A parkrun DNF

On Saturday I headed down to parkrun as usual. I’ve had a terrible week and hadn’t done any exercise since last Sunday when I ran at Breakfast Club.

When I got there I had a good natter with Maria whilst we waited for the off. I was also volunteering to token sort afterwards and hoping to speak to two new potential  Event Directors for an up and coming parkrun in my local area.

We set off and everything felt absolutely fine but as we got to the first turnaround point my left leg felt “weird” I don’t really know how else to describe it. It wasn’t painful but was starting to feel uncomfortable as we went further on. I slowed it down a bit, then told Maria I needed to walk. As we got back to where we started I said to Maria I thought it best I stop. It wasn’t massively painful but it definitely didn’t feel right.

We sat and had a natter whilst we waited for everyone else to finish. Despite me telling Maria she could go on without me she kindly stayed with me. As we were sat there chatting I noticed a large lump on my outer calf about 3 inches above my ankle bone! Once everyone had finished Maria left and I collected up the tokens. I met up with the other lady I was token sorting with, she had been marshalling at a part of the course I never reached. We walked up to the café together and my leg felt absolutely fine. Her husband met us at the café and we did the token sorting, along with a couple of others who came over to help, one being my lovely friend Mike. This was my 175th time volunteering at parkrun!

parkrun finish token

Obligatory token sorting picture of me holding token number one!

Once we’d finished I went over to chat to the core team. Two of them are hoping to set up another very local parkrun but are having some difficulties with one particular aspect. We chatted about the route they’ve found which sounds fantastic. They said they needed a winter route too and I offered them a 5K route I’ve run in the past that is a suitable winter course.

When I left the café my leg felt absolutely fine so I did a gentle jog home. It’s only 5 minutes from home when running. When I got back I had a bath with muscle soak and when I got out, both my legs had the same weird feeling. I *think* it’s tight muscles, although obviously I don’t definitely know. I took ibuprofen for the remainder of the day, iced it and wore my compression sleeves. I’m writing this on Sunday morning and again they both feel tight, although less so than yesterday. I’ll take ibuprofen again and then try some gentle stretches again. Fingers crossed this doesn’t develop in to anything.

Have you ever had to pull out of a parkrun?

Do you ever volunteer at parkrun? What’s your favourite role?

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Storm Miguel Visits parkrun

I feel like I’ve run in a storm in each month of 2019! The only downside to living on the coast is you get battered by winds and Saturday’s parkrun felt just like that.

I’d arranged at Zumba to run with Claire, one of my Zumba instructors. She wanted a slower run as she was starting work at 10am. I got down to parkrun early to have a natter with my friend Maria before we ran. Maria wanted to run alone to see where she was at (She finished in just over 30 minutes) so we had a good natter beforehand. By the time I’d walked down there I was already freezing from the strong winds so was glad when Maria suggested sitting in her car until nearer the time.

We got out at ten to 9 and Claire came and found me. It was so cold listening to the run brief as the winds were howling! Luckily by 9:03 we were on our way. As we ran the first section I told Claire about the Romsey 5 Mile Beer Run and she told me about a race she was doing the following day. As we turned at the first turnaround point the wind hit us like a brick wall and the grind began! Our friend Angela caught up with us and then to my surprise Mel did. Mel’s mum passed away on the Friday hence me being surprised to see her. She ran with us for a bit and told us her Mum had had a stroke on the Monday. She was really upset but appreciative that she could come to parkrun and be with friends. She told us her brother had come down to be with her, meaning he’d missed his 250th parkrun. I’ve met her brother a couple of times and went and offered my condolences after we’d finished running.

As we reached the 2nd turnaround point, Kaarina, the marshal at the turnaround point said “You’ll be really fast now with the wind behind you” Unfortunately the wind was coming straight off the sea and getting us side on rather than being behind us! It was slightly easier though.

I finished in 35:58 which I was happy with. I’m not running a lot at all at the moment so I’m glad it’s not affecting my times too much at the moment.

Selfie

Janet took this picture for us and her husband said I needed to treat myself to a new smaller t-shirt! You can see the wind blowing up it and making it flap! It’s a shame once you’ve got a parkrun t-shirt you aren’t able to buy another one.

