We all have our favourite bits of running kit so I thought I’d do a post about some of the things I can not run without.
parkrun barcode band
On every run I wear my parkrun wristband. As you can see in the picture it has your ICE (In case of emergency) details on as well as any allergy information. Whilst I don’t have any allergies, I wear my band just in case anything should happen. At least that way if someone found me, they’d be able to contact my husband.
I also always wear my FlipBelt which I bought at the National Running Show earlier this year. I chose the reflective design to give me that extra bit of “being seen” on dark night/morning runs. I honestly don’t even notice I’m wearing it. I put in my phone, as well as my keys on to the key loop which gives me extra security.
These have been an absolute godsend! I know they seem to be a bit of a craze at the moment and everyone has a pair but they’re really that good. They have a special coating on the frames which prevents them from slipping. At first I was dubious, I sweat a lot, I thought they were bound to slip. I was pleasantly surprised to find they don’t budge.
I only run in Hokas. They’re my go to trainer brand. The soles are like pillows. They give amazing cushioning and support. I know some people don’t like them, but I love them!
Do you have go to running items?
Do you tend to stick to the same brand of trainers?
Way back in 2016 I wrote a blog post called Fantastic Mr Foxabout the foxes in my garden. We still have a regular fox in our garden every day. So I thought I’d do an update of some pictures.
At the moment the fox is there when we wake up in a morning and tends to slope off around 8 or 9pm. He spends pretty much most of the day asleep. He usually sleeps on the grass but has been known to sleep in other places.
It’s pretty much always the same fox in our garden at the minute. He’s distinctive by his tail. It looks like he’s been in some scrapes and this shows on his tail. He recently had a fight with a badger. I’ve honestly never seen or heard anything like it!
He never really bothers chasing the many birds we have in our garden. The other day he was laying fast asleep and received a nasty peck from a Magpie! He jumped up immediately, but when the Magpie flew away, he just laid back down and went back to sleep.
We never put food out for the fox. I think living where we live, food is probably in plentiful supply. There are lots of food outlets nearby where he can probably feast if he gets in the bins, and I dare say he does.
We’re really lucky that, even though he pretty much lives here, he doesn’t leave us any “packages” in the grass! I don’t know if they try to keep their area tidy perhaps? Either way, I’d like him to keep this up!
He is both timid and brave. There’s times where he’ll jump up and run away if he sees us move in the house, but there’s other times where he’ll come right up to the patio door and have a look inside, which then allows me to take pictures like this!
He’s quite a character and I’m thankful he’s pretty well behaved whilst he’s here.
On Friday I went to see a physio following the weird feeling I had in my calves. (Read about it here)
It was a different physio from the last time I went with my previous injury. However this lady was equally as lovely. By the Friday my calves felt probably 90% better but there was just that 10% where I could feel whatever it was in both calves.
I explained to her how it might be a bit of something and nothing. I told her runners say about how tight they feel. I don’t feel like I do enough running to know what all these things mean but my calves definitely felt a bit tight.
I wish I could remember everything she checked. She was so incredibly thorough. It turns out I do have tight calves, particularly the left which is where the uncomfortable feeling started last Saturday.
She did a couple of tests where she’d put my leg in a certain position and then push on it, asking me not to let her push my leg down. I then had to tell her where I could feel it. It turns out my left side is weaker than my right.
To try and fix the imbalance she has given me some exercises to do. The clam if you’re a Pilates buff. She’s also given me some stretches to do to try and improve the tightness in my calves. She also asked me not to run or Zumba for a week “Booooo hiss” but on Friday I’m to try a little run and if it feels ok I can run on either Saturday at parkrun or Breakfast Club on Sunday but not both. Sad face. I’ll probably do parkrun as that’s the shorter of the two.
So, fingers crossed it improves by next Friday.
Do you visit a physio regularly or just when injured?
Do you incorporate strengthening exercises in to your routine?
Today is International Yoga Day! Whether you attend a weekly class or practice at home the benefits of Yoga are undeniable. I love that Yoga is for everyone!
I’ve never attended a Yoga class at a studio or gym. Instead I choose to practice at home. There are lots of ways to practice at home. You can use a book, follow a DVD or put on a YouTube video. Personally I use a YouTube channel called Yoga With Adriene. Adriene has over 5 million subscribers! That’s a lot of people using her videos to practice at home, but it also a testament to how good she is. She has a friendly persona and gives good clear instructions.
