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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
And finally a picture of a tree I took last week. It couldn’t look more Autumnal!
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!
On 12th September I ran my first race in 3 years. This should have been my graduation from the Gosport Road Runners beginners group but due to injuring my Achilles I never completed it. However, because it was better, and because my lovely friend Eileen offered me her place, I decided to run. I was running the Absolute Running Summer Series 5K. This was the fifth and last race in the series.
Thank you Eileen for the photo
Before I begin, let me tell you about Eileen who gifted me her place. You might have seen her featured on parkrun’s page. Eileen is in her 70’s and such an inspiration. In the 1980’s Eileen was a cross country champion and has a sub 3 hour marathon PB! I can not imagine our parkrun family without Eileen in it. She’s an absolute hoot and as cheeky as they come. Thank you Eileen for the place. Here she is finishing her first parkrun. Read Eileen’s story on the parkrun website here
I really wanted to do well in the race and use this as a bench mark for future 5k races. I took my nutrition on the day really seriously, looking up suggestions of what to eat and drink during the day before the race. I also kept a close eye on the weather reports. It was saying there would be rain and high winds. The day time was actually quite nice but as the afternoon progressed in to evening the sky turned dark and as I looked out of the window, the trees in my garden were swaying frantically in the wind.
I got down to Stokes Bay early and was a bag of nerves! I met up with Kieran and we went and collected my number which I then pinned on my top, and then re-pinned it when Kieran told it was neither straight nor central! We then headed out to the start rather leisurely, thinking we still had plenty of time. However we’d both read the wrong start time and had to rush! As a result this meant my Garmin wasn’t ready! I hadn’t had enough time to find satellites before beginning so had to start it a little way in to the race. In a way though this sudden rush at the beginning meant I forgot all about my nerves.
For the first portion of the race I chose to run for as long as I could but tried to hold back a little to allow me to run for longer. This worked quite well but I was soon breathless. At the minute I’m finding my breathing difficult. I usually stop running, not because my legs want to, but because I can not catch my breath. The wind, which was now around 25mph, was taking my breath away.
A special mention for this race has to go to the marshals. I knew pretty much all of them and what a difference it makes having marshals shout personal encouragement to you. They were so cheery even in the awful weather conditions.
The race heads along the sea front at Stokes Bay and then does a loop around the GAFIRS (Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue) building twice. GAFIRS were having a training exercise where they “rescued” six people involved in a pretend boating accident. I saw the team put through their paces and the coastguard circling overhead bringing in their casualties. Here they are hard at work. If you want to read more about their training exercise it can be found here
Soon I’d completed my two laps running for 30 seconds and walking for one minute. As I came off the second loop I saw the 4km marker. It was starting to get dark at this point and then the rain started. It was coming in sideways due to the high winds and my left side was soon soaked right through. The rain felt like small pellets hitting me in the face. After seeing the 4km marker I decided to try and run as much as possible mainly to get out of the wind and rain! I could see the lights of the race HQ in the distance and kept my eyes on them the whole time, apart from when the rain was that bad I couldn’t actually open my eyes!
I finished the race in 45:53 beating my parkrun PB by over a minute. I was so pleased. It wasn’t until I got home and uploaded the result that I realised I’d also beaten my 5K PB from 2012 when I was running regularly! I was so surprised and really pleased. Now I want to keep chipping away at my time through parkruns and my new running plan. Fingers crossed!
Thanks to Ben from Friendly Photography for the photo!
If you want to read Kieran’s race report, it can be found here
After my plans to join the Gosport Road Runners group didn’t exactly go to plan I needed a plan B, a back up plan, a new path to tread. For those that don’t know I joined the beginners group and two weeks in did something to my Achilles. It’s now pretty much fixed, but this week is the last week of the beginners group so I need a new direction.
I have scoured the internet for a beginners running plan, then researched for a real beginners plan. Why do some beginners plans start with an 8 mile run at a 9minute mile pace?!
I know there’s the Couch to 5K app, I’ve done this before but at the minute I’m happier run walking than building up to complete running. I don’t want to go back to the days where I lose sleep over the 8 minute block of running and then the 20 minute block of running. I’d rather go further doing a run/walk.
During my search I saw a link to Jeff Galloway’s page. I’ve heard of Jeff Galloway’s run walk run method before so had a look and saw there were training plans. I had a look at them and you know what, they look manageable. There is a plan for 10K but week one starts with two run/walks of 30 minutes and the third run to run/walk for 1.5miles. It then goes up by half a mile the next week and so on. The plan is manageable and gradual so I just might stand a chance of completing it without burning myself out or injuring myself!
In July I entered the Wonder Runner medal on Virtual Runner UK. I just thought I’d pop here that I pay for all my entries and I write these blog posts because I want to. I don’t even think Virtual Runner know about these posts. I just like how easy it is to be able to earn medals without having a minimum pace forced upon me. I can do it at my own pace.
For this July challenge I wanted to try and cover more distance than I did in June for the Mermaid Challenge. My running was going from strength to strength so I had a good feeling about it. The rules were to run, walk or cycle as far as you can through July. I completed 8 runs and 1 walk.
I started the July challenge with a 30 minute treadmill run where I completed 2.3 miles. This was followed by a 2 mile walk in 43:32. I took this picture of seagulls as they flew overhead. Just look how blue the sky is!
This was followed by two treadmill runs. One was a 5k and the other was just a mile. Then on the 15th July I completed my 4th parkrun at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. I completed the 5k course in 47:47.
Standard finish token picture!
I then did a 2mile run on the treadmill before completing my 5th parkrun at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. This was completed in 47:38 which is my current parkrun PB.
In July I also joined the Gosport Road Runners beginners group. At the first one we totted up 1.24 miles of running. I then finished the month of July with two 30 minute runs on the treadmill both totalling 2.2 miles.
For the Wonder Runner July Challenge I completed 35.7km or 22.18 miles. I’d beaten my June total and for August I wanted to see if I could complete 26.2 miles or more (marathon distance)
Here is the Wonder Runner medal.
Want to read about the other medals I’ve earned? The posts are below:
I’ve found it so hard to find time to blog lately so I’m sitting down now and writing a lot of posts and scheduling them. Embarrassingly these posts go back to June! But without further ado, here’s how I earned my Mermaid Challenge Medal from Virtual Runner UK.
The rules for this challenge were to run, walk, swim or cycle as many kilometres as possible in the month of June. I earned my medal with 1 walk, 3 runs and 2 bike rides.
My walk was at Stokes Bay where I walked 2.07 miles in 51:23. It was a lovely evening stroll where I took lots of pictures. Hence it taking so long. I’ll just share the one picture of the sun beginning to set.
The first run, well run walk was at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. This was my 3rd parkrun and I completed the 5k course in 53:38.
If you don’t take a picture of your finish token did you even parkrun?
The two bike rides I did were to and from Stokes Bay junior parkrun. One ride was just over 2.5 miles and the other just over 3 miles. They both took 22 minutes. Riding there was a breeze but on the way back it was so windy! It was really hard to pedal against the wind. Here’s a picture of the start line. Look at the determination.
I completed the Mermaid Challenge with two treadmill runs. The first a 5k in 45:13 and the second a 30 minute run in which I covered 2.27 miles.
Altogether I completed 25.5km or 15.8 miles. I was really pleased with how much I’d completed but was determined to beat it in July!
The medal is such a stunner. I absolutely love it. I love how the lanyard carries on the theme!
Want to read about the other medals I’ve earned? The posts are below:
I haven’t completed a parkrun for a couple of weeks due to hurting my foot falling over a door frame at work. However two weeks of resting, elevating etc meant that I was ready to attempt another parkrun.
My plan was to walk the majority of the parkrun and at the final turnaround point begin run/walking the remainder. I walked the first part and didn’t get any leg pain like I normally do. I ended up walking with three children ranging from 9-15. Perhaps the constant chatter amongst them didn’t allow me to notice any pain! As we continued the leg pain never appeared and we were at the turn around point before I knew it. I began run/walking, supported by the children who were more than happy to run along and call out encouragement. When beginning my run segments I’d pick a point somewhere in the distance e.g. a bin, bench or beach hut. I felt good on the run section and really noticed how the Hokas helped propel me forward.
I finished in 53:27, beaten by all three children! Those pesky kids! It was another parkrun PB so I was pleased. The hot weather meant I felt shattered afterwards! I finished in 386th position! I now can’t run a parkrun for a couple of weeks due to work and having friends visit from Sheffield. I’m really going to try and make sure I keep up with practising though.
I’m starting this post on a rainy Bank Holiday weekend. Those words go together so well don’t they? Rainy Bank Holiday!
In May I continued discovering new places. I’ve heard of Old Portsmouth from a few people so we went over one evening to have a look round and explore. We went on the walls around the Square Tower and Round Tower. From the top you can see the ferries coming in to dock at Portsmouth. We were so close to this Brittany Ferry I could hear the announcements being made about how to disembark.
In May it was my Mum’s birthday so we took her for a surprise trip to Weymouth for a Birthday treat. We had lunch at the Red Lion pub who do really good seafood. We wandered around the Harbour and down to the Beach. It was a great day.
How cute is this fella? He was the only donkey left behind. Maybe he was glad of the break though?
As you may know from this post I completed my first parkrun. I’ve completed another one since and a practice run. It all came to a halt this week though as I’ve hurt my foot.
Also in May my lovely Winnie developed a problem! I was driving home from work and when I turned corners, the steering clunked. She got towed away to Smart of Portsmouth who fixed her up. Her steering rack had failed! I was pretty disappointed that this would happen in a car less than a year old!
I think that’s all for my May Roundup. I’ve done much better with blogging in May so why not read one of my other posts?
Fresh off the back of a parkrun PB I really wanted to practice, to improve myself and see where I can go with this running lark. Sunday however was a really hot day and I put off going out, I put it off so much I got to the point where I wasn’t sure if I should go or not. I put a status on Facebook saying so and everyone told me to go! So I did. I’d waited until just after 6 but it was still so hot!
I’d already decided to do the parkrun course but whilst walking the first section towards Browndown I started to put a little plan together. I’d see how I felt as I passed the finish funnel area as I know I always tend to get leg pain on the first out and back. And if I felt ok I’d continue walking until the second turn around, evaluate again and if all was good, run walk the last bit.
As I looked at my watch it wasn’t showing the usual display of pace. Instead of mph it was showing min/miles and I don’t really know what I do them in! I couldn’t figure out how to change it either so just pressed on!
I did get the leg pain as I went to the first turn around point. A pavement with a slight tilt one way always makes my leg worse. In this case the prom tilts ever so slightly towards the sea. I carried on hoping it would pass and as I got to the finish funnel area it was definitely starting to subside. Now my only complaint was how hot I was! I put my head down and marched on. As I got to the final turn around point I was feeling ok so started to run. Just from one bench to the next so I have no idea how long for but everything felt ok so I continued running a little and walking in between.
When I reached mini mountain I looked at my watch. One of my friends had urged me to beat 55 minutes and I was so close! I powered up mini mountain and back down the other side and then ran as much as I could between there and where the finish funnel would usually be.
This Saturday was a busy and very parkrun filled day! I volunteered to help at Lee on the Solent parkrun this week and put my name down as volunteer coordinator. This role involves telling the marshals or funnel team what and where their roles are. This week I was telling the funnel team and had offered to train up a couple of others, so when they were volunteer coordinator, they’d know what to tell the volunteers. When I’d finished I saw the lovely Louise from Fareham Crusaders and we took a parkrun selfie. Louise always takes one before parkrun so I was happy to oblige with this ritual.
After taking a selfie I went and positioned myself at the back of the pack ready to try out my second parkrun. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t hopeful for it being as successful as last week. When I’d got up on Sunday last week I had a horrendous cold that pretty much made me feel rubbish all week and left me with a horrid cough which I still have now. I did however have my shiny new trainers on my feet that I’d bought from Nick at Absolute Running. He’d promised me I’d PB in them but I was unsure from being ill.
After volunteering I went and found my place at the back of the pack. We had a new PA system donated to us this week and as a result I heard every word of the run brief despite being at the back!
As we started the route I began to get the pain down the outside of my calf. The camber of the pavement always makes this worse and the first part of the course does have a slight tilt so this may be why. As we progressed to the turn around point and started heading back the pain began to subside. We picked up Adam as we were passing the sailing club for the second time from his marshalling spot. He told me he planned to help me PB this week. I’m so grateful for how supportive people are of me and trying to run! As we passed the finish funnel the pain was gone and I was beginning to feel stronger. There were two older ladies quite a way in front of me and I now had these in my sight! I wanted to over take them. As we headed to our second turn around point Paula came to join me. She had already completed her parkrun in a very speedy 23.11! Having Adam and Paula walk with me made the time fly by. They’re both quite funny and so my attention was focussed on the conversation rather than what I was doing. I glanced at my watch and was managing to maintain 3.3mph. Last week I walked at 3.2mph. When I mentioned this both Adam and Paula were encouraging me even more to keep the pace and over take the two ladies…which I did!
As we made it back to the finishing straight both Adam and Paula were speeding up and shouting encouragement at me so I literally had to run. I couldn’t keep up with them so did a sprint finish (if you can call it that!)
As it wasn’t such a big turn out this week I finished higher position wise, and I also got a PB! Last week I finished in 58:24 and this week I finished in…..drum roll….55:03!! Amazing what new shoes and a bit of encouragement from friends can do!
I’m going to do a separate post about the rest of my parkrun filled day so expect that soon!
In February I took part in the To the Moon and Back medal challenge from Virtual Runner UK. They wanted to see if the participants could complete enough mileage, you guessed it, to reach to the moon and back!
I really must learn to take more pictures when I’m out and about as it makes blog posts far more exciting! I completed 16.14 miles made up of running, walking and cycling. I ran a mile, walked 7.07 miles and cycled 8.07 miles! I have no idea how I managed a 50/50 split, it certainly wasn’t intentional! All the cycling was completed on my exercise bike and the walking was a mix of treadmill and out and about.
These pictures were taken at Lymington Harbour where I walked just under a mile.
The only other pictures I took didn’t turn out too good at all. However, here is a picture of the medal. I really like it, the way the heart hangs is a neat idea and the lanyard is a night sky.
I love these medals and they’re really helping me to stick to my 2017 goal of taking charge of my health. I don’t have another medal until June now, so it’ll be interesting to see just how well I manage to keep going without the incentive of receiving a medal at the end!