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Jenny's Jogging Jotter

About me, running and my lifestyle change from 40 something size 20 and unfit, to 50 something size 12 half marathon runner. My training, lazy days, highs, doubts and all points in between.

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Jenny's Jogging Jotter

Jenny's Jogging Jotter

Jenny lives in Peterborough and has run the Perkins Great Eastern Run every year since 2009 after discovering running later in life

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Yes I am still here... just that life has had me rushing about all over the place.

With only two weeks to go to race day I think I may just about be ready, despite a number of interestng incidents.

Frequently on my runs I seem to run into unsual things and people. So I suppose I wasn't too surprised when a few weeks ago on my long run I took part in an incident involving three fire engines looking for a horse in the water when out on my riverside route.

They missed the poor animal on their first trip along the embankment and so did I, but on my return trip I spotted a rower who was unsually stationary on the water. Turned out he was marking the spot where the horse was scrunched up to the bank behind some tall reeds and bushes. No wonder we missed it. I stayed until the fire engines returned along with the rower which broke my 10 miles up a bit that day. There's currently only one horse in the spot now, so I don't know if it survived or has been moved to recouperate. Anyone who has news on it, I'd love to hear from them.

Since then I managed to pick up a really nasty cold which kept me away from my schedule for two weeks!! I've had to build up again and managed my final long run of 14 miles yesterday at a sedate pace, but still with a cough. I hope the cough will clear completely before race day. Fingers crossed!

I hope you are all doing well with your training and have completed your last long run too. I'll be tapering and doing some speedwork, intervals and possibly some hills next weekend.

To mark what seems to be my uncanny knack for running and never know what's going to happen next, I have a special race number - 999.

Look our for me on race day....

Jenny with her Perkins Great Eastern Run 2013 race number

Me with my race number

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Life has been a little hectic trying to fit in my training around getting ahead with my work to take holiday.

But I've managed to stick to schedule more or less, all but a couple of days where work ended up taking priority. None of the long runs have been skipped.

Last week with cooler weather I went out for a 10K run midweek, planning to include a couple of hills and a tempo run. The new shoes have been great and the problems I had with calf muscles seemed to have been solved now, the old shoes were obviously not giving me the support I needed. But I did end up stopping a couple of time to sort the lacing out on this run. Funny how all sorts of things need a bit of tinkering to get right when you make changes.

As I keep saying I'm not speedy. But I was surprised to find when I looked at my finish time that had I not stopped for the race adjustment, that 10K even with hills would have been a PB. So I think the speedwork I've been including this year is starting to pay off. It was hard to tell when the weather was warm, I can lose 1-2 minutes per mile the more the temperature goes up over 20C!!

Sunday I think I must have got out of bed the wrong side. I was in a bad mood and was up late for a long run. The sun was trying to break through as I set out which didn't help as I was thinking I would struggle to complete the scheduled 11 miles if it got warm.

Annoyed with myself for the late start the mood made me go out a bit fast for a long training run, plus the threatened sunshine only made brief appearances and a nice cooling breeze was blowing. So when I hit the unshaded part of my route and it was cloudy I kept going to 7 miles out. There's a long and a short route, I'd taken the long route out and came back via the short route to complete 13.1 miles (race distance) at around my past race pace and finished just inside 2:30.

I do not advise anyone to suddenly increased their long run by a big jump. I suppose it was over the recommended 10% per week, but not as bad as adding 2 miles early on at lower mileage. I could tell I'd run further and faster, as around 11 miles my glutes started to seize up stopping me from running continuously. Lots of walk breaks with knee raises to try to keep them moving allowed me to finish the distance.

My plan is to repeat the 13 miles this weekend at a pace that's more like long run pace in an effort to train those muscles to work for longer.

I'm ahead of schedule, and probably tempting fate even mentioning it. I've 7 weeks(ish) to race day to maintain and improve fitness and maybe add in some hills and speedwork.

In past races I've nearly always struggled at 10-11 miles, so in an effort to train my body to go further, this year I plan to train out to 15 miles for a long run to see if this helps.

Hoping you're all on target with your training and don't forget if you have niggles or injury problems and you live locally, you can get advice from Advance Performance stores, their experienced team are always happy to help and advise. They've been a great help to me over the years.

