Monthly Archives: September 2017

Stokes Bay junior parkrun

junior parkrun logo

I thought I’d give you a little update on how Stokes Bay junior parkrun is progressing. We started on June 4th where we had an epic turn out of 184 children. With the inaugural event, you always expect a bigger turn out but we’ve now settled in to around 80-100 runners a week, occasionally a little more or less.

We’ve not had any major incidents other than the odd scraped knee, but have had a few challenges. These include a sailing competition, a duathlon and a 24 hour running event all sharing the same piece of prom. Everyone has been really understanding though and told their competitors to be aware of children running on the same route as they are, or where they’re moving their boats!

I’ve been Run Director twice now. It should have been three but I had to miss one due to illness. Part of junior parkrun is collecting the milestone wristbands when a child has completed the set amount of runs.

junior parkrun wristbands

Image courtesy of

When I was Run Director I had the opportunity to present the Half Marathon wristband to my friend and fellow junior parkrun RD’s daughter.

junior parkrun RD

It was an absolute honour to be able to present her with her Half Marathon wristband. The blue Half Marathon wristband represents 11 junior parkruns completed. The green Marathon wristband represents 21 runs and the orange Ultra Marathon wristband represents 50 runs. Parents are also sent a link to print off a certificate for their child.

I also stepped out of my comfort zone this Sunday just gone and took on a volunteer role I have never tried before. I was tail walker. I’ve put my name down to do this before at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun but chickened out as I just wasn’t sure I could keep up with the last person. However at junior parkrun the distance is a lot shorter and usually there is a lot less running involved. The role of the Tail Walker is to stay at the back of the field and be the last person to cross the finish line. Typically as it was my first turn at doing it I actually had a lot of running to do as a child dropped out, and another was in and out of a buggy, and when she was in the buggy, her mum ran! Fast!

I’ve now volunteered at Stokes Bay junior parkrun 14 times and so far we haven’t had any rain!! *touch wood!* This takes my volunteering total for parkrun up to 116!

Want to read my other Stokes Bay junior parkrun posts? The links are below:

Stokes Bay junior parkrun Test Event

Stokes Bay junior parkrun Event Number 1

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I’ve Started Preparing For Christmas Already!

Last year I did a Christmas Haul series. This year I’ve started preparing for Christmas already at one of my favourite local shops Finishing Touches.

Finishing Touches

Taken from Google Maps

I saw a post on their Facebook page saying Christmas stock had started arriving and I knew I needed to take a look. If you followed my blog last year you’ll know all my Christmas Decorations are Reindeers. Basically I’m obsessed with them. So when I saw these lovely fellas, I knew I had to buy them.

Reindeer Christmas Decorations

They’re so cute, just look at their little faces!

Reindeer Christmas Decoration

The shop has stock arriving most days so I’m sure I’ll be back for more! Have you started prepping for Christmas yet?

Want to read my Christmas Haul Series from 2016? The links are below:

Christmas Haul Part 1 – Cath Kidston

Christmas Haul Part 2 – Garsons Garden Centre

Christmas Haul Part 3 – John Lewis

Christmas Haul Part 4 – Finishing Touches

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How My Week Went From Bad To Worse

I wanted to be posting this week about how well my new running plan had gone. I was also secretly hoping I might have been able to go sub 45 minutes at parkrun yesterday.

However last Friday I started getting that scratchy throat and fuzzy head feeling you get with the start of a cold. I went to parkrun and felt like I’d done well and ran strongly but actually I was way off my PB. I felt like the run had helped blow the cold away a bit. As the week progressed my cold got worse and by mid week I had a barking cough too. I don’t think any of this was helped by three particularly late nights. One on Tuesday where I was at First Aid training at work until 9.30 and then when we went out Wednesday night for Sprinkles. For those that don’t know, Sprinkles is a Gelato Dessert Parlour.

