Category Archives: Fitness

My Christmas Wishlist

I love looking at these on other people’s blogs. This isn’t a gift ideas post, this is a list of the items I’ve asked for, for Christmas. It’s mostly centred around running to be honest with just a sprinkle of girly glitter.

parkrun wristband

parkrun wristband

Available from parkrun barcode

Cath Kidston glitter bag

Cath Kidston Glitter Bag

Available from Cath Kidston

eGlove touch screen running gloves

eglove touch screen running gloves

Available from eGlove

Black & Gold Runr Hoodie

Black & Gold Runr hoodie

Available from Runr

Runr Midnight Hoodie

Runr midnight hoodie

Available from Runr

Mermaids don’t have thigh gaps gym tshirt

Mermaids don't have thigh gaps tshirt

Available from OBD Clothing

Nike Running Tights

Nike Running Tights

Available from Very

Nike T-Shirt

Nike t-shirt

Available from Very

Nike Long Sleeved Top

Nike Long Sleeved Top

Available from Very

What’s on your Christmas wishlist?

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I Am A Broken Runner

Since getting back from my holiday to Brazil my running was going really well.

At the weekend, before last, I’d run/walked Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. I started with run 1 minute and walk 1 minute as there was a pacer (my lovely friend Rachel) but as I got to the first turnaround point I was struggling to keep up. It was perhaps a touch too far from the 30 seconds run/1 minute walk. I dropped back to my usual and completed the course that way in a time of 45:47, only 22 seconds off my PB.

On Tuesday I went to Gosport Road Runners and joined my lovely friend Rachel again who was leading the run/walk group. We did 1 minute run and 1 minute walk at a slightly slower pace than parkrun. I kept up and we completed 2.7 miles. I was really pleased and enjoyed the chatty sociable run. I met a couple of people I’d never met before including a chap named Sid who has been a member of Gosport Road Runners for over 30 years. He was a funny guy who had me laughing all the way round and took my mind off the run. Beforehand I had been apprehensive about going as it was after work. I work long hours, I never seem to drink enough and there isn’t the opportunity to have a snack before heading out. Everything that could make a run disastrous. But I did it, and now I know I can do it again!

On Thursday I went to Virtual Spin at the gym with Maria from work. It was a different video to the ones we had done before and there were a couple of sections that were killer! It was good though. I always leave spin feeling like I’ve had a really good workout.

On Saturday I was the Run Director at parkrun. It all went really smoothly with no real incidents so I enjoyed it a lot. That afternoon I did my run. It had been so cold on the seafront and so windy I decided to do 5K on the treadmill. The run went fine. I did 1 minute run and 1 minute walk and it felt fine and at one point I felt really strong and like running was finally clicking in to place. After my run I stretched and then when I removed my trainers I got the dreaded achilles pain I got in August except this time in my right foot instead of my left.

I’m hoping it doesn’t leave me out of action for 4 weeks like last time! I participated in ukrunchat (@ukrunchat on Twitter) on Sunday night and got some sound advice about how to help it so I’ll be doing those exercises and stretches daily to try and help it. I’m gutted to be honest. How am I ever going to make it to ten miles at the Great South Run if I just keep breaking?!

Yesterday was a busy day. We had junior parkrun in the morning then headed straight back to Lee-on-the-Solent to spectate at the Gosport Half Marathon. We had to go such a topsy turvy way due to the road closures, I’m glad Maggie was driving and not me!

The Gosport Half Marathon is always such a good race put on by Gosport Road Runners. I felt like I didn’t know as many people this year, probably because members of GRR aren’t allowed to run the race and that’s where most of my friends are. The beauty of this race is you can manage to spot people 4 times as they do two loops. I saw friends from parkrun, parents from work and Anna.

I came home feeling disheartened. Usually after watching a race I feel motivated and looking forward to my next run but my achilles has just left me feeling low and wondering if this running lark is actually good for you after all!

