Category Archives: Fitness

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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Earning the Kidney Research 5K Medal

As some of you may know I have hydronephrosis meaning I have one kidney that is larger than the other. Therefore when I saw this medal for Kidney Research posted on Virtual Runner I knew I wanted to sign up. At the minute my kidney behaves itself but one day I may need their help!

I signed up for this medal a while ago, before I was injured. I’d planned to use a parkrun to complete it but with my Achilles injury this wasn’t to be. I decided to take a walk and just take it slow to ensure I didn’t aggravate the injury any further.

We worked out a quick 5k route using the app Footpath. If you regularly run, walk or cycle this app is really good for figuring out routes and it’ll tell you how far your route is. We decided to walk down Lee-on-the-Solent prom and on to Hill Head.

As we walked the first part of our walk, down Lee-on-the-Solent prom past Daedalus slipway the heavens opened for around two minutes. Thankfully it was only for two minutes so we didn’t get too wet! You can see the dark clouds in this picture I took just before.

dark clouds over Lee-on-the-Solent

As we continued our walk leaving Gosport behind and entering Fareham’s coast line the weather improved a little and became sunnier but with a nice breeze to cool us down. We saw this bench. I’m not sure if it was knitted by someone who knows the person the bench is dedicated to or if it’s one of those random things people do. Either way it made me smile and stop to take a photograph.

knitted picture on bench

We turned round at end of Hill Head where the prom stops and it turns in to shingle beach only. I snapped this picture of a beach hut on the way back. The beach huts at Hill Head have a little personality to them, whereas the ones in Lee-on-the-Solent are all dark green. They’re not at all pretty.

pastel beach hut

We got home and thankfully my Achilles felt ok. It knew it had been worked a little bit but was no more grumbly than usual. And just in case you wanted to see the walk on a map here it is:

Walk from Lee-on-the-Solent to Hill Head

I walked 5km in 1:09. A slightly disappointing time but given that I’m carrying an injury it’s not too bad.

Here is a picture of the medal:

Kidney Reearch 5K medal

I love the little kidney cut out and that the lanyard carries the logo too.

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

Wonder Runner Medal

Mermaid Medal

To The Moon and Back Medal

Unicorn Medal

All Aboard Medal

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How I earned my Wonder Runner medal

In July I entered the Wonder Runner medal on Virtual Runner UK. I just thought I’d pop here that I pay for all my entries and I write these blog posts because I want to. I don’t even think Virtual Runner know about these posts. I just like how easy it is to be able to earn medals without having a minimum pace forced upon me. I can do it at my own pace.

For this July challenge I wanted to try and cover more distance than I did in June for the Mermaid Challenge. My running was going from strength to strength so I had a good feeling about it. The rules were to run, walk or cycle as far as you can through July. I completed 8 runs and 1 walk.

I started the July challenge with a 30 minute treadmill run where I completed 2.3 miles. This was followed by a 2 mile walk in 43:32. I took this picture of seagulls as they flew overhead. Just look how blue the sky is!

seagulls

This was followed by two treadmill runs. One was a 5k and the other was just a mile. Then on the 15th July I completed my 4th parkrun at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. I completed the 5k course in 47:47.

parkrun finish token

Standard finish token picture!

I then did a 2mile run on the treadmill before completing my 5th parkrun at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. This was completed in 47:38 which is my current parkrun PB.

parkrun finish token

In July I also joined the Gosport Road Runners beginners group. At the first one we totted up 1.24 miles of running. I then finished the month of July with two 30 minute runs on the treadmill both totalling 2.2 miles.

For the Wonder Runner July Challenge I completed 35.7km or 22.18 miles. I’d beaten my June total and for August I wanted to see if I could complete 26.2 miles or more (marathon distance)

Here is the Wonder Runner medal.

Wonder Runner medal

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

Mermaid Medal Challenge

To the Moon and Back Medal

The Unicorn Medal

The All Aboard Medal

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How I earned my Mermaid Challenge medal

I’ve found it so hard to find time to blog lately so I’m sitting down now and writing a lot of posts and scheduling them. Embarrassingly these posts go back to June! But without further ado, here’s how I earned my Mermaid Challenge Medal from Virtual Runner UK.

The rules for this challenge were to run, walk, swim or cycle as many kilometres as possible in the month of June. I earned my medal with 1 walk, 3 runs and 2 bike rides.

My walk was at Stokes Bay where I walked 2.07 miles in 51:23. It was a lovely evening stroll where I took lots of pictures. Hence it taking so long. I’ll just share the one picture of the sun beginning to set.