Jenny at the start of PGER 2012

Me pictured at the start of PGER 2012, armed with energy gels and looking 'attractive' in pink!

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Last week my swimming partner was unwell, so I juggled my running days around a little, doing some mile repeats on Monday and a wonderfully refreshing threshold run in the drizzle fairly early on Thursday. It wasn't raining hard, but I went out without a coat and the rain acted as my cooling system. I managed a better pace because of it. The warm weather has seen me struggle to put in some of the runs I should have done and when I've managed to get out, my pace has suffered. I'm just hoping that eventually I will see some benefit from it.

Last Sunday I returned to my training schedule but having taken a bit of a break due to the other commitments mentioned in previous posts, I revisited 10 mile, well more or less. It actually ended up as 10.5 miles. This time I was up even earlier, out of bed at 5am and out on my long run by 6.20am.

It was so peaceful, not many people around, a little overcast still at the beginning, clearing later. I really did start to enjoy myself, relaxing into it. Things began to change just before the half way mark, I started to develop a problem with my left calf muscle, causing a few stops and starts to change pace and to stretch. I put this down to my need for new shoes, so decided that before I increased mileage anymore I needed a visit to Advance Performance for a gait analysis and shoes.

This week I went into the Peterborough store, received great service as usual. Ryan took me through several pairs which I tried on the treadmill and eventually narrowed suitable shoes for me down to two pairs, which I then tested outside. I'm now the proud owner of some beetroot purple/silver/lime Mizuno Wave Inspire 9 shoes (pictured below). They are a bit 'in ya face' colourwise, but what the heck! They've already been spotted in the aisles at Sainsbury's as I've been breaking them in gently with some walking.

mizuno wave inspire 9

Mizuno Wave Inspire 9

 

This post isn't just about shoes though and here comes one of my 'silly' stories. My run wasn't entirely uneventful, besides the calf muscle playing up I had yet another strange encounter!

Heading along the foot/cyclepath just before I reached the Embankment, at a point where it runs behind some houses whose gardens have doors opening onto the path., zoned out and in a shady spot I was surprised when 3 men emerged from one back garden. Two of them with one very long pole the other with a shorter pole which they began to carry along the path. Approaching them I slowed up a little and announced my presence and then passed.

Visions of old silent movies sprang to mind - me being smacked around the head with one of these poles if I startled them into turning suddenly!!

Having negotiated that obstacle, a little further on I caught up with 2 more guys and an even longer pole as we all were approaching the end of the path. I called out and sped by once I knew they were aware of me. I was almost tempted to see where they were going with these poles and ask what there were. If they were curtain poles they were extremely long. Bearing in mind this was before 7am, I thought better of it and kept to my route.

I'd love to know if anyone else comes across stuff like this when they're out running, or if it's just me and perhaps my choice of routes.

Maybe next week will be completely uneventful, I can break in my new shoes on less mileage without strange interuptions, who knows? Watch this space!

 

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An update on that early start for my 10 mile training run. Yes I actually got out of bed at 5.15am!! Set out around 7.30am and managed my 10 miles before it got too hot. So I am pleased with that as last week and this week are really busy with events that will mean I can't put in the mileage. So the training schedule goes on hold for a while.

Last week after the 10 miles, I managed just one run on Thursday which took me 3.5 miles from my door to The Embankment where I stopped off to have a chat with the guys setting up for The Willow Festival. Then a 3 mile tempo run home.

I spent the weekend helping out at The Willow Festival as a volunteer. Before the event returned last year, I was involved in the organisation for a while, but have had less time to be involved due to work commitments, so I spent the weekend answering questions, putting up signs, moving bins and messing with posters as well a listening to so great bands on a very hot Embankment. It looked like a record turnout, but will need to wait for official figures on that one. No run for me, as I was on my feet for the duration of the fest.

Whilst wandering about in my high-vis vest I bumped into the Perkins Great Eastern Run mascot, Dinomite. We had a quick cuddle and a dance, which was some fancy footwork (for a dinosaur) in 28C heat!! Me and Dinomite are pictured below.

This week I'm hoping to get another early start in, but have a bbq and party, so it remains to be seen whether I get out for a long run on Sunday. But I will be back to the schedule the following week, repeating my 10 miles before moving forward.

