My Running Christmas Wish List

I actually haven’t got as many items on my wish list this year. The reason being that I’m losing weight so I don’t want to get too many things that in a few months won’t fit anymore. If you want to read my wish list post from last year then it can be found here –> My Christmas Wish List 2017

Without further ado here is my 2018 Running Christmas Wish List.

runr hoodie

The runr Midnight Hoodie in Island Blue. Modelled by my lovely friend Kerry! runr hoodies are such good quality but it’s time for me to size down!

runr tshirt

runr Midnight t-shirt in Berry –  I’ve never been able to fit in to one of runr’s tshirts before so now is the time. I figured this was a nice little reward for losing weight.

Contra running tights

Contra Movement Women’s Running Tights – The profits from the items you buy on Contra go back to parkrun which is why I like using them for running gear. I’m struggling for running tights that aren’t too big at the minute so these will be gratefully received.

Nike tights

Nike Running Dri-Fit Power Essential Running Tights – Again, I’m struggling for running tights that aren’t too big so it’s time for me to size down. I’ve always worn Nike to run in so I’m just topping up the collection.

What’s on your Christmas running wish list?

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Hitting A Goal

Since my injury in June, that lasted 5 long months, I gave up on the goals I set for 2018. However, to my surprise I actually hit one on Saturday 24th November. If you didn’t read the original post where I set my goals, you can revisit it here –> My Running Goals for 2018

So….the goal I hit? This one:

40 minute 5K

On that Saturday I managed to go sub 40 minutes at parkrun! As you know, if you’re a regular reader, I’m still returning from injury. I’m run/walking parkrun each week. This particular week I hadn’t asked anyone to run with me at parkrun. I wanted to see how I got on running on my own and listening to my body.

It was a complete mix of feelings. The first mile I struggled. I felt like I couldn’t get my breathing right, my body was asking me “What the hell are we doing?” and it was just a struggle. The 2nd mile however I felt like I was flying. I had a moment when I finally reached the finish funnel before the first runners finished. This never happens! Then I hit mile 3 and I was struggling and fatigued. I was running near two older gents who were chatting and I heard one of them say “Well I’d like to finish somewhere in the 30’s” and I thought to myself “You’re going to be sorely disappointed” because I’m never anywhere near the 30s. I always finish in the 40s.

Anyway I ran through the finish funnel, went to stop my watch and couldn’t believe what I saw! I’d finished in 39:45! After being so injured where I thought I’d never run again, I can not believe I’m nearing the end of the year with a sub 40 minute 5k!

Have you hit any milestones with your running in 2018?

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Winter Running – How To Stay Safe

Every Tuesday morning I see one of my parkrun friends out running on my drive to work. I pass her at the same point every Tuesday morning and it got me thinking…is this safe? The more I thought about it on my drive to work, the more this blog post came to fruition. Anything to make the commute pass by quicker!

Don’t Run The Same Route

Unfortunately these days you never know who is watching and if you run the same route, like my friend does every Tuesday, people will know. By not running the same route you make yourself less prone to attack. That might sound over dramatic but we read about muggings in the press all too often. Whilst we’re talking about routes, stick to well lit routes that you’re familiar with so you don’t get lost. And also…

Tell Someone Where You Plan On Running

If something does happen, heaven forbid, then your loved ones are at least going to have some clue of where you are. When you leave tell someone how long you expect to be. If you live alone then it’s always a good idea to carry some form of ID. The parkrun wrist bands are ideal as they have your ICE contact on them and you can list any medical conditions you may have. You might also want to…

Carry Your Phone With You

Now I’m kind of in two minds about this. If you have a phone with you and something happens then you can at least contact someone. Your loved ones can use the “Find Friends” app to track you too. However I don’t like to take my phone because if I’m going to get mugged, I don’t want them to take my phone. That’s why I’m in two minds! However I can make calls from my Apple Watch so I don’t necessarily need my phone but lets face it, if I’m going to get mugged, they’ll probably nab the watch anyway!

Be Bright

If you’re running in the dark mornings or evenings make sure you can be seen. There are so many pieces of quality Hi-Viz running clothing out there, there’s no excuse! You can also buy various running lights cheap as chips on Amazon. Wear your brightest clothing and you’re all set.

Hit The Gym

Not wanting to run in the dark? Go to the gym and use a treadmill. I know they’re not the most inspiring pieces of kit but you can use the programme settings on treadmills to get a really good workout. I help time pass on the treadmill by watching YouTube videos. There are actually elite athletes who use treadmills regularly to aid their running.

