I’m starting this post on a rainy Bank Holiday weekend. Those words go together so well don’t they? Rainy Bank Holiday!
In May I continued discovering new places. I’ve heard of Old Portsmouth from a few people so we went over one evening to have a look round and explore. We went on the walls around the Square Tower and Round Tower. From the top you can see the ferries coming in to dock at Portsmouth. We were so close to this Brittany Ferry I could hear the announcements being made about how to disembark.
In May it was my Mum’s birthday so we took her for a surprise trip to Weymouth for a Birthday treat. We had lunch at the Red Lion pub who do really good seafood. We wandered around the Harbour and down to the Beach. It was a great day.
How cute is this fella? He was the only donkey left behind. Maybe he was glad of the break though?
As you may know from this post I completed my first parkrun. I’ve completed another one since and a practice run. It all came to a halt this week though as I’ve hurt my foot.
Also in May my lovely Winnie developed a problem! I was driving home from work and when I turned corners, the steering clunked. She got towed away to Smart of Portsmouth who fixed her up. Her steering rack had failed! I was pretty disappointed that this would happen in a car less than a year old!
I think that’s all for my May Roundup. I’ve done much better with blogging in May so why not read one of my other posts?
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
For some reason this post didn’t publish when it was meant to and I didn’t even notice! Bad blogger! So I know it’s late but I thought I’d put it out there since I went to the effort of writing it and collating the pictures so here’s my late review of 2016.
My first ever attempt at a French Manicure turned out surprisingly well.
The sunset at Lee on Solent.
These nails actually don’t look that good at all *blush* but it’s the best from February.
Sunset at Stokes Bay. No filter was needed for this photograph.
Best Blog Post:
February saw the launch of this blog. I’m choosing How I became a parkrun Volunteer as my best blog post. parkrun is something that means a lot to me so it’s a reflection of who I am.
I love how pink, sparkly and girly OPI’s Princesses Rule is
The Solent. I remember taking this photo. It was such a warm day for March.
At the end of April Giles, one of the founding members of parkrun and chairman of Gosport Road Runners passed away. People were asked to wear their club vests to the run. I’m not a member of a running club but parkrun is the club I belong to. I didn’t know Giles well at all, I only met him a couple of times but he was adored by many.
First ice cream of the year. April was so warm!
The Hello Kitty/OPI collaboration. This is Spoken From The Heart
Best Blog Post: I got a lot of good feedback on my post parkrun – More than meets the eye People just don’t get to see this side of parkrun and people told me this made them appreciate their parkrun teams even more.
New Look Pure Gel is the best home gel nail varnish I’ve found.
Spinnaker Tower taken from the Gosport Ferry
Best Blog Posts: In June I did my own Travel Guide for London,Scotland and Florida. I tried to include some of the none tourist sites so there were new things for people to try.
I reached my 50 milestone for volunteering at parkrun.
Best Blog Post:
This is the blog post that has the most views on my blog – It’s the information post of when the Disney X Cath Kidston collaboration was announced.
In August I learnt to do my own gel nails.
In August I passed my driving test and drove myself to my home town, Sheffield!
So January has been and gone. I haven’t blogged a lot in January but to be honest I haven’t done a lot and I only want to blog when I have something to blog about. In January I’ve been working really hard and this has taken a bit of a toll on my health. I’ve had a constant cold and sore throat as a result of being run down. It feels crazy to be run down when we only just had the Christmas break but that’s where I’m at.
So on to the round up. In January it was my Birthday. I received some lovely presents from family and friends and celebrated with plenty of yummy food. Whilst at West Quay for my birthday lunch I found these gorgeous Kilner jars in John Lewis. I have never seen jars with the coloured lids like these. So I snapped up two of each colour. They were reduced in the January sales too which made them even sweeter.
I also did gel nails for my birthday. My nails are seriously weak though after removing them 🙁
During January I also worked hard on achieving the unicorn medal I mentioned in my previous post I Am A Unicorn way back in November. This should have been easily achievable but with a malfunctioning treadmill and a phone dying instead of recording my walk I actually had to do a lot more than the given 10K distance. There’s a review of how I achieved it coming up but here’s a picture I took on one of the walks.
I thought I’d see how I was going with my 2017 goals too. Hopefully by revisiting them each month it’ll keep them fresh in my memory.
Health – Taking charge – I’m now taking both healthy breakfasts and lunches to work and I have stuck to this throughout January. I’ve also cooked a lot more in an evening so these meals are healthier too. I’ve mainly been using Joe Wicks Cook Books.
Read – Lots More Books – I’m on my third book of the year.
parkrun – I haven’t completed one. I have completed 3 5K walks in January though. Still suffering terribly with the leg pain that stopped me running in the first place though.
Be Me – I turned down the opportunity to go out out and confidently said “That’s not me” and it was ok!
Pretty pleased with how I’m going with my goals so far. Looking forward to seeing how I get on in February. I think my first goal will be helped by lighter evenings and warmer weather!
And to finish, if you missed any of my posts during January here they are again:
As you know I’m a regular volunteer at my local parkrun. One of the roles I really enjoy doing is timekeeping which means I get to see every person cross the finish line and also means I get to see how each person crosses the finish line. Let me explain, I’ve whittled them down in to categories.
The over shooter
This is usually reserved for the fast people at the front. They run the whole course at a 6 minute mile and they don’t slow down as they enter the finish funnel. This usually results in them sprinting straight past the lovely volunteers waiting to hand them their finish token who then have to shout “Token!!!! Come and get your token!!!” frantically before the next over shooter enters the funnel and chaos quickly descends.
The hunter enters the finish funnel and so begins the hunt for their barcode. They know they have it on them somewhere but where did they decide to put it at 8.30 before they left the house?! In their pocket/bra/that funny little pocket on the back of running trousers?! It has to be somewhere! Ah here it is, in my phone case…definitely don’t remember putting it in there!
This is also usually reserved for the fast people at the front. They enter the finish funnel where they stop, bend double and begin to spit furiously. Are they going to vomit, will they? won’t they? They then move quickly to the side of the funnel and vomit over the edge like a sea sick sailor. Oh dear think the volunteers who now have splattered shoes!
The Mo Farah
Is that a photographer at the finish line?! Once the Mo Farah spots this, the moves begin. They pull the Mobot, then the lightening bolt, then the double thumbs up, then the arms in the air. One of them has to be good for a new FaceBook profile picture right?!
The You Go First
That awkward moment when you get to the finish funnel at the same time as someone else and so begins the “You first, no you first, no I insist” So very British!
The celebrator takes on many forms from the “It’s my first time and I’ve just completed a parkrun” to the “I’ve just completed parkrun hungover and didn’t die” but you can always spot them, both arms in the air and a huge smile on their face.
The Last Minute Sprinter
So they’ve walked the whole course, yes you can walk a parkrun, but now they’re feeling pretty happy with themselves and decide to make the last 10 metres a full on sprint. This always gets a huge cheer, give it a go!
There’s some people who cross the finish line incredibly slowly. They plod those last 10 metres and as a timekeeper you have your finger hovered over the button and…then…you…just…wait…for…them…to…cross!
I’ve used Virtual Runner a few times in the past but then I let me fitness slip completely and didn’t bother anymore. Now as part of my 2017 goals to take charge of my health I decided to enter a couple again.
The All Aboard medal can be earned by walking or running 5K. I would be walking it but this is the longest I’ve walked in a while.
This morning I really didn’t want to go out. I’d woken up with a really bad headache but this medal had to be earned 2nd-8th January and since it’s back to work tomorrow I knew today was really my only chance so I made myself get up and out of the door.
I decided to walk the Lee on Solent parkrun course as it’s a sure cert to be a 5k route! I walked it and yes my back hurt, then my leg hurt, then my back hurt a bit more but by the time I got 3km in to the walk all the pain started to ease away and I was able to finish feeling pretty good.
Picture from our walk. It was lovely weather for a January day and there were loads of people out walking. I completed the 5K in 1:03:25 not particularly fast but I have a starting point now. I’ve submitted my result so any day now this medal should be on its way to me.
December is that month that comes and goes in a flash. Before you know it the New Year is here and Christmas is over for another year.
So what did I get up to in December?
December started with a visit home to Sheffield to spend some time with my Mum. I was there for 4 days. It was so nice to be able to spend some quality time at home and visit Meadowhall, the shopping centre there. Meadowhall is so much better than West Quay but I actually didn’t find anything to buy!! Typical!
A much needed coffee whilst shopping.
Blogwise I completed a Christmas Haul series of posts. I worked hard on these and liked how the pictures turned out.
December also had my work Christmas Party. It was at Saint Mary’s Stadium. The venue was nice but the room was hotter than hell which made it an uncomfortable evening! I did my second attempt at gel nails for it and added nail glitter. I was pleased with how they turned out.
