Tag Archives: Southampton Marathon

Southampton Marathon – possibly the best race I’ve ever had!

24 Apr

When I heard that there was going to be a full marathon in Southampton, I immediately wanted to enter. I’ve never been lucky enough to get a place in London Marathon, so this is the next best thing (for me). I also thought it would be a good comeback race after having Baby M… there’s nothing like fear of failure (and a hungry baby) to get some ‘quick’ training miles in.

My training plan was somewhat unconventional. Previously, I’ve relied on the FIRST three runs a week training plan. This year, my schedule was 1 STC swim, 2 Buggy Mums classes, a parkrun and a long run combined with leading fortnightly half marathon training runs.

I tried to rest a bit this week and had a 90 minute nap on Saturday afternoon, which is just as well because although Baby M went to sleep at 9pm, she woke at 10pm, 11pm and midnight. After that she woke up half hourly until 7am. Not my best race prep!

We picked up my training partner, Pete, and drove into town. On leaving the car park, I was surprised (and pleased) to see that mist had descended. Hurray! I can’t bear sunny weather for running.

We walked to the Sir James Matthews building, where the pacers were congregating, where met up with my friend, Kate. After a last-minute snack for M, I hurried out passing Sandra and Barbara from the Tri Club, but there was not enough time to chat.

Chris Rees sneaking up on Tamsyn

Chris Rees and Tamsyn

©Aron Kelly


Kate, Pete and Tamsyn before the race

©Kate Budd

We walked past the warm up and lined ourselves up in the appropriate area. It was nice to see my old friend, Dave, who was tackling his first marathon as part of a series of challenges he is undertaking this year. There was also enough time to chat with my lovely sports masseur, Becky, who was taking part in the half marathon.

All too soon, it was time to go.

On leaving the park, I stepped on someone’s dropped gel. It exploded and covered my legs – yuk! That is not how I wanted my race to start! I also realised that I had tied my shoes too tightly, but it was too busy for me to stop and adjust them.

We looped around and then went up the High Street where various friends from Lordshill Road Runners were watching the start of the marathon.

Crowd of runners

©Teri Pragnell

The agreed plan was to maintain a 6:00/km pace to the Uni and then press on a bit at the downhill. The plan for lap 2 was to hold on for as long as possible and to walk up Church Lane.

The route to The Common wasn’t exactly as I had expected, but there weren’t major changes, so it was fine. When we got there it was lovely to see some friends who were waiting to cheer us on.

Pete, Tamsyn and Kate running on The Common

© Lawrence Chen


Pete, Tamsyn and Kate running on The Common

© Lawrence Chen

The first real hill of the course is on The Common and we tackled it well. We were still in a group and Pete warned me that we were going a bit quickly. We slowed a little and after turning at the crossroads, we saw Jo, another running friend. That’s what I like about local races – seeing familiar faces running and spectating.

Tamsyn and Kate

©Jo Findon

We then had another slight route change before a lovely downhill section. However, at the end of the downhill is the toughest hill on the course: Church Lane. Kate and I pushed up it, but Pete had a slight breather to save his legs, before catching up with us.

After passing University of Southampton, we were onto a fantastic long downhill section, where we were able to let go a bit.

Pete, Tamsyn and Kate

©Kelly Kilpin

After an ugly urban section, it was great to be in Riverside Park, where my favourite race photographer, Paul, was positioned.

Tamsyn surrounded by other runners

©Paul Hammond


Tamsyn surrounded by other runners

© Paul Hammond


Tamsyn surrounded by other runners

© Paul Hammond


Tamsyn surrounded by other runners

© Paul Hammond


Tamsyn surrounded by other runners

© Paul Hammond


Pete waving his arms

© Paul Hammond


Tamsyn surrounded by other runners

© Paul Hammond


Tamsyn surrounded by other runners

© Paul Hammond


Tamsyn surrounded by other runners

© Paul Hammond


Pete, Tamsyn and Kate

© Paul Hammond


Pete, Tamsyn and Kate

© Paul Hammond


tamsyn giving a thumbs up

© Paul Hammond


Close up of Tamsyn

© Paul Hammond

Kate had a comfort break in Riverside Park, so Pete and I pressed on alone. I was feeling a bit enthusiastic, so Pete had to keep telling me to slow down. I was trying not to go too quickly, as I hoped that Kate would catch us up again.

We saw our friend Di who was on her bike. She commented that we must have passed her husband, Mike, but I was fairly sure that we hadn’t so we must have started ahead of Mike.

Unfortunately, by the time we got to the 10 mile marker Pete started getting calf cramps, which got worse as it got hotter. He had trained really hard and prepared perfectly this week, so was very unlucky.