I don’t practice full body Yoga regularly. Instead I use Adriene’s videos to pinpoint certain body parts. If I have lower back pain, I’ll find a video to help with that, or at the moment I’m really struggling with tight legs so I’m using a video for that.
Yoga makes me feel more relaxed, it helps me stretch out my post run muscles and helps me become stronger.
It’s all over the media, everywhere we look, how our oceans are being destroyed by our use of plastic.
I saw something the other day that said it’s not about making the odd big change, it’s about making small changes consistently.
Recently I also watched the first part of a BBC series called War on Plastic with Hugh & Anita which focused on single use plastic in the home. It’s pretty shocking seeing how much we have.
I’ve been making some small changes lately so I thought I’d write about them here as it is something I’m becoming increasingly passionate about.
I’m guilty of buying bottled water. I think we probably all are. We always have 2l bottles of water in the fridge. After watching War on Plastic (which spoke about bottled water) bottled water is now no more in our house. Instead we have bought a water dispenser for the fridge so we always have cold water, which I’m sorry to say is the main reason we buy bottled water.
One thing that’s really been brought to our attention in the media is the use of plastic straws. I have to hold my hands up and admit, I am not a fan of paper straws. They go soggy which just feels weird in your mouth, and turn to mush when you have them in a cold drink for a while. So I’ve bought us a set of metal straws. We got 6 so can keep some in the car and some on me for when I’m out and about.
Another change I’ve made is always having cloth bags on me. I keep some in the car for when I’m out and about and have some in the house for when I walk round to the shops. This means I’m not using carrier bags. I’ve really made the conscious effort to remember to take them out with me every time I go to the shops. I’m also saving money as I’m not buying 5p and 10p bags. The advantage of cloth bags is I can also just pop them in the wash when they need a bit of a spruce up!
Trigger Spray Bottles
Before each time I ran out of something in a spray bottle I’d simply buy a new one. However, where I can I’ve now started buying the refill pouches so what was supposed to be a single use plastic is now a multiple use.
How are you making changes to be more eco friendly?
On Saturday I headed down to parkrun as usual. I’ve had a terrible week and hadn’t done any exercise since last Sunday when I ran at Breakfast Club.
When I got there I had a good natter with Maria whilst we waited for the off. I was also volunteering to token sort afterwards and hoping to speak to two new potential Event Directors for an up and coming parkrun in my local area.
We set off and everything felt absolutely fine but as we got to the first turnaround point my left leg felt “weird” I don’t really know how else to describe it. It wasn’t painful but was starting to feel uncomfortable as we went further on. I slowed it down a bit, then told Maria I needed to walk. As we got back to where we started I said to Maria I thought it best I stop. It wasn’t massively painful but it definitely didn’t feel right.
We sat and had a natter whilst we waited for everyone else to finish. Despite me telling Maria she could go on without me she kindly stayed with me. As we were sat there chatting I noticed a large lump on my outer calf about 3 inches above my ankle bone! Once everyone had finished Maria left and I collected up the tokens. I met up with the other lady I was token sorting with, she had been marshalling at a part of the course I never reached. We walked up to the café together and my leg felt absolutely fine. Her husband met us at the café and we did the token sorting, along with a couple of others who came over to help, one being my lovely friend Mike. This was my 175th time volunteering at parkrun!
Obligatory token sorting picture of me holding token number one!
Once we’d finished I went over to chat to the core team. Two of them are hoping to set up another very local parkrun but are having some difficulties with one particular aspect. We chatted about the route they’ve found which sounds fantastic. They said they needed a winter route too and I offered them a 5K route I’ve run in the past that is a suitable winter course.
When I left the café my leg felt absolutely fine so I did a gentle jog home. It’s only 5 minutes from home when running. When I got back I had a bath with muscle soak and when I got out, both my legs had the same weird feeling. I *think* it’s tight muscles, although obviously I don’t definitely know. I took ibuprofen for the remainder of the day, iced it and wore my compression sleeves. I’m writing this on Sunday morning and again they both feel tight, although less so than yesterday. I’ll take ibuprofen again and then try some gentle stretches again. Fingers crossed this doesn’t develop in to anything.
Have you ever had to pull out of a parkrun?
Do you ever volunteer at parkrun? What’s your favourite role?
I feel like I’ve run in a storm in each month of 2019! The only downside to living on the coast is you get battered by winds and Saturday’s parkrun felt just like that.
