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 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.
On 26th January I ran my 50th parkrun! It’s taken me from May 2017 to January 2019 to achieve it. My 50th was something I wanted to celebrate so I bought myself a sash from eBay that said “50 parkruns” on it and had a silhouette of a woman running. I was really pleased with how it turned out and it was only a couple of pounds!
I ran with my work friend Maria and parkrun friend Penny. We had a nice chatty run. As we work in similar environments we chatted a lot about work and opportunities/career advancement. We also chatted about upcoming races in the area as Maria would like to progress further than a 5k. I mentioned a 10K being organised by The Breakfast Club. It’s not an official race but there will be marshals, a medal and a race number. Because it’s organised by The Breakfast Club the usual rules apply, run at your pace. I’ve signed up for it, amazingly it’s only £5, on local roads and the money raised goes to The First Light Trust, a local charity offering support to veterans. And obviously we get breakfast afterwards. What more could you want?!
The beginning of parkrun was so congested again, damn those new year participants! We struggled to catch up and overtake the 40 minute pacer because of the sheer volume of people. I finished in 39:29 in the end. Not my greatest time but it was a nice chatty run.
In the evening we went to see Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema. Queen have been a constant in my life. My dad was a huge fan and my husband is too. What is it they say about marrying someone like your dad?! The film was brilliant. I knew it ended at Live Aid but as soon as Live Aid started I just cried and cried. Such a loss of a talent. I wept right through to the end of the credits! Thank god it’s dark in the cinema!!
I quite like January as a month, it’s one of new beginnings, my Birthday, cooler weather. I hate seeing people whinge about how dark it is…obviously we forget the shortest day is actually in December! I posted an Instagram post about this the other day and Anna hit the nail on the head by saying “Make your own sunshine” I agree completely. The picture was of these…
These brightened January right up when they were in full bloom. I was impatient though and had to take a picture early!
There was a bit of chatter before this parkrun on the old Facebook. People were moaning about how cold it was meant to be (2c) however this was getting towards my preferred running temperature. I like it when it’s freezing to -2. I actually got tagged online a couple of times with people saying “Your weather is finally here”
Anyway I was finally feeling better after being ill over New Year so it was time to resume exercise and run a parkrun. I ran this parkrun alone. I’m sure I’ve said this before but when I run alone it means I can concentrate on my breathing a bit better. I tend to struggle getting my breathing right more than anything else.
The start of my local parkrun is almost always congested. Even more so with it being the New Year. It takes a good 20 seconds or so before I’m even moving let alone running. As I ran towards the first turn around point I didn’t really focus on much other than dodging benches and people! Sometimes people dash off and then you’re stuck behind them as they start to walk but you can’t get round as the faster runners have started to come the other way. It’s a bit frustrating but sometimes helps me reign it in a bit.
As we turned around at the turn around point the field really starts to stretch out and you have that little bit more space. I looked over the Solent towards the Isle of Wight and thought how lucky we are to have that view to distract us and appreciate. I also thought, somewhere on that island they’re doing parkrun too! I definitely need to get myself over there to run the parkrun there.
I was soon too hot in my long sleeved running top and regretted wearing it. I rolled up my sleeves to try and cool down a bit but it didn’t really help! As the run progressed I slowly started picking off a few people. There were two women just ahead of me, who every time I approached them, would speed off before resorting to walking again until I caught them up again. At one point they hadn’t noticed me and when I overtook them they both instantly sprinted in to action haha. I hope I helped them achieve a good time!
As I was coming in to finish I had a sneaky look at my watch and thought I might just be able to beat my PB time. I finished in 37:51! I knocked 8 seconds off my Christmas Day PB which I was pleased about, especially after being ill.
I thought I’d compare my times again from the same week in 2018 vs 2019, just to show myself how much I’ve progressed really.
2018 – 45:20
2019 – 37:51
Does your local parkrun have something unique to offer?
The weather was forecast to be vile this morning at parkrun. Thankfully, the weather somehow cleared for the morning and we had a dry run. This morning I ran with Kelly, one of my parkrun friends daughter, and Gavin, a fellow member of Gosport Road Runners.