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How I Earned the Halloween 5K Medal

I entered my result for this race as soon as I’d done a 5K in October. By the time you read this post I’ll be away on holiday and I wanted to make sure I’d entered my 5K time well before going on holiday because otherwise I’d forget for sure!

So I completed this 5K on 7th October at parkrun. I’d really wanted a 5K PB but sadly it wasn’t to be as the wind was ferocious. That’s the thing about having a seafront parkrun, it can be so windy. As it was parkruns 13th Birthday my local parkrun had put on a pacing event so people could try for a PB but even the pacers struggled to make it in on time due to the wind. So a sub 45 minute parkrun still eludes me but I’ll keep trying. Or maybe I’ll have managed it by the time you read this! We’ll see!

So with a time of 45:36 I earned the 5K Halloween Medal from Virtual Runner UK. This medal was a surprise as, for some reason, I didn’t realise it opens up! It’s another really cool medal.

Halloween 5K Medal

Halloween 5K Medal

It’s such a great medal, I love that it opens and says Trick or Treat. What a neat idea. The medals from Virtual Runner just get better and better.

 

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How I Earned My Golden Ticket medal

This is actually a medal I earnt in September, I just realised I hadn’t posted about it yet! Oops!

The Golden Ticket medal could be earned by completing a 5k during the month of September. I didn’t complete a 5K specifically for this one, instead I decided I’d do 5K’s throughout September and pick my best time. I perhaps did this a tad early as if I’d hung on until 30th September I’d have had a better time but that’s another story.

So the end of September was approaching and my best 5K time was the Bayside Summer Series 5K I did so I entered that time. It’s kind of like I got two medals for the same run but considering the weather it was worth getting two medals for that run!!

If you missed my post on the Bayside Summer 5K it’s HERE

Now this medal is something else, check out these pictures! I love it.

Golden Ticket Medal

Isn’t it fab how it opens up to reveal the golden ticket! Willy Wonka would be proud!

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Marshalling at the Great South Run and Runner Reviews

Yesterday I was a marshal at the Great South Run in Portsmouth. It was looking a bit hit and miss as to whether the event would take place or not as Storm Brian was battering Britain. The Saturday events were cancelled due to high winds but the Sunday proved to be a tad less windy so we were good to go.

Marshalling meant an early start. I was up at 6am to meet some other marshals from my section at the Gosport Ferry at 7.20. It was still dark when I arrived with just the tiniest bit of light starting to creep up.

View of Portsmouth

The view of Portsmouth from the Gosport Ferry

We caught the 7.30 ferry over to Portsmouth and then walked to our marshal meeting point Wetherspoons! We had breakfast and were given instructions for the day. We were then headed off to our marshal positions. My friend Anna and I were based just before mile 5 where we had the very easy job of making sure no one tried driving up a closed off road. What wasn’t included in the marshal instructions was directions to Gunwharf Quays! I must have been asked how people could get there on foot 30-40 times. I had no clue and sent them all to Anna who thankfully knows Portsmouth a bit better than me!

We were in our marshal positions by 9.05 which felt really early but it gave me time to take a selfie, spot a few friends walking to the start and drink coffee. It was really cold stood still and the wind seemed to whistle right through us. It wasn’t long before we were adding layers, scarves and hats!

This is from InstaStories hence the temperature stamp

Soon the race was under way and the ladies lead group came past us. I shouted words of encouragement to Charlotte Purdue (who came 3rd) and Gemma Steele (who went on to win) and then to Jen who I know from parkrun who came in 9th place!

There were over 20,000 runners and I managed to spot quite a lot of friends from parkrun. It was great to see them and I received sweaty hugs and kisses and shouted words of encouragement to those that were further away from where I was stood. It was such a great atmosphere. People were thanking us for marshalling as we encouraged people who had their names printed on to their tops. I had a funny “argument” with one guy. I was shouting to the crowds “Well Done you’re all awesome” and a guy replied “No you’re awesome” so I shouted back “No you’re awesome” this went on until he was right down the road. It was funny.

