Monthly Archives: March 2018

Aviemore parkrun

I spent last week in Scotland! There’s a holiday update coming soon but let me tell you about what we did on our first day there. We went to Aviemore parkrun.

I adore Scotland, the beautiful scenery and miles of lush countryside just waiting to be explored. It’s perfect. I particularly like the Cairngorms National park and have visited many times so when I heard Aviemore had it’s own parkrun I knew I wanted to go next time we were there. I then heard it only gets around 50 people. Then I definitely wanted to go! My local parkrun gets between 350-450 runners. As a slower runner I’m always near the end so the prospect of a top 50 finish was very alluring!

Aviemore was only an hour from where we were staying so after a quick check of their Facebook page to make sure they were on, as there was lots of snow in Scotland, we set off with my obligatory Belvita and cup of coffee.

parkrun selfie

Pre parkrun picture

When we arrived I introduced myself to Pete the Run Director and told him where we’d come from. He gave us a warm welcome but did seem slightly bemused that we would travel so far! He gave the Run Brief, then we walked to the start. It had said on the course page that it was a short walk to the start but I didn’t expect to have to go through a tunnel! How cool is that?!

tunnel to the start

The tunnel to the start

Anyway we set off and I soon found myself running beside the tail walker. She introduced herself as Claire and we started chatting. She was such a lovely lady and we chatted about everything from pets to races we had coming up. The run starts by heading through a woodland area and soon opens up. The whole run is on a firm woodland track. I imagine it can get a little boggy but the ground was very frozen when we were there. There were a couple of patches that were sheet ice that I chose to walk over. I didn’t want to break my leg on holiday!

The course is described as an undulating out and back course. However because I was chatting away to Claire I didn’t notice the hills too much which surprised me as all my running is on pancake flat roads! We reached the turn around cone and started to retrace our steps and then there was the moment! The moment that sets this parkrun apart from any other is when you turn and see the Cairngorm Mountain. It’s beautiful. It’s absolutely breathtaking and seeing it covered in snow gave it an almost magical feeling. That moment was incredible and rendered me speechless…for about 30 seconds. I like to talk…a lot! I just wish I’d thought on and snapped a picture!

There were some nice downhill sections on the way back which were great but then Claire told me we were at the last kilometre and it was all uphill. When we got to the start of the hill I, somewhat foolishly thought, “It doesn’t look that big” but it was. It was big and long! Claire gave me a good tip of taking smaller steps and that helped. Usually I try to lengthen my stride on the mini mountain of my local parkrun.

As we reached the end I was given an almighty cheer by the volunteers which was awesome! The volunteers were all so lovely. I was given my finish token and was just about to get it scanned when I thought to check my position number and was super surprised to see I finished in position 28!! I told the barcode scanner I just needed to take a picture of my token which amused her! Claire then explained to her about our large numbers at my home parkrun and it soon made sense.

finish token

After taking a picture I thanked Claire and thanked the other volunteers. We then went to the designated café which was upstairs above a lovely homeware shop. I ordered the smashed avocado and eggs on toast which had been recommended in the run brief and it was absolutely delicious!

When the results came through I was pleased to see I was only 2 minutes outside of my PB despite it being a hilly course!

We both really enjoyed Aviemore parkrun and would definitely go back. It reminded me of the much more local Moors Valley parkrun so I feel the need to revisit there again soon.

What’s the furthest you’ve ever travelled for a parkrun?

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The Beast From The East

I’m a little behind with blogging so forgive me for having to mention the The Beast From The East! On 3rd March I was due to be Run Director at my local parkrun. There had been forecasts for snow but being on the South Coast, snow is quite a rarity. I’d prepped the kit naively thinking there wouldn’t be any snow, or if there were, there wouldn’t be very much of it.

Thursday afternoon came and so did the snow. It got so bad that work started to send people home. I left just after 2.30pm. The snow continued and in to Friday. We were given a snow day at work on Friday which meant I could make the final checks on the kit. By Friday night we were starting to think of a plan for the Saturday morning.

Myself and another RD agreed that we’d meet at 7am and walk the course to see how the promenade was looking. However, once she arrived at my house we already knew it was a no go. I couldn’t stand on my drive without sliding on the ice. When I managed to get off my drive the pavement was hard compacted ice. We made the decision to cancel.

