Tag Archives: parkrun

parkrun Challenges

24 Oct

I love attending parkrun every week, so I’ve decided to set myself a number of parkrun related challenges for the next year. Most of them are teeny tiny goals, but I thought they might add some fun.

parkrun volunteer

  • Achieve my 250 club (17 parkruns to go)
  • Qualify for a cow cowl (I need to do 1 more UK parkrun) Cow cowl
  • Do an international parkrun (this might not happen)
  • Get an overall PB (<23:40)
  • Achieve PBs in 5 locations
  • Do all of the parkruns in Cornwall (Trelissick and the new Eden Project ones to go)
  • Do all of the parkruns in Hampshire (7 to go)
    • Alice Holt – done
    • Andover – done
    • Basingstoke – done
    • Brockenhurst – done
    • Eastleigh – done
    • Fareham – done
    • Havant
    • Lee-on-the-Solent – done
    • Lymington Woodside
    • Medina I.O.W
    • Netley Abbey – done
    • Portsmouth Lakeside
    • Queen Elizabeth
    • Rushmoor
    • Southampton – done
    • Southsea
    • Whiteley – done
    • Winchester – done
  • Do other near-by parkruns:
    • Blandford
    • Moors Valley
    • Poole
    • Salisbury
    • Upton House
    • Weymouth
  • Encourage 3 friends to do a parkrun
  • Support my mum to get a parkrun PB

Do you do parkrun? What’s your next parkrun goal?


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Nominated for The 2018 Running Awards. Please vote for me.

parkrunning Down Under

18 Oct

As soon as we had booked our flights to Australia, I got online to check out where the nearest parkruns were. I found that there was a parkrun at Gosling Creek in Orange, just a couple of miles away from where my brother lives and that just two weeks before we were due to arrive a new parkrun was starting in North Wollongong, which is near to where my sister lives. Sadly, there are no parkruns in Hong Kong (yet – see this page where someone is trying to set one up), so we knew we’d have to miss one run whilst away.

The first parkrun that Stuart and I did was run #3 at North Wollongong parkrun. It seems as though there has been some disagreement with the local council about parking, so the start of this run has changed from being in Wollongong to being at Fairy Meadow, which is a shame as there are no facilities there, whereas there are lots of cafes and coffee shops in Wollongong.

It is an out and back course, starting in a small park before heading off on a sandy path. It’s an interesting route with a little uphill, a board walk section and a section on grass. It is picturesque and not too busy. Also, it starts at 8am, which is earlier in the UK, but not as early as parkruns in Queensland which usually start at 7am!

Near the start of North Wollongong parkrun

The original plan had been for Stuart to run with M in her ‘new’ running buggy, but my sister and her husband decided not to run, so M was able to wait with them whilst Stu and I ran.

Nearing the turnaround point

I always perceive Australia to be a very sporty country, so I was surprised at how few competitive runners were taking part – more people were jog/walking with quite a few children. I think it’s great that it’s such an inclusive event. It might be because the weather was quite warm, which made the conditions challenging – maybe the speedier runners are out earlier?

North Wollongong parkrun

The lack of lots of super speedy people meant that I came 11/121 females and was 3/15 in my age group.

My next Australian parkrun was Orange parkrun. This is a much more established event that takes place at a nature reserve called Gosling Creek.

The Run Director did a nice briefing and there were quite a few tourists at the event – I’m guessing that some of them were in Orange because of the mine, rather than just as sight-seers. We got a huge round of applause for having come from the UK, possibly because Orange is off the tourist trail, although there are some lovely wineries in the region.

This time, M was joining us in her running buggy, so Stu agreed to push M and to run with me. Neither of us is on form, but even with a running buggy, Stuart is much faster than I am, so it was quite a challenge.

Again, this parkrun was a nice mix of surfaces. It is a looping course with some reasonably steep inclines that are fairly short. There are sections on grass, trail and board walk and the scenery is lovely.

