Today I went to my first ever Buggy Mums session. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since I learnt about its existence in November. It’s run by ParkLives, which is an initiative by CocaCola to bring free sports activities to city parks across the UK. It fantastic that I can exercise with M (instead of leaving her at home with Stu as that’s only an option outside of his working hours) and even better that it costs nothing!
I was a little nervous about attending the group – not because I thought it would be too strenuous, but because I find it difficult meeting groups of people that I don’t know.
I arrived a minute or two before the class started, so I was able to hear the instructor’s introduction. Our warm up was a brisk walk (or jog) to another area of The Common, followed by some side steps and more walking.
We made use of a gravel path on The Common and were asked to line up opposite a partner. Quite a few of the others seemed to know each other, but I just lined up opposite someone else who seemed on her own. We parked the babies and were asked to run up and down weaving through the buggies, which is harder and more tiring than it sounds. It was then onto a circuits session. The instructor was fun and friendly and very good at giving variations of exercises for people who needed gentler or more challenging versions.
It was breezy on The Common, so some of the babies woke up and started crying, but M was quite cosy in her snowsuit. She woke up and looked around for me, but after I pushed her buggy backwards and forwards a bit she fell asleep again.
After 40 minutes of circuits, we headed back towards the paddling pool where we initially met.
When we got there we did some stretching and I had the chance to talk to the mother who had been opposite me. I had hoped that people might stop for a drink at The Cowherds of The Hawthorns, but everyone seemed to rush off very quickly.
I’ve signed up for another Buggy Mums class in a different location tomorrow, but as stormy weather (including snow) has been forecast, I might not attend. Previously, it wouldn’t have bothered me too much, but I don’t want M to be cold and miserable. I’ve also signed up for both classes until the end of February as I enjoyed it so much.
I also want to say ‘thank you’ to Stephanie Nicoll who shared one of my old blogposts on the Women for Tri Facebook group. As a consequence, my blog has had more hits in a single day than ever before!
It feels like ages since I’ve had a chance to blog. Christmas was hectic and baby M takes up an awful lot of time (who knew it was possible to sit doing nothing but watch a baby for hours!)
On Christmas Eve, Stuart, M and I were in Cornwall. I had found out that there was a new parkrun at Trelissick, near to Feock, but the inclement weather conditions meant that it might be very challenging with a buggy, so we decided to try to alternative route at Penrose parkrun. We’ve only done it out on the coastal past previously, but it’s currently on a flat tarmac path, which seemed like a more sensible option for the buggy.
It was Stu’s turn to walk with the buggy, so I put on my festive SOAS cycling jersey and some shorts. I persuaded Stu to take his festive antlers with him. Initially he was undecided about wearing them, but when he saw that everyone else was in fancy dress, he put them on:
The event was heaving in comparison with when we have visited previously – there were 335 runners, which was over 200 more than in most weeks. Unfortunately, this meant that it was a slow start. I was hoping that the relatively flat course would make it easy for me to beat my post baby PB of 28:15. The course was also far muddier than I had expected. It took me almost two minutes before I could start jogging and even then I had to weave around people.
I finally managed to get moving more quickly. I could hear the man in the inflatable turkey suit just behind me, so I tried to pick up the pace. The course is currently an out and back, with an incline up to the turn around point. As we hit the incline ‘turkey man’ passed me. I was able to overtake on the way back down, but it wasn’t long before he sped past me again – oh well, never mind. I was also keeping an eye out for Stu and M. They were doing very well and were ahead of quite a few others.
The return leg was much easier as the crowd had thinned out. I could see the finish, but it involved going around a muddy corner and across a patch of grass.
It wasn’t a PBPB, but I felt quite pleased anyway. I was 53/147 female runners and 6/24 in my Age Group.
After I’d caught my breath, I jogged back to meet Stu and M. They managed to beat 24 other parkrunners, which is a great result as they walked the entire event.
Stu and I had hoped to get out and about a bit at Christmas, but Stu came down with a heavy cold and we had so many relatives to visit that it was nigh on impossible to fit in any running, although we did go on a long walk to buy pasties 🙂
By New Year’s Eve, we were back in Southampton, which meant that we were able to take part in Southampton parkrun. It was Stu’s turn to run, so I got to walk with M’s buggy. My friend, Caro, caught up with us partway around, so I had a lovely social walk, and also managed to get a walking PB 🙂
I then had a dilemma. New Year’s Day was an extra parkrun day, so I knew that I could do either Netley or Eastleigh parkrun at 9am before doing Southampton parkrun at 10:30am. However, my next parkrun was a (minor) milestone: #200. In the end, Stu, M and I went out for a party on New Year’s Eve and then decided to have a lie in, so that I was able to do my 200th run at Southampton.
At the start, I met up with my friend, Pete, who agreed to run with me. Pete’s a stronger runner, but he’d had a very late night, so didn’t want to push himself too much.
During the first lap, we saw our friend, Kirsty, so she stopped and chatted to use for a while before heading off – she was in the middle of a long run.
My photographer friend, Paul was out on the course, so all of the photos from my 200th parkrun were taken by Paul A. Hammon 🙂
I had decided to wear my parkrun 100 t-shirt, but it was a mistake as it was far too hot to wear black!!! I was also wearing my Hoka One Ones – I like them a lot more than I thought I would!
Pete and I had been chatting a lot during the first lap, but the second lap felt harder. I had said to Pete before the start that I wanted a PBPB of under 28 minutes, but I started to wonder whether it would be possible.
I was so pleased when we crossed the line in a time of 27:54 – a PBPB!
I was 80/218 females and 19/47 in my age group.
This weekend was also a busy weekend. On Saturday, I walked Southampton parkrun with M. It was a busy event with its second highest ever attendance of 884.
I decided to wear some new kit. I’ve been sent some fantastic compression socks and insoles by SportArt, so I’ll be blogging about them soon.
I also wore a top from Craft that I received just before Christmas:
Again, I’ll be writing a review of it as soon as I have the opportunity.
I also took the opportunity to try out a new gadget – a phone holder for my buggy – so I decided to play Pokemon Go whilst walking. This meant that I didn’t set a new walking PB, but I wasn’t far off.
Yesterday, I took part in my first cross-country race of 2017. It was also my first race since having baby M. It was the 5th race in the CC6 series and I was looking forward to running with clubmates from Southampton Tri Club, although I was a little worried that I might struggle to complete 5 miles as I’ve not run that far for a very long time.
It was quite a busy race, so I tried not to start too close to the front. It was also rather damp and misty, but warmer than the photos suggest.
Stuart had agreed to look after M, so I was able to borrow his STC vest. I need to buy my own soon! I was also trying out some compression calf guards from Sport Art – I’ll be blogging more about them later.
The course was different from in previous years, which were usually two laps. I much preferred the new route, but there were some long uphill stretches as well as some steep parts. I loved the downhills, but they tended to be very muddy and a lot of other runners were wearing inadequate shoes, which slowed them down.
In this league, only 3 women are needed to score as a team, however all abilities are welcome. I assumed that I was one of the last runners for my team, and I was correct… however, I hadn’t realised that Claire was just behind me until she over took me in the final 500m. I finished in 57th place out of 80, so there’s definitely some work to be done on my running, but I was pleased to complete the distance and to see lots of friends from STC, Lordshill and various other running clubs.
I’ve not talked about New Year’s Resolutions because I’ve not come up with anything solid this year… however, I’ve got some exciting plans afoot regarding my nutrition, so I’ll be sharing more about them in the coming weeks. I’m also still deciding on my A races for 2016 as I need to know how much free time I have for training and I want to be fair to Stuart.I may take part in some races as a pacer as I really enjoyed it last year.
I’m hoping to get back to swimming soon and went out on my first post baby bike ride recently, with my friend Kim. Later this week, I’m going to be going to a free fitness class: Buggy Mums. I’ve no idea what to expect, so I’ll be reporting back on it.
What have you been up to recently? Have you set yourself any big goals for 2017?
Quentin Tarantino: Bottom line is the fact that I realised that even the group people I hung around with, you know, it was easy for me to think that I was doing a lot because I was doing more to try to move myself forward than they were and I should be the weakest link in my chain that I have and that will make me be stronger and make me run faster. I mean like an analogy I’ve always used is, all right, if you run the hundred-yard dash with people that can’t run as fast, yeah, you’ll win hands down, yeah you know that, but if you run with people much faster than you, all right, yeah you might come in last every single time but your time will be better because they’re making you run all the faster. They’re making you dig down just a little bit more. It doesn’t matter that you run, your time is faster.”
William Hollis: “My dreams don’t live down there – that’s what my granddad used to tell me. When I used to walk into projects, I look down – I see crack needles, I see bullets, I see bloodstains… but when I looked in the sky, I saw my dreams. I saw my opportunity. When I would go to school they would tell me I was too dumb. They told me I’d be like my father, like my family. Selling dope! Going to the penitentiary. Never seeing what the real world would be. See, I was a kid couldn’t read till was 16, but my dream was bigger than my reality. I’m telling you, young king, keep fighting, because your life depends on it. Just like when you get hit with that bullet and your boys are telling you don’t stop breathing, don’t stop fighting. You still got life to live, because if you lay there in your pool of blood, you’re going to die there, young king. Young king learn how to fight for your purpose and not the money.”
Tony Robbins: “You got to have a vision. A vision for what it is you really truly want. A vision is about what you’re here to create. A vision that really works is one that excites you. It has to be a compelling vision, has got to have something that has the power to pull you, not something you have to push yourself to do. With the two different kinds of motivation push requires willpower and willpower never lasts. What will last is pull. Having something so exciting, so attractive so… something you desire so much, that you have a hard time going to sleep at night, you get so up early in the morning to a rocket and take it to the next level.”
Chris Ross: “Do you know what it takes to be great? Are you willing to go that extra mile. Our grinder wakes up early; he stays up late. I tell you time and time again you will get tired, but if you have a why it will give you that extra strip, that extra foot you need, that extra hour you need. The courage. The mental mentality. Why are you different from everyone else who’s trying to do the same thing you’re doing? What makes you stand out? Why are you so important? Somebody is waiting for you to mess up. Somebody is waiting for you to give up. Someone is waiting for you to fall. So, don’t just talk about your grind. Don’t just talk about how much you’re this and that. Show me!”
Les Brown: “Now what do you do during the hard times, Les? Here’s what you must do. Number one is: you must have faith. Paul said you must have the faith to call forth those things that be not as though they were. Judge not according to appearances. Don’t judge your circumstances and the possibilities for your future based upon what you have now and because of what’s going on now. No, no, no, no. That’s not the real reality there! What you’re going through, if you’re going through some hard times, it has not come to stay, it has come to pass. No matter how bad it is or how bad it gets I’m going to make it… as I used to say to myself when I would get up in the Bernard Scott building and I had to go into the bathroom and bathe in the bathroom sink, I have written on the mirror that I put up this piece that I read, ‘No matter how bad it is or how bad it gets, I’m going to make it!’ – so you’ve got to have faith, you talk to yourself, you say that affirmation. The next step is you must have patience. and engage in consistent action.”
“Get back up. Somethings you can’t change, you just have to live with. What if you do have a choice? Make the right choice. When it hurts, keep going. Those cloudy days, those storms tell you to keep going. Get back up. Dust yourself off.”
“When you wake up every morning what drives you?”
I love this video from Women For Tri.
One day, I’ll swim, I’ll bike and I’ll run.
One day, I’ll make my mum proud.
One day, she’ll stand on the sidelines and watch me finish…
because today, I stand and watch her.
One day, I’ll be an Ironman.
You never know who might be watching and being inspired by you 🙂
My sister, Bryony, and her husband have come to visit from Australia, which is fantastic as I rarely get to see her. We’ve been doing various festive things, including visiting Winchester Christmas market which is great fun.
On the way back from Winchester, we paid a visit to Alexandra Sports. Bryony wanted to buy a new pair of trainers and Stuart spotted a sign for the shop, so we thought we’d try it out. I’m familiar with the branch in Portsmouth, but didn’t know there was one by Winchester. The sales assistant was lovely and seemed very knowledgeable. She talked my sister through her gait analysis before selecting a few pairs of trainers for her to try.
Of course, as Bryony had new shoes to wear then there was no excuse for her not to take part in parkrun the following day… even though she got up late and found the 7C (45F) temperature rather chilly… it was 43C (110F) where she lives in Australia!
As I had baby M in her running buggy, we started at the back of the run. Bryony also made it clear to me that she would be walking, rather than jogging or running as she has not trained recently.
Sadly, the cooler temperature (combined with the proximity to Christmas) meant that parkrun wasn’t as busy as usual, so some of the back-of-the-pack runners that I’ve got to know recently, weren’t there. Bry and I were bringing up the rear, so it was great that there were some lovely ladies who were tail runners. They were saving their legs for Portsmouth Coastal Marathon the following day.