Have you got any parkrun milestone t-shirts?

Did you run in Storm Miguel?

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Halfway Through 2019

June marks the halfway point for 2019! Do you think it’s flown by or is this year taking it’s sweet time for you? I don’t really feel either way, I think 2019 is passing by nicely, but not too fast. I thought it might be nice to reflect on my year so far and see how far I’ve come.

January

I started January horribly ill at New Year for the 2nd year running! Meaning I missed the New Year double at parkrun and didn’t get my first run in until the 5th! I did travel to Barry Island for some tourism in January though and absolutely loved their course. I also got featured on parkrun’s social media platforms with this picture.Barry Island parkrun

I also went to the Running Show which was so inspiring and met fellow blogger Mary and elite athlete Jo Pavey. January also saw me run my 50th parkrun with a time of 39:29

My 50th parkrun

February

In February I got in a good mix of parkruns and evening runs. This is definitely something I need to get back to but I ran an evening run recently and felt absolutely horrendous. It’s really put me off! But in February I was running in wind, rain and cold temperatures! I also did my longest run of the year at 4 miles. February also saw a new parkrun PB of 37:05. Soaking wet hair in the photo below after an evening run!

Selfie

March

March felt like the month of running in storms. The one downside to living on the coast is you get battered by winds whilst the rest of the country barely feel a breeze! I managed to score another parkrun PB in March during crazy winds of 36:18.

Lee and I

Check out my hair in the wind!

As well as a parkrun PB I went to Penrose parkrun in Cornwall.

Before parkrun

Before parkrun

March was also the month I went to my first Zumba class. I went alone, something I’d have never had the confidence to do before. I love it and I’m not afraid to admit I now have a Zumba addiction!

April

April didn’t contain a parkrun PB but I did run my longest run of the year, 5.2 miles. I went trail running, something I’d really enjoyed just before I became injured last year and then missed any opportunity to do it again.

Selfie in the rapeseed field

April also saw parkrun tourism in Ipswich and at Moors Valley. I’m really enjoying visiting different parkrun locations.

May

May included a pilgrimage to Bushy parkrun, which was incredible and also a new parkrun PB of 34:41. This is my current PB. I also completed my longest distance of the year which was also my first race of the year, a 10k race. I set a great new 10K PB too of 1:13 which knocked over 24 minutes off my 10k PB.

Before the race

Maria and I before the race

It’s safe to say 2019 has, so far, been a year of personal bests and great achievements. I’m so pleased with how my running is going but I definitely need to focus a little more on my running. At the minute my only consistent run is a parkrun on a Saturday. With my other exercise being a Zumba class. I want to get back to exercising 3 times a week consistently. And hopefully with that the remainder of 2019 will see me getting stronger and fitter still. This post has really inspired me to keep going as all my hard work is paying off and I want that to continue.

How’s your 2019 shaping up?

Do you find it’s good to reflect on how far you’ve come?

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Romsey 5 Mile Beer Race 2019

On Sunday 2nd June I completed my 2nd Romsey 5 Mile Beer Race. If you want to read about my first time it’s >>here<<

I was eagerly watching the weather leading up to this race and groaned when I realised it was going to be a scorcher just like last year. However, this years race was so different to last year. Once again, I have to thank Anna again for introducing me to this race.

I was supposed to run this race with my husband but unfortunately he had a migraine the day before but wasn’t well enough to take part. He did however play chauffeur and photographer for me so it’s not all bad! I was semi-nervous of the hills on the way there. I remember it being so hilly last year and although I’ve done some hills, I haven’t done a lot of hills.

When we got there I went to join the queue for the portaloos where I met up with both Anna and Martin. All the cool kids hang out in the toilet queue haha. Afterwards I went and collected my number and then pinned it on to my t-shirt. I took extra care this year as I did it so badly last year!

