Monthly Archives: May 2018

Intervals!

Finally up to date! On Tuesday (22nd May) I went to my running club, Gosport Road Runners. I’m not going to lie, it had been such a hot day at work I didn’t want to go but a couple of colleagues encouraged me to put on my kit, start heading to club and see how I feel. As I go the same way home as I do to club I could easily just pull off towards home when I got there instead of carrying on. However, as you’ve probably guessed, I decided to go on the way home.

I’d seen previously that there was going to be an intervals session tonight and I’ve been wanting to give it a go since I was advised it’d be good for my running. I’ve never done a proper intervals session before so I was slightly apprehensive. I felt better though when I saw there were quite a few people I know in the group, including Mike who I like to parkrun with.

We started with a warm up as we walked to the cycle track where we were going to be doing session. We then had to run for 4 minutes, before having a break. I started way too fast and could barely finish the 4 minutes! Oops! I slowed down a little for the next burst which was 3 minutes. We then did 2 minutes and then a final 1 minute. I was able to push a little harder on the 1 minute as I’d just about got my breath back!

As we walked back to the start the instructor explained to me I should have got faster with each run section. That definitely would have been handy to know before we started! Guess I should have told him I’m a newbie in advance.

We then did another game where  you worked with a partner. You ran to the first cone and back, then recovered whilst your partner did the same, when they got back you ran to the second further away cone and then back and they did the same. You were meant to partner up with someone who had a familiar pace to you so that you had a good recovery time. I, however ended up partnered with a very fast runner. Still, I did the session. Afterwards, despite only doing little over 2 miles I was shattered. Once I’d caught my breath and had a sit down I realised I’d thoroughly enjoyed the session.

Imagine my delight when there was someone taking photographs of the session too! Good for the blog but bad for my ego. This picture is horrendous but I’m doing it for the blog!

Intervals

Have you ever done an interval session?

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Longest Run to Date

On Sunday (20th May – phew, nearly caught up) I went to Breakfast Club again with Honor.

As is customary at Breakfast Club, a group photograph was taken.

Before Breakfast Club

The picture doesn’t show how hot it was. It was misty but so warm still.

The route this week was a little more inspiring as we ran along the promenade, known affectionately as Gosport’s Golden Mile. We then headed through the gate at the end of the prom and ran up to Fort Gilkicker which is currently being converted in to luxury apartments (Isn’t everything these days?)

We then ran through Gosport & Stokes Bay Golf Club and back on to the road. As we ran Honor told me a bit of history about this area which was lovely. I still sometimes feel like such a newbie down here.

We hit our half an hour but we were really close and Honor suggested that if I was happy to, she’d like to take me there to see the view of Portsmouth Harbour. Obviously I was more than happy to and so we carried on, only for a couple of minutes more to get to the sea wall.

I wish I’d taken a picture as the view was absolutely glorious. The sun was glistening off the water, there were boats here and there and we could see Fort Spitbank some way out in the water.

We turned round and headed back. When we reached the Golden Mile again I commented to Honor how we’d probably click over 4 miles this week. She said she thought it’d probably be about 4.5 miles by the time we got back. I told her that’d be my longest run ever. As we clocked over 4 miles I told Honor how I was still feeling pretty comfortable. It wasn’t until we got to 4.25 that I said I’m beginning to feel it now. We could see the finish though and I knew I’d make it.

When we got back I was so pleased. I couldn’t stop smiling as I’d just done my longest run and on the whole it felt really comfortable. 4.53 miles in 1:04:51. I’m pleased with that and now the Romsey 5 mile race feels manageable. That’s a huge relief!

After group photo:

After Breakfast Club

For breakfast I had mushrooms on toast as I’d seen Honor have this last week and it looked divine. It was so tasty! I really enjoyed it. I also had an iced latte which was perfect to cool off with after such a hot run.

What’s your longest ever run?

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Gosport Road Runners parkrun Takeover

Just over a year ago I wrote this post – My One Year Plan – On 19th May the final piece of the plan came to fruition.

We host 4 takeover a year at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. My favourite one has always been Gosport Road Runners takeovers and this year, as a member, I was allowed to volunteer and take part as a member.

I had volunteered to pace. This is a role I’ve never done and I know you’re probably thinking “Woah, you paced?!” but don’t worry. I was only the Run/Walk pacer. That’s probably the only one of the pacer roles I could do.

I got down to parkrun early as I was also volunteer co-ordinator. After giving the volunteers their instructions I put on my pacer vest and found my place in the pen.

