As you probably know if you’re a regular reader, parkrun means a lot to me. Obviously I talk about it to others as I’m there every weekend. If someone asks me what I’ve done at the weekend, the answer is always parkrun. To date I’ve volunteered 159 times and run 33. I always tell people they should try it if they’ve never been and someone finally agreed!
On Saturday, Maria, my spin partner, came to join me at parkrun! We arranged to meet at 8.40 so we could walk down and take her to the New Runners Briefing. However I was quite glad to attend it to as there was a change of route due to there being some works on the beach.
We got ourselves in to the starting pen and were soon setting off. I’d told Maria I’m a slow runner and if she wanted to stick with me we could walk whenever she needed to. We soon caught up with my lovely friend Mike and I was pleased Maria got to meet him as I’ve told her about him before. Maria didn’t need a walk break until after we hit the first turn around point! We had a quick walk and then were soon off running again.
As we continued to the next turnaround point (about a half mile earlier than the normal one) it was very warm and muggy. I struggle so bad in this weather. I’m definitely ready for colder weather again when it comes to running.
Because of the works on the beach we had to go past where the finish funnel would normally be. This definitely messed with my head despite the fact we’d turned around early. As we were running towards the new turnaround point I developed a pain in my groin every time my left leg went down. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t complete the run but it was definitely uncomfortable.
Maria did so well. She only walked 3 times and a fourth because I asked her too as I was struggling with the heat. I finished with a time of 45:18.
Afterwards we went to the café for breakfast and Maria got to meet the core team as we were all there. She commented on how friendly and encouraging everyone had been which made me feel proud. Even better though, she said she’d like to come again! Hurrah, I have made a parkrun convert.
Poo, it’s a bit of a taboo subject isn’t it?! But the fact is, we all do it! On Wednesday morning I woke up with the lark and decided to go for a run before work. I got up, went to the loo…but didn’t y’know, didn’t go and got ready. I headed out of the door at 5.35am.
I love that it’s light at that time. I bet the gent I passed in just his underpants in the street grabbing something out of his car boot wasn’t glad of the light! There was a cool breeze as I set out and I was grateful of it after the heat of running on Sunday. I had a 1 mile loop planned out in my mind so that if I wasn’t feeling the run I could stop after a mile. As I ran along though I felt pretty good so decided to stretch the route out a bit. I was only planning on doing 2 miles anyway. I dropped down to the beach and ran along the prom. The only other people I passed were runners and one dog walker. It was lovely and quiet.
But then there was a rumble at 1.5 miles and it was my stomach. It was definitely letting me know I needed the toilet. The public toilets along the beach aren’t open that early so I turned to head for home. I had to walk at one point as the urge was getting worse and then I had to full on stop. I pretended to stretch whilst I took a minute. Then I thought I’m going to have to run, I wasn’t going to have an accident but I needed to go. That last half a mile or so was probably the fastest I’ve ever run!
I made it home and the urge had actually settled so I stretched out a bit on the drive whilst I cooled down. I had a lovely run but oh I could have done without the panic!
On Sunday I completed the Romsey 5 Mile Beer Race hosted by Romsey Road Runners. I’d had this race recommended to me by Anna. Anna, why didn’t we get a selfie?!
Anyway I’d been keeping an eye on the weather all week and was worried as I saw it was meant to be 23c. The race didn’t start until 10am either so the heat was already ramping up. We got there about 9.05 and went to collect our bibs. We barely even queued as they seemed to have the process refined. I applied suncream and went for two nervous wees.
I met up with my fellow club members. This photo tells me I need to work on my bib pinning skills.
We stood in the shade as much as possible before the horn hooted, signalling the start of the race. The race begins with a lap of the cricket field and then out on to the roads.
Hayley took lots of pictures of the day so most of these are credited to her
I really struggled to breathe because of the heat. It was like I couldn’t get a full breath. The heat was crazy hot. I’m not made for heat and definitely not made for running in heat. Despite originally not planning to (before I knew how hot it was going to be) I took quite a few walk breaks.
The route takes you around the village of Braishfield. We were soon climbing hills. I was ill prepared for hills, because I didn’t know there were any but we ran as much as we could and walked when we needed to. We took in some of the houses we passed by. They were huge and beautiful in that quintessentially British way.
As we headed up another hill we passed by a field of cows. Two calves were stood by the gate loudly mooing. It was as though they were cheering the runners on.