I found some runners from my running club and waited with them for the race to start. We started fairly near the back. This was my plan as I didn’t want to feel rushed along (resulting in me setting off too fast). The race starts with a lap of the field, then out on to the road. I remember last year I had to walk after leaving the field. I’d probably not even done 0.2 of a mile! Thankfully that wasn’t the case this year. I fell in to step with a lady and after a while I thought that she seemed to have a similar pace to me. I looked at my watch and we were doing around an 11:30min/mile so I thought I’d stick with her as she seemed to have her pacing nailed!

The race is in and around the village of Braishfield which is absolutely stunning and has some really beautiful houses. I loved looked at them all as we went by. I was so hot running but looking at the different houses helped take my mind off of it.

Running

Last year I felt like the race was really hilly, but this year I felt like there were only two hills, although you do one of them twice, so three hills. I was so pleased that I ran them all this year. In fact I only took one tiny walk break. The lady who I was running alongside must have sensed my footsteps dropping back and she turned to me and said “Come on” I’d probably walked for 5-10 steps! That’s actually the only time during the race we really spoke. Apart from when we passed by a gate where a donkey brayed loudly and made me jump out of my skin and shout “Oh my god” She laughed at me!

Thumbs up

I felt really strong throughout the race but the last half a mile I started to flag. I was so hot and pouring water over my head only gave a temporary relief, and resulted in me being absolutely freezing once I’d finished! As you come to the end of the race you have to do another lap of a field and my word, that field feels huge! I just wanted to be finished by this point and it felt like a grind getting round the last bit but I was super pleased to cross the line. I received my beer and cake token upon finishing and boy had I earnt them.

As I came out of the finish funnel there was the opportunity to look up your time. I thought that was pretty neat. My official finish time was 1:02:18 – that’s a 17 minute improvement on last years time!!!

I thanked the lady I’d followed. I told her I hadn’t felt capable of conversation but it was nice to be in company throughout the race. I didn’t find out her name at the time, I’ve since looked at the results and seen she was called Jess. She paced me perfectly without even knowing it!

After looking at my result I immediately went and claimed my free beer. Although I opted for a shandy version as I thought that might help rehydrate me better after sweating wildly. I then joined the very long queue for cake. I went for a slice of Victoria sponge this year and was oozing with jam! It was amazing!

Cake and Beer

I left the race pleased with my performance but already wanting another go! I’ll definitely be signing up for 2020 and maybe I’ll be able to get rid of those pesky 2 minutes and 18 seconds.

Beer

Would you do a beer race?

Do you prefer running in warmer or cooler temperatures?

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I Burned 400 Calories in 45 minutes

Zumba Logo

When I ran with Claire at Breakfast Club we had a good natter about Zumba. Claire is a Zumba instructor (although not my instructor) and is the one who got me to attend Sally’s class. She showed me the Zumba instructor app (I also learnt a Zumba instructor is called a Zin!) and the videos where they learn the dances. She told me most of the routines are also on YouTube where instructors have filmed their classes.

On the Bank Holiday Monday I thought I’d see if I could make a Zumba routine using YouTube. I actually prepped Sunday night and made a list of songs I could remember from the class and finding the correct routine that we do. I also found some others that I wanted to try to songs that I like.

So on Monday I was all set up and ready to go. I pulled up my YouTube playlist and danced around my living room for 45 minutes. I’m not a very co-ordinated person but I’ve found Zumba uses a core group of moves and now I know these it makes it a bit easier to follow the routines.

45 minutes later and I’d burned 400 calories! Zumba is definitely what you put in to it. You can take it easy and follow along half heartedly or you can attack each move and give it your all. It’s a good cardio workout. My heart rate sits just a little below where it does for running which just proves how hard it works you.

I really enjoy my Zumba classes but it’s great knowing I can practice at home too and for free!

Have you ever tried a Zumba class?

 

Injury – One Year On

June marks a year since I got my groin injury that was to last for 6 months. I was taking part in a parkrun, simply plodding along, when I got a pain in my groin. I still to this day don’t know what I did. I didn’t land hard or twist or anything like that. It just hurt. I then went on to run a race the next week and just made it ten times worse.