I started the run with a lady who told me she’d played squash for years and it had wrecked her knees. Now she was trying to run but had never done an out door run, just running on the treadmill at the gym. She told me she couldn’t run for that long so I explained to her how the run/walk would work. After maybe 5 minutes or so she said she felt she could run a little longer than the run/walk offered so she’d run on.

I felt a bit disheartened. I was excited to be the run/walk pacer for the first time but I had no one to help! I decided to treat it as my own interval session instead. I ran a little faster than I normally would on the run sections but then walked at my normal walk pace on the walk sections.

I love this picture Chris captured of me going one way with the 30 minute pacer heading the other way.

Run Walk Pacer

As the run went on I definitely felt it. I pushed harder and by the end I was thankful to be nearing the end! So many people asked me if I was ok when they saw me walking. I guess they didn’t realise I was pacing and they’re used to seeing me running now.

As I entered the finish funnel I was definitely ready for the run to be over! Intervals on no fun on 3 miles!

Run Walk Pacer

I’d aimed to come in somewhere between 45-50 minutes as run/walk pacer. I came in with a time of 45:09. I was pleased with that.

Have you ever paced at parkrun?

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New Running Friends

On Thursday (17th May) I headed to my running club. I haven’t been for ages but as my friend couldn’t make spin class I thought I’d show my face. My club always post the run options the night before and I’m going to be honest, there’s not always something for me. However this week there was a walk so I thought if nothing else came up with a slower pace I could always join the walk group and it’s still at least some movement.

When I got there I found Rachel and said hello. She asked if I was running so I explained the situation. Rachel is a long standing member of our club and she said she’d find me someone to run with. She came back a few minutes later and introduced me to 3 ladies heading out for a slow and steady 3 miles.

I was a bit apprehensive about heading out with people I didn’t know but we soon got chatting. That’s the thing about being a member of a run club, you all have at least one thing in common, running! As we ran along I found my pace matched pretty much perfectly with one of the women. We ran together as the other two women ran/walked. We’d stop periodically to regroup and then run on.

The lucky thing about where I live is, you’re never too far from a beach! We headed out of the club, past Alverstoke Lake where some children were having a kayak lesson and then on to Stokes Bay and along the prom. It was a warm one but absolutely beautiful out. We stopped at the half way point to regroup and have a little breather. We bumped in to the walk group and had a chat about our upcoming club takeover at parkrun.

We then ran back to club. Afterwards the lady I ran with thanked me and said that’s the best she’s run in a long time and I’d really helped her to keep running as she’d have taken more walk breaks without me. I felt pretty chuffed with that. It’s usually others helping me, not the other way round!

Are you a member of a running club?

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Breakfast Club

On 13th May, exactly one year since embarking back on my running journey I went to Breakfast Club. As most of my readers don’t live in Gosport I’ll explain what Breakfast Club is.

Breakfast Club is organised by local running legend Nick. You meet at Bayside Cabin (lovely little café) at Stokes Bay at 8am. The route is posted on Facebook/Strava the night before. You then run 30 minutes out and 30 minutes back. Basically you run at  your pace  and you go however far you go in that hour. Afterwards you go for breakfast at Bayside Cabin where you have a lovely chat with other runners. Pretty much perfect!

I’ve always wanted to go to Breakfast Club but know there won’t be anyone there at my pace, however, Honor, my parkrun friend and fellow RD, said she’d run with me. Hurrah! So off we went.

Before every Breakfast Club there’s a group shot taken.

Breakfast Club

The route wasn’t so inspiring this week, we ran away from Stokes Bay, back towards Lee-on-the-Solent down the side of a dual carriageway. However for me, it was about endurance. Running for an hour is something I haven’t done in quite some time.

The time passed quite quickly as I chatted to Honor and focused on not going off too fast! I definitely didn’t want to be flagging after 30 minutes and have another 30 to go! Honor and I chatted about everything from parkrun to crocheting to dogs! The dog conversation came after we stopped for a second to chat to an owner of a Saint Bernard who took offence to Honor! He growled at us so we soon left the conversation!

It was only towards the end of the run where I said to Honor that I could feel myself struggling. We were about 55 minutes in to the run though so I managed to hang on. We ran 4 miles in a time of 58:57. I was pleased with 4 miles as that’s the furthest I’ve run in a while.

Afterwards we went for Breakfast. The menu at Bayside Cabin has items named after local boat trips. I ordered a Gosport Ferry (a small brerakfast) but you can order a Wight Link Ferry (slightly bigger breakfast) or a Channel Ferry (even bigger breakfast). We ate breakfast with Claire who I ran parkrun with in April. It was really lovely and I knew I definitely wanted to go again.

