Category Archives: Life

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.

 

Southampton Airport Runway 5K

On 24th June we got up at the rather ridiculous time of 3.30am. That’s because my husband was running the Southampton Airport Runway 5K. I was supposed to be running too, but I’m injured, as you know.

We left the house at 4.30am and made our way to the airport. Registration opened at 5am and the race began at 6am. We arrived just after 5am. We weren’t sure what the traffic was going to be like once we hit the airport, as it happens it was really quiet.

Spectators weren’t allowed through to the runway, instead we had to spectate from the roof of the multi storey car park that overlooked the runway. I walked down though anyway to see how far I could get.

Once my husband had registered, this meant he received a wrist band to get out of the car park for free, we milled around. I spoke to a couple of people I know through parkrun and work. Lots of people were in fancy dress, including a guy in one of the inflatable dinosaur costumes I keep seeing. As the start of the race neared I headed back up to the roof of the car park and got a spot at the fence. Whilst waiting I got to see the sun come up

Sun Rise

I watched the warm up and confirmed to myself that 6am was definitely too early to have to listen to Steps “One for Sorrow” blasting out. The race started at 6am sharp, to be honest the runners looked like little ants from the top of the car park. I did manage to spot my husband though as he set off beside the inflatable dinosaur!

From the start line they ran to the end of the runway then around the end of it to go back on themselves. Then it was one long run out and back. To be honest it looked like hell.

Map

As you can see from the map it’s over a mile on one long piece of concrete! Although my husband assures me it didn’t feel that long and actually felt shorter.

The race wasn’t a chip timed race. My husband finished in 32:16. He was unfortunately beaten by the inflatable dinosaur man!

He made his way up to the car park and gave me the goody bag to look through. It didn’t take long. A bottle of water, a magazine about the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and a window sticker supporting the aforementioned air ambulance. Bit disappointed there was no food!

We were back home by 7.30 in the morning so had the rest of the day to do as we wish, that was a definite advantage to the race. It was over so early but wasn’t fun getting up in the dark.

And this blog wouldn’t be complete without a snap of the dinosaur! 

Dinosaur Fancy Dress

 

Physio, Transformation and the Founder!

Physio

The Monday after the Gosport Golden Mile I managed to get an appointment to see a physiotherapist. I couldn’t get in to see my usual physio so went with one I’d been to before a few years ago. She came to the conclusion that I had an inflamed adductor. The adductor is the muscle that runs up your inner thigh and in to your groin. She told me I need to let it settle down so no walking, running, swimming or cycling as they’ll all aggravate the muscle. She gave me a massage, highly embarrassing given where my pain was, and did some ultrasound on there too. I’m to go back in two weeks which, as I’m so far behind with blog posts, is actually tomorrow as I’m writing this (Sunday) but yesterday as I post this! Confusing!

Transformation

People have been telling me recently that I’m looking slimmer and more toned. When a picture was posted of me at the Gosport Golden Mile, for the first time, I could see it too.

Transformation

The picture on the right was taken about 2 years ago and the one on the left, just over two weeks ago. Feeling pretty pleased with that.

Meeting the Founder

On 20th June I went to Solent University in Southampton to attend a talk given by Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the founder of parkrun. When I arrived I met up Anna and her friend. I also saw Roger and Dave, our former parkrun ambassador, a lovely guy (who I think was also called Roger) from Havant parkrun and Martin, the Event Director of Whiteley parkrun. Whilst we waited to be let in to the lecture theatre we reminisced about our university days. It’s fair to say Solent University, particularly the Atrium we were stood in, is far more modern than the campus I spent my University days on.

Solent University

When we were allowed in to the lecture theatre I gave Anna instructions to get us to the front, whilst I hobbled down the stairs behind her.

Selfie

We took a selfie whilst waiting for everyone to take their seats and discussed what questions we’d ask if given the opportunity.

Paul Sinton-Hewitt

Paul talked about so many topics, all under the umbrella of parkrun of course. It was raw and incredibly honest. He spoke of the first parkrun, his core team, the various countries that want to set up parkrun, his role within parkrun and how that has evolved. It was really interesting. At the end people were allowed to ask questions and some people were pretty tough with the questions they asked. He answered them all though. The talk was only meant to be an hour but it went on for a glorious hour and forty minutes. I was in my element and was pretty disappointed when time was called. We were however invited to get a selfie with him.

Selfie with Paul Sinton-Hewitt

The final slide shown was the one below that just summed up what parkrun is and what it means to so many people.

parkrun slide

Do you parkrun? 

What does parkrun mean to you?

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A parkwalk

This post has taken me a while to actually get round to writing. I started it straight after the parkrun (16th June) but just couldn’t face finishing it. The pain in my groin I got at parkrun the week before has just developed in to a full blown injury. When you can’t run, the last thing you want to blog about is running. But anyway on to the post…

My groin felt uncomfortable all week. I probably shouldn’t have done the workout at the gym. It didn’t make it worse, but equally, it didn’t help it. On Saturday I decided I’d just walk parkrun as I had a race on Sunday and didn’t want to make it worse.

When we got to parkrun I went and found Jacqui who is a fellow Gosport Road Runner and today was also tail walker. I told her I was injured and that I planned on walking the course. She told me her husband had also had a groin injury and that he had a sheet of stretches at home. After the parkrun I messaged him on Facebook and asked if he’d mind sending me those stretches.

We walked the course and chatted about injury. Jacqui is dealing with an ongoing foot injury. We also talked about Weight Watchers as Jacqui has just joined. I’ve thought so many times about joining Weight Watchers/Slimming World. She’s getting on well with it and having some success which is great to hear.

We walked at a good pace and my groin pain wasn’t too bad until we got to maybe the last quarter. Then it became worse, the thing is, because of where we were I had to walk to the finish regardless.

I ended with a time of 57:49 and a whole heap of pain. We slow walked up to the café afterwards and the pain subsided a little and went whilst we were sat having breakfast. Unfortunately by the time we walked home afterwards it was a lot worse.

The day after I was meant to be running the Gosport Golden Mile 5K. When I got in I had a hot bath with Epsom Salts to see if that’d help. Afterwards I iced it and rolled around on a tennis ball in the hope that’d help before the next day!

I Did The Runner Beans Strength Workout

Recently Charlie from The Runner Beans posted a “No weights strength for runners circuit workout” on her Instagram. As mentioned in THIS post, my friend and I are going to take it in turns to bring a workout to the gym so I thought this would be an ideal time to try this workout. The workout is listed below:

  • 15 squats
  • 15 commandoes
  • 15 curtsey lunges each side
  • 15 press ups
  • 15 walking lunges each leg
  • plank 30 seconds

I also added in 15 donkey kicks on each leg and a 30 second wall sit.

You’re supposed to do the circuit 4 times with a minute rest between each circuit but with no rest between each exercise.

The first circuit we got through but both agreed it was pretty tough. My gym has air conditioning but it never seems to be on enough! I was sweating by the end of it. We took our minutes rest and had a drink of water.

We then did the 2nd circuit and I’m going to admit as we got towards the end I felt my form struggling, particularly on the walking lunges. After the 2nd circuit we decided to call it quits as I didn’t want to end up with an injury from having poor form.

It was a good workout and for the next two days my thighs ached! You know when you go to sit down and have to groan to get there? That was me! I’m definitely going to keep doing it and see if I can work up to the 4 sets. I really need to work on my strength and workouts like this are good for someone who doesn’t really know what they’re doing.

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Women Only Gyms

Recently at work we were talking about the different gyms we’d been a member of. Through work we get a deal at the local gym. We only pay £20 a month and most people at work are members. However, before this, we’ve all been members of other gyms from the expensive types right through to the budget gyms.

We were talking about the different pieces of equipment when someone said a gym they were a member of only had dumbbells of 2-3kg in a Women’s Only section!! Now is it just me or does that give you the impression that they think women should only lift light weights? Women are far too dainty to lift anything bigger. Naturally I shared this rant with my colleagues.

This then led another colleague to tell us about a gym she’d been a member of. In their Women’s Only section all of the equipment was pink!! I don’t even know where to start with this. I thought in these modern times we were above all of this?! I guess not.

Now don’t get me wrong I understand that the Women’s Only section has it’s purpose in a gym. I used to use the Women’s Only section of a gym I was a member of a long time ago. It gave me the confidence to work out without feeling too inferior or intimidated. I think if it’s going to build someone’s confidence then that’s great. I also used to find the equipment in the main gym was busy so if I couldn’t get on a treadmill for example, I’d go and look if there was one free in the Women Only section. It did tend to be quieter in there.

I know companies like Curves, the gym chain for women only, are making a fortune and if people are working out then that’s great too but I just don’t like the fact that as women we seem moulded, thou shalt not lift heavy weights, thou shalt use cardio machines and pink ones at that! It just makes me groan and wonder if we’ve transported back in time.

Coincidentally, whilst looking for pictures to accompany this post I found lots of pictures of women like this:

Pretty and slim with small weights and not a bead of sweat on her. Whereas the pictures of men are very much like this:

Have you ever used a women’s only gym/section?

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