Tag Archives: Southampton parkrun

Pacing at parkrun

15 Jul

A few weeks ago, one of my friends commented on Facebook that her 8-year-old son was speeding up and that she felt she was holding him back at parkrun. At the time, he was running at around 27 minutes, so I felt that it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. A date was set… and then the young lad blew everyone away by running just under 24 minutes at a flat local parkrun!

I knew that I wouldn’t be able to pace someone to sub 24 (I’ve only run at that speed once myself), but I still felt confident that I could help the young man to a Southampton PB.

I met up with my running buddy before the start of parkrun and we positioned ourselves towards the front for the start. Although there weren’t as many runners as usual, it was still quite congested. We did a little bit of weaving amongst other runners and also ran on the grass at the side a bit.

At the top of the hill, we moved onto the grass at the side and I told my pacee that if he wanted to go faster then I would make sure that I kept up. He replied that he was saving some energy so that he could have a good sprint finish.

We carried on down the hill and were soon caught by Stuart and baby M. The continued with us as we went up the hill towards the crossroads. We had some support there as my running buddy’s dad and brother were there cheering the runners on.

On the second lap, the young runner pushed much harder on the downhill, so I had to work reasonably hard to keep up and talk to him.

We turned the corner for the final uphill towards the crossroads and ‘mini Mo’ started to kick. I knew that if we stayed together then I would hold him back, so I shouted to Stu to run with him to the finish.

I turned onto the final downhill section and heaved a sigh of relief that my pacee would be able to achieve a good time… and also drew breath as I slowed down to a steady jog.

After I crossed the finish line, I was pleased to see that I had still achieved a sub 25 minute run.

Southampton parkrun 15 July 2017

Massive congratulations to ‘runner boy’, who was 30 seconds quicker than me, which is an impressive performance for an 8-year-old!

Back on it – a weekly round-up

16 Jun

Hello again! I feel like I’m finally getting back on top of things, so here’s a round-up of my week…

Saturday – Volunteering at parkrun

For the second week in a row, I was a volunteer at parkrun – this time as a Run Director.

Southampton parkrun 10 June 17

Because of building works, we’re currently on an alternative route at Southampton parkrun that starts near to The Cowherds pub. I quite like Run Directing with this start as there’s a bench for me to stand on. There was also some excitement as our long-awaited PA system has now arrived, so I now longer need to rely on my teacher’s voice projection!

RDing at parkrun

That’s what 767 runners looks like © John Grant

 

Sunday – Southampton Tri Club event

On Saturday afternoon, Stu and I finished sorting out our bike trailer, so that M is able to go out cycling with us. I recently traded in my beautiful Fiat 500 for a Citroen Berlingo that we affectionately refer to as ‘the mum bus’. It’s not a beautiful car, but it’s comfortable and there’s plenty of room for bikes and more. Stu reconfigured the car to fit all of our kit in, but we learnt the hard way on saturday night that Baby M is allergic to peanuts. This meant that we didn’t manage to join Tri Club friends for a social bike ride on Sunday morning. We could have joined in with the run, but were shattered after a long night.

STC BBQ

©Darryl Marcus-Hanks

Stu took part in a sea swim, whilst I sun-bathed and played with M on the beach. We then had a lovely barbeque. Southampton Tri Club is such a friendly club and this was a great opportunity to meet some of the new members. After a few burgers, I went off for a walk by the beach huts.

Calshot beach huts

 

Monday – swimming

The Quays

I finally got myself back to the pool on Monday night. I think swimming will always be the hardest part of a triathlon for me. I prefer open water swimming, but it’s hard to get to the lake and reasonably expensive, so I need to make sure that I attend tri club sessions at the pool.

It was the first time I’ve swum since I got me new watch, so it was interesting to see what data it would show me. We did quite a few 100m sets, including some with fins. Coach Steve called me over and explained that he had identified the problem with my front crawl – apparently my stroke looks like a bear crawling along and it’s basically my strength that gets me through as my technique is awful. Steve had a new torture device swim aid that he got me to try – a Finis Forearm Fulcrum Positioner that “holds the hand, wrist and elbow to position the forearm optimally”. It definitely felt different, but I still don’t think that I can visualise what correct technique should be – it doesn’t come naturally to me!

I positioned myself at the back of the lane for the swim as I’ve not been swimming for a while, which meant that I didn’t feel too much pressure. We covered just over a mile in the session, which was enough for me!

