Thank you for visiting my website!  My blog is updated regularly and you can follow me on Twitter @jcstaff_ .  Please feel free to contact me by clicking on 'Contact' above if you would like to get in touch.  


A year ago last week, I saw this hashtag on Twitter: #RunEveryDay.  It was started by a sportswear company and people could “sign up” on their website and receive motivational emails throughout the month.  With no desire for any more spammy emails clogging my already stuffed-full inbox, I just opted to run and tweet about it, and donate £1.00 per run to Northamptonshire Rape Crisis at the end of the month.

On the first of October, I was off – #RunEveryDay challenge was on.

Unlike my friends, I somehow thought I needed to add the daily runs to my normal 7-day a week fitness timetable.  As well, a week into October, I started karate classes.  It will come as no surprise that I developed Achilles tendonitis in both ankles by 18th October.  So I stopped….I’m kidding.  Nope, I began getting up 30 minutes earlier (oh yeah, I am scared of the dark, so as if running every day wasn’t a challenge enough, I made myself do it before dawn!) to ice both ankles to get the swelling down a little, before strapping them in sports tape and running/limping across my estate in the dark, cold morning air.

I wrote about my inner struggle over whether to stop or not in this blog.  I questioned whether I was showing “strength” by continuing with #RunEveryDay, despite painful injuries in both ankles, or if it was a sign of my “vulnerability” that I was unable to let myself quit, and possibly feel a failure for being unable to finish the month?

I can promise you had I known that I would do severe, lasting damage to my tendons and calves that would continue an entire year, I most definitely would have sucked the lemon of vulnerability, and stopped.  Totally.  Instead, I hobbled to Hallowe’en, pleased to have won two very inflamed Achilles tendons and the pleasure of telling people I had done #RunEveryDay the whole of October (and my other 7 workouts and two karate classes a week).  At least Rape Crisis got their whole £31 donation, too.

Since then, forced to cut back on running and high impact classes, I spent a fair bit of time on the stationary bikes in the gym, or doing bendy things in BodyBalance classes during the past 11 months.  Now #RunEveryDay is upon us again, and I would love to enjoy the sense of achievement on October 31st, knowing that I had run every day for the whole 31 days, even in the dark mornings which saturate my bloodstream with adrenaline and cortisol.

I now know also that sense of satisfaction will likely come at too high a cost.  This time, my challenge is not whether to #RunEveryDay, but instead, whether to pull out of it should #RunEveryDay become too painful.  It remains to be seen whether I will be able to do that, to give up if I am too injured.  The difference this time is that giving up under those circumstances, and listening to my body, I realise and believe, would be a true sign of strength.

So that’s my goal.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Early Morning Running

I openly admit it: I am a fair-weather runner. I love running, but I am a rather a diva about the weather. To lure me out of the gym, I need it to be not too cold, not too windy and not raining.


Are You Benchmarking?

**Trigger warning – this blog contains references to sexual violence.

Estimated statistics suggest 1 in 3 women are survivors of physical or sexual harm in their lifetime, including sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape. In the past 24 hours, you


The Smell of Smoke

This blog is dedicated to the children who survived the Grenfell Tower block fire

in London, on 14th June, 2017.


* Trigger warning – may be difficult for anyone who has experienced a fire.

Waking up to news of


Civility (Google it)

When I think about “social media”, the word “social” stands out – defined as “relating to society”, with synonyms including “communal”, “collective”, “group”, and “civil”. Lately, there seems to be a vast amount of social media activity which is anything but civil.


The Morning After

*Names have been changed for anonymity.

Trigger warning – contains references to rape.

“I warn Toby*, I tell him ‘You make sure, before you do anything with a girl, that she’s definitely into it!’ – you hear so many stories where girls change


Who’s that trip-trapping over my bridge?

Read to daily as a little girl, some stories stick in my memory. I had a Ladybird version of Three Billy Goats Gruff. I remember wondering as a child why they were called “Billy” goats? Were all goats boys? Was “Gruff” their surname?


“Brace! Brace!”

***Triggering content – this piece includes non-explicit references to abuse/violence.

Definition of trauma triggers.

Definition of trigger warning.

If you have ever flown, you will be familiar with the phrase “Brace! Brace!” which pilots announce to prepare passengers for


Let’s Stop “Slut-Shaming”

*All names have been changed.

I was at a conference recently, “Speaking Out to End Sexual Violence.” During discussion, a delegate used the term “slut-shaming” which sounded very jarring. Having not heard it used for a little while, I began thinking about it.


Where the blame lies.

*Trigger warning – this post contains references to rape, please consider your well-being before reading.

After previewing Listen to Your Selfie, I watched it again with our children, always interested in their feedback on resources. Near the end, the young girl hesitates as