Author Archives: bigmugofteablog

Christmas Day parkrun

This Christmas, much like last Christmas Day, started with a festive parkrun. It’s so nice to see everyone on Christmas Day. Everyone is always in such good spirits. It’s also an opportunity, I find, to meet family of my friends as they’re persuaded to come along too.

I decided against fancy dress for Christmas Day as it was a rather balmy 12c! After seeing friends and wishing them a Merry Christmas I went and joined the starting pen. I soon found Rachel, who hasn’t run parkrun for a while and my friend Claire who I run regularly with. They both kindly offered to run with me. Whilst giving the run briefing, the RD made me laugh by saying “I’ll try and get the results out before I get the gin out” The results didn’t come out until 4pm so I’m guessing the gin won!

We were soon on our way. I’m often asked by who I’m running with “So what are you aiming for today?” and I always answer “Just to finish” I set no expectations on myself now. As we were running we chatted about how busy it was. At one point I actually felt like I was being held back a little, this was probably good though, as I always start too fast. We even ended up walking around the turn around cone due to the congestion. It was frustrating a little but also nice. As I’m a “back of the pack” runner it’s rare I have that much company around me!

I managed to run the whole course with no walk breaks. This is happening much more frequently now which pleases me. I did struggle a bit, partly because of the warm weather, and partly because on Christmas Eve we’d been out for a curry at a local restaurant. Curry, whiskey and Baileys do not make good fuel for a parkrun!

As we ran in to the finish funnel I was pretty blown away to see my time was in the 37’s!! Only just though, when my official time came through it was yet another PB of 37:59! That was the best Christmas present I could have given myself!

Just like in my last post I thought I’d compare my Christmas Day parkrun results.

Christmas Day 2017 – 46:00

Christmas Day 2018 – 37:59

That’s a whopping 8 minute difference! Progress has definitely been made!

Christmas Day parkrun

Did you take part in a Christmas Day parkrun?

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A Christmas Pudding parkrun

On 22nd December (I’m slowly catching up now) it was the official Christmas fancy dress parkrun at my local parkrun. I brought back my Christmas Pudding outfit from last year. I think my husband was pretty embarrassed to walk down the street with me dressed as a Christmas Pudding but I didn’t care one little bit haha.

When we got there I met up with my friend and work colleague Maria. She introduced me to her new boyfriend who is also a parkrunner. Bit of a shame I had to meet him dressed as a Christmas Pudding but there you go! Maria was wearing a Brussel Sprout hat which was hilarious. Maria had decided to run with me and soon Penny came to join us too. Penny was wearing one of those inflatable outfits which was Santa riding Rudolph! She looked absolutely brilliant but unfortunately Rudolph deflated half way round!

We had a quick chat and were soon on our way. As we all work in similar environments we had plenty to natter about along the way. Lots of children were keen to high five Penny as we ran by as she was dressed as Santa which was really cute. I think we all struggled a bit though in our fancy dress outfits. December was unseasonably warm and I, for one, was sweltering in my Christmas Pudding outfit! I did have a bit of a moan but Penny told me to shut up and keep running so I did.

Somehow, despite sweltering, I got a new PB. These are coming thick and fast at the minute to forgive me for appreciating every single one. I know they won’t last forever, so I like to celebrate them whilst they’re here. We finished in 39:04!!! So close to sub 39! I ran the same week in December 2017 dressed as a Christmas Pudding so I thought it would be interesting to compare the times.

December 2017 – 45:47

December 2018 – 39:04

I’m pretty pleased with a 6 minute difference to say I had 5 months out with injury!

And now, the obligatory post parkrun picture:

Christmas fancy dress parkrun

Do you compare your times?

Do you like to run in fancy dress?

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6am Run Club

Back to catching up with my posts! On 14th December I was going out with friends for breakfast at 8am. I knew that if I didn’t run before I went out then I’d probably not run at all that day. So I joined the 6am Run Club!

I only wanted to do half an hour which usually equates to about 2 miles. I’ve only run that early once before. I made sure I wore my Hi-Viz and off I went. I ran down the High Street. For some reason I like running down there when all the shops are closed and it’s just me plodding along. Strangely though I saw two people that morning. One was washing the windows of one of the restaurants. I presume he works there. He gave me a friendly “Morning!” and nod. The next person I saw was fiddling with a letter box to one of the flats above the shops. I made them jump as I passed them then they walked away. Odd!