Hope all you half marathoners are now in training and keeping well hydrated in this warm weather.

Dinomite and Jenny dancing at The Willow Festival

Dinomite and Jenny dancing at The Willow Festival

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I've not been doing badly, even the last couple of weeks it's been a bit warm for my long run on a Sunday, but I've managed reasonably well for me. I really don't handle the heat very well.

Last Sunday I covered 9 miles before it got too warm, with the help of a breeze and a few clouds to keep it cooler.

This week I've managed 4.8 miles which consisted of a 1 mile warm up and then intervals on Tuesday and 5 miles tempo run on Thursday. I feel I'm starting to get a bit more fitness back now.

The weekend is looming with that dreaded 10 miles, which really shouldn't be a problem but for the weather forecast!! Summer is actually here!!!

I know I will be testing the temperature and looking at the forecast until Saturday evening, at which point I have to decide whether to set my alarm for 5am, so that I can get out and run before the sun gets hot.

I could have an easy week, but was planning to save some shorter runs for the coming two weeks as I will be volunteering at The Willow Festival next week, at a friend's BBQ the following week and I really don't want to fall too far behind with the training schedule.

You may be saying 'she's already way ahead if she's on 10 miles', but having done this before I've hit problems, or had other things that have knocked holes in my training plans, so I like to keep ahead of the schedule, just in case. Typical of me, I like to have Plan A sorted and Plan B as backup, all ready to go.

I've still not managed to get hubby out to get any shots of me on the run, so you have to make do with my old ones.

Watch this space.... I'll be back to tell you if I saw silly o'clock on Sunday.

Finish of the PGER 2008 Fun Run

Pictured is me, still on the way with my lifestyle change and weight loss at the finish of the 2008 PGER 4K Fun Run.
I think I was around a size 16 at the time and finished the 4K in around 38 mins, my second race. I completed the Race for Life earlier the same year.

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Despite the windy conditions, I managed to get out and do my scheduled 8 mile long run on Sunday in something like 1 minute per mile faster than last week. I know it's the temperature, I really do struggle in warm weather.

Even though I ended up speed walking the really open section of my route that was head wind, I was still faster. So I arrived home happy and hungry, ready for second breakfast (no I am not a Hobbit, I just seem to have developed Hobbit habits).

I am starting to wonder about my running routes though. They are familiar to me and I've used them for several years now,  but odd things keep happening.

Just as I was coming to the end of my 8 miles, I could see a man walking ahead of me and something that looked like a large bag from a distance on the floor. The man in front turned off the path beside this object and disappeared from view. I finished my run and kept walking toward home and as I got closer it became apparent the object on the floor was a man and beside him two small dogs he'd been out walking!

What stunned me was the man in front of me had just about stepped over this guy and kept walking!!

Call me what you like, but I couldn't just walk by and leave him there. So I stopped and asked if he was OK, got him talking and he got up and sat on a nearby fence. When it seemed he was alright and had no obvious signs of damage or injury, I went on my way.

Now I'm starting to wonder what my next run will bring and will I be disappointed if it turns out to be just a run?

My 'sprint' finish PGER 2010

My 'sprint' finish PGER 2010

 

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I may not have posted my blog but I did run last week, I started my PGER training schedule.

Sunday 9th June I was supposed to start with a 10K at half marathon pace!!

Well I did the 10K, but it certainly wasn't at half marathon pace, which just proves to me that it's good I started now, because I need more speed work. I've been too long away from regular runs and need to build my fitness levels again. But it did prompt me to look back through my training diary to see what I was doing last year and I was surprised to find that I wasn't much faster and on a couple of runs, quite a bit slower.

So I went into last week, feeling a little better about it all. My Tuesday session was distrupted by a meeting in town, which I had to walk to after dropping off my car for repair and MOT, so the intervals shrunk from 3.5 miles to only 2.5 miles which I did on Wednesday. A 1 mile warm up followed by 100m intervals/recoveries.

I then proceeded to do a 5 mile run, 1 mile warm up, 3 mile tempo, 1 mile jog, then a 10 minute walk home. My legs really do not like a long walk and two runs on three successive days.