Do you like running in the dark?

Do you have any tips on staying safe?

A Beasting and Gosport Half Marathon

I’ve slipped a little with my blog posts again! Following on from my parkrun PB on 17th November, the following day I went for a run with Claire. We were meant to go to Breakfast Club but as it was the morning of the Gosport Half Marathon (which meant road closures between home and Breakfast Club) we decided to keep it local.

We met up at the end of my road and agreed we’d keep it to 30 minutes out and back just like a Breakfast Club. We set off towards Hill Head and ran along the prom. We ran all the way until the point where the prom runs out and then turned around. On the way back as we passed the toilet block we did some hill reps on the slopes that go from the toilets to the upper level pavement.

We then headed to Browndown where Claire then had me run up and down the stairs. As we began running again afterwards my hamstring on my left leg started to hurt. I think I probably strided out too far on the hill reps maybe.

We headed for home after this which made the run up to just over 4 miles. I was slower than the previous day but that was to be expected after getting a PB. Once I got in I had a quick shower and headed out to spectate at the Gosport Half Marathon.

The good thing about spectating at the Gosport Half Marathon is that you can see your runners multiple times due to the layout of the course and the fact it’s two laps. It’s a strange one though if you’re a runner. It’s along the seafront in November so windy and cold. It’s two laps, some people find laps soul destroying. And finally, if I were running it, I’d practically run past my house twice whilst, I imagine, in a world of pain! I’d probably just want to go home!

Anyway I stood with two friends from Gosport Road Runners and had a natter with them whilst cheering people on. I only took one picture as I didn’t want to miss any of my runners.

Gosport Half Marathon

I was a bit gutted to miss Anna on her final fly by as I was still watching runners come the other way! Still I think I managed to see most people 4 times which is good and not something that can be done at all marathons.

Do you like to spectate at races?

If you want to read my other post about Gosport Half Marathon, it can be found here –> Gosport Half Marathon 2016

 

 

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Joining A Gym in 2019?

I know Christmas isn’t out of the way yet but already I’ve heard lots of people talking about joining a gym and losing weight in 2019. So it made me think, what do people look for in a gym? I have a gym membership through work but if I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t go to that particular gym for a few reasons. So, my bloggers mind got whirring and I thought I’d pop together some ideas on what to look for in a gym.

The Vicinity:

The gym I’m a member of is right next door to work, which is very convenient during the time I’m at work. However, I refuse to drive to it when I’m not at work as it’s half an hour away which means I have to add an hour on to the time I’ll actually be there working out. I can just do it quicker at home! Make sure the gym you choose is close to where you want it to be. You might prefer it to be closer to home (less chance of bumping in to colleagues whilst you’re a sweaty mess!) or you might prefer it to be near work where you can go straight there before or after work. Or you might choose somewhere in the middle so at the weekend it’s still not too far away.

The Facilities:

You might choose a “no frills gym” where they have all the equipment but little else. You might want a gym with a pool so you can swim as well as workout. Do you want hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas? You might want a gym that has straighteners and good quality hair dryers in the changing rooms so if you need to go to work or go out afterwards, it saves you lugging those things there. Some gyms have cafes, salons and in house physios etc. Be sure to have a tour of the gym you’re thinking of where you can look at everything available and ask any questions.

The Classes:

If you’re someone who enjoys group workouts be sure to see what the schedule of classes is like. Do they do the classes you want? Are they at times you’ll be able to make or are all the good ones whilst you’re going to be at work? A lot of gyms publish their class schedules online so this might be something you can look at before signing up.

The Cost:

Obviously you need to be able to afford the gym membership. There are so many cheaper gyms popping up now where the membership offers are really good. Have a look what they offer in terms of off peak/on peak times. Some gyms are cheaper if you use them during their off peak hours and if you can benefit from this then do! Some of the fancier gyms can be really expensive so you need to ask yourself how much do you want to spend. A gym I looked at looks really good in terms of what it has to offer but at £75 a month it’s very expensive. If you’re a regular traveller for work then it might be worth looking in to joining a gym which has many studios all around the country. Quite often they’ll offer a membership where you aren’t limited to just one gym.

What do you look for in a gym?

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A parkrun PB and The Tree Is Up!

