Author Archives: bigmugofteablog

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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The Whole 5K

I wrote this for the run report of my local parkrun and decided to make it a blog post too.

I’ve been completing parkruns since May 2017. I started walking…slowly! Today was to be my 23rd parkrun but I have to admit, when I got up this morning, I didn’t really fancy it! I toyed with the idea of just volunteering, but eventually forced myself to get dressed in my running clothes.

After volunteering as Volunteer Co-ordinator I went and lined up in the starting pen, did you know there are some roles where you can volunteer and run?! I listened to the Run Brief given by Geoff and chuckled at the comedy moment when Geoff asked if anyone was running with a dog and a dog replied!

We were soon on our way and my slow plod began. At the moment I am a plodder. I have been able to run more and more since starting parkrun but have always had walk breaks. Some weeks more walk breaks than running it seemed!

As I turned at Browndown I saw a large boat out on the Solent and wondered if I’d overtake it or at least draw level with it at any point. I didn’t. As I turned at Browndown I was yet to take a walk break.

Once over the hill (I ran the hill this week!) a lady over took me and said she liked my cheer leaders. I know a lot of people at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun as I have been volunteering since Week 2 (pesky work made me miss week 1!) A lot of you know me by name due to this and me making semi regular appearances on top of that ladder. I know a lot of you by face rather than name but it makes me beam with pride when so many of you cheer me on by name. I always try and say thank you but sometimes I am pretty breathless!

As I headed towards The Shack I looked at the new work going on, on our beautiful beach. I then ran the shingle section, grateful that they’d cleared some of it to get their equipment on to the beach.

The turnaround at The Shack marked the start of the hardest bit for me as a slow runner. For some reason in my head this feels like the longest part even when in reality it isn’t. This is because I’ve already passed by most people. I look out for my friends in the crowd to make the time pass quicker. When you’re a slow runner at the back The Shack to the Finish can feel like a very long and lonely road.

The two little boys who were marshalling with their Dad at the end of the beach huts made me smile as I passed them. They were so enthusiastic and kept me going on the hardest part. The hardest part also involves the two mini mountains which I actually managed to run up this week.

As I reached the brow of the hill and ran back down the other side, with a view of the finish funnel, I thought “Hang on a minute, I’m actually going to do this” And I did. I ran all the way to the finish funnel and had run the whole 5K for the first time.

post parkrun photo

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Another parkrun PB!!

I was up bright and early this Saturday for parkrun as I was volunteering as well as running. This week I was volunteer coordinator, which basically means I gave the technical volunteers (those barcode scanning/timing) their equipment and a lesson in how to use it.

Before I knew it, it was time to shed my layers. I’d wrapped up as I knew I’d be stood around for a while whilst waiting for the volunteers to arrive. I was a bit worried as I hadn’t had time to do any sort of warm up. Usually I walk to parkrun the long way to allow me to get warmed up.

As we set off it didn’t seem to matter much. I soon warmed up as I set off. I was running on my own this week as Mike was elsewhere. I managed to run all the way to the first turn around point and back to the sailing club before taking a walk break. Without Mike’s careful pace I always set off too fast. I did my usual thing of walking when I needed to and running as much as I could.

There were 464 runners this week at parkrun and the course was really congested. There were a couple of portions of the run where I had to walk because there just wasn’t the space to over take the walkers in front of me as there were so many faster runners coming the opposite way.

As I headed along the longest part of the course (Browndown to The Shack for those in the know) I got hotter and hotter. There was absolutely no breeze. I was roasting and very glad to turn at The Shack in to a slight breeze. I get so hot when I run. When I told my friend this she exclaimed “But it’s only February!” I dread to think what I’ll be like in July!