I’d arranged at Zumba to run with Claire, one of my Zumba instructors. She wanted a slower run as she was starting work at 10am. I got down to parkrun early to have a natter with my friend Maria before we ran. Maria wanted to run alone to see where she was at (She finished in just over 30 minutes) so we had a good natter beforehand. By the time I’d walked down there I was already freezing from the strong winds so was glad when Maria suggested sitting in her car until nearer the time.
We got out at ten to 9 and Claire came and found me. It was so cold listening to the run brief as the winds were howling! Luckily by 9:03 we were on our way. As we ran the first section I told Claire about the Romsey 5 Mile Beer Run and she told me about a race she was doing the following day. As we turned at the first turnaround point the wind hit us like a brick wall and the grind began! Our friend Angela caught up with us and then to my surprise Mel did. Mel’s mum passed away on the Friday hence me being surprised to see her. She ran with us for a bit and told us her Mum had had a stroke on the Monday. She was really upset but appreciative that she could come to parkrun and be with friends. She told us her brother had come down to be with her, meaning he’d missed his 250th parkrun. I’ve met her brother a couple of times and went and offered my condolences after we’d finished running.
As we reached the 2nd turnaround point, Kaarina, the marshal at the turnaround point said “You’ll be really fast now with the wind behind you” Unfortunately the wind was coming straight off the sea and getting us side on rather than being behind us! It was slightly easier though.
I finished in 35:58 which I was happy with. I’m not running a lot at all at the moment so I’m glad it’s not affecting my times too much at the moment.
Janet took this picture for us and her husband said I needed to treat myself to a new smaller t-shirt! You can see the wind blowing up it and making it flap! It’s a shame once you’ve got a parkrun t-shirt you aren’t able to buy another one.
June marks the halfway point for 2019! Do you think it’s flown by or is this year taking it’s sweet time for you? I don’t really feel either way, I think 2019 is passing by nicely, but not too fast. I thought it might be nice to reflect on my year so far and see how far I’ve come.
I started January horribly ill at New Year for the 2nd year running! Meaning I missed the New Year double at parkrun and didn’t get my first run in until the 5th! I did travel to Barry Island for some tourism in January though and absolutely loved their course. I also got featured on parkrun’s social media platforms with this picture.
I also went to the Running Show which was so inspiring and met fellow blogger Mary and elite athlete Jo Pavey. January also saw me run my 50th parkrun with a time of 39:29
In February I got in a good mix of parkruns and evening runs. This is definitely something I need to get back to but I ran an evening run recently and felt absolutely horrendous. It’s really put me off! But in February I was running in wind, rain and cold temperatures! I also did my longest run of the year at 4 miles. February also saw a new parkrun PB of 37:05. Soaking wet hair in the photo below after an evening run!
March felt like the month of running in storms. The one downside to living on the coast is you get battered by winds whilst the rest of the country barely feel a breeze! I managed to score another parkrun PB in March during crazy winds of 36:18.
Check out my hair in the wind!
As well as a parkrun PB I went to Penrose parkrun in Cornwall.
March was also the month I went to my first Zumba class. I went alone, something I’d have never had the confidence to do before. I love it and I’m not afraid to admit I now have a Zumba addiction!
April didn’t contain a parkrun PB but I did run my longest run of the year, 5.2 miles. I went trail running, something I’d really enjoyed just before I became injured last year and then missed any opportunity to do it again.
April also saw parkrun tourism in Ipswich and at Moors Valley. I’m really enjoying visiting different parkrun locations.
May included a pilgrimage to Bushy parkrun, which was incredible and also a new parkrun PB of 34:41. This is my current PB. I also completed my longest distance of the year which was also my first race of the year, a 10k race. I set a great new 10K PB too of 1:13 which knocked over 24 minutes off my 10k PB.
Maria and I before the race
It’s safe to say 2019 has, so far, been a year of personal bests and great achievements. I’m so pleased with how my running is going but I definitely need to focus a little more on my running. At the minute my only consistent run is a parkrun on a Saturday. With my other exercise being a Zumba class. I want to get back to exercising 3 times a week consistently. And hopefully with that the remainder of 2019 will see me getting stronger and fitter still. This post has really inspired me to keep going as all my hard work is paying off and I want that to continue.
How’s your 2019 shaping up?
Do you find it’s good to reflect on how far you’ve come?
