Saturday saw me back at parkrun. I was back at my local parkrun after my adventures at Woolacombe Dunes parkrun.
I went and found the 40 minute pacer and this time it was Kim from my running club. I like it when it’s someone I know as I feel like I can have a good natter and not focus on the running so much. There was a small group of people wanting to run with her. We saw the guy who dresses as a monkey with weights in his backpack and talked a little about how much money he’d raised for charity. He quite often runs our parkrun and local races. He’s in all my race photos from one particular race, where he just beat me. A nice reminder! I told Kim I’d quite like to beat him this time.
I started off alongside Kim and her group and then found Martin who is the ED of a nearby parkrun. I had a lovely little chat with him before he zoomed off in to the distance. By this point though I realised I was quite a way in front of the 40 minute pacer group. I’d gone from a 13 min/mile with them to an 11:30 min/mile! Oops!
So I thought rather than stop and wait or slow down too much I’d just carry on and see where I got. I find running so much harder on my own though. I had no one to chat to for the remainder of the run which was a bit of a pain.
It was nice to see Anna though, although she was already on her way back from the 2nd turnaround point when I hadn’t even reached it yet, and she has a bad knee!
I think it was also somewhere around this point that I overtook the monkey. I had a horrible feeling he’d overtake me again at some point though. As I went around the turnaround point to start heading back to the finish I passed by the 40 minute pacer group and Kim called to me “You’ve got about 400 yards on the monkey” I thanked her whilst in my head thinking “I have no idea how much 400 yards is” haha.
I soon finished and can proudly say I beat the monkey! It’s good to have a nemesis right?! I finished with a time of 39:07 in position 451. The monkey finished in 39:46! Close!
After getting my barcode scanned I went and topped up my run to 4 miles. Now I have that base I want to try and keep topping up my parkrun.
Do you have a parkrun nemesis?
Do people run your parkrun/local races in fancy dress?
My day off was switched again, this time to a Wednesday, so I was able to enjoy a midweek run. I headed out just after 7am. I wanted something to listen to that I could just put on and not have to faff about with by skipping tracks. I loaded up the Ed Sheeran Essentials playlist on Apple Music and it was perfect. I didn’t need to skip a track once.
I headed off and it was still mostly dark. I wanted to try and do 4 miles as I’d failed the week before to do more than 2 miles before of my arm chafing. Thankfully this time was much more successful. I headed out towards Hill Head, the weather was breezy and chilly, which made perfect running conditions for me. I didn’t pass many people out at all so it was just me and Ed running along the prom. I reached the end of the beach at Hill Head (around the 2 mile mark) and turned around to see the most beautiful sunrise! The colours were amazing, I was surprised how quickly the sunrise faded though and just turned to light.
My run was going really well. Once it was light I actually saw a few more people, particularly dog walkers. I guess they must wait for the light to walk their dogs. I finished at 4 miles just at the end of my road so I had the walk along my road to cool down and catch my breath. I was really happy that 4 miles really felt manageable! I told myself when I set out 4 miles is ideal, 2 miles is ok and I can stop after a mile if I’m really not feeling it. I’ve signed up for the Romsey 5 mile Cake and Beer Race again this year so to know I’m able to do 4 miles already is reassuring as the race isn’t until June.
I’d had Woolacombe Dunes parkrun added to my parkrun Bucket List ever since.
So on Friday 24th January we drove to North Devon to run Woolacombe Dunes the next day. We found the parkrun really easily. Using the directions from their website we got parked up between the start line and the post parkrun cafe called “The Porthole”. It’s pretty obvious where you’re meant to gather as they had the sign displayed. There was also a course map.
I had a look at the course map but to be honest it just terrified me with words like “steep hill” and “Dune of Doom” I soon got chatting to one of their volunteers who was telling me about the course and how busy it got (Not very). When I told him how busy our local parkrun had been on New Years Day he couldn’t believe it. He told me runners tend to take 5-8 minutes longer than they usually do when attempting this course.
Taken before the run
As we were waiting there were three ladies stood chatting together all with a dog each. One of the dogs took a pee against one of the ladies legs. She was absolutely livid but none of them saw the dog do it so all denied it. I’d seen the dog but thought “ignorance is bliss” on this occasion! She was fuming though!
