Category Archives: Fitness

Halfway Through 2019

June marks the halfway point for 2019! Do you think it’s flown by or is this year taking it’s sweet time for you? I don’t really feel either way, I think 2019 is passing by nicely, but not too fast. I thought it might be nice to reflect on my year so far and see how far I’ve come.

January

I started January horribly ill at New Year for the 2nd year running! Meaning I missed the New Year double at parkrun and didn’t get my first run in until the 5th! I did travel to Barry Island for some tourism in January though and absolutely loved their course. I also got featured on parkrun’s social media platforms with this picture.Barry Island parkrun

I also went to the Running Show which was so inspiring and met fellow blogger Mary and elite athlete Jo Pavey. January also saw me run my 50th parkrun with a time of 39:29

My 50th parkrun

February

In February I got in a good mix of parkruns and evening runs. This is definitely something I need to get back to but I ran an evening run recently and felt absolutely horrendous. It’s really put me off! But in February I was running in wind, rain and cold temperatures! I also did my longest run of the year at 4 miles. February also saw a new parkrun PB of 37:05. Soaking wet hair in the photo below after an evening run!

Selfie

March

March felt like the month of running in storms. The one downside to living on the coast is you get battered by winds whilst the rest of the country barely feel a breeze! I managed to score another parkrun PB in March during crazy winds of 36:18.

Lee and I

Check out my hair in the wind!

As well as a parkrun PB I went to Penrose parkrun in Cornwall.

Before parkrun

Before parkrun

March was also the month I went to my first Zumba class. I went alone, something I’d have never had the confidence to do before. I love it and I’m not afraid to admit I now have a Zumba addiction!

April

April didn’t contain a parkrun PB but I did run my longest run of the year, 5.2 miles. I went trail running, something I’d really enjoyed just before I became injured last year and then missed any opportunity to do it again.

Selfie in the rapeseed field

April also saw parkrun tourism in Ipswich and at Moors Valley. I’m really enjoying visiting different parkrun locations.

May

May included a pilgrimage to Bushy parkrun, which was incredible and also a new parkrun PB of 34:41. This is my current PB. I also completed my longest distance of the year which was also my first race of the year, a 10k race. I set a great new 10K PB too of 1:13 which knocked over 24 minutes off my 10k PB.

Before the race

Maria and I before the race

It’s safe to say 2019 has, so far, been a year of personal bests and great achievements. I’m so pleased with how my running is going but I definitely need to focus a little more on my running. At the minute my only consistent run is a parkrun on a Saturday. With my other exercise being a Zumba class. I want to get back to exercising 3 times a week consistently. And hopefully with that the remainder of 2019 will see me getting stronger and fitter still. This post has really inspired me to keep going as all my hard work is paying off and I want that to continue.

How’s your 2019 shaping up?

Do you find it’s good to reflect on how far you’ve come?

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Romsey 5 Mile Beer Race 2019

On Sunday 2nd June I completed my 2nd Romsey 5 Mile Beer Race. If you want to read about my first time it’s >>here<<

I was eagerly watching the weather leading up to this race and groaned when I realised it was going to be a scorcher just like last year. However, this years race was so different to last year. Once again, I have to thank Anna again for introducing me to this race.

I was supposed to run this race with my husband but unfortunately he had a migraine the day before but wasn’t well enough to take part. He did however play chauffeur and photographer for me so it’s not all bad! I was semi-nervous of the hills on the way there. I remember it being so hilly last year and although I’ve done some hills, I haven’t done a lot of hills.

When we got there I went to join the queue for the portaloos where I met up with both Anna and Martin. All the cool kids hang out in the toilet queue haha. Afterwards I went and collected my number and then pinned it on to my t-shirt. I took extra care this year as I did it so badly last year!

I found some runners from my running club and waited with them for the race to start. We started fairly near the back. This was my plan as I didn’t want to feel rushed along (resulting in me setting off too fast). The race starts with a lap of the field, then out on to the road. I remember last year I had to walk after leaving the field. I’d probably not even done 0.2 of a mile! Thankfully that wasn’t the case this year. I fell in to step with a lady and after a while I thought that she seemed to have a similar pace to me. I looked at my watch and we were doing around an 11:30min/mile so I thought I’d stick with her as she seemed to have her pacing nailed!

The race is in and around the village of Braishfield which is absolutely stunning and has some really beautiful houses. I loved looked at them all as we went by. I was so hot running but looking at the different houses helped take my mind off of it.

Running

Last year I felt like the race was really hilly, but this year I felt like there were only two hills, although you do one of them twice, so three hills. I was so pleased that I ran them all this year. In fact I only took one tiny walk break. The lady who I was running alongside must have sensed my footsteps dropping back and she turned to me and said “Come on” I’d probably walked for 5-10 steps! That’s actually the only time during the race we really spoke. Apart from when we passed by a gate where a donkey brayed loudly and made me jump out of my skin and shout “Oh my god” She laughed at me!

Thumbs up

I felt really strong throughout the race but the last half a mile I started to flag. I was so hot and pouring water over my head only gave a temporary relief, and resulted in me being absolutely freezing once I’d finished! As you come to the end of the race you have to do another lap of a field and my word, that field feels huge! I just wanted to be finished by this point and it felt like a grind getting round the last bit but I was super pleased to cross the line. I received my beer and cake token upon finishing and boy had I earnt them.

As I came out of the finish funnel there was the opportunity to look up your time. I thought that was pretty neat. My official finish time was 1:02:18 – that’s a 17 minute improvement on last years time!!!

I thanked the lady I’d followed. I told her I hadn’t felt capable of conversation but it was nice to be in company throughout the race. I didn’t find out her name at the time, I’ve since looked at the results and seen she was called Jess. She paced me perfectly without even knowing it!

After looking at my result I immediately went and claimed my free beer. Although I opted for a shandy version as I thought that might help rehydrate me better after sweating wildly. I then joined the very long queue for cake. I went for a slice of Victoria sponge this year and was oozing with jam! It was amazing!

Cake and Beer

I left the race pleased with my performance but already wanting another go! I’ll definitely be signing up for 2020 and maybe I’ll be able to get rid of those pesky 2 minutes and 18 seconds.

Beer

Would you do a beer race?

Do you prefer running in warmer or cooler temperatures?

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I Burned 400 Calories in 45 minutes

Zumba Logo

When I ran with Claire at Breakfast Club we had a good natter about Zumba. Claire is a Zumba instructor (although not my instructor) and is the one who got me to attend Sally’s class. She showed me the Zumba instructor app (I also learnt a Zumba instructor is called a Zin!) and the videos where they learn the dances. She told me most of the routines are also on YouTube where instructors have filmed their classes.

On the Bank Holiday Monday I thought I’d see if I could make a Zumba routine using YouTube. I actually prepped Sunday night and made a list of songs I could remember from the class and finding the correct routine that we do. I also found some others that I wanted to try to songs that I like.

So on Monday I was all set up and ready to go. I pulled up my YouTube playlist and danced around my living room for 45 minutes. I’m not a very co-ordinated person but I’ve found Zumba uses a core group of moves and now I know these it makes it a bit easier to follow the routines.

45 minutes later and I’d burned 400 calories! Zumba is definitely what you put in to it. You can take it easy and follow along half heartedly or you can attack each move and give it your all. It’s a good cardio workout. My heart rate sits just a little below where it does for running which just proves how hard it works you.

I really enjoy my Zumba classes but it’s great knowing I can practice at home too and for free!

Have you ever tried a Zumba class?

 

The Breakfast Club On Tour

On Sunday 26th May I went to The Breakfast Club. I’d seen on Facebook that they were going to do a run around Alver Valley Country Park. Alver Valley is pretty much on my doorstep but I don’t know my way around it so tend to shy away from it for fear of getting lost. The route had been planned by Hayley who is a fellow Gosport Road Runner, and although she doesn’t usually attend Breakfast Club, she was going to lead the run.

I went and picked up Claire and we got to Bayside with enough time to go for a wee and buy our Gosport Golden Mile buffs. Nick (who organises The Breakfast Club) had said he was selling some off and they were only £2, which is an absolute steal. They’re yellow too so will go with my Gosport Road Runners club t-shirt.