The Run Director welcomed each runner back individually and then took a photo of the three of us. As you can see, M was exhausted by her early morning exertions!

Orange parkrun

My time was relatively slow for me, so I was pleased to find that I was 7/76 females and 1/5 in my age group!

Our final parkrun was again at North Wollongong on our final morning in Australia. M had not slept well, (she’d spent a lot of the night screaming) so I really appreciated Bryony and Jonno getting up early to take us.

M stayed at the beach with her Uncle and Aunt and Stu had a foot niggle, so he agreed to run with me. I realised at the start that I had failed to bring my inhaler with me. That was a bad move as the path was very dusty and it made breathing extra hard. I also didn’t have a drink with me.

Second parkrun at North Wollongong

I couldn’t remember how long my previous run had taken me, so I decided that I would aim to finish in the top 20 females. I set off towards the start and when we got towards the turning point, we saw the fastest runners on their way back. I started counting the female runners and could see that I was in the top 20, but that I would need to keep pushing to retain that position.

2nd parkrun at North Wollongong

I was really pleased to finish 15/107 females and 2/17 in my age group. I also achieved a PB for this course.

Overall, I really enjoyed being a parkrun tourist in Australia. There are so many interesting courses and I’ve never been to a parkrun event that wasn’t friendly. I’ve now done 3 international parkruns, but am still stuck on 19 different UK events, so maybe that’s something I need to do more of next year.

Which is your favourite parkrun and why?


Fat Girl to Ironman has been nominated for the 2018 Running Awards. I would be really grateful if you would vote for me. Thank you 🙂

 

Nominated for The 2018 Running Awards. Please vote for me.

Faster than Mo

12 Aug Family at Penrose parkrun

On Saturday, we went to Penrose parkrun – Stuart, my mum, baby M and I. It was a bit grey and overcast, but surprisingly warm. Stuart and I had chosen to test our ‘new’ buggy – it’s an old Mountain Buggy Terrain. We’ve bought it to take on holiday with us, so that if it gets broken, we won’t be upset.

Family at Penrose parkrun

On arrival at Penrose parkrun, their photographer came to take a photo of us (she was taking pictures of all of the visiting tourists).

Stuart was running on his own, whereas I’d agreed to run with my mum. My mum positioned herself appropriately and then I positioned myself at the back. This is one thing I hate about parkrunning with a buggy – “If possible start from the back of the field and try to keep to one side of the main body of runners.” In my opinion, it would be better to start with runners of comparable speed (but to the side). I’ve comfortably run under 27 minutes with Baby M, so if I start at the back, I have to pass a lot of people which seems more dangerous than starting at the side.

Anyway… after a few minutes, M and I managed to catch up with my mum. It was her 8th parkrun and she decided to push herself for a PB.

Penrose parkrun is an out and back course. It’s not as beautiful as when we first tried it (the old course went out on the cliffs and was much tougher), but it’s still a nice run.

I thought mum and I were doing well until the first finisher passed us just 1.2km in. I was quite surprised and glanced at my watch. The runner looked quite comfortable – he was a cani-cross runner. I guessed that his finishing time would be around 16 minutes.

[In the evening, I looked up the details of the first finisher (a chap called Ben Robinson from Bristol and West AC). His dog-assisted time was 13:23, which is less than a minute slower than the 5000m world record and 11 seconds slower than Mo’s last 5000m! Wow!]

Some time later, Stuart passed us and called out. For someone who had said they were going to take it easy, he was looking quite quick (he finished in 21:09)..

Mum, M and I continued to the turn around point. The course was much busier than usual as it’s in a tourist area, so it was nice to see that there were quite a few people behind us on the course.

At about 3.5km, we passed another cani-cross runner – a reluctant dachshund and his owner.

We continued running. I felt so proud of my mum as she ran almost the entire parkrun, just stopping to drink some water as it was very warm.