As I was nearing the end I glanced at my watch and figured I wasn’t going to beat last weeks PB time so I thought I’d treat myself to another little walk break. Then as the funnel was coming in to sight and looked at my watch again and thought “Hang on, I might do this” cue me bolting! I have no idea where that speed or energy came from but I bolted the last 200m and got in to the funnel with my watch saying 43:31

My lungs were absolutely burning and I felt like I might burst when I’d finished. I had to sit on a bench and catch my breath before getting scanned! I sat and had a chat to a lady who had been just in front of me most of the way. She later posted on the parkrun Facebook page that I’d made her day so that was really nice. I like to spread a little sunshine 😀

Standard post parkrun picture

When the results came through whilst we were eating breakfast in the café I was delighted to see another PB of 43:27! I was over the moon. What a pleasant surprise! It seems that the more pressure I take off myself, the easier the PBs come! Strange!

After the run my IT band pain was absolutely fine which was a relief. However that afternoon I went for a walk to buy a card for someone and when I got back, the IT  band pain was back! It was only a gentle walk but it just goes to show how sensitive it must be! I’ll keep on with the exercises and hopefully I’ll see a difference soon.

I just thought I’d mention Stokes Bay junior parkrun too as I never seem to give it a mention anymore despite me being there every week. We’re still hitting high numbers every week which is amazing. We had 86 runners this week. I’m so glad we started this. Having these numbers every week just shows how much this was needed in our area.

On a final note too I wanted to mention Strava. For some reason my Strava maps are all over the place. It seems to think I’m Jesus and can run on water!

I definitely didn’t run in the sea

Does anyone else’s Strava do this?!

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GRR Beginners Group Week 3 and IT Band Troubles

On Tuesday I went to Week 3 of Gosport Road Runners Beginners Group. Again it was good fun, manageable and I really enjoyed it. I think having these sessions is what’s helping my running click in to place at the moment.

We started with a warm up and brisk walk before starting the run/walk segment. This week the splits were one and a half minutes of running, followed by two minutes of walking. This was easy in reality so what I did was run a little faster than I normally would on the run segments as I knew it’d be followed by a sweet two whole minutes of walking!

I was right up at the front of the group too which was also a little confidence boost. We had to keep walking back to try and keep the group tighter together as we spread out as time went by.

We run round and round this block

When we were done we did a brisk walk to cool down followed by some stretching. I felt good afterwards in myself but I started to get a bit of discomfort down the outside of my thigh. It definitely wasn’t a pain, but discomfort. I did a bit of googling that night and it looked like it might be my IT band.

So I did what any novice runner like myself would do and asked a professional for help the next morning. I text the lovely Anna the next morning and she gave me lots of advice, stretches and exercises. I’m so grateful that she’s willing to share her wealth of knowledge with me.

I decided to give spin a miss on Thursday as I wanted to give the IT band a chance to settle down and something I read online said you can get a sore IT band if you’re a cyclist too.

I have to miss next weeks beginners group as I have a meeting at work until 8pm. I’m disappointed to miss it but hopefully I’ll still manage to get the run in somehow, later in the week maybe.

After the session at Beginners I was speaking to one of the coaches who has encouraged me to try running more than 5K now, just upping it slowly. Obviously this is the natural next step, but why do I feel so nervous?!

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A new parkrun PB

I’m a bit behind with blogging so I apologise that this post is coming to you a bit late. This post is about last weeks parkrun on 10th February.

I was looking forward to parkrun this week as it was a takeover week by one of the local running clubs. We have around 4 take overs a year at my local parkrun by the local running clubs. The members of the club take over all the volunteer roles. They provide pacers, give the run brief etc. They’re always really fun events. This time the take over was hosted by Fareham Crusaders with a super hero theme so they became the Caped Crusaders! Fancy dress was encouraged and there were some amazing costumes, my favourites were Banana Man who ran with a giant inflatable banana and the Hulk who was the tail walker.

I went and found Mike in the starting pen. When we started we ran together but he was soon gaining on me and I was struggling. I just couldn’t get a good rhythm going. He turned to look for me a couple of times but I waved him on. I didn’t want to spoil his run. As we approached the first of two turn around points I began to get stitch. As I headed back in the direction I had just come the stitch got worse, I then lost my rhythm with breathing and I gave up a little. I took my first walk break and thought “Some days you have bad runs, today’s not going to be a PB day” I proceeded to run/walk the course just running when I could and walking when I needed to.

I was struggling big time with stitch and just not being able to get a rhythm with my feet. I don’t know, it felt clunky and uncomfortable. There were three photographers with it being a takeover and I dreaded seeing the photographs. As I passed Sarah taking pictures I shouted “I hope it’s good enough for the gram” I was only half joking but was pleased when she shouted back “It definitely is!”

Good enough for the gram!

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful and it still sucked big time. I struggled the whole way. As I ran down the last section I looked at my watch and figured it must be wrong as it only said 43:XX and I was confused because I thought I’d started it early but it was showing a shorter time.

As I ran through the finish funnel someone shouted to me I’d done a PB. I can’t even tell you who this was, by the time I’m finished I can barely think straight! I looked at my watch and it said 43:41. I didn’t believe it was a PB though because it just didn’t feel like one!

Once we were at the café having breakfast whilst the results were uploaded there started some chatter about people having not taken tokens and funnel ducking etc. and the results would have to be looked at and reprocessed. I kept thinking “That’s it then, it definitely won’t be  a PB, there must be something wrong with my watch” but even with the results reprocessed it was a PB. The parkrun timers had me at exactly the same time!

So, my 5K time is now 43:41. Lots of people commented on how strong and comfortable I looked out on the course too, which I thought was ironic giving how terrible the whole run felt!

Post parkrun photo

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GRR Beginners Group Week 2 & A Spin PB

Tuesday last week saw me back at my running club and joining in with the beginners group. If you missed my post about Week One just click –>here<–

Last week I made it in to Group Two but decided to go in to Group Three and stick with my friend Rachel who is leading that group. Rachel and Jo, the other person leading the group, took us outside and we did some warm up exercises. (I’ve since incorporated these in to my other runs) then we took a brisk walk to where we jogged round the block in Week 1.

We then started intervals of run 1 minute and walk 90 seconds. We looped round the block whilst we carried out 8 intervals of each. It was good, but if I’m honest a little easy. Because it was easier though it allowed me to chat to some of the ladies in our group. I got to know a bit about some of them and encouraged one lady to try parkrun. She said she didn’t think she could because she couldn’t complete the distance but I explained to her that you can walk it and that there’s also a run/walk pacer every week at out local parkrun. She was actually there on Saturday and completed the course in just under 48 minutes with the run/walk pacer! How awesome is that?! I hope she went home with a feeling of achievement.

At the end of the session the group were given homework to do the intervals two more times before we go back. They were all given a slip of paper with the timings on but I wasn’t! So I can slack off right? Haha not true!

I actually went out for a run the next day after work. I really didn’t want to as my back was aching from being at work all day but I knew I’d struggle to fit in another run during the week. I went out though and nail a 2.5 mile run. I actually really enjoyed it!

The next night I went spinning. We’d taken two weeks off for various reasons and oh my word it was hard, plus my legs felt tired from running the day before. However on the standing hill climbs I felt really strong, like I was running on the pedals and really getting some speed up. I was surprised to see at the end that I had gone 13.3 miles which is the furthest I’ve ever done in a class. In my first class I only went 9 miles!

Spin stats

So that’s last week rounded up for you. I went to parkrun on Saturday too but I’ll leave that for another post.

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What I’m Doing To Help My Running

So, other than parkrun and going to Gosport Road Runners, what am I doing?

I know to make a strong runner I need to work on my body as a whole, not just run. So I’ve been incorporating some other workouts in to my schedule. I have to admit, I’m no expert here. I’m just doing what I think I should/what feels right.

Spin: Since joining the gym next door to work I have been attending spin classes once or twice a week.

Yoga: I’ve seen a few runners on Instagram and Twitter say that Yoga really aids their running as it helps them stretch certain areas out etc. I started by having a look on YouTube and discovered a channel called Yoga with Adriene. There’s allsorts of workouts on there so I’ve enjoyed giving them a go. I’m finding it really helps with stretching my legs. I’m looking forward to seeing if my flexibility improves too. I also think it’d be nice to do some routines in the garden when the weather is warmer.

Strength and Conditioning: Again, I’ve turned to YouTube for this too. I like having someone tell me what to do and since I don’t know anyone that can do that in the gym, I’m sticking with YouTube. I’ve been using a channel called HASfit. They too have a good range of videos and some specifically for beginners like myself. Again, this is something I might try in the garden once the weather improves. There’s something appealing about being outdoors.

What do you do other than running?

Can you suggest anything else you think I should do?

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Another parkrun milestone

I have my own little pre-parkrun routine. I wake up and make a small coffee. I then eat a Belvita whilst drinking my coffee before getting dressed ready to go. Someone told me Belvita’s are good before a parkrun because they give you 4 hours of carbs. Anyway it works for me!

We took the long way to parkrun as usual on Saturday so that we could get a little warm up in before starting. I said goodbye to my husband as he starts closer to the front of the pack than I do, given that he’s faster than me, and I went and found my ever faithful pacer Mike.

We set off and ran. In the back of my mind I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to replicate the success of running 1 and a half miles on my Birthday. I’d been injured and only run twice since then. But we ran, at Mike’s steady pace and we chatted and we kept going.

We got to the ramp where I took my walk break last time and as we approached I said to Mike “Oh no, the mountain” Mike said to me “Come on, lean in and pump your arms” which is exactly what I did and I was at the top before I knew it. When we reached the flat before going back down the other side of the ramp Mike said “That’s not even the worst of it, it’s going back that’s the killer bit” Oh brilliant! Something to look forward to.

We continued running and had a bit of banter with the run/walk pacer. He told me if I was able to make sarcastic comments I obviously  wasn’t working hard enough haha. We then came to the shingle portion of the course and Mike told me he was going to walk the shingle. A lot of people do this as they’re scared of turning their ankle on the unsteady surface. The shingle probably doesn’t take a minute to walk over and after we’d walked over it, we ran. The rest of the way!

We finished in 45:13. I’m still finding it hard to crack 45 minutes but being able to run more each week will hopefully start to bring that down at some point.

Here I am at the end in my new running t-shirt

At the end of parkrun

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Gosport Road Runners Beginners Group Take Two

Last year I joined the Gosport Road Runners Beginners Group. I had to pull out after week two as I had an Achilles injury. I never managed to go back as my Achilles kept me out of action for the remainder of the course.

GRR run their Beginners Group twice a year; August and January. It was time for me to try again!

We were split in to three groups. As I’m already a member of Gosport Road Runners I got to choose what group I went in. Members perks! I went straight for the group being co-led by my good friend Rachel. We went out on to the cycle path that runs near the club and warmed up. We then did lots of intervals between lampposts. We ran to one then walked to the next and repeat. Then we ran two and walked one and repeat. I found it easy and manageable. I kept up with everyone and wasn’t the slowest! Relief and also a big change from when I joined in August.

After the intervals all the beginners came back together and we did a run around the block. We were told to take this at our own pace as this would then determine what group we were in to for the remainder of the weeks. I took it easy and managed to run most of the way, just needing one walk break as I definitely started too quick! When we were finished I was told I’d be in group two or I could pick a group.

They didn’t put us in to groups last time, despite saying they would, but there’s no doubt I’d have been in the bottom group as I was slower and able to run a lot less then.

I’m looking forward to the next few weeks and seeing what they entail. To the session I wore my new leggings I bought from Marks & Spencers I thought they’d be perfect for running in the dark as they have reflective spots on them. I got lots of compliments on them and were told the reflective spots were really effective.

Reflective Leggings

My priority now is to make sure I do some strength and conditioning exercises to help build my strength up and hopefully I’ll manage to complete the course this time! Fingers Crossed!

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