I was in denial thinking a couple of days rest would see it right itself. It didn’t. It affected everything. It made my job harder, I couldn’t exercise. I really just ended up in a bit of a funk. I spent so much money on physio. She did lots of massage and some sort of infra red technology but none of it worked and in the end she told me just to completely rest it. I couldn’t even cross train. To be honest I could barely walk. So I did as she said. I completely rested for what felt like months. In reality it took until the end of August to be able to walk pain free. It was the end of September before I attempted a walking parkrun, and it was mid October before I began to walk/run. My very first walk/run was a 30 second run and a 4 and a half minute walk. This is how the physio advised me to return when I was able to. When I had done three, pain free, then I could up it by 30 seconds.

I walk/ran until the beginning of December when I ran 4.6 miles without stopping. From January 2019 I’ve just worked on upping my distances slowly slowly.

So I have no idea what caused the injury but the only thing that fixed it was completely stopping everything. It’s, thankfully, gone now. I get the occasional odd twinge from it which is absolutely terrifying. I’m so scared it could come back. However, when I get a twinge, there’s no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes I get it when I haven’t done anything all day, sometimes I get it when I’ve done a 4 mile run.

I’ve completely eased back on my running. I only run twice a week now with a Zumba class. I haven’t do intervals since the injury and I’ve only done one spin class because, although I don’t know what caused it, these are things I was doing before the injury.

I now have a much more relaxed approach to running. I never set out to run a time. I always tell myself if I want to stop or turn back early I can. I haven’t entered loads of races. I just run because I can. I run to enjoy it.

Have you ever had a long term injury?

Why do you run?

The Breakfast Club On Tour

On Sunday 26th May I went to The Breakfast Club. I’d seen on Facebook that they were going to do a run around Alver Valley Country Park. Alver Valley is pretty much on my doorstep but I don’t know my way around it so tend to shy away from it for fear of getting lost. The route had been planned by Hayley who is a fellow Gosport Road Runner, and although she doesn’t usually attend Breakfast Club, she was going to lead the run.

I went and picked up Claire and we got to Bayside with enough time to go for a wee and buy our Gosport Golden Mile buffs. Nick (who organises The Breakfast Club) had said he was selling some off and they were only £2, which is an absolute steal. They’re yellow too so will go with my Gosport Road Runners club t-shirt.

Before the run

Hayley explained before we set off that there were opportunities to cut the route short. The route was just under 6 miles and there were chances to cut it off at 3 and 4 miles. She also explained there would be loopbacks so the fast runners would get more miles in and the slower runners wouldn’t get lost. Then we were off!

We ran along a pathway I didn’t even know existed that goes alongside the River Alver. It was really pretty and cut us through from Stokes Bay back to Alver Valley. This was a great little cut through that I’ll be tempted to use again. Then once in the park we ran over Apple Dumpling Bridge and then on to the trails. We kept stopping to regroup which was great as it meant me being the slowest didn’t get lost but actually as this went on through the run, the stop start killed me! I’m much better when I just plod on!

Claire and I chatted a fair bit about Zumba. Claire is a Zumba instructor and works alongside the instructor I go to a class with on a Wednesday. We talked about the dances and songs, what our favourites were etc. It was lovely chatting and took my mind off my legs feeling like lead after every stop!

We ran up hills and across different paths, there were woodlands, tarmac and across grass. There were some spectacular views and I wish I’d actually thought on and snapped some pictures! Luckily someone grabbed a couple of group shots.

In Alver Valley

By the time we reached 4 miles my legs were so heavy. I’m pretty sure this was down to all the stop starting. My left shoe began to rub too and it never does that! I’m hoping it doesn’t do that next week when I have a 5 mile race! I don’t know if it was caused by being so hot maybe. I hope not as the race next week doesn’t start until 10am and this was at 8am!

End of run

I really enjoyed the route. I thoroughly enjoy running off road. I was definitely glad to get back to base though because of my legs and shoe rubbing though! When we got back to the café Claire and I had a coffee. She showed me how the Zumba instructors receive the new dances via an app. She also told me on YouTube there are videos of the routines in case I wanted to get some practice in. I definitely think I’m going to give this a whirl.

Claire and I

When I got home I had a soak in the bath with some Epsom salts. I looked at my foot and luckily it had just rubbed but not blistered so that’s something at least.