We had a short walk at the start of the Itchen Bridge and then started running again. I love race sections where you see others who are taking part. It doesn’t bother me seeing how many people are ahead of me as I know that on the return, I will see people behind me (or at least, that’s how I always hope it will go!)

At the far side of the bridge, I saw Steve Doncom. I used to do karate with his sons and haven’t seen him for about 5 years, but he recognised me and shouted out, which was nice.

As we were finishing the bridge, Pete and I saw the lead 10k runner (Abdi Mahamed) starting to cross the bridge. He was looking very fast.

We ran through a small park, where lots of children were cheering and offering water bottles, before turning onto Below Bar. I could see my in-laws and Baby M at Boulangerie Victor Hugo. We were ahead of schedule, so they didn’t expect us!

We ran past the Bargate and then turned into the park, ready to begin the second lap. In the park, I heard Sergio cheering us on, which was a nice boost.

The first half took 2 hours, which is far too fast for someone whose marathon PB is 4:29, but I was still feeling comfortable. I think that if I had been doing the Half Marathon, I could have gone for a PB.

As we got towards the Cenotaph, we were passed by the lead 10k runner… but he was on the wrong course. Oh dear. Apparently several people took the wrong course during the race, which is a shame for them.

The route up to The Common was hot and felt hard. At this point, Pete and I were joined by Mike and Patrick in their Beefeater costumes. Pete and I stopped for water  and lost Mike and Patrick at that point.

As we went past the pond on The Common, I saw a familiar face – my friend, Isabel from Buggy Mums. She had been out cycling with Laura earlier in the day and was doing a brick run as part of her training for an Olympic distance triathlon. It was great to have her company all of the way up the hill.

Pete’s calf was starting to hurt, but he was able to pick up the pace a bit on the downhill towards the crossroads, passing Patrick on the way. We went through the subway and then walked up the slope. I heard Patrick talking to us and assumed that he was ‘telling us off’ for walking, but then realised that he was saying he had fallen in the subway. His back and legs were covered in mud, but he seemed to be uninjured, which was good.

When Pete and I got to Church Lane, we walked up it again. There were quite a few students there cheering people on. It was hard to ignore them and walk, but I didn’t want to leave Pete.

There was a water station by the University, so Pete and I had another drink, before starting the downhill section. We hadn’t got far before we spotted the bring orange shirts of the motivators.

Kim and Vicki

Kim and Vicki ©Rees Leisure

It was lovely to say hello to Kim and Vicky and have a bit of a laugh.

Pete and Tamsyn

©Kelly Kilpin

As we got towards Bitterne, Pete was struggling more. He kept telling me to go on, but I felt bad as he had kept me going through all of our training runs, even though I was very slow when we started in January. At 31k, not far from Cobden Bridge, Pete finally convinced me to leave him.

I was feeling good on my second run through Riverside Park and spoke to a few other runners, which was nice. However, the section out of Riverside Park and back to Bitterne Triangle was very hot. I managed to get a pebble in my shoe, and hoped that it would work itself into a less uncomfortable position. I passed the first-placed wheelchair half marathoner on this section and was impressed by how hard she was working as I imagine the course must be very tricky in a wheelchair.

As I got to the ukulele band at Bitterne Triangle, I saw Kim and Vicky again. I wasn’t expecting to see them, so I guess that their last place walker must have dropped out.

I enjoyed the section towards Bitterne Station. There were some shady areas and I was feeling strong. As I passed the pub, there were people outside with pints of lager that looked really refreshing.

I started to get annoyed by the pebble in my shoe. My friends think it’s funny that I always get pebbles in my trainers – I even picked one up in my hallway before I went on a training run with Pete. When I shake them out they are often tiny, but definitely big enough to be seen and not figments of my imagination. I started looking for a bench or wall that I could sit on. I didn’t want to sit on the kerb as I have low blood pressure and worried that if I sat down that low I might faint on standing. After a while I saw a wall that was the perfect height, so I stopped, took off my shoe, shook the pebble out and then retied it more loosely. If I’d thought about it, I should have done the other shoe at the same time as I then had one comfortable shoe and one that was a bit tight.

After crossing Northam Bridge again, I headed towards the stadium. It was sad to see a female runner sitting on the ground by the underpass. She didn’t have any obvious injuries, but was in tears. Luckily, there were people with her.

This time, there were very few people with me as I went through the stadium, so I imagine there are loads of terrible photos of me taken by the automatic cameras.

As I headed towards the Itchen Bridge, I saw fellow tri club member Sandra, who had been a bike marshal earlier in the day and was now enjoying seeing the runners. It was lovely to see a friendly face.

