Category Archives: Fitness

The Breakfast Club Charity 10K

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

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

Before the race

Maria and I before the race

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

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

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

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

Final Sprint

Final Sprint

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

What race distance do you prefer?

Do you prefer smaller races?

 

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Another Bluebell Wood Run

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

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

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

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

Selfie in the rapeseed field

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

Bluebell Wood

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

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

Do you prefer to run in a morning or evening?

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Bluebell Wood Run

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

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

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

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

Cliff Top

Up on the cliff tops

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

Field of Rapeseed

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

Bluebell Wood

Bluebell Selfie

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

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

Do you like trail running?

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Longest Run Since Injury

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

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

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

View on my run

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

Do you listen to music when you run?

Do you ever get bored on runs?

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Breakfast Club

On 7th April I went to Breakfast Club. If you’re not sure what Breakfast Club is you can read my other posts on it hereherehere!

I’d heard they were doing a trial of the upcoming 10K route so when Honor asked if I fancied joining her, I jumped at the chance. My only worry was, it’d been so long since I ran more than 4 miles and Breakfast Club is for an hour. However, this turned out not to matter.

It’s been a while since I had a good old natter with Honor. My 2019 started off with lots of illness so it’s been a while since I was able to go to Breakfast Club and run for that long. She explained the route to me for the upcoming 10K race and it’s actually pretty straight forward, which I’m pleased about. I’m not great with some of the Breakfast Club routes as I don’t know all of Gosport that well but this is a route from the Breakfast Club start, back towards home and then turn around and back again. Flat and straight forward. No chance of me getting lost!

Group Photo

As we were running Lee (a different Lee to the Lee who paced me to a PB) from my running club was out taking pictures and he managed to get a decent action shot of me!

Me Running

We ended up mistiming our route and we got back after 50 minutes rather than an hour but it was still a good run and a nice recce of the route. Apparently those that are a bit faster, turned where they were told it and it came up a bit short of a 10K so they’ll work on sorting that out before the run. We ended up running 4 miles, so only another 2.2 miles to go on top of that! Eeek! Need to start building my mileage up!

Do you struggle to get a decent running shot of you?

Have you ever run a race that was short on the distance?

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A Visit to Torquay

At the end of March we went away for a couple of days. Our first stop was Torquay. We stayed in a hotel right on the sea front and obviously had a room overlooking the car park!!

The first morning there I went for a run from our hotel along the sea front, around the marina, towards the town a little and then weaved my way back to the sea front. I’ve never been to Torquay before so a run felt like a good way to explore the area and do a little bit of sight seeing. As I was running to explore I made it a fun run, meaning I wasn’t worried about pace and took lots of pictures.

Before my run

Before my run

Torbay

Torquay Marina

Torquay Marina

Run Map

Run Map

The map made me laugh as it kind of looks like Lobster or crab claws! I saw a couple of runners whilst I was out who were friendly and said “Morning” After my run I went and rehydrated with a Costa Coffee on the sea front which was lovely. I then went back and had a shower before exploring Torquay some more. Whilst I was walking to the town centre I saw one of the runners I’d seen earlier still out! I guess he was probably marathon training!

Do you use runs to sight see when you’re somewhere new?

Have you ever been to Torquay?

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Zumba!

On Sunday Storm Freya was hitting the UK and bringing with her horrendous winds! I wanted to get some exercise in but was a bit unsure about what to do. As I’ve been thinking about trying a local Zumba class, I decided to pull out an old Zumba Fitness DVD.

Now, let me tell you, I have absolutely zero rhythm and co-ordination. I’m not a natural dancer at all. But I thought, how hard can it be? The answer was, quite hard actually! I didn’t have too much of a problem sort of following them on the DVD but I definitely wasn’t doing all the same moves as them! It’s all in the hips for them yet I just couldn’t make my body do the same thing. But it was pretty fun. I enjoyed it and was pretty pleased to see I’d burnt over 600 calories!

On the Wednesday I decided to pull on my big girl pants and go to a local Zumba class on my own. It’s only a 5 minute walk from mine and starts at 7.30 meaning I didn’t have to rush home from work and get changed quite as much as I do when something starts at 7pm. I have to admit though, I did feel a bit nervous, even though I was looking forward to trying it.

