Monthly Archives: May 2019

Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun

On 11th May I went to Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun for my 8th parkrun location. I picked up Maria and we made the short journey to Portsmouth. We’re so lucky having so many parkrun locations so close to where we live. This was really easy to get to and had the bonus of plentiful free parking.

Once we got there we went and shivered whilst waiting for the new runners briefing. It was surprisingly cold! We bumped in to Lorna who I met through junior parkrun. It was nice to see her as I’d not seen her for a while. We then went and listened to the new runners briefing. The lady giving the briefing was really funny. She was also the tail walker and was so encouraging, cheering people on and giving high fives. She’s a real credit to the parkrun team.

I’ve never been to Portsmouth Lakeside before but it just looked like an business park. However, once we got going I soon realised there was much more to it. Behind the buildings was a wooded area with a lake. It was really pretty. I ran with Maria, as we no longer work together, parkruns are our catch up time. We both said how nice the course was and how pretty it was. We also couldn’t believe how it suddenly became really warm as the sun came out. Shame it hadn’t been out when we were waiting for the off!

We ran at a good pace but towards the end I felt myself flagging a bit and Maria had to encourage me to keep up with her. I always think I set off too quickly but my splits were actually pretty consistent, with my last mile being my quickest! Maria told me to sprint finish but I couldn’t manage one, I’d given everything I had in the tank. Strange that the last mile was my quickest though! I finished in 35:32.

Post run

I actually felt really hot when we were running but for once, in the picture I actually don’t resemble a tomato!

Do you like trying new parkrun courses?

Do you like to give a sprint finish?

Tagged ,

The Breakfast Club Charity 10K

On the May Day Bank Holiday I completed the inaugural Breakfast Club Charity 10K. The race had an early start at 8am. I got there for 7.30 so I could pick up my bib and have multiple nervous wees! This was my first 10K since 2014. I’ve never run that distance since. My 10K PB was set in 2013. Back then I completed the 10K in 1:37:39. My only target for the Charity 10K was to complete it, but preferably in a better time than 1:37:39.

It was only a small field of 100 runners. There was just a bit of a crowd at the start line so I just positioned myself in the middle and hoped for the best! I don’t think anyone was planning on setting any records so I didn’t experience any jostling or feeling like I’d started too close to the front and I didn’t feel held up like I’d started too far back.

Before the race

Maria and I before the race

It was quite a sunny day with a slight breeze at times. Luckily the first part of the run was along a shady street. I fully appreciated this as I’m not good in the heat! As we turned out of that street though there was no shade at all. I was definitely thankful of the early start as it meant we beat the worst of the heat.

As I was running a lady caught up with me and stayed alongside me. We got chatting and she told me I was running at her normal pace so we stuck together. It really helped me having someone to chat to, it made the miles pass by quicker. The first part of the race headed back towards where I live. The turnaround point was just one road away from home! I tried not to think about it!

As we headed back from that first out and back it was really hot. There was no breeze or shade until we got back to the road where we ran first. I was grateful for that tiny respite as I knew as soon as we turned off this road we were running along the prom and then there’d by no shade whatsoever.

My new friend, Charlotte and I continued chatting. We found we had a few things in common which was nice. It was so hot I’m sure I’d have had a cheeky walk break had it not been for chatting to her. As we completed our run up the prom, we then turned around and I said “This is it now, just one mile left to go” I could see the finish line as a tiny dot in the distance but I kept telling myself every step forward made the finish line closer.

Final Sprint

Final Sprint

I began to fade in the last half mile and I told Charlotte to run on without me as I was really starting to flag, I think the distance and heat had taken their toll. I crossed the finish line about 10 seconds after her. When I stopped my watch I was very pleased to see 1:13:25! That’s 24:14 off my 2013 time! I’ll let you in to a secret though, I’m glad my next race is only 5 miles!

What race distance do you prefer?

Do you prefer smaller races?

 

Tagged , , ,

A Shiny New PB!