So as you can guess by the title, today I got a PB at parkrun! I started off running alone and was scarily close to the 40 minute pacer. My PB was 43:27 so to be so close to the 40 minute pacer had me worrying I was going way too fast, although I felt comfortable. I was soon caught up by Cliff, a fellow parkrunner who asked if it’d be ok to run with me as he has Gosport Half Marathon tomorrow. Obviously I said yes. We were soon joined by my friend Maria too as she’d been worried I was running alone and felt bad. How sweet is that?!

This week I was running for 3.5 minutes and walking for 1.5 minutes. During miles 1 and 2 I felt strong but my mile 3 I was finding it harder. Maria reminded me to concentrate on my breathing which did actually help. I think I was chatting too much in the run portions. The whole time the 40 minute pacer was in sight but I didn’t look at my watch the whole time. When I went to stop it in the funnel I could hardly believe it when I saw 40:something on the screen.

Maria and I

I was elated but I definitely felt like I’d pushed harder in mile 3 to just keep going. Mile 1 was actually my slowest mile despite feeling good at that point. Anyway after snapping some pictures my husband and I went back to the café for breakfast and saw fellow parkrunners Richard and Gemma there so we sat with them and had a natter. I sold the idea of the Gavin & Stacey parkrun challenge to Gemma, which I don’t think Richard was too impressed about! Oops!

post parkrun selfie

Afterwards we went home to put up the Christmas tree. I’m not even sorry that it’s up. We’ve bought a new tree this year. We usually have a real tree but decided to get a good quality artificial one from John Lewis. I’m pretty pleased with how it looks.

Christmas Tree

After we’d finished we nipped in to Gosport town centre as I’d seen some Reindeer coasters in a little gift shop. They’re really cute.

Tomorrow I was meant to be going to Breakfast Club but because of the road closures for the Gosport Half Marathon, getting back could be tricky so Claire and I are going to run in Lee instead, then I’ll shower and go back out to cheer everyone on in the Half.

Do you like to spectate at local races?

Have you set a PB recently? 

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WW and Friendship

Happy Friday! The weekend is almost upon us. Thursday evenings are my weigh in day at WW. I’ve tried to be really strict this week and stuck to my points and stopped picking at nibbly bits at work. Last night I lost 4lbs, taking my total loss to 2 stone and half a pound. So I got my 2 stone certificate!

2 stone certificate

After I’d weighed in, one of the ladies who helps out at the meetings called me over and presented me with 2 workout DVDs. I’ve spoken in the class before about using workout DVDs as a good way of exercising at home and where no one can see you if you’re not confident enough to go out or go to a gym. I use DVDs and YouTubes as a good way to top up my exercise without having to drive 30 minutes to the gym. I thought it was really sweet that she’d think of me when she saw them at work. I felt like I’d gained a friend at that moment.

It’s kind of bittersweet though as I feel like through WW I’ve lost a friend too. I had a friend who I saw weekly and chatted to through messenger pretty much daily. She was pleased for me joining at first and liked a couple of posts on Facebook about my weight loss. Now I hear absolutely nothing from her and when I posted a picture of my certificate last night I got nothing from her, no congratulations or even a thumbs up. I know social media isn’t a good thing to base friendships on but before she liked pretty much everything I posted and commented. I’ve messaged her but I just get really short answers in return so I guess the friendship is lost which is a real shame.

Anyway it’s the weekend tomorrow which means it’s parkrunday tomorrow!

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Achievement Awards

When I finished parkrun on Saturday I got talking to the Race Director of Eastleigh 10K. Eastleigh is a pretty big event on the local race calendar and lots of people take part. It boasts that it is a flat fast course so people are bound to want a crack of the whip.

Whilst chatting he told me instead of just awarding prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd male female or age category etc, next year they’re introducing an Achievement Award. This means that all runners are in with a chance of winning an award if they’ve run the previous year. The way it will work is, if you ran the 2018 race and then run the 2019 race, if you make an improvement on your 2018 time you’ll be in with a chance of winning. To make it fair it’ll be based on the percentage of your improvement time.

For runners like me this is an amazing opportunity. I’m never going to be a fast runner coming 1st, 2nd or 3rd, nor am I ever likely to win my age category. Something I can boast though is that I’ve knocked somewhere around 15 minutes off my 5K time. That’s a 25% improvement. When I told him a bit about my journey he said it’s people like me he’s hoping to reward, those people that chip away at running to improve their physical or mental health. I guess it’s about rewarding everyone and not just those who run super quick. However, I guess those middle of the pack runners who are never going to win but are only likely to improve their time by say 2 minutes are still likely to miss out on an award.