My Friday morning swim which is usually great for stretching me out and unravelling me a bit was cancelled, so I went into 7 miles on Sunday 16th June feeling like I needed a steam roller to get rid of all the kinks. It took me a good 2 miles for everything to settle down.

Then, believe it or not, the sun came out!! Just in time for the completely unshaded part of my run alongside the river and I don't do well in the heat. I did complete the 7 miles, but at something like 30 secs per miles slower than expected. I shouldn't be complaining, but the sun disappeared again in the afternoon and it was cooler again.

I'm hoping this week goes more smoothly.

The photo below is me on a training run for the PGER in 2011. So far I've not managed to persuade hubby to bring his camera along on a run to get some more recent images. Mind you the routes are very similar. Any ideas where this one is? If you spot me, say hello!!

 

Training run 2011

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My final run before I start on my training schedule proper and I it involved a new and slightly strange experience.

OK I've not been running that long, but I've been out there in all weathers and different times of day although I probably tend to stick with the same routes now.

I'm in the middle of the threshold section of my run this morning and see this guy walking toward me on the foot/cycle path not far from the Boongate roundabout. I'm think I'm slightly obsessed as I always try to say good morning, or whatever is relevant to anyone I meet and give them a smile if I'm able and even on a threshold run I can manage that much.

Anyway, just as I approached this guy he stepped into my path waving a leaflet at me. He wasn't a small man, so it did worry me for a split second. Timing was such that it would have been hard to turn around and a combination of woolly shrubbery and his size, a swerve was out of the question too. So I slowed my pace a bit hoping if I took his leaflet he'd move out of my way. As I neared I made a grab for the leaflet said my good morning and added thank you. Once he'd realised I wasn't stopping for a chat he did step aside quite quickly, but I left him mumbling something after me. Well he may not have been mumbling but I'm a bit deaf, so it sounded that way from behind.

I looked at the leaflet briefly before I folded it up to put it into my bum bag (I'm a good girl, I try not to litter) and it was an invitation to a prayer meeting!

I had to smile, as regardless of your or my religious beliefs it just tickled me that this guy was so determined he was willing to risk injury from a runner who might not stop. He gets 10/10 for effort and brightening my day, even if he didn't win me over to get me to his meeting.

 

 

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balroomdancersI'd been hoping to give you all a more regular report of my running 'adventures' but a few weeks ago I started to develop a problem which at first I thought was my knee and then my hamstring, but eventually with some advice from Howard at One Step Sports Therapy which is based at Advance Performance in Peterborough, I discovered it was my old enemy, my calf muscle!!

I've stretched and foam rollered for hours on end and I'm pleased to say I went back out and tested it on a 5M run Sunday and some interval training on Tuesday over 3.5M, with a swim in between. I have my fingers crossed, but all seems to be well, providing I continue with the regime.

Everyone I've spoken to about this assumed it was an exercise injury from running. It is an exercise injury, but I eventually narrowed it down to a ballroom dancing incident!! Hubby and I were practising the quickstep, I stepped forward on my left foot onto my heel which should have a nice covering of suede on it, but it had worn flat so I stepped onto the plastic and went into a small skid. I did say ouch at the time, but kept moving as it seemed fine.

Other than having my toes stepped on I can say this is my first real ballroom dance injury in 4 years. I will also be back on the dancefloor this week for a Rumba Masterclass.

I can have a ball talking about dancing too but back to the important matter of running, this blog and what I want to share with you.

I have now found myself a suitable half marathon training schedule, there are three training guides on the PGER website - Beginners, Improvers and Advanced kindly supplied by Liz and Martin Yelling of Yelling Performance if you've signed up but don't have a plan. If it's your first half marathon, then I can assure you that having a training plan can make all the difference. So please take a look, the guides are completely free of charge - click here.

I've recently been reading a book about staying healthy, fit and mobile into a ripe old age, which has reminded me about why I set out on my lifestyle change in 2007/2008 and what my long term goals were. With the help of medical science and improved technology we're able to live longer than ever before. Some of us may live into our 80s, 90s or even 100s, but a longer life doesn't necessarily equate to a better life.

