Category Archives: parkrun

parkrun And A New Café

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

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.

post parkrun selfie

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!

Latte

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!

Blossom Tree

Do you go to a café after parkrun?

 

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Rounding parkrun Up To 4 Miles

Saturday I set off to parkrun on my own as my husband was ill in bed. When I got there I met up with Maria. We didn’t intend to but we ended up running together as we had lots to talk about. Maria had left work the day before so we caught up on how her last day was and what the future holds for her.

The first mile whizzed by, maybe a little too quickly! A 12:13 minute mile is still quite fast for me but mile 2 was even quicker at 12:08! It’s amazing how you don’t notice it as much when you’re chatting away. By mile 3 though I really felt like I was struggling but it was only slightly slower at 12:28.

Maria and I have both entered a 10K in May and Maria said she might top her run up to 4 miles. I’d actually been thinking the same thing, especially since I wouldn’t have to worry about my husband waiting at the end so we decided to run together and continue to make it up to 4 miles. Luckily the breather we had whilst getting scanned meant mile 4 was very slightly quicker. I felt a lot fresher though as I’d had chance to catch my breath.

We did 4 miles in  49:21. I told Maria that for a long time I couldn’t even run a 5K in that time and now we were knocking out 4 miles! We were even back before the last people had finished their parkrun. My parkrun time was 38:02 so just within a minute of my PB. I thought about asking someone to pace me to 37 minutes next week but I struggled running 38 minutes! Mind you I was chatting.

Maria and I

Maria and I after our 4 miles.

What do you think, should I give 37 minutes a bash if I can find someone to pace me?

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A Tingly parkrun!

On Saturday 2nd February I got myself down to my local parkrun for my 51st parkrun! I was looking forward to this particular parkrun because we were running the C route. This is the route where we get to miss the tricky shingle section of our normal route. I hate the shingle, I can’t help but slow down as my feet sink in to the pebbles. I end up like Bambi on ice!

Speaking of ice, we had to check the parkrun page at 8am to see if it was going ahead as it had snowed on Thursday evening and some areas had some icy patches left over as a result of the temperatures still being low. Luckily it was still on although it was mentioned on the Facebook post that there would be some cones over patches of ice. No great shakes I thought so off we went.

I ran this parkrun alone. Once again it was very congested and I was working my way around people. The beginning of our course is quite narrow anyway, but when it’s congested, it makes it even more difficult to manoeuvre around people. As I was running I heard a marshal ahead shouting to watch out for ice and follow the diversion. There was a large patch of ice on one of the slipways and we were diverted on to the beach. So much for no shingle!

I always overheat on a run but on this particular day I hadn’t warmed up by the time I reached the first turnaround point. As I made the U-turn at the cone I was then hit by the icy cold wind. I was cold, particularly on my left side where the wind was blowing from. As I made my way back towards the start, following the diversion over the shingle again (!) my left arm started feeling weird. I couldn’t straighten it without getting pins and needles spreading up and down it. It actually felt impossible to straighten as the pins and needles was too painful. I continued whilst periodically trying my arm out. It still wouldn’t straighten. I actually thought to myself “Am I having a heart attack? Well if this is a heart attack it’s not as bad as they make out”

I passed the finish funnel and headed to the new, closer turnaround point. On the way I saw the lovely Honor, who I run with semi regularly. I was pleasantly surprised to see her until two things: 1. I tried lifting my arms in surprise to shout her and couldn’t because of the weird pins and needles thing and 2. She told me we were being diverted on to the shingle because of ice on the prom! Dammit, I’d done shingle twice already and this was meant to be the no shingle route!

Over the shingle I went and obviously turned in to Bambi on ice in an instant. Then I made the U-turn at the turnaround point and it was like a different day. There was no wind at all and the sun was beating down. Naturally I began to overheat in an instant but it did start to cure the pins and needles. As we’d turned around early (and gone over the fourth shingle diversion) we then had to run further so we had to pass the finish funnel. This always messes with my head because my head is always saying “Oh we’re here, that means we’re nearly finished” It was really crowded trying to get through this section because everyone who had already finished was milling around. A woman I was running close to said to me “Bloody hell, can you see a way through that lot?” I responded by shouting “Shiiift” and the people parted haha.

