A Return to Breakfast Club

Now that my road to recovery is well and truly underway my friend Honor asked if I’d like to join her at Breakfast Club again. Breakfast Club is a group of local runners who meet at 8am, run or walk at their own pace for 30 minutes, then turn around and come back. After an hour you’re back where you started and ready for Breakfast.

Breakfast Club group photo

Ready to go! It was freezing

I was running for 2 minutes and walking for 3 this week and Honor was run/walking with me. We set off heading from Stokes Bay back towards Lee-on-the-Solent. I’ve run with Honor a few times and she commented on my pace being faster now whilst running. Although I’m really trying not to focus on pace at the minute, as recovery is more important, this did bring a smile to my face.

We had a lovely chatty run and talked about everything from parkrun to weight watchers. We’d just about reached the parkrun start line when we hit the 30 minute turn around point. Instead of running along the road back, we hopped down on to the prom and ran back along the beach until we had to go back on to the road back to Stokes Bay.

I’d not looked at my watch once and when we got back Honor said “Wow that was an easy 4 miles” I was pretty shocked, it definitely didn’t feel like I’d just run 4 miles! I remember when I was running before my injury 4 miles felt like such a long way but on this day it had felt easy. There’s something to be said for this run/walking lark! I feel like I can go for longer.

Then it was time for the best bit, breakfast! I had my favourite breakfast they do there which is mushrooms on toast. It sounds pretty blah but they cook the mushrooms in something and it is to tasty!

I was back home before 10am having done a good run and having already nailed my 10,000 steps for the day. Perfect!

Run stats

Is there anything like the Breakfast Club near you?

Have you tried a run/walking routine?

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Spectating At The Great South Run 2018

I was meant to be running the Great South Run this year but due to injury wasn’t able to take part. A couple of months ago I don’t think I could have even gone to spectate but now I’m feeling a lot better in myself so….

On 21st October I headed in to Portsmouth to watch the Great South Run. We’d spent a good while contemplating how to get there and eventually settled on just paying the monstrous £10 parking fee to park on Southsea common. We left home at 6:50am to drive over to Portsmouth and get parked.

I knew I wanted to be somewhere around the 8 or 9 mile mark to provide people with cheers and encouragement in those latter stages where they might be struggling and really need the boost. However, first we were heading for breakfast! We walked to The Tenth Hole which is an amazing cake shop that also happen to do some pretty tasty food. It was a good half an hour walk to there and we arrived at 7.55 ready for them to open at 8am. The Tenth Hole was on the Great South Run route and there were signs everywhere saying so and not to park. On our walk there and whilst eating breakfast we probably saw 10 cars get towed away. We even saw one lady park up, get out of her car, read the sign, then go for a jog anyway! Her car was towed about 10 minutes after she left. I bet that was a nasty surprise to come back to!

Sun rise over Canoe Lake

The sun rising over Canoe Lake

For breakfast I had French toast with banana and a coffee followed by a slice of banoffee pie. There were so many runners in there enjoying breakfast too. I’m not sure it’s how I’d fuel my run right before the race but each to their own. When we left and walked to the end of the street I realised we were about 200 yards from the 9 mile marker. It looked as good a place as any to stand and there were toilets right opposite us in case I needed a wee! Priorities!

Andy Vernon warming up

Andy Vernon warming up

We had about half an hour to wait before the elite women set off. I was looking forward to seeing Eilish McColgan and Gemma Steele run. Whilst we were waiting we saw Andy Vernon warming up ready to take on Chris Thompson. We didn’t have too long to wait after that before we saw them around mile 7 (at the end of the road where The Tenth Hole is) and then it only seemed like 10 minutes before they were running past us at mile 9. Eilish McColgan was in first place when she passed us and was looking strong as! I snapped a shot of her and uploaded it to my Instagram stories, only for her to share it on her Instagram stories!

Eilish McColgan

The elite men soon passed after the women and Chris Thompson was in the lead ready to win for the 3rd time. Now I had to get my beady eyes ready to start spotting my friends. The tracker app was next to useless! It told me some of my runners were still on the start line when they’d run past me, and some had finished when they hadn’t. It was down to me to spot them as the app wasn’t reliable. I soon spotted Anna and Kyle. Anna was the happiest person I saw at mile 9. She looked like she was having a great time.