I continued down the High Street and then weaved around a couple of streets before starting to head back home. Quite a few people had their Christmas lights up outside as it was halfway through December so it was nice to look at those as I ran. I keep forgetting I’m a bit quicker now as my 2 miles actually only took me 24 minutes! Mile 1 was an 11:45min/mile! I don’t pull those out of the bag too often but it seems I do at 6am! Anyway I got back home, jumped in the shower and just had time for a cuppa before my friend picked me up at 8am.

Post Run Selfie

The plan was to go to our friend’s house. She’s currently off work on maternity leave so we went and met her beautiful baby, her very excitable dog and had a cuppa before heading to The Tenth Hole for breakfast. On the way there we decided to go and do some Christmas shopping afterwards in Portsmouth. As I’d planned to have an intentional day off WW, for breakfast I had Eggy Bread. On the menu it says it comes with a choice of bacon or banana but I chanced it and asked if I could have both and they said yes! I then had a piece of their banoffee pie which is my favourite from there.

Molly the Dog

Banoffee Pie

Afterwards we headed in to Portsmouth and had a wander round the shops. I bought some Reindeer Christmas bedding and a couple of presents for people. I also treated myself to some new goodies from The Body Shop. I got the Peppermint Candy Cane Body Butter and Hand Cream. Both of which smell absolutely unreal! When we finished we headed back home and I had to rush to the local little Boots store to pick up a click and collect parcel I’d had sent there. I thought they closed at 5pm but actually I needn’t have rushed, they actually closed at 5.30pm! It was a lovely day with friends. I thought I’d only be out an hour or two but actually we were out  all day!

Christmas Tree

Do you ever run super early?

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Why 2018 Was Awesome!

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed ringing in the New Year and aren’t feeling too sad about saying goodbye to 2018. Now, as regular readers will know, this blog saw a lot of doom and gloom through 2018 as I went through 5 months of injury. So, now it’s time to focus on what made 2018 awesome.

parkrun:

Obviously parkrun had to get a mention here. My first parkrun of 2018 was on 6th January (I missed the double on NYD because of a horrible virus) My finish time was 45:20. I’ve now dropped that to 37:59 on Christmas Day! I also was a tourist at Aviemore parkrun in March where despite finishing in 46:18 I finished in position 28. My highest finish position to date! Not only finish times and positions though, the friends I’ve made through parkrun. I know I can ask on Facebook for a run buddy and someone will always come forward. The running community is so supportive. I’ve built my network down here (We moved South in 2015) from parkrunners and now they’re incredible friends. In April I ran Mike’s 100th parkrun with him because, this still amazes me, he wanted to run with me because I was his favourite RD. I felt so incredibly privileged that day. More wonderful parkrun-related days were meeting Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the founder of parkrun, and Dame Kelly Holmes, the retired Olympic athlete.

End of the run

Selfie with Paul Sinton-Hewitt

Dame Kelly Holmes

Travel:

I’ve not left the UK in 2018 (I went to Brazil at the end of 2018 and will go to Canada in 2019) but I’ve still discovered new and lovely places. I started 2018 by visiting Cheddar, Weston-Super-Mare and Bristol. In March I visited Scotland and discovered new places as we stayed in a different area to where we’d usually stay. In April I visited Wales, or to be precise, Barry Island. We went landmark hunting as I’d finally got around to watching Gavin & Stacey! In September we went back to Scotland where we did so much walking! My injury was finally fading and I loved enjoying the outdoors again.

Loch Morlich

Running:

My running has improved so much towards the end of 2018. However I want to focus on some of the amazing runs I’ve done that aren’t parkrun related. I ran in my local country park for the first time and discovered the cliff top run so many people have told me about. That was an incredible run but it’s a shame it coincided with flying ant day!! A year to the day after starting parkrun, I also completed my first run with The Breakfast Club. I’d never felt good enough to go before but I loved every second. In May I also did my first intervals session at Gosport Road Runners and absolutely loved it. By May my running was going from strength to strength and I was thoroughly enjoying it. In June I also ran my longest run (5 Miles) to date at the Romsey Cake and Beer Race. An incredible day and I won a prize! October was an amazing month as I started running again after my injury and suddenly found losing 2 stone had made quite a difference to my speed.

post parkrun selfie

Friends:

In June I met Woofs With Wilson and his Mum for the first time and got on with them famously. We’ve since met a couple more times and they introduced me to The Pump House, one of my favourite places in Gosport.

My friendship with Maria went from strength to strength as we went to so many spin classes and in June, I got her to come to parkrun. And got her hooked on it!

We had friends from Sheffield visit in June. The weather was sweltering so we had beach days, as well as playing tourist in our own area.

I also met up with Anna from Anna the Apple blog a couple of times at the Paul Sinton-Hewitt chat and for dinner where I quizzed her on every marathon she’s run.

Woofs with Wilson and I

Me:

Obviously in 2018 there were some great things that happened to me that don’t really fall in to the other categories. At the end of July I signed up to Weight Watchers and so far I’ve lost 2 and a half stones. It’s from the picture below people really  started noticing my weight loss.

I added another string to my bow by completing a level 2 course on Understanding Childhood Illnesses.

In December, my husband and I also celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.

Wearing the Contra t-shirt

What made your 2018 awesome? Or are you glad to see the back of it?

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My Running Goals for 2019

2019 Running Goals

At the end of 2017 I set my Running Goals for 2018. There were 4 quite clear goals but, as regular readers will know, I failed on the majority of them. It was out of my hands. I got an injury that had the physio puzzled. In the end the advice was just rest and hope it goes away. Thankfully 5 months later it did. So here we are at the end of 2018 where I’ve been able to pick up running again from October. In a weird way I’m thankful my injury was in the summer so I didn’t have to run through the heat wave!

And so my goals, well my goal for 2019, is simple. I want to just run. Run because I can, run for pleasure, run for the joy of running. No time goals, no distance goals, no races entered (apart from one) just me, plodding along and seeing how it goes. It’s always nicer to run faster or run for a greater distance but at the minute I’m happy just doing what I’m doing and having everything stay in working order.

Fingers crossed for me.

Have you thought about your running goals for next year?

Do you set New Years Resolutions? 

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My Longest Run Since Injury in 55mph Winds!

On 9th December I went to Breakfast Club with Honor (whom I ran with the day before at parkrun too) We were still in the thick of Storm Deidre so Nick (creator of The Breakfast Club) set us a route to keep us protected from the wind…well until the end!

Before we began I realised I’d left my beeper at home (I have an interval timer for my run/walks) After a quick chat we decided we’d just run and see how I got in and if I needed to, we’d walk.

Breakfast Club

So after the “Before the run” picture was taken, we left the café where we meet and ran away from the sea front. I was very grateful as the winds on the sea front were something else! We headed in to Gosport weaving through the streets of Alverstoke. I’m less familiar with these streets but in a strange way I find this helps. It makes time go quicker as I’m too busy looking around at where we are! We ran through Alverstoke village which is quaint and pretty. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it before.

Alverstoke Village

We then weaved away from there and headed back towards the sea. We ran along the sea wall at Gosport which gives you amazing views over Portsmouth Harbour. You can see the ships and ferries as well as views over Southsea. We didn’t stop to have a look though as the wind was absolutely hammering us. We then headed away from the sea wall for a short while before running through the golf course and along the promenade on the Golden Mile. It was far from Golden! I could barely move and we were unable to chat by this point as the wind was so strong.

Near the Sea Wall

Just before we hit the sea wall

We ran past where the junior parkrun starts and they were all (wisely) hiding behind a shelter to keep out of the winds. If I could have joined them, I would! As we continued along the prom you could see where stones had been flung up from the beach on to the prom and the car park was flooded where the sea had blown up and over. The wind felt like it was getting stronger as we finally reached the last part of the prom and made it back to the café.

We ran a total of 4.6 miles and I hadn’t stopped once! I guess the injury is well and truly finished with for now. It turned out the winds were 55mph that morning! Yet by late afternoon they’d dropped to practically non existent! How very unfair. A tough but pleasing run!

Have you run in crazy weather?

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Storm Deidre

Everyone loves running in a storm right? On 8th December I went to parkrun and the weather wasn’t looking good. Thanks to Storm Deidre we were going to be battered by 45mph winds coming straight off the sea! 

The winds is definitely one of the worst things about living on the coast. We never seemed to feel it living in a big city but living by the sea is a different kettle of fish. It can barely be windy on the back streets but as soon as you hit the sea front the wind comes out of nowhere.

Honor had messaged me to see if I fancied some company at parkrun so of course I took her up on the offer. I think I was now up to 5 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. It was pretty windy throughout the run. Going to the first turn around point the wind seemed to be behind us so it aided us a little. As we turned around though the wind was brutal from the side. I was freezing all down that side and couldn’t wait to hit the next turn around point so the other side could cool off and my cold side warm up! 

As we turned at the 2nd turnaround point the wind was absolutely horrendous. Honor and I weren’t really able to talk because we just couldn’t hear what the other was saying. I remember I kept shouting “This is so hard” It was like running on the spot. I felt like I was going absolutely nowhere! 