The Itchen Bridge felt like a bit of a slog the second time around. I had a brief walk and then forced myself to start running again. I saw Paul and Chris from LRR on the other side of the bridge and for a few seconds I wondered whether I would be able to catch Chris. Unlike the first time around, the crowds of supporters on the bridge had thinned (and I definitely don’t think they were as vocal as last year, which was a shame).

On my way back across the bridge, I saw Tim from LRR and was also surprised to see super speedy former SUTRI team-mate Flo. She caught up with me and we ran together for a while, but I think we were both quite emotional at that point. It was Flo’s first marathon and I realised that even if I ended up walking, I had a strong chance of getting a PB.

As we got to the park by Ocean Village, Flo really picked up the pace, but I was unable to run that quickly.

I wondered whether Stu and his parents would be by the cafe where I saw them earlier, but there was no-one there. As I got to the Bargate, I realised how busy town had got. It was a little disorienting as there were a few people in the way who didn’t care about the race.

I then headed into the final park and saw Stu, his mum and Baby M. I gave them a thumbs up, before continuing towards the finish.

© Stuart Smith

The last half mile seemed to go on forever. The streets were lined with crowds and there were lots of familiar faces (and strangers) shouting my name. The barrage of noise for the last 200m was overwhelming and I managed to break into a sprint.

What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was immediately in front of my friend Dave who had spoken to me at the start. he had called out to me, but I think I assumed it was people in the crowd – sorry Dave!

My time of 4:14:44 was a massive improvement on my previous PB of 4:29:33. I didn’t quite manage to make the top half overall, but was pleased to finish in the top 25% of females 🙂

After the race, I caught up with a few friends before meeting Stu and the others. I got changed and then Pete arrived back. Although his race hadn’t gone to plan, he still finished in 4:26, which is great. We then waited for Kate who got a PB, before heading to Nando’s for some food.

Medal photo with Pete and Kate

©Kate Budd

We also had time to watch the mascots race, which was quite funny.

Mascots lined up for their race Chris organising the mascot race The start of teh mascot race

I have no idea which mascot won.

Overall, I had a great day and would do this race again. I didn’t train as much as usual, but managed to knock 15 minutes off my marathon PB!

Finisher t-shirt and medal

Finisher t-shirt and medal

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PBPB – getting back on form

28 Feb

Well, I’m fully into the swing of marathon training now. On 16th, my buddy Pete managed to get me around 17.5 miles, which is the longest run I’ve done for a very long time. I had been nervous about doing the run after doing Buggy Mums, but that class was cancelled, so I went for a long slow walk with some of the others instead and saved my legs for the run.

Pete is really good at planning routes – we go somewhere completely different every week and I’m seeing parts of the city that I’ve never seen before as well as visiting locations that I’ve not seen for a few years.

Our long run took us through Riverside Park in the dark, which would have been fine, but the river was so high that the path was flooded. Pete and I thought we had found a way around, but in the end we had to wade through freezing cold ankle-deep water. This part of the run was fairly near to home, but the last section of our run was all uphill. We were nearly there when I suggested a minor shortcut, which brought us out by my house. I was delighted, but Pete was less pleased as my house is at the bottom of a steep hill!

I was delighted that the baby slept really well that night… but I was so full of adrenaline that I just couldn’t get to sleep 😦

That weekend, I had my first jogging parkrun with baby M. We had to start at the back (like all buggy runners) and as Southampton is a very busy parkrun, that meant that the first km was tough going. I tried to go on the grass at one point, but that made it even harder, so I went back onto the path.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well the run went:

Southampton parkrun February 18th 2017

Southampton parkrun February 18th 2017

I’ve now got a bench mark for future buggy runs 🙂

Last Tuesday, I had another long run with Pete. We covered 14.5 miles, which was tough, but not as tough the previous week’s run. It was also a lot warmer, which was good. At one point, I thought we were heading towards home, when Pete turned towards town. I had a moment of panic, but Pete said to trust him. He then stopped at a friend’s restaurant, where he was able to refill our water bottles 🙂

I had been told that Buggy Mums was cancelled for half term, which was incorrect, but did give me a lazy week last week. Instead of doing Buggy Mums on Thursday, I went for a lovely long walk in the New Forest with my friend Ellie. It probably wasn’t our most cunning plan because of Storm Doris, but we got home safe and sound!

In the evening, Teri came around and we did a turbo session. I can’t say that either of us broke into a sweat, but it was good to be back on my bike… and also to have a catch up.

Turbo training with Teri

The next day, my legs were fine, but I was glad I didn’t have to sit on a saddle again!