As the time passed by the weather really warmed up. I cheered on Craig from Runr and around 40 people from parkrun. I collected hugs from those that were able to stop. I was shocked to find everyone was dripping wet where they’d poured water over their heads to try and cool down. One friend told me she was suffering with heat stroke! It was so warm and I even got sunburnt. I managed to spot all my friends bar one which I thought was pretty good considering there were 20,000 people running! At the end I was waiting for my lovely friend Mike from parkrun but the app told me he’d finished so we  started heading back to the car. As we passed the finish line I heard the announcer call Mike’s name! So he hadn’t finished after all when the app told me. Luckily I was able to yell through the barricades to him and catch his attention. He laughed when I told him about the mix up and said he’d take the quicker time!

The only downside to the whole day was trying to get out of Portsmouth! It took us about an hour and forty minutes to get home and it’s usually a half hour journey!

Have you been to spectate a big race like the Great South Run?

What’s your favourite race distance?

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Halloween parkrun

Saturday (27th October) was the Halloween parkrun. Fancy dress was of course encouraged. This week I was running with Kerry who is a member of Fareham Crusaders, a fellow blogger and a Women’s Running magazine cover girl!

Kerry dressed as a zombie nurse and I wore my 99p from eBay pumpkin t-shirt!

Halloween parkrun

This week I was running for 2 minutes and walking for 3. I’d done a mid week run on the treadmill which had gone well so I was hopeful this would easily transfer on to the tarmac! It was near perfect running weather for me as it was about 2c! I run so much better in lower temperatures as I just get so hot whilst running.

Kerry and I chatted easily about working out, routines, running and injuries. We kept up a good pace and I noticed that slowly but surely we were moving our way up the pack. We soon caught up with my lovely friend Mike and then ended up playing cat and mouse with him. He overtook us every time we walked, and when we ran we caught him up.

At the end I was surprised to see 420 on my finish token! There were more people there than I had realised! Usually I finish somewhere in the high 300’s. I was even more surprised to see my finish time! I finished in 43:53, a mere 26 seconds away from my fastest ever parkrun! Incredible, especially considering there’s still so much walking! I’ve knocked 6 minutes off my time since the beginning of October when I started back at parkrun after my injury. Mind blown!

Did you dress up for a Halloween parkrun?

If you did, what was your costume?

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Feeling Good!

I’m almost up to date with my parkrun updates! On 20th October I ran with two friends from parkrun, Richard and Penny. They were both running the Great South Run the following day so had agreed to run with me the day before. I’m always grateful that people are actually willing to run with me.

This week was 1.5 minutes running and 3.5 minutes walking so nothing too strenuous for them as they would be running 10 miles the next day. As we ran/walked we chatted about where best to spectate the Great South, I’d told them I was thinking about spectating at mile 9. We talked about parking and the best method of getting there etc. I’d been thinking of getting the Gosport Ferry over to Portsmouth but was still unsure of what was best. The time flew by and conversation flowed really freely between the three of us.

Just as we were heading towards the finish we saw Richard’s wife Gemma. She’d already finished but had really hurt her leg. She was starting to head back to the café so as soon as we finished Richard dashed off to catch up with her. Penny and I however took a selfie. She looks like we’ve barely run a step whereas I look like a tomato!

Penny and I

I improved my time again this week, dropping it to 45:08. I’m not looking at my watch during the run at all as I just want to run and make sure nothing hurts. However I do allow myself a look as I head towards the finish and this week I made a dash for it just to get that little bit closer to my PB. In October I’ve knocked around 4 minutes off my time which I’m pleased with.

Have you run the Great South Run?

Do you prefer running with friends or going on a solo run?

 

 

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parkrun and Contra

parkrun on 13th October saw me wearing my new Contra t-shirt. If you haven’t heard of Contra, it’s a sports brand set up by Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the founder of parkrun. They carry 10 sizes, everything is ethically made and the profits go back in to parkrun. I’d ordered a t-shirt as soon as they launched. I wasn’t expecting it to arrive, but they must have sent it early as it arrived before the due date.

Wearing the Contra t-shirt

I met up with my friend Claire who I ran with last week as she’d agreed to run/walk with me again. I told her I had absolutely no expectations and I just wanted to finish, preferably pain free! The weather was cool but the winds were really strong thanks to Storm Callum! This week was running for 1 minute and walking for 4 minutes. For the majority of the run the weather didn’t really seem a problem but as soon as we hit the 2nd turn around point, the wind hit you full on. It was like running on the spot. I told Claire at one point “This is so hard” and she answered simply “Shut up and run” That’s the kind of motivating talk I need.