We were allowed to leave our marshal position after the last walkers came through. It was around 1.30pm when we left. We’d been so lucky with the weather. It might have been windy but at least it didn’t rain. It took me a long time to warm up though and in the end I opted for a hot bath as I just couldn’t get fully warm. Oh and then I did something….I went online and booked myself a place in next years Great South Run!!!! I have a year to get ready so I’m praying I can train and stay injury free. Fingers crossed.

Runners Reviews

Anna – finished in 1:13:23

Amazing day! I went with no expectations, I just wanted to see what I could do. Loved the atmosphere and the crowds and it was fantastic seeing so many runners I knew and also amazing supporters and volunteers like you! The weather wasn’t horrendous, yes gusty but not too bad considering all the warnings. Top day.

Check out Anna’s blog

Kerry – finished in 1:40:27

Perfect conditions, a tad windy but not as bad as we had thought! I was doing great until Mile 8 and body shut down. I soon realized that it was due to being severely dehydrated and not eating since the day before. Definitely a lesson learnt! No PB for me, but hopefully next year!

Check out Kerry’s blog

Paul – finished in 1:12:15

A great day out at the Great South Run. I arrived early to relax with a coffee before changing into my run gear, my beloved Stokes Bay junior parkrun running vest (Paul is our ED at Stokes Bay juniors). Then greetings with friends before heading to the start pen to mingle with thousands of others, keen to get underway.
Generous crowds shouting and cheering around much of the start, I settled into a comfortable pace, first mile a bit quicker than I intended. Then the second mile beep, heading through the naval base, I actually looked at the runner alongside who looked bemused as I said “oops that mile was a bit quick!”
I felt ok and passed by someone I knew, said hi and pushed on, shouted hi again as I saw him still heading up Winston Churchill Avenue as I was heading back down. He didn’t hear me! Still going well at mile 5 I saw Rebecca and Anna and collected high 5’s. Then another high 5 from my son around mile 6.
Starting to feel tired by mile 7, I slowed a little. When I saw a row of children all wanting high 5’s, a guy in front got a few, then they cheered as I went down the line of 8, high fiving all.
Trying to save a little for the headwind on the final 2 miles I rounded the corner. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, I stayed to the side getting some shelter and still kept some decent pace going. Happy to cross the line, I was wanting to match my time from last year, but managed to go 2 minutes quicker. 1:12:15 very happy.
Now for a quick calf massage to free the muscles,  but this was very painful, but necessary! My feet survived with a few small but angry blisters.
On getting home I was so pleased with my run I immediately entered next years GSR, can’t wait!

Penny  – finished in 1:59:22

Penny (right) before the run

Penny (left) After the run

I absolutely loved yesterday. I met up with Shona before the run and we chilled together. Shona literally chilled as wasn’t wearing enough layers to keep warm. Lesson learned for next year.

The start is always exciting with everybody gathered together waiting for the warm up and start. We set off together chatting like normal but there was so much to see and hear that we didn’t chat all the time.  The first mile marker appeared out of nowhere.
I enjoyed reading the backs of people’s shirts and looking at costumes. It was nice to spot familiar faces too. Unfortunately by about 6km I needed the loo. I knew there were toilets at 10k so kept going. I didn’t tell Shona my plan to stop as I didn’t want to mess up her time.
It was my plan to be under 2 hours this year so as I stood in the queue for the loo I checked my watch to see if I could still do it. It was disheartening watching people go by. My toilet stop lasted 4 minutes so I knew I had to pick the pace up. It wasn’t too long until I over took a T-Rex again. Then the Wonder Women were in my sights and I knew I was almost back to the group I was with before my stop. At 8 miles I over took the other two T-Rex and started to speed up. Lots of people were walking and struggling against the wind but I was on a mission. When I got to 9 miles and checked my watch I knew if I kept at that pace I could reach my target time.
In the end I finished in 1:59:22 . I had made my target. Shona was in the queue for goody bags too. She was only 2 minutes ahead of me at the end.  I would have loved to have run the whole thing together because we would have encouraged each other in those last 2 miles and who knows what time we could have done together. We will have to see next year.

