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!
We eventually got back to the finish line and it had taken us 38:41! What a difference the wind makes!
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.
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?
On Sunday Storm Freya was hitting the UK and bringing with her horrendous winds! I wanted to get some exercise in but was a bit unsure about what to do. As I’ve been thinking about trying a local Zumba class, I decided to pull out an old Zumba Fitness DVD.
Now, let me tell you, I have absolutely zero rhythm and co-ordination. I’m not a natural dancer at all. But I thought, how hard can it be? The answer was, quite hard actually! I didn’t have too much of a problem sort of following them on the DVD but I definitely wasn’t doing all the same moves as them! It’s all in the hips for them yet I just couldn’t make my body do the same thing. But it was pretty fun. I enjoyed it and was pretty pleased to see I’d burnt over 600 calories!
On the Wednesday I decided to pull on my big girl pants and go to a local Zumba class on my own. It’s only a 5 minute walk from mine and starts at 7.30 meaning I didn’t have to rush home from work and get changed quite as much as I do when something starts at 7pm. I have to admit though, I did feel a bit nervous, even though I was looking forward to trying it.
When I got there my friend Claire was there from parkrun so that immediately put me at ease. A little later another friend from parkrun arrived so I was in good company at least! The instructor also surprised me by saying that as this was my first class I could have it for free!
The class started and despite wanting to hide at the back I was actually in the centre of the middle row. (There were 3 rows) As the class started it was different from the DVD and felt like a mix of good old aerobics and a few of the moves from the DVD.
The instructor was really upbeat and friendly. Much better than when I tried the Clubbercise class! (You can read about that here) She gave you the heads up on what direction was next, counted etc. She also went wrong a couple of times which definitely helped put me at ease as I went wrong lots of times haha.
After each song there was a quick breather and I had to keep grabbing a drink of water! I finished my drink about 40 minutes in so next time I definitely need to take a bigger bottle!
At the end I was pleasantly surprised to see I’d burnt almost 600 calories. With the walk there and back it probably went to over 600 calories. I left feeling great! Guess that’s those endorphins they talk about. I can’t wait to go back!
I’m really making an effort to get out and run after work more. Because of work if I were to run before, I’d have to get up at 4.30am and to be honest, I’m just not that committed! I’d rather have the extra hour in bed.
So the other night, despite it being dark and windy and wet I still went out for a run. As if by magic though the rain did stop which I was pleased about. I’d decided to try and stay away from the sea front as the wind on the front is always a lot worse. As I was running I didn’t think the wind felt too bad. I was beginning to get really hot so I thought I’d pop through to the sea front to let the breeze cool me a little.
I ended up regretting it. There is parking all on the sea front and I ran past a man having a wee up the side of his van! It was pretty grim but he must have been desperate as it was actually making a bit of a gushing noise! Sorry if that’s too much information haha.
My luck took a real down turn when the weather decided to hail too. It was like lots of tiny pins stabbing me in the face! Luckily I was already on the return leg of my run but I really could have done without it!
I got back and I’d clocked up a 5K. A quick selfie, because if you don’t take a selfie, did you even go for a run? Then I had a hot bath to try and warm up after peeling off my wet clothes. I have to admit, I’m so ready for Spring. I’m tired of running in the dark, wind and rain!
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
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.
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!
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!
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 after our 4 miles.
What do you think, should I give 37 minutes a bash if I can find someone to pace me?
On Monday evening when I finished work I spoke to a friend on my way home. She’s having a really hard time of it. She has a few health problems going on, which is affecting her ability to work, which in turn is making her stressed, which is then affecting her mental health, which then makes her health worse and so the cycle goes on.
When I finished speaking to her I went for my evening run. I’d a simple out and back route planned so as I ran I was just able to let my mind drift and not have to worry about taking a left turn here or there etc. My mind was focussed so much on my friend. It makes me wish I had a magic wand and could just magic everything away for her. It seems like a childish and simple wish. It’s so hard though when there’s really not a lot you can do other than listen and try and say the right things. Her health problems are currently undiagnosed. The doctors are unsure about what it is but are trying to find it with different tests etc. I completely understand the frustrations she’s feeling, especially since she’s been like this since early December. Whilst speaking to her I diplomatically tried to tell her that drinking to forget her problems also won’t help anything.
Selfishly it made me thankful that on the whole I’m pretty healthy (even though I’m now on my 6th cold since Christmas). On the whole I’m a naturally chirpy person, obviously I have down days like anyone does but they’re rare. And I’m thankful that I don’t see alcohol as a medicine. I like a tipple but I barely drink alcohol. It did make me realise though how much of a therapy running can be. I never used to think I ran for “head space” until I couldn’t run last year. Then I realised I probably did. But on Monday evening I realised I definitely did. It gave me the time to think over things and although I’m not able to magic away my friend’s problems I know I’m being as supportive as I can be and she appreciates that.
