Monthly Archives: January 2018

My First Outdoor Solo Run

Lots of runners run outdoors on their own. They use it for headspace, to zone out and forget about the worries of the day.

When I need to run, usually on my day off like today, I go on the treadmill. The treadmill is easy for me. It’s what I’m used to, it’s flat and I don’t have to leave the house.

I’ve always found running outdoors much harder. So much so, after my injury in 2013 I never really returned to outdoor running. My first outdoor run was my first parkrun on 13th May 2017. Since then I’ve walked lots outside but never run. To be honest I’m a bit scared of what someone might say to me. You hear these horror stories of runners being heckled and I don’t want it to be me on the receiving end.

As I’m beginning to enjoy running now and I have the Great South Run booked, I know I need to transfer my running to the great outdoors. I need to gain the strength needed to complete that 10 mile race. So this morning I thought “I’ll go for a run outside” that was 4 hours before I actually plucked up the courage to go.

I eventually got dressed to go but as I reopened the curtains after getting changed my stomach dropped. The bin men hadn’t been yet and they’re usually somewhere in the area at this time. So what?! I hear you cry, well this means I’d have to go past them. A group of blokes, what if they were lairy and shouted something at me?!

I finally managed to get my butt out of the door. I’d worked out a one mile loop and my aim was to run it and then if I felt able I could always do a second loop. Ideally I’d do two miles but worst case scenario there were a few cut throughs back to home on this loop so it’d be easy to go home earlier if I needed to. I walked part of the loop (just over half a mile) to warm up, then dropped my jacket off at the house and set off.

Guess what was waiting round that very first corner? Yep, the bin men. They didn’t so much as bat an eyelid in my direction! I ran much more than I expected to before taking my first walk break. I ran along the front and was feeling pretty darn good. Just like at parkrun I ran when I could and walked when I needed to.

Before I knew it I was at the point to start heading back towards home to round off my first mile loop but I decided to keep going on the road I was on as I felt good by this stage and knew I wouldn’t need to stop at a mile. I ran on until I hit 1 mile then turned to run the same route back.

I decided to turn off a little early as my route went ever so slightly uphill. I mean ever so slightly as well, I live in a very flat area. I know a little loop near me is about 0.3miles so I knew I could loop that instead and probably still make 2 miles before arriving home which I did. I got to my house just after mileage ticked over to 2 miles. I did it, and nothing happened!

Red faced but 2 miles complete

I was really pleased, in fact I still feel pretty smug about it now. 

strava details

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When Running Feels Good

After my post Feeling Lost With Running lots of people offered advice on my blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

The general theme of the advice was “Listen to your body”, “Go off plan”, “Keep it fun” and “Don’t be afraid to take a step back”

I took the advice. This week I went to parkrun without a plan. I didn’t set any intervals on my watch, I just pressed go and went.

We walked the long way to parkrun to give us a good warm up. On the way we saw Marie and Mike. Marie asked me if I was going to beat Mike this week. I told her not likely! (This will become relevant later in the post) We arrived at 8.55, just as the run brief was getting underway.

It took me longer than usual to get past the start line. The New Year not only makes gyms busier, it also makes parkruns a lot busier (as well as three local courses being cancelled).

I ran a little and walked when I needed to. The course was quite congested with so many people there so some of my walk breaks were enforced or extended as I just couldn’t get past people with the faster runners coming back in the other direction. I cheered on my friends as they all came back past me having already reached the turn point. The thing I love about my parkrun is, I know so many people, I barely go more than 20 steps without someone waving at me or cheering me on. It’s great and helps move the time along.

When I turned at the first turn around point I noticed the sun was still on it’s way up. It was making the sky glow with a pinky/lilac colour. It was really pretty. I continued with my run walk, taking breaks when I needed to. I kept overtaking an older gentleman when I was running and he in turn would overtake me when I had a walk break.

As we passed by the finish funnel I took a walk break and he said to me “Come on, don’t let an 85 year old beat you” He didn’t make me feel bad, or particularly unfit at all haha

I was now making my way towards the second turnaround point now and I felt good. Runners were coming back the other way once again and I was able to cheer everyone on and receive words of encouragement myself. My 85 year old friend told me “When we reach that turn around point I don’t want to see you again” Shortly after he said this I fell behind anyway and he disappeared off but I soon heard a voice from behind me.

