I’m really making an effort to get out and run after work more. Because of work if I were to run before, I’d have to get up at 4.30am and to be honest, I’m just not that committed! I’d rather have the extra hour in bed.
So the other night, despite it being dark and windy and wet I still went out for a run. As if by magic though the rain did stop which I was pleased about. I’d decided to try and stay away from the sea front as the wind on the front is always a lot worse. As I was running I didn’t think the wind felt too bad. I was beginning to get really hot so I thought I’d pop through to the sea front to let the breeze cool me a little.
I ended up regretting it. There is parking all on the sea front and I ran past a man having a wee up the side of his van! It was pretty grim but he must have been desperate as it was actually making a bit of a gushing noise! Sorry if that’s too much information haha.
My luck took a real down turn when the weather decided to hail too. It was like lots of tiny pins stabbing me in the face! Luckily I was already on the return leg of my run but I really could have done without it!
I got back and I’d clocked up a 5K. A quick selfie, because if you don’t take a selfie, did you even go for a run? Then I had a hot bath to try and warm up after peeling off my wet clothes. I have to admit, I’m so ready for Spring. I’m tired of running in the dark, wind and rain!
My husband hadn’t been to parkrun for a couple of weeks due to illness. As a result, I’d not been going to the normal parkrun café, but to one on the way home instead where I picked up a coffee for me and a bit of breakfast for us both. The coffee is incredibly good there so when my husband returned to parkrun I suggested we went there for breakfast after parkrun instead.
Before parkrun selfie
When we got to parkrun my husband was trying to decide if he should run with me or not. He always sets off too fast and he thought by running with me it’d give him a slower start, meaning he then wouldn’t struggle later. Eventually he decided that he would. We set off and after the first mile I asked him if he wanted to go on. He didn’t but after about a 1.5 miles he started struggling with knee pain. He walked a little whilst I trotted at the side of him. After a few stop/starts at around the 2 mile mark he told me to go on as he was going to walk the rest. Because we’d had such a stop/start run I actually felt pretty fresh so felt really good in the last part of parkrun, for probably the first time ever!
Frustratingly I finished within 8 seconds of my personal best! I gritted my teeth and tried not to blame my husband haha. When he came through the finish funnel he said his knee actually felt a bit better for walking, which was good. So we set off to the new café I’d been popping to for the past couple of weeks.
Oh I do love a filter
When we got to the café I ordered a latte whilst my husband had a hot chocolate which quite frankly arrived looking like a dessert! For breakfast I had a toasted teacake and a Bakewell tart afterwards whilst my husband enjoyed a cheese and ham toastie and then a fruit scone with jam and clotted cream. I have to admit, it did look very scrummy!
On the way back from the café it was nice to see some of the trees blooming. Particularly my neighbours magnolia tree and our own blossom tree. It makes me hopeful that Spring is on it’s way!
Lots of people have supported me through my running journey. So many people have come forward when I’ve asked for someone to run with. They’ve sacrificed their parkrun, to run mine with me. It means a lot and I’ve always been truly grateful.
On Saturday I went to parkrun alone. My husband was in bed with a migraine and my friend Maria was in Disneyland Paris! So I went down alone but soon got chatting to people. I started my run alone. As I settled in to a comfortable pace I heard two women just behind me chatting away. I stayed just ahead of them and just zoned out and listened to their conversation. Is that weird? It provided the perfect distraction as I listened to them moan about work. I thought “This is what Maria and I must sound like when we run together”
As we reached the 1.5 mile mark they fell in to step with me and I realised I knew one of the women. I’d met Timnah through parkrun when I first started volunteering. Every time she ran past me at my marshalling point I’d cheer her on and she’d ask me “Am I last?” She never was. Anyway over time we spoke a bit more, became friends on FaceBook etc.
As we fell inline with each other I asked how she was as I knew she’d been out for a long time with an injury. As we started to chat her friend asked if it was ok for her to move forward. It turns out she was a faster runner. I offered to run with Timnah, so long as she didn’t mind me babbling away. She said it’d keep her going. This was only her 2nd parkrun back since her injury.
We settled to her pace, she was worried she was holding me back but I told her I didn’t care. I run to run, not chase times. So we settled in to a nice easy pace. Did I just say a pace was easy?! Never thought I’d say that. We talked about injuries, what motivates us, our jobs, babies, parkrun etc. We covered a lot of topics in 1.5 miles! It was so lovely though, someone to catch up with and not care about pace.
