Saturday (27th October) was the Halloween parkrun. Fancy dress was of course encouraged. This week I was running with Kerry who is a member of Fareham Crusaders, a fellow blogger and a Women’s Running magazine cover girl!
Kerry dressed as a zombie nurse and I wore my 99p from eBay pumpkin t-shirt!
This week I was running for 2 minutes and walking for 3. I’d done a mid week run on the treadmill which had gone well so I was hopeful this would easily transfer on to the tarmac! It was near perfect running weather for me as it was about 2c! I run so much better in lower temperatures as I just get so hot whilst running.
Kerry and I chatted easily about working out, routines, running and injuries. We kept up a good pace and I noticed that slowly but surely we were moving our way up the pack. We soon caught up with my lovely friend Mike and then ended up playing cat and mouse with him. He overtook us every time we walked, and when we ran we caught him up.
At the end I was surprised to see 420 on my finish token! There were more people there than I had realised! Usually I finish somewhere in the high 300’s. I was even more surprised to see my finish time! I finished in 43:53, a mere 26 seconds away from my fastest ever parkrun! Incredible, especially considering there’s still so much walking! I’ve knocked 6 minutes off my time since the beginning of October when I started back at parkrun after my injury. Mind blown!
I’m almost up to date with my parkrun updates! On 20th October I ran with two friends from parkrun, Richard and Penny. They were both running the Great South Run the following day so had agreed to run with me the day before. I’m always grateful that people are actually willing to run with me.
This week was 1.5 minutes running and 3.5 minutes walking so nothing too strenuous for them as they would be running 10 miles the next day. As we ran/walked we chatted about where best to spectate the Great South, I’d told them I was thinking about spectating at mile 9. We talked about parking and the best method of getting there etc. I’d been thinking of getting the Gosport Ferry over to Portsmouth but was still unsure of what was best. The time flew by and conversation flowed really freely between the three of us.
Just as we were heading towards the finish we saw Richard’s wife Gemma. She’d already finished but had really hurt her leg. She was starting to head back to the café so as soon as we finished Richard dashed off to catch up with her. Penny and I however took a selfie. She looks like we’ve barely run a step whereas I look like a tomato!
I improved my time again this week, dropping it to 45:08. I’m not looking at my watch during the run at all as I just want to run and make sure nothing hurts. However I do allow myself a look as I head towards the finish and this week I made a dash for it just to get that little bit closer to my PB. In October I’ve knocked around 4 minutes off my time which I’m pleased with.
Have you run the Great South Run?
Do you prefer running with friends or going on a solo run?
parkrun on 13th October saw me wearing my new Contra t-shirt. If you haven’t heard of Contra, it’s a sports brand set up by Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the founder of parkrun. They carry 10 sizes, everything is ethically made and the profits go back in to parkrun. I’d ordered a t-shirt as soon as they launched. I wasn’t expecting it to arrive, but they must have sent it early as it arrived before the due date.
I met up with my friend Claire who I ran with last week as she’d agreed to run/walk with me again. I told her I had absolutely no expectations and I just wanted to finish, preferably pain free! The weather was cool but the winds were really strong thanks to Storm Callum! This week was running for 1 minute and walking for 4 minutes. For the majority of the run the weather didn’t really seem a problem but as soon as we hit the 2nd turn around point, the wind hit you full on. It was like running on the spot. I told Claire at one point “This is so hard” and she answered simply “Shut up and run” That’s the kind of motivating talk I need.
We ended the run in a staggering 46:53. Considering the amount of walking I was doing, I was flabbergasted to be so close to my average of 45 minutes! In fact I was pleased as punch and thankful for another pain free parkrun.
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.