Often due to our busy liefstyles, we pick speed and convenience, taking the car, little time for exercise and eating takeout and ready meals, which can actually contribute to a reduction in quality of life as we age. If your reading this, then there's a good chance you doing something to include more activity in your life and possibly a better diet to help fuel your sport.

My plan is to literally give Father Time a run for his money.

More on that in my coming musings...

"Warning, When I Am An Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple..." - Jenny Jospeh

"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" - Dylan Thomas

 

 

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I got out this morning after the rain and drizzle finished and found I had a good time. It's actually the right temperature for me, I'd planned to only do a couple of miles after a 40 length swim yesterday but got carried along and did 4 miles. It was surprisingly warm in my vest top and capri pants, I was also a bit late getting out to avoid the rain, so I missed my regular morning dog walking group that always give me a cheery wave and hello.

It's funny how you look forward to things like that, they are a bunch of 5-6 retired guys who obviously have morning dog walking duty.

Coming up to 20 weeks to race day I really think I need to make an effort to find a training schedule I like the look of.

I am sure someone will tell me I am doing it wrong, but I usually pick a 16 week schedule and start it around 20 weeks. That gives me chance to repeats some weeks if I have problems or want some time out for a barbeque and an opportunity to have a drink. Sunday morning runs at silly o'clock to avoid the heat make me a real party pooper in the summer, so I try to allow a bit of leeway for a party, or time for any niggles I might pick up to go away.

I've not set myself a target to run three times a week anyway, as I really have been lazy lately.

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After a a nasty cold and cough I've managed to get back on track with some running. Just in time for the hayfever to kick in, but having some sunshine to lure me out through the front door is preferable to the cold biting winds we've had this winter.

I'm starting with some shorter runs and trying to mix it up a bit with faster intervals in my effort to speed me up.

A couple of 2.5 mile runs with 1 mile warm ups, then 60 second fast runs at about 95% effort and recoveries down to a comfortable heart rate, followed by a jog home to warm down.

I have to admit to being a bit of a fair weather runner. Most other runners I speak with seem to be out come rain or shine, but my first winter and a 10K race in a sleet and snow storm put me off, even though it did produce my best 10K time ever, I was obviously encouraged to get back into the warmth as fast as possible.

 

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In 2006, having quit smoking 5 years earlier I had gained more than three stone in  weight.

In 2007, I certainly didn't feel fit and realised my health would be at risk if I didn't do something about it.

This prompted a lifestyle change that nowadays includes regular exercise and a complete change of diet.

Jenny before and after her weight lossNow I am no longer overweight, having reached a healthy Body Mass Index and regularly run more than 20 miles a week, in the warmer months at least.

In January 2009 I moved into my second half century of life and decided to do something at 50 I couldn't do at 15. My challenge was to run my first ever half marathon, which was the Perkins Great Eastern Run in October 2009.

I finished the half marathon that year in 2:24 which is actually my best time so far. I've run it every year since and although I'd love to get faster, I've actually set myself a new goal to attempt to complete the race inside 2:30 for the next 7 years which will take me to age 60.

On my way to reaching my health and fitness goals, I have lost more than 3 stones in weight and dropped from a size 20 to a size 12 dress size.

I had already lost some weight by taking control of my eating through calorie counting, it wasn't until I began to run and clock up some more serious mileage that the pounds really began to drop off.

I now stick with regular exercise which in addition to running also includes swimming and ballroom & latin dancing and can't remember the last time I felt so well and full of energy, nor the last time I was a size 12!!

Making running part of a complete lifestyle change and not just relying on diet has helped me maintain my fitness levels and my weight.

The journey from fat to fit took just over 2 years, but it took me many years to gain my weight, so I wasn't in a hurry to lose it. In my view the time I've taken has given me the opportunity to properly re-educate myself to healthy eating and exercise.

The change has given me a whole new outlook on life and restored the confidence that I'd not realised I'd lost. My advice is to anyone trying to lose weight and get fit is to take the time you deserve to get it right. Don't beat yourself up if sometimes you have moments of weakness and don't give up when sometimes it doesn't go well.

The exercise is important and if you've been a couch potato as I was for several decades it's hard to make the change to incorporating it into your life. It doesn't have to be running, that's my choice, but doing something is so crucial in my opinion.

Join me on my journey on Jenny's Jogging Jotter...

 

 

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