My First parkrun

parkrun logo

On 13th May I completed my first parkrun. I’ve volunteered at my local parkrun at Lee-on-the-Solent for 22 months but never completed one thinking I’m not fit enough and I’d never be able to complete it in under an hour.

In January I set myself some goals for 2017. One of them was to take charge of my health and another was to complete a parkrun. So since then I’ve been working on my walking, upping the distances and in time improving my speed.

On 13th May it was the Gosport Road Runners take over at parkrun meaning I couldn’t volunteer as I am not a member. So instead I was going to walk it. I put a call out on Facebook as in the past people have said to me if I ever want to walk it, they’d be happy to walk it with me. On Saturday morning I had my friends Rachel (who was also tail runner), Andy, Kieran and Louise walking with me.

The walk started good. The Lee-on-the-Solent course is a loose figure of eight and as we made our way to the first turn around point I was absolutely astounded by the amount of people there. As we were at the back of the pack we had to walk in single file as the main crowd of runners were on their return leg.

As we went around the turn around point I started to get twinges down the outside of my legs. This is always where my leg pain starts. Instead of focussing on the pain I decided to instead focus on the conversations around me which at this point was about dreams about Tough Mudder events!

As we continued making our way towards the other end of the course we passed the finish funnel and this is my only moment of complaint. The promenade was packed with runners and I had to slow right down to try and work my way through people meandering back to their cars. It was frustrating but I know how difficult it is to keep the prom free from runners. As we passed the finish funnel I actually over took a group of three ladies and couldn’t believe it. I was no longer at the back. This did however mean I got separated from my group for a while as Rachel had to stay with the three ladies at the back as tail runner (the ladies later dropped out) I instead began chatting with Louise, we chatted about all sorts of things but she also told me how when we reached the slipway we’d already walked two miles and the bulk of the work was done! As we were chatting I hardly noticed the time going by. I felt good at this point (though warm) and wished I’d left my jacket behind at the funnel. It meant I had to carry it for a lot of the walk. As we rounded the next turn around point and made our way back towards the finish funnel Louise and I continued to chat about parkrun, running and injuries.

As we got closer to the end Anna came back to find us. She had already rather speedily finished her run and walked the remainder of the walk with me. It was so lovely chatting away to her and she informed me of the amazing cakes waiting for us when we finished. That girl knows how to motivate!

As we made it to the ramp (or as the parkrunners like to call it, the mini mountain!) the finish funnel was in sight, along with a sea of hi-vis vests of the marshalls and funnel team. It was quite the sight and there were lots of people there ready to give me congratulations and well dones for completing the course.

I came 583rd out of 587 runners (so not last!!) I walked the majority of the course chatting away and feeling good and most importantly, pain free. There was one slight problem though…I forgot to take any pictures!!! D’oh, what sort of blogger am I?! Rest assured, next time, I’ll take lots!

Want to read my 2017 goals? You’ll find a post about them here and a quarterly review of them here

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April Roundup

I know I’m getting to this April roundup a little late. In fact, we’re almost half way through May already but hey, better late than never right?!

In April I went to the cinema for the first time in over two years. Of course it was to see Beauty and the Beast! I was dubious about the remake, wondering if it would be as good as the original animated cartoon version from 1991 that I remember watching over and over on VHS as a child. In truth, the remake was wonderful and every bit as magical as the original if not more due to the progression in film making. I was enthralled from start to finish.

I also left my job in April and one of my leaving gifts from my colleague was this wonderful chip cup!

Chip from Beauty and the Beast

I got lots of lovely gifts from my colleagues and the children and I got lots of flowers! I had 7 vases brimming with beautiful blooms! Below is just one of them. I love tulips, they’re so pretty and vibrant.

Tulips

Of course in April I’ve also taken some beach pictures when I’ve been out walking. I’m still determined to keep gaining fitness by walking more often.

Lee-on-the-Solent Beach

Lee-on-the-Solent beach

I love how the sun is reflecting off the wet sand in the second picture. Sun set at the beach is the best. As I’ve been doing lots of walking I’ve also discovered some new places in and around where I live. Below are photos of Fort Gilkicker that was built in 1863 and is soon to become “luxury homes” and the Haslar sea wall where you can see across to Portsmouth Harbour.