After a really poor run earlier in the week, where I got to 2.5 miles and gave up, I wasn’t looking forward to parkrun on Saturday. Whenever I have a bad run I get thoughts of “What if that’s it and I can’t run anymore?!”

So it was with some trepidation that I headed to parkrun on my own. As soon as I got there I spotted Louise and Sam and had a little chat with them before seeing Gary who used to be my local parkrun event director. I had a quick catch up with him before seeing Penny and Pete. They were both wearing their London Marathon t-shirts. Penny asked if we could run together and I eagerly said “Yes please!” I wanted to hear every detail of her London Marathon story.

Just before we set off Louise asked if I wanted pacing but I told her I wasn’t sure I was ready for it this morning. Instead I positioned myself with Penny just behind the 35 minute pacer. We listened to the run brief and then were off. Just as we were getting going someone suddenly lost their footing behind Penny, resulting in them punching Penny in the back and sending her flying. Somehow though, he managed to regain his footing, grab Penny and hoist her back to standing just before she really fell. It was so fast and surreal! He apologised profusely and then carried on leaving me and Penny wondering what just happened. I asked if she wanted to stop as she’d taken a fair whack but she said she was ok.

As we ran Penny told me all about her London Marathon. I actually felt emotional as she told me about them reaching Tower Bridge! She told me lots of different things and I asked her so many questions about different things. All the while we had the 35 minute pacer in sight but because I was listening to Penny I didn’t really think about it.

As we were running Penny asked if I was ok and I admitted to her we were running a bit faster than I was used to but it felt comfortably uncomfortable (if that makes sense!) Then as we were crossing the shingle for the first time, I lost my footing and nearly went flying too! Somehow I managed to pull it back and stay upright! As we went around the second turn around point and started heading back to the finish funnel Penny told me about someone running for the same charity she did. She arrived in London to find her Air BnB had cancelled on her and everywhere else was full. I can’t imagine the absolute panic she must have felt! Fortunately all the charity runners had a WhatsApp group and someone managed to find her somewhere to stay. How lucky!

As we approaching the last bit I had a glance at my watch and it was on 31 minutes. I remember thinking “Ooo it shouldn’t take me another 5 minutes until the end” but because I was still listening to Penny I didn’t think much more of it. As we got to the final stretch Penny encouraged me to give it my all and sprint finish, which I tried to! I didn’t feel like I had much left in me as we’d run quicker than I was used to anyway. As we went over the finish line I looked at my watch and couldn’t believe it when I saw a 34 at the beginning! I actually felt pretty emotional. Penny gave me the biggest hug. We’d not even tried and I’d gone and smashed my PB! My previous PB was 36:18 and now it’s 34:41!!!!!! It’s so crazy to think my first parkrun was 58:24. I’ve knocked 23 minutes and 43 seconds off that time! For such a long time I was at a 45 minute 5K time and I was pretty happy with that. Now I’m nudging ever closer to a 30 minute 5K!

Penny and I

Have you done the London Marathon?

Have you ever achieved a PB without really trying?

 

Tagged

Storm Hannah Blows Again

Storm Hannah came to town again on the 27th April and joined us for another parkrun. I’d run up on the cliff tops and through the woods just the day before and it was just a little breezy. Nothing major at all. Saturday morning though we were back to 45mph winds!

I went to my home parkrun this week as I had two friends reaching milestone runs. Lei was running her 100th parkrun and Gemma was running her 50th. It was also my running clubs takeover at parkrun.

Walking to parkrun I definitely regretted not taking a jacket! Whilst listening to the run brief, it was absolutely freezing. I’d positioned myself in the starting funnel between the 35 minute and 37 minute pacer. My PB is 36:18 so I thought if I could keep the 35 minute pacer in view I might have a shot at a PB. I did get my last PB in 55mph winds after all! However as soon as they said 3,2,1 Go both pacers shot off in front of me. I tried to keep up for a short while but after looking at my watch I realised I was running a 9 minute mile pace! I knew I couldn’t maintain that so said to Maria I was going to ease off as I thought the pacers had gone off too fast.