On Saturday, I got in some more gossiping with Teri, as we ran parkrun together. Well, we chatted for the first km, but after that our competitive urges kicked in. I was delighted to get a PBPB – post baby personal best.

parkrun PBPB 25th February 2017

I was 344/829 runners, so in the top half. I was also 65/343 women, which is in the top 20%! I was 9/53 in my age category. I’m still 90 seconds away from my ‘real’ PB, but I’m finally making progress. It was also my 29th fastest parkrun (out of 208). I’ve only gone under 26 minutes 19 times, but I am absolutely determined to do it again this year (and to eventually beat my PB of 24:42). I’ve not run that quickly since January last year 🙂

I felt particularly pleased with my run as Teri and I were chatting at the start and the crowds meant that we had a slow start. Teri is still coming back from an injury, so it was also a comeback PB for her.

The following day was Sunday Runday. It was fairly tough as my legs were more tired than I expected after parkrun. However, the distance wasn’t a problem. Stu was pushing the baby, but he joined us in the 10 minute/mile group, which was nice.

Another exciting thing that has happened this week is that I finally ordered a replacement road bike. It’s currently being shipped and should be with me by the end of the week. I deliberated for a long time between a pretty bike and a better spec for the same price point… and eventually bought a pretty bike, with an even better spec at a higher price point – oops!

Today, I booked Stuart and I onto Decathlon 5k in Southampton. It clashes with a local 10k race, but I’ve prioritised this as we’ll be able to run with the baby.

Decathlon 5k 2017

My full tri club membership kicks in again tomorrow, so I’ll be able to get back in the pool. I’ve found another baby friendly exercise class (kettlercise), so there’s lots to look forward to.

How’s your training going?

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Pride comes before a fall

12 Feb

Last week didn’t start so well as I felt shattered on Monday and didn’t go to swimming. I know that I need to swim regularly in the hope that I can swim 5km by April.

On Tuesday, I went for a run with Pete. I took my head torch with me, but didn’t need it for the first part of our run as it was still daylight. As it has been so cold recently, I decided to wear my new adidas tights.

Pete and I ran down through Chilworth and North Baddesley and out towards Romsey. We ran on some country lanes with no pavement, but Pete had cleverly attached a red bike light to his belt, to make us more visible.

Once we got back to Southampton, we had to run up a very busy road. We had run 12 miles at a fair pace and I was feeling quite proud of how well we were doing. Well, the saying is ‘pride comes before a fall… It might usually refer to a metaphorical fall, but for me it referred to an unseen tree route on the pavement.

I hit the deck hard, with my full body weight being divided between my hands and my left knee, which was quite a shock.i sat on the pavement for a minute or two, before getting Pete to haul me to my feet. I had minor grazes on my hands and could feel that I had jarred my shoulders. I also felt a bit limpy, but was relieved to see that my tights were intact.

Pete and I jog-walked the remaining 2.5 miles back to my house, which was a disappointing way to end my longest run since 2015.

When I got in, I realised that my knee was bleeding quite badly, and a large bruise has developed over the past six days.

On Wednesday, I went to Buggy Mums. I arrived a little late, so the group had moved by the time I got to our usual meeting point. Laura was also late, so we jogged up The Common together. Fortunately, it didn’t take us long to find the group.

We did a variety of exercises on the grass, which was a little boggy. Then, we jogged down the hill towards the Bellemoor. Laura and I were so busy chatting to each other that we had to be told to slow down.

The session finished with some intervals on the grass, whilst a few people were interviewed by a member of the ParkLives team.

The following day, I was really stiffening up, but I went to Buggy Mums again. I was relieved that the class didn’t include any press ups or tricep dips as I don’t think I could have managed them. The second part of the session involved some shoulder work, but Christine gave me some alternatives. I’m really enjoying these classes and am amazed that they aren’t always oversubscribed… I’m guessing that people just don’t know about them.

I walked to Costa on Friday. Morgelyn fell asleep on the way there, so I was able to go online and answer emails for an hour. I’m tempted to make this a weekly habit, but it might not be good for my pocket or my waistline. As an alternative, I could go to a social area on the uni campus, which also has wifi.

When I got home, the post had arrived:

Ride London magazines

I had to defer my place in RideLondon last year, so it’s nice that Stu can do it with me… Assuming relatives can help with babysitting.

I met up with my friend Teri for Saturday’s parkrun. The flakes of snow (and my scabby knees) had put me off wearing shorts and I was glad I had tights on. My asthma has been playing up a bit recently and I was still achy from this week’s exploits, so Teri and I decided to have a social run. My time wasn’t awful ut I really want to get fit enough to knock a couple of minutes off it.

