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’m finally up to date with parkrun posts! This week I was run/walking 2.5 minutes of each. I’m finally at the halfway point of my road back from Injury! It was a warmer morning than last week at parkrun and a lot windier!
This week I was run/walking with Lorna and her son Luke, both of whom I met through junior parkrun. My friend Maria, from work, also joined us. We started off really well and continued to do well until we reached the second turn around point. Now we were running straight in to the wind and they were strong. It felt like we were running whilst trying to push something incredibly heavy. It was so hard. I was fine with the run/walk intervals and it was pain free which is always a relief. My pace was again commented on as being a fair bit quicker than before.
We finished in 44:35 which is slower than last week but to be expected in that wind I think. It was Luke’s first big parkrun and he absolutely smashed it. He never complained once! Hopefully the run/walk intervals helped him to complete the parkrun easier than trying to run the whole 5k.
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!
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!
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!
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?
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.
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.
Dame Kelly Holmes is a double Gold medal Olympian. She won the 800m and 1500m at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Recently on social media she’s been doing something called #joininjune where she has visited various places around the UK and joined in with different fitness class, bootcamps, cycle rides and parkruns.
I’ve mentioned local legend Nick a few times on my blog. He had the crazy idea of us putting a video together and getting her to join us at parkrun and in Gosport to run. So at parkrun we filmed a video asking her to join us, headed up by Geoff, the VC of my running club Gosport Road Runners.
Now if I’ve got my technical skills right, then below should be the video:
Which naturally got everyone very excited. But then we didn’t hear anything and she posted that she was going elsewhere for the last Saturday in June and everyone’s hopes dropped. 7th July was our 3rd Birthday at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. Yep, we’re still pretty much a baby. We were having a Rio Carnival theme for the day and the RDs were planning a surprise in the run brief. But then we got a surprise of our own on the Monday of our Birthday week. Dame Kelly Holmes was coming after all!
That Saturday morning everyone was really excited. People were in fancy dress, and I’m talking huge head pieces! We had music playing and oh, word had got out about Kelly Holmes so we also had 601 runners!
Honor (left) Me (Middle) and Erica on the right
The run briefing got underway and Honor and I had hidden in amongst the runners. Maggie was RD so she started the brief, then handed over to us where we sprung ourselves upon people and asked them to tell us the “rules”. It was good fun. I felt like one of the reporters that cover the marathon or something.
Afterwards Kelly got up and said a short speech too which was lovely. She said she loves parkrun for the community. Just a bunch of people running together. She also spoke about how it helped her with her own mental health struggles and how the community of parkrun have helped.
The runners were then sent on their way and Kelly started right at the back with the very last runner.
She then worked her way through the crowd and finished somewhere in the top 20. She stopped just at the funnel though and went back to begin high fiving the runners and offering them encouragement.
She stayed right until the very end high fiving people and cheering them in. She then began the picture taking! Her cheeks must have been so sore from smiling as the queue snaked it’s way down the prom.
Naturally I joined the queue and go a picture with her.
Afterwards Dame Kelly travelled to Stokes Bay and ran the Golden Mile too. I however opted for breakfast!
The Monday after the Gosport Golden Mile I managed to get an appointment to see a physiotherapist. I couldn’t get in to see my usual physio so went with one I’d been to before a few years ago. She came to the conclusion that I had an inflamed adductor. The adductor is the muscle that runs up your inner thigh and in to your groin. She told me I need to let it settle down so no walking, running, swimming or cycling as they’ll all aggravate the muscle. She gave me a massage, highly embarrassing given where my pain was, and did some ultrasound on there too. I’m to go back in two weeks which, as I’m so far behind with blog posts, is actually tomorrow as I’m writing this (Sunday) but yesterday as I post this! Confusing!
People have been telling me recently that I’m looking slimmer and more toned. When a picture was posted of me at the Gosport Golden Mile, for the first time, I could see it too.
The picture on the right was taken about 2 years ago and the one on the left, just over two weeks ago. Feeling pretty pleased with that.
Meeting the Founder
On 20th June I went to Solent University in Southampton to attend a talk given by Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the founder of parkrun. When I arrived I met up Anna and her friend. I also saw Roger and Dave, our former parkrun ambassador, a lovely guy (who I think was also called Roger) from Havant parkrun and Martin, the Event Director of Whiteley parkrun. Whilst we waited to be let in to the lecture theatre we reminisced about our university days. It’s fair to say Solent University, particularly the Atrium we were stood in, is far more modern than the campus I spent my University days on.
When we were allowed in to the lecture theatre I gave Anna instructions to get us to the front, whilst I hobbled down the stairs behind her.
We took a selfie whilst waiting for everyone to take their seats and discussed what questions we’d ask if given the opportunity.
Paul talked about so many topics, all under the umbrella of parkrun of course. It was raw and incredibly honest. He spoke of the first parkrun, his core team, the various countries that want to set up parkrun, his role within parkrun and how that has evolved. It was really interesting. At the end people were allowed to ask questions and some people were pretty tough with the questions they asked. He answered them all though. The talk was only meant to be an hour but it went on for a glorious hour and forty minutes. I was in my element and was pretty disappointed when time was called. We were however invited to get a selfie with him.
The final slide shown was the one below that just summed up what parkrun is and what it means to so many people.
As you probably know if you’re a regular reader, parkrun means a lot to me. Obviously I talk about it to others as I’m there every weekend. If someone asks me what I’ve done at the weekend, the answer is always parkrun. To date I’ve volunteered 159 times and run 33. I always tell people they should try it if they’ve never been and someone finally agreed!
On Saturday, Maria, my spin partner, came to join me at parkrun! We arranged to meet at 8.40 so we could walk down and take her to the New Runners Briefing. However I was quite glad to attend it to as there was a change of route due to there being some works on the beach.
We got ourselves in to the starting pen and were soon setting off. I’d told Maria I’m a slow runner and if she wanted to stick with me we could walk whenever she needed to. We soon caught up with my lovely friend Mike and I was pleased Maria got to meet him as I’ve told her about him before. Maria didn’t need a walk break until after we hit the first turn around point! We had a quick walk and then were soon off running again.
As we continued to the next turnaround point (about a half mile earlier than the normal one) it was very warm and muggy. I struggle so bad in this weather. I’m definitely ready for colder weather again when it comes to running.
Because of the works on the beach we had to go past where the finish funnel would normally be. This definitely messed with my head despite the fact we’d turned around early. As we were running towards the new turnaround point I developed a pain in my groin every time my left leg went down. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t complete the run but it was definitely uncomfortable.
Maria did so well. She only walked 3 times and a fourth because I asked her too as I was struggling with the heat. I finished with a time of 45:18.
Afterwards we went to the café for breakfast and Maria got to meet the core team as we were all there. She commented on how friendly and encouraging everyone had been which made me feel proud. Even better though, she said she’d like to come again! Hurrah, I have made a parkrun convert.
I’ve had a little break from running. Sadly this wasn’t quite my own choice but more health and heat related. On Friday before the long weekend my heel started to hurt. At work we have a hard tiled floor in the kitchen and I think walking on that in slippers (the one disadvantage to wearing slippers all day) has hurt my heel. I was going to get up to run on Saturday morning before my stint as RD at parkrun but my heel still hurt so I thought it best to wait.
Saturday morning as RD was very stressful. There are knee high bollards on our course, the marshal that stands down there takes with them bollard covers. These make the bollards much higher and therefore easier to see. However on Saturday morning he rang me to say he’d forgot them. At the same time this happened I was chatting to another marshal who had failed to bring their mobile phone. Marshals are asked to bring their phone in case they need to get in contact with the RD for whatever reason. This particular marshal was meant to be at the defibrillator but can’t do that marshal point without a phone. By now most of the other marshals had left to reach their own marshalling position. I sent him down to the bollard marshal with the bollards. Then the phone rang again. This time it was the slipway marshal telling me the slipway was closed because of the impending hovercraft landing. I asked them to speak to the health and safety guy there we have as a contact. I now had no marshal for the defibrillator but luckily, like a gift from above, my friend Claire came and asked if there were any roles spare. I sent her running to the defib! Then, luckily again, the slipway marshal called back to say it was open. Phew! Somewhere amidst all of this I saw Anna and garbled my stresses at her. She very kindly said I was managing to look calm on the outside. I didn’t feel it! Once the run got underway and I made it down to the finish funnel everything seemed to be going smoothly. That is until the timekeeper told me the timer wasn’t functioning correctly! It had missed some of the runners she had clicked. No pressure to the one remaining timekeeper still working! Thankfully everything else went ok and I had a very quiet results processing as no one else came back to the café! We’re usually a table of ten, but this day was just my husband and I.
I can definitely see the panic in this photo!