My mum finished in 45:01, which was a new PB for her. She was also pleased to have beaten 15 people. (Some people might argue that this isn’t the point of parkrun, but as my mum is almost always the penultimate finisher ahead of the tail walker, it was a victory for her).

Penrose parkrun 12 Aug 17

Next stop, sub 45!

Buggy Mums, parkrun, JPCC and a sundae

2 Jul Turbo session

Wednesday was a rainy day, but that didn’t stop me from going along to Buggy Mums. I knew that Christine would have planned a session that would keep us moving and I wasn’t wrong.

Unsurprisingly, we were a small group of just 7 people today, but that didn’t make it any less fun. One brave lady came along for the first time despite the weather.

We kept moving around the Common, stopping in various locations to do exercises, including squats, tricep dips and walking lunges. We also managed to run 4km.

Buggy Mums June 28

© Christine Saunders

Today’s Buggy Mums session was at a new venue: Riverside Park. I’ve run in Riverside Park lots of times, but it was nice to use a new venue for Buggy Mums as there were new options for training.

Buggy Mums Riverside 1

©Christine Saunders

Buggy Mums Riverside 2

©Christine Saunders

Buggy Mums Riverside 3

©Christine Saunders

On Friday, I went out shopping with M. I’ve been struggling with finding enough baby-free time to ride, so I thought I’d better do an hour on the turbo trainer. I have no idea whether I’ll be fit enough to tackle #ridelondon in a month, but I’m not going down without a fight!

Turbo session

Southampton parkrun was cancelled again this week (Pretty Muddy), so it was another chance for me to do some parkrun tourism. Stu and I chose to go to Whiteley parkrun and we gave our friend Rob a lift. It was Stu’s turn to run with the buggy, so I was free to go as fast or slow as I liked. Yesterday, my Garmin told me I was ‘detraining’ after a week of berating me for being ‘unproductive’, so I thought I’d better run hard! 24:22 is 42s away from my PB, but not a bad run considering my lack of training and the humidity.

detraining Whiteley parkrun

Hopefully, having put in a decent run will improve my Garmin’s comments about my training!

training data after Whiteley

On Sunday, I went on a lovely sunny ride with Julian Porter Cycling Club. We cycling from Eling tide mill out to Beaulieu before stopping for drinks – I was a bit surprised as that’s only about 7 miles.

Mettricks Beaulieu

We then headed off towards Buckler’s Hard, but didn’t do the loop that I’m used to. Instead we did a very short loop that was being used as part of a triathlon. I cheered a few people on and was able to say hello to club-mates who were manning an aid station.

We then turned towards The Drift Inn where we were to regroup with the faster riders. It was quite warm, so I appreciated a glass of coke, but was aware that really I needed to be doing more pedalling and less drinking!

When we left, Angela, a speedier rider joined us, so Lou and I picked up the pace towards Ipley Cross. At that point, Angela left us and we turned back towards Southampton.

Just a few miles from where we started, we turned a corner and Lou shouted that her chain had come off. On closer inspection, we realised that she had broken her rear mech hanger 😦 I agreed that I would cycle back to the car park, collect my car and retrieve Lou and her bike. What a disappointing end to a lovely ride for Lou.

I enjoyed this social cycle, but think I probably should have gone out on my own for a training ride as although I was out for 4.5 hours, I rode less than 30 miles :’-(

To top off a busy week, Stu and I walked to Sprinkles for an ice-cream sundae.

Stu and Sundae

What did you do this week?

Cold and slow

21 Jan

I’ve succumbed to the lurgy and have had a heavy cold for a couple of days, which is incredibly frustrating. It has affected my sleep and makes me want to just hibernate.

This morning, Stu ran to Royal Victoria Country Park and I drove to meet him there. We’d chosen to go to Netley Abbey parkrun as it was our friend Dave’s 250th parkrun.

When I arrived, I set up M’s running buggy and then went over to congratulate Dave for reaching his milestone. He was chatting to one of my running heroes, Iwan Thomas. Iwan was there with his adorable French bulldog, Frank… I was so tempted to take a photo because he is the cutest pup (and Iwan’s not too bad either!)

Stu was feeling achy when he got there as 12km is the furthest he’s run since he was doing Ironman training last year, so he said he look after Morgelyn and I could run. I wasn’t wearing what I would usually wear to run in, but as the temperature was -4ºC (39ºF) when I left home, it was probably just as well that I had some extra layers on.

As I wasn’t feeling well, I agreed that I would join Kim and Vicky for a social run. Kim was looking very glamorous all in black, and she was sensibly wearing sunglasses. I hadn’t thought about wearing mine and was blinded for half of the run.

It was a route that I’d not run on before, so perhaps my result could be considered a PB, but I know it was slower than I would usually do.

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I’ve been feeling jealous of all of the beautiful leggings on Instagram recently, so I splashed out at Decathlon this week. I had a £5 voucher to be used by the end of the month, so I went in for a browse and after spending a further £8, I came out with some very jazzy leggings. For the price, I was impressed with the quality – they are quite thick and have a lovely flat waistband that is quite high. My only gripes are that they are designed for people who are taller than me, so they are quite long… and perhaps I could have worn a smaller size as they started falling down. However, if I had worn a smaller size, I think they would have stretched too much and the white lining would have shown.img_1633img_1634img_1635img_1636img_1637img_1638

Tomorrow, I had been hoping for a lie in, but we’re marshalling at the CC6, so there’s no rest for the wicked. I’m then scheduled to go out for a short run with Lou, but I think I should see how I’m feeling. At least I’ve got a lie in to look forward to on Monday, when everyone else is heading off to work!

How are you getting your fitness fix this weekend?

 

My first international parkrun at Amager Faelled

22 Aug

We didn’t arrive in Copenhagen early enough for the Ironman 5k run that took place on Wednesday, so I was keen to take part in parkrun on Saturday morning. Denmark was the first country outside of the UK to have a parkrun and we knew that there were three in Copenhagen. We quickly realised that the view from our hotel room window was of Amager Faelled, which is where Denmark’s oldest parkrun takes place.

We got up early on Saturday morning and dressed in our running clothes before heading down for breakfast. I was worried about Stu doing too much ahead of his ironman, but his coach had told him to do a 20 minute run, so he said he’d be OK to do parkrun with me.

We went to the nearby Metro and took the next train to DR Byen, which is the stop nearest to the start of the parkrun. We crossed the road and started walking across the park.

After walking for quite a while, I started to get worried as there was no sign of a parkrun. We then saw an olde lady running, so we asked her is she knew about parkrun. Of course, she spoke impeccable English, but she apologised that he was unsure where the start was and said she thought we should continue in the direction we were going.

There were quite a few runners around, but none of them looked like they were intending to do parkrun as they seemed focuses on their own workouts.

A little while later, we saw some more people who seemed to be looking around. They turned out to be more English people looking for the start of parkrun.

Although this event has been running for 7 years, it is very low key. We found a patch of grass and a couple of people who has stopped there with bicycles. Apparently, somewhere nearby was a sign, but we think it was in the opposite direction.

There were a number of English people who had arrived to run – mainly friends and family of people taking part in Ironman Copenhagen, like me. Everyone gathered on the patch of grass where a tarpaulin was spread out as a place for people to leave their bags and jackets.

(C) Henrik Poulsen


The Run Director gave a really good briefing in English and Danish. She also asked who had done the double. We were a little confused until she explained that because of the Ironman set up the parkrun at Amager Strand had had to take place at 8am, so some people had already completed that event.

After the briefing, we walked a few hundred metres to the start line that was marked in organic flour. We had been told that there would be no marshals on the run course, but that all of the turns were marked with flour.


I set off quite slowly as I was at the back. It wasn’t long before I got chatting with a group of parkrunners who were mainly from the Milton Keynes area. This was good because it meant that I maintained a steady pace.

The course was mostly flat, with only very minor inclines and declines. I was surprised to see one of the runners emerge from a thicket, but assumed that he had needed a ‘comfort break’, so I thought no more of it… Until he stopped again a couple of hundred metres later and I realised that he was picking blackberries as he ran and filling a small bag!


I hadn’t realised from the race briefing that it was a two-lap course, so it came as a surprise to pass the flour start-line. I glanced at my watch and could see I was doing quite well, so I decided to maintain the same easy even pace and see whether I could finish in under 30 minutes. Just after 4K, my right leg started to feel a bit tired and achy, but I figured that wouldn’t do my baby any harm, so I kept going!

Amager Faelled parkrun result

I was delighted to cross the line in an official time of 29:47, which isn’t bad for 32 weeks pregnant. I definitely think the flat course and cool breeze helped.

 


After the run, Stu and I chatted with a few other parkrunners before thanking the Run Director for holding such a lovely event. If you ever have the chance to take part here, I strongly recommend it. It is a small and friendly event.
All photos by Henrik Poulsen.

Miles of Smiles

23 Jun

The last couple of weeks have been quite busy. Last Monday, I went to STC swimming training as usual. There were quite a lot of us in the session and we had some long sets to swim. I’ve not done enough swimming this year and I’m finding it quite challenging, but I managed to get 2000m done within the hour. This week felt a little better. There were only two people in Lane 2 (Kevin and Sonia), so I decided to take my chance and go for it. I was the slowest by far, but when I glanced over my shoulder I could see that I was at least keeping pace with (and occasionally beating) the swimmers in Lane 1. It was also quite bizarre to glance over my other shoulder and see Huw and Stu motoring away. I had a few technical difficulties with my Garmin, but think I swam around 2200m, which made me feel more hopeful for the Long Course Weekend.

On Tuesday last week, I went to the Lordshill Road Runners Magic Mile event. This was one of a series of 5 x 1mile events that are taking place in 2016, with the next one taking place on 26th July. The events are not serious races (well, not for most people) – they are free to take part in, with donations going to LRR’s chosen charity, however they are limited to members of local running and tri clubs.

It was great to see friends from Lordshill who I haven’t seen for a while, and also great to catch up with Liz, Claire and Sheila from Southampton Tri Club. Liz and Sheila had on tri club tops, but I don’t have one yet… and I also hadn’t realised that so many people would be wearing club kit. As usual, I had opted for my most comfortable and attractive running kit, so I was decked out in SOAS from head to toe.

The start and finish of the event are a short distance apart with participants gathering at the finish and being led to the start. I was so distracted by chatting to Claire that I walked part way to the start before realising that I was still carrying my rucksack and wearing my hoodie – oops. I dashed back to the finish, dropped my kit off and then had to hurry over to the start. I just about had time to use my inhaler (but no time to tuck it in a pocket – thank goodness for the secret pocket in the front of my SOAS crop top!) before we were off.

The first section of the course slopes gently uphill to the crossroads on The Common. I would have preferred not to start on a slope without a warm up, but enthusiasm got me to the turning point and I felt good that I wasn’t the very last person. It was then a gentle downhill towards the Bellemoor. I felt ready to go faster, but this is the path that I used to cycle to work on every day and I know that there are some broken patches of tarmac. After taking a tumble in my last half marathon, I was carefully scanning the ground ahead to make sure that I didn’t trip.

At the bottom of the slope was another left hand turn onto The Flats. Unsurprisingly, this section is completely flat apart from a couple of speed humps. I had been following another runner since the crossroads, but I could see that I was gaining ground, even though I don’t think I was speeding up. As we got towards the finish, I managed to pass her.