Southampton parkrun 11 February

When I got home, I was pleased to see that my personalised parkrun barcodes had arrived. I bought some a few years ago, but a couple of them have gone missing, so I now have to keep moving one between my trainers. This way, I can put one on each of my pairs of shoes. This isn’t just handy for parkrun as they each have an ICE (in case of emergency) number on them and my medical details, so if something happens to me when I’m out training, the necessary information is easy to locate. I also ordered some barcodes for Stuart and my mum.

parkrun barcodes

Yesterday was another Sunday Runday training run for Southampton Half Marathon. Baby M is now sitting quite confidently, so Stu and I have agreed that some light jogging on smooth Tarmac should be ok.

The route involved an initial loop around The Common before heading up the hill. I decided to start as soon as we got there and to miss the initial short loop, so that I would have a head start on the slowest group.

The fastest group passed me by the underpass and I was nearly on the University campus before the next group went past. I headed towards Portswood/Swaythling and was soon passed by the next group.

The next part of the route I was unfamiliar with, so I had to read the instructions carefully. I ended up running between some apartments and the river before finding myself at the bottom of a long flight of steps. I didn’t think the real route included steps, but as this was a shortened version for a training run, it didn’t surprise me. I was tempted to look for an alternative way, but didn’t want to kiss my group, so I ended up picking up the buggy with M I it and carrying it up the steps. As I got to the top, a man came to offer help… Isn’t that typical?

I continued on to Northam Bridge, expecting one of the two slower groups to catch up with me.At the far side of the bridge, I glanced back and saw a group of people running wearing turquoise t-shirts. I had to wait for a while at the level crossing, so I thought they would catch up with me there. It was only afterwards that I remembered that the 11 minute mile group had a different longer route.

I headed back through Bevois Valley to The Avenue, where I was passed by Jon’s group again. Soon I was back on The Common. I had kept a steady pace and walked the uneven parts (and some steep bits), so was pleased to have finished my first proper run with Baby M.

How was your week?

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What I’ve been doing

6 Feb

Busy, busy, busy! I’m still managing to exercise, but it’s so difficult for me to find time to blog, which is very frustrating. I thought I’d do a quick summary of what I’ve been up to recently…

Sunday 22nd January

No running for me today. Stuart, baby M and I headed out into the New Forest to marshal a race in the local cross-country league.

We had been positioned on one of the first marshal points, so we saw the start of the race and were then able to move to another point to watch runners heading towards the finish, before we walked back to the finish.

It was a crisp and cold day and as usual, there were lots of New Forest ponies around.

cc6-marshalling-1

You might not be able to tell from my photograph, but the water below was frozen solid and remained that way all morning.

cc6-marshalling-3cc6-marshalling-2

I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful area and am looking forward to being able to get back on my bike and cycling in the forest.

Tuesday 24th January

I went for a long run with Pete around Chilworth. We left in daylight, but the sun started to go down as we headed down a very long hill. We paused to look at a beautiful sunset and to take some photos… but I hadn’t dressed adequately (just a t-shirt and shorts), so I quickly started to feel cold.

We ended up running around 10 miles, but it was hard going as my hands were so cold.

Wednesday 25th January

Baby M and I went to Buggy Mums on The Common again. We ran some laps around the model boating lake before heading up to the top ‘field’ part of The Common where we did some paired exercises. As usual, it was a lot of fun.

Thursday 26th January

The following day, I went to Buggy Mums at Weston Shore.

Last week the weather had been beautiful, with warm sunshine and no wind; it was the complete opposite today. Just before leaving the house, I decided to put on a base layer. I was so grateful that I had. I kept on my base layer, long-sleeved top, jacket, Buff and woolly hat for the entire session. Towards the end, I took my gloves off for a short period of time, but not for long!

buggy-mums-collage

I really like the Thursday sessions as they are less busy than the ones on The Common and there are more opportunities to chat to people.

buggy-mums-weston-shore

Saturday 28th January

It was my turn to run on Saturday. I met my friend Teri who is recovering from injury. She has to follow a walk/run strategy. I agreed to join her as I thought it would be nice to do a steadier-paced run… however, Teri is fitter than I am, so he run intervals were quicker than I usually go and the walk breaks were very short, so I barely had time to decelerate before we were off again.

In the end, my time for the run wasn’t much different from my usual result.

Southampton parkrun 28th January

Sunday 29th January

The following day was Sunday Runday – a training run for Southampton half marathon. It was my turn to run, so I was able to choose which group to help. Part of me was tempted to go with the 11 minute mile group, but I know that I need to push myself, so I joined my friends Pete, Kate and Malcolm in the 10 minute mile group.

It’s interesting to refamiliarise myself with the route for the half marathon (as well as learning the new parts). The race is being run in the opposite direction from last year.

Monday 30th January

The following day, I decided to return to Southampton Tri Club for my first swim since having my baby. It was a logistical challenge as Stu swam in the first session from 7-8pm and I swam in the second session from 8-9pm. Stu finished his swim a little early, and then met me outside the changing rooms at 7:55pm. I passed him Baby M in her car seat and my car keys; in return, Stu gave me his car keys.

