Tag Archives: parkrun

parkrun Number 31 With a Double Buggy

I’m still catching up with my blog posts…

After putting out a call for someone to run with on Facebook, parkrun number 31 (12th May) was run with Caroline who is also a member of Gosport Road Runners and a yummy mummy to two lovely boys.

On arrival at parkrun I noticed Anna had come down! She hadn’t told me she was coming so that was a lovely surprise. We had a quick chat before I went to find my place in the starting pen.

I met up with Caroline and said hello to her boys in the double buggy she was pushing. She allowed me a try with it to see how heavy it was. I can confirm it was heavy! But surprisingly had really good steering! We set off and Caroline told me “If I’m too quick or start getting too far in front just shout me back” I replied with “As long as we stay under 15 minute miles I’m happy”

Our parkrun can be quite congested in parts and I definitely experienced this on a whole other level with Caroline. It was difficult for her to be able to over take people and frustratingly after we’d over taken someone, they then over took us but then slowed back down in front of us!

We chatted along nicely and I was surprised when mile 1 popped up on my watch at a 13:43 minute mile. I told Caroline we might need to slow a bit but at the minute I was comfortable so we’d keep going as we were. I don’t know Caroline that well so it was nice to have someone new to chat to and learn a bit more about. She actually made me laugh out loud quite a few times.

We were just passing the finish funnel when we saw Anna as a blur heading past us on the finishing straight. She looked remarkably fast! I then turned my attention to the upcoming ramp and asked Caroline what she planned to do. She told me she’d run up it so I felt I had to run up it too, after all if she can do it pushing a double buggy then I certainly could do it.

Caroline continually asked how I was doing and were we ok pace wise. I still felt quite good and was pleased to see mile 2 pop up with a 14:08 minute mile. We then came to the dreaded shingle and Caroline said she’d catch me up as the double buggy was hard to get through it. It’s hard enough running over on your own never mind with a buggy but she did it.

I told her how the part back from the turn around to the finish point was the absolute hardest for me as it’s often very quiet by then and it feels like the longest part when in actual fact it’s the shortest. Caroline took the lead a little here to spur me on I think. It definitely worked and she pulled me through mile 3 with a 13:23 minute mile! My quickest mile out of all 3! During this mile we also saw Anna on her way back to the car. She told me she’d just gone sub 20. I was so pleased for her and then bored Caroline with Anna’s Brighton PB story too!

As we neared the end she told me to go for it and make sure I over take the elderly gent in front. The elderly gent was John who runs in the 85-89 age category! And still beats me nearly every week! Also check out Coach Keith in the Hi-Viz jacket. I’m pretty sure he’s laughing at my cheeky over take!

Finish Funnel

When we finished I was very pleased to see I was just over a minute off my PB. That’s the best I’ve run for weeks! Caroline told me afterwards she’d seen how close to my PB we were near the end and sped us up a little. I didn’t even notice! I’m definitely getting better at just running and not watching my watch to see if I can get near my PB. parkrun is meant to be fun after all!

Afterwards, Caroline asked me for a selfie, obviously I obliged!

Caroline and I

My running is really improving and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

 

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Finally A Good Run!

Well as the title says, I’ve finally had a good run! On Friday night I put a call out on Facebook asking for someone to complete parkrun with me. My lovely friend Mike responded saying it was his 100th parkrun if I wanted to run with him. Naturally I said yes! Running with Mike has really worked for me in the past. He has a slow yet steady pace which has helped me achieve running for a mile without stopping, then it was a mile and a half, and then two miles. I’m truly grateful to him.

Mike’s wife Marie ran behind us the whole way and captured the occasion on camera.

Lining up ready to start

We were also joined by Janet who is part of the wonderful volunteering duo Cliff and Janet.

We set off at a comfortable 15 minute mile pace. We were chatting, saying well done to friends and before I knew it mile 1 clicked up on my watch. I felt comfortable both in my legs and with my breathing and I hadn’t felt the need to walk.

