running blog


Voluntourism (parkrun)

I may have run my first parkrun in 2011 but I have come late to the delights of parkrun tourism, and parkrun generally.  Only recently have I preferred the anticipation of a new parkrun event (or even my locals) to a lie in.  Must be getting old, or hooked. Maybe both. 

My recent parkruns have been local, repeats and a volunteer stint because of Christmas, socialising and injury plus my desire to get them in towards my 50 shirt. So I was determined to get my 25th different parkrun venue run today and when tentative parkrun plans changed I resorted to finding my event with longest lie in not yet done (EWLLNYD). 

So I rocked up to Finsbury Park. An easy tube journey. I was saved the ‘trying to find the park’ problem by following a family in running kit out of the tube and asking them at the barrier if they were parkrunning. They were. A repeat visit from out of London, so I tagged along. 

At the run briefing, just before they explained the course, they mentioned they were missing a tail runner and was anyone willing.  I found myself volunteering. (I have been supposed to run-walk the past two parkruns after injury so I could maybe behave for one week!?). In a flash I had a hi-viz jacket, a check I knew what to do and an offer to take my bag to the finish . I worked out that as tail runner it maybe didn’t matter about knowing where we were running but I did ask about bringing in any direction signs on what number lap?

When the field spread out and I’d chatted to and seen a few late starters past me I was left with  a regular trying to stay warm by running  zig zags and encouraging his girlfriend on her first 5k run and a veteran speed marching. I soon discovered that I could not walk  as fast as the the speed walker so had to adopt (my physio would approve) a jog walk pattern to keep up with him. 

Chatting at the end and sharing times I discovered that speed walking had been his sport and he’d once ‘walked’ a 5K far faster than I will ever run one. I stood no chance!

My 47th parkrun, 25th venue done. It was my slowest ever, it was social and I volunteered. A great morning. 

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I’m bored now

The novelty of  my enforced change in exercise routine, because I can’t run, has worn off. 

I’ve been good for a whole week. I’ve been to Physio, I’ve  done all my physio exercises and a few more, I’ve cycled lots (and met people for coffees so the kcal consumed exceeded the kcal burned in some rides – oops!) and I’ve not run. 

But I really want to go to BMF, train for my half marathon, run some more parkruns towards my 50th and run my 25th different parkrun venue.


I have at least one more week to be patient. I’m not very good at being patient and I’ve still got a wait until my new bike (to tempt me to ride further afield)  is built. 


Time to really get stuck into the online gym I’m trying this month and volunteer at parkrun. 


Every cloud. Janathon day 13. 

Being signed off running yesterday was not so bad. 

I’m still allowed to cycle. 

Plus, I knew what was planned for today. 

This year I have a big birthday coming up. A BIG one.  I have also planned a few long cycle rides this spring/summer.  Add to this a little good news work-wise for my OH and he suggests we go and order my promised BIG pressie. My forever* bike. 


Just 6 weeks to wait!  The overexcited jumping up and down will be good exercise. Actually, that may not be good for my Achilles. 

Janathon day 13. 

Cycled to the bike shop and back, 13 miles total. Plus, plenty of pedalling on the bike fit rig as we found the right frame size, saddle, bar width, height… So many decisions!

(Not my new bike,  Image borrowed from Total Women’s Cycling)


Signed off. Janathon day 11 and 12. 

So I finally made it to the Physio. 

Probably just need a good massage and a bit of advice, I thought.  


To cut a long story short I have some damage to my Achilles tendon (tedonosis) which will require some help to heal and some strengthening. The cause, as well as a bit of over use, goes back to my hip alignment (cause of a previous injury) so I also need to revisit my hip and glute exercises. 

Back to rehab for me. 

And NO running for the foreseeable.

At least I can cycle. 
Janathon days 11 and 12. 

One appointment at the physio, two walks to the shops and back,   3.8 miles cycled. 


Janathon catch up

Last week I promised to not run again until I sorted out my Achilles and sought  some help for it. So over the week I have (amongst other things)

  • Foam rolled and stretched lots
  • Taken 3 days off running
  • Felt my Achilles was much improved 
  • Not got round to getting a sports massage or seen a physio
  • Cycled to 2 BMF classes and found it was all ok as long as I stuck to a steady pace and didn’t go mad and sprint or try and race anyone 
  • Manage not to be an idiot and didn’t run flat out at those 2 BMF classes (most of the time)
  • Been for a 6 mile easy run and managed to run easy pace
  • Spent an excellent Saturday morning at Fulham Palace parkrun in the company of friends 
  • Blast out a parkrun PB on a busy course (record turn-out) and go sub 24 for the first time according to my Garmin. (still got 3 seconds to lose officially)
  • Have a sore Achilles again
  • Spend another Sunday evening foam rolling my calves….