Afterwards Timnah thanked me and said I’d kept her going when she could easily have stopped. Not going to lie, it felt good! I felt like I was finally paying back some of the good deeds people had done by running with me. We finished in the not too shabby time of 40:14.
Afterwards I walked on to the High Street and went and picked myself up a coffee and bought a mini Lemon Loaf for my husband because nothing cures a migraine like cake!
And of course, no parkrun post would be complete without a post parkrun sweaty selfie!
January has not been my friend in terms of weight loss. I’ve tracked and eaten well but the results just haven’t reflected that. I haven’t exercised as much as I could of but that’s mainly down to illness.
So, after Christmas and New Year I weighed in on 3rd January. I’d be really poorly over New Year (See the end of THIS POST) I was just about recovered ready to go back to work and WW. I’d put on half a stone. I put this down to Christmas, obviously but wondered if some had been caused by the illness as I hadn’t eaten properly.
When I weighed in on 10th January I’d lost 5.5lbs of the 7lbs I’d gained over Christmas. On 17th, I lost another 2lbs, meaning I’d now lost the 7lbs from Christmas, plus another half a pound.
However, the week of 21st January I had to take two days off work because I had a really heavy cold. I stayed in bed and didn’t eat on the Monday, then on the Tuesday I just had an evening meal. I went back to work on the Wednesday and when I weighed in on the Thursday I’d put on 3.5lbs! I was devastated to be honest. I couldn’t see how it had happened, but with hindsight, perhaps my body just doesn’t react well to illness and missing meals as a result? I’ve had 4 colds (of varying strengths) since Christmas.
On 31st January I’d lost 2 of the 3.5lbs.
Thankfully February seems to be treating me a little better, so far anyway! On 7th February I’d lost 3lbs, meaning I’m now at my lowest weight and taking my total weight loss to 2 stone 10lbs. 4lbs away from losing 3 stone. Fingers crossed I can make 3 stone by the end of February!
Before you start this one, grab yourself a cuppa and get comfy, it’s a long one!
On 18th January my husband and I headed to Birmingham for The National Running Show 2019. We’d booked in to the Hilton Hotel on the grounds of the Birmingham NEC. We were ideally placed as it was only a 15 minute walk to the show from there.
On the Saturday morning we got there early. Not anywhere near early enough though as there was already a huge queue of people waiting to get in. There was a jam packed schedule for the duration of the show. There were guest speakers on two stages throughout the day, workshops as well as all the vendors there ready to sell you the latest offerings.
When we got inside we headed straight to the main stage. As soon as I realised how busy it was I knew I needed to stay where I was to keep a seat as once I stood up there was no way I’d be sitting back down!
Susie Chan and Ben Smith
The show was opened by Susie Chan and Ben Smith (of the 401 challenge) they both gave a brief description of who they are and what we could expect at the show. Then the guest speakers started. The first speech we watched was by Jordan Wylie. I’d never heard of him if I’m honest but ended up being amazed by the work he has done. He runs in war-torn countries and helps buy them educational aids. He’s also one of the hunters on Hunted!
We then watched Jo Pavey. Now, I’m a huge fan of Jo Pavey and have been for quite some time so I was keen to hear her speech. She spoke about how her career has progressed and how she manages to run as well as being a Mum. She showed footage of her getting her gold medal at the 2014 European Championships. It gave me goosebumps seeing it again, just like it did in 2014.
Next up was Roger Black who actually hails from Gosport! He spoke of his running career and how he was part of the gold medal 4x400m at the 1991 Tokyo World Championships. His speech was quite funny. He’s a natural in front of an audience.
Next was a lady called Alex Cook. To be honest, I was only there to watch Iwan Thomas who was on after her but her speech was actually quite interesting. It was about how to fuel for a marathon and how to plan for this. If I ever run a marathon (probably won’t) then I feel like I now have some knowledge on how to equip myself with fuel for this.
The last speech of the day that we listened to was Iwan Thomas. Iwan lives semi-locally to me. He runs at one of the local parkruns and when I see him on Instastories I often know where he is. It’s a bit surreal. He spoke about his athletic career. He was naturally gifted as a sportsman and did lots of different sports at school to a good level. It was nice to learn a bit more about him.
After this we went and got lunch and then headed back in to look around the different stalls. I managed to find the guys from runr and bought a hat and a hoodie. It was almost impossible to look at many more stalls though. It was so overcrowded we were trying to look at stalls but just couldn’t get near them, sometimes it was just people trying to get past themselves and sometimes it was people all trying to look at the stall too.