Have you ever tried Zumba?

Do you use running to explore new places?

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A Hot parkrun!

It looks like the winter weather has finally made a move and now we’re heading in to warmer temperatures. I know most people are glad of this, but I am definitely an Autumn Winter person rather than a Spring Summer person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the extra daylight but I’m just not good in heat! I get hot so quickly, I sweat buckets and I overheat. It’s just miserable. When we had the heatwave last summer I was kind of glad to be injured as it meant I wasn’t having to run in the hot weather. The weather is warm now, not hot, but already I’m overheating.

Saturday morning at parkrun was about 16c. I walked down there in just cropped leggings and a tshirt so I knew it was going to be a warm one. I was pleased to see my friend Maria there as she’s been on holiday so I’ve not seen her for a little while. I was looking forward to hearing all about her trip to Cyprus.

We got down to the starting pen and it was very busy. After the run brief it took us over 30 seconds to get to the start line! We set off at a chatty pace. We had a lot to catch up on and I knew I’d need to take it easier because of the heat. It was nice hearing all about her holiday and catching up on other bits and pieces but my god it was hot. I regretted not taking a headband or wearing a buff on my head to try and absorb some of the sweat! Icky I know, but I sweat buckets. I also had a problem with my sunglasses steaming up! Does anyone else get that? I found I had to pull them further down my face but then they felt like they needed pushing up!

I finished parkrun with an official time of 37:07 a good two minutes slower than last week! I think over Summer I’m just going to have to ease it back a bit and take the slower times as I’m not good in heat.

My home parkrun now has a selfie frame too so obviously I had to get a picture with it!

parkrun selfie frame

With Maria

With Marie

With Marie

After heading home for a shower we drove to Ringwood to go and order a new car for me! It’ll be late August/early September before it gets to me though. I’m getting a Ford Fiesta. I wanted something a little bigger than my Smart Car and after looking round a few different cars this was my favourite. After signing on the dotted line we went for lunch at a pub in the New Forest which was lovely.

Ford Fiesta

What my new car will look like

Any tips for running in the heat?

Does your home parkrun have a selfie frame?

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I Made The parkrun Pilgrimage – Bushy parkrun

A week or so ago I had the opportunity to spend a Friday in Windsor. Obviously I instantly started thinking about how I could team this with a parkrun. I researched where the local parkruns were and looked at hotels. I realised there was a hotel not too far from Windsor but more importantly, not too far from Bushy park!

I’d read on the Bushy parkrun course page that the car parking there was often full by 8.30. I didn’t want to take any chances so we arrived at Bushy park nice and early at 8am. The car parks already had quite a few cars in. I presume these belonged to some of the army of volunteers that have this parkrun run like a well oiled machine.

I was quite surprised to see there were no parkrun flags up or the pop up signs they have. We wondered to the area I thought the start line was near and there were people milling about. It wasn’t, however, clear where the start line was.

A man, along with his wife and daughter, came and asked me where the start line was. I explained I didn’t know as we were tourists and he trumped us by saying he was over from Melbourne, Australia. We spent a good while chatting to him about his home parkrun, what time it started, the temperature etc. It was amazing to hear about a parkrun on the other side of the world. Whilst we were chatting a volunteer came and told us the new runners briefing would soon be held so we headed over to a lady who was now holding up a new runners briefing sign. The briefing was a good mix of humorous and informative. It was amazing hearing where the tourists were from. There were people from various American and Australian parkruns and then various UK parkruns. Distance seems no object when the opportunity to run at Bushy is there! By the end of the briefing a large crowd had gathered so it was now evident where we’d be running from. I spotted the 35 minute pacer but had no chance of getting anywhere near him. There were over 1400 runners the day we were there and it felt like 1000 of them were between me and the pacer!

Before the run

Before the run

My husband and I ran together. It’s very rare we do this as our paces are so different. When we set off I had no idea when we’d run over the start line so I don’t know how long it took me to get going. The first section of the course was over grass. People spread out fairly quickly both width ways and due to their pace so it didn’t really feel congested at all. We stayed on the grass for a while even when there was a path as we felt pretty comfortable there. They warned us of ant hills and boy were there ant hills! Some were like mini ant mountains!