Sunset at Stokes Bay

The first run, well run walk was at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. This was my 3rd parkrun and I completed the 5k course in 53:38.

parkrun finish token

If you don’t take a picture of your finish token did you even parkrun?

The two bike rides I did were to and from Stokes Bay junior parkrun. One ride was just over 2.5 miles and the other just over 3 miles. They both took 22 minutes. Riding there was a breeze but on the way back it was so windy! It was really hard to pedal against the wind. Here’s a picture of the start line. Look at the determination.

Stokes Bay junior parkrun

I completed the Mermaid Challenge with two treadmill runs. The first a 5k in 45:13 and the second a 30 minute run in which I covered 2.27 miles.

Altogether I completed 25.5km or 15.8 miles. I was really pleased with how much I’d completed but was determined to beat it in July!

The medal is such a stunner. I absolutely love it. I love how the lanyard carries on the theme!

mermaid medal

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

Earning my To the Moon and Back Medal

Earning my Unicorn Medal – The Hard Way

Earning the All Aboard Medal

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Gosport Golden Mile 2017

The Gosport Golden Mile is a much anticipated local race. It is organised by Nick Carter who owns Absolute Running and a true legend in the running community. He also organises 545 club (every Wednesday), Breakfast Club (every Sunday) and the Bayside 5K Summer Series as well as the Golden Mile!

Sunday morning started bright and early. The weather was absolutely glorious. I smothered myself in sun cream and donned my hat as I knew we were going to be there all morning.

Upon arrival my Mum and I (Yes I dragged my Mum along but she actually enjoyed it!) went and grabbed a coffee in the Bayside Cabin. It was like lava though and as a result we missed the wheelchair race! Ooops!

We headed over to the start/finish line of the Golden Mile ready for the kids race where I quickly caught up with Maggie.

We were waiting for her son to complete the mile. He’s been doing really well in our new junior parkrun and this was a fraction shorter so we knew he’d do well. We were also looking out for the young man who keeps being first past the line at junior parkrun. We knew he’d do well too. However the biggest surprise of all was as we were clapping in the winner and second place, we noticed who was in third place, Kieran was storming his way to the finish line. I went mad cheering him on. I literally couldn’t believe it! As he made his way round to us with his medal I was so pleased for him and told him so. However, being the teenager he is, he was totally chill about it! He completed his mile in 05:42.2! If you want to read his account of the run click here.

340 children entered the Gosport Golden Mile! That’s an astounding amount of children, but it was watching this race last year that really confirmed we needed a junior parkrun in the area.

Next up was the Adult mile race. Jeez those guys were fast. It was won in 04:09.4! We cheered and hollered so many of our friends on from parkrun. It was a brilliant atmosphere. It was a hot day but so many people still managed to get PB’s.

Afterwards it was time for the final race, the 5K race. The pack seemed a little small, 140 people. Maybe this seemed small because I’m so used to looking at our huge parkruns! I’m sure the weather probably made some people DNS! Again we gave our support to everyone, but mostly the people we know from parkrun. It was nice to see them all as I’d missed parkrun the previous day due to work. Booo! We watched the last runner come in then headed over to watch the presentations.

The first three winners of each race were given a plaque and cash prize. I was pretty impressed, great medal and fantastic prizes for those who managed to achieve them! There were also bottles of wine for those who won their age categories. It’s the race that keeps on giving!

Image courtesy of Kieran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks again Kieran

You know what I’m going to say now right?! Watching this race inspired me so much and now I’m eagerly awaiting the entries to open for the Gosport Golden Mile 2018 to open so I can enter. But the question is, which one? The mile? The 5k? Or Both?!

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My third parkrun

parkrun logo

I haven’t completed a parkrun for a couple of weeks due to hurting my foot falling over a door frame at work. However two weeks of resting, elevating etc meant that I was ready to attempt another parkrun.

My plan was to walk the majority of the parkrun and at the final turnaround point begin run/walking the remainder. I walked the first part and didn’t get any leg pain like I normally do. I ended up walking with three children ranging from 9-15. Perhaps the constant chatter amongst them didn’t allow me to notice any pain! As we continued the leg pain never appeared and we were at the turn around point before I knew it. I began run/walking, supported by the children who were more than happy to run along and call out encouragement. When beginning my run segments I’d pick a point somewhere in the distance e.g. a bin, bench or beach hut. I felt good on the run section and really noticed how the Hokas helped propel me forward.

I finished in 53:27, beaten by all three children! Those pesky kids! It was another parkrun PB so I was pleased. The hot weather meant I felt shattered afterwards! I finished in 386th position! I now can’t run a parkrun for a couple of weeks due to work and having friends visit from Sheffield. I’m really going to try and make sure I keep up with practising though.

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