I finally crossed the line in 8:42 – definitely nowhere near my PB (which I think is 7:27), but quicker than I thought as I had expected to be closer to 10 minutes 🙂

Wednesday evening took in another mile event – this time Mile of Miles, a 10-x1 mile relay at the track. I knew I wouldn’t be quick, but I wanted to beat my time, and as my favourite photographer, paul, was there then I lso had to try to make it look like I was enjoying every second!

HAM_5702 HAM_5703 HAM_5704 HAM_5705 HAM_5706 HAM_5707 HAM_5708 HAM_5711 HAM_5800 HAM_5801 HAM_5804 HAM_5806 HAM_5807 HAM_5945 HAM_5946 HAM_5947 HAM_5948 HAM_6065 HAM_6066

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

© Paul A. Hammond

I was the slowest runner for Lordshill, but was quite pleased to finish in 8:19, 22 seconds faster than my run the night before.

Mile of Miles

On Thursday it rained really hard, so I abandoned my planned open water swim and track session for a lazy evening at home.

On Saturday, I was Run Director at parkrun. It wasn’t too busy (600+ runners), which was good as Stu was out doing a long bike ride, so I needed to manage the event on my own. We had a longer finish funnel this week, which meant that there weren’t problems with runners backing up and we didn’t need to manage two (or more) queues. I then had some help from Kate to process the results. The temperamental scanners worked first time and because of our lovely new finish tokens, there weren’t too many names on the manual entry list.

parkrun volunteer

I had hoped to get out for this week’s RR10, but I spend yesterday at a work conference in Bristol, and didn’t get back in time to be able to run which was a shame, and I have loads to do tonight ahead of another conference tomorrow, so I’m having an evening at home. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll get to do Medina parkrun (Isle of Wight) on Saturday morning.

What are your plans for this weekend?

Finally, if you haven’t seen Strava’s latest video yet, it’s worth a watch:

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parkrun at Royal Victoria Country Park

24 Jan

Yesterday morning I ventured over to Netley Abbey parkrun for a change. I had agreed with my friend Dörte that we would meet up for a run at her local parkrun.

I had originally intended to cycle to Royal Victoria Country Park, but it was very foggy when I got up and as my main cycling jacket is white, that didn’t seem a sensible option, so I was lazy and drove there. It’s a shame as there are some lovely bike racks in the park and the cycle route is usually quite scenic.

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I didn’t really give myself enough time to drive, so I only had five minutes to park and get myself to the start line.

After I had dropped my bag with the rest of the baggage, I saw a few of my friends from Lordshill at the start. I had a quick chat with Dave who is trying out the Furman (FIRST) three day a week marathon plan. Whilst we were talking, I felt a little nudge from behind. My lovely friend, Di, was trying to catch my attention, so she had poked me with her foot… unfortunately, it was only as she did it that she realised just how muddy her feet were, so I started the run with a footprint on my bum!

I looked around and couldn’t see Dörte, so I thought I’d set off and would probably see her on the way around as she’s a faster runner than me and it’s a three lap course where you pass other runners.

I find Netley Abbey parkrun to be quite challenging. The current route is a three lap course that has a downhill section before a run parallel to the shore. (If you want to see a bit more of the view, check out this video from the Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds: Maritime Archaeology course that I was involved in – Julian and Jesse are standing just off the path that we run along, so you can see the Itchen shoreline and Fawley oil refinery in the distance!) I was supposed to be going quickly, so that I could report a 5k time back to Coach Olly, but I got really distracted when I saw a little pug walking along the shingle – oops! There were also some good marshalls along this section.

After the run along the shore, there is an uphill section that is quite narrow and can only fit two runners abreast. Then it’s back onto the main path, which is quite muddy and has a number of puddles on it at the moment.

After a few minutes to get your breath back, there’s another uphill section, before heading through the woods and a lovely downhill section, which is also quite muddy and leafy.

Several times during the run, I saw Ben who was the first finisher and I also saw Dave, Di, Khalid, Rodolfo, Aurelio, Kelly and various other friends… but no Dörte.

Going into the last lap, Kelly passed me. I don’t see her very often as Kelly runs with Hedge End Running Club and doesn’t come to Southampton parkrun very often, but Kelly and I ran our first half marathon together and finished Stubbington 10k in exactly the same time last week. I tried to stick with Kelly when she passed me, but I was just feeling too tired to keep up. I think this week’s interval sessions have taken it out of me a bit!

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There used to be a large hospital for wounded servicemen at Netelet Abbey – now the chapel is all that remains in the park

The section back on the flat is challenging as the right hand side of the path has fewer puddles so runners coming in the other direction often veer onto this side of the path.

On the final lap there is a really long finishing straight, which is great if you’re feeling like really going for it at the end of the lap. I got to the final 100m and wanted to have a sprint finish, but I had nothing left. I had assumed that I would get a time of 26:XX, but it was not to be. My time on my Garmin was 27:15, which is quite disappointing.

Netley Abbey parkrun 209 23 Jan 2016

A look at the stats was a little less depressing – I finished 3rd out of 21 in my age category and was 21/110 women. Overall, I was 123rd out of 270. I also realised that my time was a PB on this course – although I have only run it 3 times before and it has generally been with other people. First place in my age category was a time of 26:01 – I reckon that I can manage that with a bit more training!

Overall, this is a lovely parkrun. Occasionally, it is run on a multi-loop course around teh cricket pitch, which is quite dull, but the other main route is also attractive. The marshalls were great and as the event isn’t too big, it still has a local comunity feel to it.

Afterwards, lots of people adjourned to the cafe for a drink. I sent my friend, Dörte a text message and found out that she hadn’t been able to make the run, but she was able to cycle down to the cafe to met me… this also gives me a great excuse to come back to Netley, so that we can have a run together!


And now for something completely different… You may have noticed that it’s ‘Way Back Week’ on Facebook. Here’s my photo from about 1980!

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In other news…

27 May

I have been so busy recently with work and training that I’ve not had as much any time for blogging?

The new parkrun milestone t-shirts should be arriving soon. I’ve volunteered loads, so I’ll immediately be eligible for one of the purple ones:

parkrun milestone tshirts

parkrun volunteering

I’ve also managed to fit in a few parkruns recently, including my 150th:

Southampton parkrun #154

Southampton parkrun #154

I’ve also entered the ballot for London Marathon, but there is such a small chance of getting in that I’m not holding my breath! (Apparently 247,069 people entered the ballot and by the time places have been allocated to good for age, elites and charities there is only a 7% chance of getting a place).

My first DNF and I’m OK about it

2 May

Everything seems to have been going so well recently. My running has been going well, I achieved a new PB for distance swimming and I’m starting to work with a nutrition coach, so I’ve been feeling positive… however, my home is a bit chaotic as I’ve not kept on top of housework. I’m so grateful that this is a bank holiday weekend.

The weekend started with parkrun. I’d had the option to go for a run with Teri and James beforehand, but I decided that I needed a bit of a lie in, so I turned down that opportunity. After dithering about what to wear as I couldn’t be sure what the temperature was, I decided to wear my new Team SOAS shorts and vest. I’ve worn the vest before, but the first pair of shorts that I received were too big. The new pair fit well, but I generally prefer to keep my chunky legs hidden a bit more – hopefully, I’ll lose some weight from my thighs to make running in shorts more comfortable.

I’d forgotten that the Southampton parkrun route has changed at the moment, so I spent a while chatting to a former colleague at the finish funnel and then had to jog towards the start. At this point, I realised there was a problem.

On Wednesday evening, I helped Ben to lead a Lordshill Road Runners training session. One of the runners is having problems because she has very tight hips, so I explained some stretches that might benefit her. She wasn’t sure about all of them, so I demonstrated some. Unfortunately, I was quite cold as I had been coaching and not running, so I managed to pull my hamstring whilst demonstrating pigeon pose. It wasn’t too much and I didn’t think any more of it.

Yesterday morning, as I jogged across the grass, my right thigh started hurting where I had pulled it on Wednesday evening. I hoped it would ease off, so I met up with some friends and the run started.

I had been feeling quite confident that I could manage a 25 minute running, but I started feeling in pain on the way up the hill. I continued chatting to Tim, but the pain increased instead of easing off, so that about 1.5km, I decided that the sensible thing to do would be to quit.

I pride myself on not being a quitter. I’ve never DNS’d or DNF’d a race or event before, but I have such big plans for this year that I don’t want to struggle with injuries. I’ve pushed on in races where I’ve felt exhausted and have even collapsed at the end of races, but finishing a parkrun is not about proving something to someone. It would have been my 149th run, but I’m OK with that. I’m trying to discipline myself to train smarter and I think this is a step in the right direction. Likewise, there has been a lot of peer pressure this week to enter a marathon, but I’m not going to. I have other goals at the moment and I need to remain focused. I’d love to have a chance to do London Marathon, but if it doesn’t happen next year, that’s fine. This year will be my year of swimming and 2016 will be my year of cycling.

The walk back to the start/finish area at parkrun was tough because my leg hurt and I started feeling cold, but I was heartened by the huge number of runners who stopped their run to check that I was OK. This to me embodies the spirit of parkrun – it’s just a run and there’s always next week. Also, Southampton parkrun had over 760 finishers today, which is a new record (perhaps they were all inspired by Southampton Half Marathon last weekend), so maybe my presence next week will help to create another new record!

I spent most of yesterday desperately trying to get my house in order as housework has taken rather a backseat recently. However, under coach’s orders, I’ve been doing the tidying in compression tights and have been trying to rest my leg whenever possible. I took this as a reason to do a bit of DIY, instead of going up and down stairs with laundry.

I’ve never been particularly bothered by medals, but as I have them, I feel I should do something with them. A while ago, I bought some Bygel rails in Ikea, with the intention of using them as medal hangers (I can’t afford fancy medal holders), but I never got around to doing anything with them. Then I saw a photo of Julian ‘King of Bling’ Porter‘s medal display and it spurred me into action.

An impressive display of medals that is a couple of metres long

Jules’ medal display © Julian Porter Photography

I can’t claim that my medal display (or more correctly Team Smith’s medal display as the medals on the left were earned by Stu) rivals Julian’s, but it’s a start. Unfortunately, I’ve run out of screws and rawl plugs, so I can’t put up the 4th rail at the moment, but it will get sorted by the end of the weekend 🙂 [OK – all sorted now!]

Rows of medals

The medals on the right are mine for running, swimming and triathlons; the ones on the left are my husband’s

I’m hoping to spend a bit of time planning my meals for next week and making a shopping list. I’ll be meeting with my nutrition coach tomorrow and on Wednesday, Stuart and I will have a delivery from Gousto:

  • Lebanese Halloumi
  • Posh Burger ‘n’ Chips (not vegetarian, so Stuart will eat this!)
  • Asian Nutty Noodles

We were persuaded to sign up at London Marathon Expo and as my cooking repertoire is quite limited, we thought it would be fun to try it. If you’d like to try Gousto, visit http://www.gousto.co.uk and enter TAMSY54389 to get £20 off your first box (I’ll get £15 credit).


I read an interesting article today that explained ‘How to predict your Ironman time‘. The formula is:

186.3 + 1.595 × (PB for Olympic-distance triathlon) + 1.318 × (PB for marathon)

so for me that’s

186.3 + 1.595 × (220) + 1.318 × (270) = 893.06 = 14:53:06

Which isn’t far off my HIM PB x2 (7:24:54). I’d love to know how accurate people have found this calculation to be. I’d be delighted with that kind of time!