We ended the run in a staggering 46:53. Considering the amount of walking I was doing, I was flabbergasted to be so close to my average of 45 minutes! In fact I was pleased as punch and thankful for another pain free parkrun.

Have you ordered anything from Contra?

What’s your average parkrun time?

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A Holiday to Scotland

It’s no secret that my heart lies in Scotland. I adore the place. I’m actually convinced that somewhere down the line I must be part Scottish.

Initially we booked this holiday as we were meant to be doing the River Ness 10K but my injury meant I couldn’t run. As I’d now been more and more active we decided to make this an active holiday and make sure we got in some decent long walks.

We stayed in a lodge on the South side of Loch Ness in a small village called Whitebridge. The same site (although a different lodge) from when we stayed in March. You can read all about it here: My Holiday to Scotland

In reality it turned out not being able to run was possibly a good thing. Where we stayed was on the marathon route and the road was closed from 7am meaning we’d have needed to leave before then for a race that didn’t start until 10.45! Not ideal.

The lodge we had this time was smaller than the last but very cosy and still had a log burner and hot tub.

When we stayed last time we discovered a lovely little tea room on our last day so this time we visited it on our first day (and a few times after) We had lunch there before heading out to Farigaig forest for a walk. The walk actually turned out to be more of a hike as we started a steep climb up a rocky path through the forest. We followed a route that was meant to give us magnificent views of an old fort. Despite following the route for an hour we never found it! Annoyingly I tracked this walk on my Apple watch as a hike and it didn’t log a distance or map! I reckon it was probably around 3 miles though. We then returned to the tea room for a hot chocolate and cake!

Hot chocolate and Coffee Cake

The next day we went out and cheered on the marathon runners. Where we were stayed was between miles 2 and 3. I thought the runners would all be through in little over half an hour but we were there almost an hour. I was surprised to see people walking already but I suppose when spectating you don’t know the runners journey or marathon plan. They could have been run/walking. I cheered them all on. We then headed out to Ullapool. It was just over two hours away with a bit of traffic. After our day back as we headed about around 5pm I was surprised to see there were still marathon participants on the course! I spotted the same people who’d been at the very back of the pack walking, they were still walking and between miles 19 and 20 (I think) Walking a marathon must be absolutely gruelling.

Loch Ness Marathon

The masses entering Whitebridge

The next day we went to Aviemore in the Cairngorms. We had breakfast at the café we’d gone to after participating in Aviemore parkrun. We then went to the Glenmore Forest for more walking. We knew we wanted to walk the perimeter of Loch Morlich but also wanted to add in something a tad more strenuous as Loch Morlich is flat. When we picked up a map we saw that part way around the Loch there was another route that would take us on a circular “strenuous” route then drop us back at the Loch to carry on. All together this should have been 5 miles so how we ended up at almost 9 miles I’m really not sure! The route was stunning and worth it to find the hidden An Lochan Uaine (The Green Lochan) which looked like a fairy pool. However it was really difficult. We climbed up for a long time and it was quite steep, however this wasn’t the problem. When it came to going down, the downhill wasn’t as gradual. We had to climb down a really steep rocky path which was difficult to navigate. Some of the steps down were huge and hard for someone of my height! I thoroughly enjoyed it though.

The Green Lochan

After a 9 mile walk the previous day, we decided on a shorter walk the next day. In the lodge was a walk to Foyers that was 3 miles. On route we’d stop off at the tea room too. We walked to Foyers and decided to go down and see the Falls of Foyers before going back to the tea room and then heading back. Again some how a 6 mile round trip turned in to another almost 9 mile walk! This wasn’t too bad in terms of hills but we did have to pass over a river using stepping stones! I was so nervous crossing. I don’t trust my balance at all and every time I went to step there was a big gust of wind. I was convinced I was going to get blown off. Luckily I didn’t!

The last two days of our holiday were forecast to be rainy. It turned out the rain wasn’t as bad as they said but we didn’t want to head out on a walk and for it to turn heavy so we spent time relaxing in the lodge, going in the hot tub and visiting a couple of shopping places.

