I’m sorry it’s more than halfway through January and I’m still updating from Christmas! I’ll catch up eventually.
I expected Christmas Day parkrun to be really quiet. In the past couple of years it’s been less well attended than the normal Saturday parkruns. I was expecting a good finish position. I was wrong, oh so wrong! 543 people decided to come down to parkrun on Christmas Day!
I started by having a chat with friends, as usual! We snapped a very rushed selfie right at the beginning. The RD was actually saying 321 as we were snapping it! I think we all managed a pretty good pose though.
As we set off, Charissa (Who I’ve accidentally chopped off the picture!) asked if she could run with me. We’ve chatted a few times about pacing. I run slow but run the whole thing whereas Charissa runs faster but takes walk breaks. We ran together and although I’d love to say I paced her to an amazing time, it was absolutely jam packed and we got stuck behind some slower runners and I actually ended up with one of my worst times for the year. Oops! It was, however, lovely to get to know her a little better as we’ve never run together before.
We finished with a time of 39:24 so still below 40 minutes which I’m happy about!
Everyone loves running in a storm right? On 8th December I went to parkrun and the weather wasn’t looking good. Thanks to Storm Deidre we were going to be battered by 45mph winds coming straight off the sea!
The winds is definitely one of the worst things about living on the coast. We never seemed to feel it living in a big city but living by the sea is a different kettle of fish. It can barely be windy on the back streets but as soon as you hit the sea front the wind comes out of nowhere.
Honor had messaged me to see if I fancied some company at parkrun so of course I took her up on the offer. I think I was now up to 5 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. It was pretty windy throughout the run. Going to the first turn around point the wind seemed to be behind us so it aided us a little. As we turned around though the wind was brutal from the side. I was freezing all down that side and couldn’t wait to hit the next turn around point so the other side could cool off and my cold side warm up!
As we turned at the 2nd turnaround point the wind was absolutely horrendous. Honor and I weren’t really able to talk because we just couldn’t hear what the other was saying. I remember I kept shouting “This is so hard” It was like running on the spot. I felt like I was going absolutely nowhere!
Somehow I managed to finish with a PB! I’m chipping away at the 39s now. My finish time was 39:37.
I insist everyone who runs with me has a selfie taken with me. For my own memories really! So obviously Honor and I had a selfie. I tweeted it and parkrun included it on their Twitter which was pretty neat.
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!
I spent last week in Scotland! There’s a holiday update coming soon but let me tell you about what we did on our first day there. We went to Aviemore parkrun.
I adore Scotland, the beautiful scenery and miles of lush countryside just waiting to be explored. It’s perfect. I particularly like the Cairngorms National park and have visited many times so when I heard Aviemore had it’s own parkrun I knew I wanted to go next time we were there. I then heard it only gets around 50 people. Then I definitely wanted to go! My local parkrun gets between 350-450 runners. As a slower runner I’m always near the end so the prospect of a top 50 finish was very alluring!
Aviemore was only an hour from where we were staying so after a quick check of their Facebook page to make sure they were on, as there was lots of snow in Scotland, we set off with my obligatory Belvita and cup of coffee.
Pre parkrun picture
When we arrived I introduced myself to Pete the Run Director and told him where we’d come from. He gave us a warm welcome but did seem slightly bemused that we would travel so far! He gave the Run Brief, then we walked to the start. It had said on the course page that it was a short walk to the start but I didn’t expect to have to go through a tunnel! How cool is that?!
The tunnel to the start
Anyway we set off and I soon found myself running beside the tail walker. She introduced herself as Claire and we started chatting. She was such a lovely lady and we chatted about everything from pets to races we had coming up. The run starts by heading through a woodland area and soon opens up. The whole run is on a firm woodland track. I imagine it can get a little boggy but the ground was very frozen when we were there. There were a couple of patches that were sheet ice that I chose to walk over. I didn’t want to break my leg on holiday!
The course is described as an undulating out and back course. However because I was chatting away to Claire I didn’t notice the hills too much which surprised me as all my running is on pancake flat roads! We reached the turn around cone and started to retrace our steps and then there was the moment! The moment that sets this parkrun apart from any other is when you turn and see the Cairngorm Mountain. It’s beautiful. It’s absolutely breathtaking and seeing it covered in snow gave it an almost magical feeling. That moment was incredible and rendered me speechless…for about 30 seconds. I like to talk…a lot! I just wish I’d thought on and snapped a picture!
There were some nice downhill sections on the way back which were great but then Claire told me we were at the last kilometre and it was all uphill. When we got to the start of the hill I, somewhat foolishly thought, “It doesn’t look that big” but it was. It was big and long! Claire gave me a good tip of taking smaller steps and that helped. Usually I try to lengthen my stride on the mini mountain of my local parkrun.
