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My First and Only Marathon

Today is my Mother’s birthday. What better day to end the blogging? She would have been 85 and would have loved the final celebration and especially Rick’s scones. reg doc  4

The Ekiden relay marathon was a great success. How great it felt to be supported by two fit teams of runners who all entered into the spirit of Ekiden and worked towards a joint goal. And then to be greeted at the finish line by the team of fabulous fundraisers….How special it felt to celebrate everyone’s achievements with Rick’s finest scones and fizz flowing. Thank you so much to all involved. I hope you enjoyed the whole experience as much as I did.

J.J

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So is it all over? I had hoped to say yes, it is all over and close my fundraising page. However I still have some outstanding donations so can’t finally press the end button. The total today,including  Gift Aid is £7,534.00 and when…

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Blogging off?

Today is my Mother’s birthday. What better day to end the blogging? She would have been 85 and would have loved the final celebration and especially Rick’s scones. reg doc  4

The Ekiden relay marathon was a great success. How great it felt to be supported by two fit teams of runners who all entered into the spirit of Ekiden and worked towards a joint goal. And then to be greeted at the finish line by the team of fabulous fundraisers….How special it felt to celebrate everyone’s achievements with Rick’s finest scones and fizz flowing. Thank you so much to all involved. I hope you enjoyed the whole experience as much as I did.

J.J

11637862_10204057677555463_442355384_nIMG_0641CH9DoYoWEAAVYP4

So is it all over? I had hoped to say yes, it is all over and close my fundraising page. However I still have some outstanding donations so can’t finally press the end button. The total today,including  Gift Aid is £7,534.00 and when the final donations come in it will take it to over £8000.

So, no more blogging. I will publish the final amount when I do get to close the page. But I don’t think I have anything else to say. Maybe just Thanks. Couldn’t have done it without you all.

What next?

I did it! Found some vitality and completed the triathlon in Hyde Park in 1:56. Didn’t fall off my bike or slip on the run. It was pouring with rain for some of the time but I felt overjoyed to be able to take part and finish  the course with a smile on my face.

IMG_0010What next?

The culmination of the training and the fundraising for the MS Trust; the celebration event on the 20th June at 3pm preceded by the marathon Ekiden. Are you coming?

So far there are 8 people taking part in the Ekiden but happy for more to take part.We will split the distance up into roughly 4km stages. Doing shorter distance stages means participants may run faster so we can finish quicker! We aim to start at 11.30 and finish by 3.30,so we need to know what time participants can get here to run a stage (or more). All stages will start from and return to Petley Road. And if you aren’t planning to run but would like to help out then please let me know.

Those of you not running are expected at 3, so if you are lucky you will be able to see the end of the run!

Any questions?

Ask away.

Back in the swim (and the saddle).

Tooting Bec Lido

Tooting Bec Lido

Do I really have anything to say you might ask? After all, my blog was about my first and only marathon and that has not happened. And even my alternative plan to do an independent marathon is not going quite according to plan (more on that later). I have only really got back to ‘normal’ within the last fortnight. I am now able to resume my general activities without feeling totally wiped out.

So, am  in training for my first triathlon of the season at Hyde Park next weekend. Have managed to swim outdoors on a few occasions, at Tooting Lido, Serpentine Lake and in the sea at Worthing. Am feeling more acclimatised and am building up my putting -on-a wetsuit muscles. Haven’t done much cycling… have to hope that will be ok, but have managed some running over the last couple of weeks and can now run 5k again.

Nice cup of coffee after a cold swim

Nice cup of coffee after a cold swim

More importantly; the plan for the celebration event on June 20th. As I am not going to be able to run a whole marathon on my own, I am organising an Ekiden, which is a Japanese style long distance relay run.

In the Edo period of Japanese history (1603-1867), couriers traversed the Tokaido road between Edo (the historic name for Tokyo) and the imperial capital city of Kyoto — a distance of approximately 508K, to deliver messages. Nowadays, ekidens are a popular type of relay race. There is no specific ekiden distance or number of team members.

So, we will do a marathon ekiden as a team (or maybe two teams depending on numbers.) Various distances will be organised depending on who and how many. If you would like to take part please let me know. The Ekiden will take place before the tea ceremony at 3pm!

I like the idea that the Ekiden has a commitment to ‘we’, there is not an overall winner as such, it is all about the team working together. This is how the fundraising  has worked  too. It has been a real team effort and has to date raised a massive £6,678.40.

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Delayed Gratification

‘Delayed gratification is one of the most effective personal traits of successful people. People that delay gratification are more successful with their career, relationships, health, finances and really, all areas of life.’(startofhappiness.com)

I waited until yesterday to finally celebrate my birthday, a month after the official date. Lovely to have my family around me and have a delicious three-course meal cooked for me. But normally, I don’t go to work on my birthday so it wasn’t quite the same as the normal celebration. Lots of cards with inspiring messages…for the marathon, and treats for my post marathon recovery. I don’t plan to save them up for that long!

So, if I delay my marathon attempt till April 24th 2016, will it really be better? Hard to tell from where I am at the moment, still a bit fuzzy, like my birthday photograph. Can’t imagine ever being able to run a marathon or even train for one right now. Who was that person who did all that training?

Was told by the Doctor today that it can take about 8 weeks to full recovery.Good things come to those who wait, apparently.

A couple of people have congratulated me on raising so much (£6,173.40…and still counting) without even having had to run. I  just want to remind you that I did actually do quite a lot of running!

Obviously I am delaying the gratification of the full event because it will make me a better person.

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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…

T

T

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

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North London gin evening-  raised £160

North London gin evening- raised £160