My husband hadn’t been to parkrun for a couple of weeks due to illness. As a result, I’d not been going to the normal parkrun café, but to one on the way home instead where I picked up a coffee for me and a bit of breakfast for us both. The coffee is incredibly good there so when my husband returned to parkrun I suggested we went there for breakfast after parkrun instead.
Before parkrun selfie
When we got to parkrun my husband was trying to decide if he should run with me or not. He always sets off too fast and he thought by running with me it’d give him a slower start, meaning he then wouldn’t struggle later. Eventually he decided that he would. We set off and after the first mile I asked him if he wanted to go on. He didn’t but after about a 1.5 miles he started struggling with knee pain. He walked a little whilst I trotted at the side of him. After a few stop/starts at around the 2 mile mark he told me to go on as he was going to walk the rest. Because we’d had such a stop/start run I actually felt pretty fresh so felt really good in the last part of parkrun, for probably the first time ever!
Frustratingly I finished within 8 seconds of my personal best! I gritted my teeth and tried not to blame my husband haha. When he came through the finish funnel he said his knee actually felt a bit better for walking, which was good. So we set off to the new café I’d been popping to for the past couple of weeks.
Oh I do love a filter
When we got to the café I ordered a latte whilst my husband had a hot chocolate which quite frankly arrived looking like a dessert! For breakfast I had a toasted teacake and a Bakewell tart afterwards whilst my husband enjoyed a cheese and ham toastie and then a fruit scone with jam and clotted cream. I have to admit, it did look very scrummy!
On the way back from the café it was nice to see some of the trees blooming. Particularly my neighbours magnolia tree and our own blossom tree. It makes me hopeful that Spring is on it’s way!
Saturday I set off to parkrun on my own as my husband was ill in bed. When I got there I met up with Maria. We didn’t intend to but we ended up running together as we had lots to talk about. Maria had left work the day before so we caught up on how her last day was and what the future holds for her.
The first mile whizzed by, maybe a little too quickly! A 12:13 minute mile is still quite fast for me but mile 2 was even quicker at 12:08! It’s amazing how you don’t notice it as much when you’re chatting away. By mile 3 though I really felt like I was struggling but it was only slightly slower at 12:28.
Maria and I have both entered a 10K in May and Maria said she might top her run up to 4 miles. I’d actually been thinking the same thing, especially since I wouldn’t have to worry about my husband waiting at the end so we decided to run together and continue to make it up to 4 miles. Luckily the breather we had whilst getting scanned meant mile 4 was very slightly quicker. I felt a lot fresher though as I’d had chance to catch my breath.
We did 4 miles in 49:21. I told Maria that for a long time I couldn’t even run a 5K in that time and now we were knocking out 4 miles! We were even back before the last people had finished their parkrun. My parkrun time was 38:02 so just within a minute of my PB. I thought about asking someone to pace me to 37 minutes next week but I struggled running 38 minutes! Mind you I was chatting.
Maria and I after our 4 miles.
What do you think, should I give 37 minutes a bash if I can find someone to pace me?
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!
A kind of unofficially have set myself the goal of trying to do one tourism parkrun a month. I’ve set it unofficially because you never know what’s going to crop up so I might not always succeed with this goal. However, in January, I nailed it.
I’ve been wanting to do the unofficial Gavin & Stacey parkrun challenge by doing Barry Island parkrun and Billericay parkrun since I read the story about the people of Billericay parkrun travelling to Barry Island when their parkrun was cancelled for Bonfire Night. The news article is HERE if you want to read it.
So on Friday 11th January we drove up to South Wales. I was apprehensive about it all week as I’d been full of cold, luckily it seemed to be subsiding by the Friday so I was pretty confident I could still run it. When we arrived at our hotel we got the friendliest welcome from the two ladies on reception who asked us what had brought us to Wales. When we told them they told us about them filming near one of their houses and how she could never get home as everyone had to wait whilst they finished filming in the street.
After dropping off our bags in the room we walked to Barry Island promenade. Our hotel was ideally placed at only a 10 minute walk away. When we got there I started thinking about where the parkrun course might be. I’d looked at their course page so I knew where it started but that was it. I presumed it was simply along the prom like my local parkrun is but looking from one end to the other I realised it probably wasn’t as it was such a short distance. After having a look around we went back to the hotel and I looked at the course and soon realised it was going to be a hilly run as you go up on to the cliff tops! Oops! I was not expecting hills.
