Category Archives: Fitness

Breakfast Club

On 13th May, exactly one year since embarking back on my running journey I went to Breakfast Club. As most of my readers don’t live in Gosport I’ll explain what Breakfast Club is.

Breakfast Club is organised by local running legend Nick. You meet at Bayside Cabin (lovely little café) at Stokes Bay at 8am. The route is posted on Facebook/Strava the night before. You then run 30 minutes out and 30 minutes back. Basically you run at  your pace  and you go however far you go in that hour. Afterwards you go for breakfast at Bayside Cabin where you have a lovely chat with other runners. Pretty much perfect!

I’ve always wanted to go to Breakfast Club but know there won’t be anyone there at my pace, however, Honor, my parkrun friend and fellow RD, said she’d run with me. Hurrah! So off we went.

Before every Breakfast Club there’s a group shot taken.

Breakfast Club

The route wasn’t so inspiring this week, we ran away from Stokes Bay, back towards Lee-on-the-Solent down the side of a dual carriageway. However for me, it was about endurance. Running for an hour is something I haven’t done in quite some time.

The time passed quite quickly as I chatted to Honor and focused on not going off too fast! I definitely didn’t want to be flagging after 30 minutes and have another 30 to go! Honor and I chatted about everything from parkrun to crocheting to dogs! The dog conversation came after we stopped for a second to chat to an owner of a Saint Bernard who took offence to Honor! He growled at us so we soon left the conversation!

It was only towards the end of the run where I said to Honor that I could feel myself struggling. We were about 55 minutes in to the run though so I managed to hang on. We ran 4 miles in a time of 58:57. I was pleased with 4 miles as that’s the furthest I’ve run in a while.

Afterwards we went for Breakfast. The menu at Bayside Cabin has items named after local boat trips. I ordered a Gosport Ferry (a small brerakfast) but you can order a Wight Link Ferry (slightly bigger breakfast) or a Channel Ferry (even bigger breakfast). We ate breakfast with Claire who I ran parkrun with in April. It was really lovely and I knew I definitely wanted to go again.

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parkrun Number 31 With a Double Buggy

I’m still catching up with my blog posts…

After putting out a call for someone to run with on Facebook, parkrun number 31 (12th May) was run with Caroline who is also a member of Gosport Road Runners and a yummy mummy to two lovely boys.

On arrival at parkrun I noticed Anna had come down! She hadn’t told me she was coming so that was a lovely surprise. We had a quick chat before I went to find my place in the starting pen.

I met up with Caroline and said hello to her boys in the double buggy she was pushing. She allowed me a try with it to see how heavy it was. I can confirm it was heavy! But surprisingly had really good steering! We set off and Caroline told me “If I’m too quick or start getting too far in front just shout me back” I replied with “As long as we stay under 15 minute miles I’m happy”

Our parkrun can be quite congested in parts and I definitely experienced this on a whole other level with Caroline. It was difficult for her to be able to over take people and frustratingly after we’d over taken someone, they then over took us but then slowed back down in front of us!

We chatted along nicely and I was surprised when mile 1 popped up on my watch at a 13:43 minute mile. I told Caroline we might need to slow a bit but at the minute I was comfortable so we’d keep going as we were. I don’t know Caroline that well so it was nice to have someone new to chat to and learn a bit more about. She actually made me laugh out loud quite a few times.

We were just passing the finish funnel when we saw Anna as a blur heading past us on the finishing straight. She looked remarkably fast! I then turned my attention to the upcoming ramp and asked Caroline what she planned to do. She told me she’d run up it so I felt I had to run up it too, after all if she can do it pushing a double buggy then I certainly could do it.

Caroline continually asked how I was doing and were we ok pace wise. I still felt quite good and was pleased to see mile 2 pop up with a 14:08 minute mile. We then came to the dreaded shingle and Caroline said she’d catch me up as the double buggy was hard to get through it. It’s hard enough running over on your own never mind with a buggy but she did it.