After listening to the new runners briefing we were soon on our way. It started out lovely. We were on the gravelly path you can see behind me on the above picture. You start on a slight downhill before taking a right on to a slightly steeper downhill path that starts off as gravel and ends as soft loose sand.
We then ran along an undulating path about halfway between the path we had started on which was now above us, and the beach which was still a steep ascent downwards. This path was all loose sand and it was really difficult to run on. As we were saying how tricky it was a man and his two children were right behind us. He asked where we usually run and when I said “On a promenade” he answered “Oh you’ll not find one of those here!”
We carried on the undulating path that then started to head downhill, and then started to head downhill very sharply. There was a long very steep downhill section that I tried to walk but actually because it was so steep my legs were going faster and faster! As we got to the bottom on to the beach I said to the marshal there “Do people actually run down that bit?” to which she answered “Oh that’s nothing, it gets a lot worse” Great motivational speech!
We then ran for about a mile or maybe just under along the beach. The tide, thankfully, was out so we weren’t wading. The sand was at least semi hard and compacted so was easier to run on. As we were running I commented to my husband about how fishy smelling it was. Then we noticed a huge fish on the beach all caught up in a thick roped fisherman’s net. When I say huge I mean probably a metre at least. A dog came running up to it and was having a good sniff despite it’s owners trying to call it back. I called to them that he’d found a fish and they asked “Is he trying to eat it?” But actually he just looked a bit bemused by it! They ran over to try and retrieve him as we headed on.
That’s when we arrived at the “Dune of Doom” or the “Travelator” as they also call it. It was a very steep up hill section filled with loose sand. As I tried to climb it, every step I took up slipped halfway back down. It was an absolute killer section of the course. My thighs and lungs were burning by the time I got to the top and I actually had to stop just to try and catch my breath. The views were beautiful though but we were actually only halfway back up towards where we had started. As we ran along more undulating paths that were loose sand you could see the start point if you craned your neck as it was still so high.
We then climbed another hill and the marshal at the top said “Nearly there now, just the worst hill to go” Seriously! Their marshals need to work on their motivational phrases! We were going so slow by this point, although I was still running, that I got overtaken by two people walking!! I cursed them so bad in my head! They were way ahead of me in no time and then we began the final climb, it started off a shallow climb and grew steeper and steeper. As I got about halfway I gave up running and just walked as I was spent by this point. The top of the climb was, no word of a lie, practically vertical! The marshal at the top congratulated me when I got to the top but then said “Just the last 400 metres to go, uphill, but it’s not as steep as this bit” I ran as much as I could and walked a little up that last section and, honestly, never have I been so glad to see the finish line of a parkrun! My thighs and calves were screaming! They’re used to the flat South Coast and clearly didn’t like the hilly North Devon coastline.
I was still pretty pleased with my finish position as it was low compared to where I usually finish. I finished in 48:59 in position 75!
Afterwards I snapped this picture but it doesn’t do justice to the steep uphill climbs we did, it just doesn’t look as steep.
We walked down to the café and at first thought it was just a takeaway as we couldn’t see any seats but on closer inspection realised all the seating was upstairs in the roof space. It was a small, compact café but did really tasty food. We shared a brie, cranberry and pumpkin seed sandwich which was amazing. I also had a brownie which was incredibly gooey and my husband had a ginger and treacle tart that came with a nice dollop of clotted cream! They were heavenly.
When seated upstairs there’s a porthole window to look out of with lovely views. The logo is painted on their wall.
Afterwards we headed back to our hotel to shower and then spent a lovely afternoon in Woolacombe and Ilfracombe having a wander round.
My days off have been switched about a couple of times recently. I usually have a Friday as my day off. Because I parkrun on a Saturday I don’t like to run the day before. However, due to having a Tuesday off, I found myself with the opportunity to run.
I set off whilst it was still dark at 7.45. I thought I’d head down to the prom and hoped it was light enough to see. The first signs of light were just starting to show and actually it got light quicker than I expected. I ran towards the Browndown training area and had a perfect view of the rising sun.
Unfortunately at parkrun the Saturday before I’d had some chafing on my arm. As I turned around to start heading towards Hill Head, I felt the same spot begin to chafe again. I decided to cut my run short and head towards home rather than to Hill Head like I had planned. It still rounded up to a 2 mile run so it wasn’t too bad.
When I got home, as I hadn’t run for as long as I wanted, I completed one of the Liift 4 workouts from Beachbody. It was a shoulder workout and blimey my shoulders are weak!
It felt great to have completed my run and workout before 10am and then I had the rest of the day to myself. I love having plenty of time to exercise and for it not to feel like a rush before or after work.
parkrun on 18th January was a busy one. As two local parkruns (Fareham and Eastleigh) were closed due to icy conditions, it seems some of them had come to join in the fun at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun.
I went and found the 40 minute pacer which turned out to be Jon. Jon is kind of Insta famous. Usually with the 40 minute pacer there is a small group but today it was just the two of us. We chatted about a lot about Instagram and how people use it for different things. We actually shared lots of the same views on Instagram which was nice. He’s met some of the owners of famous Instagram running accounts and it was interesting hearing about them.
We both work in education, although in entirely different settings, and it was interesting comparing notes on that and Ofsted. We also chatted about making the most of the time you have. Jon only needs 4-5 hours sleep a night and said he finds himself with more time than most. I however need 8-9 hours and find myself with less time than most due to work.
As we were approaching the last little bit Jon decided to hang back as we were ahead of schedule and he wanted to see if there was anyone that needed a bit of encouragement. I plodded on and finished with a comfortable time of 39:21 and in position 640. There were 707 runners this week! It’s great that parkrun is becoming increasingly popular but it makes for a packed out course!
I think I look incredibly tired in this picture
Do you know someone “instafamous”?
Are you finding your local parkrun increasingly busy?
This weeks parkrun was such a windy one! There is definitely a disadvantage to living on the coast, and being battered by the wind whilst running is it!
I ran with Laura and her Dad, Geoff, again. Her Dad was pacing 40 minutes. For the first mile we were all running together but after that Laura and I broke away slightly.
It was such a lovely chatty run. I like that I’ve found someone who runs at my pace again, it’s such a shame she has to start working Saturday mornings. I feel like as soon as I find a running friend they leave!
When we finished I was pretty pleased I to see I was quicker than at Whitely parkrun on NYD where the weather was much kinder! I finished with a time of 38:50 in position 514.
I actually didn’t take a picture this week so this is a text only post! Did the run even happen if you didn’t take a picture?!
I’d just about recovered from the New Years Day Double parkrun when it was time to run again on Saturday 4th January. I love how the Christmas period allows quite a few parkruns in quick succession with Christmas Day and New Years Day thrown in the mix.
When I arrived at parkrun I looked out for the 40 minute pacer and saw it was Geoff, who was running with his daughter Laura. We had a lovely run together. Laura and I have mutual friends in common who we’ve both worked or work with, as we used to work in similar fields. We had lots to chat about as a result.
It was a lovely chatty run with Geoff dipping in and out as he was pacing so had to maintain his pace whereas we kept breaking away a little. It was a really comfortable run. 40 minutes seems to be a good easy pace for me! I finished in 39:34 in position 557.
I made it back home from Whiteley parkrun with enough time to get a drink, nip to the loo and walk down to my local parkrun. When I got there I could already tell it was busy!
I went and found Phil who was pacing the run/walk group. I haven’t ran 10K since the The Breakfast Club Charity 10K so figured, after running the first parkrun, it was probably sensible to run/walk the 2nd. We were so far back from the start line because there were so many people there. With my local parkrun not starting until 10.30, it made a good choice for people to be able to get to after a 9am parkrun.
There was quite a group of people choosing to run/walk to I chatted to various people in the group which was lovely. Some had been to a different parkrun first and some people were parkrunning for the first time. It was really lovely being able to chat to new people.
As the crowd thinned out slightly the running portions of the run/walk were getting quicker. I was needing the walk breaks to catch my breath. I ended up splintering off and running the remainder at a much more comfortable pace with someone I’d just met. She was attending with another one of my parkrun friends who was just ahead of us. We had such a lovely natter about the different tourisms we’d done. It’s amazing how much you can find to talk about with a complete stranger when you have parkrun in common!