Maria raised the very good point that the wind was currently behind us and now wasn’t the time to spend extra energy as we’d need it when we turned to run in to the wind. When we did turn around at the turnaround point the wind hit us. It was as if someone had whacked a treadmill up to full incline, that’s how hard it felt pushing against the wind. We really struggled and conversation fell by the wayside as we were struggling to catch our breath and we wouldn’t have heard each other speak anyway! As usual as we passed the finish funnel where it’s so open the wind felt even stronger! It’s hard staying upright when coastal running in strong winds.

As we turned at the next turnaround point though the wind was back behind us and pushing us along! It felt glorious after slogging away for so long. We were able to talk again and it actually felt quite easy! I needed it though after pushing against the wind! It was at this point I spotted the 37 minute pacer walking. I soon overtook him.

With Gemma

With Gemma who ran her 50th parkrun

I managed to finish in 36:22 just 4 seconds off my PB which in that wind, I’ll take! I looked at the finish times of the pacers. The 35 minute pacer finished in just over 34 minutes. No wonder I couldn’t keep them in sight! I don’t envy them, I think pacing is probably the hardest volunteering job! I definitely want a crack at being paced to 36 minutes though.

With Maria

Have you ever paced at parkrun?

Have you ever used a pacer at parkrun?

Tagged ,

Another Bluebell Wood Run

After I posted my Bluebell Wood run on to Strava, Maria asked if I’d take her on the same run. We agreed on the Friday of that same week. We met bright and early at 7am so we could get the run out of the way early on.

We started running and pretty much stopped within a minute as we spotted some little wild rabbits. They were very cute and hopped around a little before disappearing. We then carried on and climbed up on to the cliff tops. Thankfully the weather had cooled down a bit from the Easter weekend so we ran in cooler conditions than I had on the Monday.

We stopped briefly to admire the view at the cliff top edge and then pressed on. Time passed by quite easily as we were busy chatting and catching up.

We then came across the rapeseed field and took a few selfies in there. We marvelled at how all we could hear was bird song. There was no other noise which is part of the joy of trail runs.

Selfie in the rapeseed field

We pressed on and came across the Bluebell Wood. We took a slightly different route in here, to that that I’d taken on Easter Monday. Not going to lie, I couldn’t remember which way I’d gone in the woods on the Monday. We popped back out and I didn’t know where we were but a quick look on Google Maps pointed us back in the right direction and we were soon back on the footpath we needed to be.

Bluebell Wood

We then carried on and turned away from the coast to go inland a bit. At this point I actually felt pretty comfortable. I was a bit worried the night before as I hadn’t finished work until 8.30, I was really dehydrated and didn’t eat until about 9.30pm. However, once finishing work I’d tried to make up a bit of my water intake and before setting off had a hydration tablet in some water so I think this time I was lucky!

When we finished our run it was strangely a half mile shorter than the same run on Monday! I know we took a slightly different route in the woods but it wasn’t anything like a half mile distance. It was nice to be finished just after 8am though and already have my 10,000 steps in for the day.

Do you prefer to run in a morning or evening?

Tagged ,

Bluebell Wood Run

On Easter Monday I went out for a trail run. My run club were offering a Bluebell Wood run on the Thursday which I couldn’t make because of work so I decided to give it a go on the Bank Holiday instead.

I scouted out the route on Strava from someone that had run the route last year and wrote down some directions….which I promptly forgot to take with me! However I was convinced I could still get us round it as I’d studied the map lots when looking at the route and I had my phone with Google Maps on so all would be well!

We got up at 6.30am to try and beat the hot weather. When we left the house at 7.15 it was nice and cool. We drove to the car park at the bottom of the cliffs and went from there. We climbed up the narrow path to the cliff tops. It was quite the obstacle course as there were lots of nettles! Luckily I managed to avoid them.

I really wanted this run to be all about the views and not the pace. I stopped frequently to take pictures.

Cliff Top

Up on the cliff tops

After the cliff tops we headed inland following a footpath alongside farmers fields. There was a field full of Rapeseed so obviously I had to take a photo in there.

