Tag Archives: parkrun

Storm Hannah Blows Again

Storm Hannah came to town again on the 27th April and joined us for another parkrun. I’d run up on the cliff tops and through the woods just the day before and it was just a little breezy. Nothing major at all. Saturday morning though we were back to 45mph winds!

I went to my home parkrun this week as I had two friends reaching milestone runs. Lei was running her 100th parkrun and Gemma was running her 50th. It was also my running clubs takeover at parkrun.

Walking to parkrun I definitely regretted not taking a jacket! Whilst listening to the run brief, it was absolutely freezing. I’d positioned myself in the starting funnel between the 35 minute and 37 minute pacer. My PB is 36:18 so I thought if I could keep the 35 minute pacer in view I might have a shot at a PB. I did get my last PB in 55mph winds after all! However as soon as they said 3,2,1 Go both pacers shot off in front of me. I tried to keep up for a short while but after looking at my watch I realised I was running a 9 minute mile pace! I knew I couldn’t maintain that so said to Maria I was going to ease off as I thought the pacers had gone off too fast.

Maria raised the very good point that the wind was currently behind us and now wasn’t the time to spend extra energy as we’d need it when we turned to run in to the wind. When we did turn around at the turnaround point the wind hit us. It was as if someone had whacked a treadmill up to full incline, that’s how hard it felt pushing against the wind. We really struggled and conversation fell by the wayside as we were struggling to catch our breath and we wouldn’t have heard each other speak anyway! As usual as we passed the finish funnel where it’s so open the wind felt even stronger! It’s hard staying upright when coastal running in strong winds.

As we turned at the next turnaround point though the wind was back behind us and pushing us along! It felt glorious after slogging away for so long. We were able to talk again and it actually felt quite easy! I needed it though after pushing against the wind! It was at this point I spotted the 37 minute pacer walking. I soon overtook him.

With Gemma

With Gemma who ran her 50th parkrun

I managed to finish in 36:22 just 4 seconds off my PB which in that wind, I’ll take! I looked at the finish times of the pacers. The 35 minute pacer finished in just over 34 minutes. No wonder I couldn’t keep them in sight! I don’t envy them, I think pacing is probably the hardest volunteering job! I definitely want a crack at being paced to 36 minutes though.

With Maria

Have you ever paced at parkrun?

Have you ever used a pacer at parkrun?

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Ipswich parkrun

I recently had the opportunity to visit Ipswich. As I have a friend who lives there and they have a parkrun I jumped at the chance.

My friend Neil used to run weekly at my local parkrun but then had to move to Ipswich for work. I was gutted to see him go and on his last week at Lee I arranged a shoutout for him at the run briefing. Neil is super fast. He finished first at my local parkrun on more than one occasion! I told him I was going to be in the area and asked if he’d be at parkrun that week. He said he would and would keep an eye out for me.

We arrived at Ipswich parkrun bright and early. We got parked easily in a local car park and then followed another person in lycra to the park. I just figured he’d be a parkrunner and luckily for us he was!

When we got there I looked around for Neil but couldn’t see him. I got chatting to two locals, after asking them where I could leave my jacket. They told me briefly about the route (terrified me more like) and then explained that usually the parkrun is in a different location. They also pointed out the new runners brief so I thanked them and headed over.

The guy giving the new runners brief was naturally very funny. He too scared us with the route. Two hills of doom! And then asked where everyone was from. He asked if I had come to collect my letter I for the alphabet challenge. He was a bit disappointed to hear I was just here because I was in Ipswich haha.

We then headed down to the start area and eventually found Neil! We had a brief chat but then the run briefing started so Neil went to take his place up at the front. The run briefing lasted a whopping 10 minutes!!! And then we were on our way. It starts with the uphill section and it goes on for quite a while. However, because it was so congested it was a slow start so I managed to run up the whole of the hill. I had to weave around a lot of people as lots walked it from the get go.

Lap One

The course is two laps with the second lap being slightly different as you veer off to take the route to the finish funnel. After the uphill the course is a slow downhill and kind of meanders around the park. The park is very well looked after. There was no litter and lots of gardens that were really pretty. When I got to lap two and back to the hill I tried my hardest to run as much as I could. I kept saying to myself “The more you run, the further up the hill you get before you have to walk” Unfortunately I did have to walk though. I just couldn’t make it all the way up. As soon as I got to the top though, I ran again. Just as I’d started running Neil came back to find me. He then joined me for the rest of the route which was lovely. We caught up and chatted about life, work and parkruns. As we were running though we saw 4 people, at different times, that had had accidents. One woman was laid flat out on her front. They put on their Facebook page later that everyone was ok! How scary though!

With Neil

Apart from the hills the Ipswich course was actually very enjoyable. I’d definitely go again and it was so nice to see Neil again. My finish time was 37:08 which I didn’t think was too shabby for a course with hills and where I’d walked.

Have you ever had a fall during a run?

Do you prefer a hilly or flat run?

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Penrose parkrun

Whilst we were away for a couple of days we also headed to Cornwall. I’ve never been to Cornwall before so it was nice to spend some time exploring and of course squeeze in a parkrun.

I’d done a bit of research and looked at a couple of courses near to where we were staying and decided on Penrose as it was their Birthday! Nice coincidence! It meant cake and runners dressed as super heroes! When we arrived we were a bit unsure of where to go so I asked a passing Ninja Turtle! She told us where the start was and gave us a quick overview of the route and where the toilets and café were. I love how parkrunners are always so friendly and helpful.

Before parkrun

Before parkrun

We listened to the run brief (there was a 9 year old running her 100th parkrun!) and shouted out where we had touristed from and then we were off. It was quite a congested start as you had to go through a gateway but I was soon on my way. As I was getting going a lady came over and introduced herself and told me she was from Alverstoke (which is really close to where I live) We had a lovely chat for about the first mile or so but then I told her to go on because I was struggling to keep up with her and keep talking. The course had told us it was flat, but coming from a pancake flat parkrun, I’d have described it as slightly undulating with an uphill section to the turn around point. It did make a nice downhill section when I rounded the turnaround point though.

After that I really struggled with the last mile. I just couldn’t get in to a rhythm and there was a lady with a buggy driving me nuts. I ran continuously, although slower than her, whereas she was run walking. Everytime I plodded past her, she would then come sprinting past but then walk again right in front of me. I ended up weaving all over the path as I continuously had to re-overtake her. I even tried walking for a bit as I was struggling and I hoped it’d put some distance between us but she just walked for longer and then started running again when I caught her up! Very annoying!

Anyway, apart from struggling, it was a lovely route. It was in woods, but on a tarmac path. There were some nice stretches of shade. Although it wasn’t boiling, it was nice to keep out of the sun where I could.

Do you enjoy being a parkrun tourist?

Do you ever get annoyed with other runners?

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parkrun with Storm Hannah

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!

Pulling the buggy

We eventually got back to the finish line and it had taken us 38:41! What a difference the wind makes!

Would you run in 55mph winds?

Have you ever helped a fellow parkrunner out?

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Being Paced at parkrun

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.

Lee and I

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?

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parkrun And A New Café

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

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.

post parkrun selfie

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!

Latte

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!

Blossom Tree

Do you go to a café after parkrun?

 

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Rounding parkrun Up To 4 Miles

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

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?

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My 50th parkrun

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!

My 50th parkrun

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.

post parkrun selfie

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…

Daffodils

These brightened January right up when they were in full bloom. I was impatient though and had to take a picture early!

Have you hit any parkrun milestones?

Have you been to see any good films recently?

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Barry Island parkrun

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!

Elevation

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!

Barry Island parkrun

Did you watch Gavin & Stacey?

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First parkrun of 2019

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.

Running parkrun

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.

post parkrun selfie

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?

 

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