Category Archives: parkrun

Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun

On 11th May I went to Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun for my 8th parkrun location. I picked up Maria and we made the short journey to Portsmouth. We’re so lucky having so many parkrun locations so close to where we live. This was really easy to get to and had the bonus of plentiful free parking.

Once we got there we went and shivered whilst waiting for the new runners briefing. It was surprisingly cold! We bumped in to Lorna who I met through junior parkrun. It was nice to see her as I’d not seen her for a while. We then went and listened to the new runners briefing. The lady giving the briefing was really funny. She was also the tail walker and was so encouraging, cheering people on and giving high fives. She’s a real credit to the parkrun team.

I’ve never been to Portsmouth Lakeside before but it just looked like an business park. However, once we got going I soon realised there was much more to it. Behind the buildings was a wooded area with a lake. It was really pretty. I ran with Maria, as we no longer work together, parkruns are our catch up time. We both said how nice the course was and how pretty it was. We also couldn’t believe how it suddenly became really warm as the sun came out. Shame it hadn’t been out when we were waiting for the off!

We ran at a good pace but towards the end I felt myself flagging a bit and Maria had to encourage me to keep up with her. I always think I set off too quickly but my splits were actually pretty consistent, with my last mile being my quickest! Maria told me to sprint finish but I couldn’t manage one, I’d given everything I had in the tank. Strange that the last mile was my quickest though! I finished in 35:32.

Post run

I actually felt really hot when we were running but for once, in the picture I actually don’t resemble a tomato!

Do you like trying new parkrun courses?

Do you like to give a sprint finish?

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A Shiny New PB!

After a really poor run earlier in the week, where I got to 2.5 miles and gave up, I wasn’t looking forward to parkrun on Saturday. Whenever I have a bad run I get thoughts of “What if that’s it and I can’t run anymore?!”

So it was with some trepidation that I headed to parkrun on my own. As soon as I got there I spotted Louise and Sam and had a little chat with them before seeing Gary who used to be my local parkrun event director. I had a quick catch up with him before seeing Penny and Pete. They were both wearing their London Marathon t-shirts. Penny asked if we could run together and I eagerly said “Yes please!” I wanted to hear every detail of her London Marathon story.

Just before we set off Louise asked if I wanted pacing but I told her I wasn’t sure I was ready for it this morning. Instead I positioned myself with Penny just behind the 35 minute pacer. We listened to the run brief and then were off. Just as we were getting going someone suddenly lost their footing behind Penny, resulting in them punching Penny in the back and sending her flying. Somehow though, he managed to regain his footing, grab Penny and hoist her back to standing just before she really fell. It was so fast and surreal! He apologised profusely and then carried on leaving me and Penny wondering what just happened. I asked if she wanted to stop as she’d taken a fair whack but she said she was ok.

As we ran Penny told me all about her London Marathon. I actually felt emotional as she told me about them reaching Tower Bridge! She told me lots of different things and I asked her so many questions about different things. All the while we had the 35 minute pacer in sight but because I was listening to Penny I didn’t really think about it.

As we were running Penny asked if I was ok and I admitted to her we were running a bit faster than I was used to but it felt comfortably uncomfortable (if that makes sense!) Then as we were crossing the shingle for the first time, I lost my footing and nearly went flying too! Somehow I managed to pull it back and stay upright! As we went around the second turn around point and started heading back to the finish funnel Penny told me about someone running for the same charity she did. She arrived in London to find her Air BnB had cancelled on her and everywhere else was full. I can’t imagine the absolute panic she must have felt! Fortunately all the charity runners had a WhatsApp group and someone managed to find her somewhere to stay. How lucky!

As we approaching the last bit I had a glance at my watch and it was on 31 minutes. I remember thinking “Ooo it shouldn’t take me another 5 minutes until the end” but because I was still listening to Penny I didn’t think much more of it. As we got to the final stretch Penny encouraged me to give it my all and sprint finish, which I tried to! I didn’t feel like I had much left in me as we’d run quicker than I was used to anyway. As we went over the finish line I looked at my watch and couldn’t believe it when I saw a 34 at the beginning! I actually felt pretty emotional. Penny gave me the biggest hug. We’d not even tried and I’d gone and smashed my PB! My previous PB was 36:18 and now it’s 34:41!!!!!! It’s so crazy to think my first parkrun was 58:24. I’ve knocked 23 minutes and 43 seconds off that time! For such a long time I was at a 45 minute 5K time and I was pretty happy with that. Now I’m nudging ever closer to a 30 minute 5K!

Penny and I

Have you done the London Marathon?

Have you ever achieved a PB without really trying?

 

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Storm Hannah Blows Again

Storm Hannah came to town again on the 27th April and joined us for another parkrun. I’d run up on the cliff tops and through the woods just the day before and it was just a little breezy. Nothing major at all. Saturday morning though we were back to 45mph winds!

I went to my home parkrun this week as I had two friends reaching milestone runs. Lei was running her 100th parkrun and Gemma was running her 50th. It was also my running clubs takeover at parkrun.

Walking to parkrun I definitely regretted not taking a jacket! Whilst listening to the run brief, it was absolutely freezing. I’d positioned myself in the starting funnel between the 35 minute and 37 minute pacer. My PB is 36:18 so I thought if I could keep the 35 minute pacer in view I might have a shot at a PB. I did get my last PB in 55mph winds after all! However as soon as they said 3,2,1 Go both pacers shot off in front of me. I tried to keep up for a short while but after looking at my watch I realised I was running a 9 minute mile pace! I knew I couldn’t maintain that so said to Maria I was going to ease off as I thought the pacers had gone off too fast.

Maria raised the very good point that the wind was currently behind us and now wasn’t the time to spend extra energy as we’d need it when we turned to run in to the wind. When we did turn around at the turnaround point the wind hit us. It was as if someone had whacked a treadmill up to full incline, that’s how hard it felt pushing against the wind. We really struggled and conversation fell by the wayside as we were struggling to catch our breath and we wouldn’t have heard each other speak anyway! As usual as we passed the finish funnel where it’s so open the wind felt even stronger! It’s hard staying upright when coastal running in strong winds.

As we turned at the next turnaround point though the wind was back behind us and pushing us along! It felt glorious after slogging away for so long. We were able to talk again and it actually felt quite easy! I needed it though after pushing against the wind! It was at this point I spotted the 37 minute pacer walking. I soon overtook him.

With Gemma

With Gemma who ran her 50th parkrun

I managed to finish in 36:22 just 4 seconds off my PB which in that wind, I’ll take! I looked at the finish times of the pacers. The 35 minute pacer finished in just over 34 minutes. No wonder I couldn’t keep them in sight! I don’t envy them, I think pacing is probably the hardest volunteering job! I definitely want a crack at being paced to 36 minutes though.

With Maria

Have you ever paced at parkrun?

Have you ever used a pacer at parkrun?

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Moors Valley parkrun

It was supposed to be a scorcher on the Saturday of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. I hate the heat. I don’t cope well with it and running is even worse. So I decided a different parkrun was needed, as running along the prom at my local parkrun provides no shade whatsoever. We decided to head off to Moors Valley parkrun which is held in Moors Valley Country Park and Forest. The run route is through the woods so although not entirely shaded, it would at least have some shade and respite from the sun.

We invited Maria along and after picking her up we headed off. It takes around 50 minutes to get there and luckily we didn’t hit any traffic, which is good because we didn’t factor in any time to allow for traffic! When we got there we had about ten minutes to spare so had a natter in the car. We watched a guy parked in front of us conceal his car key in his petrol flap! Anyone watching could have easily stolen his car if they wanted to!

We made our way to the start area and boy was it crowded! We couldn’t really hear the run brief so I didn’t know if we’d be doing the same route we did when I first went to Moors Valley in December 2017. Luckily I wasn’t going to be leading the pack so I figured we could just follow the person in front!

Before parkrun

Before parkrun

As we set off Maria and I ran together and had a nice natter about life and work. It was already pretty warm but for most of the run I managed to run in the shade, apart from when the route came out of the woods. I’d run the whole thing until that point but I just got so warm I couldn’t catch my breath and said to Maria I was going to have to walk. I probably only walked for a minute but I just needed to get a grip on my breathing.