On Thursday night I was up late as, despite going to bed early, every time I started to fall asleep I’d start coughing. It wasn’t even coughing, it was choking and trying to bring up a lung at some points. Then Friday my left eye felt sore and overly watery all day. I kept thinking it was conjunctivitis but when I looked in the mirror at work it hadn’t developed the pink tinge you usually get. However before bed I looked in the mirror and there it was, blood shot and bright pink.

So yesterday morning, instead of lining up on the start line of parkrun, I was instead queuing up at Boots to buy eye drops. It’s been a long and rubbish week.

My week summed up in one picture!

cold supplements

What I Read This Summer

I plan on doing a comprehensive list of all the books I have read in 2017 at the end of the year. However I thought I’d write a post on the books I read over Summer.

  1. The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen
The Light of the Fireflies

Cover Image from Amazon

This book is intense and a real page turner. It’s about “the boy” who lives underground with his family. He’s never seen the outdoor world but is fascinated by it. He’s told they’re down there because his family have been disfigured by a fire. The book is very well written and as the tale unfolds it takes twists and turns you wouldn’t expect. It’s horrible and fascinating and intense and at the very end exciting. My heart was hammering reading the last few pages. Would I recommend it to others? Definitely!

2. The Lemon Tree Café by Cathy Bramley

The Lemon Tree Cafe book cover

Cover Image from Amazon

I actually read the serialised version of this book starting in the Spring but read the last installment during the Summer. I really like Cathy Bramley books. They’re easy to read and always have a happy ending and this book is no different. Rosie is a bit of a high flyer when she’s asked to help run her Italian Grandmother’s café. At first she thinks it’ll just be for a couple of weeks but over time she realises she can’t leave. The book sees Rosie travel to Italy to help her Grandmother come to terms with her past as well as eventually managing the café full time. Oh and of course, she finds love!

3. Spectacles: A Memoir by Sue Perkins

Spectacles by Sue Perkins

Cover Image from Amazon

I picked this book up from my local library having recently registered. I am a big fan of The Great British Bake Off so when I saw this it took my interest. I didn’t really know much about Sue (and her sidekick Mel) apart from that they host Bake Off and used to host Late Lunch. I’m actually glad I picked this up. As Sue documents her childhood there are some real laugh out loud moments. There’s also some sad moments as she gets older that shows there’s more to her than just the comedy we see on TV. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely enjoy this. I still enjoyed it despite not really being a fan.

4. You And Me, Always by Jill Mansell

You And Me, Always by Jill Mansell

Cover Image from Amazon

This is another book I picked up when I went to the library. I’m a fan of Jill Mansell so when I saw this I had to pick it up. The story is about Lily who’s mother has passed away some time ago. Lily is well loved in the village that she lives as everyone feels like they’ve had a hand in raising her. The story took a couple of turns I wasn’t expecting which kept it interesting. Lily goes on to meet her real dad who she doesn’t know and also has a fling with a movie star. The story did remind me of the movie Notting Hill on more than one occasion but it was a fun and light read. Perfect for the end of Summer.

Now I can’t wait for Autumn. Cosy nights reading my book under a blanket as the temperatures drop outside. Bliss 🙂

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My first race in 3 years

On 12th September I ran my first race in 3 years. This should have been my graduation from the Gosport Road Runners beginners group but due to injuring my Achilles I never completed it. However, because it was better, and because my lovely friend Eileen offered me her place, I decided to run. I was running the Absolute Running Summer Series 5K. This was the fifth and last race in the series.

Thank you Eileen for the photo

Before I begin, let me tell you about Eileen who gifted me her place. You might have seen her featured on parkrun’s page. Eileen is in her 70’s and such an inspiration. In the 1980’s Eileen was a cross country champion and has a sub 3 hour marathon PB! I can not imagine our parkrun family without Eileen in it. She’s an absolute hoot and as cheeky as they come. Thank you Eileen for the place. Here she is finishing her first parkrun. Read Eileen’s story on the parkrun website here

Eileen at parkrun

I really wanted to do well in the race and use this as a bench mark for future 5k races. I took my nutrition on the day really seriously, looking up suggestions of what to eat and drink during the day before the race. I also kept a close eye on the weather reports. It was saying there would be rain and high winds. The day time was actually quite nice but as the afternoon progressed in to evening the sky turned dark and as I looked out of the window, the trees in my garden were swaying frantically in the wind.