 

Tuesday – Run with Sarah

At lunchtime I went for a run with my work colleague and friend, Sarah. It was quite warm, but we were out for nearly an hour. I had M in her buggy and that combined with the humidity and my asthma/hay fever made for a challenging run. Sarah and I kept the pace slow so that we were able to have a much-needed chat. I love running for keeping me fit, but I also love it because it really helps to keep me sane. Some people might swear by a glass of wine at the end of a hard week, for me nothing beats a chatty run with a friend 🙂

 

Wednesday – Buggy Mums and Mile of Miles

On Wednesday, I went to Buggy Mums, which is one of the highlights of my week. It was a hot and sunny day, so we did a mix of intervals and exercises in the shade. It was lovely to see some mums that I know from elsewhere (Sing and Sign and my running club). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to participate as much as I had hoped to as M wasn’t in her happiest mood and my hay fever was playing up.

On Wednesday evening, Stu, M and I walked down to the Sports centre to take part in Mile of Miles, which is a 10 x 1 mile track relay. Southampton Tri Club had two teams: a fast team and a fun team. Stu was originally on the fast team, but he’s been under the weather, so switched to the slower team. I was on leg 8 and Stu was leg 9. I did a brief warm up, but my hay fever and asthma were making breathing difficult, so I knew that I would find it hard. I also struggle to pace myself on the track and the relay format meant that I wasn’t running alongside others, which usually helps to push me.

My final time was 7:29 which is quite a lot slower than my recent PB of 7:10. I had thought about doing the Lordshill Magic Mile on Tuesday evening, but decided against it as I wanted to save my legs… however on Tuesday I was feeling well and on Wednesday I was shattered. Hopefully, I’ll feel better by the next mile event as I would love to achieve 6:59. My splits were all over the place: 1:41; 1:59; 1:55; 1:54!

Tamsyn at the track

© Di Mattingly

Tamsyn at the track

© Di Mattingly

Tamsyn at the track

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn on the track

© Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn running on the track

© Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at MoM

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn on the track

© Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn on the track

© Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn running on the track

©Paul A. Hammond

STC at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

©Lois Elliott

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

©Lois Elliott

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

©Lois Elliott

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

©Lois Elliott

A rare pic of me with my baby © Paul A. Hammond

STC at Mile of Miles

Thursday – run at Weston Shore

I drove to Weston Shore early on Thursday as I was keen to be there ready for Buggy Mums. I had a bit of time to answer some emails when I arrived, before going over and chatting to friends. After a short while, one of them looked on Facebook and saw a message saying that the class had been cancelled 😦 All was not lost as one of the others agreed to go running with me. We did an out and back – one direction was easy, but the other was into a headwind. I did just over 4.5km, but couldn’t motivate myself to make up the extra distance with the wind!

Sadly, I’ve heard that there won’t be any more sessions at Weston Shore… however, they will be replaced with sessions at Riverside Park, which is a bit closer to home.

 

So that’s my round-up of this week. Southampton parkrun is cancelled tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to going to Lee on Solent parkrun. My friend, Sarah, lives nearest to that parkrun, so hopefully I’ll get to run with her. Also, I’m going to meet up with a few Hampshire-based running and tri bloggers, which should be fun. Then I’ve got some really exciting events planned for next week, including an aquathlon in a stunning setting.

What are you looking forward to next week?

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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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Big round up

9 Jan

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:

Christmas Eve at Penrose parkrun

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.

Christmas Eve parkrun 2016

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 🙂

New Year's Eve parkrun

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.

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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!

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Stuart race walking with baby M.

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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.

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I was so pleased when we crossed the line in a time of 27:54 – a PBPB!

parkrun 01 January 2017

I was 80/218 females and 19/47 in my age group.

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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.

Sport Art compression socks

I also wore a top from Craft that I received just before Christmas:

Craft base layer

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.

parkrun 7th January 2017

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.

Badger Farm CC6 group photo

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.

Start of Badger Farm CC6
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.

Badger Farm CC6 2017

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.

Post CC6 Badger Farm

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?

 

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My sister’s first parkrun

19 Dec

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 🙂

parkrun with Bryony

Post baby PB

10 Dec

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.

Posing with Toby after parkrun © Kate Budd

Posing with Toby after parkrun on 15th October © Kate Budd

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 Bondi 4

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:

First parkrun after having a baby

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?

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Up and… walking

24 Nov

It’s been a while since I posted, and for good reason:

Morgelyn

Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite to plan, so my baby was born nearly two weeks late via emergency caesarean. She’s thriving, but I’ve had some ups and downs and was readmitted to hospital. Hopefully, that’s behind us now and we can start moving forward.