I told her how the part back from the turn around to the finish point was the absolute hardest for me as it’s often very quiet by then and it feels like the longest part when in actual fact it’s the shortest. Caroline took the lead a little here to spur me on I think. It definitely worked and she pulled me through mile 3 with a 13:23 minute mile! My quickest mile out of all 3! During this mile we also saw Anna on her way back to the car. She told me she’d just gone sub 20. I was so pleased for her and then bored Caroline with Anna’s Brighton PB story too!

As we neared the end she told me to go for it and make sure I over take the elderly gent in front. The elderly gent was John who runs in the 85-89 age category! And still beats me nearly every week! Also check out Coach Keith in the Hi-Viz jacket. I’m pretty sure he’s laughing at my cheeky over take!

Finish Funnel

When we finished I was very pleased to see I was just over a minute off my PB. That’s the best I’ve run for weeks! Caroline told me afterwards she’d seen how close to my PB we were near the end and sped us up a little. I didn’t even notice! I’m definitely getting better at just running and not watching my watch to see if I can get near my PB. parkrun is meant to be fun after all!

Afterwards, Caroline asked me for a selfie, obviously I obliged!

Caroline and I

My running is really improving and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

 

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An Amazing Run Along The Cliff Tops

After parkrun on 5th May we sat in the café with fellow runners and listened as they told us about a trail run they’d done on the Thursday. The route sound pretty, scenic and on the trails. A friend recently suggested to me that if I did more trail running, I’d then find the tarmac runs at parkrun easier so I’ve been looking for a trail route since then. We stalked their Stravas (how else do you find running routes?) and made a plan to run it on Bank Holiday Monday. The route pretty much followed the Solent Way.

We got up super early to try and beat the heat! We were at the car park near to the start of the trail for 8am. People were sat in their camper vans having breakfast when we arrived and one lady was having a cup of tea on the beach. The first part of the trail involved some climbing to get up on to the cliff tops so we ran in places and also walked a little. We were there behind some walkers and as the trail was very narrow we had to walk at some points. It soon opened up though and we were able to run quite freely.

I commented to my husband that this was going to make a great blog post and so he made it his mission to capture some pictures for me. Knew there was an advantage to running with him!

We had to stop a couple of times to just take in the views. We started the run at Hill Head and were heading along the coast towards Warsash. The picture below is looking back towards Hill Head.

View from the Cliff Tops

It was nice to stop, catch our breath, take in the views and not worry about time or pace.

At one point we had to drop down to the beach to continue along the Solent Way. It was really quiet on the beach with hardly anyone around.

View from the beach

We also had to cross this quirky little bridge. We decided to go over it one at a time just in case!

Bridge

We ran two miles out and then turned around and headed back. It was such a lovely route that I know we can extend next time we run.

Trail Running

The only down side to this run was the flying ants! At times it felt like we needed to run with propeller arms to try and whip them away. It didn’t work though!

How do you find out about new running routes?

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My 30th parkrun and Steak!

We’re still going back in time to catch up with my runs…

On 5th May I completed my 30th parkrun. I was apprehensive after my disastrous morning run on the Wednesday before. Even though I’m learning not every run is going to be amazing, I still worry what if they all feel bad. I was also apprehensive because of the heat. It was already very warm when I left at 8.40am.

Today I was running with fellow parkrunner Janette. Janette used to regularly run parkrun but now due to work commitments has struggled to attend so she was looking for a gentle plod. And if you’re after a gentle plod, I’m your girl.

We ended up running with Ange too. Both of them were really lovely whilst we were running, continually checking if I was ok as I’m really not good in the heat. Gingers aren’t made for heat waves!

I actually managed to do quite well though. I walked twice, once at the top of the mini hill where I just needed to catch my breath and then again on the shingle section as I’m just so scared of turning an ankle on the deep parts. Shingle is not easy to manoeuvre over.

I managed to finish in 45:24 which I was pleased with. When I was walking to parkrun that morning I’d said to myself if it’s too hot just walk it as I really do struggle with heat. My average pace was 14:22 minute miles and mile 3 wasn’t my slowest for once! Meaning I actually sped up during mile 3!