I got down to Stokes Bay early and was a bag of nerves! I met up with Kieran and we went and collected my number which I then pinned on my top, and then re-pinned it when Kieran told it was neither straight nor central! We then headed out to the start rather leisurely, thinking we still had plenty of time. However we’d both read the wrong start time and had to rush! As a result this meant my Garmin wasn’t ready! I hadn’t had enough time to find satellites before beginning so had to start it a little way in to the race. In a way though this sudden rush at the beginning meant I forgot all about my nerves.

For the first portion of the race I chose to run for as long as I could but tried to hold back a little to allow me to run for longer. This worked quite well but I was soon breathless. At the minute I’m finding my breathing difficult. I usually stop running, not because my legs want to, but because I can not catch my breath. The wind, which was now around 25mph, was taking my breath away.

A special mention for this race has to go to the marshals. I knew pretty much all of them and what a difference it makes having marshals shout personal encouragement to you. They were so cheery even in the awful weather conditions.

The race heads along the sea front at Stokes Bay and then does a loop around the GAFIRS (Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue) building twice. GAFIRS were having a training exercise where they “rescued” six people involved in a pretend boating accident. I saw the team put through their paces and the coastguard circling overhead bringing in their casualties. Here they are hard at work. If you want to read more about their training exercise it can be found here

Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Team

Soon I’d completed my two laps running for 30 seconds and walking for one minute. As I came off the second loop I saw the 4km marker. It was starting to get dark at this point and then the rain started. It was coming in sideways due to the high winds and my left side was soon soaked right through. The rain felt like small pellets hitting me in the face. After seeing the 4km marker I decided to try and run as much as possible mainly to get out of the wind and rain! I could see the lights of the race HQ in the distance and kept my eyes on them the whole time, apart from when the rain was that bad I couldn’t actually open my eyes!

I finished the race in 45:53 beating my parkrun PB by over a minute. I was so pleased. It wasn’t until I got home and uploaded the result that I realised I’d also beaten my 5K PB from 2012 when I was running regularly! I was so surprised and really pleased. Now I want to keep chipping away at my time through parkruns and my new running plan. Fingers crossed!

Bayside 5K Summer Series

Thanks to Ben from Friendly Photography for the photo!

If you want to read Kieran’s race report, it can be found here

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My New Running Plan

After my plans to join the Gosport Road Runners group didn’t exactly go to plan I needed a plan B, a back up plan, a new path to tread. For those that don’t know I joined the beginners group and two weeks in did something to my Achilles. It’s now pretty much fixed, but this week is the last week of the beginners group so I need a new direction.

I have scoured the internet for a beginners running plan, then researched for a real beginners plan. Why do some beginners plans start with an 8 mile run at a 9minute mile pace?!

I know there’s the Couch to 5K app, I’ve done this before but at the minute I’m happier run walking than building up to complete running. I don’t want to go back to the days where I lose sleep over the 8 minute block of running and then the 20 minute block of running. I’d rather go further doing a run/walk.

During my search I saw a link to Jeff Galloway’s page. I’ve heard of Jeff Galloway’s run walk run method before so had a look and saw there were training plans. I had a look at them and you know what, they look manageable. There is a plan for 10K but week one starts with two run/walks of 30 minutes and the third run to run/walk for 1.5miles. It then goes up by half a mile the next week and so on. The plan is manageable and gradual so I just might stand a chance of completing it without burning myself out or injuring myself!

Jeff Galloway

Jeff Galloway

Wish me luck!

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I was shouted at by a race marshall

I decided to write this post as tonight I am taking part in a 5K race. I haven’t entered an official race since September 2014, partly due to injury, but partly due to the behaviour of one marshal at that last race.

I had entered the River Ness 10K part of the Baxters Loch Ness marathon weekend. I entered this race a year in advance, before I got my long term injury from the Bupa 10,000 in 2013. After running the Bupa 10,000 I had bursitis, the swelling of a bursa, in my right foot. When this subsided and I was given the ok to run again, I got my leg injury, where, when running I got pain down the outside of both my legs. This went on and on until recently when I tried running again.

As September 2014 approached I knew I wasn’t going to be in a position to run the River Ness 10K. I decided to contact them and see if there was a cut off point or a minimum pace required as I knew I’d be able to walk it if allowed. I received a message back telling me there was no cut off point. They explained that the last section of the 10K joined the last section of the marathon course and as they only set off half an hour or so before the 10K there would be plenty of time to walk the course. I was so pleased. This meant I wasn’t wasting my entry fee and that we could still go to Scotland and have a week away as planned. I began to up my walking in preparation and tried to find the comfort level where I could manage to walk without the leg pain becoming unbearable.

The day dawned and I stood on the start line feeling positive. I was going to walk and hoped to just complete it whilst enjoying the course. As we set off I realised there were two more walkers in front. I intended to keep them in my view. At first I set out too quick, trying to keep up with the surge of the crowd as they set off, the leg pain came sharp and fast but as I eased off and focused on the views the woodland trail we were on provided, the pain eased. I was able to walk comfortably and even run/walked a couple of times for a short distance. Eventually I managed to catch up with the walkers in front of me and keep them in my view. We walked through the streets of Inverness and through a couple of woodland sections. I was enjoying the course and managing  to complete it feeling good. As we began our descent towards the end walking alongside the River Ness, the winner of the marathon passed me by. As I crossed the bridge to walk towards Bught park where the finish line was a couple of other marathon runners passed me. At this point no more than 5 marathon runners had passed me and they were very spaced out. As I walked along Ness Walk a marshal shouted to me “Off the course runners coming through” I glanced around, thinking there must have been pedestrians crossing the course. I thought to myself “She can’t be shouting at me, I’m wearing a race number, it’s obvious I’m taking part” but now she was shouting again “Hey off the course runners coming through. There is a race here!” I looked right at her this time thinking if she sees I’m wearing a race number she’ll realise her mistake and back off. Instead she turned to two spectators next to her and said loudly “Some people are very ignorant”

What was a great event, in the last 400 metres, had suddenly become a bitter pill to swallow. The spectators laughed at her comment. My face burnt with embarrassment.  I know there were runners coming through but I was walking over to the side, in the way of no one. I know there was a race happening. I was part of it, trying to complete 10K after injury. I wasn’t ignorant, I was taking part. I was meant to be on the course, along with everyone else who had paid their entry fee.

I came dead last in that race. Not one single person crossed the finish line after me from the 10K race. I should have been pleased to finish. I should have been pleased I’d even managed to slowly run some parts comfortably. Instead I felt embarrassed and deflated. I finished the race in 1:57:52. I didn’t run again for a year.


I’ve joined the gym

At work we get a 50% discount off a membership at the local gym. So for £20 a month I get a membership to a gym with plenty of classes and a swimming pool.

I’ve been a few times now and so far I’m enjoying it. I’ve been using the elliptical trainer as this mimics running, without causing my Achilles injury any further stress. I’m working on building up my time on there. I’ve also been using the treadmill, rower and cross trainer (although this is quite similar to the elliptical)

I’ve also attended a couple of classes. I’ve been to Spin which was great. I used to enjoy spin classes when I was a member of a gym before. The class was in a semi dark room with disco lights, great music and an instructor who gave clear instructions on what we were doing and what was coming up. Previously I always hated the climb sections of spin classes where you’re up and out of the saddle. However, this time these were my favourite part. The class was 45 minutes. My Garmin told me I’d burnt 364 calories. I’m pretty sure I lost a lot of water through sweating!

The other class I tried was CX Worx. I was convinced to go by a work colleague and I really struggled with the class. I just don’t have the core strength to do some of the exercises. Also the class was only half an hour so it felt a little rushed. My friend said she didn’t feel enough instructions were given by the instructor but I didn’t really notice this being a problem. I burnt 200 calories in the half an hour.