On Sunday 2nd June I completed my 2nd Romsey 5 Mile Beer Race. If you want to read about my first time it’s >>here<<
I was eagerly watching the weather leading up to this race and groaned when I realised it was going to be a scorcher just like last year. However, this years race was so different to last year. Once again, I have to thank Anna again for introducing me to this race.
I was supposed to run this race with my husband but unfortunately he had a migraine the day before but wasn’t well enough to take part. He did however play chauffeur and photographer for me so it’s not all bad! I was semi-nervous of the hills on the way there. I remember it being so hilly last year and although I’ve done some hills, I haven’t done a lot of hills.
When we got there I went to join the queue for the portaloos where I met up with both Anna and Martin. All the cool kids hang out in the toilet queue haha. Afterwards I went and collected my number and then pinned it on to my t-shirt. I took extra care this year as I did it so badly last year!
I found some runners from my running club and waited with them for the race to start. We started fairly near the back. This was my plan as I didn’t want to feel rushed along (resulting in me setting off too fast). The race starts with a lap of the field, then out on to the road. I remember last year I had to walk after leaving the field. I’d probably not even done 0.2 of a mile! Thankfully that wasn’t the case this year. I fell in to step with a lady and after a while I thought that she seemed to have a similar pace to me. I looked at my watch and we were doing around an 11:30min/mile so I thought I’d stick with her as she seemed to have her pacing nailed!
The race is in and around the village of Braishfield which is absolutely stunning and has some really beautiful houses. I loved looked at them all as we went by. I was so hot running but looking at the different houses helped take my mind off of it.
Last year I felt like the race was really hilly, but this year I felt like there were only two hills, although you do one of them twice, so three hills. I was so pleased that I ran them all this year. In fact I only took one tiny walk break. The lady who I was running alongside must have sensed my footsteps dropping back and she turned to me and said “Come on” I’d probably walked for 5-10 steps! That’s actually the only time during the race we really spoke. Apart from when we passed by a gate where a donkey brayed loudly and made me jump out of my skin and shout “Oh my god” She laughed at me!
I felt really strong throughout the race but the last half a mile I started to flag. I was so hot and pouring water over my head only gave a temporary relief, and resulted in me being absolutely freezing once I’d finished! As you come to the end of the race you have to do another lap of a field and my word, that field feels huge! I just wanted to be finished by this point and it felt like a grind getting round the last bit but I was super pleased to cross the line. I received my beer and cake token upon finishing and boy had I earnt them.
As I came out of the finish funnel there was the opportunity to look up your time. I thought that was pretty neat. My official finish time was 1:02:18 – that’s a 17 minute improvement on last years time!!!
I thanked the lady I’d followed. I told her I hadn’t felt capable of conversation but it was nice to be in company throughout the race. I didn’t find out her name at the time, I’ve since looked at the results and seen she was called Jess. She paced me perfectly without even knowing it!
After looking at my result I immediately went and claimed my free beer. Although I opted for a shandy version as I thought that might help rehydrate me better after sweating wildly. I then joined the very long queue for cake. I went for a slice of Victoria sponge this year and was oozing with jam! It was amazing!
I left the race pleased with my performance but already wanting another go! I’ll definitely be signing up for 2020 and maybe I’ll be able to get rid of those pesky 2 minutes and 18 seconds.
Would you do a beer race?
Do you prefer running in warmer or cooler temperatures?
When I ran with Claire at Breakfast Club we had a good natter about Zumba. Claire is a Zumba instructor (although not my instructor) and is the one who got me to attend Sally’s class. She showed me the Zumba instructor app (I also learnt a Zumba instructor is called a Zin!) and the videos where they learn the dances. She told me most of the routines are also on YouTube where instructors have filmed their classes.
On the Bank Holiday Monday I thought I’d see if I could make a Zumba routine using YouTube. I actually prepped Sunday night and made a list of songs I could remember from the class and finding the correct routine that we do. I also found some others that I wanted to try to songs that I like.
So on Monday I was all set up and ready to go. I pulled up my YouTube playlist and danced around my living room for 45 minutes. I’m not a very co-ordinated person but I’ve found Zumba uses a core group of moves and now I know these it makes it a bit easier to follow the routines.
45 minutes later and I’d burned 400 calories! Zumba is definitely what you put in to it. You can take it easy and follow along half heartedly or you can attack each move and give it your all. It’s a good cardio workout. My heart rate sits just a little below where it does for running which just proves how hard it works you.
I really enjoy my Zumba classes but it’s great knowing I can practice at home too and for free!