30th parkrun

In the evening we went to Miller and Carter with my Mum as it was her Birthday. Miller and Carter is a steak house and I’m pretty sure it’s nationwide. I had a ribeye steak, my favourite, and a side of Lobster mac and cheese. I’m so disappointed in myself though as I didn’t take any pictures apart from one of the coffee I had at the end of the meal!

Post meal Latte

On the way home we stopped to look at the sunset, which was beautiful.

Beach sunset

Do you prefer to run in the warmer weather or cooler?

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An Early Morning Disastrous Run

On Wednesday (2nd May) I decided to try and get an early morning run in as I’d missed going to my run club night the night before. I set an alarm for 4.45am and was out of the house by 5.10am. I thought it would be light but it was actually still dark and it was a little drizzly but nothing too major, however the wind was absolutely horrendous. My original plan had been to run the parkrun route but because the beach is so open and exposed I knew the wind would be even worse there so I decided to try laps of a 1 mile route I’ve worked out near my house.

I set off and at first it seemed to be ok. However, I set off too quick and by the end of the first mile I was struggling. I was battling the wind too on one stretch of the lap and it was like running through treacle. I was moving my legs but not going anywhere. I also had to run past the bakery on the High Street who were already baking something that smelled absolutely divine and of cinnamon. It was lovely but also stomach turning at the same time? Maybe it was the ungodly hour!

By the time I started my second lap I was hating every second so decided to battle out this one lap and then quit. After having such good runs I was a bit gutted by this run but  I’m slowly learning that not all runs are good and that’s ok. Looking at the positives the miles were all under 15 minute miles again so this is good, especially since I was battling the wind.

What’s the earliest you get up to run?

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Alver Valley Run

I’m really behind with my blog posts so forgive me as we head back in time just a little to catch up.

Following my good run with Mike and Janet on Saturday at parkrun I was keen to keep the momentum going. I’ve always heard good things about Alver Valley Country Park which is right on my doorstep. Despite this I’ve never been! I’ve heard it’s good for running so I decided to go there on the Sunday (29th April).

Before we left my husband plotted us a 5K route on a path that seemed to go through the centre of the park. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting when we got there. I thought it’d be a nice off road trail route. Instead we’d got a concrete path that was pretty much a road!

We still had a good run though. My husband and I struggle to run together as his pace is faster than mine but I can run for longer than him. However we stuck together and it actually meant he had a good run too as he ran the 5K without stopping, well other than our picture stops, like this one.

Blossom Tree

We ran across Apple Dumpling Bridge which I’ve heard of a few times. It’s infamous for flooding but luckily for us it was fine to cross. We also ran past a pond/lake which was pretty and seemed to be popular with birds. There was a hide too so you could sit and watch them.

All 3 miles were under 15 minute miles so I’m pleased with that. It was nice to explore somewhere new to run but I’m going to be honest, it didn’t quite meet my expectations.

Where do you like to run? Trails/Road/Beach?

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Finally A Good Run!

Well as the title says, I’ve finally had a good run! On Friday night I put a call out on Facebook asking for someone to complete parkrun with me. My lovely friend Mike responded saying it was his 100th parkrun if I wanted to run with him. Naturally I said yes! Running with Mike has really worked for me in the past. He has a slow yet steady pace which has helped me achieve running for a mile without stopping, then it was a mile and a half, and then two miles. I’m truly grateful to him.

Mike’s wife Marie ran behind us the whole way and captured the occasion on camera.

Lining up ready to start

We were also joined by Janet who is part of the wonderful volunteering duo Cliff and Janet.

We set off at a comfortable 15 minute mile pace. We were chatting, saying well done to friends and before I knew it mile 1 clicked up on my watch. I felt comfortable both in my legs and with my breathing and I hadn’t felt the need to walk.