Hey ho… Here we go again. 

Janathon days 4-10

14.2 miles run.  16.7 miles cycled.


Being Sensible. Janathon day 3. 

It would have been nice to run every day in January. 
However.  If I don’t take the next couple of days off running I will definitely be on the injury list.

After yesterday’s parkrun I was limping and this morning even after a liberal application of ibuprofen gel I still couldn’t walk naturally. It’s all self- inflicted. I’ve been nursing a few niggles for a while,  which I’ve ignored. Then a few hard sprints plus trying to race people faster than me at BMF before Christmas made things worse.  I then carried on parkrunning and not stretching enough. 

Although I’ve had rest days and cut my mileage since my marathon, at the end of November,  the benefit of marathon training left me enjoying much improved pace which I was unable to resist!  So I’ve not allowed myself to recover fully and could do with adding  some ‘easy’ back into my running plans. Especially if I want to be fit to run a good 10K at the end of the month and half marathon in February. 

Time to be sensible.   Plus I’m probably not great to know when I’m injured and can’t run (not to mention the boring winging blog posts). 

So my Janathon activity for the next few days will be stretching, squats, lunges and all my other physio exercises and foam rolling. I will sort out a sports massage and not run again until I get my calf muscles into more flexible shape (and be able to walk properly). Promise. 

Well that’s the plan…

Janathon day 3. Boring squats, single leg squats and calf raises plus lots of lovely (if that’s the correct word) foam rolling and massaging my legs with a sadistic spiky ball.   

My Achilles is feeling much better already…



parkrun. Janathon day 2. 

No sulking today.  parkrun day. 

It had been blowing a gale all night so I did check Medina IOW parkrun’s news and Facebook pages first thing to check it wasn’t cancelled before I committed to being fully awake at 7.30.  There were no notifications and a peek out of the window showed it was still very windy but dry. However in the time it took to have a cuppa, eat a banana and get dressed it had started raining. Nice. 

Over the past few weeks I have been back to some of my close to home parkruns in London which I’ve not run for a while because I had been enjoying a bit of parkrun tourism for variety.  Today I went back to IOW parkrun for my 5th run there.  

In the two years (I thought it was only one! ) since I last ran there* the course has changed so it was like a bonus new parkrun venue.   What was two laps of playing fields has changed into one lap (out and back) to avoid as much wet muddy grass as possible and use the newish cycle track along the river Medina which  has a netted gravel surface. 

* (I have tried twice since but one time missed the venue change and another time it was cancelled)

It was very wet and muddy over the unavoidable grass sections and I decided to practice trying to run faster on mud (or anything that isn’t smooth Tarmac really) but my Achilles didn’t want to play that game so I eased off and switched to guess how deep that puddle is which kept my feet and ankles nicely chilled. 

A miserable wet and windy day, a friendly bunch of parkruners, an OK (bloody Achilles) run on a good course. I must come back in 2016, I think it could be fairly fast on a dry (underfoot) day.  Thanks Medina IOW parkrun. 

Janathon day 2. parkrun. 3.1 miles run. 


Sulking.  Janathon day 1. 

Happy New Year!

Hello Janathon, here we go again…

I didn’t set my alarm and lay out my kit for parkrun this morning because there wasn’t one. 

Not that setting my alarm and laying out my kit always results in me making the start of a parkrun, but today I really wanted to. I’d been excited when the Christmas and New Year parkrun events were posted and was planning all sorts of potential doubles for New Years day. But then Christmas plans got made and I realised we would be on the Isle of Wight over New Year and worse still the local parkrun were unable to hold an extra New Years Day event. 

I had a few fantasies about making the trip to some on the south coast but a 30 minute drive just to get to the hovercraft  (if it was running in the high winds) or to an overpriced car ferry before I even made it to Portsmouth made it unrealistic.  

So this morning I slept in. At some stage I had a peek at my Strava time line and there were already a few parkruns posted. I dived back under the duvet to sulk a bit more. By 10.30 another peek showed more and Facebook was full of parkrun double talk. Agghhhhh!  I finally figured I could sulk in bed all day (not very Janathon like) or get up and do some bloody exercise. 