Day 1 Purchases
There was another talk I wanted to go to but you couldn’t get anywhere near the main stage so we ended up leaving a little earlier than I’d thought we would. We went back to the hotel and then went and had a look around a small shopping centre that was on the grounds of the NEC too. We then went to the cinema to see Mary Poppins Returns which was a very cute movie.
On Sunday we went back for day two. We got there a little earlier than the day before but we were even further back in the queue. When we got in we ran to get a seat at the main stage, along with lots of others. It was madness. Susie and Ben opened the show again and then the mighty Paula Radcliffe did her speech. I actually can’t remember much of what she spoke about but I remember she spoke about her foot injury, running the London Marathon with the masses and her asthma.
During Paula’s speech Ben Smith came and sat right beside us so I snapped this picture and obviously he caught me!
After Paula’s speech I jumped up so I could go and speak to Mary from A Healthier Moo. It was so nice to finally meet her as I’ve followed her blog for quite a while and we chat on various social media. I wish we’d had longer to chat though, or an easier place to chat! I did snap a quick selfie though. The woman in the background of the picture I ended up speaking to about 4 different times through the day. She was so lovely and I never even asked her name.
We then headed over to the other stage and listened to two men from Fitness First talk about strength and conditioning exercises. This would have been aided by demonstrations of some exercises for each area they spoke about. Then we listened to Paul Addicott talk about pacing. I’ve seen Paul around on Twitter many times and I knew he did a lot of pacing for some of the popular British marathons. His speech was really interesting and when he opened it up to the audience to ask questions I went ahead and asked one. I asked how he handles pacing when the weather doesn’t play ball. We get really bad winds down on the South Coast and I wondered how he’d handle that. He said people still rely on you regardless of the weather so you really just have to try and keep at it. Harsh!
I then listened to the next speech which was billed as “A Runner’s journey from inactive to Run Leader Mentor”. I’d never heard of Sam Mollaghan before but as soon as she told us who she was I knew her. She’s the first poster girl of the This Girl Can campaign. The lady running with the slogan “I jiggle, therefore I am” Her story was probably the most inspirational speech I heard all weekend. Her story really resonated with me and I could see myself in a lot of what she was saying about how she built up her running, how she overcame injuries etc. She even has her own running group now. Absolutely amazing!
After Sam, we then listened to a question and answer session with Jo Pavey. Her name wasn’t in the itinerary for this one. I only found out she was there because the lady I kept bumping in to told me.
Anyway this was my chance to grab a selfie with her and then, I couldn’t believe it, she wanted to chat to me! She asked me about my running and what my next race is. Gobsmacked!
Afterwards we went for lunch and then went round the stalls again. It was much quieter on the Sunday so I managed to have a good look at some of the stalls I wanted to. I went and bought a flipbelt. I’ve seen so many good reviews about them but have always worried I wouldn’t fit in to one. Well I did so chose a reflective one since it’s winter and dark night runs are a thing. I also got a bottle that fits in to it. Then we also bought a box of flapjacks from Flapjackery. They were really good.
We headed off after I’d made my last purchases. I wanted to hear Nell McAndrew’s speech but it was 4 hours and I’d pretty much done everything I wanted to already so decided to head back to the South Coast early to get ready for being back at work on Monday.
Overall it was a brilliant weekend. I heard so many people speak who I admire, I guess the only downside was the crowds on the Saturday. It didn’t put me off that much though as I’ve already got tickets for next year.
Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed ringing in the New Year and aren’t feeling too sad about saying goodbye to 2018. Now, as regular readers will know, this blog saw a lot of doom and gloom through 2018 as I went through 5 months of injury. So, now it’s time to focus on what made 2018 awesome.
Obviously parkrun had to get a mention here. My first parkrun of 2018 was on 6th January (I missed the double on NYD because of a horrible virus) My finish time was 45:20. I’ve now dropped that to 37:59 on Christmas Day! I also was a tourist at Aviemore parkrun in March where despite finishing in 46:18 I finished in position 28. My highest finish position to date! Not only finish times and positions though, the friends I’ve made through parkrun. I know I can ask on Facebook for a run buddy and someone will always come forward. The running community is so supportive. I’ve built my network down here (We moved South in 2015) from parkrunners and now they’re incredible friends. In April I ran Mike’s 100th parkrun with him because, this still amazes me, he wanted to run with me because I was his favourite RD. I felt so incredibly privileged that day. More wonderful parkrun-related days were meeting Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the founder of parkrun, and Dame Kelly Holmes, the retired Olympic athlete.