Fort Gilkicker

Haslar Sea Wall

As I’ve been doing lots of walking I wanted a new way of recording my walks as for some reason, despite having a full battery my phone will die when using apps like Strava and say it has no battery, thus losing my data. Then, annoyingly, when I get home and plug it in my phone shows a full charge again! I hunted high and low for my old Garmin Forerunner 410 but despite being sure I brought it from Sheffield with us, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I researched a few different tracking watches and settled on the Garmin Forerunner 35. It’s simple to use, tracks heart rate and has GPS. I’m pretty pleased with it and am loving tracking all the stats again.

Garmin Forerunner 35

I’ve also continued to volunteer at my local parkrun. I decided to go back to marshalling as I usually do a funnel role. I loved being back out on the course cheering everyone on. I was put back in my old marshalling spot of the playground which just so happens to have a café right at the side of it so it was coffee and marshalling for me!

parkrun marshall

Speaking of parkrun we’ve also had confirmation of the junior parkrun we’ve been setting up. Stokes Bay junior parkrun will start on 4th June! We’re all so excited about this. The trial is on Saturday afternoon for us to try out all the equipment and make sure everything works before we do it for real. Afterwards we have to have a training session on being an RD at a Junior parkrun. I’m guessing this will cover some safeguarding aspects with it being juniors.

I think that’s it for my April update! I have some exciting news too but that’s for another post!

Not had enough? Why not look at my other post from April…

My One Year Plan

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Coffee Update

Let's have coffee!

I haven’t been updating too regularly recently and that’s because I haven’t really had much to update about.  I guess that’s just the way life goes sometimes, you have quiet months and you have busy months. However there’s a couple of things I want to chat about so I thought I’d do it in a chat over coffee style post.

New Job

I have a new job. When we moved to the South Coast two years ago I took a job working in a pre school unit within a private day nursery. With my time there and at my nursery back in Sheffield I’ve worked with pre school aged children for 12 years so when the opportunity arose to work in a baby unit in a different nursery I thought I’d give it a go. I’ll be learning again and this is something I’m excited about. I’m one week in and so far really enjoying it. I never thought I was cut out to work with babies but I’m discovering just how wonderful they are.

London Marathon

Did you all watch the London Marathon? That’s if you weren’t participating of course. A huge Well Done to anyone who ran it. The coverage was inspirational as always. I just wanted to highlight two people. Obviously The Welsh Runner has to have a mention. Matt Rees of Swansea Harriers was the runner who stopped to help David Wyeth of Chorlton Runners. David was having difficulty completing the marathon and Matt helped him to the finish line. What a hero. The footage was jaw dropping. Part of me was shouting at the TV for the paramedics to help, then part of me was in complete awe as Matt scooped him up and took him to the finish line. The man is a legend.

Image courtesy of Sky News

But also I just want to link you to this story about the Gorilla man who completed the marathon on all fours dressed as a Gorilla. He must have been in pain completing it on all fours.

British Sign Language

This is a bit of a random one. One of my friends has a son who uses British Sign Language to communicate. She recently retweeted a tweet of theirs  and it peaked an interest in me. When I was younger I knew the alphabet in sign language. Unfortunately I don’t anymore but I’ve begun following the British Sign Language Twitter account and I’m enjoying trying to learn and more importantly remember the signs. So far I have a few nailed. The images they post are really useful as they explain what to do as well. For example:

British Sign Language Animal

So that’s pretty much it for my coffee update. I’ve found blogging difficult lately as there isn’t always something to blog about! Let’s hope lots more inspiration comes my way through May!

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My One Year Plan

At our parkrun we have takeovers. This is where a particular running club fills all the volunteer roles. It’s good publicity for the running clubs, it encourages people to volunteer when they might not normally. It’s a win win situation.

The next takeover is Gosport Road Runners who are taking over on May 13th. I have a lot of friends who are members of Gosport Road Runners, or GRR, as they’re often called. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends in other clubs too but there’s just something about the people of Gosport Road Runners. They’re a great and friendly bunch.

As they’re holding the take over on May 13th I won’t be volunteering as the GRR’s will take over the roster. Instead I have decided to walk the course. Finally a date is set for my first parkrun. I’m not sure how I’ll do, however I do know the tail runner that week is Rachel. Someone who I know will encourage me and provide me with all the support I need to get the job done.

As I thought about this one thing became clear. I want in! I want to be part of Gosport Road Runners, or as I like to call them Team Yellow! And I want to be a member within a year so I can volunteer at their next take over!

