Tag Archives: running

My First Outdoor Solo Run

Lots of runners run outdoors on their own. They use it for headspace, to zone out and forget about the worries of the day.

When I need to run, usually on my day off like today, I go on the treadmill. The treadmill is easy for me. It’s what I’m used to, it’s flat and I don’t have to leave the house.

I’ve always found running outdoors much harder. So much so, after my injury in 2013 I never really returned to outdoor running. My first outdoor run was my first parkrun on 13th May 2017. Since then I’ve walked lots outside but never run. To be honest I’m a bit scared of what someone might say to me. You hear these horror stories of runners being heckled and I don’t want it to be me on the receiving end.

As I’m beginning to enjoy running now and I have the Great South Run booked, I know I need to transfer my running to the great outdoors. I need to gain the strength needed to complete that 10 mile race. So this morning I thought “I’ll go for a run outside” that was 4 hours before I actually plucked up the courage to go.

I eventually got dressed to go but as I reopened the curtains after getting changed my stomach dropped. The bin men hadn’t been yet and they’re usually somewhere in the area at this time. So what?! I hear you cry, well this means I’d have to go past them. A group of blokes, what if they were lairy and shouted something at me?!

I finally managed to get my butt out of the door. I’d worked out a one mile loop and my aim was to run it and then if I felt able I could always do a second loop. Ideally I’d do two miles but worst case scenario there were a few cut throughs back to home on this loop so it’d be easy to go home earlier if I needed to. I walked part of the loop (just over half a mile) to warm up, then dropped my jacket off at the house and set off.

Guess what was waiting round that very first corner? Yep, the bin men. They didn’t so much as bat an eyelid in my direction! I ran much more than I expected to before taking my first walk break. I ran along the front and was feeling pretty darn good. Just like at parkrun I ran when I could and walked when I needed to.

Before I knew it I was at the point to start heading back towards home to round off my first mile loop but I decided to keep going on the road I was on as I felt good by this stage and knew I wouldn’t need to stop at a mile. I ran on until I hit 1 mile then turned to run the same route back.

I decided to turn off a little early as my route went ever so slightly uphill. I mean ever so slightly as well, I live in a very flat area. I know a little loop near me is about 0.3miles so I knew I could loop that instead and probably still make 2 miles before arriving home which I did. I got to my house just after mileage ticked over to 2 miles. I did it, and nothing happened!

Red faced but 2 miles complete

I was really pleased, in fact I still feel pretty smug about it now. 

strava details

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When Running Feels Good

After my post Feeling Lost With Running lots of people offered advice on my blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

The general theme of the advice was “Listen to your body”, “Go off plan”, “Keep it fun” and “Don’t be afraid to take a step back”

I took the advice. This week I went to parkrun without a plan. I didn’t set any intervals on my watch, I just pressed go and went.

We walked the long way to parkrun to give us a good warm up. On the way we saw Marie and Mike. Marie asked me if I was going to beat Mike this week. I told her not likely! (This will become relevant later in the post) We arrived at 8.55, just as the run brief was getting underway.

It took me longer than usual to get past the start line. The New Year not only makes gyms busier, it also makes parkruns a lot busier (as well as three local courses being cancelled).

I ran a little and walked when I needed to. The course was quite congested with so many people there so some of my walk breaks were enforced or extended as I just couldn’t get past people with the faster runners coming back in the other direction. I cheered on my friends as they all came back past me having already reached the turn point. The thing I love about my parkrun is, I know so many people, I barely go more than 20 steps without someone waving at me or cheering me on. It’s great and helps move the time along.

When I turned at the first turn around point I noticed the sun was still on it’s way up. It was making the sky glow with a pinky/lilac colour. It was really pretty. I continued with my run walk, taking breaks when I needed to. I kept overtaking an older gentleman when I was running and he in turn would overtake me when I had a walk break.

As we passed by the finish funnel I took a walk break and he said to me “Come on, don’t let an 85 year old beat you” He didn’t make me feel bad, or particularly unfit at all haha

I was now making my way towards the second turnaround point now and I felt good. Runners were coming back the other way once again and I was able to cheer everyone on and receive words of encouragement myself. My 85 year old friend told me “When we reach that turn around point I don’t want to see you again” Shortly after he said this I fell behind anyway and he disappeared off but I soon heard a voice from behind me.

Mike (in his 70’s) was just behind me shouting “You’re still beating me” I tried to run away from him (No really!) but that just made him laugh and shout “That got you moving didn’t it?!” We soon fell in to pace and began to run together. The thing is with Mike is, he runs slower than me but is more consistent. Matching his pace actually allowed me to run quite a bit more than I had been doing. We chatted, he told me they’d just been to Exmouth and run the 2nd Exmouth parkrun. I told him the ED’s had been to our parkrun in November as they were running the Gosport Half Marathon and that my favourite athlete Jo Pavey had turned up to their inaugural.