I’ve not left the UK in 2018 (I went to Brazil at the end of 2018 and will go to Canada in 2019) but I’ve still discovered new and lovely places. I started 2018 by visiting Cheddar, Weston-Super-Mare and Bristol. In March I visited Scotland and discovered new places as we stayed in a different area to where we’d usually stay. In April I visited Wales, or to be precise, Barry Island. We went landmark hunting as I’d finally got around to watching Gavin & Stacey! In September we went back to Scotland where we did so much walking! My injury was finally fading and I loved enjoying the outdoors again.
My running has improved so much towards the end of 2018. However I want to focus on some of the amazing runs I’ve done that aren’t parkrun related. I ran in my local country park for the first time and discovered the cliff top run so many people have told me about. That was an incredible run but it’s a shame it coincided with flying ant day!! A year to the day after starting parkrun, I also completed my first run with The Breakfast Club. I’d never felt good enough to go before but I loved every second. In May I also did my first intervals session at Gosport Road Runners and absolutely loved it. By May my running was going from strength to strength and I was thoroughly enjoying it. In June I also ran my longest run (5 Miles) to date at the Romsey Cake and Beer Race. An incredible day and I won a prize! October was an amazing month as I started running again after my injury and suddenly found losing 2 stone had made quite a difference to my speed.
In June I met Woofs With Wilson and his Mum for the first time and got on with them famously. We’ve since met a couple more times and they introduced me to The Pump House, one of my favourite places in Gosport.
My friendship with Maria went from strength to strength as we went to so many spin classes and in June, I got her to come to parkrun. And got her hooked on it!
We had friends from Sheffield visit in June. The weather was sweltering so we had beach days, as well as playing tourist in our own area.
I also met up with Anna from Anna the Apple blog a couple of times at the Paul Sinton-Hewitt chat and for dinner where I quizzed her on every marathon she’s run.
Obviously in 2018 there were some great things that happened to me that don’t really fall in to the other categories. At the end of July I signed up to Weight Watchers and so far I’ve lost 2 and a half stones. It’s from the picture below people really started noticing my weight loss.
I added another string to my bow by completing a level 2 course on Understanding Childhood Illnesses.
In December, my husband and I also celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.
What made your 2018 awesome? Or are you glad to see the back of it?
I’m about a month behind on updates about how my running is going! Oops! Hopefully over the Christmas break I’ll manage to get caught up.
On 27th November Maria and I went back to the spin class we used to attend at the gym. We haven’t been to a spin class since I got my injury on 9th June. We were looking forward to getting back to it. I’d left it so long after my return to running because I wanted to be so so sure that everything was ok.
Obviously we take our class very seriously, and before it began, we took selfies with filters. We were pretty pumped to find out the class was our favourite one. We do Virtual Spin, which basically means they play a video. It’s a bit like doing a DVD at home, except you’re in a spin studio.
We really enjoyed the class and both left absolutely buzzing. Completing a spin class gives me that high feeling. I’ve yet to experience that from running! To quote one of my favourite movie characters, Elle Woods…
However, the next couple of days, as well as the saddle soreness you experience from a spin class I could also feel my injury. Don’t get me wrong, it was nothing like as painful as it had been. In fact it wasn’t so much painful, but really uncomfortable. Which makes me wonder, was it a running injury after all? Perhaps it actually came from a spin class and running the parkrun that morning just upset it further? Perhaps that’s why when the physio asked me what I did to cause it, I didn’t know the answer. I didn’t do anything, I was just plodding along.
That uncomfortable feeling lasted a good couple of days. As a result, I haven’t been back to a spin class again. My running is going so well at the minute I just don’t want to risk aggravating the injury again by continuing to spin. I’m pretty disappointed though because I do love the spin classes.
Have you had to give up something you enjoy for health reasons?
Every Tuesday morning I see one of my parkrun friends out running on my drive to work. I pass her at the same point every Tuesday morning and it got me thinking…is this safe? The more I thought about it on my drive to work, the more this blog post came to fruition. Anything to make the commute pass by quicker!