Somehow I managed to finish with a PB! I’m chipping away at the 39s now. My finish time was 39:37. 

I insist everyone who runs with me has a selfie taken with me. For my own memories really! So obviously Honor and I had a selfie. I tweeted it and parkrun included it on their Twitter which was pretty neat.

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Was It A Running Injury?

I’m about a month behind on updates about how my running is going! Oops! Hopefully over the Christmas break I’ll manage to get caught up.

On 27th November Maria and I went back to the spin class we used to attend at the gym. We haven’t been to a spin class since I got my injury on 9th June. We were looking forward to getting back to it. I’d left it so long after my return to running because I wanted to be so so sure that everything was ok. 

Before Spin

Obviously we take our class very seriously, and before it began, we took selfies with filters. We were pretty pumped to find out the class was our favourite one. We do Virtual Spin, which basically means they play a video. It’s a bit like doing a DVD at home, except you’re in a spin studio.

We really enjoyed the class and both left absolutely buzzing. Completing a spin class gives me that high feeling. I’ve yet to experience that from running! To quote one of my favourite movie characters, Elle Woods…

So really spin class is keeping my husband safe too! 

However, the next couple of days, as well as the saddle soreness you experience from a spin class I could also feel my injury. Don’t get me wrong, it was nothing like as painful as it had been. In fact it wasn’t so much painful, but really uncomfortable. Which makes me wonder, was it a running injury after all? Perhaps it actually came from a spin class and running the parkrun that morning just upset it further? Perhaps that’s why when the physio asked me what I did to cause it, I didn’t know the answer. I didn’t do anything, I was just plodding along.

That uncomfortable feeling lasted a good couple of days. As a result, I haven’t been back to a spin class again. My running is going so well at the minute I just don’t want to risk aggravating the injury again by continuing to spin. I’m pretty disappointed though because I do love the spin classes.

Have you had to give up something you enjoy for health reasons?

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My Running Christmas Wish List

I actually haven’t got as many items on my wish list this year. The reason being that I’m losing weight so I don’t want to get too many things that in a few months won’t fit anymore. If you want to read my wish list post from last year then it can be found here –> My Christmas Wish List 2017

Without further ado here is my 2018 Running Christmas Wish List.

runr hoodie

The runr Midnight Hoodie in Island Blue. Modelled by my lovely friend Kerry! runr hoodies are such good quality but it’s time for me to size down!

runr tshirt

runr Midnight t-shirt in Berry –  I’ve never been able to fit in to one of runr’s tshirts before so now is the time. I figured this was a nice little reward for losing weight.

Contra running tights

Contra Movement Women’s Running Tights – The profits from the items you buy on Contra go back to parkrun which is why I like using them for running gear. I’m struggling for running tights that aren’t too big at the minute so these will be gratefully received.

Nike tights

Nike Running Dri-Fit Power Essential Running Tights – Again, I’m struggling for running tights that aren’t too big so it’s time for me to size down. I’ve always worn Nike to run in so I’m just topping up the collection.

What’s on your Christmas running wish list?

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Hitting A Goal

Since my injury in June, that lasted 5 long months, I gave up on the goals I set for 2018. However, to my surprise I actually hit one on Saturday 24th November. If you didn’t read the original post where I set my goals, you can revisit it here –> My Running Goals for 2018

So….the goal I hit? This one:

40 minute 5K

On that Saturday I managed to go sub 40 minutes at parkrun! As you know, if you’re a regular reader, I’m still returning from injury. I’m run/walking parkrun each week. This particular week I hadn’t asked anyone to run with me at parkrun. I wanted to see how I got on running on my own and listening to my body.

It was a complete mix of feelings. The first mile I struggled. I felt like I couldn’t get my breathing right, my body was asking me “What the hell are we doing?” and it was just a struggle. The 2nd mile however I felt like I was flying. I had a moment when I finally reached the finish funnel before the first runners finished. This never happens! Then I hit mile 3 and I was struggling and fatigued. I was running near two older gents who were chatting and I heard one of them say “Well I’d like to finish somewhere in the 30’s” and I thought to myself “You’re going to be sorely disappointed” because I’m never anywhere near the 30s. I always finish in the 40s.

Anyway I ran through the finish funnel, went to stop my watch and couldn’t believe what I saw! I’d finished in 39:45! After being so injured where I thought I’d never run again, I can not believe I’m nearing the end of the year with a sub 40 minute 5k!

Have you hit any milestones with your running in 2018?

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