There were lots of new faces in the swimming session, so Coach Steve had to rearrange the lanes a bit. I was asked to move into Lane 2, but I pointed out that I no longer have any stamina. I swam in Lane 2 just for a bit before Steve rearranged us again and I went back to Lane 1. There’s now quite a lot of disparity in the ability of the swimmers in Lane 1 as some people find it tough to do more than a length or two at a time.

Steve had planned an interesting session that included some core work on the pool side. This was quite challenging, but good fun.

In the end, I did the majority of the session, but I finished nearly 10 minutes early. This was because the pool was so busy that I didn’t want to have to queue for a shower as I needed to get home quickly. The changeover seemed to work well, so I now need to get myself back on track ready to take part in Swimathon. I think I swam around 1600m (1 mile), so I need a lot of training!

Tuesday 31st January

I had originally intended to go for a long run with Pete today, but I had completely forgotten that I had booked onto a cycle maintenance for women course at my local Giant Store, so we rescheduled for Thursday.

I know that some people will think that it’s not necessary to run separate maintenance workshops for men and women, but most of the women who attended seemed to be quite nervous and didn’t want to made to look stupid in front of men.

My friend, Lou, has recently bought a road bike, so she had also booked to come to the event with me. When we arrived, we were divided into three groups, as there were three members of staff, each of whom was running a separate 30 minute workshop.

giant-store

The first workshop was about bike cleaning. This was a simple topic to start with, and didn’t really warrant a 30 minute timeslot. One of the most interesting points was when we were shown the difference between Muc Off and a cheap alternative, which was quite eye-opening:

The second workshop was led by Nigel, the store owner. He was covering dealing with punctures. I’ve fixed punctures in the past and changed an innertube, but I think it’s always good to refresh this knowledge and there’s always something new to be learnt. Nigel showed me some tricks that make it easier to replace an innertube and tyre without using tyre levers. It was easier, but as I have delicate thumbs, I will probably continue to use levers!

Lou raised an interesting question about the need to pump up tyres after filling them with CO2. I hadn’t heard of this before and neither had the others. Later, Lou proved us wrong by sharing the scientific information that she found online!

The third and final workshop was the most technical one of the three as it was on brakes and gears. Whilst I understand the theory of all of this, I’m still nervous to adjust the gears on my own bike. We’ve had a few problems with the brake on M’s running buggy, so I asked a couple of questions and should now be able to fix the problem.

Overall, I think the evening was a great success. The staff were helpful and friendly and each participant was given a goodie bag, including a lanyard, button badges, a New Forest cycling map, some dry lube and a puncture repair kit. Apparently there are plans afoot to run more events in future, which would be really good.

Wednesday 1st February

On Wednesday, I went to Buggy Mums. My mum had come to visit, and I needed to drop her off before the session, so I ended up parking on the opposite side of The Common and had to dash to the start of the session.

We did a warm up on The Flats, so I ended up travelling back towards where I had parked. We then went back to the play area for the main part of the session, which included some pull up and chin up preparation as well as lots of tricep dips and press ups on the benches.

buggy-mums-on-the-common

Thursday 2nd February

I had so much to do and was feeling tired, so decided not to go to Buggy Mums and to save my energy for a long run with Pete.

I ran down to meet Pete on The Common. As I was cold last week, I decided to wear a long pair of tights that I had got out for Buggy Mums, as well as a t-shirt and jacket. I took off my jacket when I met Pete, so it immediately started raining. Fortunately, the shower was over quickly.

Yet again, Pete had planned a lovely route, which took us all around Ocean Village. I think it would be a lovely route to walk in summer, but it was quite windy and the water looked rough.

Part way around, we stopped for Pete to have a ‘comfort break’, which gave me a chance to put my head torch on. I was grateful that I had it on as we got to the east side of Riverside Park. The river was overflowing and all of the paths were covered. Pete and I took an alternative route for part of it, but in the end we just had to go through the water. It was ankle-deep and cold 😦 This meant that we had cold, wet feet for the final part of the run.

We headed up Bassett Green Road, which is a long hill. Pete had intended for us to go all of the way up to the top, but about 3/4 of the way up there is a short cut that leads towards my house. I was starting to get tired, so I suggested we took the short cut.

In the end, we covered about 13 miles. I’m finding the long runs tiring, but am not struggling with DOMS afterwards, which is a good sign.

Saturday 4th February

On Saturday, Stu, Baby and I headed to parkrun with my mum. My mum has never completed a parkrun before, so I agreed to walk it with her. I didn’t want to push her too hard, so we took it very steady:

Southampton parkrun 4th February

I’m now hoping my mum will take part in a parkrun near to her in future.