When it came to heading home the journey was an utter nightmare. The motorway was closed due to a lorry fire on one side and a large car crash on the other side, probably from people looking at the lorry! We had to take a detour along with lots of other people that added 2 hours on to a 10 hour car journey! It was exhausting!

 

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International parkrun Day

On October 6th it was International parkrun Day. It marks 14 years since parkrun started! I don’t need to harp on about how amazing parkrun is as you all know already that I love it.

Before the Saturday I’d already completed one run/walk. When I was seeing a physio she told me when I made my return to running, to start off with so little running it’s mostly walking. She suggested 30 seconds running and 4.5 minutes walking so that’s what I did. My first run/walk I did 20 minutes on the treadmill and I’m pleased to report it was pain free.

Saturday it was time to test it out over the 5k distance. I donned my apricot parkrun t-shirt and started by doing the new runners briefing. I went to the start line and my fellow parkrunner Claire came to join me. She asked me what my goal was. I told her to get round pain free but as we started I said I wanted to try and stay under 20 minute miles. We walked and chatted and Claire’s watch continuously beeped with her pace as it kept telling her she was behind pace but it was good as she told me where we were at. Mostly around an 18 minute mile. However on the runs I was banging out 11-12 minute miles! Say whaaaat?! Haha I am aware it was only for 30 seconds though.

The parkrun was pretty uneventful to be honest but this was good, I got round, it was pain free and to top it off I did it in a good time. A surprisingly good time actually. I finished in 49:58 with 30 seconds running and 4.5 minutes walking! Bearing in mind my average parkrun time is about 45 minutes. Mind blown!

Afterwards I was absolutely buzzing! I’m praying this good luck continues. And just to finish off, here’s a silly selfie taken before hand!

parkrun selfie

I Tried A 600 Calorie in 60 Minute Workout

I’ve really been enjoying exercising at home on a Friday which is my day off work. I’ve been using YouTube videos and have really been enjoying the ones on Popsugar Fitness’ channel.

The other day I spotted one called “Burn 600 calories in a 60 minute workout with Jeanette Jenkins” The 600 calories in an hour caught my eye so I decided to give it a go.

The workout begins with a warm up and I’m not afraid to admit that by the end of the warm up I was already sweating a little. You then move on to a couple of mini circuits doing a series of moves a couple of times. Something I like about the Popsugar workouts is one of the people doing the workout will always be the “modification” so if you’re unable to do a particular move, you can copy the modification instead.

Screenshout of the workout

Screenshot of the workout

The moves combine both upper and lower body so you’re working all of your body. There are some high impact moves but you can always copy the modification if you’re unable to do these. There’s lots of moves that help improve your balance and stability too as well as some plyometric exercises.

The routine finishes with floor exercises focussing on the core and then you move on to a cool down and stretches.

I really enjoyed this routine. It was fast paced and really didn’t feel like an hour. Most of the exercises were manageable and I only needed to follow the modifications a couple of times. But the big question is….Did I burn 600 calories?

Apple Watch Stats

I’m never quite sure what the active calories versus total calories are telling me but it was pretty much 600 calories on the active calories and well over on the total. Very impressed with this workout and I’ll definitely do it again.

Do you use YouTube for workouts?

What are your favourite YouTube channels?

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What’s Been Happening Lately

It’s been over a month since my last proper blog post. Since becoming an injured runner it’s been hard for me to blog because I’ve not really had much to blog about.

Last time I wrote I was going for a practice parkrun walk which turned in to a walk with a twist. Since then I’ve been able to go back to the gym and exercise properly, although I’ve yet to return to spin. I’ve been on holiday to Scotland where we did lots of hiking and I’ve been back to parkrun twice.

The first time I did parkrun it took me over an hour. It was pain free but foolishly I wore new Nike trainers that absolutely ripped my feet to shreds. It was really bad, so bad it took two weeks before I could comfortably wear shoes again!

I’m still doing well with Weight Watchers (or WW as it’s now meant to be known) and I’ve nearly lost 1.5 stone. I did put on weight after holiday though! I’m not worried about that at all though as I know I’ll lose it again.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet as that pretty much brings me up to date and now I can start individual posts on runs and workouts etc. I just didn’t want to start blogging again without bringing it all up to date.

The Running Awards

I’ve been nominated for a Running Award in the Personal Blog section. Click the red button to vote for me, you know, if you want to!