The next morning we got up and headed out to the parkrun. I’d dropped the team an email to ask if there was somewhere I could leave a jacket and they gave us a shoutout in the runners brief which was nice. The run starts under a covered area of prom, however with 208 runners we did spill out of the uncovered area, thankfully it was only raining lightly.
We were soon underway and as I was running on my own (my husband was running his own parkrun) I hoped there would be people around me so I could just follow the person in front! We ran from the covered area of the prom towards Marco’s Café and the square where Gavin meets up with Stacey when she comes back from London. We then turned right and began to climb, we followed a path that takes you up on to a bridge over the prom and then carried on climbing before heading down again, you then ran quite close to the edge of the cliff tops along a flat section before turning and heading up a very steep but short stretch. There was a marshal at the top of there giving out so much encouragement, I’m sure I’d have walked the second time if he’d not have been there. You then ran back along the path before heading back down along the prom to the covered section where you did a U-turn and did the whole thing again. I managed to run the whole thing which I really wasn’t expecting. I was very pleased though!
I finished with a time of 38:38, which is only a minute and a half outside of my PB at my local pancake flat course! This actually gave me hope for the hilly Romsey 5 mile race I have coming up in June.
Unfortunately as check out was 12, we didn’t get chance to go to Marco’s Café for a post parkrun breakfast as we still had to get back, showered and packed up.
I added this photo of me to my social media and tagged parkrun. Much to my surprise they used it on all their social media and in the newsletter for the following week! parkrun fame!
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?
On 29th December I ran the last parkrun of 2019. It was the first parkrun since Christmas and so I was going in to it filled with rubbish rather than filled with something that is going to fuel the run.
I ran on my own for this parkrun. As much as I enjoy a chatty run, I actually enjoyed running on my own for this one. It allows me to concentrate on my breathing. I find when I’m not concentrating my breathing is the first thing to go!
There’s not much of significance to note about this run. I plodded round. It was hard because of the Christmas food I’d consumed but when I finished I felt great and pleased I had managed to still get round in under 40 minutes and I’d managed to run all of it and not had to stop to walk.
We were nearly back at the café before I remembered to take my post parkrun selfie! Lucky I remembered haha
My finish time was 39:27 so I’m ending 2018 firmly in the 30’s now. Happy Days
This Christmas, much like last Christmas Day, started with a festive parkrun. It’s so nice to see everyone on Christmas Day. Everyone is always in such good spirits. It’s also an opportunity, I find, to meet family of my friends as they’re persuaded to come along too.
I decided against fancy dress for Christmas Day as it was a rather balmy 12c! After seeing friends and wishing them a Merry Christmas I went and joined the starting pen. I soon found Rachel, who hasn’t run parkrun for a while and my friend Claire who I run regularly with. They both kindly offered to run with me. Whilst giving the run briefing, the RD made me laugh by saying “I’ll try and get the results out before I get the gin out” The results didn’t come out until 4pm so I’m guessing the gin won!
We were soon on our way. I’m often asked by who I’m running with “So what are you aiming for today?” and I always answer “Just to finish” I set no expectations on myself now. As we were running we chatted about how busy it was. At one point I actually felt like I was being held back a little, this was probably good though, as I always start too fast. We even ended up walking around the turn around cone due to the congestion. It was frustrating a little but also nice. As I’m a “back of the pack” runner it’s rare I have that much company around me!
I managed to run the whole course with no walk breaks. This is happening much more frequently now which pleases me. I did struggle a bit, partly because of the warm weather, and partly because on Christmas Eve we’d been out for a curry at a local restaurant. Curry, whiskey and Baileys do not make good fuel for a parkrun!
As we ran in to the finish funnel I was pretty blown away to see my time was in the 37’s!! Only just though, when my official time came through it was yet another PB of 37:59! That was the best Christmas present I could have given myself!
Just like in my last post I thought I’d compare my Christmas Day parkrun results.
Christmas Day 2017 – 46:00
Christmas Day 2018 – 37:59
That’s a whopping 8 minute difference! Progress has definitely been made!
On 22nd December (I’m slowly catching up now) it was the official Christmas fancy dress parkrun at my local parkrun. I brought back my Christmas Pudding outfit from last year. I think my husband was pretty embarrassed to walk down the street with me dressed as a Christmas Pudding but I didn’t care one little bit haha.
When we got there I met up with my friend and work colleague Maria. She introduced me to her new boyfriend who is also a parkrunner. Bit of a shame I had to meet him dressed as a Christmas Pudding but there you go! Maria was wearing a Brussel Sprout hat which was hilarious. Maria had decided to run with me and soon Penny came to join us too. Penny was wearing one of those inflatable outfits which was Santa riding Rudolph! She looked absolutely brilliant but unfortunately Rudolph deflated half way round!
We had a quick chat and were soon on our way. As we all work in similar environments we had plenty to natter about along the way. Lots of children were keen to high five Penny as we ran by as she was dressed as Santa which was really cute. I think we all struggled a bit though in our fancy dress outfits. December was unseasonably warm and I, for one, was sweltering in my Christmas Pudding outfit! I did have a bit of a moan but Penny told me to shut up and keep running so I did.
Somehow, despite sweltering, I got a new PB. These are coming thick and fast at the minute to forgive me for appreciating every single one. I know they won’t last forever, so I like to celebrate them whilst they’re here. We finished in 39:04!!! So close to sub 39! I ran the same week in December 2017 dressed as a Christmas Pudding so I thought it would be interesting to compare the times.
December 2017 – 45:47
December 2018 – 39:04
I’m pretty pleased with a 6 minute difference to say I had 5 months out with injury!
Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed ringing in the New Year and aren’t feeling too sad about saying goodbye to 2018. Now, as regular readers will know, this blog saw a lot of doom and gloom through 2018 as I went through 5 months of injury. So, now it’s time to focus on what made 2018 awesome.
Obviously parkrun had to get a mention here. My first parkrun of 2018 was on 6th January (I missed the double on NYD because of a horrible virus) My finish time was 45:20. I’ve now dropped that to 37:59 on Christmas Day! I also was a tourist at Aviemore parkrun in March where despite finishing in 46:18 I finished in position 28. My highest finish position to date! Not only finish times and positions though, the friends I’ve made through parkrun. I know I can ask on Facebook for a run buddy and someone will always come forward. The running community is so supportive. I’ve built my network down here (We moved South in 2015) from parkrunners and now they’re incredible friends. In April I ran Mike’s 100th parkrun with him because, this still amazes me, he wanted to run with me because I was his favourite RD. I felt so incredibly privileged that day. More wonderful parkrun-related days were meeting Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the founder of parkrun, and Dame Kelly Holmes, the retired Olympic athlete.
I’ve not left the UK in 2018 (I went to Brazil at the end of 2018 and will go to Canada in 2019) but I’ve still discovered new and lovely places. I started 2018 by visiting Cheddar, Weston-Super-Mare and Bristol. In March I visited Scotland and discovered new places as we stayed in a different area to where we’d usually stay. In April I visited Wales, or to be precise, Barry Island. We went landmark hunting as I’d finally got around to watching Gavin & Stacey! In September we went back to Scotland where we did so much walking! My injury was finally fading and I loved enjoying the outdoors again.
My running has improved so much towards the end of 2018. However I want to focus on some of the amazing runs I’ve done that aren’t parkrun related. I ran in my local country park for the first time and discovered the cliff top run so many people have told me about. That was an incredible run but it’s a shame it coincided with flying ant day!! A year to the day after starting parkrun, I also completed my first run with The Breakfast Club. I’d never felt good enough to go before but I loved every second. In May I also did my first intervals session at Gosport Road Runners and absolutely loved it. By May my running was going from strength to strength and I was thoroughly enjoying it. In June I also ran my longest run (5 Miles) to date at the Romsey Cake and Beer Race. An incredible day and I won a prize! October was an amazing month as I started running again after my injury and suddenly found losing 2 stone had made quite a difference to my speed.
In June I met Woofs With Wilson and his Mum for the first time and got on with them famously. We’ve since met a couple more times and they introduced me to The Pump House, one of my favourite places in Gosport.
My friendship with Maria went from strength to strength as we went to so many spin classes and in June, I got her to come to parkrun. And got her hooked on it!
We had friends from Sheffield visit in June. The weather was sweltering so we had beach days, as well as playing tourist in our own area.
I also met up with Anna from Anna the Apple blog a couple of times at the Paul Sinton-Hewitt chat and for dinner where I quizzed her on every marathon she’s run.
Obviously in 2018 there were some great things that happened to me that don’t really fall in to the other categories. At the end of July I signed up to Weight Watchers and so far I’ve lost 2 and a half stones. It’s from the picture below people really started noticing my weight loss.
I added another string to my bow by completing a level 2 course on Understanding Childhood Illnesses.
In December, my husband and I also celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.
What made your 2018 awesome? Or are you glad to see the back of it?
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.