We made the descent down mini mountain and Mike started to pull away from me. He told me to hurry up. I told him I wasn’t sure I could run all the way from there to the finish funnel (it’s further than it looks, it’s very deceptive) he said I could and together we ran in all the way, him encouraging me all the way.

Just before we got to the funnel we overtook my 85 year old friend who shouted “Oi!” at me. I shouted an apology back but Mike told me to go so I did. We ran in pretty much together.

Here I am with my older friends!

I felt elated. A good fun parkrun. I never got to thank Mike, he was continuing his run to Browndown in an attempt to start upping his mileage. Next time I see him I’ll be sure to thank him for his good company.

Taking the pressure off was the best thing to do. I didn’t feel wrecked by the end of it and today I haven’t been paying the price. I’m so pleased and I finally got a good parkrun photograph!

I’m going to try the same tactics next week for sure! Wish me luck!

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Feeling Lost With Running

This post is a bit of a brain dump with something that’s been bothering me.

I feel a bit lost with my running at the minute. I keep finding plans, printing them out and doing day one but then the next time I run I think I’ll try this, or try this combination of run/walking etc. I know I’ve been making progress with my running but part of me can’t help but feel it’s all been a bit of a fluke so far.

This morning (Monday – This is a scheduled post) I decided to go back to basics, back to where it all began (in 2012 when I started running) and did Couch to 5K Week 1 Day 1. I thought I’d breeze it on the treadmill, after all I’m already doing parkruns. I actually didn’t though. It was a good workout and by the end I was sweating! I rounded it up to 2 miles by adding in two extra 1 minute runs.

But now what do I do. I’m thinking of sticking with the Couch to 5K but then what should I do at parkruns? I’ve been doing 30 seconds of running and 45 seconds of walking recently and have felt ok with that, not brilliant but it’s ok and manageable. Or do I just go and run when I can and walk when I need to? Is this the approach I should just take to running? Who says it needs to be so regimented?! There’s also the beginners group at my running club coming up at my running club, do I join that?! Gah, everyone makes it all look so straight forward but getting started is definitely the hardest thing.

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My Running Goals for 2018

2018 Running Goals

It’s that time of year where everyone is looking forward to 2018 and thinking of New Years Resolutions or Goals. I’ve been thinking of some myself, just like I did in 2017. This time though I’ve made running specific goals and have yet to decide if these will be my focus or if I’ll set some life goals too.

Here’s what I’m hoping will come out of my running in 2018.

I finally managed to get my 5K time to under 45 minutes and now it’s time to strive for the next goal. I chose 40 minutes, but with a whole year to work on this I might get closer to 35. I thought about adding 30 minutes in there but right now that seems practically impossible!

At the minute I’m only really running a parkrun on the seafront or running on the treadmill at home. I need to get outside more and run on a variety of terrains as this will help my running. By attending the club nights with Gosport Road Runners I’m hoping this will help with this goal.

To simply survive the 10 mile long Great South Run in October is the main goal. To complete it in 2.5 hour or less is the secondary goal.

So far I’m signed up for two races in 2018. I’d like to sign up to a few more. It’ll help me get some practice in before the dreaded GSR!

Are you setting any goals for 2018?

What are your running goals for 2018?

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Running in 2017 – My Journey

My greatest achievement in 2017? Starting to run again and properly this time!

Last Christmas Day (2016) my husband and I went for a walk. Embarrassingly I made it to less than a mile before I needed to turn around and head home. My intention that Christmas Morning had been to walk my local parkrun course. I’d never completed the course and wanted to give it a go. I think the aspiration was too big and it was a case of wanting to run before I could walk (excuse the pun)

Gradually through the remainder of December and January I built it up little by little. By the end of January I could walk 5K (the length of a parkrun) but it took me well over an hour. By walking regularly I managed to speed my pace up a little and by April had got my 5K time to just a tiny bit over an hour.

In May I was ready to attempt my first parkrun. There’s one friend I’ve made through parkrun who is my greatest believer. She’s called Rachel and she gives so much encouragement. She told me before that parkrun “So what if it takes you over an hour, they’ll wait. You’ve given enough of your time through volunteering, now it’s your turn to do it” Those words meant a lot to me and I managed to complete that first parkrun in 58:24. Under an hour. I was over the moon.

I slowly built up to run/walking. I completed the course walking a couple of times and complimented this with run/walking on my treadmill at home. I then began walking the majority of the course and then run/walking the last section. This then built up to run/walking from around halfway and then run/walking the whole thing.

Louise and I at parkrun
Louise and I at my 2nd parkrun

In August I joined the Gosport Road Runners Beginners Group but broke after week 2. I suffered with Achilles pain that put me right out of action until September. I was so gutted. I’d waited so long for the group to begin and then went and broke myself. I think it was a case of too much too soon. However it made me more determined and I was still able to complete the final 5K race of the Bayside series, which the Beginners Group were using as their Graduation. I got a PB in that race, 45:53 and broke my PB from 2012!

Bayside 5K Summer Series

Since September I’ve looked after my Achilles doing stretches and buying a half foam roller to help aid it. My run/walking has continued to improve and I’m now able to complete 5K doing one minute of running and one minute of walking. However I can’t do this and finish strong yet. If I do 30 seconds of running and 45 seconds of walking then I finish feeling stronger. I’ve worked on chipping away at my time since September and really wanted to get under 45 minutes. on 2nd December I did it! I crossed the finish line in 44:40. I was elated.

So far I’ve improved my parkrun time by 13 minutes and 44 seconds. I’d love to make that 14 minutes by the end of the year but with only one parkrun left I’m not sure I’ll manage it, especially after the indulgences of Christmas! But we’ll see….Watch this Space!

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2017 Goals – How I did

2017 Goals

Health

I’ve done ok with this. I’ve lost just over 2 stone in 2017. My weight has plateaued since November but people are telling me on a regular basis I’m looking trim lately so I guess the exercise is paying off. I’m enjoying running and spin classes. My lunches during the working week could be better. As I said in my last update we get a free lunch at work but it isn’t the healthiest even though it’s supposed to be! Something to improve on in 2018?

parkrun

For my parkrun goal I said It’s time to complete one…and maybe a second if I enjoy it! I love volunteering at parkrun and to date have volunteered 70 times! (71 on New Years Day) Yet I’ve never completed a parkrun. It’s time to change that”

I completed my first parkrun on 13th May in a time of 58:24. I’ve now got that down to 44:40 and I’ve completed 14 runs. When I wrote the post I’d volunteered 70 times. I’m now up to 130. I’m really proud of that number. I’ve also engaged in a bit of tourism!

Read more books

I think I could have done better with this. I’m currently on my 19th book which for some people will be a lot but for others is barely any! This is something I’d like to work on more in 2018.

be me

This is something I’ve done well with. I’ve only accepted invitations to things I really want to go to. I’m going to be honest, it’s mainly food related. I’ve enjoyed spending time at home doing things I enjoy rather than going out and doing things I enjoy less.

It’s time to start thinking about my 2018 goals.

How did you do with your 2017 goals? Keeping myself accountable on my blog has definitely helped!

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I Am A Broken Runner

Since getting back from my holiday to Brazil my running was going really well.

At the weekend, before last, I’d run/walked Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. I started with run 1 minute and walk 1 minute as there was a pacer (my lovely friend Rachel) but as I got to the first turnaround point I was struggling to keep up. It was perhaps a touch too far from the 30 seconds run/1 minute walk. I dropped back to my usual and completed the course that way in a time of 45:47, only 22 seconds off my PB.

On Tuesday I went to Gosport Road Runners and joined my lovely friend Rachel again who was leading the run/walk group. We did 1 minute run and 1 minute walk at a slightly slower pace than parkrun. I kept up and we completed 2.7 miles. I was really pleased and enjoyed the chatty sociable run. I met a couple of people I’d never met before including a chap named Sid who has been a member of Gosport Road Runners for over 30 years. He was a funny guy who had me laughing all the way round and took my mind off the run. Beforehand I had been apprehensive about going as it was after work. I work long hours, I never seem to drink enough and there isn’t the opportunity to have a snack before heading out. Everything that could make a run disastrous. But I did it, and now I know I can do it again!

On Thursday I went to Virtual Spin at the gym with Maria from work. It was a different video to the ones we had done before and there were a couple of sections that were killer! It was good though. I always leave spin feeling like I’ve had a really good workout.

On Saturday I was the Run Director at parkrun. It all went really smoothly with no real incidents so I enjoyed it a lot. That afternoon I did my run. It had been so cold on the seafront and so windy I decided to do 5K on the treadmill. The run went fine. I did 1 minute run and 1 minute walk and it felt fine and at one point I felt really strong and like running was finally clicking in to place. After my run I stretched and then when I removed my trainers I got the dreaded achilles pain I got in August except this time in my right foot instead of my left.

I’m hoping it doesn’t leave me out of action for 4 weeks like last time! I participated in ukrunchat (@ukrunchat on Twitter) on Sunday night and got some sound advice about how to help it so I’ll be doing those exercises and stretches daily to try and help it. I’m gutted to be honest. How am I ever going to make it to ten miles at the Great South Run if I just keep breaking?!

Yesterday was a busy day. We had junior parkrun in the morning then headed straight back to Lee-on-the-Solent to spectate at the Gosport Half Marathon. We had to go such a topsy turvy way due to the road closures, I’m glad Maggie was driving and not me!

The Gosport Half Marathon is always such a good race put on by Gosport Road Runners. I felt like I didn’t know as many people this year, probably because members of GRR aren’t allowed to run the race and that’s where most of my friends are. The beauty of this race is you can manage to spot people 4 times as they do two loops. I saw friends from parkrun, parents from work and Anna.

I came home feeling disheartened. Usually after watching a race I feel motivated and looking forward to my next run but my achilles has just left me feeling low and wondering if this running lark is actually good for you after all!

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How I Earned the Halloween 5K Medal

I entered my result for this race as soon as I’d done a 5K in October. By the time you read this post I’ll be away on holiday and I wanted to make sure I’d entered my 5K time well before going on holiday because otherwise I’d forget for sure!

So I completed this 5K on 7th October at parkrun. I’d really wanted a 5K PB but sadly it wasn’t to be as the wind was ferocious. That’s the thing about having a seafront parkrun, it can be so windy. As it was parkruns 13th Birthday my local parkrun had put on a pacing event so people could try for a PB but even the pacers struggled to make it in on time due to the wind. So a sub 45 minute parkrun still eludes me but I’ll keep trying. Or maybe I’ll have managed it by the time you read this! We’ll see!

So with a time of 45:36 I earned the 5K Halloween Medal from Virtual Runner UK. This medal was a surprise as, for some reason, I didn’t realise it opens up! It’s another really cool medal.

Halloween 5K Medal

Halloween 5K Medal

It’s such a great medal, I love that it opens and says Trick or Treat. What a neat idea. The medals from Virtual Runner just get better and better.

 

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How I Earned My Golden Ticket medal

This is actually a medal I earnt in September, I just realised I hadn’t posted about it yet! Oops!

The Golden Ticket medal could be earned by completing a 5k during the month of September. I didn’t complete a 5K specifically for this one, instead I decided I’d do 5K’s throughout September and pick my best time. I perhaps did this a tad early as if I’d hung on until 30th September I’d have had a better time but that’s another story.

So the end of September was approaching and my best 5K time was the Bayside Summer Series 5K I did so I entered that time. It’s kind of like I got two medals for the same run but considering the weather it was worth getting two medals for that run!!

If you missed my post on the Bayside Summer 5K it’s HERE

Now this medal is something else, check out these pictures! I love it.

Golden Ticket Medal

Isn’t it fab how it opens up to reveal the golden ticket! Willy Wonka would be proud!

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September Roundup

September has been and gone. As much as it’s sad to see the Summer over, Autumn is my favourite time of year so I’m not entirely sad that we find ourselves with darker evenings, cooler days and a carpet of freshly shed leaves.

In September I managed to complete 4 parkruns! That’s the most in one month I’ve completed. I’ve gone from starting September with a time of 56:19 after coming back from injury to setting a new PB on the last day of September of 45:25.

parkrun finish token

I also ran my first 5K race in 3 years! I got a PB, beating my 5K PB from 2012! I’ve since smashed this PB at parkrun (see above)

5k bib number and medal

At the beginning of September this fella was still spending his days in the garden but as the month progressed we’ve seen less of him. I guess he’s finding warmer places to hide now the weather has cooled off.

fox

I also discovered a fabulous shop in nearby Wickham called Whiff of Wickham that sells bath bombs, melts, soaps etc. I bought a load of bath bombs by Bomb Cosmetics and Paws for Thought was my favourite. Not only was it cute to look at but it smelt divine too.

paws for thought bath bomb

I also went to Southampton with friends in September to go to Sprinkles. When we got there, there was a huge big wheel so we went on it. The views from the top were awesome. Check out West Quay shopping centre with a huge cruise ship behind it in the picture below.

View from Southampton Wheel

And finally a picture of a tree I took last week. It couldn’t look more Autumnal!

Autumnal Tree

So now we’re in to October and the countdown to Christmas can truly begin!

Missed a post from September? They’re all listed below!

Earning the Run in the Sun medal

Returning to parkrun

I’ve joined the gym

I was shouted at by a race marshal

My New Running Plan

My First Race in 3 Years

What I Read This Summer

How My Week Went From Bad To Worse

I’ve Started Preparing for Christmas Already

Stokes Bay junior parkrun

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