Did you run the Great South Run? How was it for you?

 

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My first race in 3 years

On 12th September I ran my first race in 3 years. This should have been my graduation from the Gosport Road Runners beginners group but due to injuring my Achilles I never completed it. However, because it was better, and because my lovely friend Eileen offered me her place, I decided to run. I was running the Absolute Running Summer Series 5K. This was the fifth and last race in the series.

Thank you Eileen for the photo

Before I begin, let me tell you about Eileen who gifted me her place. You might have seen her featured on parkrun’s page. Eileen is in her 70’s and such an inspiration. In the 1980’s Eileen was a cross country champion and has a sub 3 hour marathon PB! I can not imagine our parkrun family without Eileen in it. She’s an absolute hoot and as cheeky as they come. Thank you Eileen for the place. Here she is finishing her first parkrun. Read Eileen’s story on the parkrun website here

Eileen at parkrun

I really wanted to do well in the race and use this as a bench mark for future 5k races. I took my nutrition on the day really seriously, looking up suggestions of what to eat and drink during the day before the race. I also kept a close eye on the weather reports. It was saying there would be rain and high winds. The day time was actually quite nice but as the afternoon progressed in to evening the sky turned dark and as I looked out of the window, the trees in my garden were swaying frantically in the wind.

I got down to Stokes Bay early and was a bag of nerves! I met up with Kieran and we went and collected my number which I then pinned on my top, and then re-pinned it when Kieran told it was neither straight nor central! We then headed out to the start rather leisurely, thinking we still had plenty of time. However we’d both read the wrong start time and had to rush! As a result this meant my Garmin wasn’t ready! I hadn’t had enough time to find satellites before beginning so had to start it a little way in to the race. In a way though this sudden rush at the beginning meant I forgot all about my nerves.

For the first portion of the race I chose to run for as long as I could but tried to hold back a little to allow me to run for longer. This worked quite well but I was soon breathless. At the minute I’m finding my breathing difficult. I usually stop running, not because my legs want to, but because I can not catch my breath. The wind, which was now around 25mph, was taking my breath away.

A special mention for this race has to go to the marshals. I knew pretty much all of them and what a difference it makes having marshals shout personal encouragement to you. They were so cheery even in the awful weather conditions.

The race heads along the sea front at Stokes Bay and then does a loop around the GAFIRS (Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue) building twice. GAFIRS were having a training exercise where they “rescued” six people involved in a pretend boating accident. I saw the team put through their paces and the coastguard circling overhead bringing in their casualties. Here they are hard at work. If you want to read more about their training exercise it can be found here

Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Team

Soon I’d completed my two laps running for 30 seconds and walking for one minute. As I came off the second loop I saw the 4km marker. It was starting to get dark at this point and then the rain started. It was coming in sideways due to the high winds and my left side was soon soaked right through. The rain felt like small pellets hitting me in the face. After seeing the 4km marker I decided to try and run as much as possible mainly to get out of the wind and rain! I could see the lights of the race HQ in the distance and kept my eyes on them the whole time, apart from when the rain was that bad I couldn’t actually open my eyes!

I finished the race in 45:53 beating my parkrun PB by over a minute. I was so pleased. It wasn’t until I got home and uploaded the result that I realised I’d also beaten my 5K PB from 2012 when I was running regularly! I was so surprised and really pleased. Now I want to keep chipping away at my time through parkruns and my new running plan. Fingers crossed!

Bayside 5K Summer Series

Thanks to Ben from Friendly Photography for the photo!

If you want to read Kieran’s race report, it can be found here

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My New Running Plan

After my plans to join the Gosport Road Runners group didn’t exactly go to plan I needed a plan B, a back up plan, a new path to tread. For those that don’t know I joined the beginners group and two weeks in did something to my Achilles. It’s now pretty much fixed, but this week is the last week of the beginners group so I need a new direction.