When I got there my friend Claire was there from parkrun so that immediately put me at ease. A little later another friend from parkrun arrived so I was in good company at least! The instructor also surprised me by saying that as this was my first class I could have it for free!

The class started and despite wanting to hide at the back I was actually in the centre of the middle row. (There were 3 rows) As the class started it was different from the DVD and felt like a mix of good old aerobics and a few of the moves from the DVD.

The instructor was really upbeat and friendly. Much better than when I tried the Clubbercise class! (You can read about that here) She gave you the heads up on what direction was next, counted etc. She also went wrong a couple of times which definitely helped put me at ease as I went wrong lots of times haha.

After each song there was a quick breather and I had to keep grabbing a drink of water! I finished my drink about 40 minutes in so next time I definitely need to take a bigger bottle!

At the end I was pleasantly surprised to see I’d burnt almost 600 calories. With the walk there and back it probably went to over 600 calories. I left feeling great! Guess that’s those endorphins they talk about. I can’t wait to go back!

Post Zumba Glow

Post Zumba Glow

Have you ever tried a Zumba class?

Do you go to any group exercise classes?

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What Do You Think About When Running?

On Monday evening when I finished work I spoke to a friend on my way home. She’s having a really hard time of it. She has a few health problems going on, which is affecting her ability to work, which in turn is making her stressed, which is then affecting her mental health, which then makes her health worse and so the cycle goes on.

When I finished speaking to her I went for my evening run. I’d a simple out and back route planned so as I ran I was just able to let my mind drift and not have to worry about taking a left turn here or there etc. My mind was focussed so much on my friend. It makes me wish I had a magic wand and could just magic everything away for her. It seems like a childish and simple wish. It’s so hard though when there’s really not a lot  you can do other than listen and try and say the right things. Her health problems are currently undiagnosed. The doctors are unsure about what it is but are trying to find it with different tests etc. I completely understand the frustrations she’s feeling, especially since she’s been like this since early December. Whilst speaking to her I diplomatically tried to tell her that drinking to forget her problems also won’t help anything.

Selfishly it made me thankful that on the whole I’m pretty healthy (even though I’m now on my 6th cold since Christmas). On the whole I’m a naturally chirpy person, obviously I have down days like anyone does but they’re rare. And I’m thankful that I don’t see alcohol as a medicine. I like a tipple but I barely drink alcohol. It did make me realise though how much of a therapy running can be. I never used to think I ran for “head space” until I couldn’t run last year. Then I realised I probably did. But on Monday evening I realised I definitely did. It gave me the time to think over things and although I’m not able to magic away my friend’s problems I know I’m being as supportive as I can be and she appreciates that.

Obligatory post run selfie. Wishing I was as magic as a unicorn to make problems vanish.

Selfie

Do you run for head space?

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I Tried A New Exercise Class. It Was Awful!

When it comes to exercise I like trying new things. That’s why I enjoy using the PopSugar Fitness Channel on YouTube. There are so many different types of workouts on there. I follow lots of people who enjoy fitness on social media too and I’m always interested to see results from classes they’ve attended. One that kept popping up was a class called Clubbercise.

According to their website Clubbercise brings a night out to your workout. It’s a “fun, easy to follow dance workout with rave glow sticks and disco lights” Sounds pretty fun right? I thought so too. I convinced a friend to come with me and on Monday we turned up for our first class. We walked in to a darkened hall with disco lights going round the room. We signed the health questionnaire and picked up our glowsticks. I was really looking forward to it. Who doesn’t love dancing around to a bit of cheesy pop?

The instructor turned on the music and began to do the moves on the stage. She was dressed all in black and it was pretty hard to see her properly in the darkened room. As we continued I soon realised the instructor wasn’t speaking. I’ve done a few exercise classes/exercise DVDs in my time and expected her to at least be counting, or saying what the next move was but she was silent. Then half way through each song she would stop and go over to the laptop, I presume to line up the next track. Luckily the woman directly in front of me knew all the moves (and had some serious rhythm) so I was able to carry on by copying her but I’m not sure what those behind did each time.

