Category Archives: Life

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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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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A Bit of a Catch Up!

Since getting back from Scotland in mid-March I’ve not blogged much. I thought I’d do a bit of a catch up instead of lots of posts that I feel behind with! This way I can get caught up in on fell swoop and I’ll be back on track.

Running/parkrun

Since getting back from Scotland I’ve both lost and found my running mojo. When we were in Scotland I only ran once at Aviemore parkrun. We did lots of walking though which I thought would make up for it. My first parkrun back was horrendous. I put it down to all the good eating in Scotland and potentially being a bit dehydrated from the long car journey the day before. My friend Lorna, who is funnily enough Scottish, came and ran with me. I met Lorna at junior parkrun but this is the first time we’ve managed to do a full parkrun together. parkrun were running a competition to win a mattress for anyone that ran in their pyjamas, so in our pyjamas we ran! I ran all the way bar the shingle section but my time was absolutely terrible. I wore my “Let it Snow” pyjamas which was a bit tongue in cheek as we were due to get the Beast from the East 2.0 that afternoon…and we did!

Lorna and I at parkrun

There were talks of maybe having to cancel junior parkrun the next day. However, unlike the adult parkrun, the junior parkrun has a field beside it and we were able to offer a 2km run on the field. It was covered in snow but was safe for a run as it wasn’t becoming compact ice like the prom was. We only had 20 children turn up but they had so much fun. They were making snow angels and throwing snow balls whilst completing the course. Hopefully they made some memories that day that’ll last a long time.

snowy junior parkrun

Finish funnel set up in the snow

The following Saturday I ran/walked parkrun with the run 1 minute/walk 1 minute pacer Sam. He was brilliant at spurring me on and when I started to slow he asked me what I was feeling. When I told him he told me I was dehydrated and he was probably right. I must learn to drink more.

I went to see the physio again. I told him I get the niggly Achilles that’s plagued me since last September. He told me it’s because I have high arches on my feet and recommended I buy a pedi roller to roll out my feet after running. He also suggested getting some heel lifts for my running shoes. Afterwards he gave me a massage to help the Achilles and oh my word it was so nice! I honestly could have fallen asleep laid on the table. Afterwards he said not to see him again unless I am injured which was good.

After my physio session I went to the printing shop where my running club use as their stockist for the t-shirts and hoodies etc. that they offer. I ordered my t-shirt that you get for free upon joining. Since I joined way back in October or November they had no record of my ticket but luckily I was able to get the membership  secretary to email them and confirm I was indeed entitled to the t-shirt.

On Good Friday, as I was off work I made a conscious effort to ensure I was well hydrated ready for parkrun on Saturday. My plan was to join Sam again and run/walk as I hadn’t run since the Saturday before (Uh oh!) but when I got there my friend Claire said she wanted to run with me. I explained my plan of run/walking and she firmly told me we’d be running it and all I had to do was set the pace. Not going to lie I felt a bit worried as I hadn’t run all week again but we set off and actually I felt good. I ran the whole of it bar the ramp as the wind was making it hard to catch my breathe. Now, usually when I run the whole of it I’m a good couple of minutes slower than my PB but we finished within a minute of my PB! I couldn’t believe it. I felt really pleased and it’s actually made me feel like I want to run more whereas before I’d been struggling to find the motivation.

Claire and I in the cafe after parkrun

Claire and I in the cafe after parkrun

Spin Classes/Strength and Conditioning

My attendance at spin class has been somewhat erratic but since getting back from Scotland I’ve been on every Thursday and Sunday since so that’d good and I’m wondering if that’s helped my running on the Saturday after Good Friday. I got within 0.2 miles of my PB distance on Thursday. If I’d have known I was that close I’d have pedalled like mad to try and make it up!

I’ve also been attending a Strength and Conditioning class with my physio. It’s on Monday nights and costs £5. This has proven to be really good value as, so far, there’s only ever been 4 of us in the class. I’ve been going Paul, the ED of junior parkrun and my good friend Maggie’s husband. I went in to that first class a bit clueless I have to admit.  I thought it might be yoga based, whereas Paul suggested it might be circuits. Paul was right! I didn’t expect to really sweat in the class but my word I was pouring with it. My legs ached as soon as we left the class but it only got worse and it was Friday before I could walk upstairs without really feeling it! After the 2nd class my legs weren’t too bad at all which was a relief. However, my physio is now going for an operation so won’t be holding the class for the next 3 weeks. I didn’t want to undo all my hard work so after last weeks class I wrote down all the exercises we’d done whilst it was fresh in my mind and then did my own version of the class last night. I hope the strength and conditioning pays off and helps with my running.

Bits and Bobs

And just to finish off. I thought I’d just include some pretty pictures I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks.

A sure sign of Spring is daffodils. On the sea front is a large grassy area where all these daffodils have popped up.

Daffodils

Shortly after taking the picture of the daffodils the sun began to set so I snapped a picture of that too.

Sunset

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A Small Piece of parkrun Fame

Every week parkrun UK ask a question on their Facebook page. Sometimes it’s just “Did you join us this week?” or “Where did you parkrun today?” Sometimes they might ask something a bit more in depth e.g. “How does parkrun make you feel?” etc. Occasionally I answer these, if I feel I have something to say.

So imagine my surprise when I left work one night and had a Twitter notification from Anna telling me I’d been featured on parkrun UK’s Twitter page. A few days later I was on their Facebook page!

Facebook

Imagine my surprise when the following week I was featured again!

I absolutely can not get over how many likes on Facebook this one got! A whopping 761! So many people congratulating me and lots of people complimenting my t-shirt! It’s from OBD Clothing in case you’re wondering!

I’ve loved my little two minutes of parkrun fame!

Have you ever been featured on parkrun’s social media?

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Injured…again

After my Birthday parkrun I felt on top of the world. I had run further than ever before and was so pleased. Then on Sunday I went to volunteer at Stokes Bay junior parkrun. Everything felt fine.

Then we went to spectate at Stubbington 10K. We cycled down there as we thought the roads surrounding it would be shut. Every time I pushed down on the pedal with my right leg, I got a pain in my knee. I didn’t really think too much of it as I’ve always suffered with my knees right from being a child. I get the odd twinge but it never turns out to be anything major.

We spectated and rode back, again a bit of pain in my knee but nothing too bad. I decided to cancel my spin class as I’d spent over 30 minutes cycling anyway. That night the pain in my knee got worse. I took some Ibuprofen, just to be safe and went to bed.

I woke up numerous times in the night as I bent my leg I got a hot pain in my knee. When I woke up there was a definite pain in my knee whenever I bent it. Being at work all week definitely aggravated it. Getting up from the floor to standing was agony and going to sit on chairs, then getting back up really hurt it.

The pain finally started to get a little better on Thursday, by Friday it had mostly eased. Now (Sunday) it has pretty much gone, although when I ran upstairs earlier because I forgot about it I did get a twinge. Nothing too bad though. Fingers crossed it’s on the mend now but it means I haven’t run for a whole week and now I’m scared I’ll be right back to square one.

Why is there always something with me?!

What A Typical Week Looks Like For Me

I started this post thinking I’ll do a typical week but actually this ended up being a not so typical week with a work meeting and my Birthday.

Monday 8th January: Monday is my day off from work. I’m usually up relatively early. Today I made us a chilli in the slow cooker. I put it on at about half past 9 ready to eat at about half past 8. I often eat late because of the hours I work. Today there’s a meeting at work I have to go in for. I leave the house at 5.30 and the meeting is 6-8pm, meaning I get back at 8.30pm. I also went for a run today which you can read about here: My First Outdoor Solo Run

Tuesday 9th January: I get up at 5.50am as I start work at twenty past 7 meaning I leave the house at around 6:40am to make sure I’m there in time if I hit any traffic. It’s a busy day at work and people have phoned in sick which always makes it harder. I finish at 6, as always I finish work with back ache (from lifting and being on my feet all day) and a head ache from not drinking enough. It’s home, cook tea and bed.

Wednesday 10th January: It’s the same routine of up at 5.50am. After work tonight I want to go for a run but don’t yet have anything hi-viz or lights to make me visible whilst running in the dark. Instead I run on the treadmill. I try a new technique (I know, again!) I slow down the pace I run at and try to run as much as I can and walk when I need to. I cover two miles in 29.40. I’m pleased with that as I’m not used to running in the week after work when I’m exhausted. I’ve also got an Apple watch now, it’s meant to be for my Birthday but I’ve been given it early.

2 Treadmill Miles

Thursday 11th January: OK so same routine of work. Tonight it is Virtual RPM at my gym with my work colleague Maria. We get there pretty early and walk on the treadmill to warm up a little and have a natter. You can’t chat in spin class. If you’re chatting, you’re not working hard enough! I find the spin class a little harder than usual. Possibly down to the run the night before? I still cover 12.2 miles. Maria covers a whopping 12.9! When I first started spin classes I was only covering 9-10 miles so I’m pretty pleased with the increase.

Spin Stats

Friday 12th January: It’s finally Friday. I’m always pretty tired by the time the end of the week rolls round. Same routine of up and going to work. Then Friday night is rest night. I’m in bed by 9pm for tomorrow it’s parkrun day. I like to go to bed early on a Friday night as, although I’m not having a lie in due to parkrun, I’m still getting a bit of extra sleep.

Saturday 13th January: Happy Birthday to me! I’m up early to go to parkrun and follow my usual schedule of a small cup of coffee (Don’t want to be desperate for the toilet halfway through the run – although our parkrun has 3 lots of toilets on the course!) and a Belvita breakfast bar. A parkrun friend told me they have a Belvita as they contain 4 hours of carbohydrates (I think?) so they’re ideal to help you with a run. I’ll leave the tale of my Birthday parkrun for another post I have planned. Below is a picture of me after parkrun.

After parkrun

Afterwards we go home and shower. I feel like my Birthday has crept up on me as it doesn’t feel like two seconds since Christmas. Therefore I haven’t planned anything to do on my Birthday. I decide on a look around the shops in Southampton will do. Whilst there I buy a couple of things and we go for a Sprinkles. We get home mid afternoon where I have my choice over the TV (for once) and then we go to a Chinese restaurant in Chichester which is really lovely.

Sprinkles

Sunday 14th January: This morning it’s up early again, as I’m volunteering at Stokes Bay junior parkrun. This week I am the volunteer coordinator (I tell all the marshals where they need to stand and give them their lanyards with safety information on) and then I am the Timekeeper. When it’s finished we pack up the kit in to the cars and everyone makes a swift exit as the team are off to Stubbington 10K, a very local race. I go home and grab my bike then cycle to the closest point the race comes to where I live. I spot lots of friends from parkrun and team mates from Gosport Road Runners. After the race has ended we cycle home. I’m booked on to Sunday spin but I decide to cancel it as I’ve cycled for over half an hour going to and from the race. The rest of the day is spent relaxing and preparing for work the next day. I don’t normally work Mondays but this week coming I am as I’m off on the Friday instead.

So that is what a semi-typical week looks like for me. Work takes up a massive chunk of my time with me working 11 hour days so it takes effort to fit in other things as work does tire me out physically and mentally.

How does it compare to your week?

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The Winter Tag

I was looking for some blog inspiration and came across The Winter Tag. I don’t think I’ve ever done one of these on my blog so thought I’d give it a go.

What are your favourite things about Winter?

The cold temperatures! I hate being too hot and find it much easier to warm up than cool down. So the cold temperatures work for me. Winter also includes presents as both Christmas and my Birthday are in the winter! And the final thing I love about Winter? The new drinks to try at Starbucks and Costa!!

What is your favourite Winter outfit?

I am by no means a trendsetter or a follower of fashion so I don’t really have a favourite winter outfit. You’ll usually find me in joggers and a hoodie. However when it comes to Winter I do like to accessorize with nice scarves and a hat. I have a few of both and like to switch between them during the cold Winter months.

What is your favourite Winter food?

My slow cooker is used often during Winter. I love to make casseroles, soups or hearty stews. I don’t have a particular recipe that I follow I’m more of a throw everything in kind of person and see how it goes. I switch it up by changing the meats or vegetables I use as well as sometimes adding barley or lentils.

Favourite Winter drink?

It’s pretty clichéd but I enjoy hot chocolate in the Winter. I make my own at home and add in peppermint syrup, marshmallows and whipped cream on the top.

What is your dream way to spend a Winter’s day?

Again, it sounds like a total cliché but sitting under a blanket and either watching a movie or reading a book with a candle burning is one of my favourite things to do on a Winter’s Day.  However, I also enjoy going for a walk in the Winter sunshine. When it’s still cold but the sky is brilliant blue, makes you feel lucky to be alive.

How do you like to do your make-up in the Winter?

I very rarely wear make-up.

What are you hoping Santa brings you?

Obviously I am writing this after Christmas but basically I got everything I asked for in this post.

What are the first three things that remind you of Winter?

Snow, Cold weather and Robins!

What is your favourite Winter song?

My favourite Winter song is Warm This Winter by Gabriella Cilmi. My favourite Christmas song is Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea.

What is your favourite Winter memory?

Probably getting married. We were married right before Christmas and had a full on Christmas wedding. Our Wedding Breakfast was a Christmas Dinner and our favours were tree decorations. We had crackers on the table and little Christmas trees down the centre of the tables that our guests were then free to take home with them.

What is your favourite Winter scent?

My favourite Winter scent is the Yankee Candle “Candy Cane Lane” it smells of peppermint and chocolate.

Finish this sentence…If I could have one wish this Christmas it would be…

Again, obviously I’m doing this after Christmas so I’m going to change this to my New Year wish and that would be to stick to my running goals and see them improve.

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January Memories Through The Years – The Cake Edition

January is my Birthday month. So I hereby dedicate this post to Cake!

January 1984. It’s my 1st Birthday and Hello 80’s perm! I’m told it snowed heavily on my 1st Birthday and no one could get to my party. More cake for me suckers!

1984

My mum made most of my cakes when I was a child so I welcome you to “Cakes of the 80’s”

This was my 5th Birthday cake and is a fairground carousel.

My 6th Birthday and a clown cake. Also not to be missed, the custard cream biscuits to the right. Love a custard cream!

I’m not sure which Birthdays the next two cakes were for but here is the cake shaped like a Cat. I can’t remember if this was meant to be Garfield or my cat Rusty who was Ginger. The green cake is Slimer from Ghostbusters. I remember the teeth kept falling out!

 

On a more serious note we fast forward to 2015. Where we lived in Sheffield, was this colourful row of houses. They always used to make me smile, especially when overlooked by that blue sky! The second picture is the view from where we lived. Sheffield is so hilly there are lots of spectacular views to be had across the city.

Crookes, Sheffield

2016 saw our first January in the South and I managed to snap this gorgeous sunset picture.

Sunset

January can be a long hard month for some people but I tend to enjoy it…but probably only because my Birthday is in it!

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2017 Goals – How I did

2017 Goals

Health

I’ve done ok with this. I’ve lost just over 2 stone in 2017. My weight has plateaued since November but people are telling me on a regular basis I’m looking trim lately so I guess the exercise is paying off. I’m enjoying running and spin classes. My lunches during the working week could be better. As I said in my last update we get a free lunch at work but it isn’t the healthiest even though it’s supposed to be! Something to improve on in 2018?

parkrun

For my parkrun goal I said It’s time to complete one…and maybe a second if I enjoy it! I love volunteering at parkrun and to date have volunteered 70 times! (71 on New Years Day) Yet I’ve never completed a parkrun. It’s time to change that”

I completed my first parkrun on 13th May in a time of 58:24. I’ve now got that down to 44:40 and I’ve completed 14 runs. When I wrote the post I’d volunteered 70 times. I’m now up to 130. I’m really proud of that number. I’ve also engaged in a bit of tourism!

Read more books

I think I could have done better with this. I’m currently on my 19th book which for some people will be a lot but for others is barely any! This is something I’d like to work on more in 2018.

be me

This is something I’ve done well with. I’ve only accepted invitations to things I really want to go to. I’m going to be honest, it’s mainly food related. I’ve enjoyed spending time at home doing things I enjoy rather than going out and doing things I enjoy less.

It’s time to start thinking about my 2018 goals.

How did you do with your 2017 goals? Keeping myself accountable on my blog has definitely helped!

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Snow Day!

I hate snow! Now don’t get me wrong if I don’t have to leave the house for a week and a fresh blanket of snow comes down of course it looks lovely. It’s always nice if it’s around Christmas time too. However my memories of snow are mainly of the huge inconvenience it causes. One of the reasons we were excited to move South was that we’d barely see snow again!

January 2015

The above photo was taken a week before we left Sheffield for the South. There’s a car under there somewhere! Note it’s still snowing in the picture and the snow covering the road too. This is at the top of the steep hill I lived at the top of. (January 2015)

As a child of course snow is fun. Sheffield is very hilly and my school was at the top of a mile long hill (No word of a lie) This meant the first hint of snow and school was closed! Perfect! However as an adult when you can’t drive because the roads are impassable and the buses aren’t even running, walking to work all downhill is a slippy and hellish inconvenience but also so is walking home all uphill where you take one step forward and slide two steps back!

December 2010

This is my husband knee deep in snow. We’d just walked back from work after they’d both closed due to the weather. We went and bought emergency supplies on the way home because SNOW MEANS PANIC!!!!! (December 2010)

January 2010

It does make the street look pretty though (January 2010)

Sometimes the snow would remain for well over a week and when they eventually sent ploughs round it’d stay even longer as it was a giant snow boulder/moutain!!

There was also that time we landed back at Manchester Airport to heavy snow. We were the last flight to land before they closed the airport. The journey home should have been around an hour and a half and it took 4 hours! We then had to dig our way in to our car park. Not the best way to end a holiday!

March 2013

Have you experienced bad snow before?

 

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