I have scoured the internet for a beginners running plan, then researched for a real beginners plan. Why do some beginners plans start with an 8 mile run at a 9minute mile pace?!

I know there’s the Couch to 5K app, I’ve done this before but at the minute I’m happier run walking than building up to complete running. I don’t want to go back to the days where I lose sleep over the 8 minute block of running and then the 20 minute block of running. I’d rather go further doing a run/walk.

During my search I saw a link to Jeff Galloway’s page. I’ve heard of Jeff Galloway’s run walk run method before so had a look and saw there were training plans. I had a look at them and you know what, they look manageable. There is a plan for 10K but week one starts with two run/walks of 30 minutes and the third run to run/walk for 1.5miles. It then goes up by half a mile the next week and so on. The plan is manageable and gradual so I just might stand a chance of completing it without burning myself out or injuring myself!

Jeff Galloway

Jeff Galloway

Wish me luck!

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I was shouted at by a race marshall

I decided to write this post as tonight I am taking part in a 5K race. I haven’t entered an official race since September 2014, partly due to injury, but partly due to the behaviour of one marshal at that last race.

I had entered the River Ness 10K part of the Baxters Loch Ness marathon weekend. I entered this race a year in advance, before I got my long term injury from the Bupa 10,000 in 2013. After running the Bupa 10,000 I had bursitis, the swelling of a bursa, in my right foot. When this subsided and I was given the ok to run again, I got my leg injury, where, when running I got pain down the outside of both my legs. This went on and on until recently when I tried running again.

As September 2014 approached I knew I wasn’t going to be in a position to run the River Ness 10K. I decided to contact them and see if there was a cut off point or a minimum pace required as I knew I’d be able to walk it if allowed. I received a message back telling me there was no cut off point. They explained that the last section of the 10K joined the last section of the marathon course and as they only set off half an hour or so before the 10K there would be plenty of time to walk the course. I was so pleased. This meant I wasn’t wasting my entry fee and that we could still go to Scotland and have a week away as planned. I began to up my walking in preparation and tried to find the comfort level where I could manage to walk without the leg pain becoming unbearable.

The day dawned and I stood on the start line feeling positive. I was going to walk and hoped to just complete it whilst enjoying the course. As we set off I realised there were two more walkers in front. I intended to keep them in my view. At first I set out too quick, trying to keep up with the surge of the crowd as they set off, the leg pain came sharp and fast but as I eased off and focused on the views the woodland trail we were on provided, the pain eased. I was able to walk comfortably and even run/walked a couple of times for a short distance. Eventually I managed to catch up with the walkers in front of me and keep them in my view. We walked through the streets of Inverness and through a couple of woodland sections. I was enjoying the course and managing  to complete it feeling good. As we began our descent towards the end walking alongside the River Ness, the winner of the marathon passed me by. As I crossed the bridge to walk towards Bught park where the finish line was a couple of other marathon runners passed me. At this point no more than 5 marathon runners had passed me and they were very spaced out. As I walked along Ness Walk a marshal shouted to me “Off the course runners coming through” I glanced around, thinking there must have been pedestrians crossing the course. I thought to myself “She can’t be shouting at me, I’m wearing a race number, it’s obvious I’m taking part” but now she was shouting again “Hey off the course runners coming through. There is a race here!” I looked right at her this time thinking if she sees I’m wearing a race number she’ll realise her mistake and back off. Instead she turned to two spectators next to her and said loudly “Some people are very ignorant”

What was a great event, in the last 400 metres, had suddenly become a bitter pill to swallow. The spectators laughed at her comment. My face burnt with embarrassment.  I know there were runners coming through but I was walking over to the side, in the way of no one. I know there was a race happening. I was part of it, trying to complete 10K after injury. I wasn’t ignorant, I was taking part. I was meant to be on the course, along with everyone else who had paid their entry fee.

