Category Archives: Life

Achievement Awards

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?

 

Spectating At The Great South Run 2018

I was meant to be running the Great South Run this year but due to injury wasn’t able to take part. A couple of months ago I don’t think I could have even gone to spectate but now I’m feeling a lot better in myself so….

On 21st October I headed in to Portsmouth to watch the Great South Run. We’d spent a good while contemplating how to get there and eventually settled on just paying the monstrous £10 parking fee to park on Southsea common. We left home at 6:50am to drive over to Portsmouth and get parked.

I knew I wanted to be somewhere around the 8 or 9 mile mark to provide people with cheers and encouragement in those latter stages where they might be struggling and really need the boost. However, first we were heading for breakfast! We walked to The Tenth Hole which is an amazing cake shop that also happen to do some pretty tasty food. It was a good half an hour walk to there and we arrived at 7.55 ready for them to open at 8am. The Tenth Hole was on the Great South Run route and there were signs everywhere saying so and not to park. On our walk there and whilst eating breakfast we probably saw 10 cars get towed away. We even saw one lady park up, get out of her car, read the sign, then go for a jog anyway! Her car was towed about 10 minutes after she left. I bet that was a nasty surprise to come back to!

Sun rise over Canoe Lake

The sun rising over Canoe Lake

For breakfast I had French toast with banana and a coffee followed by a slice of banoffee pie. There were so many runners in there enjoying breakfast too. I’m not sure it’s how I’d fuel my run right before the race but each to their own. When we left and walked to the end of the street I realised we were about 200 yards from the 9 mile marker. It looked as good a place as any to stand and there were toilets right opposite us in case I needed a wee! Priorities!

Andy Vernon warming up

Andy Vernon warming up

We had about half an hour to wait before the elite women set off. I was looking forward to seeing Eilish McColgan and Gemma Steele run. Whilst we were waiting we saw Andy Vernon warming up ready to take on Chris Thompson. We didn’t have too long to wait after that before we saw them around mile 7 (at the end of the road where The Tenth Hole is) and then it only seemed like 10 minutes before they were running past us at mile 9. Eilish McColgan was in first place when she passed us and was looking strong as! I snapped a shot of her and uploaded it to my Instagram stories, only for her to share it on her Instagram stories!

Eilish McColgan

The elite men soon passed after the women and Chris Thompson was in the lead ready to win for the 3rd time. Now I had to get my beady eyes ready to start spotting my friends. The tracker app was next to useless! It told me some of my runners were still on the start line when they’d run past me, and some had finished when they hadn’t. It was down to me to spot them as the app wasn’t reliable. I soon spotted Anna and Kyle. Anna was the happiest person I saw at mile 9. She looked like she was having a great time.

As the time passed by the weather really warmed up. I cheered on Craig from Runr and around 40 people from parkrun. I collected hugs from those that were able to stop. I was shocked to find everyone was dripping wet where they’d poured water over their heads to try and cool down. One friend told me she was suffering with heat stroke! It was so warm and I even got sunburnt. I managed to spot all my friends bar one which I thought was pretty good considering there were 20,000 people running! At the end I was waiting for my lovely friend Mike from parkrun but the app told me he’d finished so we  started heading back to the car. As we passed the finish line I heard the announcer call Mike’s name! So he hadn’t finished after all when the app told me. Luckily I was able to yell through the barricades to him and catch his attention. He laughed when I told him about the mix up and said he’d take the quicker time!

The only downside to the whole day was trying to get out of Portsmouth! It took us about an hour and forty minutes to get home and it’s usually a half hour journey!

Have you been to spectate a big race like the Great South Run?

What’s your favourite race distance?

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International parkrun Day

On October 6th it was International parkrun Day. It marks 14 years since parkrun started! I don’t need to harp on about how amazing parkrun is as you all know already that I love it.

Before the Saturday I’d already completed one run/walk. When I was seeing a physio she told me when I made my return to running, to start off with so little running it’s mostly walking. She suggested 30 seconds running and 4.5 minutes walking so that’s what I did. My first run/walk I did 20 minutes on the treadmill and I’m pleased to report it was pain free.

Saturday it was time to test it out over the 5k distance. I donned my apricot parkrun t-shirt and started by doing the new runners briefing. I went to the start line and my fellow parkrunner Claire came to join me. She asked me what my goal was. I told her to get round pain free but as we started I said I wanted to try and stay under 20 minute miles. We walked and chatted and Claire’s watch continuously beeped with her pace as it kept telling her she was behind pace but it was good as she told me where we were at. Mostly around an 18 minute mile. However on the runs I was banging out 11-12 minute miles! Say whaaaat?! Haha I am aware it was only for 30 seconds though.

The parkrun was pretty uneventful to be honest but this was good, I got round, it was pain free and to top it off I did it in a good time. A surprisingly good time actually. I finished in 49:58 with 30 seconds running and 4.5 minutes walking! Bearing in mind my average parkrun time is about 45 minutes. Mind blown!