Well, that’s all of my recent training summarised. In the last few weeks, I’ve also been testing out a variety of products, so I’ll be posting about those this week.

What have you been up to? Are there any events that you’re training for?

Back on track for a spring marathon

20 Jan

Time is passing so quickly these days. There is so much that I want to blog about and never enough time!

I had intended to go to Buggy Mums on Thursday last week, but the weather forecast was very bad. I knew that the venue (Weston Shore) is quite exposed, so I really dithered about whether to go or not – in the end I didn’t go as I thought it wouldn’t be fair on Baby M. I felt disappointed about it, especially as the weather wasn’t nearly as bad as predicted in the end.

On Saturday, I went to parkrun. I was feeling ready to push hard and as I wasn’t running with anyone, I knew I wouldn’t be chatting much. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my Garmin and as Stu was planning to walk, he hadn’t bothered to bring his. I tried hard and thought I had finished in quite a good time. I asked the people who were immediately behind me in the queue what their times were – one said 27:37 and the other said 28:02, so I felt confident that I had got another sub 28 minute parkrun time. In the end my official result was 28:08. I was a little disappointed, but with 916 runners, the timekeepers have a very hard job.

parkrun 14th January 2017

I was 103/349 females and 17/53 in my age category.

As I ran on Saturday, it was my turn to walk on Sunday. On alternating weeks, Stu and I help to lead sessions for Sunday Runday in conjunction with ABP Southampton Half Marathon.

There’s a great group of leaders, most of whom have helped out for the previous two years

Sunday Runday Run Leaders

© Rees Leisure

Sunday Runday Run Leaders cheering

© Rees Leisure

The schedule for the slowest group was 4 miles at a 12-13 minute mile pace. I was confident that I could walk that quickly, but if not, I knew that I could get myself back

Speed walking

© Rees Leisure

Sunday Runday tail runners

© Rees Leisure

I really enjoyed my speedwalk and also liked getting to meet new people, including Sarah who blogs at Effing and Jeffing to the Stones. Thanks to Sarah for taking a great selfie of some of our group.

Sarah's Sunday Runday selfie

In the evening, I went out for another training session with Lou and Mel. They’re doing Couch to 5k over 12 months instead of 12 weeks to guard against injuries (they’re spending a month on each weekly schedule). I took baby M with me. The Couch to 5k programme consists of short intervals with walk breaks. I couldn’t quite keep up with the others when they were running, but maintained my pace during the walk breaks, so that I started each interval with them. We did just over 4.5km in the dark.

Speedwalking with Lou and Mel

Monday was an easy day with just a 3 mile walk to a mother and baby group (and 3 miles back).

Buggy walking on the Common

On Tuesday, Stuart came home from work early so that I was able to go out for a long run. Unfortunately, I had lost track of time at a friend’s house and had to rush home and change really quickly. I then had to run down the The Common (a couple of miles away) to meet up with my friend, Pete. He’s very kindly agreed to do long training runs with me for Southampton marathon, even though he’s a much better runner than I am.

I wasn’t sure what to wear as I knew it would get dark whilst I was out and it also seemed quite chilly. In the end I went for a t-shirt and shorts with my new Sport Art calf sleeves and a headband. I also wrapped my head torch around my wrist as I didn’t want to start my run with it on my head.

SportArt compression calf sleeves

SportArt compression calf sleeves

Pete had planned a lovely run that took us around much of Southampton, including a lovely waterside path that I’ve never been on before. It’s not easy planning a long run route that doesn’t include a lot of the Southampton marathon route, so Pete did a great job.

We had a couple of minor pauses for clothing adjustments and road crossings, but I only walked once. There is a very steep section by Woodmill that is only about 50m long. I knew that if I walked that section, I would have enough energy to run the rest of the route.

First post-baby long run

First post baby long run Garmin shot

It wasn’t quite 10 miles (nor was it quite 90 minutes), but I don’t think my pace was too bad for my first run of that distance since June 1st!

It was back to Buggy Mums on The Common on Wednesday. It was a mild day, so there was another large group of about 22 people.

Buggy Mums on The Common

We did a variety of exercises using exercise balls and resistance bands.

Exercise balls and resistance bands

Yet again, we were able to work to our own ability. I was surprised that I wasn’t stiff after my long run the night before.

The following day, I got myself organised to go straight to Weston Shore for another Buggy Mums class. I wasn’t sure where the group met, so I arrived early. I had plenty of time to stroll along the waterfront, which was just as well as I had parked at the opposite end of the park from where everyone met.