I hadn’t studied the route (rookie error) and so we were very surprised when we joined up with the faster runners and saw the 4 mile sign before we’d seen the 3 mile sign. We wondered if the marshal had directed us the wrong way. It was around here that the tail runner caught up with us having had a few people drop out. She explained that we’d soon see people peeling off to the finish but we still had an extra lap to go. It was then that we saw the 3 mile sign and it all made sense. At this point we saw Hayley cheering us on.
This picture makes the hill look slightly steeper than it actually was! It was a little disheartening seeing the others getting to finish but I’d been cross when I thought we’d been mis-directed so I kept in mind that I was going to complete the full 5 miles. Hayley later told me she thought some of the runners hadn’t been completely honest about how many laps they’d completed. I imagine they just wanted to get out of that heat.
The second lap actually passed by really quickly with a mix of run walking and throwing water over myself. Then, finally it was our turn to peel off to the recreation ground where the race ended. I was really pleased to see my team mates had waited for me to cheer me in.
The lovely tail runner stuck with me the whole way. She was so lovely. I gave her a big hug afterwards to thank her.
We had to run a lap of the recreation ground and then it was down to the finish line.
When I crossed the line I was given tokens to collect my beer and cake and then I was handed a prize! I asked why I’d won a prize and she said “Because you did an awesome job” I think that was probably code for “Because you came last” but hey I’ll take it! I won a Hilly waist pack and it actually looks like a pretty good one. It probably cost more than what I’d have spent on it so I’m pretty pleased with that.
After this we went and collected our beer provided by Flack Manor Brewery of Romsey. We had Flack’s Double Drop and it was absolutely delicious. After the run it was the perfect thirst quencher. We then went through and got our cake. I had a beetroot brownie which was wonderful and my husband had the chocolate cake.
Whilst we ate them we watched Anna collect her tankard for being 2nd female. I’m totally in awe of Anna’s running. I still feel like I’m at the very beginning of my running journey but watching where Anna is, is just thoroughly inspiring.
We went and had a chat with my fellow Gosport Road Runners and Hayley snapped this picture of me with my beer and prize.
We then watched Hayley and Chris’ daughter Faye participate in the fun run. Usually I’d be cheering Faye on at junior parkrun on a Sunday morning so it felt apt to cheer her on here. Afterwards we walked back to the car park with them and Faye chatted away to us all. She’s so funny.
That afternoon the results were online and my chip time was 1:19:31. I’m quite pleased with that. I’d wanted 1:15 so given the hills and heat I don’t think 4 minutes outside it is too bad. Already I’m thinking of next years! How can I get better so I can tackle those hills? Can I find better ways to deal with the heat? So many thoughts!
I was told a while ago I need to incorporate intervals in to my runs. Mrs B, one of the coaches at Gosport Road Runners told me to come and try hers. She said it was friendly, inclusive and at your own pace.
I set off on Thursday night and it was still incredibly warm, around 24c! Gosport Road Runners meet at Gosport and Fareham Rugby Club. We did a warm up and then headed over to the Rugby pitch. We run around the top of the pitch. It’s affectionately called “The Dell of Doom” We started with 5 minutes of running before getting a rest break. Luckily for me Mike and Marie were there so I had a little chat with them. Mike peeled off to have a wee though so I soon lost him. He said he’d tried to stay hydrated all day but had probably over done it. Oh we’ve all been there. I then spotted two of the three ladies I ran with the other week (In my post New Running Friends) I got chatting to them and managed to stick with Cari for the whole session.
Running on grass is really hard, especially when the grass is longer in places. Even though the run portions got less and less with each one it still felt incredibly hard because of the grass and heat. I kept going through the session and managed to clock up 2.6 miles of running in a circle and also got a pretty funky Strava map.
I was shattered afterwards but I do secretly enjoy intervals. I think because you get rest portions 😉
As this was the end of the month I tallied up my running totals and realised this was my highest mileage month to date.
I’ve spoken about local legend Nick before. He runs a sports shop in Gosport, is a core member of Gosport Road Runners and brings the running community on a Wednesday evening with 545 club and every Sunday morning with the Breakfast Club. He also does “Red Sofa Interviews” where he interviews people from our local running community who he feels have a story that will resonate with others.
About a week ago Nick asked me if I’d give an interview. I was flattered and surprised all at the same time. I wasn’t sure I had a story to tell but he assured that I did. So, without further ado. Here is the interview:
Finally up to date! On Tuesday (22nd May) I went to my running club, Gosport Road Runners. I’m not going to lie, it had been such a hot day at work I didn’t want to go but a couple of colleagues encouraged me to put on my kit, start heading to club and see how I feel. As I go the same way home as I do to club I could easily just pull off towards home when I got there instead of carrying on. However, as you’ve probably guessed, I decided to go on the way home.
I’d seen previously that there was going to be an intervals session tonight and I’ve been wanting to give it a go since I was advised it’d be good for my running. I’ve never done a proper intervals session before so I was slightly apprehensive. I felt better though when I saw there were quite a few people I know in the group, including Mike who I like to parkrun with.
We started with a warm up as we walked to the cycle track where we were going to be doing session. We then had to run for 4 minutes, before having a break. I started way too fast and could barely finish the 4 minutes! Oops! I slowed down a little for the next burst which was 3 minutes. We then did 2 minutes and then a final 1 minute. I was able to push a little harder on the 1 minute as I’d just about got my breath back!
As we walked back to the start the instructor explained to me I should have got faster with each run section. That definitely would have been handy to know before we started! Guess I should have told him I’m a newbie in advance.
We then did another game where you worked with a partner. You ran to the first cone and back, then recovered whilst your partner did the same, when they got back you ran to the second further away cone and then back and they did the same. You were meant to partner up with someone who had a familiar pace to you so that you had a good recovery time. I, however ended up partnered with a very fast runner. Still, I did the session. Afterwards, despite only doing little over 2 miles I was shattered. Once I’d caught my breath and had a sit down I realised I’d thoroughly enjoyed the session.
Imagine my delight when there was someone taking photographs of the session too! Good for the blog but bad for my ego. This picture is horrendous but I’m doing it for the blog!
On Sunday (20th May – phew, nearly caught up) I went to Breakfast Club again with Honor.
As is customary at Breakfast Club, a group photograph was taken.
The picture doesn’t show how hot it was. It was misty but so warm still.
The route this week was a little more inspiring as we ran along the promenade, known affectionately as Gosport’s Golden Mile. We then headed through the gate at the end of the prom and ran up to Fort Gilkicker which is currently being converted in to luxury apartments (Isn’t everything these days?)
We then ran through Gosport & Stokes Bay Golf Club and back on to the road. As we ran Honor told me a bit of history about this area which was lovely. I still sometimes feel like such a newbie down here.
We hit our half an hour but we were really close and Honor suggested that if I was happy to, she’d like to take me there to see the view of Portsmouth Harbour. Obviously I was more than happy to and so we carried on, only for a couple of minutes more to get to the sea wall.
I wish I’d taken a picture as the view was absolutely glorious. The sun was glistening off the water, there were boats here and there and we could see Fort Spitbank some way out in the water.
We turned round and headed back. When we reached the Golden Mile again I commented to Honor how we’d probably click over 4 miles this week. She said she thought it’d probably be about 4.5 miles by the time we got back. I told her that’d be my longest run ever. As we clocked over 4 miles I told Honor how I was still feeling pretty comfortable. It wasn’t until we got to 4.25 that I said I’m beginning to feel it now. We could see the finish though and I knew I’d make it.
When we got back I was so pleased. I couldn’t stop smiling as I’d just done my longest run and on the whole it felt really comfortable. 4.53 miles in 1:04:51. I’m pleased with that and now the Romsey 5 mile race feels manageable. That’s a huge relief!
After group photo:
For breakfast I had mushrooms on toast as I’d seen Honor have this last week and it looked divine. It was so tasty! I really enjoyed it. I also had an iced latte which was perfect to cool off with after such a hot run.
Just over a year ago I wrote this post – My One Year Plan – On 19th May the final piece of the plan came to fruition.
We host 4 takeover a year at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. My favourite one has always been Gosport Road Runners takeovers and this year, as a member, I was allowed to volunteer and take part as a member.
I had volunteered to pace. This is a role I’ve never done and I know you’re probably thinking “Woah, you paced?!” but don’t worry. I was only the Run/Walk pacer. That’s probably the only one of the pacer roles I could do.
I got down to parkrun early as I was also volunteer co-ordinator. After giving the volunteers their instructions I put on my pacer vest and found my place in the pen.
I started the run with a lady who told me she’d played squash for years and it had wrecked her knees. Now she was trying to run but had never done an out door run, just running on the treadmill at the gym. She told me she couldn’t run for that long so I explained to her how the run/walk would work. After maybe 5 minutes or so she said she felt she could run a little longer than the run/walk offered so she’d run on.
I felt a bit disheartened. I was excited to be the run/walk pacer for the first time but I had no one to help! I decided to treat it as my own interval session instead. I ran a little faster than I normally would on the run sections but then walked at my normal walk pace on the walk sections.
I love this picture Chris captured of me going one way with the 30 minute pacer heading the other way.
As the run went on I definitely felt it. I pushed harder and by the end I was thankful to be nearing the end! So many people asked me if I was ok when they saw me walking. I guess they didn’t realise I was pacing and they’re used to seeing me running now.
As I entered the finish funnel I was definitely ready for the run to be over! Intervals on no fun on 3 miles!
I’d aimed to come in somewhere between 45-50 minutes as run/walk pacer. I came in with a time of 45:09. I was pleased with that.
On Thursday (17th May) I headed to my running club. I haven’t been for ages but as my friend couldn’t make spin class I thought I’d show my face. My club always post the run options the night before and I’m going to be honest, there’s not always something for me. However this week there was a walk so I thought if nothing else came up with a slower pace I could always join the walk group and it’s still at least some movement.
When I got there I found Rachel and said hello. She asked if I was running so I explained the situation. Rachel is a long standing member of our club and she said she’d find me someone to run with. She came back a few minutes later and introduced me to 3 ladies heading out for a slow and steady 3 miles.
I was a bit apprehensive about heading out with people I didn’t know but we soon got chatting. That’s the thing about being a member of a run club, you all have at least one thing in common, running! As we ran along I found my pace matched pretty much perfectly with one of the women. We ran together as the other two women ran/walked. We’d stop periodically to regroup and then run on.
The lucky thing about where I live is, you’re never too far from a beach! We headed out of the club, past Alverstoke Lake where some children were having a kayak lesson and then on to Stokes Bay and along the prom. It was a warm one but absolutely beautiful out. We stopped at the half way point to regroup and have a little breather. We bumped in to the walk group and had a chat about our upcoming club takeover at parkrun.
We then ran back to club. Afterwards the lady I ran with thanked me and said that’s the best she’s run in a long time and I’d really helped her to keep running as she’d have taken more walk breaks without me. I felt pretty chuffed with that. It’s usually others helping me, not the other way round!
On 13th May, exactly one year since embarking back on my running journey I went to Breakfast Club. As most of my readers don’t live in Gosport I’ll explain what Breakfast Club is.
Breakfast Club is organised by local running legend Nick. You meet at Bayside Cabin (lovely little café) at Stokes Bay at 8am. The route is posted on Facebook/Strava the night before. You then run 30 minutes out and 30 minutes back. Basically you run at your pace and you go however far you go in that hour. Afterwards you go for breakfast at Bayside Cabin where you have a lovely chat with other runners. Pretty much perfect!
I’ve always wanted to go to Breakfast Club but know there won’t be anyone there at my pace, however, Honor, my parkrun friend and fellow RD, said she’d run with me. Hurrah! So off we went.
Before every Breakfast Club there’s a group shot taken.
The route wasn’t so inspiring this week, we ran away from Stokes Bay, back towards Lee-on-the-Solent down the side of a dual carriageway. However for me, it was about endurance. Running for an hour is something I haven’t done in quite some time.
The time passed quite quickly as I chatted to Honor and focused on not going off too fast! I definitely didn’t want to be flagging after 30 minutes and have another 30 to go! Honor and I chatted about everything from parkrun to crocheting to dogs! The dog conversation came after we stopped for a second to chat to an owner of a Saint Bernard who took offence to Honor! He growled at us so we soon left the conversation!
It was only towards the end of the run where I said to Honor that I could feel myself struggling. We were about 55 minutes in to the run though so I managed to hang on. We ran 4 miles in a time of 58:57. I was pleased with 4 miles as that’s the furthest I’ve run in a while.
Afterwards we went for Breakfast. The menu at Bayside Cabin has items named after local boat trips. I ordered a Gosport Ferry (a small brerakfast) but you can order a Wight Link Ferry (slightly bigger breakfast) or a Channel Ferry (even bigger breakfast). We ate breakfast with Claire who I ran parkrun with in April. It was really lovely and I knew I definitely wanted to go again.