Mile 1

We were chatted about Mike visiting a North London parkrun, about Janet’s half marathon last week in Southampton and my return to Scotland in September. The time just passed by so easily and we reached the turn around point (just over 2 miles) without me even really thinking about it. I didn’t hurt and I didn’t have those little voices in my head.

Turn around point

We were soon at the end and Mike suggested a sprint finish. Janet told me it was too early for a sprint so we let Mike go off.

Mike finishing

I love how happy everyone is for him. Note Cliff on the right with his arm in the air (Janet’s husband).

Janet and I finished in a time of 46.12. Not my fastest but I was so so pleased as I’d managed to run it all and more importantly it had been comfortable.

End of the run

I needed this run. I needed a run to finally feel manageable and comfortable. I was beginning to think I’d never have a run like it again. I’m relieved and pleased…and eager to get out there again!

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What I’ve Done This Past Week

It feels like way more than a week since I did my catch up post! But I already feel like it’s time for another.

Last week after parkrun I bought the kit home as I was to be the RD the following week.

On Easter Sunday I went to spin class with Maria, my spin partner in crime, and work colleague. We go to Virtual spin and it was my favourite one, RPM 75. There’s one section of it that I absolutely love. So much so that I’ve downloaded the track that goes with that section.

As this week was Easter I got another day off in the week as my usual day off is a Monday but obviously it was the Bank Holiday so I was given a Wednesday as my day off. This was great as it meant I could prep the kit for parkrun mid week and get it all done in the day rather than charging it over 3 or 4 evenings. However I had to go in to work for a meeting at 6pm and I always feel like I’m clock watching when that’s the case.

I also wanted to get a run in on Wednesday but it threw it down. It looked like it was stopping so I quickly went and put on my running kit only to come back downstairs and find it had started throwing it down again so I, begrudgingly, did a run on the treadmill. I did a 2 mile run and it was just awful. Running on a treadmill is now so hard! Before it was my comfort blanket. Now I literally hate it. I’m definitely converted to an outdoor runner. Just not in heavy rain!

Thursday was spin class again. Unfortunately the bike I used seemed to have a faulty speedometer and it only recorded 10 miles. I always do around 13! Frustrating but nothing I can really do.

On Saturday I was RD at parkrun. I had all the kit prepared and got there nice and early to set up. I was about to announce the new runners briefing and asked someone to turn the PA system on. They tried but it wasn’t working. It’d switch on for a second then fade out. We’ve had a couple of problems with the PA system and it looked like today was going to be another problem. Well, good job I’m loud! I shouted that the new runners brief was starting and when that was over I shouted the whole run brief to 350 people and was heard! Yep, I’m that loud. Thankfully the rest of the run and the uploading of the results went off without a hitch.

Giving the run brief

Hollering the Run Brief

Sunday I was tail walker at junior parkrun. As I’ve completely lost my mojo I thought this would be a way to get me out and running. As it happens I ended up walking the whole thing! It was actually really nice though as I walked with a fellow RD’s daughter who I presented with her half marathon wristband in this post. She was just so sweet chatting away. We talked about her pets, her running, her dad’s running, her school friend, foxes honestly the list goes on.

Sunday afternoon I was back at spin class and somehow I managed to get on the same faulty bike again! What a nightmare. It recorded only 8 miles this time despite my watch telling me I’d actually burnt more calories than usual. I felt like I’d worked really hard too so it’s a shame I don’t know how far I really went. A lot of the time the speedometer was telling me I was doing 1mph when I obviously wasn’t so I let the receptionist know that the bike is faulty.

That brings us to Monday. I finally got outside and went for a run. The weather was so rainy but I waited it out and managed to get out when it was just spitting/drizzling. I ran part of the parkrun course and then ran from there to Hillhead beach. It was really quiet out because of the weather. Although I did see some people and it’s funny what people say. I passed a lady for the second time and she said “Ooo you’ve gone far” I didn’t really know what to say so I just did an awkward laugh. I then passed two elderly gentlemen and one said “You go for it girl” ha I said thanks and jogged on. Bless them, they did make me smile though. Somehow I managed to get a new 5K PB! Amazing what being well rested and well hydrated can do! I’m now at 42:13. Ever closer to 40 minutes! Now I just need to try and replicate it at parkrun!

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Aviemore parkrun

I spent last week in Scotland! There’s a holiday update coming soon but let me tell you about what we did on our first day there. We went to Aviemore parkrun.

I adore Scotland, the beautiful scenery and miles of lush countryside just waiting to be explored. It’s perfect. I particularly like the Cairngorms National park and have visited many times so when I heard Aviemore had it’s own parkrun I knew I wanted to go next time we were there. I then heard it only gets around 50 people. Then I definitely wanted to go! My local parkrun gets between 350-450 runners. As a slower runner I’m always near the end so the prospect of a top 50 finish was very alluring!

Aviemore was only an hour from where we were staying so after a quick check of their Facebook page to make sure they were on, as there was lots of snow in Scotland, we set off with my obligatory Belvita and cup of coffee.

parkrun selfie

Pre parkrun picture

When we arrived I introduced myself to Pete the Run Director and told him where we’d come from. He gave us a warm welcome but did seem slightly bemused that we would travel so far! He gave the Run Brief, then we walked to the start. It had said on the course page that it was a short walk to the start but I didn’t expect to have to go through a tunnel! How cool is that?!

tunnel to the start

The tunnel to the start

Anyway we set off and I soon found myself running beside the tail walker. She introduced herself as Claire and we started chatting. She was such a lovely lady and we chatted about everything from pets to races we had coming up. The run starts by heading through a woodland area and soon opens up. The whole run is on a firm woodland track. I imagine it can get a little boggy but the ground was very frozen when we were there. There were a couple of patches that were sheet ice that I chose to walk over. I didn’t want to break my leg on holiday!

The course is described as an undulating out and back course. However because I was chatting away to Claire I didn’t notice the hills too much which surprised me as all my running is on pancake flat roads! We reached the turn around cone and started to retrace our steps and then there was the moment! The moment that sets this parkrun apart from any other is when you turn and see the Cairngorm Mountain. It’s beautiful. It’s absolutely breathtaking and seeing it covered in snow gave it an almost magical feeling. That moment was incredible and rendered me speechless…for about 30 seconds. I like to talk…a lot! I just wish I’d thought on and snapped a picture!

There were some nice downhill sections on the way back which were great but then Claire told me we were at the last kilometre and it was all uphill. When we got to the start of the hill I, somewhat foolishly thought, “It doesn’t look that big” but it was. It was big and long! Claire gave me a good tip of taking smaller steps and that helped. Usually I try to lengthen my stride on the mini mountain of my local parkrun.

As we reached the end I was given an almighty cheer by the volunteers which was awesome! The volunteers were all so lovely. I was given my finish token and was just about to get it scanned when I thought to check my position number and was super surprised to see I finished in position 28!! I told the barcode scanner I just needed to take a picture of my token which amused her! Claire then explained to her about our large numbers at my home parkrun and it soon made sense.

finish token

After taking a picture I thanked Claire and thanked the other volunteers. We then went to the designated café which was upstairs above a lovely homeware shop. I ordered the smashed avocado and eggs on toast which had been recommended in the run brief and it was absolutely delicious!

When the results came through I was pleased to see I was only 2 minutes outside of my PB despite it being a hilly course!

We both really enjoyed Aviemore parkrun and would definitely go back. It reminded me of the much more local Moors Valley parkrun so I feel the need to revisit there again soon.

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

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The Beast From The East

I’m a little behind with blogging so forgive me for having to mention the The Beast From The East! On 3rd March I was due to be Run Director at my local parkrun. There had been forecasts for snow but being on the South Coast, snow is quite a rarity. I’d prepped the kit naively thinking there wouldn’t be any snow, or if there were, there wouldn’t be very much of it.

Thursday afternoon came and so did the snow. It got so bad that work started to send people home. I left just after 2.30pm. The snow continued and in to Friday. We were given a snow day at work on Friday which meant I could make the final checks on the kit. By Friday night we were starting to think of a plan for the Saturday morning.

Myself and another RD agreed that we’d meet at 7am and walk the course to see how the promenade was looking. However, once she arrived at my house we already knew it was a no go. I couldn’t stand on my drive without sliding on the ice. When I managed to get off my drive the pavement was hard compacted ice. We made the decision to cancel.

Myself and the ED went down to our starting point at 8.45 just in case anyone hadn’t seen the announcements on our social media. We turned 4 people away which wasn’t too bad, it meant the message had got through. We did feel really bad for once fella. He’d travelled to us from Chichester after they had cancelled the night before. He told us he’d not seen the announcements on social media but this was to be his 99th run and the following week he’d travel to Manchester to run his 100th run whilst his brother ran his 200th. Now he was going to have to run his 99th in Manchester! Oops!

We were definitely justified in making the cancellation but I did feel bad for him!

Snow on the prom

The next day was like the snow never happened. It all melted, there were blue skies and sunshine! Crazy!

I went for a 4 mile run the next day. I had a rough idea of where I’d run that would be around the 4 mile mark but decided to take a couple of detours, you know, to explore? Yeah I got lost…twice! During the run I struggled too. I know some days you have bad runs and this was definitely one. It just felt hard. I managed to do it slightly quicker than my previous 4 mile run though so that’s good. I also got a little boost when I passed by two friends from parkrun who were making up for their missed run the day before.

4 mile run

Obligatory post run picture and stats! Excuse the filter, sometimes I do like to dabble with a snapchat filter!

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The Whole 5K

I wrote this for the run report of my local parkrun and decided to make it a blog post too.

I’ve been completing parkruns since May 2017. I started walking…slowly! Today was to be my 23rd parkrun but I have to admit, when I got up this morning, I didn’t really fancy it! I toyed with the idea of just volunteering, but eventually forced myself to get dressed in my running clothes.

After volunteering as Volunteer Co-ordinator I went and lined up in the starting pen, did you know there are some roles where you can volunteer and run?! I listened to the Run Brief given by Geoff and chuckled at the comedy moment when Geoff asked if anyone was running with a dog and a dog replied!

We were soon on our way and my slow plod began. At the moment I am a plodder. I have been able to run more and more since starting parkrun but have always had walk breaks. Some weeks more walk breaks than running it seemed!

As I turned at Browndown I saw a large boat out on the Solent and wondered if I’d overtake it or at least draw level with it at any point. I didn’t. As I turned at Browndown I was yet to take a walk break.

Once over the hill (I ran the hill this week!) a lady over took me and said she liked my cheer leaders. I know a lot of people at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun as I have been volunteering since Week 2 (pesky work made me miss week 1!) A lot of you know me by name due to this and me making semi regular appearances on top of that ladder. I know a lot of you by face rather than name but it makes me beam with pride when so many of you cheer me on by name. I always try and say thank you but sometimes I am pretty breathless!

As I headed towards The Shack I looked at the new work going on, on our beautiful beach. I then ran the shingle section, grateful that they’d cleared some of it to get their equipment on to the beach.

The turnaround at The Shack marked the start of the hardest bit for me as a slow runner. For some reason in my head this feels like the longest part even when in reality it isn’t. This is because I’ve already passed by most people. I look out for my friends in the crowd to make the time pass quicker. When you’re a slow runner at the back The Shack to the Finish can feel like a very long and lonely road.

The two little boys who were marshalling with their Dad at the end of the beach huts made me smile as I passed them. They were so enthusiastic and kept me going on the hardest part. The hardest part also involves the two mini mountains which I actually managed to run up this week.

As I reached the brow of the hill and ran back down the other side, with a view of the finish funnel, I thought “Hang on a minute, I’m actually going to do this” And I did. I ran all the way to the finish funnel and had run the whole 5K for the first time.

post parkrun photo

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Another parkrun PB!!

I was up bright and early this Saturday for parkrun as I was volunteering as well as running. This week I was volunteer coordinator, which basically means I gave the technical volunteers (those barcode scanning/timing) their equipment and a lesson in how to use it.

Before I knew it, it was time to shed my layers. I’d wrapped up as I knew I’d be stood around for a while whilst waiting for the volunteers to arrive. I was a bit worried as I hadn’t had time to do any sort of warm up. Usually I walk to parkrun the long way to allow me to get warmed up.

As we set off it didn’t seem to matter much. I soon warmed up as I set off. I was running on my own this week as Mike was elsewhere. I managed to run all the way to the first turn around point and back to the sailing club before taking a walk break. Without Mike’s careful pace I always set off too fast. I did my usual thing of walking when I needed to and running as much as I could.

There were 464 runners this week at parkrun and the course was really congested. There were a couple of portions of the run where I had to walk because there just wasn’t the space to over take the walkers in front of me as there were so many faster runners coming the opposite way.

As I headed along the longest part of the course (Browndown to The Shack for those in the know) I got hotter and hotter. There was absolutely no breeze. I was roasting and very glad to turn at The Shack in to a slight breeze. I get so hot when I run. When I told my friend this she exclaimed “But it’s only February!” I dread to think what I’ll be like in July!

As I was nearing the end I glanced at my watch and figured I wasn’t going to beat last weeks PB time so I thought I’d treat myself to another little walk break. Then as the funnel was coming in to sight and looked at my watch again and thought “Hang on, I might do this” cue me bolting! I have no idea where that speed or energy came from but I bolted the last 200m and got in to the funnel with my watch saying 43:31

My lungs were absolutely burning and I felt like I might burst when I’d finished. I had to sit on a bench and catch my breath before getting scanned! I sat and had a chat to a lady who had been just in front of me most of the way. She later posted on the parkrun Facebook page that I’d made her day so that was really nice. I like to spread a little sunshine 😀

Standard post parkrun picture

When the results came through whilst we were eating breakfast in the café I was delighted to see another PB of 43:27! I was over the moon. What a pleasant surprise! It seems that the more pressure I take off myself, the easier the PBs come! Strange!

After the run my IT band pain was absolutely fine which was a relief. However that afternoon I went for a walk to buy a card for someone and when I got back, the IT  band pain was back! It was only a gentle walk but it just goes to show how sensitive it must be! I’ll keep on with the exercises and hopefully I’ll see a difference soon.

I just thought I’d mention Stokes Bay junior parkrun too as I never seem to give it a mention anymore despite me being there every week. We’re still hitting high numbers every week which is amazing. We had 86 runners this week. I’m so glad we started this. Having these numbers every week just shows how much this was needed in our area.

On a final note too I wanted to mention Strava. For some reason my Strava maps are all over the place. It seems to think I’m Jesus and can run on water!

I definitely didn’t run in the sea

Does anyone else’s Strava do this?!

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A new parkrun PB

I’m a bit behind with blogging so I apologise that this post is coming to you a bit late. This post is about last weeks parkrun on 10th February.

I was looking forward to parkrun this week as it was a takeover week by one of the local running clubs. We have around 4 take overs a year at my local parkrun by the local running clubs. The members of the club take over all the volunteer roles. They provide pacers, give the run brief etc. They’re always really fun events. This time the take over was hosted by Fareham Crusaders with a super hero theme so they became the Caped Crusaders! Fancy dress was encouraged and there were some amazing costumes, my favourites were Banana Man who ran with a giant inflatable banana and the Hulk who was the tail walker.

I went and found Mike in the starting pen. When we started we ran together but he was soon gaining on me and I was struggling. I just couldn’t get a good rhythm going. He turned to look for me a couple of times but I waved him on. I didn’t want to spoil his run. As we approached the first of two turn around points I began to get stitch. As I headed back in the direction I had just come the stitch got worse, I then lost my rhythm with breathing and I gave up a little. I took my first walk break and thought “Some days you have bad runs, today’s not going to be a PB day” I proceeded to run/walk the course just running when I could and walking when I needed to.

I was struggling big time with stitch and just not being able to get a rhythm with my feet. I don’t know, it felt clunky and uncomfortable. There were three photographers with it being a takeover and I dreaded seeing the photographs. As I passed Sarah taking pictures I shouted “I hope it’s good enough for the gram” I was only half joking but was pleased when she shouted back “It definitely is!”

Good enough for the gram!

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful and it still sucked big time. I struggled the whole way. As I ran down the last section I looked at my watch and figured it must be wrong as it only said 43:XX and I was confused because I thought I’d started it early but it was showing a shorter time.

As I ran through the finish funnel someone shouted to me I’d done a PB. I can’t even tell you who this was, by the time I’m finished I can barely think straight! I looked at my watch and it said 43:41. I didn’t believe it was a PB though because it just didn’t feel like one!

Once we were at the café having breakfast whilst the results were uploaded there started some chatter about people having not taken tokens and funnel ducking etc. and the results would have to be looked at and reprocessed. I kept thinking “That’s it then, it definitely won’t be  a PB, there must be something wrong with my watch” but even with the results reprocessed it was a PB. The parkrun timers had me at exactly the same time!

So, my 5K time is now 43:41. Lots of people commented on how strong and comfortable I looked out on the course too, which I thought was ironic giving how terrible the whole run felt!

Post parkrun photo

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Another parkrun milestone

I have my own little pre-parkrun routine. I wake up and make a small coffee. I then eat a Belvita whilst drinking my coffee before getting dressed ready to go. Someone told me Belvita’s are good before a parkrun because they give you 4 hours of carbs. Anyway it works for me!

We took the long way to parkrun as usual on Saturday so that we could get a little warm up in before starting. I said goodbye to my husband as he starts closer to the front of the pack than I do, given that he’s faster than me, and I went and found my ever faithful pacer Mike.

We set off and ran. In the back of my mind I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to replicate the success of running 1 and a half miles on my Birthday. I’d been injured and only run twice since then. But we ran, at Mike’s steady pace and we chatted and we kept going.

We got to the ramp where I took my walk break last time and as we approached I said to Mike “Oh no, the mountain” Mike said to me “Come on, lean in and pump your arms” which is exactly what I did and I was at the top before I knew it. When we reached the flat before going back down the other side of the ramp Mike said “That’s not even the worst of it, it’s going back that’s the killer bit” Oh brilliant! Something to look forward to.

We continued running and had a bit of banter with the run/walk pacer. He told me if I was able to make sarcastic comments I obviously  wasn’t working hard enough haha. We then came to the shingle portion of the course and Mike told me he was going to walk the shingle. A lot of people do this as they’re scared of turning their ankle on the unsteady surface. The shingle probably doesn’t take a minute to walk over and after we’d walked over it, we ran. The rest of the way!

We finished in 45:13. I’m still finding it hard to crack 45 minutes but being able to run more each week will hopefully start to bring that down at some point.

Here I am at the end in my new running t-shirt

At the end of parkrun

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A Small Piece of parkrun Fame

Every week parkrun UK ask a question on their Facebook page. Sometimes it’s just “Did you join us this week?” or “Where did you parkrun today?” Sometimes they might ask something a bit more in depth e.g. “How does parkrun make you feel?” etc. Occasionally I answer these, if I feel I have something to say.

So imagine my surprise when I left work one night and had a Twitter notification from Anna telling me I’d been featured on parkrun UK’s Twitter page. A few days later I was on their Facebook page!

Facebook

Imagine my surprise when the following week I was featured again!

I absolutely can not get over how many likes on Facebook this one got! A whopping 761! So many people congratulating me and lots of people complimenting my t-shirt! It’s from OBD Clothing in case you’re wondering!

I’ve loved my little two minutes of parkrun fame!

Have you ever been featured on parkrun’s social media?

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