On Saturday just gone I spoke to Auz, another member of Team Yellow, and he informed me of their beginners group in January. Do you see where I’m going here? So I walk on May 13th with the hope of building up to running a little, to then be able to join their beginners group in January to then being a fully fledged member by April/May 2018.

Can I do this?! I guess I have to now, it’s on my blog!

Are you part of a running club?

Have you ever thought of joining a running club?

2017 Goals – An update

2017 Goals

At the beginning of 2017 I set myself 4 goals to achieve. Since we’re in March already, and we’re a quarter of the way through the year I thought it was time to do an update.

Health

The first goal was to take charge of my health. I’d started this towards the end of 2016 so it was natural to keep it going in 2017. I’m preparing fresh and healthy lunches as well as watching what I eat in the evenings. I’ve also started trying to exercise twice a week, although I’m not always making twice but  I have lost over a stone which I’m pleased about.

parkrun

As part of trying to be healthier I’m doing more walking and have started Couch to 5K. I want to be able to complete a parkrun. I’m not bothered about running all of it just yet but would like to complete it in under an hour. Even if it’s 59:59! I’m using the medals I’m earning through Virtual Runner UK to keep me in check and motivate me to keep trying.

Read more books

I started off really well with this goal. I read three books quite quickly but then haven’t read anything for a while. I need to get back in to this. I have however been listening to audio books. My husband doesn’t enjoy reading but wants to read the Harry Potter books so we’ve downloaded them and have been listening to them. We’re currently on the second book.

be me

I’m actually surprised how easy I’ve found this one. I was dreading learning how to say no to people but actually I’ve been true to myself and have turned down social opportunities I’m just not interested in.

So that’s my 2017 goals update. I hope everyone else is managing to stay on track with their personal goals.

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Earning my To The Moon and Back Medal

In February I took part in the To the Moon and Back medal challenge from Virtual Runner UK. They wanted to see if the participants could complete enough mileage, you guessed it, to reach to the moon and back!

I really must learn to take more pictures when I’m out and about as it makes blog posts far more exciting! I completed 16.14 miles made up of running, walking and cycling. I ran a mile, walked 7.07 miles and cycled 8.07 miles! I have no idea how I managed a 50/50 split, it certainly wasn’t intentional! All the cycling was completed on my exercise bike and the walking was a mix of treadmill and out and about.

These pictures were taken at Lymington Harbour where I walked just under a mile.

Lymington Harbour

Lymington Harbour

The only other pictures I took didn’t turn out too good at all. However, here is a picture of the medal. I really like it, the way the heart hangs is a neat idea and the lanyard is a night sky.

To the Moon and Back Medal

I love these medals and they’re really helping me to stick to my 2017 goal of taking charge of my health. I don’t have another medal until June now, so it’ll be interesting to see just how well I manage to keep going without the incentive of receiving a medal at the end!

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Volunteering 80 times at Lee on the Solent parkrun

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4th March saw my 80th time volunteering at Lee on the Solent parkrun. 80 times is pretty impressive, especially when I realised there’s only been 90 parkruns at Lee on the Solent.

I wanted to be the Run Director on my 80th time and so I signed up. Now all I needed was a team! I put a call out on Facebook saying it would be my 80th time volunteering and I was to be the Run Director so wanted the best team and luckily my wonderful parkrun friends responded and I had a good team backing me.

During my 80 times volunteering at parkrun I’ve made so many friends and since I only moved here two years ago I’m so thankful for their friendship. Moving here could have been a very lonely time and actually it really hasn’t.

parkrun volunteers

I’ve met so many people through parkrun, some are simply familiar faces I see through being there every week, some are people I say Hi to as I pass them on the High Street but some of them are people I spend time with outside of parkrun too now.

parkrun volunteers

No finer photo location than a skate park covered in graffiti

I’m so grateful for all the people I’ve met at parkrun and I want to thank everyone who made Saturday so special for me.

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Volunteering at Eastney Junior parkrun

parkrun logo

So I have some news, I’m involved in setting up a Junior parkrun! This is such an exciting time. Last time when I went to volunteer at Waterlooville Junior parkrun which is detailed in this post it was still in the “can we do this” stages. However, we now have funding from the council and it very much has been given the green light!