I like the idea but what do you think? Is it fair to reward only certain people or should the whole awarding people prizes be scrapped?

 

Poppy Run with Breakfast Club

This morning I headed out for a run with the Breakfast Club again. The plan was to run 20 minutes or so out and back to the Mulberry memorial on Stokes Bay where the British Legion would join us and poppies could be laid. Some people had also opted to take part in a 5K poppy run where they received a t-shirt and medal. I’d completely missed the memo on this though so just ran with them.

I picked up Claire, my friend from parkrun, and we headed off together, then we went back, picked up her Garmin and then headed back off haha. As always we started at the Bayside Cabin car park and this weeks route was up Stokes Bay prom, through the golf course and back. Claire has really helped me through my rehabilitation. When I run with her I don’t look at my watch, we just go and she tells me if we’re doing ok.

Before the Run

The wind was absolutely horrendous as we ran along the beach. It was blowing straight in off the sea leaving one side of me freezing, whilst the other side was sweltering. It felt very strange. Thankfully though the pouring rain from the last day stayed away whilst we were out. We ran for 25 minutes and then turned around.

When we made it back to the Mulberry Harbour memorial we soon saw fellow Gosport Road Runner Andy coming up the prom. He’s a member of the British Legion. Andy recited part of the poem “For the Fallen”

British Legion Flag

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them
Andy speaking
After a minutes silence, the poppies and wooden crosses were then placed in front of the memorial. It was really lovely.
Mulberry Harbour Memorial
We then headed off again back to the Bayside Cabin for breakfast. I had my usual from there, the “Veggie 2” which is mixed mushrooms on toast. When we sat down Claire asked me if I’d looked at our splits yet. I hadn’t, as I hadn’t uploaded it to Strava. She then told me “Your mile 1 was really fast” Claire knows now what my good paces and slower paces are so I was intrigued to look.
Splits from Strava
Imagine my genuine surprise when I saw mile 1! A mile in the 12’s! I was so so surprised. I was probably going quicker to try and warm up!
After breakfast, a coffee and a nice natter with some of the other Breakfast Clubbers, I headed home to a nice hot bath! It definitely warmed me up.
Did you commemorate Armistice Day?
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A parkrun With More Running Than Walking

The weather was forecast to be vile this morning at parkrun. Thankfully, the weather somehow cleared for the morning and we had a dry run. This morning I ran with Kelly, one of my parkrun friends daughter, and Gavin, a fellow member of Gosport Road Runners.

Kelly can run a parkrun in 29 minutes but doesn’t like the pressure of having to run all the time so I was happy to have her run/walk with me. Gavin was taking part in the Gosport Road Runners Helpers Half Marathon this afternoon so he wanted an easy run. For me, the more the merrier. The more people I have to talk to, the easier the run seems for me.

Today was 3 minutes running and 2 minutes walking. I’m glad it’s finally got to the stage where I am running more than I am walking. It’s been a slow process getting this far. I was a little apprehensive this morning. I haven’t exercised all week and haven’t run since last weeks parkrun. I could make up excuses but it’s nothing but laziness to be quite honest. I really need to find a routine that works for me and stick to it.

Anyway back to this morning. There was a takeover this morning by Stubbington Green Runners, which means all of their club members provided the volunteering roles and cake.

Cake!

After the run brief we were off and the time passed by quickly. I could definitely feel that the runs are longer now and I need to concentrate on my breathing more as I’m now running for 3 minutes not 30 seconds. At one point, whilst running, I asked Gavin what our pace was and was pleased to hear 11:30 min/miles.

Mile 2 definitely felt the hardest for me as we turned in to the sun with absolutely no breeze whatsoever! I always overheat when running so this wasn’t pleasant. However when we turned at the final turnaround point there was a breeze which was just strong enough to help me cool off a little.

I finished with a time of 44:27, exactly one minute from my PB time! I feel like I’ll never reached that time again!

parkrun finish token

Afterwards I went and helped myself to a piece of cake. There was so much choice but at the last minute I spotted coffee cake which is my absolute favourite so I had a slice and I’m pleased to report it was delicious. All that was left to do after that was grab Gavin for a selfie and then head to the café for a well earnt breakfast.

Gavin and I

Tomorrow I’m off to Breakfast Club with Claire so fingers crossed the weather is better than it is right now! As I’m writing this, it’s heavy rain!

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