Kelly can run a parkrun in 29 minutes but doesn’t like the pressure of having to run all the time so I was happy to have her run/walk with me. Gavin was taking part in the Gosport Road Runners Helpers Half Marathon this afternoon so he wanted an easy run. For me, the more the merrier. The more people I have to talk to, the easier the run seems for me.
Today was 3 minutes running and 2 minutes walking. I’m glad it’s finally got to the stage where I am running more than I am walking. It’s been a slow process getting this far. I was a little apprehensive this morning. I haven’t exercised all week and haven’t run since last weeks parkrun. I could make up excuses but it’s nothing but laziness to be quite honest. I really need to find a routine that works for me and stick to it.
Anyway back to this morning. There was a takeover this morning by Stubbington Green Runners, which means all of their club members provided the volunteering roles and cake.
After the run brief we were off and the time passed by quickly. I could definitely feel that the runs are longer now and I need to concentrate on my breathing more as I’m now running for 3 minutes not 30 seconds. At one point, whilst running, I asked Gavin what our pace was and was pleased to hear 11:30 min/miles.
Mile 2 definitely felt the hardest for me as we turned in to the sun with absolutely no breeze whatsoever! I always overheat when running so this wasn’t pleasant. However when we turned at the final turnaround point there was a breeze which was just strong enough to help me cool off a little.
I finished with a time of 44:27, exactly one minute from my PB time! I feel like I’ll never reached that time again!
Afterwards I went and helped myself to a piece of cake. There was so much choice but at the last minute I spotted coffee cake which is my absolute favourite so I had a slice and I’m pleased to report it was delicious. All that was left to do after that was grab Gavin for a selfie and then head to the café for a well earnt breakfast.
Tomorrow I’m off to Breakfast Club with Claire so fingers crossed the weather is better than it is right now! As I’m writing this, it’s heavy rain!
Every week parkrun UK ask a question on their Facebook page. Sometimes it’s just “Did you join us this week?” or “Where did you parkrun today?” Sometimes they might ask something a bit more in depth e.g. “How does parkrun make you feel?” etc. Occasionally I answer these, if I feel I have something to say.
So imagine my surprise when I left work one night and had a Twitter notification from Anna telling me I’d been featured on parkrun UK’s Twitter page. A few days later I was on their Facebook page!
Imagine my surprise when the following week I was featured again!
I absolutely can not get over how many likes on Facebook this one got! A whopping 761! So many people congratulating me and lots of people complimenting my t-shirt! It’s from OBD Clothing in case you’re wondering!
I’ve loved my little two minutes of parkrun fame!
Have you ever been featured on parkrun’s social media?
My greatest achievement in 2017? Starting to run again and properly this time!
Last Christmas Day (2016) my husband and I went for a walk. Embarrassingly I made it to less than a mile before I needed to turn around and head home. My intention that Christmas Morning had been to walk my local parkrun course. I’d never completed the course and wanted to give it a go. I think the aspiration was too big and it was a case of wanting to run before I could walk (excuse the pun)
Gradually through the remainder of December and January I built it up little by little. By the end of January I could walk 5K (the length of a parkrun) but it took me well over an hour. By walking regularly I managed to speed my pace up a little and by April had got my 5K time to just a tiny bit over an hour.
In May I was ready to attempt my first parkrun. There’s one friend I’ve made through parkrun who is my greatest believer. She’s called Rachel and she gives so much encouragement. She told me before that parkrun “So what if it takes you over an hour, they’ll wait. You’ve given enough of your time through volunteering, now it’s your turn to do it” Those words meant a lot to me and I managed to complete that first parkrun in 58:24. Under an hour. I was over the moon.
I slowly built up to run/walking. I completed the course walking a couple of times and complimented this with run/walking on my treadmill at home. I then began walking the majority of the course and then run/walking the last section. This then built up to run/walking from around halfway and then run/walking the whole thing.
Louise and I at my 2nd parkrun
In August I joined the Gosport Road Runners Beginners Group but broke after week 2. I suffered with Achilles pain that put me right out of action until September. I was so gutted. I’d waited so long for the group to begin and then went and broke myself. I think it was a case of too much too soon. However it made me more determined and I was still able to complete the final 5K race of the Bayside series, which the Beginners Group were using as their Graduation. I got a PB in that race, 45:53 and broke my PB from 2012!