Myself and the ED went down to our starting point at 8.45 just in case anyone hadn’t seen the announcements on our social media. We turned 4 people away which wasn’t too bad, it meant the message had got through. We did feel really bad for once fella. He’d travelled to us from Chichester after they had cancelled the night before. He told us he’d not seen the announcements on social media but this was to be his 99th run and the following week he’d travel to Manchester to run his 100th run whilst his brother ran his 200th. Now he was going to have to run his 99th in Manchester! Oops!

We were definitely justified in making the cancellation but I did feel bad for him!

Snow on the prom

The next day was like the snow never happened. It all melted, there were blue skies and sunshine! Crazy!

I went for a 4 mile run the next day. I had a rough idea of where I’d run that would be around the 4 mile mark but decided to take a couple of detours, you know, to explore? Yeah I got lost…twice! During the run I struggled too. I know some days you have bad runs and this was definitely one. It just felt hard. I managed to do it slightly quicker than my previous 4 mile run though so that’s good. I also got a little boost when I passed by two friends from parkrun who were making up for their missed run the day before.

4 mile run

Obligatory post run picture and stats! Excuse the filter, sometimes I do like to dabble with a snapchat filter!

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More Running and What My Physio Told Me

Hello all. I hope you’re all keeping warm as we experience “the beast from the east”

Monday is currently my long run day, if you can call it that. I don’t work on Mondays and I’m usually recovered from parkrun so I try to get in a longer run in the day time. This Monday, off the back of running the whole 5K I wanted to try 4 miles after completing the 3.5 mile run last Monday. To be honest I wasn’t expecting to replicate the success of Saturday’s parkrun. I thought my legs might be too tired (although they felt fine) and I just thought it might not happen again. It took me a while to go from running 2 miles to then be able to run 3 miles.

I’d decided to run the parkrun route and then repeat a small section to take me up to 4 miles. Down by the beach it was chilly (-1c) and breezy and sunny. This is the sort of weather I like to run in. I overheat so much when running that being able to run in cold weather helps me go that bit further. So I set off on Monday and felt fine, after the first mile I’d found a consistent pace, my breathing was good and I was enjoying the views over to the Isle of Wight.

I ran the parkrun course…without stopping and by this point I felt strong. I wasn’t struggling with my breathing (something I really struggled with in the early days) and nothing was hurting (always good) so I pushed on. I ran the first part of the parkrun course again, just turning back a little earlier so I didn’t end up finishing too far away from home. After running I get really cold really quick so didn’t want to spend too long outside afterwards. I completed 4 miles of solid running. When I set off I’d said to myself if I was struggling I could always stop after 5K or even at 3.5 and if I did make it to 4 miles, I’d like to do it in under an hour. But I didn’t struggle at all. Running finally seems to have clicked for me and I am loving it.

The selfie I posted on Instagram afterwards. You can follow me on there, username: bigmugoftea

Monday afternoon I went to see a local physiotherapist who comes highly recommended. He really seemed to know what he was talking about but I almost wish I’d taken a note book in so I could remember everything he said. I wanted a sort of runners MOT so I can keep ticking over until the Great South Run. He has given me exercises to improve my glutes and hip strength. He also made a couple of recommendations for new trainers and compression socks.

The next night I was back at Gosport Road Runners for Week 5 of the Beginners Group. The sessions are loosely based on the C25K plan. The longest run this week was 5 minutes. Because I know these are intervals I’m able to run that little bit faster as I know there will be a walk break. I actually led the group some of the time and was called back for getting too far ahead. It sounds ridiculous but that moment felt great!

My spin class was cancelled tonight due to the snow and I was sent home from work early so this afternoon I’ve been prepping the parkrun kit as I’m RD on Saturday, which of course means no running at parkrun for me. If there is a parkrun anyhow! I’ll see how the weather goes but my plan is to try and do 4 miles before junior parkrun on Sunday morning. This is to replace both my parkrun and long Monday run as I’m working on Monday this week.

I also worked out that during February I ran a total of 31.6 miles. That’s probably the most I’ve ever run. I know it seems so small compared to some of the figures I’ve seen but this is an amazing amount for me.

How was February for you? Have you been affected by the beast from the east?

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