As we reached the end I was given an almighty cheer by the volunteers which was awesome! The volunteers were all so lovely. I was given my finish token and was just about to get it scanned when I thought to check my position number and was super surprised to see I finished in position 28!! I told the barcode scanner I just needed to take a picture of my token which amused her! Claire then explained to her about our large numbers at my home parkrun and it soon made sense.
After taking a picture I thanked Claire and thanked the other volunteers. We then went to the designated café which was upstairs above a lovely homeware shop. I ordered the smashed avocado and eggs on toast which had been recommended in the run brief and it was absolutely delicious!
When the results came through I was pleased to see I was only 2 minutes outside of my PB despite it being a hilly course!
We both really enjoyed Aviemore parkrun and would definitely go back. It reminded me of the much more local Moors Valley parkrun so I feel the need to revisit there again soon.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever travelled for a parkrun?
I wrote this for the run report of my local parkrun and decided to make it a blog post too.
I’ve been completing parkruns since May 2017. I started walking…slowly! Today was to be my 23rd parkrun but I have to admit, when I got up this morning, I didn’t really fancy it! I toyed with the idea of just volunteering, but eventually forced myself to get dressed in my running clothes.
After volunteering as Volunteer Co-ordinator I went and lined up in the starting pen, did you know there are some roles where you can volunteer and run?! I listened to the Run Brief given by Geoff and chuckled at the comedy moment when Geoff asked if anyone was running with a dog and a dog replied!
We were soon on our way and my slow plod began. At the moment I am a plodder. I have been able to run more and more since starting parkrun but have always had walk breaks. Some weeks more walk breaks than running it seemed!
As I turned at Browndown I saw a large boat out on the Solent and wondered if I’d overtake it or at least draw level with it at any point. I didn’t. As I turned at Browndown I was yet to take a walk break.
Once over the hill (I ran the hill this week!) a lady over took me and said she liked my cheer leaders. I know a lot of people at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun as I have been volunteering since Week 2 (pesky work made me miss week 1!) A lot of you know me by name due to this and me making semi regular appearances on top of that ladder. I know a lot of you by face rather than name but it makes me beam with pride when so many of you cheer me on by name. I always try and say thank you but sometimes I am pretty breathless!
As I headed towards The Shack I looked at the new work going on, on our beautiful beach. I then ran the shingle section, grateful that they’d cleared some of it to get their equipment on to the beach.
The turnaround at The Shack marked the start of the hardest bit for me as a slow runner. For some reason in my head this feels like the longest part even when in reality it isn’t. This is because I’ve already passed by most people. I look out for my friends in the crowd to make the time pass quicker. When you’re a slow runner at the back The Shack to the Finish can feel like a very long and lonely road.
The two little boys who were marshalling with their Dad at the end of the beach huts made me smile as I passed them. They were so enthusiastic and kept me going on the hardest part. The hardest part also involves the two mini mountains which I actually managed to run up this week.
As I reached the brow of the hill and ran back down the other side, with a view of the finish funnel, I thought “Hang on a minute, I’m actually going to do this” And I did. I ran all the way to the finish funnel and had run the whole 5K for the first time.
I have my own little pre-parkrun routine. I wake up and make a small coffee. I then eat a Belvita whilst drinking my coffee before getting dressed ready to go. Someone told me Belvita’s are good before a parkrun because they give you 4 hours of carbs. Anyway it works for me!
We took the long way to parkrun as usual on Saturday so that we could get a little warm up in before starting. I said goodbye to my husband as he starts closer to the front of the pack than I do, given that he’s faster than me, and I went and found my ever faithful pacer Mike.
We set off and ran. In the back of my mind I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to replicate the success of running 1 and a half miles on my Birthday. I’d been injured and only run twice since then. But we ran, at Mike’s steady pace and we chatted and we kept going.
We got to the ramp where I took my walk break last time and as we approached I said to Mike “Oh no, the mountain” Mike said to me “Come on, lean in and pump your arms” which is exactly what I did and I was at the top before I knew it. When we reached the flat before going back down the other side of the ramp Mike said “That’s not even the worst of it, it’s going back that’s the killer bit” Oh brilliant! Something to look forward to.
We continued running and had a bit of banter with the run/walk pacer. He told me if I was able to make sarcastic comments I obviously wasn’t working hard enough haha. We then came to the shingle portion of the course and Mike told me he was going to walk the shingle. A lot of people do this as they’re scared of turning their ankle on the unsteady surface. The shingle probably doesn’t take a minute to walk over and after we’d walked over it, we ran. The rest of the way!
We finished in 45:13. I’m still finding it hard to crack 45 minutes but being able to run more each week will hopefully start to bring that down at some point.