The course was lovely in the woods and then along a footpath beside a lake. It was ever so slightly undulating but nothing too bad.

During the run

During the run

Afterwards we drove to a nearby pub for breakfast which was divine. I ordered the big full English. When it arrived it came with one more sausage than it was meant to! Winning!

Do you run well in the heat?

Do you go for breakfast after parkrun?

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Ipswich parkrun

I recently had the opportunity to visit Ipswich. As I have a friend who lives there and they have a parkrun I jumped at the chance.

My friend Neil used to run weekly at my local parkrun but then had to move to Ipswich for work. I was gutted to see him go and on his last week at Lee I arranged a shoutout for him at the run briefing. Neil is super fast. He finished first at my local parkrun on more than one occasion! I told him I was going to be in the area and asked if he’d be at parkrun that week. He said he would and would keep an eye out for me.

We arrived at Ipswich parkrun bright and early. We got parked easily in a local car park and then followed another person in lycra to the park. I just figured he’d be a parkrunner and luckily for us he was!

When we got there I looked around for Neil but couldn’t see him. I got chatting to two locals, after asking them where I could leave my jacket. They told me briefly about the route (terrified me more like) and then explained that usually the parkrun is in a different location. They also pointed out the new runners brief so I thanked them and headed over.

The guy giving the new runners brief was naturally very funny. He too scared us with the route. Two hills of doom! And then asked where everyone was from. He asked if I had come to collect my letter I for the alphabet challenge. He was a bit disappointed to hear I was just here because I was in Ipswich haha.

We then headed down to the start area and eventually found Neil! We had a brief chat but then the run briefing started so Neil went to take his place up at the front. The run briefing lasted a whopping 10 minutes!!! And then we were on our way. It starts with the uphill section and it goes on for quite a while. However, because it was so congested it was a slow start so I managed to run up the whole of the hill. I had to weave around a lot of people as lots walked it from the get go.

Lap One

The course is two laps with the second lap being slightly different as you veer off to take the route to the finish funnel. After the uphill the course is a slow downhill and kind of meanders around the park. The park is very well looked after. There was no litter and lots of gardens that were really pretty. When I got to lap two and back to the hill I tried my hardest to run as much as I could. I kept saying to myself “The more you run, the further up the hill you get before you have to walk” Unfortunately I did have to walk though. I just couldn’t make it all the way up. As soon as I got to the top though, I ran again. Just as I’d started running Neil came back to find me. He then joined me for the rest of the route which was lovely. We caught up and chatted about life, work and parkruns. As we were running though we saw 4 people, at different times, that had had accidents. One woman was laid flat out on her front. They put on their Facebook page later that everyone was ok! How scary though!

With Neil

Apart from the hills the Ipswich course was actually very enjoyable. I’d definitely go again and it was so nice to see Neil again. My finish time was 37:08 which I didn’t think was too shabby for a course with hills and where I’d walked.

Have you ever had a fall during a run?

Do you prefer a hilly or flat run?

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Penrose parkrun

Whilst we were away for a couple of days we also headed to Cornwall. I’ve never been to Cornwall before so it was nice to spend some time exploring and of course squeeze in a parkrun.

I’d done a bit of research and looked at a couple of courses near to where we were staying and decided on Penrose as it was their Birthday! Nice coincidence! It meant cake and runners dressed as super heroes! When we arrived we were a bit unsure of where to go so I asked a passing Ninja Turtle! She told us where the start was and gave us a quick overview of the route and where the toilets and café were. I love how parkrunners are always so friendly and helpful.

Before parkrun

Before parkrun

We listened to the run brief (there was a 9 year old running her 100th parkrun!) and shouted out where we had touristed from and then we were off. It was quite a congested start as you had to go through a gateway but I was soon on my way. As I was getting going a lady came over and introduced herself and told me she was from Alverstoke (which is really close to where I live) We had a lovely chat for about the first mile or so but then I told her to go on because I was struggling to keep up with her and keep talking. The course had told us it was flat, but coming from a pancake flat parkrun, I’d have described it as slightly undulating with an uphill section to the turn around point. It did make a nice downhill section when I rounded the turnaround point though.

After that I really struggled with the last mile. I just couldn’t get in to a rhythm and there was a lady with a buggy driving me nuts. I ran continuously, although slower than her, whereas she was run walking. Everytime I plodded past her, she would then come sprinting past but then walk again right in front of me. I ended up weaving all over the path as I continuously had to re-overtake her. I even tried walking for a bit as I was struggling and I hoped it’d put some distance between us but she just walked for longer and then started running again when I caught her up! Very annoying!

Anyway, apart from struggling, it was a lovely route. It was in woods, but on a tarmac path. There were some nice stretches of shade. Although it wasn’t boiling, it was nice to keep out of the sun where I could.

Do you enjoy being a parkrun tourist?

Do you ever get annoyed with other runners?

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parkrun with Storm Hannah

The week after my parkrun PB wasn’t the opportunity to try for another PB. Storm Hannah had come to town and brought with her winds of up to 55mph! The winds are definitely a downside to living on the coast!

Maria and I had decided to run together and have a bit of a catch up as we knew running well was going to be off the cards, we just had a laugh and went with it. For the first section, as we headed towards the first turn around point the wind didn’t actually seem that bad. However, once we turned, that was it! We were running straight in to the wind.

It really got bad as we passed the finish funnel, whilst heading towards the second turn around point. It’s such an open area that the wind came straight off the sea and actually blew us both sideways a couple of times. We were running diagonally just to try and keep straight!

Once we’d been round the second turn around point and came to the slipway the wind literally hit us like a brick wall. It was like running on the spot. The slipway is the only part of the course where you have to cross over a section of shingle beach. A lady running beside us with a buggy came to a dead stop as the wind and shingle conspired against her. She was just flipping the buggy around when I grabbed hold of it with her and shouted “Let’s go” and we both dragged the pram across the shingle. Hopefully we didn’t give the baby too much of a bumpy ride!

Pulling the buggy

We eventually got back to the finish line and it had taken us 38:41! What a difference the wind makes!

Would you run in 55mph winds?

Have you ever helped a fellow parkrunner out?

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Being Paced at parkrun

I’m a bit behind on my blog posts (again) but for a while I felt like I had nothing to update about, and then I guess I just got out of the groove of updating. However, with it being Easter, I have lots of time so I feel like now is the right time to get back on track. So, let me take you back to the 9th March!

In the week leading up to the 9th March I’d put a post on Facebook asking if anyone would be willing to pace me to a 37 minute parkrun. I’d been hovering in the 37’s and wanted to try and improve on this. I received a reply almost instantly from Lee who said he’d be willing to help out. In the week leading up to the parkrun the weather was cool but windy and the winds weren’t due to leave before Saturday. I’m trying to remember what the wind speed was. I guess this is the peril of not updating regularly! I can’t remember but they were pretty strong!

On the morning of parkrun Lee told me just to fall in step with him, use him for shelter against the wind and he’d lead the way. I always set off too fast in my first mile. Always! So for the first mile I could really feel myself having to ease back as I kept creeping in front of Lee.

As we hit mile 2 I really struggled as the wind was so strong, it was making it hard to catch my breath. Lee kept telling me to stay just behind him so I could shelter a little from the wind. It was pretty impossible though, that wind was strong!

As we hit the slipway (where it’s really open so the wind felt at the absolute worst!) I was really struggling. Lee turned and said “We’re only just in front of pace, you need to keep going” so I just tried to keep my head down and keep moving.

I’d been really good and not looked at my watch the whole way. I’d completely put my trust in Lee and knew he’d get us there in time. As we hit the finish funnel I stopped my watch and was pretty amazed to see 36:18 on my watch! I thanked Lee, did the obligatory selfies, caught my breath and then Maria and I topped up the run to 4 miles. We covered 4 miles in 49:09. I was very pleased with that.

Lee and I

Check out my hair in the wind!

Running is never easy, we’re constantly striving to improve ourselves. However, running is so much easier now I’m 3 stone lighter! I’m feeling really positive about running and exercise in general to be honest. It’s a good feeling!

Have you ever asked a friend to pace you?

Do you use the pacing feature on your sports watch?

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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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