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:
On 1st August I injured my Achilles. I’ve rested it, iced it, stretched it. It’s got a bit better. When I first did it, it hurt even without weight on it. Now it only hurts walking down stairs and it’s not exactly a pain, just uncomfortable.
On 19th August I walked a 5k and it was still a little painful. I’ve continued looking after the injury and today wanted to try out walking the parkrun course.
I walked the course with Kieran We also walked with Jade, the tail walker.. Jade is one of my fellow RDs at Stokes Bay junior parkrun. As we walked the Achilles felt absolutely fine. We kept up a good walking pace and chatted all the way round. It was really lovely, the sun was shining and I was chatting away with two friends and also improving my health at the same time. That’s the beauty of parkrun.
It was only towards the end, at the short uphill section, that I even felt my Achilles and again it wasn’t a pain, just uncomfortable. As soon as we had finished it went away and as Kieran and I walked back to the café I couldn’t even feel it.
After the run we took the standard post parkrun finish token photo. Kieran had his Birthday this week just gone and he got a new iPhone 7 plus. His post parkrun finish token photo was so much better than mine! I can not wait to get a new phone. For now though, you’re just going to have to deal with my picture.
We completed the course in 56:19, a good time for walking and still beats the first time I ever did parkrun and walked. I was surprised how hard it felt after a month off though! To be honest I thought we might have dipped over an hour but thankfully it didn’t. Now, the next step? A little try at running, possibly tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes!
On 19th August I volunteered for the 100th time at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. I’ve mentioned in previous posts how I got started at parkrun but in case you haven’t read it before, I moved to the South Coast and needed a way to meet new people. It really is as simple as that.
I’ve met a lot of great people at parkrun and now have a lot of friends as a result. I know I can go and always see people I know, have a natter and a laugh and then finish it all off with a coffee.
There are people I’ve become close to, people I’d never have met if it wasn’t for parkrun, and people from all walks of life. I could write a paragraph to each person who has made my life that little bit better by having them in it as a result of meeting them at parkrun but I feel this blog post would become way too long so instead I’m going to share some pictures of me with my parkrun crew.
Starting with a picture of one of the greatest parkruns. It was part of the #IAmTeamGB campaign and parkrun sent us balloons, bunting, tshirts, sweatbands, selfie frames etc. We had fun in the finish funnel.
This is probably one of the first team photos I was in. The volunteers change every week but sometimes people come and go. I haven’t seen some of the people in this photo for a while which is sad but the beauty of parkrun is that the door is always open.
One of my favourite parkrun memories. I was timekeeping when this guy carried his pug, Dexter, over the finish line. Lots of people take their dogs to parkrun, not a lot of people carry them!
Me with Emma and Geoff, I’m wearing the blue and white Run Director vest. parkrun has enabled me to meet people from all walks of life that do interesting jobs and give their own time to help others.
Another picture from the same day with us all squinting in the sunlight! It is occasionally Sunny at Lee-on-the-Solent but if I’m honest the howling wind and rain has had me wet through to my knickers at parkrun more times than I care to remember.
This is a more recent picture of some of the regular volunteers. The lovely Pippa is wearing the RD vest in this picture, another amazing person I’ve benefitted from knowing!
It’s taken two years to reach 100 times volunteering. Here I am as RD at the 2nd anniversary. We had a fancy dress theme and obviously I am Minnie Mouse. I’ve just realised, it looks like I am the only person in fancy dress in this photo! I swear there were others!!
As well as volunteering at parkrun I’ve now started completing them too. I’m lucky enough to have had people complete them with me. They’re willing to give up their chance of a PB or decent run to accompany me on a slow plod. The photo below is Louise and I. Louise walked with me and gave me great encouragement. I’m truly grateful.
Now a couple of pictures from the morning of my 100th time. I wore my “uniform”, my apricot parkrun t-shirt personalised with my home parkrun Lee-on-the-Solent. The apricot t-shirts are only £27 including personalisation. They’re a great way when you’re doing parkrun tourism to show others where you’re from. In the picture below I’m inputting the results. You can see the lovely card Pearson made for me and the doughnuts and éclairs my friend bought for me to say Happy 100!
