Tag Archives: running

Bluebell Wood Run

On Easter Monday I went out for a trail run. My run club were offering a Bluebell Wood run on the Thursday which I couldn’t make because of work so I decided to give it a go on the Bank Holiday instead.

I scouted out the route on Strava from someone that had run the route last year and wrote down some directions….which I promptly forgot to take with me! However I was convinced I could still get us round it as I’d studied the map lots when looking at the route and I had my phone with Google Maps on so all would be well!

We got up at 6.30am to try and beat the hot weather. When we left the house at 7.15 it was nice and cool. We drove to the car park at the bottom of the cliffs and went from there. We climbed up the narrow path to the cliff tops. It was quite the obstacle course as there were lots of nettles! Luckily I managed to avoid them.

I really wanted this run to be all about the views and not the pace. I stopped frequently to take pictures.

Cliff Top

Up on the cliff tops

After the cliff tops we headed inland following a footpath alongside farmers fields. There was a field full of Rapeseed so obviously I had to take a photo in there.

Field of Rapeseed

As I then continued up the footpath I came across the woods. I took a detour in the woods to see the bluebells. The smell was absolutely beautiful as there were hundreds of bluebells.

Bluebell Wood

Bluebell Selfie

After tromping through the woods we headed back to the path we were on and continued on. We passed some stunning houses and then took another footpath which then began to wind us back to where we’d parked the car. We very briefly (perhaps 200 metres) had to run on a road to cross from one footpath to another. The road was a 60mph road, so glad we weren’t on there for long. We then ran alongside a canal back to the car.

It was a hot, but thankfully not as hot as I’d thought, run. We managed to cover a not-too-shabby 5.2 miles!

Do you like trail running?

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Moors Valley parkrun

It was supposed to be a scorcher on the Saturday of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. I hate the heat. I don’t cope well with it and running is even worse. So I decided a different parkrun was needed, as running along the prom at my local parkrun provides no shade whatsoever. We decided to head off to Moors Valley parkrun which is held in Moors Valley Country Park and Forest. The run route is through the woods so although not entirely shaded, it would at least have some shade and respite from the sun.

We invited Maria along and after picking her up we headed off. It takes around 50 minutes to get there and luckily we didn’t hit any traffic, which is good because we didn’t factor in any time to allow for traffic! When we got there we had about ten minutes to spare so had a natter in the car. We watched a guy parked in front of us conceal his car key in his petrol flap! Anyone watching could have easily stolen his car if they wanted to!

We made our way to the start area and boy was it crowded! We couldn’t really hear the run brief so I didn’t know if we’d be doing the same route we did when I first went to Moors Valley in December 2017. Luckily I wasn’t going to be leading the pack so I figured we could just follow the person in front!

Before parkrun

Before parkrun

As we set off Maria and I ran together and had a nice natter about life and work. It was already pretty warm but for most of the run I managed to run in the shade, apart from when the route came out of the woods. I’d run the whole thing until that point but I just got so warm I couldn’t catch my breath and said to Maria I was going to have to walk. I probably only walked for a minute but I just needed to get a grip on my breathing.

The course was lovely in the woods and then along a footpath beside a lake. It was ever so slightly undulating but nothing too bad.

During the run

During the run

Afterwards we drove to a nearby pub for breakfast which was divine. I ordered the big full English. When it arrived it came with one more sausage than it was meant to! Winning!

Do you run well in the heat?

Do you go for breakfast after parkrun?

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Longest Run Since Injury

The week ending with Good Friday I had a random mid week day off. I’d already decided that I wanted to go out for a run and in my mind I wanted to run 5 miles. I’ve run quite a few 4 mile runs now and managed these fine. But I’ve not done anything more than 4 miles since my injury in 2018. For those that don’t know I had an injury that started in June 2018 and lasted until October.