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parkrun Number 31 With a Double Buggy

I’m still catching up with my blog posts…

After putting out a call for someone to run with on Facebook, parkrun number 31 (12th May) was run with Caroline who is also a member of Gosport Road Runners and a yummy mummy to two lovely boys.

On arrival at parkrun I noticed Anna had come down! She hadn’t told me she was coming so that was a lovely surprise. We had a quick chat before I went to find my place in the starting pen.

I met up with Caroline and said hello to her boys in the double buggy she was pushing. She allowed me a try with it to see how heavy it was. I can confirm it was heavy! But surprisingly had really good steering! We set off and Caroline told me “If I’m too quick or start getting too far in front just shout me back” I replied with “As long as we stay under 15 minute miles I’m happy”

Our parkrun can be quite congested in parts and I definitely experienced this on a whole other level with Caroline. It was difficult for her to be able to over take people and frustratingly after we’d over taken someone, they then over took us but then slowed back down in front of us!

We chatted along nicely and I was surprised when mile 1 popped up on my watch at a 13:43 minute mile. I told Caroline we might need to slow a bit but at the minute I was comfortable so we’d keep going as we were. I don’t know Caroline that well so it was nice to have someone new to chat to and learn a bit more about. She actually made me laugh out loud quite a few times.

We were just passing the finish funnel when we saw Anna as a blur heading past us on the finishing straight. She looked remarkably fast! I then turned my attention to the upcoming ramp and asked Caroline what she planned to do. She told me she’d run up it so I felt I had to run up it too, after all if she can do it pushing a double buggy then I certainly could do it.

Caroline continually asked how I was doing and were we ok pace wise. I still felt quite good and was pleased to see mile 2 pop up with a 14:08 minute mile. We then came to the dreaded shingle and Caroline said she’d catch me up as the double buggy was hard to get through it. It’s hard enough running over on your own never mind with a buggy but she did it.

I told her how the part back from the turn around to the finish point was the absolute hardest for me as it’s often very quiet by then and it feels like the longest part when in actual fact it’s the shortest. Caroline took the lead a little here to spur me on I think. It definitely worked and she pulled me through mile 3 with a 13:23 minute mile! My quickest mile out of all 3! During this mile we also saw Anna on her way back to the car. She told me she’d just gone sub 20. I was so pleased for her and then bored Caroline with Anna’s Brighton PB story too!

As we neared the end she told me to go for it and make sure I over take the elderly gent in front. The elderly gent was John who runs in the 85-89 age category! And still beats me nearly every week! Also check out Coach Keith in the Hi-Viz jacket. I’m pretty sure he’s laughing at my cheeky over take!

Finish Funnel

When we finished I was very pleased to see I was just over a minute off my PB. That’s the best I’ve run for weeks! Caroline told me afterwards she’d seen how close to my PB we were near the end and sped us up a little. I didn’t even notice! I’m definitely getting better at just running and not watching my watch to see if I can get near my PB. parkrun is meant to be fun after all!

Afterwards, Caroline asked me for a selfie, obviously I obliged!

Caroline and I

My running is really improving and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

 

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An Amazing Run Along The Cliff Tops

After parkrun on 5th May we sat in the café with fellow runners and listened as they told us about a trail run they’d done on the Thursday. The route sound pretty, scenic and on the trails. A friend recently suggested to me that if I did more trail running, I’d then find the tarmac runs at parkrun easier so I’ve been looking for a trail route since then. We stalked their Stravas (how else do you find running routes?) and made a plan to run it on Bank Holiday Monday. The route pretty much followed the Solent Way.

We got up super early to try and beat the heat! We were at the car park near to the start of the trail for 8am. People were sat in their camper vans having breakfast when we arrived and one lady was having a cup of tea on the beach. The first part of the trail involved some climbing to get up on to the cliff tops so we ran in places and also walked a little. We were there behind some walkers and as the trail was very narrow we had to walk at some points. It soon opened up though and we were able to run quite freely.

I commented to my husband that this was going to make a great blog post and so he made it his mission to capture some pictures for me. Knew there was an advantage to running with him!

We had to stop a couple of times to just take in the views. We started the run at Hill Head and were heading along the coast towards Warsash. The picture below is looking back towards Hill Head.

View from the Cliff Tops

It was nice to stop, catch our breath, take in the views and not worry about time or pace.

At one point we had to drop down to the beach to continue along the Solent Way. It was really quiet on the beach with hardly anyone around.