Field of Rapeseed

As I then continued up the footpath I came across the woods. I took a detour in the woods to see the bluebells. The smell was absolutely beautiful as there were hundreds of bluebells.

Bluebell Wood

Bluebell Selfie

After tromping through the woods we headed back to the path we were on and continued on. We passed some stunning houses and then took another footpath which then began to wind us back to where we’d parked the car. We very briefly (perhaps 200 metres) had to run on a road to cross from one footpath to another. The road was a 60mph road, so glad we weren’t on there for long. We then ran alongside a canal back to the car.

It was a hot, but thankfully not as hot as I’d thought, run. We managed to cover a not-too-shabby 5.2 miles!

Do you like trail running?

Tagged ,

Moors Valley parkrun

It was supposed to be a scorcher on the Saturday of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. I hate the heat. I don’t cope well with it and running is even worse. So I decided a different parkrun was needed, as running along the prom at my local parkrun provides no shade whatsoever. We decided to head off to Moors Valley parkrun which is held in Moors Valley Country Park and Forest. The run route is through the woods so although not entirely shaded, it would at least have some shade and respite from the sun.

We invited Maria along and after picking her up we headed off. It takes around 50 minutes to get there and luckily we didn’t hit any traffic, which is good because we didn’t factor in any time to allow for traffic! When we got there we had about ten minutes to spare so had a natter in the car. We watched a guy parked in front of us conceal his car key in his petrol flap! Anyone watching could have easily stolen his car if they wanted to!

We made our way to the start area and boy was it crowded! We couldn’t really hear the run brief so I didn’t know if we’d be doing the same route we did when I first went to Moors Valley in December 2017. Luckily I wasn’t going to be leading the pack so I figured we could just follow the person in front!

Before parkrun

Before parkrun

As we set off Maria and I ran together and had a nice natter about life and work. It was already pretty warm but for most of the run I managed to run in the shade, apart from when the route came out of the woods. I’d run the whole thing until that point but I just got so warm I couldn’t catch my breath and said to Maria I was going to have to walk. I probably only walked for a minute but I just needed to get a grip on my breathing.

The course was lovely in the woods and then along a footpath beside a lake. It was ever so slightly undulating but nothing too bad.

During the run

During the run

Afterwards we drove to a nearby pub for breakfast which was divine. I ordered the big full English. When it arrived it came with one more sausage than it was meant to! Winning!

Do you run well in the heat?

Do you go for breakfast after parkrun?

Tagged ,

If We Were Having Coffee…

Latte

If we were sat having a coffee and a natter I’d tell you about…

Weight Watchers

My Weight Watchers class has unfortunately been closed down and moved. I used to struggle to get there for 7pm when it was close by but they’ve now moved it a 15 minute drive further away and changed the time to 6.30pm so it’s just not feasible anymore for me to go. I struggled to get there before so I have no hope now. However I’m going to change my membership to an online membership so I can still follow the programme. I’ll see how that goes. I actually haven’t lost any weight for a long time. I’ve lost 3 stone now. I haven’t put any weight on I’m just stuck at the 3 stone mark. I’m not getting too hung up on it though. I’m currently feeling fitter than I’ve ever felt. I’ve also gone from a size 24 to a size 16. Although I’m not losing weight, I’m losing size so I’m happy with how things are. I have more to lose but it’ll happen when it’s ready.

Zumba

I’m absolutely loving my Zumba class. Don’t get me wrong, I’m terrible at it! But I don’t care. I dance like no one is watching and absolutely love it. My Zumba instructor is a really lovely lady who gives great instructions and has the right balance of a little chit chat but also gets on with the class too. The first time I went to Zumba, I knew two people there. Now when I go, most weeks I don’t know anyone, but that’s ok. I’m pretty comfortable going in to that situation so it’s all good.

Work

I started at my current work two years ago. I was called in to the office the other day for a “chat” I had no idea what it was about, but much to my surprise, they offered me a promotion! It was very out of the blue but they said they really wanted me in that position so I said Yes! I’m really looking forward to it!