The course was described as a butterfly shape and as we rounded a corner I honestly shouted “Oh my god look at all those deer!” There were so many, just watching the runners go by! The views were also lovely. So much lush greenery and a mix of paths and trails.

It was quite a warm day but also it was muggy! It made it so hard to catch my breath. My husband kept reminding me to try breathing deeper as I was breathing so quickly. It definitely helped having those reminders. What didn’t help was him telling me every time we’d run a half mile. It made the run feel so much longer as I normally don’t even look at my watch! I’m sure he thought he was being helpful though haha.

When we got to the end I managed a little sprint finish but honestly, I’d given it everything I had whilst out on the course. We entered the finish funnel and joined the back of the longest queue. It snaked around just like when you’re waiting to go on a ride at a theme park. They have a double finish funnel at Bushy so we queued alongside another finish funnel. I don’t know how it all works but they seemed to and that’s all that matters haha. We were probably in the queue for 10-15 minutes before being given our finish token. We then barely had to queue for the barcode scanners as there seemed to be a small army of them!

Finish Funnel

The finish funnel queue

Finish token

I then went to join another queue to have my picture taken with the parkrun selfie frame. Needs must haha. I then took pictures for a group of ladies who were behind me. They all wanted a picture on each of their phones. I didn’t mind though, I’d like to think another parkrunner would do the same for me!

Selfie Frame

Afterwards we headed off to the café, The Pheasantry. I was sceptical that we’d get a seat with their being so many people there but luckily we did. There was both indoor and outdoor seating which probably helped. I had to queue for about 10 minutes to order our food but the food came out quickly and was really tasty.

We were really lucky with the traffic on the way back and it only took us an hour and a half. Not too far to go back then surely?! I received my time around lunch time. I expected it to be much later as it’s such a large parkrun. My official time was 35:46. When I got home and looked at my stats I was very surprised to see I’d managed to do negative splits.

Have you made the parkrun pilgrimage?

What’s the furthest you’ve travelled to a parkrun?

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I’ve Run Over 100 Miles in 2019!

On 12th May I went for a solo run. My intention was to go out early, unfortunately that didn’t quite go to plan. I’ve found myself struggling a bit on solo runs as I’ve felt a bit bored running the same route at parkrun and on my own runs. However, it’s so convenient so I thought I’d try running with music. I bought some wireless ear phones that just sort of lock in place in your ear and miraculously don’t fall out! I’d already paired them to my phone but for whatever reason they’d lost that connection. It took me forever to get them to reconnect, hence me going out a bit later than I’d planned.

I was also testing out my new goodr running sunglasses. I’ve been struggling a bit squinting in to the sun on runs. I’d done a bit of looking online and saw a few recommendations for the goodr glasses. I saw Louise wearing them at parkrun the week before and she let me try them on and run about a bit to see how they felt.

I eventually headed out at 8.50, a whole 50 minutes after I’d intended to. I knew I wanted to do at least 3 miles to reach my 100th mile but set out on to my 4 mile route with the knowledge I could turn back early if I needed to. It was warm and sunny on my run and my glasses proved good and stopped me squinting. They were definitely a good purchase!

My ear phones though, what a difference running with music makes! I used to do more evening runs where I’d rather be able to hear what’s going on around me but a Sunday morning run is fine to listen to music. I had such a good run. I was so focussed on singing along (in my head) to the music that I barely noticed the miles ticking by and never once had a negative thought about running. Usually I have that little devil on my shoulder saying things like “This is hard, I could walk now, shall I just sit on that bench” but there was none of that! I had a really good comfortable run. It probably felt so comfortable as every mile was a whole minute slower than the day before at parkrun! I was pretty impressed by how even my splits were.

Splits

I definitely regretted my timing though. The prom was so busy from about the halfway point of my run as dog walkers and families started to head out to enjoy time in the sunshine. I had to do a bit of weaving around people towards the end.

Selfie

I’m finding headbands great at the minute too for keeping the sun off my head a bit.

Do you listen to music whilst you run?

Do you keep track of how many miles you’ve run?

 

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