We then reached the third turnaround point and the wind was back, and now because I was hot and sweaty I got cold very quickly. It was horrendous. I also ended up running behind someone who didn’t seem to have showered in quite some time. It was not pleasant being in his down wind. I could see the finish funnel in the distance by this point and a quick glance at my watch told me I could probably bag a PB here so I sped up and passed the man. I sped up too early though and ended up having to back off a bit so I could actually make it to the funnel.

I did get a PB though. 37:05! I was shocked as I’d felt so horrendous through it. As soon as I got my hoodie back on and started walking home I felt absolutely fine. My husband wasn’t very pleased with me though! He was adamant I should have stopped. There is no post parkrun selfie this week as the one I took I realised afterwards that I didn’t like it!

After parkrun we went straight home and showered rather than going to the parkrun café. This was because we were heading to a coffee morning organised by Penny, who I’ve run with a few times now. She’s running the London Marathon for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and the coffee morning is one of her fundraising events. We went and enjoyed a bacon sandwich, cup of coffee and a slice of cake. The cake was home made and delicious. My husband had two pieces of cake as he couldn’t decide which he wanted! As the coffee morning was in Stubbington we went and had a look around the shops afterwards but didn’t buy anything.

Have you been to any fundraising events?

Have you run for a charity before?

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My 50th parkrun

On 26th January I ran my 50th parkrun! It’s taken me from May 2017 to January 2019 to achieve it. My 50th was something I wanted to celebrate so I bought myself a sash from eBay that said “50 parkruns” on it and had a silhouette of a woman running. I was really pleased with how it turned out and it was only a couple of pounds!

My 50th parkrun

I ran with my work friend Maria and parkrun friend Penny. We had a nice chatty run. As we work in similar environments we chatted a lot about work and opportunities/career advancement. We also chatted about upcoming races in the area as Maria would like to progress further than a 5k. I mentioned a 10K being organised by The Breakfast Club. It’s not an official race but there will be marshals, a medal and a race number. Because it’s organised by The Breakfast Club the usual rules apply, run at your pace. I’ve signed up for it, amazingly it’s only £5, on local roads and the money raised goes to The First Light Trust, a local charity offering support to veterans. And obviously we get breakfast afterwards. What more could you want?!

The beginning of parkrun was so congested again, damn those new year participants! We struggled to catch up and overtake the 40 minute pacer because of the sheer volume of people. I finished in 39:29 in the end. Not my greatest time but it was a nice chatty run.

post parkrun selfie

In the evening we went to see Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema. Queen have been a constant in my life. My dad was a huge fan and my husband is too. What is it they say about marrying someone like your dad?! The film was brilliant. I knew it ended at Live Aid but as soon as Live Aid started I just cried and cried. Such a loss of a talent. I wept right through to the end of the credits! Thank god it’s dark in the cinema!!

I quite like January as a month, it’s one of new beginnings, my Birthday, cooler weather. I hate seeing people whinge about how dark it is…obviously we forget the shortest day is actually in December! I posted an Instagram post about this the other day and Anna hit the nail on the head by saying “Make your own sunshine” I agree completely. The picture was of these…

Daffodils

These brightened January right up when they were in full bloom. I was impatient though and had to take a picture early!

Have you hit any parkrun milestones?

Have you been to see any good films recently?

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Last parkrun of 2018

On 29th December I ran the last parkrun of 2019. It was the first parkrun since Christmas and so I was going in to it filled with rubbish rather than filled with something that is going to fuel the run.

I ran on my own for this parkrun. As much as I enjoy a chatty run, I actually enjoyed running on my own for this one. It allows me to concentrate on my breathing. I find when I’m not concentrating my breathing is the first thing to go!

There’s not much of significance to note about this run. I plodded round. It was hard because of the Christmas food I’d consumed but when I finished I felt great and pleased I had managed to still get round in under 40 minutes and I’d managed to run all of it and not had to stop to walk.

We were nearly back at the café before I remembered to take my post parkrun selfie! Lucky I remembered haha

Last parkrun

My finish time was 39:27 so I’m ending 2018 firmly in the 30’s now. Happy Days

 

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Christmas Day parkrun

This Christmas, much like last Christmas Day, started with a festive parkrun. It’s so nice to see everyone on Christmas Day. Everyone is always in such good spirits. It’s also an opportunity, I find, to meet family of my friends as they’re persuaded to come along too.