I planned my route out so that it stayed local and at about the halfway point I wouldn’t be too far away from home so if I needed to or wanted to quit, I could. I started on the residential streets before dropping to the beach and running part of the parkrun route and then going further in to Fareham and then back again.

Mile 1 passed by absolutely fine. I think because I was on the residential streets and weaving my way through to the beach, the time passed by quickly. However miles 2-3 were pretty dull. I was on the parkrun course, which obviously I run a lot. I don’t tend to run with music, but actually during this time I wished I’d have brought my earphones to pass the time a little. However, I gave myself things to focus on and managed to get by. Miles 3-5 were great. I was in the groove by this point, it was nice to run somewhere a bit different and the run felt good. By the time I reached 5 miles, a little earlier than expected due to bad planning, I felt like I could have gone on for longer but didn’t. I didn’t want to push my good luck!

View on my run

It was meant to rain on my run but luckily the rain stayed away for the duration which was pretty good! It was very grey though! To be honest, I’d rather that than running in the heat!

Do you listen to music when you run?

Do you ever get bored on runs?

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Breakfast Club

On 7th April I went to Breakfast Club. If you’re not sure what Breakfast Club is you can read my other posts on it hereherehere!

I’d heard they were doing a trial of the upcoming 10K route so when Honor asked if I fancied joining her, I jumped at the chance. My only worry was, it’d been so long since I ran more than 4 miles and Breakfast Club is for an hour. However, this turned out not to matter.

It’s been a while since I had a good old natter with Honor. My 2019 started off with lots of illness so it’s been a while since I was able to go to Breakfast Club and run for that long. She explained the route to me for the upcoming 10K race and it’s actually pretty straight forward, which I’m pleased about. I’m not great with some of the Breakfast Club routes as I don’t know all of Gosport that well but this is a route from the Breakfast Club start, back towards home and then turn around and back again. Flat and straight forward. No chance of me getting lost!

Group Photo

As we were running Lee (a different Lee to the Lee who paced me to a PB) from my running club was out taking pictures and he managed to get a decent action shot of me!

Me Running

We ended up mistiming our route and we got back after 50 minutes rather than an hour but it was still a good run and a nice recce of the route. Apparently those that are a bit faster, turned where they were told it and it came up a bit short of a 10K so they’ll work on sorting that out before the run. We ended up running 4 miles, so only another 2.2 miles to go on top of that! Eeek! Need to start building my mileage up!

Do you struggle to get a decent running shot of you?

Have you ever run a race that was short on the distance?

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A Visit to Torquay

At the end of March we went away for a couple of days. Our first stop was Torquay. We stayed in a hotel right on the sea front and obviously had a room overlooking the car park!!

The first morning there I went for a run from our hotel along the sea front, around the marina, towards the town a little and then weaved my way back to the sea front. I’ve never been to Torquay before so a run felt like a good way to explore the area and do a little bit of sight seeing. As I was running to explore I made it a fun run, meaning I wasn’t worried about pace and took lots of pictures.

Before my run

Before my run

Torbay

Torquay Marina

Torquay Marina

Run Map

Run Map

The map made me laugh as it kind of looks like Lobster or crab claws! I saw a couple of runners whilst I was out who were friendly and said “Morning” After my run I went and rehydrated with a Costa Coffee on the sea front which was lovely. I then went back and had a shower before exploring Torquay some more. Whilst I was walking to the town centre I saw one of the runners I’d seen earlier still out! I guess he was probably marathon training!

Do you use runs to sight see when you’re somewhere new?

Have you ever been to Torquay?

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parkrun with Storm Hannah

The week after my parkrun PB wasn’t the opportunity to try for another PB. Storm Hannah had come to town and brought with her winds of up to 55mph! The winds are definitely a downside to living on the coast!

Maria and I had decided to run together and have a bit of a catch up as we knew running well was going to be off the cards, we just had a laugh and went with it. For the first section, as we headed towards the first turn around point the wind didn’t actually seem that bad. However, once we turned, that was it! We were running straight in to the wind.

It really got bad as we passed the finish funnel, whilst heading towards the second turn around point. It’s such an open area that the wind came straight off the sea and actually blew us both sideways a couple of times. We were running diagonally just to try and keep straight!

Once we’d been round the second turn around point and came to the slipway the wind literally hit us like a brick wall. It was like running on the spot. The slipway is the only part of the course where you have to cross over a section of shingle beach. A lady running beside us with a buggy came to a dead stop as the wind and shingle conspired against her. She was just flipping the buggy around when I grabbed hold of it with her and shouted “Let’s go” and we both dragged the pram across the shingle. Hopefully we didn’t give the baby too much of a bumpy ride!

Pulling the buggy

We eventually got back to the finish line and it had taken us 38:41! What a difference the wind makes!

Would you run in 55mph winds?

Have you ever helped a fellow parkrunner out?

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Being Paced at parkrun

I’m a bit behind on my blog posts (again) but for a while I felt like I had nothing to update about, and then I guess I just got out of the groove of updating. However, with it being Easter, I have lots of time so I feel like now is the right time to get back on track. So, let me take you back to the 9th March!

In the week leading up to the 9th March I’d put a post on Facebook asking if anyone would be willing to pace me to a 37 minute parkrun. I’d been hovering in the 37’s and wanted to try and improve on this. I received a reply almost instantly from Lee who said he’d be willing to help out. In the week leading up to the parkrun the weather was cool but windy and the winds weren’t due to leave before Saturday. I’m trying to remember what the wind speed was. I guess this is the peril of not updating regularly! I can’t remember but they were pretty strong!

On the morning of parkrun Lee told me just to fall in step with him, use him for shelter against the wind and he’d lead the way. I always set off too fast in my first mile. Always! So for the first mile I could really feel myself having to ease back as I kept creeping in front of Lee.

As we hit mile 2 I really struggled as the wind was so strong, it was making it hard to catch my breath. Lee kept telling me to stay just behind him so I could shelter a little from the wind. It was pretty impossible though, that wind was strong!

As we hit the slipway (where it’s really open so the wind felt at the absolute worst!) I was really struggling. Lee turned and said “We’re only just in front of pace, you need to keep going” so I just tried to keep my head down and keep moving.

I’d been really good and not looked at my watch the whole way. I’d completely put my trust in Lee and knew he’d get us there in time. As we hit the finish funnel I stopped my watch and was pretty amazed to see 36:18 on my watch! I thanked Lee, did the obligatory selfies, caught my breath and then Maria and I topped up the run to 4 miles. We covered 4 miles in 49:09. I was very pleased with that.

Lee and I

Check out my hair in the wind!

Running is never easy, we’re constantly striving to improve ourselves. However, running is so much easier now I’m 3 stone lighter! I’m feeling really positive about running and exercise in general to be honest. It’s a good feeling!

Have you ever asked a friend to pace you?

Do you use the pacing feature on your sports watch?

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parkrun And A New Café

My husband hadn’t been to parkrun for a couple of weeks due to illness. As a result, I’d not been going to the normal parkrun café, but to one on the way home instead where I picked up a coffee for me and a bit of breakfast for us both. The coffee is incredibly good there so when my husband returned to parkrun I suggested we went there for breakfast after parkrun instead.

Before parkrun selfie

Before parkrun selfie

When we got to parkrun my husband was trying to decide if he should run with me or not. He always sets off too fast and he thought by running with me it’d give him a slower start, meaning he then wouldn’t struggle later. Eventually he decided that he would. We set off and after the first mile I asked him if he wanted to go on. He didn’t but after about a 1.5 miles he started struggling with knee pain. He walked a little whilst I trotted at the side of him. After a few stop/starts at around the 2 mile mark he told me to go on as he was going to walk the rest. Because we’d had such a stop/start run I actually felt pretty fresh so felt really good in the last part of parkrun, for probably the first time ever!

Frustratingly I finished within 8 seconds of my personal best! I gritted my teeth and tried not to blame my husband haha. When he came through the finish funnel he said his knee actually felt a bit better for walking, which was good. So we set off to the new café I’d been popping to for the past couple of weeks.

post parkrun selfie

Oh I do love a filter

When we got to the café I ordered a latte whilst my husband had a hot chocolate which quite frankly arrived looking like a dessert! For breakfast I had a toasted teacake and a Bakewell tart afterwards whilst my husband enjoyed a cheese and ham toastie and then a fruit scone with jam and clotted cream. I have to admit, it did look very scrummy!

Latte

On the way back from the café it was nice to see some of the trees blooming. Particularly my neighbours magnolia tree and our own blossom tree. It makes me hopeful that Spring is on it’s way!

Blossom Tree

Do you go to a café after parkrun?

 

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Rounding parkrun Up To 4 Miles

Saturday I set off to parkrun on my own as my husband was ill in bed. When I got there I met up with Maria. We didn’t intend to but we ended up running together as we had lots to talk about. Maria had left work the day before so we caught up on how her last day was and what the future holds for her.

The first mile whizzed by, maybe a little too quickly! A 12:13 minute mile is still quite fast for me but mile 2 was even quicker at 12:08! It’s amazing how you don’t notice it as much when you’re chatting away. By mile 3 though I really felt like I was struggling but it was only slightly slower at 12:28.

Maria and I have both entered a 10K in May and Maria said she might top her run up to 4 miles. I’d actually been thinking the same thing, especially since I wouldn’t have to worry about my husband waiting at the end so we decided to run together and continue to make it up to 4 miles. Luckily the breather we had whilst getting scanned meant mile 4 was very slightly quicker. I felt a lot fresher though as I’d had chance to catch my breath.

We did 4 miles in  49:21. I told Maria that for a long time I couldn’t even run a 5K in that time and now we were knocking out 4 miles! We were even back before the last people had finished their parkrun. My parkrun time was 38:02 so just within a minute of my PB. I thought about asking someone to pace me to 37 minutes next week but I struggled running 38 minutes! Mind you I was chatting.

Maria and I

Maria and I after our 4 miles.

What do you think, should I give 37 minutes a bash if I can find someone to pace me?

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What Do You Think About When Running?

On Monday evening when I finished work I spoke to a friend on my way home. She’s having a really hard time of it. She has a few health problems going on, which is affecting her ability to work, which in turn is making her stressed, which is then affecting her mental health, which then makes her health worse and so the cycle goes on.

When I finished speaking to her I went for my evening run. I’d a simple out and back route planned so as I ran I was just able to let my mind drift and not have to worry about taking a left turn here or there etc. My mind was focussed so much on my friend. It makes me wish I had a magic wand and could just magic everything away for her. It seems like a childish and simple wish. It’s so hard though when there’s really not a lot  you can do other than listen and try and say the right things. Her health problems are currently undiagnosed. The doctors are unsure about what it is but are trying to find it with different tests etc. I completely understand the frustrations she’s feeling, especially since she’s been like this since early December. Whilst speaking to her I diplomatically tried to tell her that drinking to forget her problems also won’t help anything.

Selfishly it made me thankful that on the whole I’m pretty healthy (even though I’m now on my 6th cold since Christmas). On the whole I’m a naturally chirpy person, obviously I have down days like anyone does but they’re rare. And I’m thankful that I don’t see alcohol as a medicine. I like a tipple but I barely drink alcohol. It did make me realise though how much of a therapy running can be. I never used to think I ran for “head space” until I couldn’t run last year. Then I realised I probably did. But on Monday evening I realised I definitely did. It gave me the time to think over things and although I’m not able to magic away my friend’s problems I know I’m being as supportive as I can be and she appreciates that.

Obligatory post run selfie. Wishing I was as magic as a unicorn to make problems vanish.

Selfie

Do you run for head space?

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