Since September I’ve looked after my Achilles doing stretches and buying a half foam roller to help aid it. My run/walking has continued to improve and I’m now able to complete 5K doing one minute of running and one minute of walking. However I can’t do this and finish strong yet. If I do 30 seconds of running and 45 seconds of walking then I finish feeling stronger. I’ve worked on chipping away at my time since September and really wanted to get under 45 minutes. on 2nd December I did it! I crossed the finish line in 44:40. I was elated.
So far I’ve improved my parkrun time by 13 minutes and 44 seconds. I’d love to make that 14 minutes by the end of the year but with only one parkrun left I’m not sure I’ll manage it, especially after the indulgences of Christmas! But we’ll see….Watch this Space!
Apologies that this post is a little late. I’ve kind of being feeling a little burnt out when it comes to blogging. I’ve had no inspiration or motivation but this post should really write itself so lets see how it goes.
I started off November in Brazil, or more specifically Rio De Janeiro. If you want to read my post about it, it’s here: My Holiday to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Below is a picture I didn’t share on the post, but did on Instagram. This is taken at the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. There was a huge wall covered in this graffiti. I know sometimes graffiti can be menace and look unsightly but when it’s done like this, it’s marvellous.
When we got back from Brazil my husband and I received our iPhone X’s. My old iPhone 6 plus had been running slower than an old dog so I was glad to be able to upgrade. I’ve enjoyed playing with the portrait feature on the camera. I like how it blurs the background on pictures.
I also went to lots of parkruns and still tried (unsuccessfully) to break the 45 minute 5K. Getting closer though!
Staying on the fitness note, I’m still really enjoying the spin classes at the gym. The calorie burn is epic and I come out of the class buzzing. I’ve started going twice a week now.
A funny moment that occurred at Stokes Bay junior parkrun in November was a lost dog. One of the rules of junior parkrun is that dogs aren’t allowed on the course, unlike the adult parkrun where you can run with a dog. We spotted a dog running loose and at first assumed it was with one of the spectators but we soon realised it wasn’t. Our wonderful team rallied together and caught the dog and hooked him up to a makeshift lead! Luckily he was wearing a collar with his owners phone number on so we made contact. As I was RD I was left holding the dog whilst the rest of our team returned to their volunteer roles. His owner soon arrived and was very thankful. Apparently he’d come quite a way and crossed over a busy road! Thank goodness he wasn’t hurt!
The core team of volunteers at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun had a team night out in November. We went to a Chinese buffet in Fareham. The only problem was they sat us on a super long table so it was difficult to talk to people more than a couple of seats away from you. They’d seated another large group on a round table which looked a much better way to chat but we couldn’t have got a “down-the-table-selfie” as easily had we of been sat there.
I think that pretty much sums up my November. I managed to get a few blog posts out before I burned out too, in case you missed any, they’re listed below:
October felt like the month of illness. I had a cold and bad throat then started to get better, had the flu jab and got worse all over again!
October started with a visit to Sprinkles in Southampton and as a result, another ride on the Southampton Wheel! We went on it just as the sun was setting so it made for some lovely photographs.
October 7th was parkruns 13th Birthday. They’d asked people to post photographs of them in their apricot t-shirts so they could try and get a picture of every parkrun location. So here is me and my parkrun family celebrating parkruns 13th Birthday and also Kieran’s 50th parkrun and 25th time volunteering! Also worth mentioning we didn’t know the lady with the dog, we just grabbed her for a photo because she was wearing an apricot t-shirt! I think she thought we were a bit crazy!
I’ve been enjoying my spin classes at the gym I’ve joined. It’s such a good workout and really makes me sweat. I took a picture of the screen at the end of the class. Just look at that calorie burn!
The famous wave pattern on the pavement at Copacabana Beach
In October I worked really hard to have a blog post every other day to take me in to November so I didn’t have to worry about blogging whilst I was away. If you didn’t see one, or want to revisit a post, they’re listed below and all open in a new window: