Category Archives: parkrun

A parkrun DNF

On Saturday I headed down to parkrun as usual. I’ve had a terrible week and hadn’t done any exercise since last Sunday when I ran at Breakfast Club.

When I got there I had a good natter with Maria whilst we waited for the off. I was also volunteering to token sort afterwards and hoping to speak to two new potential  Event Directors for an up and coming parkrun in my local area.

We set off and everything felt absolutely fine but as we got to the first turnaround point my left leg felt “weird” I don’t really know how else to describe it. It wasn’t painful but was starting to feel uncomfortable as we went further on. I slowed it down a bit, then told Maria I needed to walk. As we got back to where we started I said to Maria I thought it best I stop. It wasn’t massively painful but it definitely didn’t feel right.

We sat and had a natter whilst we waited for everyone else to finish. Despite me telling Maria she could go on without me she kindly stayed with me. As we were sat there chatting I noticed a large lump on my outer calf about 3 inches above my ankle bone! Once everyone had finished Maria left and I collected up the tokens. I met up with the other lady I was token sorting with, she had been marshalling at a part of the course I never reached. We walked up to the café together and my leg felt absolutely fine. Her husband met us at the café and we did the token sorting, along with a couple of others who came over to help, one being my lovely friend Mike. This was my 175th time volunteering at parkrun!

parkrun finish token

Obligatory token sorting picture of me holding token number one!

Once we’d finished I went over to chat to the core team. Two of them are hoping to set up another very local parkrun but are having some difficulties with one particular aspect. We chatted about the route they’ve found which sounds fantastic. They said they needed a winter route too and I offered them a 5K route I’ve run in the past that is a suitable winter course.

When I left the café my leg felt absolutely fine so I did a gentle jog home. It’s only 5 minutes from home when running. When I got back I had a bath with muscle soak and when I got out, both my legs had the same weird feeling. I *think* it’s tight muscles, although obviously I don’t definitely know. I took ibuprofen for the remainder of the day, iced it and wore my compression sleeves. I’m writing this on Sunday morning and again they both feel tight, although less so than yesterday. I’ll take ibuprofen again and then try some gentle stretches again. Fingers crossed this doesn’t develop in to anything.

Have you ever had to pull out of a parkrun?

Do you ever volunteer at parkrun? What’s your favourite role?

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Storm Miguel Visits parkrun

I feel like I’ve run in a storm in each month of 2019! The only downside to living on the coast is you get battered by winds and Saturday’s parkrun felt just like that.

I’d arranged at Zumba to run with Claire, one of my Zumba instructors. She wanted a slower run as she was starting work at 10am. I got down to parkrun early to have a natter with my friend Maria before we ran. Maria wanted to run alone to see where she was at (She finished in just over 30 minutes) so we had a good natter beforehand. By the time I’d walked down there I was already freezing from the strong winds so was glad when Maria suggested sitting in her car until nearer the time.

We got out at ten to 9 and Claire came and found me. It was so cold listening to the run brief as the winds were howling! Luckily by 9:03 we were on our way. As we ran the first section I told Claire about the Romsey 5 Mile Beer Run and she told me about a race she was doing the following day. As we turned at the first turnaround point the wind hit us like a brick wall and the grind began! Our friend Angela caught up with us and then to my surprise Mel did. Mel’s mum passed away on the Friday hence me being surprised to see her. She ran with us for a bit and told us her Mum had had a stroke on the Monday. She was really upset but appreciative that she could come to parkrun and be with friends. She told us her brother had come down to be with her, meaning he’d missed his 250th parkrun. I’ve met her brother a couple of times and went and offered my condolences after we’d finished running.

As we reached the 2nd turnaround point, Kaarina, the marshal at the turnaround point said “You’ll be really fast now with the wind behind you” Unfortunately the wind was coming straight off the sea and getting us side on rather than being behind us! It was slightly easier though.

I finished in 35:58 which I was happy with. I’m not running a lot at all at the moment so I’m glad it’s not affecting my times too much at the moment.

Selfie

Janet took this picture for us and her husband said I needed to treat myself to a new smaller t-shirt! You can see the wind blowing up it and making it flap! It’s a shame once you’ve got a parkrun t-shirt you aren’t able to buy another one.

Have you got any parkrun milestone t-shirts?

Did you run in Storm Miguel?

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A Hot parkrun!

It looks like the winter weather has finally made a move and now we’re heading in to warmer temperatures. I know most people are glad of this, but I am definitely an Autumn Winter person rather than a Spring Summer person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the extra daylight but I’m just not good in heat! I get hot so quickly, I sweat buckets and I overheat. It’s just miserable. When we had the heatwave last summer I was kind of glad to be injured as it meant I wasn’t having to run in the hot weather. The weather is warm now, not hot, but already I’m overheating.

Saturday morning at parkrun was about 16c. I walked down there in just cropped leggings and a tshirt so I knew it was going to be a warm one. I was pleased to see my friend Maria there as she’s been on holiday so I’ve not seen her for a little while. I was looking forward to hearing all about her trip to Cyprus.

We got down to the starting pen and it was very busy. After the run brief it took us over 30 seconds to get to the start line! We set off at a chatty pace. We had a lot to catch up on and I knew I’d need to take it easier because of the heat. It was nice hearing all about her holiday and catching up on other bits and pieces but my god it was hot. I regretted not taking a headband or wearing a buff on my head to try and absorb some of the sweat! Icky I know, but I sweat buckets. I also had a problem with my sunglasses steaming up! Does anyone else get that? I found I had to pull them further down my face but then they felt like they needed pushing up!

I finished parkrun with an official time of 37:07 a good two minutes slower than last week! I think over Summer I’m just going to have to ease it back a bit and take the slower times as I’m not good in heat.

My home parkrun now has a selfie frame too so obviously I had to get a picture with it!

parkrun selfie frame

With Maria

With Marie

With Marie

After heading home for a shower we drove to Ringwood to go and order a new car for me! It’ll be late August/early September before it gets to me though. I’m getting a Ford Fiesta. I wanted something a little bigger than my Smart Car and after looking round a few different cars this was my favourite. After signing on the dotted line we went for lunch at a pub in the New Forest which was lovely.

Ford Fiesta

What my new car will look like

Any tips for running in the heat?

Does your home parkrun have a selfie frame?

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I Made The parkrun Pilgrimage – Bushy parkrun

A week or so ago I had the opportunity to spend a Friday in Windsor. Obviously I instantly started thinking about how I could team this with a parkrun. I researched where the local parkruns were and looked at hotels. I realised there was a hotel not too far from Windsor but more importantly, not too far from Bushy park!

I’d read on the Bushy parkrun course page that the car parking there was often full by 8.30. I didn’t want to take any chances so we arrived at Bushy park nice and early at 8am. The car parks already had quite a few cars in. I presume these belonged to some of the army of volunteers that have this parkrun run like a well oiled machine.

I was quite surprised to see there were no parkrun flags up or the pop up signs they have. We wondered to the area I thought the start line was near and there were people milling about. It wasn’t, however, clear where the start line was.

A man, along with his wife and daughter, came and asked me where the start line was. I explained I didn’t know as we were tourists and he trumped us by saying he was over from Melbourne, Australia. We spent a good while chatting to him about his home parkrun, what time it started, the temperature etc. It was amazing to hear about a parkrun on the other side of the world. Whilst we were chatting a volunteer came and told us the new runners briefing would soon be held so we headed over to a lady who was now holding up a new runners briefing sign. The briefing was a good mix of humorous and informative. It was amazing hearing where the tourists were from. There were people from various American and Australian parkruns and then various UK parkruns. Distance seems no object when the opportunity to run at Bushy is there! By the end of the briefing a large crowd had gathered so it was now evident where we’d be running from. I spotted the 35 minute pacer but had no chance of getting anywhere near him. There were over 1400 runners the day we were there and it felt like 1000 of them were between me and the pacer!

Before the run

Before the run

My husband and I ran together. It’s very rare we do this as our paces are so different. When we set off I had no idea when we’d run over the start line so I don’t know how long it took me to get going. The first section of the course was over grass. People spread out fairly quickly both width ways and due to their pace so it didn’t really feel congested at all. We stayed on the grass for a while even when there was a path as we felt pretty comfortable there. They warned us of ant hills and boy were there ant hills! Some were like mini ant mountains!

The course was described as a butterfly shape and as we rounded a corner I honestly shouted “Oh my god look at all those deer!” There were so many, just watching the runners go by! The views were also lovely. So much lush greenery and a mix of paths and trails.

It was quite a warm day but also it was muggy! It made it so hard to catch my breath. My husband kept reminding me to try breathing deeper as I was breathing so quickly. It definitely helped having those reminders. What didn’t help was him telling me every time we’d run a half mile. It made the run feel so much longer as I normally don’t even look at my watch! I’m sure he thought he was being helpful though haha.

When we got to the end I managed a little sprint finish but honestly, I’d given it everything I had whilst out on the course. We entered the finish funnel and joined the back of the longest queue. It snaked around just like when you’re waiting to go on a ride at a theme park. They have a double finish funnel at Bushy so we queued alongside another finish funnel. I don’t know how it all works but they seemed to and that’s all that matters haha. We were probably in the queue for 10-15 minutes before being given our finish token. We then barely had to queue for the barcode scanners as there seemed to be a small army of them!

Finish Funnel

The finish funnel queue

Finish token

I then went to join another queue to have my picture taken with the parkrun selfie frame. Needs must haha. I then took pictures for a group of ladies who were behind me. They all wanted a picture on each of their phones. I didn’t mind though, I’d like to think another parkrunner would do the same for me!

Selfie Frame

Afterwards we headed off to the café, The Pheasantry. I was sceptical that we’d get a seat with their being so many people there but luckily we did. There was both indoor and outdoor seating which probably helped. I had to queue for about 10 minutes to order our food but the food came out quickly and was really tasty.

We were really lucky with the traffic on the way back and it only took us an hour and a half. Not too far to go back then surely?! I received my time around lunch time. I expected it to be much later as it’s such a large parkrun. My official time was 35:46. When I got home and looked at my stats I was very surprised to see I’d managed to do negative splits.

Have you made the parkrun pilgrimage?

What’s the furthest you’ve travelled to a parkrun?

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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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