An ‘any one fancy a bike ride’ got no response (yesterday was probably windy enough) so a run it would be.   I grabbed a map to find a suitably parkrun sized section of  off road cycle path to run and then procured a lift to the start point and pick up at the end so I could run point to point. 

My route planning was pretty spot on although I did stop my Garmin at 5K  a little short of the end of the path.  My own personal New Year ‘parkrun’ done.  (Maybe I should have planned to run back to complete the double…)

Janathon day one,  3.1 miles run. 


Dymchurch Marathon

I won!

Well not as in came first but I did…

  • acheive my aim of finishing my 3rd marathon happy!
  • beat my previous best time by 20 minutes.
  • enjoy (most of) it and feel good.
  • run (practically) all the way. I hope to be excused a brief  section in the middle of the last mile in the face of a (by that stage) 40mph headwind when it really was quicker to march/stagger.
  • have a great day running with some lovely people.*
  • question that maybe I’m not such a  fairweatherrunner.**
  • discover that Oreos are the perfect marathon fuel at 21 miles.
  • decide I definitely  want to run another one…
  • Oh, and I was first lady home!***

So I reckon that does make me a winner.

*The benefit of multiple laps is the support of other runners.  Lots of thumbs ups, well dones and waves as we passed each other and the front runner lapping me on his way to finsh telling me well done, keep it up.  There was definitely a pattern to it on Sunday.  Happy and encouraging others on the way out with the tail wind and then battling back into the wind with a grimace receiving encouragement.  It was great to run the first few laps with Louise who I ran my first marathon with, see Cassie smiling through a tough first marathon, exchange ‘ looking good’ and ‘we can do this’ with Helen  and get a big hug on the last stretch home from Cathy who came to support.

**It started windy and got very very windy.  The adverse weather conditions actually  gave me something real to moan about rather than worrying about imaginary niggles and made me bloody minded and even more determined to be strong and tough it out.  

***It was a small field and many runners were on their second, third, fourth or fifth marathon in as many days, but shh… we won’t tell anybody that  –  I’m making the most of  it because it won’t happen again!

Many thanks to Saxon-Shore for a brilliant, friendly low key marathon. It was perfectly flat, mud free and uncrowded.   I liked the laps, although after a few I was questioning  whether I had passed a very large rock in the middle of the sea wall ot not.



I’m Back

Really back this time.

I’m running a marathon tomorrow.

Yes I know I should have blogged about it earlier.  I did get a nag from Cathy for not updating my marathon training and mentions from Sharon and Alma which nudged me back to my blog but I felt a bit of a fraud having a running blog when I wasn’t really running.

I have dabbled during Juneathon and Janathon, writing  a bit about my excuses for not running and the odd BMF class, parkrun or classy plank.

I’ve had false starts, comebacks and ‘return’ races.  I managed a 2 week run streak during Juneathon this year and a comeback 10K at the end of Janathon but I have not seriously run or trained for any event since the London Marathon in 2014.

Then two things happened.  I stood on the scales at Easter to weigh my son’s suitcase and I went to cheer this years London Marathon.  The mean old scales told me the truth I didn’t want to hear and watching the marathon made me think that maybe it wasn’t as bad as my memories were telling me.  I set about losing some blubber and my subconscious started thinking about running another marathon.

Facebook and wine don’t mix.  On May Bank Holiday Sunday evening I found myself entering a marathon with Cathy, Helen and Cassie.  It’s a flat one and the medal and goodie bag (beer and cake) are fantastic. (We’ll worry about the strong winds on the Kent coastal sea wall tomorrow!)

Fast forward to this Autumn and after a slow start I finally got into my marathon training.  I said I would run it –  so I had to grit my teeth and get on with it.   But I started to enjoy myself.  Regular running and being 12 pounds lighter have done wonders for my pace and stamina.  In October I ran a good HM at the Exeter Great West Run and felt really strong on a hilly course.  If I hadn’t had to make an unplanned loo stop I would have pipped my HM PB by a few seconds.  Mojo returned.

My previous attempts at marathon training have felt like a chore, hating the really long, long runs.  I can’t say I love them now,  and I could do with running a few more of them, but for the last weeks of my training I have had a new business like attitude to training and focus on my plan.

The icing on the cake was running a 10K PB of 49.06 two weeks ago.  I ran 50.38 in 2010 and have been trying to get back there, or under 50 minutes ever since but 52  is the closest I’ve managed.

Marathon training rocks!

We’ll see what tomorrow brings!