I decided against fancy dress for Christmas Day as it was a rather balmy 12c! After seeing friends and wishing them a Merry Christmas I went and joined the starting pen. I soon found Rachel, who hasn’t run parkrun for a while and my friend Claire who I run regularly with. They both kindly offered to run with me. Whilst giving the run briefing, the RD made me laugh by saying “I’ll try and get the results out before I get the gin out” The results didn’t come out until 4pm so I’m guessing the gin won!

We were soon on our way. I’m often asked by who I’m running with “So what are you aiming for today?” and I always answer “Just to finish” I set no expectations on myself now. As we were running we chatted about how busy it was. At one point I actually felt like I was being held back a little, this was probably good though, as I always start too fast. We even ended up walking around the turn around cone due to the congestion. It was frustrating a little but also nice. As I’m a “back of the pack” runner it’s rare I have that much company around me!

I managed to run the whole course with no walk breaks. This is happening much more frequently now which pleases me. I did struggle a bit, partly because of the warm weather, and partly because on Christmas Eve we’d been out for a curry at a local restaurant. Curry, whiskey and Baileys do not make good fuel for a parkrun!

As we ran in to the finish funnel I was pretty blown away to see my time was in the 37’s!! Only just though, when my official time came through it was yet another PB of 37:59! That was the best Christmas present I could have given myself!

Just like in my last post I thought I’d compare my Christmas Day parkrun results.

Christmas Day 2017 – 46:00

Christmas Day 2018 – 37:59

That’s a whopping 8 minute difference! Progress has definitely been made!

Christmas Day parkrun

Did you take part in a Christmas Day parkrun?

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A Christmas Pudding parkrun

On 22nd December (I’m slowly catching up now) it was the official Christmas fancy dress parkrun at my local parkrun. I brought back my Christmas Pudding outfit from last year. I think my husband was pretty embarrassed to walk down the street with me dressed as a Christmas Pudding but I didn’t care one little bit haha.

When we got there I met up with my friend and work colleague Maria. She introduced me to her new boyfriend who is also a parkrunner. Bit of a shame I had to meet him dressed as a Christmas Pudding but there you go! Maria was wearing a Brussel Sprout hat which was hilarious. Maria had decided to run with me and soon Penny came to join us too. Penny was wearing one of those inflatable outfits which was Santa riding Rudolph! She looked absolutely brilliant but unfortunately Rudolph deflated half way round!

We had a quick chat and were soon on our way. As we all work in similar environments we had plenty to natter about along the way. Lots of children were keen to high five Penny as we ran by as she was dressed as Santa which was really cute. I think we all struggled a bit though in our fancy dress outfits. December was unseasonably warm and I, for one, was sweltering in my Christmas Pudding outfit! I did have a bit of a moan but Penny told me to shut up and keep running so I did.

Somehow, despite sweltering, I got a new PB. These are coming thick and fast at the minute to forgive me for appreciating every single one. I know they won’t last forever, so I like to celebrate them whilst they’re here. We finished in 39:04!!! So close to sub 39! I ran the same week in December 2017 dressed as a Christmas Pudding so I thought it would be interesting to compare the times.

December 2017 – 45:47

December 2018 – 39:04

I’m pretty pleased with a 6 minute difference to say I had 5 months out with injury!

And now, the obligatory post parkrun picture:

Christmas fancy dress parkrun

Do you compare your times?

Do you like to run in fancy dress?

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Storm Deidre

Everyone loves running in a storm right? On 8th December I went to parkrun and the weather wasn’t looking good. Thanks to Storm Deidre we were going to be battered by 45mph winds coming straight off the sea! 

The winds is definitely one of the worst things about living on the coast. We never seemed to feel it living in a big city but living by the sea is a different kettle of fish. It can barely be windy on the back streets but as soon as you hit the sea front the wind comes out of nowhere.

Honor had messaged me to see if I fancied some company at parkrun so of course I took her up on the offer. I think I was now up to 5 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. It was pretty windy throughout the run. Going to the first turn around point the wind seemed to be behind us so it aided us a little. As we turned around though the wind was brutal from the side. I was freezing all down that side and couldn’t wait to hit the next turn around point so the other side could cool off and my cold side warm up! 

As we turned at the 2nd turnaround point the wind was absolutely horrendous. Honor and I weren’t really able to talk because we just couldn’t hear what the other was saying. I remember I kept shouting “This is so hard” It was like running on the spot. I felt like I was going absolutely nowhere! 

Somehow I managed to finish with a PB! I’m chipping away at the 39s now. My finish time was 39:37. 

I insist everyone who runs with me has a selfie taken with me. For my own memories really! So obviously Honor and I had a selfie. I tweeted it and parkrun included it on their Twitter which was pretty neat.

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Hitting A Goal

Since my injury in June, that lasted 5 long months, I gave up on the goals I set for 2018. However, to my surprise I actually hit one on Saturday 24th November. If you didn’t read the original post where I set my goals, you can revisit it here –> My Running Goals for 2018

So….the goal I hit? This one:

40 minute 5K

On that Saturday I managed to go sub 40 minutes at parkrun! As you know, if you’re a regular reader, I’m still returning from injury. I’m run/walking parkrun each week. This particular week I hadn’t asked anyone to run with me at parkrun. I wanted to see how I got on running on my own and listening to my body.

It was a complete mix of feelings. The first mile I struggled. I felt like I couldn’t get my breathing right, my body was asking me “What the hell are we doing?” and it was just a struggle. The 2nd mile however I felt like I was flying. I had a moment when I finally reached the finish funnel before the first runners finished. This never happens! Then I hit mile 3 and I was struggling and fatigued. I was running near two older gents who were chatting and I heard one of them say “Well I’d like to finish somewhere in the 30’s” and I thought to myself “You’re going to be sorely disappointed” because I’m never anywhere near the 30s. I always finish in the 40s.

Anyway I ran through the finish funnel, went to stop my watch and couldn’t believe what I saw! I’d finished in 39:45! After being so injured where I thought I’d never run again, I can not believe I’m nearing the end of the year with a sub 40 minute 5k!

Have you hit any milestones with your running in 2018?

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A parkrun PB and The Tree Is Up!

So as you can guess by the title, today I got a PB at parkrun! I started off running alone and was scarily close to the 40 minute pacer. My PB was 43:27 so to be so close to the 40 minute pacer had me worrying I was going way too fast, although I felt comfortable. I was soon caught up by Cliff, a fellow parkrunner who asked if it’d be ok to run with me as he has Gosport Half Marathon tomorrow. Obviously I said yes. We were soon joined by my friend Maria too as she’d been worried I was running alone and felt bad. How sweet is that?!

This week I was running for 3.5 minutes and walking for 1.5 minutes. During miles 1 and 2 I felt strong but my mile 3 I was finding it harder. Maria reminded me to concentrate on my breathing which did actually help. I think I was chatting too much in the run portions. The whole time the 40 minute pacer was in sight but I didn’t look at my watch the whole time. When I went to stop it in the funnel I could hardly believe it when I saw 40:something on the screen.

Maria and I

I was elated but I definitely felt like I’d pushed harder in mile 3 to just keep going. Mile 1 was actually my slowest mile despite feeling good at that point. Anyway after snapping some pictures my husband and I went back to the café for breakfast and saw fellow parkrunners Richard and Gemma there so we sat with them and had a natter. I sold the idea of the Gavin & Stacey parkrun challenge to Gemma, which I don’t think Richard was too impressed about! Oops!

post parkrun selfie

Afterwards we went home to put up the Christmas tree. I’m not even sorry that it’s up. We’ve bought a new tree this year. We usually have a real tree but decided to get a good quality artificial one from John Lewis. I’m pretty pleased with how it looks.

Christmas Tree

After we’d finished we nipped in to Gosport town centre as I’d seen some Reindeer coasters in a little gift shop. They’re really cute.

Tomorrow I was meant to be going to Breakfast Club but because of the road closures for the Gosport Half Marathon, getting back could be tricky so Claire and I are going to run in Lee instead, then I’ll shower and go back out to cheer everyone on in the Half.

Do you like to spectate at local races?

Have you set a PB recently? 

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