A bit of parkrun practice

Fresh off the back of a parkrun PB I really wanted to practice, to improve myself and see where I can go with this running lark. Sunday however was a really hot day and I put off going out, I put it off so much I got to the point where I wasn’t sure if I should go or not. I put a status on Facebook saying so and everyone told me to go! So I did. I’d waited until just after 6 but it was still so hot!

I’d already decided to do the parkrun course but whilst walking the first section towards Browndown I started to put a little plan together. I’d see how I felt as I passed the finish funnel area as I know I always tend to get leg pain on the first out and back. And if I felt ok I’d continue walking until the second turn around, evaluate again and if all was good, run walk the last bit.

As I looked at my watch it wasn’t showing the usual display of pace. Instead of mph it was showing min/miles and I don’t really know what I do them in! I couldn’t figure out how to change it either so just pressed on!

I did get the leg pain as I went to the first turn around point. A pavement with a slight tilt one way always makes my leg worse. In this case the prom tilts ever so slightly towards the sea. I carried on hoping it would pass and as I got to the finish funnel area it was definitely starting to subside. Now my only complaint was how hot I was! I put my head down and marched on. As I got to the final turn around point I was feeling ok so started to run. Just from one bench to the next so I have no idea how long for but everything felt ok so I continued running a little and walking in between.

When I reached mini mountain I looked at my watch. One of my friends had urged me to beat 55 minutes and I was so close! I powered up mini mountain and back down the other side and then ran as much as I could between there and where the finish funnel would usually be.

The result? A 5km run walk completed in 53:27!

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Stokes Bay junior parkrun test event

junior parkrun logo

On Saturday afternoon we had the test event for the Stokes Bay junior parkrun we have been setting up. You have to have a test event before you’re allowed to start to make sure all your equipment works, the route is suitable and everything falls in to place.

We got there at 4pm ready for a 5pm start. There was one big difference from parkrun in the morning, to the test event in the afternoon. The weather! The wind had gotten up and was really strong making it a very chilly set up. I was on timekeeping for the test event and I will do the same for the inaugural. parkrun ask you to do that so that everyone is practised in their role. I talked through how the timekeeping watch works to Louise, the other timekeeper and also a fellow RD at our new parkrun. She has done some volunteering roles before but never timekeeping.

junior parkrun volunteers

Soon we had some little runners arriving. They say to invite a small group of runners as it is, after all, just to test the course. We had 27 arrive. They had so much energy and the cold and windy weather didn’t seem to bother them at all. They were all running around, chasing and rolling down the grassy banks before we started and still managed some pretty impressive times!

As 4.55pm arrived Paul, our ED, and first time RD, did his run brief. Then it was on to the warm up. This is one difference between the 5k Saturday parkrun and the Sunday junior parkrun. The juniors have to have a warm up provided. They all joined in which was very cute and then moved to the start line.

The start line of our parkrun is a little way from the finish line, as I knew some of these runners were going to be fast I was worried about getting back to the finish funnel to begin clicking them in but thankfully we made it in time. The children did great and ran with big smiles, a lot of speed and some were chatting and laughing with friends, only getting serious when the finish funnel was in sight! It’s so refreshing how they care very little about time and pace. They just want to run and see their friends.

The first runner (male) passed the line in 8:06. The junior parkrun is 2km rather than 5km.  The first female crossed the line in 9.22. What I noticed that surprised me was how many children, once finished, went back to run the rest with their friends. I know a lot of adults do this but it was so nice to see the children being to supportive and encouraging their friends/siblings.

The event went swimmingly. Nothing at all went wrong and it was a complete success. The children really enjoyed it and this shows from some of the feedback we’ve had since. I also chatted to a lady afterwards who had stopped to watch all the children run and asked if her granddaughter could join in next time.

Afterwards we headed off to have some training provided by our ambassador.  This was quite quick and we all already volunteer often and a couple of us are already RD’s at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. We were taken through uploading results, what errors may occur, safeguarding, the parkrun does and don’ts and what to do in case of an emergency or tragedy. It was quite interesting and the hour or so it took soon flew by.

training

I think we’re all good to go now for the 4th June and I for one, can not wait!

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parkrun number 2

 

parkrun logo

This Saturday was a busy and very parkrun filled day! I volunteered to help at Lee on the Solent parkrun this week and put my name down as volunteer coordinator. This role involves telling the marshals or funnel team what and where their roles are. This week I was telling the funnel team and had offered to train up a couple of others, so when they were volunteer coordinator, they’d know what to tell the volunteers. When I’d finished I saw the lovely Louise from Fareham Crusaders and we took a parkrun selfie. Louise always takes one before parkrun so I was happy to oblige with this ritual.

parkrun selfie

After taking a selfie I went and positioned myself at the back of the pack ready to try out my second parkrun. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t hopeful for it being as successful as last week. When I’d got up on Sunday last week I had a horrendous cold that pretty much made me feel rubbish all week and left me with a horrid cough which I still have now. I did however have my shiny new trainers on my feet that I’d bought from Nick at Absolute Running. He’d promised me I’d PB in them but I was unsure from being ill.

Hoka Mafate Speed 2

After volunteering I went and found my place at the back of the pack. We had a new PA system donated to us this week and as a result I heard every word of the run brief despite being at the back!

As we started the route I began to get the pain down the outside of my calf. The camber of the pavement always makes this worse and the first part of the course does have a slight tilt so this may be why. As we progressed to the turn around point and started heading back the pain began to subside. We picked up Adam as we were passing the sailing club for the second time from his marshalling spot. He told me he planned to help me PB this week. I’m so grateful for how supportive people are of me and trying to run! As we passed the finish funnel the pain was gone and I was beginning to feel stronger. There were two older ladies quite a way in front of me and I now had these in my sight! I wanted to over take them. As we headed to our second turn around point Paula came to join me. She had already completed her parkrun in a very speedy 23.11! Having Adam and Paula walk with me made the time fly by. They’re both quite funny and so my attention was focussed on the conversation rather than what I was doing. I glanced at my watch and was managing to maintain 3.3mph. Last week I walked at 3.2mph. When I mentioned this both Adam and Paula were encouraging me even more to keep the pace and over take the two ladies…which I did!

As we made it back to the finishing straight both Adam and Paula were speeding up and shouting encouragement at me so I literally had to run. I couldn’t keep up with them so did a sprint finish (if you can call it that!)

parkrun finish token

As it wasn’t such a big turn out this week I finished higher position wise, and I also got a PB! Last week I finished in 58:24 and this week I finished in…..drum roll….55:03!! Amazing what new shoes and a bit of encouragement from friends can do!

I’m going to do a separate post about the rest of my parkrun filled day so expect that soon!

Want to read about my first parkrun? It’s right here: My First parkrun

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My First parkrun

parkrun logo

On 13th May I completed my first parkrun. I’ve volunteered at my local parkrun at Lee-on-the-Solent for 22 months but never completed one thinking I’m not fit enough and I’d never be able to complete it in under an hour.

In January I set myself some goals for 2017. One of them was to take charge of my health and another was to complete a parkrun. So since then I’ve been working on my walking, upping the distances and in time improving my speed.

On 13th May it was the Gosport Road Runners take over at parkrun meaning I couldn’t volunteer as I am not a member. So instead I was going to walk it. I put a call out on Facebook as in the past people have said to me if I ever want to walk it, they’d be happy to walk it with me. On Saturday morning I had my friends Rachel (who was also tail runner), Andy, Kieran and Louise walking with me.

The walk started good. The Lee-on-the-Solent course is a loose figure of eight and as we made our way to the first turn around point I was absolutely astounded by the amount of people there. As we were at the back of the pack we had to walk in single file as the main crowd of runners were on their return leg.

As we went around the turn around point I started to get twinges down the outside of my legs. This is always where my leg pain starts. Instead of focussing on the pain I decided to instead focus on the conversations around me which at this point was about dreams about Tough Mudder events!

As we continued making our way towards the other end of the course we passed the finish funnel and this is my only moment of complaint. The promenade was packed with runners and I had to slow right down to try and work my way through people meandering back to their cars. It was frustrating but I know how difficult it is to keep the prom free from runners. As we passed the finish funnel I actually over took a group of three ladies and couldn’t believe it. I was no longer at the back. This did however mean I got separated from my group for a while as Rachel had to stay with the three ladies at the back as tail runner (the ladies later dropped out) I instead began chatting with Louise, we chatted about all sorts of things but she also told me how when we reached the slipway we’d already walked two miles and the bulk of the work was done! As we were chatting I hardly noticed the time going by. I felt good at this point (though warm) and wished I’d left my jacket behind at the funnel. It meant I had to carry it for a lot of the walk. As we rounded the next turn around point and made our way back towards the finish funnel Louise and I continued to chat about parkrun, running and injuries.

As we got closer to the end Anna came back to find us. She had already rather speedily finished her run and walked the remainder of the walk with me. It was so lovely chatting away to her and she informed me of the amazing cakes waiting for us when we finished. That girl knows how to motivate!

As we made it to the ramp (or as the parkrunners like to call it, the mini mountain!) the finish funnel was in sight, along with a sea of hi-vis vests of the marshalls and funnel team. It was quite the sight and there were lots of people there ready to give me congratulations and well dones for completing the course.

I came 583rd out of 587 runners (so not last!!) I walked the majority of the course chatting away and feeling good and most importantly, pain free. There was one slight problem though…I forgot to take any pictures!!! D’oh, what sort of blogger am I?! Rest assured, next time, I’ll take lots!

Want to read my 2017 goals? You’ll find a post about them here and a quarterly review of them here

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April Roundup

I know I’m getting to this April roundup a little late. In fact, we’re almost half way through May already but hey, better late than never right?!

In April I went to the cinema for the first time in over two years. Of course it was to see Beauty and the Beast! I was dubious about the remake, wondering if it would be as good as the original animated cartoon version from 1991 that I remember watching over and over on VHS as a child. In truth, the remake was wonderful and every bit as magical as the original if not more due to the progression in film making. I was enthralled from start to finish.

I also left my job in April and one of my leaving gifts from my colleague was this wonderful chip cup!

Chip from Beauty and the Beast

I got lots of lovely gifts from my colleagues and the children and I got lots of flowers! I had 7 vases brimming with beautiful blooms! Below is just one of them. I love tulips, they’re so pretty and vibrant.

Tulips

Of course in April I’ve also taken some beach pictures when I’ve been out walking. I’m still determined to keep gaining fitness by walking more often.

Lee-on-the-Solent Beach

Lee-on-the-Solent beach

I love how the sun is reflecting off the wet sand in the second picture. Sun set at the beach is the best. As I’ve been doing lots of walking I’ve also discovered some new places in and around where I live. Below are photos of Fort Gilkicker that was built in 1863 and is soon to become “luxury homes” and the Haslar sea wall where you can see across to Portsmouth Harbour.

Fort Gilkicker

Haslar Sea Wall

As I’ve been doing lots of walking I wanted a new way of recording my walks as for some reason, despite having a full battery my phone will die when using apps like Strava and say it has no battery, thus losing my data. Then, annoyingly, when I get home and plug it in my phone shows a full charge again! I hunted high and low for my old Garmin Forerunner 410 but despite being sure I brought it from Sheffield with us, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I researched a few different tracking watches and settled on the Garmin Forerunner 35. It’s simple to use, tracks heart rate and has GPS. I’m pretty pleased with it and am loving tracking all the stats again.

Garmin Forerunner 35

I’ve also continued to volunteer at my local parkrun. I decided to go back to marshalling as I usually do a funnel role. I loved being back out on the course cheering everyone on. I was put back in my old marshalling spot of the playground which just so happens to have a café right at the side of it so it was coffee and marshalling for me!

parkrun marshall

Speaking of parkrun we’ve also had confirmation of the junior parkrun we’ve been setting up. Stokes Bay junior parkrun will start on 4th June! We’re all so excited about this. The trial is on Saturday afternoon for us to try out all the equipment and make sure everything works before we do it for real. Afterwards we have to have a training session on being an RD at a Junior parkrun. I’m guessing this will cover some safeguarding aspects with it being juniors.

I think that’s it for my April update! I have some exciting news too but that’s for another post!

Not had enough? Why not look at my other post from April…

My One Year Plan

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Coffee Update

Let's have coffee!

I haven’t been updating too regularly recently and that’s because I haven’t really had much to update about.  I guess that’s just the way life goes sometimes, you have quiet months and you have busy months. However there’s a couple of things I want to chat about so I thought I’d do it in a chat over coffee style post.

New Job

I have a new job. When we moved to the South Coast two years ago I took a job working in a pre school unit within a private day nursery. With my time there and at my nursery back in Sheffield I’ve worked with pre school aged children for 12 years so when the opportunity arose to work in a baby unit in a different nursery I thought I’d give it a go. I’ll be learning again and this is something I’m excited about. I’m one week in and so far really enjoying it. I never thought I was cut out to work with babies but I’m discovering just how wonderful they are.

London Marathon

Did you all watch the London Marathon? That’s if you weren’t participating of course. A huge Well Done to anyone who ran it. The coverage was inspirational as always. I just wanted to highlight two people. Obviously The Welsh Runner has to have a mention. Matt Rees of Swansea Harriers was the runner who stopped to help David Wyeth of Chorlton Runners. David was having difficulty completing the marathon and Matt helped him to the finish line. What a hero. The footage was jaw dropping. Part of me was shouting at the TV for the paramedics to help, then part of me was in complete awe as Matt scooped him up and took him to the finish line. The man is a legend.

Image courtesy of Sky News

But also I just want to link you to this story about the Gorilla man who completed the marathon on all fours dressed as a Gorilla. He must have been in pain completing it on all fours.

British Sign Language

This is a bit of a random one. One of my friends has a son who uses British Sign Language to communicate. She recently retweeted a tweet of theirs  and it peaked an interest in me. When I was younger I knew the alphabet in sign language. Unfortunately I don’t anymore but I’ve begun following the British Sign Language Twitter account and I’m enjoying trying to learn and more importantly remember the signs. So far I have a few nailed. The images they post are really useful as they explain what to do as well. For example:

British Sign Language Animal

So that’s pretty much it for my coffee update. I’ve found blogging difficult lately as there isn’t always something to blog about! Let’s hope lots more inspiration comes my way through May!

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My One Year Plan

At our parkrun we have takeovers. This is where a particular running club fills all the volunteer roles. It’s good publicity for the running clubs, it encourages people to volunteer when they might not normally. It’s a win win situation.

The next takeover is Gosport Road Runners who are taking over on May 13th. I have a lot of friends who are members of Gosport Road Runners, or GRR, as they’re often called. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends in other clubs too but there’s just something about the people of Gosport Road Runners. They’re a great and friendly bunch.

As they’re holding the take over on May 13th I won’t be volunteering as the GRR’s will take over the roster. Instead I have decided to walk the course. Finally a date is set for my first parkrun. I’m not sure how I’ll do, however I do know the tail runner that week is Rachel. Someone who I know will encourage me and provide me with all the support I need to get the job done.

As I thought about this one thing became clear. I want in! I want to be part of Gosport Road Runners, or as I like to call them Team Yellow! And I want to be a member within a year so I can volunteer at their next take over!