Mile 1

We were chatted about Mike visiting a North London parkrun, about Janet’s half marathon last week in Southampton and my return to Scotland in September. The time just passed by so easily and we reached the turn around point (just over 2 miles) without me even really thinking about it. I didn’t hurt and I didn’t have those little voices in my head.

Turn around point

We were soon at the end and Mike suggested a sprint finish. Janet told me it was too early for a sprint so we let Mike go off.

Mike finishing

I love how happy everyone is for him. Note Cliff on the right with his arm in the air (Janet’s husband).

Janet and I finished in a time of 46.12. Not my fastest but I was so so pleased as I’d managed to run it all and more importantly it had been comfortable.

End of the run

I needed this run. I needed a run to finally feel manageable and comfortable. I was beginning to think I’d never have a run like it again. I’m relieved and pleased…and eager to get out there again!

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Not A Lot of Running

I’m really struggling with my running at the minute. I seemed to come on in leaps and bounds and now it just feels really difficult all of the time and with that my motivation is waning.

Since my last post I’ve run 3 times. 3 times in 13 days. Not good. One of those runs was only because I realised it’s 6 weeks until my first 5 mile race and I’ve yet to run 5 miles! I need a good kick up the butt. I need to work on my nutrition too as this will make running a bit easier too.

So, since the 9th April when I ran my new 5k PB I’ve run one parkrun, it was horrendous. I set off too quick which meant after mile 1 I felt dire, it hurt and I couldn’t even keep up with the run 1 minute/walk 1 minute pacer. This didn’t help my  motivation.

I then ran at club. I did the three mile slow and steady run. I tried to learn from my mistake at parkrun and stuck to the back with a lady I know runs around 15 minute miles. This then felt too slow, it was painful. I can’t win!

I then ran yesterday. I said I would as I thought I’d feel pumped. As it happens I had a stomach like a washing machine all day. Nothing  came of it though so I forced myself out for two miles. It was crap, it hurt and I got lost. Google maps saved the day though.

I’ve also had to miss spin classes due to going to Wales and work commitments.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. In none running related news I went to Wales. After only recently discovering Gavin & Stacey, the TV show, we went to Barry Island and went to some of the locations from the show.

I’ve also been out for dinner with the legend that is Anna and her friend Mike to Casa Brasil. Anna was still on a high from running a PB at Brighton which I loved hearing about. I’ve also been to Sprinkles with my spin partner/colleague Maria after a night out turned disastrous. That brings us up to last night.

Today I didn’t have my day off as usual but I did manage to get to a spin class and bashed out a new PB on distance of 14.4 miles. Before my PB was 13.3 miles so that’s made me feel good. The class was so quiet too, only 6 of us. I guess the New Year resolutions are well out of the window now.

Tomorrow we’re going out for dinner for a friend’s Birthday which is great but it means I miss another run at club *sigh* I am, however, off work on Thursday morning so will try and squeeze in a run in the morning.

What do you do when your motivation gets low?

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What I’ve Done This Past Week

It feels like way more than a week since I did my catch up post! But I already feel like it’s time for another.

Last week after parkrun I bought the kit home as I was to be the RD the following week.

On Easter Sunday I went to spin class with Maria, my spin partner in crime, and work colleague. We go to Virtual spin and it was my favourite one, RPM 75. There’s one section of it that I absolutely love. So much so that I’ve downloaded the track that goes with that section.

As this week was Easter I got another day off in the week as my usual day off is a Monday but obviously it was the Bank Holiday so I was given a Wednesday as my day off. This was great as it meant I could prep the kit for parkrun mid week and get it all done in the day rather than charging it over 3 or 4 evenings. However I had to go in to work for a meeting at 6pm and I always feel like I’m clock watching when that’s the case.

I also wanted to get a run in on Wednesday but it threw it down. It looked like it was stopping so I quickly went and put on my running kit only to come back downstairs and find it had started throwing it down again so I, begrudgingly, did a run on the treadmill. I did a 2 mile run and it was just awful. Running on a treadmill is now so hard! Before it was my comfort blanket. Now I literally hate it. I’m definitely converted to an outdoor runner. Just not in heavy rain!