Afterwards I was absolutely buzzing! I’m praying this good luck continues. And just to finish off, here’s a silly selfie taken before hand!

parkrun selfie

What’s Been Happening Lately

It’s been over a month since my last proper blog post. Since becoming an injured runner it’s been hard for me to blog because I’ve not really had much to blog about.

Last time I wrote I was going for a practice parkrun walk which turned in to a walk with a twist. Since then I’ve been able to go back to the gym and exercise properly, although I’ve yet to return to spin. I’ve been on holiday to Scotland where we did lots of hiking and I’ve been back to parkrun twice.

The first time I did parkrun it took me over an hour. It was pain free but foolishly I wore new Nike trainers that absolutely ripped my feet to shreds. It was really bad, so bad it took two weeks before I could comfortably wear shoes again!

I’m still doing well with Weight Watchers (or WW as it’s now meant to be known) and I’ve nearly lost 1.5 stone. I did put on weight after holiday though! I’m not worried about that at all though as I know I’ll lose it again.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet as that pretty much brings me up to date and now I can start individual posts on runs and workouts etc. I just didn’t want to start blogging again without bringing it all up to date.

The Running Awards

I’ve been nominated for a Running Award in the Personal Blog section. Click the red button to vote for me, you know, if you want to!

 

What My Return to Running Will Look Like

Now that I’m almost pain free I’ve started to think about my return to running. My view on it has really changed.

No more worrying about times:

Previous to my injury I was so determined to improve my time all the time. I was disappointed if I went over a 15 minute mile. I was annoyed if I went over a 45 minute 5k. There’s one thing this injury has taught me and that’s to enjoy running. Run because I can not because I have to.

No more signing up for races:

The main thing I panicked about when I got injured, was the races I’d entered. I had the Gosport Golden Mile, River Ness 10K and the Great South Run. I still went ahead and ran the Gosport Golden Mile which was a huge mistake but hindsight is a wonderful thing! Luckily I’ve managed to get my entry fee back from the Great South Run so that just leaves the River Ness 10K who won’t refund or let me defer. I guess I just have to let that one go. I no longer want that pressure of “I have to be able to run this distance” I want my running to be for me. Although I do really want to do the 5 mile beer and cake race again!

The end goal is not a marathon:

Some runners feel the end goal is to run a marathon. They work their way through the distances and then sign up to a marathon or ultra. I just want to be able to run. I want to complete a parkrun but after 5K anything else will just be a bonus.

Social Running:

One thing I do definitely want to do is return to Breakfast Club. Running with people I know and a nice chatty breakfast afterwards. I think if I do end up going over 5K, this will be it. It’s half an hour out and half an hour back. It’ll be nice to see how I progress through this but I’m not going to think “I want to run 4 miles, or 5 miles or 6 miles” etc. My progression will come naturally the more I run when I can run.

Now I just have to figure out how to get rid of this last little bit of niggly injury!

International Cat Day

I always desperately wanted a dog as a child. Probably not the opening line you expected on a blog post about International Cat Day. I never got a dog. I’ve still never owned a dog. I have however owned 4 cats. I guess they were my Mum’s compromise on the whole dog thing.

When I was 3 my Auntie Su moved to Canada. I inherited her cat Minstrel. He was black and white. I’m guessing that’s how he got his name. I don’t have any pictures of him so instead have a picture of my Auntie and I as we waited for her taxi to take her to the airport the day she left for Canada. Minstrel was run over. You’ll soon notice a theme here.

Su and I

After Minstrel I was given my next two cats Meme and Rusty. I named Meme after a cat in a story a teacher told me at school. It was about a black and white cat that rode on a Ferris wheel at a fayre. I was only meant to get one cat but I guess my Dad couldn’t resist the 2nd when he went to get them. I was around 6 or 7 when I got them.

Meme and Rusty

They were both really independent cats and were never lap cats. I grew up with these cats and have so many memories of them. I used to push them around in a pram in the garden for as long as they’d let me. My neighbours poisoned Rusty because she used to go on their garden. Both cats would wait for me at the top of the hill when I came out of school. Meme died first. She was run over by a car. Then Rusty lived until I was around 13 or 14. She too was run over.

It must have only been a year or so later that I got Freddy. He was named after Freddy Boswell on the tv show Bread. A house on my road had a sign in the window saying they had kittens and somehow I managed to convince my Mum to let me have one.

Freddy

Freddy was a nightmare cat. He learnt to open doors, he’d charge at your feet, he’d jump out and surprise you. He was a nightmare and was constantly called “That bloody cat” I only had Freddy for a year or two before he too was run over. I’ve just text my Mum to see if she remembered Freddy and her response was “That bloody cat” haha. It was thanks to Freddy that I was never allowed another cat.

Are you a cat or a dog person?

 

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Happy Yorkshire Day!

Today is Yorkshire Day! As some of you may know I’m originally from Sheffield, the 2nd largest city in Yorkshire. I’m proud to be from Yorkshire. It has so much to offer. I’m celebrating Yorkshire Day and below are some ideas on how you can too.

Yorkshire Day

Food:

Eat a Yorkshire Pudding but if you’re stuck for ideas of what to put it with, why not have a Yorkshire Curry? A Yorkshire Pudding filled with your favourite curry. If memory serves me right, the Yorkshire Curry was invented in Bradford, the Curry Capital of Britain.