I also had balloons that I decorated the finish funnel area with. I started the morning wearing them but after they repeatedly hit me round the head I was ready to pop them! They worked much better on the finish funnel.
And finally the lovely Anna came to Lee. I was very honoured to be asked for a selfie with her! Thanks Anna. Anna writes an amazing running blog that I’ve read for, blimey, probably a few years now! You should check it out.
So what’s next for my parkrun journey. I now really want to concentrate on progressing with my own running at Lee-on-the-Solent and continue my volunteering streak at Stokes Bay junior parkrun. Of course I won’t be able to resist still volunteering at Lee but it won’t be every single week anymore, unless this Achilles injury sticks around!
Are you a fan of parkrun? Why not read my other parkrun posts? These start at the beginning of my parkrun journey.
I haven’t completed a parkrun for a couple of weeks due to hurting my foot falling over a door frame at work. However two weeks of resting, elevating etc meant that I was ready to attempt another parkrun.
My plan was to walk the majority of the parkrun and at the final turnaround point begin run/walking the remainder. I walked the first part and didn’t get any leg pain like I normally do. I ended up walking with three children ranging from 9-15. Perhaps the constant chatter amongst them didn’t allow me to notice any pain! As we continued the leg pain never appeared and we were at the turn around point before I knew it. I began run/walking, supported by the children who were more than happy to run along and call out encouragement. When beginning my run segments I’d pick a point somewhere in the distance e.g. a bin, bench or beach hut. I felt good on the run section and really noticed how the Hokas helped propel me forward.
I finished in 53:27, beaten by all three children! Those pesky kids! It was another parkrun PB so I was pleased. The hot weather meant I felt shattered afterwards! I finished in 386th position! I now can’t run a parkrun for a couple of weeks due to work and having friends visit from Sheffield. I’m really going to try and make sure I keep up with practising though.
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?
This Saturday was a busy and very parkrun filled day! I volunteered to help at Lee on the Solent parkrun this week and put my name down as volunteer coordinator. This role involves telling the marshals or funnel team what and where their roles are. This week I was telling the funnel team and had offered to train up a couple of others, so when they were volunteer coordinator, they’d know what to tell the volunteers. When I’d finished I saw the lovely Louise from Fareham Crusaders and we took a parkrun selfie. Louise always takes one before parkrun so I was happy to oblige with this ritual.
After taking a selfie I went and positioned myself at the back of the pack ready to try out my second parkrun. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t hopeful for it being as successful as last week. When I’d got up on Sunday last week I had a horrendous cold that pretty much made me feel rubbish all week and left me with a horrid cough which I still have now. I did however have my shiny new trainers on my feet that I’d bought from Nick at Absolute Running. He’d promised me I’d PB in them but I was unsure from being ill.
After volunteering I went and found my place at the back of the pack. We had a new PA system donated to us this week and as a result I heard every word of the run brief despite being at the back!
As we started the route I began to get the pain down the outside of my calf. The camber of the pavement always makes this worse and the first part of the course does have a slight tilt so this may be why. As we progressed to the turn around point and started heading back the pain began to subside. We picked up Adam as we were passing the sailing club for the second time from his marshalling spot. He told me he planned to help me PB this week. I’m so grateful for how supportive people are of me and trying to run! As we passed the finish funnel the pain was gone and I was beginning to feel stronger. There were two older ladies quite a way in front of me and I now had these in my sight! I wanted to over take them. As we headed to our second turn around point Paula came to join me. She had already completed her parkrun in a very speedy 23.11! Having Adam and Paula walk with me made the time fly by. They’re both quite funny and so my attention was focussed on the conversation rather than what I was doing. I glanced at my watch and was managing to maintain 3.3mph. Last week I walked at 3.2mph. When I mentioned this both Adam and Paula were encouraging me even more to keep the pace and over take the two ladies…which I did!
As we made it back to the finishing straight both Adam and Paula were speeding up and shouting encouragement at me so I literally had to run. I couldn’t keep up with them so did a sprint finish (if you can call it that!)
As it wasn’t such a big turn out this week I finished higher position wise, and I also got a PB! Last week I finished in 58:24 and this week I finished in…..drum roll….55:03!! Amazing what new shoes and a bit of encouragement from friends can do!
I’m going to do a separate post about the rest of my parkrun filled day so expect that soon!
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