Slowly starting over.

You may well have noticed that I did not run the marathon and you may perhaps also have noticed that my blog format has changed. It was becoming a struggle to find reasons for doing the marathon and I had assumed and in fact cleverly planned  that I wouldn’t have to find more than 20. I should today  have been talking about how my ‘first and only marathon’ went. It in fact became my ‘first and nearly marathon’, as one friend commented. The only marathon I have been through recently is the ‘ill marathon’ and I am not quite at the finish line of that one.

As for facts about MS there are plenty more and you can find them here.

I am making small steps to recovery. I did Park Run on Saturday. It felt good to be in the fresh air again. After the disappointment of not running London I had the high of at last being able to start all over again. Slowest time ever, but I was still the first (and only one) in my age category. As Paula Radcliffe said when you have huge disappointments it makes the  subsequent highs more euphoric.

And what about closure? It feels a bit like I planned a huge wedding and then did not turn up on the day. I need to find my own way of finishing off in style instead of just fading away. So as mentioned last time I will be celebrating my training and fundraising on June 20th; a run of some kind in the morning (?), Tea and scones at 3 and the official closure of the fundraising page.Let me know if you want to come-I won’t ask again!

What more can I tell you?

Fundraising total is £6,128.40 but there is still  more to come…




Antibiotics and beyond

#20 reason for doing the London Marathon: sorry, not doing it now!

#20 fact about M.S: It’s not uncommon for people with multiple sclerosis to suffer from problems with memory and finding the right words to express themselves. Lack of concentration and attention is also common.

It was over a year ago that the London marathon seed germinated in my mind. I was volunteering at the event for the first time, having been a spectator and supporter for many years. I was feeling quite emotional on that day. It was Sam’s birthday and I met up with him after my shift finished and we watched the run together for a while and both talked about the possibility of ever running a marathon. As we watched the huge mix of runners, I began to think that I could be on that start line and do something I had never done before and do something I  had never  before believed I was capable of. So my mental preparation for the run started that long ago. Starting with a belief that I could do it. That mental preparation continued. It is almost as important as the physical work needed. You have to see yourself at the start line, imagine feeling strong at 10 miles, enjoy the cheering of the crowd when it is getting tough, and then picture the final sprint to the finish line. I built on that belief that if I got to the start line I would be able to complete the course. So, you may ask at what point did I realise I would not make that start line. After being ill for over 2 weeks, I went out for a walk by the river, through Bishop’s Park. It was a beautiful sunny day, I was finally out of bed, and I was starting to feel better. And as I walked I tried to visualise myself at the marathon, something I have been doing on almost every run over the last year, but I could no longer do it, I could not see myself there, not because I didn’t long to fulfill this dream, but because it really was not possible. When I went to the Doctor at the beginning of the week I was signed off work, given antibiotics and sent for a chest x-ray. A discussion on marathon running was not part of that consultation.

It is very, very disappointing, but it really isn’t the end of the world!

A lot of positives have transpired during my year of thinking and training. Firstly I have raised a very large sum of money for the MS Trust , £6,008.40 and still counting. I can pat myself on the back for being their top fundraiser this year. I couldn’t have done this without huge support from friends and family. Events that have taken place have given the opportunity for people to get together and have some fun while raising money for a good cause. We all enjoy that! I have pushed myself further than I once thought possible; I got up to a distance of 18½ miles- and could have gone further! I encouraged my neighbor when she began to train for the marathon too and we have a new running relationship. I have even inspired my friend Susie to jog into the running world by doing her first Parkrun in a few weeks time.

So where does that leave my own personal goal? In #14 I said ‘At this stage in my life I can again think of my own personal goals and it could be for that reason I decided to do the marathon. This goal is just for me.’

So here is my plan.

On Saturday June 20th, I am going to have a ‘Julia James marathon celebration day’. This may involve some running by me and others in the morning and then will culminate with afternoon tea at home, (Rick’s wonderful scones and no doubt something sparkling).  We will celebrate the effort that everyone has put in to support me and the MS Trust. I will officially close my fundraising page on that day. Let me know if you want to come!

I have a guaranteed place at London 2016 and maybe (or maybe not!) I will get to the start line next April.

George's sculpture auction raised £400

George’s sculpture auction raised £400

Sculpture auction

Sculpture auction


North London gin evening-  raised £160

North London gin evening- raised £160

The £20 note test

images#19 reason for doing the London Marathon: 1-18 again

#19 fact about M.S: Multiple sclerosis was first recognised as a condition in the middle of the 19th century. Prior to this time, there are reports of a few instances of what may have been MS, although the variety of symptoms, the range of other possible causes and the incompleteness of records make these impossible to confirm

I have had flu.  Believe me, It was flu, not just a very bad cold.

The way to tell the difference is the £20 note test. If a £20 is on the floor…. with a bad cold you have the energy to pick it up….with flu you do not have the strength or any inclination. My £20 test was the birthday cards and presents that remain unopened. Need to make a full recovery to do justice to them.

So if you ever wonder if it is flu and you don’t have a £20 not to hand to check, here are the symptoms

  • a sudden fever – a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • a dry, chesty cough
  • a headache
  • tiredness and weakness
  • chills
  • aching muscles
  • limb or joint pain
  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • a sore throat
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty sleeping

Over the past, nearly two weeks I have had all of those symptoms at some point, and am still suffering from some of them still.

And what does this all mean for the purposes of running the London marathon on April 26th? There are many different opinions on this, which I am not going to go into now. However, Not running on that date does not mean that I am not going to run on another date. When my mother was alive we used to make plans to do things all the time. We always knew that they were dependent on how well my mother was on the day. If her MS was bad, it might mean having to make changes to our plans, but it did not mean that we stopped making plans. You may remember that blog post #14 was about the importance of having goals. I still have the goal of running the London Marathon, just may be in a slightly different way.

More importantly and interestingly than information on flu, my fundraising is going BRILLIANTLY. As I became more ill, more money seemed to come pouring in.

I am past the £5000 mark. So, so amazing, check it out here

Update on all the  fundraising events next time..and  I promise I am not going to mention the ‘F’ word again.

Saying it with flowers

This is the best I can do under the circumstances. Not what I hoped I would be writing a little more than two weeks before my first and only marathon. I have flu. I have never felt so ill in all my life.

It was my birthday on Wednesday and I should have been running my last long run of 20 miles and then writing my blog before blowing out the candles and opening the presents. Instead I was lying under the duvet feeling very sorry for myself and no strength to open the cards.

That’s it.

Down but not yet out.

How I wish I felt

How I wish I felt

How I am feeling

How I feel