Bryony walked at a quick pace, but found that the cool temperature made her face ache as she has recently had major dental work. The current route is two loops of the hill on the Common. We were lapped by the lead runner before we’d got to the top of the hill for the first time. When we got to the top of the hill for the second time, the tail runners convinced Bry to break into a jog.
I was really proud of Bryony when we crossed the line and hope that she completes many more parkruns in future. She even managed negative splits with every kilometre being faster than the previous one 🙂
Training with a baby isn’t easy. I haven’t swum since I gave birth as I’m no longer a member of my University gym and I’m not currently a swimming member of Southampton Tri Club. I also haven’t been able to cycle as my turbo trainer isn’t set up (there’s currently no room for it). However, I have been running. Despite this, I’ve decided not to renew my membership with Lordshill Road Runners. I’ve run with the club for 5 years or so, but this year I’ve only trained with them twice and led coaching sessions for them, so I don’t think my membership fee is worth it. I may change my mind in 2017 and rejoin, but I’m more likely to track run with the tri club and do parkrun.
I am fortunate enough to have been selected as a member of Team SOAS again and will be rejoining some fantastic ladies. My friend, Abi, has also been selected this year, which is great.
We’ve already had some glimpses of the kit and there’s also a one-piece this year that Caroline Coble has been wearing:
I can’t wait for my 2017 kit to arrive and for me to wear it in a race 🙂
Do you have six minutes to be motivated this week? Yes? Watch on… No? OK, the simple answer is hard work! 🙂
Will Smith: For me it has been to be that guy that does what people say can’t be done, you know, and I think it started with trying to please my mother and trying to please my grandmother and they always wanted higher for me, they always wanted more for me and it got to the point that I wanted to be something. I wanted to be somebody. I want to be the person that is the first person there and the last person to leave. That’s who I want to be, because I think that the road to success is through commitment and through the strength to drive through that commitment when it gets hard… and it is going to get hard and you’re gonna want to quit sometimes, but it’ll be coloured by who you are and more who you want to be.
Do you have two minutes to spare? This inspirational triathlon training video with Christophe Suquet is a great way to start your week.
If you’d like to learn more about Christophe (and can speak French), you can follow his blog: http://christophesuquet.over-blog.com
I was up early on Saturday 10th December as it was the first day that I was allowed to run. I was so excited as I’ve really missed running. I got dressed in my favourite black shorts and my purple parkrun volunteer t-shirt – I chose that one as it was the last t-shirt I wore to run before I had baby M.
I was also excited to try out some completely new shoes. I was sent a pair of Hoka One One Bondi 4s by Millet Sports and although I’ve walked parkrun in them, I’ve not had a chance to run in them until now.
Hoka One One were the sponsors of the run section of Ironman Kona, so I was intrigued to try out this brand. I don’t know any local shops that stock them, so I’ve not even had a chance to try on a pair before. I chose the same size as I usual wear in Brooks and New Balance shoes and would say that the fit is the same. The delivery from Millet Sports was prompt.
Usually the shoes would cost £110, which is at the upper end of what I can justify spending on running shoes, however, there is currently a sale on, so they are reduced by 30% (many other shoes on the site are reduced by up to 55%, so the sale is worth checking out).
The shoes are incredibly comfortable and springy. The shoes are designed for road running, so they have quite a lot of cushioning, but they are also grippy enough that they would be fine on light trails and dry grass. I was able to maintain a comfortable midfoot stride in them and didn’t feel any discomfort, even though it’s been 8 weeks since I last ran. The two-tone laces look attractive and tied easily. They are not slippery laces, so I don’t think they’d undo whilst running. The shoe’s upper has lycra in it, which meant it was a comfortable fit.
The sole of the shoes is shaped, which means that you roll through each step. It was an unusual feeling initially, but I got used to it very quickly. I’m hoping that I’ll be back up to running 10k+ very soon, so it will be interesting to see how they feel on longer runs.
As usual, I started off rather quickly, but I was determined to keep a steady pace throughout, so I tried to slow down a bit so that I didn’t run out of steam. I tried not to look at my watch whilst running, but was also determined to beat my final pregnancy time of 30:50-something.
I crossed the line and was determined to see my time:
It’s the fastest I’ve run since February (before I knew I was pregnant), but I’m determined to work on it and hope that I can at least get down to 26:XX in the not too distant future before aiming for a PB (sub 24:42).
How’s your running going? Have you run a 5k PB this year?