Photo courtesy of Peter Stoddard
Afterwards we went back home to wait for our friends to arrive from Sheffield. They were meant to arrive at 3 but didn’t make it down here until 5.30 because of traffic. We went to Miller and Carter for dinner which was lovely. It was a very warm evening and we were grateful to be sat by an open window, unfortunately though this did mean we could smell cigarettes almost constantly as this seemed to be where people went to smoke.
On Sunday, I woke up with a bite just above my knee but didn’t think anything of it. I went to volunteer at junior parkrun. I was timekeeper and despite doing it 37 times before, on my 38th time I was that person that messed it up. I don’t know why but I pressed A to stop/start the watch for the first 5 runners instead of B to click the runners *facepalm* Afterwards I went home and we took our friends to the Tenth Hole. It was lunch time by now so I ordered mac and cheese with bacon which was so nice and a slice of peanut butter drizzle cake.
Afterwards we went for a walk along Southsea beach. We collected pebbles/shells and had a paddle in the sea.
It was such a hot day. We headed back to Lee-on-the-Solent and went to the beach where we chatted and cooled off in the sea.
That evening we went for dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Chichester.
On Bank Holiday Monday I opted not to run. My heel felt much better but the heat was unbearable. We went up the Spinnaker Tower for our friends last day. For those not in the know, the Spinnaker Tower is 170 metres tall with three viewing platforms around the 100 metre mark. There were amazing views from the top. I won’t bore you with lots of pictures but here is Gosport, the Marina and views over to the Isle of Wight.
We had pre booked afternoon tea up there too.
The bread on the sandwiches was so soft and the scones, which aren’t pictured very well were as big as your face. It was really yummy and all washed down with unlimited tea and coffee.
That afternoon we had a walk around Gunwharf Quays afterwards. We were all so hot by this point. The temperature was 27c and unbroken sunshine. The bite on my leg that I had woken up with on Sunday morning was really starting to hurt too. We went for a coffee before bidding farewell to our friends. We popped to Tesco to pick up some bits. I nipped to the toilet and noticed the bite on my leg was very red and swollen.
I messaged a couple of friends that evening about my bite. One works as a community nurse and the other works in A&E. Both said to draw around the bite and if it continues to spread and swell get it seen at minor injuries. On Tuesday I woke up and it was still very swollen and spreading. I went to work but by lunch time was concerned as the bite was turning purple and really hot and swollen. I was allowed out of work to go to minor injuries and get it checked out. I was taken straight in to triage to have my observations done and then continually called in and out for the next 2.5 hours whilst they decided what it was. One nurse thought it was cellulitis and that I needed admitting to hospital so they could administer IV antibiotics and the other thought it was a severe allergic reaction to the bite. In the end they opted for the allergic reaction and sent me on my way. I felt quit unwell and went to bed at 7.30 that night. Thankfully, now it’s Thursday the bite is looking a lot better. There are two puncture wounds on it which makes me think it was a spider bite but the thought is creeping me out way too much! I’ll spare you the pictures but on Tuesday it looked horrendous.
Just over a year ago I wrote this post – My One Year Plan – On 19th May the final piece of the plan came to fruition.
We host 4 takeover a year at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. My favourite one has always been Gosport Road Runners takeovers and this year, as a member, I was allowed to volunteer and take part as a member.
I had volunteered to pace. This is a role I’ve never done and I know you’re probably thinking “Woah, you paced?!” but don’t worry. I was only the Run/Walk pacer. That’s probably the only one of the pacer roles I could do.
I got down to parkrun early as I was also volunteer co-ordinator. After giving the volunteers their instructions I put on my pacer vest and found my place in the pen.
I started the run with a lady who told me she’d played squash for years and it had wrecked her knees. Now she was trying to run but had never done an out door run, just running on the treadmill at the gym. She told me she couldn’t run for that long so I explained to her how the run/walk would work. After maybe 5 minutes or so she said she felt she could run a little longer than the run/walk offered so she’d run on.
I felt a bit disheartened. I was excited to be the run/walk pacer for the first time but I had no one to help! I decided to treat it as my own interval session instead. I ran a little faster than I normally would on the run sections but then walked at my normal walk pace on the walk sections.
I love this picture Chris captured of me going one way with the 30 minute pacer heading the other way.
As the run went on I definitely felt it. I pushed harder and by the end I was thankful to be nearing the end! So many people asked me if I was ok when they saw me walking. I guess they didn’t realise I was pacing and they’re used to seeing me running now.
As I entered the finish funnel I was definitely ready for the run to be over! Intervals on no fun on 3 miles!
I’d aimed to come in somewhere between 45-50 minutes as run/walk pacer. I came in with a time of 45:09. I was pleased with that.