View from the beach

We also had to cross this quirky little bridge. We decided to go over it one at a time just in case!

Bridge

We ran two miles out and then turned around and headed back. It was such a lovely route that I know we can extend next time we run.

Trail Running

The only down side to this run was the flying ants! At times it felt like we needed to run with propeller arms to try and whip them away. It didn’t work though!

How do you find out about new running routes?

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My 30th parkrun and Steak!

We’re still going back in time to catch up with my runs…

On 5th May I completed my 30th parkrun. I was apprehensive after my disastrous morning run on the Wednesday before. Even though I’m learning not every run is going to be amazing, I still worry what if they all feel bad. I was also apprehensive because of the heat. It was already very warm when I left at 8.40am.

Today I was running with fellow parkrunner Janette. Janette used to regularly run parkrun but now due to work commitments has struggled to attend so she was looking for a gentle plod. And if you’re after a gentle plod, I’m your girl.

We ended up running with Ange too. Both of them were really lovely whilst we were running, continually checking if I was ok as I’m really not good in the heat. Gingers aren’t made for heat waves!

I actually managed to do quite well though. I walked twice, once at the top of the mini hill where I just needed to catch my breath and then again on the shingle section as I’m just so scared of turning an ankle on the deep parts. Shingle is not easy to manoeuvre over.

I managed to finish in 45:24 which I was pleased with. When I was walking to parkrun that morning I’d said to myself if it’s too hot just walk it as I really do struggle with heat. My average pace was 14:22 minute miles and mile 3 wasn’t my slowest for once! Meaning I actually sped up during mile 3!

30th parkrun

In the evening we went to Miller and Carter with my Mum as it was her Birthday. Miller and Carter is a steak house and I’m pretty sure it’s nationwide. I had a ribeye steak, my favourite, and a side of Lobster mac and cheese. I’m so disappointed in myself though as I didn’t take any pictures apart from one of the coffee I had at the end of the meal!

Post meal Latte

On the way home we stopped to look at the sunset, which was beautiful.

Beach sunset

Do you prefer to run in the warmer weather or cooler?

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An Early Morning Disastrous Run

On Wednesday (2nd May) I decided to try and get an early morning run in as I’d missed going to my run club night the night before. I set an alarm for 4.45am and was out of the house by 5.10am. I thought it would be light but it was actually still dark and it was a little drizzly but nothing too major, however the wind was absolutely horrendous. My original plan had been to run the parkrun route but because the beach is so open and exposed I knew the wind would be even worse there so I decided to try laps of a 1 mile route I’ve worked out near my house.

I set off and at first it seemed to be ok. However, I set off too quick and by the end of the first mile I was struggling. I was battling the wind too on one stretch of the lap and it was like running through treacle. I was moving my legs but not going anywhere. I also had to run past the bakery on the High Street who were already baking something that smelled absolutely divine and of cinnamon. It was lovely but also stomach turning at the same time? Maybe it was the ungodly hour!

By the time I started my second lap I was hating every second so decided to battle out this one lap and then quit. After having such good runs I was a bit gutted by this run but  I’m slowly learning that not all runs are good and that’s ok. Looking at the positives the miles were all under 15 minute miles again so this is good, especially since I was battling the wind.

What’s the earliest you get up to run?

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Alver Valley Run

I’m really behind with my blog posts so forgive me as we head back in time just a little to catch up.

Following my good run with Mike and Janet on Saturday at parkrun I was keen to keep the momentum going. I’ve always heard good things about Alver Valley Country Park which is right on my doorstep. Despite this I’ve never been! I’ve heard it’s good for running so I decided to go there on the Sunday (29th April).

Before we left my husband plotted us a 5K route on a path that seemed to go through the centre of the park. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting when we got there. I thought it’d be a nice off road trail route. Instead we’d got a concrete path that was pretty much a road!

We still had a good run though. My husband and I struggle to run together as his pace is faster than mine but I can run for longer than him. However we stuck together and it actually meant he had a good run too as he ran the 5K without stopping, well other than our picture stops, like this one.

Blossom Tree

We ran across Apple Dumpling Bridge which I’ve heard of a few times. It’s infamous for flooding but luckily for us it was fine to cross. We also ran past a pond/lake which was pretty and seemed to be popular with birds. There was a hide too so you could sit and watch them.

All 3 miles were under 15 minute miles so I’m pleased with that. It was nice to explore somewhere new to run but I’m going to be honest, it didn’t quite meet my expectations.

Where do you like to run? Trails/Road/Beach?

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