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?
The general theme of the advice was “Listen to your body”, “Go off plan”, “Keep it fun” and “Don’t be afraid to take a step back”
I took the advice. This week I went to parkrun without a plan. I didn’t set any intervals on my watch, I just pressed go and went.
We walked the long way to parkrun to give us a good warm up. On the way we saw Marie and Mike. Marie asked me if I was going to beat Mike this week. I told her not likely! (This will become relevant later in the post) We arrived at 8.55, just as the run brief was getting underway.
It took me longer than usual to get past the start line. The New Year not only makes gyms busier, it also makes parkruns a lot busier (as well as three local courses being cancelled).
I ran a little and walked when I needed to. The course was quite congested with so many people there so some of my walk breaks were enforced or extended as I just couldn’t get past people with the faster runners coming back in the other direction. I cheered on my friends as they all came back past me having already reached the turn point. The thing I love about my parkrun is, I know so many people, I barely go more than 20 steps without someone waving at me or cheering me on. It’s great and helps move the time along.
When I turned at the first turn around point I noticed the sun was still on it’s way up. It was making the sky glow with a pinky/lilac colour. It was really pretty. I continued with my run walk, taking breaks when I needed to. I kept overtaking an older gentleman when I was running and he in turn would overtake me when I had a walk break.
As we passed by the finish funnel I took a walk break and he said to me “Come on, don’t let an 85 year old beat you” He didn’t make me feel bad, or particularly unfit at all haha
I was now making my way towards the second turnaround point now and I felt good. Runners were coming back the other way once again and I was able to cheer everyone on and receive words of encouragement myself. My 85 year old friend told me “When we reach that turn around point I don’t want to see you again” Shortly after he said this I fell behind anyway and he disappeared off but I soon heard a voice from behind me.
Mike (in his 70’s) was just behind me shouting “You’re still beating me” I tried to run away from him (No really!) but that just made him laugh and shout “That got you moving didn’t it?!” We soon fell in to pace and began to run together. The thing is with Mike is, he runs slower than me but is more consistent. Matching his pace actually allowed me to run quite a bit more than I had been doing. We chatted, he told me they’d just been to Exmouth and run the 2nd Exmouth parkrun. I told him the ED’s had been to our parkrun in November as they were running the Gosport Half Marathon and that my favourite athlete Jo Pavey had turned up to their inaugural.
We made the descent down mini mountain and Mike started to pull away from me. He told me to hurry up. I told him I wasn’t sure I could run all the way from there to the finish funnel (it’s further than it looks, it’s very deceptive) he said I could and together we ran in all the way, him encouraging me all the way.
Just before we got to the funnel we overtook my 85 year old friend who shouted “Oi!” at me. I shouted an apology back but Mike told me to go so I did. We ran in pretty much together.
Here I am with my older friends!
I felt elated. A good fun parkrun. I never got to thank Mike, he was continuing his run to Browndown in an attempt to start upping his mileage. Next time I see him I’ll be sure to thank him for his good company.
Taking the pressure off was the best thing to do. I didn’t feel wrecked by the end of it and today I haven’t been paying the price. I’m so pleased and I finally got a good parkrun photograph!
I’m going to try the same tactics next week for sure! Wish me luck!
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!
I know this post is late but to be honest I’ve had some problems with webhosting and wordpress that just put me in to a bit of a blog funk and I didn’t want to update it. However, I finally seem to have it all fixed so hopefully now I’ll feel like updating a little more!
Now, on to July. July was a good month where I concentrated on my running and felt like I was coming on in leaps and bounds. However, now injury has struck and I find myself in a running funk! More on that in another blog post.
July started off with our 2nd Birthday at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. We had a fancy dress and cake theme. I was joint RD along with the Event Director Maggie. I did the run brief up the ladder and that’s where this picture comes from. Taken by Kieran.
On 3rd July we went for an evening walk and I managed to grab this shot. There’s nothing like a car park full of seagulls taking flight as you walk through to remind you that you live at the seaside!
In June I took part in one of the challenges on Virtual Runner to earn the mermaid medal. I completed 25.5km throughout the month and my medal arrived at the beginning of July. I must do a blog post about this! But for now, check out the medal. Super cool!
In July I completed two parkruns and this picture shows my current PB.
Probably one of the most awesome things to happen to me was that Starbucks UK featured this picture on their Instagram after I posted on mine and tagged them.
Finally in July the USS George H W Bush came to visit Stokes Bay which attracted people in their droves! It was a huge boat. I took this picture of it from Pebbles Café after we finished up at Stokes Bay junior parkrun. It actually doesn’t look that big in the photograph!
And finally it wouldn’t be my blog without a sunset picture! So to finish, here is a sunset picture!