Mike (in his 70’s) was just behind me shouting “You’re still beating me” I tried to run away from him (No really!) but that just made him laugh and shout “That got you moving didn’t it?!” We soon fell in to pace and began to run together. The thing is with Mike is, he runs slower than me but is more consistent. Matching his pace actually allowed me to run quite a bit more than I had been doing. We chatted, he told me they’d just been to Exmouth and run the 2nd Exmouth parkrun. I told him the ED’s had been to our parkrun in November as they were running the Gosport Half Marathon and that my favourite athlete Jo Pavey had turned up to their inaugural.

We made the descent down mini mountain and Mike started to pull away from me. He told me to hurry up. I told him I wasn’t sure I could run all the way from there to the finish funnel (it’s further than it looks, it’s very deceptive) he said I could and together we ran in all the way, him encouraging me all the way.

Just before we got to the funnel we overtook my 85 year old friend who shouted “Oi!” at me. I shouted an apology back but Mike told me to go so I did. We ran in pretty much together.

Here I am with my older friends!

I felt elated. A good fun parkrun. I never got to thank Mike, he was continuing his run to Browndown in an attempt to start upping his mileage. Next time I see him I’ll be sure to thank him for his good company.

Taking the pressure off was the best thing to do. I didn’t feel wrecked by the end of it and today I haven’t been paying the price. I’m so pleased and I finally got a good parkrun photograph!

I’m going to try the same tactics next week for sure! Wish me luck!

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The Winter Tag

I was looking for some blog inspiration and came across The Winter Tag. I don’t think I’ve ever done one of these on my blog so thought I’d give it a go.

What are your favourite things about Winter?

The cold temperatures! I hate being too hot and find it much easier to warm up than cool down. So the cold temperatures work for me. Winter also includes presents as both Christmas and my Birthday are in the winter! And the final thing I love about Winter? The new drinks to try at Starbucks and Costa!!

What is your favourite Winter outfit?

I am by no means a trendsetter or a follower of fashion so I don’t really have a favourite winter outfit. You’ll usually find me in joggers and a hoodie. However when it comes to Winter I do like to accessorize with nice scarves and a hat. I have a few of both and like to switch between them during the cold Winter months.

What is your favourite Winter food?

My slow cooker is used often during Winter. I love to make casseroles, soups or hearty stews. I don’t have a particular recipe that I follow I’m more of a throw everything in kind of person and see how it goes. I switch it up by changing the meats or vegetables I use as well as sometimes adding barley or lentils.

Favourite Winter drink?

It’s pretty clichéd but I enjoy hot chocolate in the Winter. I make my own at home and add in peppermint syrup, marshmallows and whipped cream on the top.

What is your dream way to spend a Winter’s day?

Again, it sounds like a total cliché but sitting under a blanket and either watching a movie or reading a book with a candle burning is one of my favourite things to do on a Winter’s Day.  However, I also enjoy going for a walk in the Winter sunshine. When it’s still cold but the sky is brilliant blue, makes you feel lucky to be alive.

How do you like to do your make-up in the Winter?

I very rarely wear make-up.

What are you hoping Santa brings you?

Obviously I am writing this after Christmas but basically I got everything I asked for in this post.

What are the first three things that remind you of Winter?

Snow, Cold weather and Robins!

What is your favourite Winter song?

My favourite Winter song is Warm This Winter by Gabriella Cilmi. My favourite Christmas song is Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea.

What is your favourite Winter memory?

Probably getting married. We were married right before Christmas and had a full on Christmas wedding. Our Wedding Breakfast was a Christmas Dinner and our favours were tree decorations. We had crackers on the table and little Christmas trees down the centre of the tables that our guests were then free to take home with them.

What is your favourite Winter scent?

My favourite Winter scent is the Yankee Candle “Candy Cane Lane” it smells of peppermint and chocolate.

Finish this sentence…If I could have one wish this Christmas it would be…

Again, obviously I’m doing this after Christmas so I’m going to change this to my New Year wish and that would be to stick to my running goals and see them improve.

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Feeling Lost With Running

This post is a bit of a brain dump with something that’s been bothering me.

I feel a bit lost with my running at the minute. I keep finding plans, printing them out and doing day one but then the next time I run I think I’ll try this, or try this combination of run/walking etc. I know I’ve been making progress with my running but part of me can’t help but feel it’s all been a bit of a fluke so far.

This morning (Monday – This is a scheduled post) I decided to go back to basics, back to where it all began (in 2012 when I started running) and did Couch to 5K Week 1 Day 1. I thought I’d breeze it on the treadmill, after all I’m already doing parkruns. I actually didn’t though. It was a good workout and by the end I was sweating! I rounded it up to 2 miles by adding in two extra 1 minute runs.

But now what do I do. I’m thinking of sticking with the Couch to 5K but then what should I do at parkruns? I’ve been doing 30 seconds of running and 45 seconds of walking recently and have felt ok with that, not brilliant but it’s ok and manageable. Or do I just go and run when I can and walk when I need to? Is this the approach I should just take to running? Who says it needs to be so regimented?! There’s also the beginners group at my running club coming up at my running club, do I join that?! Gah, everyone makes it all look so straight forward but getting started is definitely the hardest thing.

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January Memories Through The Years – The Cake Edition

January is my Birthday month. So I hereby dedicate this post to Cake!

January 1984. It’s my 1st Birthday and Hello 80’s perm! I’m told it snowed heavily on my 1st Birthday and no one could get to my party. More cake for me suckers!

1984

My mum made most of my cakes when I was a child so I welcome you to “Cakes of the 80’s”

This was my 5th Birthday cake and is a fairground carousel.

My 6th Birthday and a clown cake. Also not to be missed, the custard cream biscuits to the right. Love a custard cream!

I’m not sure which Birthdays the next two cakes were for but here is the cake shaped like a Cat. I can’t remember if this was meant to be Garfield or my cat Rusty who was Ginger. The green cake is Slimer from Ghostbusters. I remember the teeth kept falling out!

 

On a more serious note we fast forward to 2015. Where we lived in Sheffield, was this colourful row of houses. They always used to make me smile, especially when overlooked by that blue sky! The second picture is the view from where we lived. Sheffield is so hilly there are lots of spectacular views to be had across the city.

Crookes, Sheffield

2016 saw our first January in the South and I managed to snap this gorgeous sunset picture.

Sunset

January can be a long hard month for some people but I tend to enjoy it…but probably only because my Birthday is in it!

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Books I Read in 2017

I’ve known I wanted to make a post like this all year, hence why I started writing down the books I read. I’ve just never fully decided on how to post it. I didn’t know if I should make it a review of every book, a list of the books I’d enjoyed the most or just a list of books. I think I’ve finally decided on just highlighting the ones I’ve enjoyed the most. However, if any of the others pique your interest the titles and authors are there if you want to look them up.

  1. The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks

It probably goes without sayin that the main character of this book is Flora Banks. She has amnesia and can’t remember anything from one day to the next so she has all the important bits wrote down in a book. Then Flora kisses a boy and the next day she can remember it. However the boy disappears and the book follows Flora’s journey to find him and confirm that the kiss happened. There’s a real twist at the end of the book which I didn’t see coming at all. It’s a good book and definitely a real page turner.

2. The List by Joanna Bolouri
3. I Followed The Rules by Joanna Bolouri
4. The Lemon Tree Cafe Part One by Cathy Bramley
5. The Cosy Coffee Shop of Promises by Kellie Hailes
6. The Lemon Tree Cafe Part Two by Cathy Bramley
7. The Canal Boat Cafe by Cressida McLaughlin
8. The Lemon Tree Cafe Part Three by Cathy Bramley

9. The Light of the Fire Flies by Paul Pen

The Light of the Fireflies

I could not put this book down. This book is like no other I’ve read before. It’s about a family that live in a cellar and is centred around a young boy. He has no technology bar a TV and only has a thin strip of a window. He’s not allowed out of the cellar but he and his sister hatch a plan to escape. The escape part was so tense, my heart was hammering reading it.

10. The Lemon Tree Cafe Part Four by Cathy Bramley
11. Spectacles: A Memoir by Sue Perkins
12. You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell
13. The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern

The Marble Collector

This book is about Sabrina’s journey to discover who her Father really is. As the book progressed I had no idea about what would happen next or how I thought it might end. I quite liked that about the book as books can so often be predictable. Cecilia Ahern has a wonderful way of writing. I’ve read a lot of her books.

14. Butlins and The Story of the British Seaside by Kathryn Ferry
15. The Little Teashop of Lost and Found by Trisha Ashley
16. The Girl With No Name by Diney Costeloe

The Girl With No Name

I never thought I’d want to read a book set in the war. I always see those books and pass them by but something about this one made me want to read it. Lisa arrives from Germany after losing her family. She is adopted by a couple in London but is involved in an accident during the Blitz and wakes up with no memory of who she is or where she lives. The book follows how her life changes and how she finds her feet again.

17. Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell
18. The Canal Boat Cafe Christmas Part One by Cressida McLaughlin
19. The Canal Boat Cafe Christmas Part Two by Cressida McLaughlin
20. The Little Village Christmas by Sue Moorcroft
21. The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop by Caroline Roberts

If you’d like to read about books 9-12, they’re included in my What I Read This Summer post.

I’ve already finished my first book of 2018. I started it in 2017 but finished it on New Year’s Day so I’m counting it as a 2018 book.

Do you like to read?

What were your favourite books from last year?

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How Not To Start 2018 & An Unsuccessful Southsea parkrun

My plans for the end of 2017 and the start of 2018 were mostly centred around parkrun to be honest. I was going to run on the 30th December at Southsea parkrun followed by volunteering at Stokes Bay junior parkrun on 31st December followed by doing the infamous parkrun double on New Years Day. New Years Day is the only day you are allowed to run at two parkruns. My local parkrun had purposefully chosen to start at 10.30am to allow people a better chance of being able to “do the double”.

My plans started well, we (my husband and I) got to Southsea parkrun in plenty of time and did a half mile (ish) warm up.

The sunrise at Southsea beach

The sunrise at Southsea beach

As you can see Southsea parkrun is along the prom, just like at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. I quickly took a picture of the sunrise before gathering on the start line with 292 other parkrunners.

Southsea parkrun start line

As the RD declared we were off, my husband said goodbye and he’d meet me back at the finish (He’s quicker than me) and so off I trotted. I started strong and had hopes of being able to shave those pesky 16 seconds off my time to make my parkrun improvement time 14 minutes. The first mile went well. And then during mile two I don’t really know what happened, but I didn’t feel right. I passed my husband who asked if I was ok. I said Yes but thought I’d have to walk a bit more than normal. As I kept going I could barely run at all. I felt weak, my stomach and legs were cramping and the wind was full on. I had to walk the remainder. The walkers began to overtake me and I knew I must have slowed right down. For some reason I never thought to phone my husband and ask him to come and get me, although sensible, it wouldn’t have worked anyhow as I soon saw him walking back to me. Usually he waits at the finish line as I’m only 5-10 minutes behind him but I guess he must have realised something was wrong when I didn’t appear.

We walked back to the start and I got scanned by the barcode scanners. To be honest that bit feels a bit of a blur. Once home I got out of my kit and really felt bad. My feet were so painfully cold but my body was raging hot. I was sweating but absolutely freezing at the same time. I ran a hot bath but had to get out almost as soon as I’d got in as I was barely able to stay awake.

Then I slept. I slept all afternoon, all night and most of Sunday. When I woke up on Sunday I had a blinding headache. I managed to stay awake most of the afternoon then needed another snooze before the fireworks and Big Ben striking 12. My hopes of completing the double parkrun in the morning had slipped away by now.

So now I decided to come and write this post, to take a break away from social media as people upload their smiley happy New Years Day run pictures. Whilst I don’t begrudge them making a terrific start to 2018 I’m absolutely devastated my 2018 didn’t start the way I wanted it to.

I’d even printed off this shoe that Kerry had posted on Facebook.

1000 miles shoe

Each little square has a number in and you colour it in as you complete the miles. Of course I’m not going to try and complete 1000 miles in 2018, that’d be crazy as a beginner, but I was so looking forward to colouring in 6 of those squares this morning.

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