I mentioned to my friend how strange it all seemed and she agreed. As the class progressed she continually stopped halfway through to use the laptop and even started a song and disappeared off the stage to use the toilet. Then she spoke…and what did she say? “Just copy these guys (gesturing to the front couple of rows) if you want the proper moves. I’m just doing the modifications because I’m lazy”

You’re lazy?! Really glad I gave you £5 for this shambles then! I was clock watching from 20 minutes in because it was so ridiculous. Usually you find time passes quicker than you expected in a class but not this one. There was the offer to do another hour for another £2 as there is no class the week after. We politely declined! I’d barely broken a sweat and I didn’t expect that to change by putting up with another hour!

When we left and got in the car I said to my friend “Well that was a load of rubbish!” To which she replied “Oh thank god, I was expecting you to want to come back so I’ve spent most of the class thinking up excuses of why I couldn’t”

Have you ever been to a rubbish exercise class?

Have you ever tried Clubbercise and had a better experience than the one I had?

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Barry Island parkrun

A kind of unofficially have set myself the goal of trying to do one tourism parkrun a month. I’ve set it unofficially because you never know what’s going to crop up so I might not always succeed with this goal. However, in January, I nailed it.

I’ve been wanting to do the unofficial Gavin & Stacey parkrun challenge by doing Barry Island parkrun and Billericay parkrun since I read the story about the people of Billericay parkrun travelling to Barry Island when their parkrun was cancelled for Bonfire Night. The news article is HERE if you want to read it.

So on Friday 11th January we drove up to South Wales. I was apprehensive about it all week as I’d been full of cold, luckily it seemed to be subsiding by the Friday so I was pretty confident I could still run it. When we arrived at our hotel we got the friendliest welcome from the two ladies on reception who asked us what had brought us to Wales. When we told them they told us about them filming near one of their houses and how she could never get home as everyone had to wait whilst they finished filming in the street.

After dropping off our bags in the room we walked to Barry Island promenade. Our hotel was ideally placed at only a 10 minute walk away. When we got there I started thinking about where the parkrun course might be. I’d looked at their course page so I knew where it started but that was it. I presumed it was simply along the prom like my local parkrun is but looking from one end to the other I realised it probably wasn’t as it was such a short distance. After having a look around we went back to the hotel and I looked at the course and soon realised it was going to be a hilly run as you go up on to the cliff tops! Oops! I was not expecting hills.

The next morning we got up and headed out to the parkrun. I’d dropped the team an email to ask if there was somewhere I could leave a jacket and they gave us a shoutout in the runners brief which was nice. The run starts under a covered area of prom, however with 208 runners we did spill out of the uncovered area, thankfully it was only raining lightly.

We were soon underway and as I was running on my own (my husband was running his own parkrun) I hoped there would be people around me so I could just follow the person in front! We ran from the covered area of the prom towards Marco’s Café and the square where Gavin meets up with Stacey when she comes back from London. We then turned right and began to climb, we followed a path that takes you up on to a bridge over the prom and then carried on climbing before heading down again, you then ran quite close to the edge of the cliff tops along a flat section before turning and heading up a very steep but short stretch. There was a marshal at the top of there giving out so much encouragement, I’m sure I’d have walked the second time if he’d not have been there. You then ran back along the path before heading back down along the prom to the covered section where you did a U-turn and did the whole thing again. I managed to run the whole thing which I really wasn’t expecting. I was very pleased though!

Elevation

I finished with a time of 38:38, which is only a minute and a half outside of my PB at my local pancake flat course! This actually gave me hope for the hilly Romsey 5 mile race I have coming up in June.

Unfortunately as check out was 12, we didn’t get chance to go to Marco’s Café for a post parkrun breakfast as we still had to get back, showered and packed up.

I added this photo of me to my social media and tagged parkrun. Much to my surprise they used it on all their social media and in the newsletter for the following week! parkrun fame!

Barry Island parkrun

Did you watch Gavin & Stacey?

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