Obligatory post run selfie. Wishing I was as magic as a unicorn to make problems vanish.
Lots of people have supported me through my running journey. So many people have come forward when I’ve asked for someone to run with. They’ve sacrificed their parkrun, to run mine with me. It means a lot and I’ve always been truly grateful.
On Saturday I went to parkrun alone. My husband was in bed with a migraine and my friend Maria was in Disneyland Paris! So I went down alone but soon got chatting to people. I started my run alone. As I settled in to a comfortable pace I heard two women just behind me chatting away. I stayed just ahead of them and just zoned out and listened to their conversation. Is that weird? It provided the perfect distraction as I listened to them moan about work. I thought “This is what Maria and I must sound like when we run together”
As we reached the 1.5 mile mark they fell in to step with me and I realised I knew one of the women. I’d met Timnah through parkrun when I first started volunteering. Every time she ran past me at my marshalling point I’d cheer her on and she’d ask me “Am I last?” She never was. Anyway over time we spoke a bit more, became friends on FaceBook etc.
As we fell inline with each other I asked how she was as I knew she’d been out for a long time with an injury. As we started to chat her friend asked if it was ok for her to move forward. It turns out she was a faster runner. I offered to run with Timnah, so long as she didn’t mind me babbling away. She said it’d keep her going. This was only her 2nd parkrun back since her injury.
We settled to her pace, she was worried she was holding me back but I told her I didn’t care. I run to run, not chase times. So we settled in to a nice easy pace. Did I just say a pace was easy?! Never thought I’d say that. We talked about injuries, what motivates us, our jobs, babies, parkrun etc. We covered a lot of topics in 1.5 miles! It was so lovely though, someone to catch up with and not care about pace.
Afterwards Timnah thanked me and said I’d kept her going when she could easily have stopped. Not going to lie, it felt good! I felt like I was finally paying back some of the good deeds people had done by running with me. We finished in the not too shabby time of 40:14.
Afterwards I walked on to the High Street and went and picked myself up a coffee and bought a mini Lemon Loaf for my husband because nothing cures a migraine like cake!
And of course, no parkrun post would be complete without a post parkrun sweaty selfie!
When it comes to exercise I like trying new things. That’s why I enjoy using the PopSugar Fitness Channel on YouTube. There are so many different types of workouts on there. I follow lots of people who enjoy fitness on social media too and I’m always interested to see results from classes they’ve attended. One that kept popping up was a class called Clubbercise.
According to their website Clubbercise brings a night out to your workout. It’s a “fun, easy to follow dance workout with rave glow sticks and disco lights” Sounds pretty fun right? I thought so too. I convinced a friend to come with me and on Monday we turned up for our first class. We walked in to a darkened hall with disco lights going round the room. We signed the health questionnaire and picked up our glowsticks. I was really looking forward to it. Who doesn’t love dancing around to a bit of cheesy pop?
The instructor turned on the music and began to do the moves on the stage. She was dressed all in black and it was pretty hard to see her properly in the darkened room. As we continued I soon realised the instructor wasn’t speaking. I’ve done a few exercise classes/exercise DVDs in my time and expected her to at least be counting, or saying what the next move was but she was silent. Then half way through each song she would stop and go over to the laptop, I presume to line up the next track. Luckily the woman directly in front of me knew all the moves (and had some serious rhythm) so I was able to carry on by copying her but I’m not sure what those behind did each time.
I mentioned to my friend how strange it all seemed and she agreed. As the class progressed she continually stopped halfway through to use the laptop and even started a song and disappeared off the stage to use the toilet. Then she spoke…and what did she say? “Just copy these guys (gesturing to the front couple of rows) if you want the proper moves. I’m just doing the modifications because I’m lazy”
You’re lazy?! Really glad I gave you £5 for this shambles then! I was clock watching from 20 minutes in because it was so ridiculous. Usually you find time passes quicker than you expected in a class but not this one. There was the offer to do another hour for another £2 as there is no class the week after. We politely declined! I’d barely broken a sweat and I didn’t expect that to change by putting up with another hour!
When we left and got in the car I said to my friend “Well that was a load of rubbish!” To which she replied “Oh thank god, I was expecting you to want to come back so I’ve spent most of the class thinking up excuses of why I couldn’t”
Have you ever been to a rubbish exercise class?
Have you ever tried Clubbercise and had a better experience than the one I had?
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.