Thursday was spin class again. Unfortunately the bike I used seemed to have a faulty speedometer and it only recorded 10 miles. I always do around 13! Frustrating but nothing I can really do.

On Saturday I was RD at parkrun. I had all the kit prepared and got there nice and early to set up. I was about to announce the new runners briefing and asked someone to turn the PA system on. They tried but it wasn’t working. It’d switch on for a second then fade out. We’ve had a couple of problems with the PA system and it looked like today was going to be another problem. Well, good job I’m loud! I shouted that the new runners brief was starting and when that was over I shouted the whole run brief to 350 people and was heard! Yep, I’m that loud. Thankfully the rest of the run and the uploading of the results went off without a hitch.

Giving the run brief

Hollering the Run Brief

Sunday I was tail walker at junior parkrun. As I’ve completely lost my mojo I thought this would be a way to get me out and running. As it happens I ended up walking the whole thing! It was actually really nice though as I walked with a fellow RD’s daughter who I presented with her half marathon wristband in this post. She was just so sweet chatting away. We talked about her pets, her running, her dad’s running, her school friend, foxes honestly the list goes on.

Sunday afternoon I was back at spin class and somehow I managed to get on the same faulty bike again! What a nightmare. It recorded only 8 miles this time despite my watch telling me I’d actually burnt more calories than usual. I felt like I’d worked really hard too so it’s a shame I don’t know how far I really went. A lot of the time the speedometer was telling me I was doing 1mph when I obviously wasn’t so I let the receptionist know that the bike is faulty.

That brings us to Monday. I finally got outside and went for a run. The weather was so rainy but I waited it out and managed to get out when it was just spitting/drizzling. I ran part of the parkrun course and then ran from there to Hillhead beach. It was really quiet out because of the weather. Although I did see some people and it’s funny what people say. I passed a lady for the second time and she said “Ooo you’ve gone far” I didn’t really know what to say so I just did an awkward laugh. I then passed two elderly gentlemen and one said “You go for it girl” ha I said thanks and jogged on. Bless them, they did make me smile though. Somehow I managed to get a new 5K PB! Amazing what being well rested and well hydrated can do! I’m now at 42:13. Ever closer to 40 minutes! Now I just need to try and replicate it at parkrun!

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2018 Running Goals – An Update Part 1

2018 Running Goals

As we’re now a quarter of the way through 2018 (wait what?! How did that happen?!) I thought it was time to update my running goals. I’m going to be honest. I’ve forgotten what some of them are so this will be interesting!

My current parkrun PB is 43:27, which I set in February. I’ve lost my running mojo a bit since then and I’m not really sure why! I think the holiday to Scotland and not running that week bar the parkrun knocked me off schedule a bit and I’ve just found it hard to get back on track. I’m hoping a 40 minute 5K is still something that is achievable in 2018.

I’m now an outside runner. I prefer running outside. I never thought I’d see the day to be honest. I always thought running outside was so much harder than running on the treadmill. Now I’m completely the other way. I hate running on a treadmill and have to make it bearable by watching YouTube videos. The last few weeks it feels like all it’s done is rain so I have done a couple of runs on the treadmill. This is definitely contributing to my lack of mojo but I’m just not a rain runner!

OK so obviously I can’t complete this goal until October but I can definitely tell you how my training is going. If I had have done this update at the beginning of March I’d have said my training is going really well. I was up to 4 miles and running well and without injury. However, I haven’t done a run longer than a parkrun since 4th March. I really need to get on this and find my mojo or else the Great South Run is going to be a very painful 10 miles.

I haven’t completed any other races yet in 2018 but I certainly have a busy race calendar coming up. If you want to read my post about what races I’m taking part in, it can be found HERE I’ve also added one more race since that post which is the Southampton Airport Runway Run.

So all in all how are my running goals going? Well so so. I just hope I can find my mojo again and pronto!

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