I’ll definitely be going back to Spin, in fact I’ve booked myself in for Virtual spin this week to see what that’s like.

I’m hoping by getting stronger in a variety of ways it’ll all work together to help me become a stronger, fitter runner too. And hopefully mean my Achilles injury will go away! Fingers crossed! It seems to be getting better. In this post I said I was going to try a run and see how it goes. I did 15 minutes run/walk on the treadmill and it went quite well. I could feel my Achilles, but it wasn’t super painful, just a little uncomfortable like it has been before. Again, once I stopped, the feeling stopped and it’s not been made worse from trying a run so that’s a good sign too!

Hopefully enjoying the gym will be permanent and not just there until the novelty wears off!

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Returning to parkrun

parkrun logo

On 1st August I injured my Achilles. I’ve rested it, iced it, stretched it. It’s got a bit better. When I first did it, it hurt even without weight on it. Now it only hurts walking down stairs and it’s not exactly a pain, just uncomfortable.

On 19th August I walked a 5k and it was still a little painful. I’ve continued looking after the injury and today wanted to try out walking the parkrun course.

I walked the course with Kieran We also walked with Jade, the tail walker.. Jade is one of my fellow RDs at Stokes Bay junior parkrun. As we walked the Achilles felt absolutely fine. We kept up a good walking pace and chatted all the way round. It was really lovely, the sun was shining and I was chatting away with two friends and also improving my health at the same time. That’s the beauty of parkrun.

It was only towards the end, at the short uphill section, that I even felt my Achilles and again it wasn’t a pain, just uncomfortable. As soon as we had finished it went away and as Kieran and I walked back to the café I couldn’t even feel it.

After the run we took the standard post parkrun finish token photo. Kieran had his Birthday this week just gone and he got a new iPhone 7 plus. His post parkrun finish token photo was so much better than mine! I can not wait to get a new phone. For now though, you’re just going to have to deal with my picture.

parkrun finish token

We completed the course in 56:19, a good time for walking and still beats the first time I ever did parkrun and walked. I was surprised how hard it felt after a month off though! To be honest I thought we might have dipped over an hour but thankfully it didn’t. Now, the next step? A little try at running, possibly tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Earning the Run in the Sun medal

I was doing so well with my running. I was seeing improvements but then on 1st August it all came crashing down. I went to the second Gosport Road Runners beginners group and the session went fine. However when I got out of the car and put my foot down it hurt a bit on the back on my ankle/heel. When I took my shoe off it got worse and that night I couldn’t sleep as the pain was so bad. A little bit of research shows I’ve done something to hurt my achilles. It took a good couple of weeks to calm down and for me to be able to walk down stairs properly! It’s still uncomfortable now and hasn’t gone completely but it’s definitely better than that night. So, earning the Run in the Sun medal didn’t go to plan at all!

The rules were run, walk or cycle as far as you can in the month of August. You must achieve a minimum of 10km.

Here’s how it went:

On 1st August I attended the second Gosport Road Runners beginners group. We completed 2 miles. It wasn’t until a week later that I was able to do anything and that was a push. We’d gone to Weymouth for my husband’s Birthday. I didn’t want to ruin the day so managed to hobble 2.62 miles around Weymouth. It was slow and painful.

I then didn’t walk again until 19th August. I can now walk almost pain free. I can feel the achilles grumbling but also saying “Very well then, if we must” We walked 5k along the beach from Lee-on-the-Solent to Hill Head.

pastel beach hut

In August I completed a very disappointing 12.39km or 7.7 miles. Not the 26.2 I was aiming for at the end of July. So disappointed, now it’s time to work on fixing this achilles!

Here is the medal! I love how it’s Summer themed and perfect for completing runs by the sea, or walks in my case! It was hard to capture but the background of where it says “Run in the Sun” is glittery. I love a bit of sparkle!

Run in the Sun medal

Want to read about the other medals I’ve earned? The posts are below:

Kidney Research 5K Medal

Wonder Runner Medal

Mermaid Medal

To the Moon and Back Medal

Unicorn Medal

All Aboard Medal

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