Walking along Weston Shore Beautiful Weston Shore Wrapped up at the start

I’d had to scrape ice off my car before I left home, so I’d layered up… it was a pleasant surprise that the sun was out and it was quite a few degrees warmer than my home on the other side of the water.

Sunshine on Weston Shore

The group on Thursday was much smaller than the previous day. There were just 8 of us. We did a warm up along the front and then a variety of bodyweight exercises using the low wall, including tricep dips and press ups. We also did some step ups and mountain climbers.

Further down the path we did a circuit session with some squat jumps, jumping jacks, and inchworms before heading off again to the ‘beach’. I was dreading going onto the shingle as I always manage to get pebbles in my shoes. This week I got a pebble in my slippers. I was indoors. They are boots. How?!

We did a variety of intervals on the shingle, including a number of reps going backwards. Then we did some core work lying on a smooth part of the path.

I particularly enjoyed this class as the sun was out and I had a chance to chat to a couple of the others.

Afterwards, I enjoyed a steady stroll back through the park.

A lovely bench by Weston Shore Baby M in the sunshine at Weston Shore Happy selfie at Weston Shore

Tomorrow is another parkrun day before marshalling a cross-country race on Sunday.

What have you got planned for this weekend?

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Did you get a place in London Marathon?

10 Oct

I had to go out and run some errands today, but as my hybrid is currently stuck behind a couple of old sofas in my garage, I had the choice of driving or walking. The devil on my shoulder said that it was cold and I’d enjoy singing along to music in my car, but the angel won, so I put on a jacket, filled up my rucksack and headed out on foot.

I was really glad that I chose to walk. I’m not getting as much exercise as I usually do, and my baby pokes me less in the ribs/back when I’m moving, so walking is less painful than driving. It was also surprisingly warm and sunny. However, there were lots of signs that autumn is here

Conkers (horse chestnuts) Leaves changing colour red berries

When I got back from my errands, the post had arrived:

London Marathon rejection

Yet another London Marathon rejection 😦 Bizarrely, there was no news for Stuart, so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out whether he has got in. If he does have a place, then I really should go and support him, but I had my heart set on running Southampton marathon, and one of us has to look after the baby! (It may be that Stu doesn’t receive a magazine as apparently only half of the rejected applicants will receive a magazine adn teh rest will get an ezine).

I’ve been keeping my eye on social media this afternoon and can see that my friends Jo, Tom and Matt have got places (and my speedy friends have Good For Age or Championship places), but most people seem to have rejection letters. I’ll get a second chance in my running club’s ballot, but won’t be too upset if I miss out this year.

Stuart is getting back into the swing of training after taking a month off following Ironman Copenhagen. He hasn’t got a bike yet, but it won’t be long before he has something to ride… and hopefully, he’ll keep me company on the turbo trainer every now and again. I’ve also had a quote email from Cyclescheme, so I’m just waiting for a couple of details to be resolved and then I should be able to order a new bike 🙂

In the late afternoon, I received an unexpected email:

Email in Polish

One of my Polish-speaking friends has translated the message for me: “Hi, your bike has been found in Poland. The whole case has been directed to the police. It’s only a matter of time to get your bike back.”

I’m not really sure how to respond to this. I don’t think it’s a scam as the sender doesn’t have any of my contact details – there is a form for them to complete on Stolen Bikes… but I have no idea what state my poor bike will be in and also whether it would be possible to get my bike back from Poland. If it’s been trashed then it probably isn’t worth it. It does make me feel there’s even less chance of getting our other bikes back as they’ve probably disappeared in Poland. I’ve contacted the local police officer assigned to the case, so hopefully he’ll get back to me.

This evening, we went along to Tri Club swimming. It was a nice session and I did almost all of it, only missing out 100-200m.

I’m now in limbo… will I make it to Tri Club swimming next week? Will I make it to parkrun on Saturday? Will I be able to run with my friends on Thursday afternoon? It almost feels like I’m living on borrowed time. I’ve changed my Tri Club membership, so that from November, it is a non-swimming membership… but I’ll still be allowed to go to track running sessions and turbo trainer sessions (when I get the all clear from the doctor, and assuming I want to go).

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A full marathon in my home city

27 Jul

I was so excited to learn that there will be a full marathon in my home city of Southampton next year. I’ve already entered the half marathon, so am now thinking about upgrading my entry to the full marathon.

Southampton marathon

I’ve loved running ABP Southampton Half for the last two years and think the marathon would be a great comeback race (although training with a small baby might be a bit of a challenge!) I’ve already added this race to My scheduled events for 2017

I was also interested to learn that TryTri may be running a triathlon in Bournemouth next year. Stuart’s family are from this area and it isn’t far away, so I’d like to take part. It features a sea swim, which is something that I enjoy.

Are there any races in your home town? What do you think of them?

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