Tag Archives: parkrun

parkrun and More Flat Hunting

I tell lots of people about parkrun. Usually it’s work colleagues who are intrigued by me going every week. Quite often they say “Oh I’d like to do something like that, I can’t run though” to which I always reply “You can walk it if you want, if you ever fancy going, I’d be happy to walk it with you” I never nag them to come to parkrun, I never force them to say yes just to shut me up. Lots of people have said they’ll come to parkrun, they register, chat about it, make all the arrangements to come and then Saturday morning they text with whatever their reason not to come is.

You can see where this is leading, on Saturday 17th August, a work colleague was supposed to be joining me. Again, I didn’t nag them or force them, in fact, they asked me. Anyway Saturday morning my phone beeped with the text that, to be honest, I was expecting. I was a bit annoyed though as the day before I’d run 2 miles non stop as our plan was to walk with maybe a little bit of running on the Saturday. Now I would have to still run walk to as not to aggravate my injury but if I’d have known they were going to pull out, I wouldn’t have run on the Friday.

Anyway, I set off with the plan on running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 minute. It felt so hard. I haven’t been running as much as I should lately and I had been for a run the day before. It was breezy yet muggy. Surprisingly though, even though it felt difficult my splits weren’t actually that different. I felt like I was getting progressively slower, yet miles 2 and 3 were exactly the same.

Mile 1: 12:12min/mile
Mile 2: 12:27min/mile
Mile 3: 12:27min/mile

Maria had waited for me and ran the last bit with me. She actually commented on how fast my sprint finish was! Watch out Bolt! haha

parkrun selfie

My mum was coming down at some point on Saturday morning to go and view more flats. We didn’t know what time she’d get here. When I got in from parkrun I grabbed breakfast then went for a bath. I commented to my husband “I can guarantee I’ll get in the bath and she’ll arrive” Just as I got in the bath the doorbell rang!

We went to view 3 flats all in Gosport. Each flat got progressively better and I think she’s found the one! We went to look round the last flat and to help her get her bearings I took her the very short walk to Gosport waterfront which looks out over Portsmouth Harbour. She was pretty impressed by the view, and in the picture below, you can see why.

Portsmouth Harbour

That evening my husband and I had dinner booked at the café we use after parkrun. We booked it way back in March as they sell it so quickly and I couldn’t remember for the life of me which options I’d selected from the menu. So, each course was a nice surprise. I had garlic mushrooms on a crisp bread, vegetable lasagne with a side of seasonal vegetables and orange sponge cake with orange sauce and custard. It was absolutely delicious but the pair of us left feeling stuffed! We enjoyed it so much though we booked straight on to the next available one…April 2020!

Do people ever let you down over parkrun?

Have you ever had to book so far in advance to eat somewhere?

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A Hardcore parkrun

Saturday’s parkrun was pretty wild. My weather app told me the wind speed was 45mph, but later on the news I heard the gusts had been 60mph.

Walking down to parkrun was strange. It was so windy, yet it was a warm wind. I’d expected it to be colder. As soon as I turned on to the street that takes you to the seafront, I was almost blown away! The wind was strong!

I’d decided it was time to move on from the 1 minute run/walking which I’ve done the last two weeks at parkrun and I thought I’d give 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking a whirl. I was run/walking on my own but it never feels like you’re on your own at parkrun as you’re surrounded by others and their conversations.

To be honest the run/walking was absolutely fine and there’s really nothing to report on that front. However, the wind made it really difficult. Although running along the coast you’re always exposed, there are some points where you’re more exposed and I could feel my legs being blown sideways from under me! Very disorientating!

All the way along I could see there was sea foam blowing off the sea. Nothing prepared me for when a big clump of it hit me in the face! It was icy cold and of course, very salty! The spray off the sea was continuous and quite refreshing as it was actually really warm!

I was definitely glad to be finished by the end as it’d felt like running whilst pushing a brick wall at some points. I was really surprised to finish in under 40 minutes! I’d kept the 40 minute pacer in sight but she was quite a way ahead of me and I finished after her so presumed I’d have finished over 40 minutes.

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parkrun Travels

parkrun logo

I have an upcoming holiday booked. We’re flying out to Canada for two weeks of road tripping across Canada before dropping down in to Seattle in the US.

Naturally I have juggled our plans around to try and schedule in a couple of parkruns. One will be in Canada and the other in Seattle.

Canada

The first overseas parkrun I’ll attend is called Nose Hill parkrun and is in Calgary. The course is described as a mix of trail, tarmac and grass. It looks pretty flat from the course page. However, as there seems to be new parkruns popping up each week in Canada, this may well change.

USA

Once we cross the border to the US I plan on attending Renton parkrun in Seattle. The course is on paths along the Cedar River Trail and from the satellite view on the map, it looks like a wooded area.

I’m really looking forward to taking my parkrun tourism overseas!

Have you ever done a parkrun overseas?

What’s the furthest you’ve travelled for a parkrun?

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a parkrun/walk

On Saturday I headed down to my local parkrun. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know I’m now building back up my running distances due to an injury.

I figured, today I’d join the run/walk pacer because I’m allowed to run 1.5miles and I figured technically that’d be ok. The run/walk pacer that day was Sue. Sue and I follow each other on some social media platforms but have never met. Sue is currently living with Stage 4 cancer and is part of the “5K your way, moving against cancer” group. Once a month they attend various parkruns and there’s a large group attend at my local parkrun.

I forewarned Sue of two things 1. I might not be able to keep up because of my injury and 2. I have two fat blisters! One on the ball of each foot. (I wore flip flops the day before and it obviously ended badly)

There was one other lady run/walking with us who was Sue’s friend Lucy. All three of us chatted together easily which is always a relief when running with new people. Thankfully because I had been and bought some blister plasters before parkrun, my blisters were just uncomfortable rather than painful. The running aspect though was absolutely amazing. I felt brilliant. I never struggled, other than being a bit hot.

At the end I felt like I could have easily run/walked an extra mile. It was great and really set my mind at rest about this injury. However, now I’m not sure how to play it. I need to up the distance but do I run/walk and stick at 1.5 miles, or do I run 1.7miles and then walk the rest? Hmm answers in comments please!

Happy face after finishing

After parkrun we went to a local café for breakfast. I scoffed a very tasty cheese and chorizo toastie followed by a mini Victoria sponge cake. We’re attending a dinner evening at the café in August so we also filled in our menu choices for that.

Saturday evening, once the sun had started to set a little we went out and did some work in the garden. We have an ongoing battle with a vine (bindweed) that comes over from a neighbours property. They choose not to garden which is completely their choice but it does make a tricky for us. We spent two hours out there pulling out the vine but to be honest, we could have spent another two hours out there and there’d still be loads. I feel like unless we can tackle it everyday it’s just going to keep growing quicker than we can remove it.

Do you have a 5K Your Way group at your local parkrun?

Do you enjoy gardening?

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parkrun Volunteering

parkrun logo

On Saturday, after my run, I had a quick shower then went down to my local parkrun to volunteer. I was writing down the details of people’s barcodes which wouldn’t scan. Far from an easy job when there are over 550 participants!

I’d positioned myself behind the barcode scanners and cheered everyone as they passed by me, until the finishers started to need me. The 3rd finisher that day finished in 18:07 and was a buggy runner! I had a brief chat with him about running with a buggy and discussed his tactics when it comes to getting the buggy over the shingle section of our parkrun.

I was also collecting the finishing tokens of people who had forgotten their barcodes or who hadn’t registered yet. A lady came and put her finish token in as her friend was exclaiming “I can’t believe you’re not going to get scanned” to which she replied “But it was a rubbish time” Personally I don’t understand that, it’s about getting out there and taking part for me, it’s not about striving for amazing times every time.

I was surprised how many of the wristbands wouldn’t scan. I think I wrote down 4 or 5 wristbands that wouldn’t scan.

A man brought his barcode to me in pieces. He apologised profusely and said his barcode had got sweaty in his pocket and as he tried taking it out it had just ripped. I wrote down his barcode as best I could but one of the rips went right down the centre of a number so it was difficult to tell what number it was.

I chatted to a few people, friends and people whose barcodes I was writing down. There was a lovely lady who’s first it was and she’d absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait to come back. There was another lady who’s first time it was. She’d finished in a time of 21:XX and had really enjoyed it but said she normally had to take the children to some extra curricular events.

I also overheard a conversation where a lady was explaining to a gent (I think they’d met whilst taking part) that fizzy water gives you belly fat and that’s why men have so much of it, because they drink beer and that’s mainly fizzy water. I’m not sure how true that is but the gent was nodding along enthusiastically.

Right at the end two young men came over to me and one said he’d lost his barcode in the sea when he went in to cool down. He asked if I could write down his number as he knew it. I told him the parkrun rule of “No barcode No time” to which he replied “You’re kidding me?! But I brought it with me I’ve just lost it in the sea” I explained again that it’s a parkrun rule and that the moral of this story was to get scanned before going in the sea and losing your barcode” He angrily replied that he just wanted to cool down but I just shrugged and then I think he took the hint that I wasn’t going to write down his number. I told him he could always email in but he said “Oh I’m not THAT bothered” so I said Bye and turned my back on him to carry on chatting to two parkrun friends. What a pain!

Gemma snapped this picture whilst we were chatting

Have you ever volunteered for parkrun?

How do you feel about the “No Barcode No Time” rule?

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A Hot parkrun!

It looks like the winter weather has finally made a move and now we’re heading in to warmer temperatures. I know most people are glad of this, but I am definitely an Autumn Winter person rather than a Spring Summer person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the extra daylight but I’m just not good in heat! I get hot so quickly, I sweat buckets and I overheat. It’s just miserable. When we had the heatwave last summer I was kind of glad to be injured as it meant I wasn’t having to run in the hot weather. The weather is warm now, not hot, but already I’m overheating.

Saturday morning at parkrun was about 16c. I walked down there in just cropped leggings and a tshirt so I knew it was going to be a warm one. I was pleased to see my friend Maria there as she’s been on holiday so I’ve not seen her for a little while. I was looking forward to hearing all about her trip to Cyprus.

We got down to the starting pen and it was very busy. After the run brief it took us over 30 seconds to get to the start line! We set off at a chatty pace. We had a lot to catch up on and I knew I’d need to take it easier because of the heat. It was nice hearing all about her holiday and catching up on other bits and pieces but my god it was hot. I regretted not taking a headband or wearing a buff on my head to try and absorb some of the sweat! Icky I know, but I sweat buckets. I also had a problem with my sunglasses steaming up! Does anyone else get that? I found I had to pull them further down my face but then they felt like they needed pushing up!

I finished parkrun with an official time of 37:07 a good two minutes slower than last week! I think over Summer I’m just going to have to ease it back a bit and take the slower times as I’m not good in heat.

My home parkrun now has a selfie frame too so obviously I had to get a picture with it!

parkrun selfie frame

With Maria

With Marie

With Marie

After heading home for a shower we drove to Ringwood to go and order a new car for me! It’ll be late August/early September before it gets to me though. I’m getting a Ford Fiesta. I wanted something a little bigger than my Smart Car and after looking round a few different cars this was my favourite. After signing on the dotted line we went for lunch at a pub in the New Forest which was lovely.

Ford Fiesta

What my new car will look like

Any tips for running in the heat?

Does your home parkrun have a selfie frame?

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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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