At the end of February we went over to Eastney Junior parkrun in Portsmouth where I volunteered as a barcode scanner for them. We introduced ourselves to their event director Denyse who was very friendly and helpful. She showed us some of the kit they use, including a rather nifty trolley to carry it all in.

My good friend Maggie, and her husband Paul are going to be the Event Directors of our new Junior parkrun and we’ve set about creating an amazing team. Two of our RD’s to be joined us at Eastney so they could see what the events were like too.

I present the new Junior parkrun team

The event was really good, and well organised. It was bigger than Waterlooville with 68 runners. The fastest boy finished in a rather impressive 08:19 and the fastest girl finished in 08:42. We were all amazed at how speedy the children were. The location was brilliant too. It was held in Bransbury Park in Portsmouth. There are some good facilities in the park and I imagine in the summer the children and parents spend some time in there after parkrun too.

If you want to check out Eastney Junior parkrun then they run every Sunday morning at 10am at Bransbury Park. There is a car park at the opposite end of the park (it’s not too long a walk from the start) or there is on street parking closer by.

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February Roundup

Another month in 2017 over already. February seems to have gone by in a bit of a blur! So what did I get up to?

At the beginning of February I went with some friends to the new Watermark at West Quay shopping centre in Southampton. We went to Cosmo, which was my recommendation having already visited the restaurant in Sheffield. Thankfully it lived up to my expectations and we had some lovely food as well as a good catch up. When we got there they had decorated with red lanterns for Chinese New Year.

 

Red lanterns Chinese New Year

One Sunday afternoon we went for a drive out in to the New Forest and ended up in Lymington. We found the harbour and went for a walk around. It was lovely, and very quiet as it was so chilly. Afterwards we went to Milford on Sea which seems to be the closest point on the mainland that you can get to the Isle of Wight. The waves were huge so naturally I took a picture (which really doesn’t do the waves justice) but you can see the Isle of Wight in the background and also The Needles. One day I’ll get myself over to the Isle of Wight and explore!

Lymington Harbour

Milford on Sea waves

Another Sunday afternoon we went for a drive out to Southsea. As we drove along from Southsea to Eastney we saw these beach huts and I had to get out and take a picture. They look a little dishevelled, like the Winter hasn’t treat them well. I’m sure they’ll look splendid in the Summer. I love the colours.

Beach Huts at Southsea

Blog posts in February:

January Roundup

2016 – A Review

Earning my Unicorn Medal the hard way!

Volunteering at Waterlooville Junior parkrun

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Volunteering at Waterlooville Junior parkrun

parkrun logo

As you all know by now I love volunteering at parkrun. This week was a parkrun double for me. I volunteered at my usual Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun then on Sunday I headed over to Waterlooville Junior parkrun.

Waterlooville is only half an hour away from where I live so it wasn’t too far to travel. The parkrun is held in Jubilee Park (Milton Road entrance) in Waterlooville so if you’re in the area with a 4-14 year old on a Sunday then why not give them a visit?

The course was a 2 lap course with a small loop then in to the finish funnel. I went along with two friends and their son who initially weren’t going to volunteer but were going to watch and their son was going to run. When we arrived at 8.30 to register as a volunteer there was only Adam, the run director there. He was setting up the course but stopped to have a chat with us. He was really friendly and told us a few snippets of information about the course. They were low on volunteers this week so my friends were quickly roped in to help. One as a marshal and one as Tail Walker (although actually it was a tail run in the end). I was barcode scanning and a bit nervous as I was the only scanner. I’m used to scanning in over 400 runners with three scanners. Luckily it turned out on a very cold February morning only 39 children were to take part.

The junior parkrun is 2km instead of the 5km of a Saturday parkrun. Watching the children was brilliant, especially the two children that led the way. They were fast and pushed hard. It was nice to hear from one of the Mum’s that the first female across the line is part of an athletics club showing she takes her running pretty seriously.

The first male crossed the line in 08:17 and the first female was close behind with 08:25. The final runner crossed the line with a PB of 19:08. She told me friend she turned 4 in September and had taken part in 4 or 5 parkruns. She was just as inspiring as the first runners over the line. 4 years old and a parkrun advocate, brilliant!

As the junior parkrun is 2km, volunteering there really doesn’t take up too much of your time and is really rewarding as you know you’re helping the future generation reach a healthier lifestyle. Why not look up your nearest junior parkrun on the parkrun website and offer some of your time?

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