ParkLives logo

I’m not allowed to run, swim, cycle or drive until 6 weeks after M’s birth, so no sports until 10th December 😦 However, this does mean that I have time to do some planning. I’ve signed up for ParkLives which offers free outdoor fitness classes in a number of parks across the UK. I’ve chosen to sign up for ‘Buggy Mums’ which takes place at 11:30am on Tuesdays on Southampton Common and 11:30am on Wednesdays at Weston Shore. I’m not sure whether the classes are exactly what I want to do, but they are free and are somewhere that I can meet other mums:

“Buggyfit fitness classes for mums and children are an hour long, and usually involve a 3 mile route in total. Classes start with a moderate warm up walk, moving into a power walk or run to raise our heart rates. Each session includes group exercises specifically to the individual selected to strengthen particular muscle groups, and enable us to cope with the demands of motherhood. We finish off with a cool down and stretch.”

A week after M was born, we went to our first parkrun, but we didn’t take part, we just watched and cheered others on. The following weekend, we missed out on parkrun as everyone in our house needed a lie in, so last Saturday, we finally got to take part in our first parkrun together.

When choosing a buggy, Stuart and I opted for an Out N About Nipper Sport. It is primarily a running buggy, and although it is not possible to run with a baby under 6 months old (or before they have enough strength to support their own head), this buggy can be used to transport babies from birth.

Out N About Nipper Sport

It is quite a large pushchair, but it is light and suprisingly manoeuvrable. Possibly the only downside is that it is forward facing, so I can’t easily see my baby whilst exercising.

My view when walking with my buggy

I agreed that Stuart would complete parkrun at his own pace and I would walk it. I knew that this would mean that he would complete the run and be able to join me for my second loop.

It was difficult to know what to wear for this parkrun. I usually run in shorts all year around, so I thought I would be OK wearing leggings, however, it was really cold, so I ended up layering up with tracksuit trousers, a hoodie and a running jacket. I also added a beanie and gloves for good measure… this turned out to be too much, so I had to remove several items of clothing whilst walking.

This was also the first chance that I had to try out my new trainers. Millet Sports sent me a pair of Hoka One One Bondi 4 to try out. Although I can’t run, I thought I could at least find out how comfortable they were by wearing them for walking in. So far, I’m very pleased with them – I’ll post a full review later when I’ve been able to run in them.

Hoka One One Bondi 4

For much of the parkrun, I was with the tail runner, who was surprised by how quickly I could walk. However, there were times when I managed to pass other people, who were able to overtake me on the downhills (as they were able to run and I’m not allowed to).

Stuart ran past me on his second loop and I saw him in the finish funnel as I passed it. He was then able to join us for the second loop. In the last 20m of the event, I was passed by some other participants, so I was the final finisher, however my time wasn’t too bad. My aim is to do the next event in 45 minutes, if possible.

Morgelyn's first parkrun

Morgelyn’s first parkrun

My Decathlon 5k race number

The following day, I took part in the Decathlon Running Series 5k on Southampton Common. Stuart was able to run it, and I persuaded my mum to walk it with me. My mum doesn’t usually walk a lot, so I thought it would be a good challenge for her.

Decathlon 5k route

Decathlon 5k route

The start of the Decathlon 5k

The start of the Decathlon 5k

My mum and I were comfortably ahead of another family with a baby when the tail cyclist joined us. Apparently, the other family had decided to take a short cut. We pressed on and thought the marshals were really good and supportive. As we got within 500m of the finish, the other family had rejoined the route, so I urged my mum to walk a bit faster so that we would not finish last… we just about managed it!

Sandra after Decathlon 5k

This was a good free event. Each participant received a free t-shirt (yellow for men and pink for women). The sizing was a little skimpy, but they were OK. Also, after the event we were able to claim free drawstring goodie bags containing a bottle of water, a pineapple drink, a chocolate cereal bar, a sticker, a catalogue and a lanyard.

Decathlon 5k goodie bag

I had thought that it would be fun to do some parkruns at Christmas and New Year in Cornwall with my family, but the nearest parkrun (Penrose) is not doing any additional festive events. Hopefully, we’ll get to run on Christmas Eve and/or New Year’s Eve. I’m hoping I’ll be able to persuade my mum to join us for a walk.

I had hoped to sign up M for baby swimming classes, but I’m not allowed in the water until December and the times that are available are not convenient for Stuart, so I guess we’ll have to wait until 2017. I’m confident that even if M doesn’t get to the classes, she’ll learn to swim before adulthood!

I’ve also started planning my cycling adventures for 2017, but I’ll need a road bike, so Stu and I have paid another visit to Vankru. I’d really like a Tifosi bike, but the colour scheme that I admired at the Cycle Show isn’t available on the website, so I’m considering a Canyon.

What have you been up to whilst I’ve been off-line? Do you have any tips for exercising with a new baby?