Before the run

Hayley explained before we set off that there were opportunities to cut the route short. The route was just under 6 miles and there were chances to cut it off at 3 and 4 miles. She also explained there would be loopbacks so the fast runners would get more miles in and the slower runners wouldn’t get lost. Then we were off!

We ran along a pathway I didn’t even know existed that goes alongside the River Alver. It was really pretty and cut us through from Stokes Bay back to Alver Valley. This was a great little cut through that I’ll be tempted to use again. Then once in the park we ran over Apple Dumpling Bridge and then on to the trails. We kept stopping to regroup which was great as it meant me being the slowest didn’t get lost but actually as this went on through the run, the stop start killed me! I’m much better when I just plod on!

Claire and I chatted a fair bit about Zumba. Claire is a Zumba instructor and works alongside the instructor I go to a class with on a Wednesday. We talked about the dances and songs, what our favourites were etc. It was lovely chatting and took my mind off my legs feeling like lead after every stop!

We ran up hills and across different paths, there were woodlands, tarmac and across grass. There were some spectacular views and I wish I’d actually thought on and snapped some pictures! Luckily someone grabbed a couple of group shots.

In Alver Valley

By the time we reached 4 miles my legs were so heavy. I’m pretty sure this was down to all the stop starting. My left shoe began to rub too and it never does that! I’m hoping it doesn’t do that next week when I have a 5 mile race! I don’t know if it was caused by being so hot maybe. I hope not as the race next week doesn’t start until 10am and this was at 8am!

End of run

I really enjoyed the route. I thoroughly enjoy running off road. I was definitely glad to get back to base though because of my legs and shoe rubbing though! When we got back to the café Claire and I had a coffee. She showed me how the Zumba instructors receive the new dances via an app. She also told me on YouTube there are videos of the routines in case I wanted to get some practice in. I definitely think I’m going to give this a whirl.

Claire and I

When I got home I had a soak in the bath with some Epsom salts. I looked at my foot and luckily it had just rubbed but not blistered so that’s something at least.

Have you ever tried Zumba?

Do you use running to explore new places?

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I’ve Run Over 100 Miles in 2019!

On 12th May I went for a solo run. My intention was to go out early, unfortunately that didn’t quite go to plan. I’ve found myself struggling a bit on solo runs as I’ve felt a bit bored running the same route at parkrun and on my own runs. However, it’s so convenient so I thought I’d try running with music. I bought some wireless ear phones that just sort of lock in place in your ear and miraculously don’t fall out! I’d already paired them to my phone but for whatever reason they’d lost that connection. It took me forever to get them to reconnect, hence me going out a bit later than I’d planned.

I was also testing out my new goodr running sunglasses. I’ve been struggling a bit squinting in to the sun on runs. I’d done a bit of looking online and saw a few recommendations for the goodr glasses. I saw Louise wearing them at parkrun the week before and she let me try them on and run about a bit to see how they felt.

I eventually headed out at 8.50, a whole 50 minutes after I’d intended to. I knew I wanted to do at least 3 miles to reach my 100th mile but set out on to my 4 mile route with the knowledge I could turn back early if I needed to. It was warm and sunny on my run and my glasses proved good and stopped me squinting. They were definitely a good purchase!

My ear phones though, what a difference running with music makes! I used to do more evening runs where I’d rather be able to hear what’s going on around me but a Sunday morning run is fine to listen to music. I had such a good run. I was so focussed on singing along (in my head) to the music that I barely noticed the miles ticking by and never once had a negative thought about running. Usually I have that little devil on my shoulder saying things like “This is hard, I could walk now, shall I just sit on that bench” but there was none of that! I had a really good comfortable run. It probably felt so comfortable as every mile was a whole minute slower than the day before at parkrun! I was pretty impressed by how even my splits were.

Splits

I definitely regretted my timing though. The prom was so busy from about the halfway point of my run as dog walkers and families started to head out to enjoy time in the sunshine. I had to do a bit of weaving around people towards the end.

Selfie

I’m finding headbands great at the minute too for keeping the sun off my head a bit.

Do you listen to music whilst you run?

Do you keep track of how many miles you’ve run?

 

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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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