For pudding enjoy a slice of Yorkshire parkin. I actually have to ask my Mum to bring this down with her when she comes to visit as I’ve yet to find it in the South. Morrisons sell the best parkin in my opinion. Oh and Morrisons are from Yorkshire too!

Drink:

First and foremost, we all know a good strong cup of Yorkshire Tea is a must on any day never mind Yorkshire Day.  And hey, if it’s good enough for the Brownlee Brothers, then it’s good enough for the rest of us. Just so you know, the Brownlee Brothers are from Yorkshire too. Another unsung hero of Yorkshire is Tetley Tea, which is almost as good as Yorkshire Tea.

If you fancy something a tad stronger then Yorkshire has lots of breweries including Black Sheep, John Smith’s and Kelham Island. Black Sheep actually make a beer called Emmerdale after the TV Soap that’s filmed in Yorkshire.

Music:

There are so many awesome bands from Yorkshire that no matter what your taste in music, you’ll easily find something to listen to. To name a few: The Human League, The Beautiful South, Arctic Monkeys, Def Leppard and Pulp. Fun Fact, I once saw Jarvis Cocker in Sainsbury’s. He was buying Panda Pop.

Movies:

There are so many quality Yorkshire films. The most famous are probably The Calendar Girls, The Full Monty and Brassed Off. Two of my personal favourites are Kes and Rita, Sue and Bob Too.

TV:

If you’ve not got time to watch a whole film then why not stick on an episode of Emmerdale, Heartbeat or Last of the Summer Wine. I’ve watched Emmerdale as long as I can remember.

Clothes:

To really celebrate Yorkshire Day why not don a flat cap. Bonus points if you can find a Whippet to accompany you for the day.

Culture & Leisure:

Yorkshire has a lot to offer in terms of museums, theatres and art. The Yorkshire Sculpture park is a great day out to admire the sculptures whilst breathing in some of the fresh Yorkshire air. Or go and watch a game of football. Did you know, there’s a rumour that Football as we know it today was created in Sheffield!

Speak in a Yorkshire accent:

Yorkshire has a dialect all of it’s own. The Yorkshire accent is highly recognisable but only locals will be able to pinpoint where in Yorkshire you’re from simply by hearing you speak. Time to start practising your Ey Ups and Eeh Bah Gum’s!

Have you ever been to Yorkshire?

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My First Weigh In

This week was my first week following the Weight Watchers Smart Points plan. I’d eaten like a bloody saint! Part of this was because it’s been so damn hot. All I’ve wanted to eat has been salad as it’s been too hot to cook. Anyway I had tracked every morsel of food that had passed my lips between last Thursday and this one.

I’d done a cheeky mid week weigh in only to find on my scales at home I’d lost a bit fat zero pounds! I was horrified and actually could have cried. I’d eaten like a saint and had nothing to show for it. So, when Thursday morning reared it’s head I was nervous. It turned out to be the hottest day of the week so far. I got home incredibly sweaty and feeling very blah and wondering if being stupidly hot would mean I weighed more or less. I’d also tried to just take sips of water after 4pm.

I had a quick shower and got to the class at 7. I waited nervously in the queue and then my turn came. I had a brief chat with my class leader, Claire and then stepped on to the dreaded scales. Amazingly and to my absolute astonishment I’d lost a rather whopping 6lbs! I was blown away and felt quite smug when Claire said “You’ll be getting your half a stone sticker next week”

I then went to browse the shop whilst other people were being weighed in. I bought two books. They’re pocket guides, one for eating out and one called “Shop” that has the points in for lots of branded products.

Afterwards I waited for the class to start. This week there were only 4 of us that stayed behind for the meeting. I’m guessing people don’t want to stay because of the hot weather? I imagine this will increase tenfold come the New Year!

weightloss tracker

What do you blog about when you have nothing to blog about?

I am still injured. I’m still not allowed to do anything. No walking, running, swimming or cycling. I told a friend this the other day and she said “Bloody hell, what’s left?!” Exactly! I’m feeling pretty miserable. I seem to have reached a bit of a plateau. My injury is definitely better than when I first did it but I’ve reached a point now where it’s just the same every day. No better yet no worse. I’m doing all my stretches and foam rolling daily like I’ve been told, yet nothing. It’s still more painful at work and feels better when I’m at home at the weekend. At the moment I don’t work Mondays which means I get three days of good recovery. Yet I go back to work and it gets worse again due to the amount of getting up and down from the floor.

So here I am, a week on from my last blog post and I feel like I have nothing to blog about. This weekend I didn’t even volunteer at parkrun. I persuaded my husband and friend to go to Southsea parkrun instead so I could just be anonymous and not have people looking at me sympathetically whilst saying “Oh, you’re still injured?” I just can’t face it. Does that sound selfish?

I’m going back to see my physio today but I know already what she’s going to say. As there’s no improvement it’ll be the same advice. No walking, no running, no swimming no cycling. I just feel like there must be something I can do.

For now, that’s it. That’s all I have to blog about.