Don’t Run The Same Route
Unfortunately these days you never know who is watching and if you run the same route, like my friend does every Tuesday, people will know. By not running the same route you make yourself less prone to attack. That might sound over dramatic but we read about muggings in the press all too often. Whilst we’re talking about routes, stick to well lit routes that you’re familiar with so you don’t get lost. And also…
Tell Someone Where You Plan On Running
If something does happen, heaven forbid, then your loved ones are at least going to have some clue of where you are. When you leave tell someone how long you expect to be. If you live alone then it’s always a good idea to carry some form of ID. The parkrun wrist bands are ideal as they have your ICE contact on them and you can list any medical conditions you may have. You might also want to…
Carry Your Phone With You
Now I’m kind of in two minds about this. If you have a phone with you and something happens then you can at least contact someone. Your loved ones can use the “Find Friends” app to track you too. However I don’t like to take my phone because if I’m going to get mugged, I don’t want them to take my phone. That’s why I’m in two minds! However I can make calls from my Apple Watch so I don’t necessarily need my phone but lets face it, if I’m going to get mugged, they’ll probably nab the watch anyway!
If you’re running in the dark mornings or evenings make sure you can be seen. There are so many pieces of quality Hi-Viz running clothing out there, there’s no excuse! You can also buy various running lights cheap as chips on Amazon. Wear your brightest clothing and you’re all set.
Hit The Gym
Not wanting to run in the dark? Go to the gym and use a treadmill. I know they’re not the most inspiring pieces of kit but you can use the programme settings on treadmills to get a really good workout. I help time pass on the treadmill by watching YouTube videos. There are actually elite athletes who use treadmills regularly to aid their running.
I’ve slipped a little with my blog posts again! Following on from my parkrun PB on 17th November, the following day I went for a run with Claire. We were meant to go to Breakfast Club but as it was the morning of the Gosport Half Marathon (which meant road closures between home and Breakfast Club) we decided to keep it local.
We met up at the end of my road and agreed we’d keep it to 30 minutes out and back just like a Breakfast Club. We set off towards Hill Head and ran along the prom. We ran all the way until the point where the prom runs out and then turned around. On the way back as we passed the toilet block we did some hill reps on the slopes that go from the toilets to the upper level pavement.
We then headed to Browndown where Claire then had me run up and down the stairs. As we began running again afterwards my hamstring on my left leg started to hurt. I think I probably strided out too far on the hill reps maybe.
We headed for home after this which made the run up to just over 4 miles. I was slower than the previous day but that was to be expected after getting a PB. Once I got in I had a quick shower and headed out to spectate at the Gosport Half Marathon.
The good thing about spectating at the Gosport Half Marathon is that you can see your runners multiple times due to the layout of the course and the fact it’s two laps. It’s a strange one though if you’re a runner. It’s along the seafront in November so windy and cold. It’s two laps, some people find laps soul destroying. And finally, if I were running it, I’d practically run past my house twice whilst, I imagine, in a world of pain! I’d probably just want to go home!
Anyway I stood with two friends from Gosport Road Runners and had a natter with them whilst cheering people on. I only took one picture as I didn’t want to miss any of my runners.
I was a bit gutted to miss Anna on her final fly by as I was still watching runners come the other way! Still I think I managed to see most people 4 times which is good and not something that can be done at all marathons.
When I finished parkrun on Saturday I got talking to the Race Director of Eastleigh 10K. Eastleigh is a pretty big event on the local race calendar and lots of people take part. It boasts that it is a flat fast course so people are bound to want a crack of the whip.
Whilst chatting he told me instead of just awarding prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd male female or age category etc, next year they’re introducing an Achievement Award. This means that all runners are in with a chance of winning an award if they’ve run the previous year. The way it will work is, if you ran the 2018 race and then run the 2019 race, if you make an improvement on your 2018 time you’ll be in with a chance of winning. To make it fair it’ll be based on the percentage of your improvement time.
For runners like me this is an amazing opportunity. I’m never going to be a fast runner coming 1st, 2nd or 3rd, nor am I ever likely to win my age category. Something I can boast though is that I’ve knocked somewhere around 15 minutes off my 5K time. That’s a 25% improvement. When I told him a bit about my journey he said it’s people like me he’s hoping to reward, those people that chip away at running to improve their physical or mental health. I guess it’s about rewarding everyone and not just those who run super quick. However, I guess those middle of the pack runners who are never going to win but are only likely to improve their time by say 2 minutes are still likely to miss out on an award.
I like the idea but what do you think? Is it fair to reward only certain people or should the whole awarding people prizes be scrapped?