Tagged ,

Longest Run Since Injury

The week ending with Good Friday I had a random mid week day off. I’d already decided that I wanted to go out for a run and in my mind I wanted to run 5 miles. I’ve run quite a few 4 mile runs now and managed these fine. But I’ve not done anything more than 4 miles since my injury in 2018. For those that don’t know I had an injury that started in June 2018 and lasted until October.

I planned my route out so that it stayed local and at about the halfway point I wouldn’t be too far away from home so if I needed to or wanted to quit, I could. I started on the residential streets before dropping to the beach and running part of the parkrun route and then going further in to Fareham and then back again.

Mile 1 passed by absolutely fine. I think because I was on the residential streets and weaving my way through to the beach, the time passed by quickly. However miles 2-3 were pretty dull. I was on the parkrun course, which obviously I run a lot. I don’t tend to run with music, but actually during this time I wished I’d have brought my earphones to pass the time a little. However, I gave myself things to focus on and managed to get by. Miles 3-5 were great. I was in the groove by this point, it was nice to run somewhere a bit different and the run felt good. By the time I reached 5 miles, a little earlier than expected due to bad planning, I felt like I could have gone on for longer but didn’t. I didn’t want to push my good luck!

View on my run

It was meant to rain on my run but luckily the rain stayed away for the duration which was pretty good! It was very grey though! To be honest, I’d rather that than running in the heat!

Do you listen to music when you run?

Do you ever get bored on runs?

Tagged

Ipswich parkrun

I recently had the opportunity to visit Ipswich. As I have a friend who lives there and they have a parkrun I jumped at the chance.

My friend Neil used to run weekly at my local parkrun but then had to move to Ipswich for work. I was gutted to see him go and on his last week at Lee I arranged a shoutout for him at the run briefing. Neil is super fast. He finished first at my local parkrun on more than one occasion! I told him I was going to be in the area and asked if he’d be at parkrun that week. He said he would and would keep an eye out for me.

We arrived at Ipswich parkrun bright and early. We got parked easily in a local car park and then followed another person in lycra to the park. I just figured he’d be a parkrunner and luckily for us he was!

When we got there I looked around for Neil but couldn’t see him. I got chatting to two locals, after asking them where I could leave my jacket. They told me briefly about the route (terrified me more like) and then explained that usually the parkrun is in a different location. They also pointed out the new runners brief so I thanked them and headed over.

The guy giving the new runners brief was naturally very funny. He too scared us with the route. Two hills of doom! And then asked where everyone was from. He asked if I had come to collect my letter I for the alphabet challenge. He was a bit disappointed to hear I was just here because I was in Ipswich haha.

We then headed down to the start area and eventually found Neil! We had a brief chat but then the run briefing started so Neil went to take his place up at the front. The run briefing lasted a whopping 10 minutes!!! And then we were on our way. It starts with the uphill section and it goes on for quite a while. However, because it was so congested it was a slow start so I managed to run up the whole of the hill. I had to weave around a lot of people as lots walked it from the get go.

Lap One

The course is two laps with the second lap being slightly different as you veer off to take the route to the finish funnel. After the uphill the course is a slow downhill and kind of meanders around the park. The park is very well looked after. There was no litter and lots of gardens that were really pretty. When I got to lap two and back to the hill I tried my hardest to run as much as I could. I kept saying to myself “The more you run, the further up the hill you get before you have to walk” Unfortunately I did have to walk though. I just couldn’t make it all the way up. As soon as I got to the top though, I ran again. Just as I’d started running Neil came back to find me. He then joined me for the rest of the route which was lovely. We caught up and chatted about life, work and parkruns. As we were running though we saw 4 people, at different times, that had had accidents. One woman was laid flat out on her front. They put on their Facebook page later that everyone was ok! How scary though!

With Neil

Apart from the hills the Ipswich course was actually very enjoyable. I’d definitely go again and it was so nice to see Neil again. My finish time was 37:08 which I didn’t think was too shabby for a course with hills and where I’d walked.

Have you ever had a fall during a run?

Do you prefer a hilly or flat run?

Tagged ,