On Saturday just gone I spoke to Auz, another member of Team Yellow, and he informed me of their beginners group in January. Do you see where I’m going here? So I walk on May 13th with the hope of building up to running a little, to then be able to join their beginners group in January to then being a fully fledged member by April/May 2018.

Can I do this?! I guess I have to now, it’s on my blog!

Are you part of a running club?

Have you ever thought of joining a running club?

2017 Goals – An update

2017 Goals

At the beginning of 2017 I set myself 4 goals to achieve. Since we’re in March already, and we’re a quarter of the way through the year I thought it was time to do an update.

Health

The first goal was to take charge of my health. I’d started this towards the end of 2016 so it was natural to keep it going in 2017. I’m preparing fresh and healthy lunches as well as watching what I eat in the evenings. I’ve also started trying to exercise twice a week, although I’m not always making twice but  I have lost over a stone which I’m pleased about.

parkrun

As part of trying to be healthier I’m doing more walking and have started Couch to 5K. I want to be able to complete a parkrun. I’m not bothered about running all of it just yet but would like to complete it in under an hour. Even if it’s 59:59! I’m using the medals I’m earning through Virtual Runner UK to keep me in check and motivate me to keep trying.

Read more books

I started off really well with this goal. I read three books quite quickly but then haven’t read anything for a while. I need to get back in to this. I have however been listening to audio books. My husband doesn’t enjoy reading but wants to read the Harry Potter books so we’ve downloaded them and have been listening to them. We’re currently on the second book.

be me

I’m actually surprised how easy I’ve found this one. I was dreading learning how to say no to people but actually I’ve been true to myself and have turned down social opportunities I’m just not interested in.

So that’s my 2017 goals update. I hope everyone else is managing to stay on track with their personal goals.

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Earning my To The Moon and Back Medal

In February I took part in the To the Moon and Back medal challenge from Virtual Runner UK. They wanted to see if the participants could complete enough mileage, you guessed it, to reach to the moon and back!

I really must learn to take more pictures when I’m out and about as it makes blog posts far more exciting! I completed 16.14 miles made up of running, walking and cycling. I ran a mile, walked 7.07 miles and cycled 8.07 miles! I have no idea how I managed a 50/50 split, it certainly wasn’t intentional! All the cycling was completed on my exercise bike and the walking was a mix of treadmill and out and about.

These pictures were taken at Lymington Harbour where I walked just under a mile.

Lymington Harbour

Lymington Harbour

The only other pictures I took didn’t turn out too good at all. However, here is a picture of the medal. I really like it, the way the heart hangs is a neat idea and the lanyard is a night sky.

To the Moon and Back Medal

I love these medals and they’re really helping me to stick to my 2017 goal of taking charge of my health. I don’t have another medal until June now, so it’ll be interesting to see just how well I manage to keep going without the incentive of receiving a medal at the end!

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Volunteering 80 times at Lee on the Solent parkrun

parkrun logo

4th March saw my 80th time volunteering at Lee on the Solent parkrun. 80 times is pretty impressive, especially when I realised there’s only been 90 parkruns at Lee on the Solent.

I wanted to be the Run Director on my 80th time and so I signed up. Now all I needed was a team! I put a call out on Facebook saying it would be my 80th time volunteering and I was to be the Run Director so wanted the best team and luckily my wonderful parkrun friends responded and I had a good team backing me.

During my 80 times volunteering at parkrun I’ve made so many friends and since I only moved here two years ago I’m so thankful for their friendship. Moving here could have been a very lonely time and actually it really hasn’t.

parkrun volunteers

I’ve met so many people through parkrun, some are simply familiar faces I see through being there every week, some are people I say Hi to as I pass them on the High Street but some of them are people I spend time with outside of parkrun too now.

parkrun volunteers

No finer photo location than a skate park covered in graffiti

I’m so grateful for all the people I’ve met at parkrun and I want to thank everyone who made Saturday so special for me.

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