I finished that parkrun with a time of 43:20 in position 942!! There was a new attendance record set on New Years Day of 987! It was so busy, but enjoyably so. Everyone just seemed in such good spirits with it being New Years Day.
Confession: I was really sore that afternoon from my double run! Thankfully going back to work on the 2nd January sorted me out. I have an active job and it really helps aid recovery.
I was so relieved not to have gotten ill this year and finally been able to tick off the New Years Day Double!
I’ve never made it to a New Years Day parkrun. The last two years I’ve fallen ill with a virus a couple of days before and both times slept through the final days of December and thought I’d missed New Year! Thankfully though, not this year…or last year!
I was planning on doing the double parkrun with my first parkrun being Fareham parkrun at 9am and then coming back over to my local parkrun at 10.30am. I posted on Facebook on NYE asking my friends where they were doing parkrun and someone asked if I’d thought about doing Whiteley parkrun. They got me interested with the promise of no mud (unlike the muddy Fareham parkrun) so my plan was changed. I was going to Whiteley at 9am instead.
Whiteley parkrun is at the side of a large outdoor shopping area. I’ve been to the shopping area before and knew there was a parkrun there, but had no idea where the parkrun was actually held. We got parked up and it was easy to figure out where it started, just follow the line of lycra clad runners! I stopped on the way to take a picture with one of their Christmas decorations!
At the start line I found Penny and Lorna and had a little chat with them before listening to the first time runners briefing. I’ve avoided Whiteley parkrun as it’s laps and I thought 3 laps of a field would be soul destroying. It turns out I’d had the route completely wrong in my mind and the field was only part of the course.
It was actually an enjoyable route. You start running around the edge of the field, you actually run right past people’s front doors which I found surprising. One of them had a dog barking wildly inside and I thought they must get very annoyed every Saturday with the parkrunners sending the dog bonkers! There’s then a slight downhill which leads in to a more “woody” area, but it still has tarmac paths, before you turn around and wind back towards the start before starting the next lap. On the third lap you just peel off to the finish funnel instead of running back past the start.
The course has one particular part which is very narrow with the runners going in both directions right alongside each other. I kept hearing a lady shouting at runners, things like “Oi, watch where you’re going” over and over. She was behind me so I thought she must be an angry pedestrian caught up in the parkrun but as I turned around and ran back towards her I realised she was a parkrunner. She was only a little way behind me and she shouted and swore the whole way round!
I saw quite a few people I knew from my local parkrun there so it was nice to look out for friendly faces and because it was laps I managed to see them a couple of times. I ran with Phil for a good while. He was pacing the run/walk group at my local parkrun afterwards and I said I’d probably join him as I’ve not run 10K since May.
Another thing I did note about the course, you’re told to keep right. As I was keeping right and passing the finish funnel the faster runners were peeling off to finish their run and they run straight in to your path, or perhaps I plod through theirs. Either way, it was a close call for me as a runner ran in front of me and missed me by inches.
I ran much better than I did on the 28th December but I did take a couple of very brief walk breaks. I thoroughly enjoyed the course though and will definitely head back to Whiteley parkrun at some point. They had a record attendance with 460 people attending.
I finished with a time of 38:57 in position 431. I went straight back to the car which my husband had very kindly gone back to and warmed up so I wouldn’t get too cold on the drive towards home.
This was probably the most awful parkrun I’ve run in such a long time. You know when running just feels awful? And you think “It’s finally happened, I’ve forgotten how to run”
My local parkrun is becoming so so crowded now. When we set off I got stuck behind two buggy runners running side by side. I couldn’t get round them and ended up running too slow and then I lost all rhythm.
Eventually I got round them and then was trying to find my stride again. I bumped in to two friends and thought I’d run with them for a bit, but they were running quite slow and I completely lost all momentum I had. I said bye to them and took a walk break.
I then ran/walked on and off and it just felt so hard. It was like all the Christmas food I’d eaten was sat in my feet making them hard to lift and move forward. When I did run I got a stitch and I couldn’t catch my breath so I just ran when I could and walked when I needed to.
It was the worst parkrun! I felt shocking afterwards. I finished in 39:55 which isn’t too bad considering the struggle! It was so bad I didn’t even take a picture!