the way there is such attention to detail. A timer to brew your tea to perfection, gorgeous tea cups and spoons with a little teapot on the end, and sugar grabbers with little hands on them. The bill is normally delivered in a mini treasure chest which I love but I was a bit disappointed today to just be handed the bill, especially as I had been a super kind customer and let three other groups of people be seated before me because I didn't want to be selfish and take up a large table.  I will let them off though because I love it there and they were super busy. They provide a great menu and even hold events there such as comedy evenings, jazz events, tea tastings and storytelling for children.
The staff are knowledgeable and they are more than happy to share their expertise with you about the range of teas they have on offer. Not only can you enjoy the delicious tea on the premises but you can purchase loose tea to take home, along with some of the cute teaware, cups, spoons and teapots. If you are ever in Richmond I would highly recommend visiting though do expect a little wait as it does get busy at weekends. You can only pre-book tables if you are planning to have the set afternoon tea menu but it's worth the wait as it is a special little place. I was pleased to see that they are now on twitter too. You can find them on @theteabox.

I got home and I knew that I had to complete my daily run. I enjoyed lots of tea today but not a lot of water. I hadn’t prepared and I was nervous. I reluctantly pulled my kit on after lingering around and giving my boyfriend three goodbye kisses, just so that I could stay in the warm a little longer. As soon as I stepped out of my gate I focused and I just ran, completing my first lap faster than I’ve done this week. I kept going, concentrating on positive thoughts and putting one foot in front of the other. A few people got in my way tonight. I nearly got tripped by a dog and a family thought I looked like the most appropriate person to stop and ask for directions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very friendly and normally very helpful but was it really a good idea to pull up and ask the girl that was red faced, concentrating on not being sick with her head down? There were other people around and I felt bad that I had to apologise for not helping, carry on running and point at my arm whilst shouting something about having a time to beat.  
I knew that I was capable of finishing in less than half an hour so I didn’t want to give up. I arrived home 1 minute 26 seconds faster than when I ran my 5k on Thursday night, bringing my total improvement to 5 minutes and 8 seconds from the 5k on Tuesday. I think I’ve done ok in week one to complete 37.5kilometres and improve my 5k time by over 5 minutes. Janathon week one is complete and I will kick off week two with a lovely long run tomorrow morning. Now I have the confidence that I am still able run, I need to concentrate on strengthening my body, especially my core strength. Planks here I come!