We went and met up with some friends from Sheffield who were en route to visit family for Christmas. We’d originally planned to meet in Costa Coffee (of course) but with it being Christmas Eve they closed at 3pm to enable them to set up for their Boxing Day sale! We went to Starbucks instead which meant I got to try their Toffee Nut Latte. It was beautiful.
Christmas was spent at home and was a quiet affair just the way I like it. Since then I’ve been trying to be good and have been out for a walk or a bike ride almost every day. I am a bad blogger though and haven’t actually taken any pictures whilst I’ve been out!! FAIL!
I hope you’ve all had a good December. If you feel you’ve missed any of my posts through December, here they are below:
It’s been a while since I did a parkrun post so I thought I’d tell you about Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve started off really jolly. There were a lot of runners in fancy dress ranging from a simple Santa Hat to full on costumes of elves carrying runners like this one!
Photo courtesy of Steve Wood
When it started we knew there were more people than normal. I filmed the start and it took 40 seconds to get everyone through rather than the usual 15 seconds, but it never occurred to us just how many people there were or why there were so many. Was it because we’d planned Reindeer pacers for the event starting with Dasher at 19 minutes?
Photo courtesy of Steve Wood
According to the parkrun page our parkrun has an average of 290.4 runners each week. We usually sit around 300-350. I’m going to let you in to a little secret here. We only have enough finish tokens for 500 runners in the box we keep at the finish funnel.
Photo courtesy of Steve Wood
I’m not even sure that picture does justice of how many people there were!
I knew it was busy as when I was barcode scanning I was asked to move further away from the finish funnel. That doesn’t usually happen. I then got asked to move another 3 metres away from the finish funnel. Apparently the finish funnel was getting so crowded the time keepers were having to move forward as the funnel was full and they couldn’t click the runners coming in to finish.
We were all kept in the festive spirit though by these lovely people playing Christmas Carols!
Photo Courtesy of Steve Wood
Then we hit it, the magic 500 and we ran out of tokens! Imagine the panic that filled people. Some clever soul had the idea of writing the finishing numbers on the runners hands. They then went to manual entry and had their details taken that way. Luckily the runners at Lee on the Solent parkrun are a friendly bunch and straight away we had people offering to help take down people’s details and asking what they could do to help.
Afterwards we had a little time to reflect. Our parkrun is so successful and it’s going from strength to strength. However some lessons had to be learned and so a longer finish funnel and more finish tokens will be ready at the end of the run on New Years Eve. I can’t wait to see how it plays out, especially as I am Run Director. I have excited nerves! And hopefully I won’t have to enter the 52 people by hand that I did last week!
Never been to parkrun? Be sure to find your local and register here. New Year is a great time to start.
Want to read more parkrun posts? They’re all listed below for you
Please tell me it’s not just me that thinks November has passed in the blink of an eye? And now here we are approaching December and Christmas at break neck speed!! So, before November completely disappears here’s what I got up to.
Christmas cups arrived at Costa! I love these, the Christmas cups are designed to look like Christmas jumpers. It’s like your cup has a Christmas jumper on to keep your coffee/hot chocolate warm. So far I’ve tried the Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate and the Mint Hot Chocolate. Has to be said both taste divine. I’ve not actually tried any of the coffees yet but believe me, it won’t be long!
On November 5th I went to a baby shower. I’ve never been to a baby shower before but it was so much fun. It was all planned for them by another good friend and she did fun games, a quiz and arranged a stunning venue which is where this picture was taken. We went to The Vintage Tea Room in Fareham. I’d never been there before and it was so lovely. We had sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, then the most delicious slices of cake. I’d definitely visit again.
I went in to Southampton and did some shopping in November. I went to John Lewis in West Quay to look at the Buster’s Garden range and bought these two cuties. Well you all know I have an obsession with foxes. There’s more about these guys coming in my Christmas Haul posts. They start on December 1st so be sure to check them out.
It wouldn’t be my blog or a monthly roundup with out a picture of the Solent now would it? I still sometimes look at this view literally a two minute walk from my front door and think “Wow, I live here!” It still doesn’t feel real sometimes but here we are heading towards our second Christmas here.
Finally, whilst visiting a local garden centre they had reindeer! They were so lovely and you were able to stroke them and hand feed them. Naturally I had a go at feeding one. It felt very magical to be hand feeding one of Santa’s Reindeer 😉
My November in blog posts:
If you missed any of my blog posts in November here they are for you: