I feel like I start every blog with this: I’m so behind on blogging, but it’s true. I am behind. So, this is going back to a run on 27th December.
I headed out for an early morning run as I wanted to do a Christmas Light/Sunrise Run. I quite like running on my own in a morning. I prefer it to running on my own in an evening. My plan was to head out do a 30 minute run. I don’t know why but if I’m just going out for a run I always choose 30 minutes rather than a distance. Perhaps because 30 minutes closes the exercise ring on my Apple watch?
I soon realised when I set off no one seemed to have their Christmas lights on! A bit annoying but I did see a huge inflatable snowman on someone’s shed roof that looked like he was waving in the wind. That kept me amused for a short while.
I weaved through the residential streets near where I live before dropping down on to the promenade. I made sure I ran facing East which was also my way back home so that worked out well. The thing with running on your own is, you can stop to take photographs without annoying anyone. I snapped a couple of shots and carried on towards home. I was on 2.4X by the time I got home so I ran past home to make it up to 2.5 miles. I do this a lot!
When do you prefer to run?
Do you end up running past your house to end on a particular distance?
This Christmas, much like last Christmas Day, started with a festive parkrun. It’s so nice to see everyone on Christmas Day. Everyone is always in such good spirits. It’s also an opportunity, I find, to meet family of my friends as they’re persuaded to come along too.
I decided against fancy dress for Christmas Day as it was a rather balmy 12c! After seeing friends and wishing them a Merry Christmas I went and joined the starting pen. I soon found Rachel, who hasn’t run parkrun for a while and my friend Claire who I run regularly with. They both kindly offered to run with me. Whilst giving the run briefing, the RD made me laugh by saying “I’ll try and get the results out before I get the gin out” The results didn’t come out until 4pm so I’m guessing the gin won!
We were soon on our way. I’m often asked by who I’m running with “So what are you aiming for today?” and I always answer “Just to finish” I set no expectations on myself now. As we were running we chatted about how busy it was. At one point I actually felt like I was being held back a little, this was probably good though, as I always start too fast. We even ended up walking around the turn around cone due to the congestion. It was frustrating a little but also nice. As I’m a “back of the pack” runner it’s rare I have that much company around me!
I managed to run the whole course with no walk breaks. This is happening much more frequently now which pleases me. I did struggle a bit, partly because of the warm weather, and partly because on Christmas Eve we’d been out for a curry at a local restaurant. Curry, whiskey and Baileys do not make good fuel for a parkrun!
As we ran in to the finish funnel I was pretty blown away to see my time was in the 37’s!! Only just though, when my official time came through it was yet another PB of 37:59! That was the best Christmas present I could have given myself!
Just like in my last post I thought I’d compare my Christmas Day parkrun results.
Christmas Day 2017 – 46:00
Christmas Day 2018 – 37:59
That’s a whopping 8 minute difference! Progress has definitely been made!
On 22nd December (I’m slowly catching up now) it was the official Christmas fancy dress parkrun at my local parkrun. I brought back my Christmas Pudding outfit from last year. I think my husband was pretty embarrassed to walk down the street with me dressed as a Christmas Pudding but I didn’t care one little bit haha.
When we got there I met up with my friend and work colleague Maria. She introduced me to her new boyfriend who is also a parkrunner. Bit of a shame I had to meet him dressed as a Christmas Pudding but there you go! Maria was wearing a Brussel Sprout hat which was hilarious. Maria had decided to run with me and soon Penny came to join us too. Penny was wearing one of those inflatable outfits which was Santa riding Rudolph! She looked absolutely brilliant but unfortunately Rudolph deflated half way round!
We had a quick chat and were soon on our way. As we all work in similar environments we had plenty to natter about along the way. Lots of children were keen to high five Penny as we ran by as she was dressed as Santa which was really cute. I think we all struggled a bit though in our fancy dress outfits. December was unseasonably warm and I, for one, was sweltering in my Christmas Pudding outfit! I did have a bit of a moan but Penny told me to shut up and keep running so I did.
Somehow, despite sweltering, I got a new PB. These are coming thick and fast at the minute to forgive me for appreciating every single one. I know they won’t last forever, so I like to celebrate them whilst they’re here. We finished in 39:04!!! So close to sub 39! I ran the same week in December 2017 dressed as a Christmas Pudding so I thought it would be interesting to compare the times.
December 2017 – 45:47
December 2018 – 39:04
I’m pretty pleased with a 6 minute difference to say I had 5 months out with injury!
Back to catching up with my posts! On 14th December I was going out with friends for breakfast at 8am. I knew that if I didn’t run before I went out then I’d probably not run at all that day. So I joined the 6am Run Club!
I only wanted to do half an hour which usually equates to about 2 miles. I’ve only run that early once before. I made sure I wore my Hi-Viz and off I went. I ran down the High Street. For some reason I like running down there when all the shops are closed and it’s just me plodding along. Strangely though I saw two people that morning. One was washing the windows of one of the restaurants. I presume he works there. He gave me a friendly “Morning!” and nod. The next person I saw was fiddling with a letter box to one of the flats above the shops. I made them jump as I passed them then they walked away. Odd!
I continued down the High Street and then weaved around a couple of streets before starting to head back home. Quite a few people had their Christmas lights up outside as it was halfway through December so it was nice to look at those as I ran. I keep forgetting I’m a bit quicker now as my 2 miles actually only took me 24 minutes! Mile 1 was an 11:45min/mile! I don’t pull those out of the bag too often but it seems I do at 6am! Anyway I got back home, jumped in the shower and just had time for a cuppa before my friend picked me up at 8am.
The plan was to go to our friend’s house. She’s currently off work on maternity leave so we went and met her beautiful baby, her very excitable dog and had a cuppa before heading to The Tenth Hole for breakfast. On the way there we decided to go and do some Christmas shopping afterwards in Portsmouth. As I’d planned to have an intentional day off WW, for breakfast I had Eggy Bread. On the menu it says it comes with a choice of bacon or banana but I chanced it and asked if I could have both and they said yes! I then had a piece of their banoffee pie which is my favourite from there.
Afterwards we headed in to Portsmouth and had a wander round the shops. I bought some Reindeer Christmas bedding and a couple of presents for people. I also treated myself to some new goodies from The Body Shop. I got the Peppermint Candy Cane Body Butter and Hand Cream. Both of which smell absolutely unreal! When we finished we headed back home and I had to rush to the local little Boots store to pick up a click and collect parcel I’d had sent there. I thought they closed at 5pm but actually I needn’t have rushed, they actually closed at 5.30pm! It was a lovely day with friends. I thought I’d only be out an hour or two but actually we were out all day!
Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed ringing in the New Year and aren’t feeling too sad about saying goodbye to 2018. Now, as regular readers will know, this blog saw a lot of doom and gloom through 2018 as I went through 5 months of injury. So, now it’s time to focus on what made 2018 awesome.
Obviously parkrun had to get a mention here. My first parkrun of 2018 was on 6th January (I missed the double on NYD because of a horrible virus) My finish time was 45:20. I’ve now dropped that to 37:59 on Christmas Day! I also was a tourist at Aviemore parkrun in March where despite finishing in 46:18 I finished in position 28. My highest finish position to date! Not only finish times and positions though, the friends I’ve made through parkrun. I know I can ask on Facebook for a run buddy and someone will always come forward. The running community is so supportive. I’ve built my network down here (We moved South in 2015) from parkrunners and now they’re incredible friends. In April I ran Mike’s 100th parkrun with him because, this still amazes me, he wanted to run with me because I was his favourite RD. I felt so incredibly privileged that day. More wonderful parkrun-related days were meeting Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the founder of parkrun, and Dame Kelly Holmes, the retired Olympic athlete.
I’ve not left the UK in 2018 (I went to Brazil at the end of 2018 and will go to Canada in 2019) but I’ve still discovered new and lovely places. I started 2018 by visiting Cheddar, Weston-Super-Mare and Bristol. In March I visited Scotland and discovered new places as we stayed in a different area to where we’d usually stay. In April I visited Wales, or to be precise, Barry Island. We went landmark hunting as I’d finally got around to watching Gavin & Stacey! In September we went back to Scotland where we did so much walking! My injury was finally fading and I loved enjoying the outdoors again.
My running has improved so much towards the end of 2018. However I want to focus on some of the amazing runs I’ve done that aren’t parkrun related. I ran in my local country park for the first time and discovered the cliff top run so many people have told me about. That was an incredible run but it’s a shame it coincided with flying ant day!! A year to the day after starting parkrun, I also completed my first run with The Breakfast Club. I’d never felt good enough to go before but I loved every second. In May I also did my first intervals session at Gosport Road Runners and absolutely loved it. By May my running was going from strength to strength and I was thoroughly enjoying it. In June I also ran my longest run (5 Miles) to date at the Romsey Cake and Beer Race. An incredible day and I won a prize! October was an amazing month as I started running again after my injury and suddenly found losing 2 stone had made quite a difference to my speed.
In June I met Woofs With Wilson and his Mum for the first time and got on with them famously. We’ve since met a couple more times and they introduced me to The Pump House, one of my favourite places in Gosport.
My friendship with Maria went from strength to strength as we went to so many spin classes and in June, I got her to come to parkrun. And got her hooked on it!
We had friends from Sheffield visit in June. The weather was sweltering so we had beach days, as well as playing tourist in our own area.
I also met up with Anna from Anna the Apple blog a couple of times at the Paul Sinton-Hewitt chat and for dinner where I quizzed her on every marathon she’s run.
Obviously in 2018 there were some great things that happened to me that don’t really fall in to the other categories. At the end of July I signed up to Weight Watchers and so far I’ve lost 2 and a half stones. It’s from the picture below people really started noticing my weight loss.
I added another string to my bow by completing a level 2 course on Understanding Childhood Illnesses.
In December, my husband and I also celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.
What made your 2018 awesome? Or are you glad to see the back of it?
On 9th December I went to Breakfast Club with Honor (whom I ran with the day before at parkrun too) We were still in the thick of Storm Deidre so Nick (creator of The Breakfast Club) set us a route to keep us protected from the wind…well until the end!
Before we began I realised I’d left my beeper at home (I have an interval timer for my run/walks) After a quick chat we decided we’d just run and see how I got in and if I needed to, we’d walk.
So after the “Before the run” picture was taken, we left the café where we meet and ran away from the sea front. I was very grateful as the winds on the sea front were something else! We headed in to Gosport weaving through the streets of Alverstoke. I’m less familiar with these streets but in a strange way I find this helps. It makes time go quicker as I’m too busy looking around at where we are! We ran through Alverstoke village which is quaint and pretty. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it before.
We then weaved away from there and headed back towards the sea. We ran along the sea wall at Gosport which gives you amazing views over Portsmouth Harbour. You can see the ships and ferries as well as views over Southsea. We didn’t stop to have a look though as the wind was absolutely hammering us. We then headed away from the sea wall for a short while before running through the golf course and along the promenade on the Golden Mile. It was far from Golden! I could barely move and we were unable to chat by this point as the wind was so strong.
Just before we hit the sea wall
We ran past where the junior parkrun starts and they were all (wisely) hiding behind a shelter to keep out of the winds. If I could have joined them, I would! As we continued along the prom you could see where stones had been flung up from the beach on to the prom and the car park was flooded where the sea had blown up and over. The wind felt like it was getting stronger as we finally reached the last part of the prom and made it back to the café.
We ran a total of 4.6 miles and I hadn’t stopped once! I guess the injury is well and truly finished with for now. It turned out the winds were 55mph that morning! Yet by late afternoon they’d dropped to practically non existent! How very unfair. A tough but pleasing run!
I’m about a month behind on updates about how my running is going! Oops! Hopefully over the Christmas break I’ll manage to get caught up.
On 27th November Maria and I went back to the spin class we used to attend at the gym. We haven’t been to a spin class since I got my injury on 9th June. We were looking forward to getting back to it. I’d left it so long after my return to running because I wanted to be so so sure that everything was ok.
Obviously we take our class very seriously, and before it began, we took selfies with filters. We were pretty pumped to find out the class was our favourite one. We do Virtual Spin, which basically means they play a video. It’s a bit like doing a DVD at home, except you’re in a spin studio.
We really enjoyed the class and both left absolutely buzzing. Completing a spin class gives me that high feeling. I’ve yet to experience that from running! To quote one of my favourite movie characters, Elle Woods…
However, the next couple of days, as well as the saddle soreness you experience from a spin class I could also feel my injury. Don’t get me wrong, it was nothing like as painful as it had been. In fact it wasn’t so much painful, but really uncomfortable. Which makes me wonder, was it a running injury after all? Perhaps it actually came from a spin class and running the parkrun that morning just upset it further? Perhaps that’s why when the physio asked me what I did to cause it, I didn’t know the answer. I didn’t do anything, I was just plodding along.
That uncomfortable feeling lasted a good couple of days. As a result, I haven’t been back to a spin class again. My running is going so well at the minute I just don’t want to risk aggravating the injury again by continuing to spin. I’m pretty disappointed though because I do love the spin classes.
Have you had to give up something you enjoy for health reasons?
Since my injury in June, that lasted 5 long months, I gave up on the goals I set for 2018. However, to my surprise I actually hit one on Saturday 24th November. If you didn’t read the original post where I set my goals, you can revisit it here –> My Running Goals for 2018
So….the goal I hit? This one:
On that Saturday I managed to go sub 40 minutes at parkrun! As you know, if you’re a regular reader, I’m still returning from injury. I’m run/walking parkrun each week. This particular week I hadn’t asked anyone to run with me at parkrun. I wanted to see how I got on running on my own and listening to my body.
It was a complete mix of feelings. The first mile I struggled. I felt like I couldn’t get my breathing right, my body was asking me “What the hell are we doing?” and it was just a struggle. The 2nd mile however I felt like I was flying. I had a moment when I finally reached the finish funnel before the first runners finished. This never happens! Then I hit mile 3 and I was struggling and fatigued. I was running near two older gents who were chatting and I heard one of them say “Well I’d like to finish somewhere in the 30’s” and I thought to myself “You’re going to be sorely disappointed” because I’m never anywhere near the 30s. I always finish in the 40s.
Anyway I ran through the finish funnel, went to stop my watch and couldn’t believe what I saw! I’d finished in 39:45! After being so injured where I thought I’d never run again, I can not believe I’m nearing the end of the year with a sub 40 minute 5k!
Have you hit any milestones with your running in 2018?
I’ve slipped a little with my blog posts again! Following on from my parkrun PB on 17th November, the following day I went for a run with Claire. We were meant to go to Breakfast Club but as it was the morning of the Gosport Half Marathon (which meant road closures between home and Breakfast Club) we decided to keep it local.
We met up at the end of my road and agreed we’d keep it to 30 minutes out and back just like a Breakfast Club. We set off towards Hill Head and ran along the prom. We ran all the way until the point where the prom runs out and then turned around. On the way back as we passed the toilet block we did some hill reps on the slopes that go from the toilets to the upper level pavement.
We then headed to Browndown where Claire then had me run up and down the stairs. As we began running again afterwards my hamstring on my left leg started to hurt. I think I probably strided out too far on the hill reps maybe.
We headed for home after this which made the run up to just over 4 miles. I was slower than the previous day but that was to be expected after getting a PB. Once I got in I had a quick shower and headed out to spectate at the Gosport Half Marathon.
The good thing about spectating at the Gosport Half Marathon is that you can see your runners multiple times due to the layout of the course and the fact it’s two laps. It’s a strange one though if you’re a runner. It’s along the seafront in November so windy and cold. It’s two laps, some people find laps soul destroying. And finally, if I were running it, I’d practically run past my house twice whilst, I imagine, in a world of pain! I’d probably just want to go home!
Anyway I stood with two friends from Gosport Road Runners and had a natter with them whilst cheering people on. I only took one picture as I didn’t want to miss any of my runners.
I was a bit gutted to miss Anna on her final fly by as I was still watching runners come the other way! Still I think I managed to see most people 4 times which is good and not something that can be done at all marathons.
So as you can guess by the title, today I got a PB at parkrun! I started off running alone and was scarily close to the 40 minute pacer. My PB was 43:27 so to be so close to the 40 minute pacer had me worrying I was going way too fast, although I felt comfortable. I was soon caught up by Cliff, a fellow parkrunner who asked if it’d be ok to run with me as he has Gosport Half Marathon tomorrow. Obviously I said yes. We were soon joined by my friend Maria too as she’d been worried I was running alone and felt bad. How sweet is that?!
This week I was running for 3.5 minutes and walking for 1.5 minutes. During miles 1 and 2 I felt strong but my mile 3 I was finding it harder. Maria reminded me to concentrate on my breathing which did actually help. I think I was chatting too much in the run portions. The whole time the 40 minute pacer was in sight but I didn’t look at my watch the whole time. When I went to stop it in the funnel I could hardly believe it when I saw 40:something on the screen.
I was elated but I definitely felt like I’d pushed harder in mile 3 to just keep going. Mile 1 was actually my slowest mile despite feeling good at that point. Anyway after snapping some pictures my husband and I went back to the café for breakfast and saw fellow parkrunners Richard and Gemma there so we sat with them and had a natter. I sold the idea of the Gavin & Stacey parkrun challenge to Gemma, which I don’t think Richard was too impressed about! Oops!
Afterwards we went home to put up the Christmas tree. I’m not even sorry that it’s up. We’ve bought a new tree this year. We usually have a real tree but decided to get a good quality artificial one from John Lewis. I’m pretty pleased with how it looks.
After we’d finished we nipped in to Gosport town centre as I’d seen some Reindeer coasters in a little gift shop. They’re really cute.
Tomorrow I was meant to be going to Breakfast Club but because of the road closures for the Gosport Half Marathon, getting back could be tricky so Claire and I are going to run in Lee instead, then I’ll shower and go back out to cheer everyone on in the Half.