I came dead last in that race. Not one single person crossed the finish line after me from the 10K race. I should have been pleased to finish. I should have been pleased I’d even managed to slowly run some parts comfortably. Instead I felt embarrassed and deflated. I finished the race in 1:57:52. I didn’t run again for a year.

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I’ve joined the gym

At work we get a 50% discount off a membership at the local gym. So for £20 a month I get a membership to a gym with plenty of classes and a swimming pool.

I’ve been a few times now and so far I’m enjoying it. I’ve been using the elliptical trainer as this mimics running, without causing my Achilles injury any further stress. I’m working on building up my time on there. I’ve also been using the treadmill, rower and cross trainer (although this is quite similar to the elliptical)

I’ve also attended a couple of classes. I’ve been to Spin which was great. I used to enjoy spin classes when I was a member of a gym before. The class was in a semi dark room with disco lights, great music and an instructor who gave clear instructions on what we were doing and what was coming up. Previously I always hated the climb sections of spin classes where you’re up and out of the saddle. However, this time these were my favourite part. The class was 45 minutes. My Garmin told me I’d burnt 364 calories. I’m pretty sure I lost a lot of water through sweating!

The other class I tried was CX Worx. I was convinced to go by a work colleague and I really struggled with the class. I just don’t have the core strength to do some of the exercises. Also the class was only half an hour so it felt a little rushed. My friend said she didn’t feel enough instructions were given by the instructor but I didn’t really notice this being a problem. I burnt 200 calories in the half an hour.

I’ll definitely be going back to Spin, in fact I’ve booked myself in for Virtual spin this week to see what that’s like.

I’m hoping by getting stronger in a variety of ways it’ll all work together to help me become a stronger, fitter runner too. And hopefully mean my Achilles injury will go away! Fingers crossed! It seems to be getting better. In this post I said I was going to try a run and see how it goes. I did 15 minutes run/walk on the treadmill and it went quite well. I could feel my Achilles, but it wasn’t super painful, just a little uncomfortable like it has been before. Again, once I stopped, the feeling stopped and it’s not been made worse from trying a run so that’s a good sign too!

Hopefully enjoying the gym will be permanent and not just there until the novelty wears off!

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Earning the Run in the Sun medal

I was doing so well with my running. I was seeing improvements but then on 1st August it all came crashing down. I went to the second Gosport Road Runners beginners group and the session went fine. However when I got out of the car and put my foot down it hurt a bit on the back on my ankle/heel. When I took my shoe off it got worse and that night I couldn’t sleep as the pain was so bad. A little bit of research shows I’ve done something to hurt my achilles. It took a good couple of weeks to calm down and for me to be able to walk down stairs properly! It’s still uncomfortable now and hasn’t gone completely but it’s definitely better than that night. So, earning the Run in the Sun medal didn’t go to plan at all!

The rules were run, walk or cycle as far as you can in the month of August. You must achieve a minimum of 10km.

Here’s how it went:

On 1st August I attended the second Gosport Road Runners beginners group. We completed 2 miles. It wasn’t until a week later that I was able to do anything and that was a push. We’d gone to Weymouth for my husband’s Birthday. I didn’t want to ruin the day so managed to hobble 2.62 miles around Weymouth. It was slow and painful.

I then didn’t walk again until 19th August. I can now walk almost pain free. I can feel the achilles grumbling but also saying “Very well then, if we must” We walked 5k along the beach from Lee-on-the-Solent to Hill Head.

pastel beach hut

In August I completed a very disappointing 12.39km or 7.7 miles. Not the 26.2 I was aiming for at the end of July. So disappointed, now it’s time to work on fixing this achilles!

Here is the medal! I love how it’s Summer themed and perfect for completing runs by the sea, or walks in my case! It was hard to capture but the background of where it says “Run in the Sun” is glittery. I love a bit of sparkle!

Run in the Sun medal

Want to read about the other medals I’ve earned? The posts are below:

Kidney Research 5K Medal

Wonder Runner Medal

Mermaid Medal

To the Moon and Back Medal

Unicorn Medal

All Aboard Medal

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