running blog


Kingsbury Water parkrun

It was great to find a new parkrun event within commuting distance of Thunder Run. So on Saturday morning 4 of us made the half hour drive south from our camp site for the second Kingsbury Water parkrun.

A great one lap, flat parkrun course which was scenic, run on hard trails and a bit of tarmac. It was narrow in places but by then the 117 runners had spread well out so overtaking wasn’t a problem and it made the course interesting and attractive.

As a warm up for what was to come over the weekend (2 or 3 tough 10K trail runs) all 4 of us were adamant that we were going to take it easy and run a nice slow pace starting out at the back. But, a nice flat course with new changing scenery and my legs felt like they wanted to run. One of the good things about a field of 100 plus runners is that there are many people running at whatever pace you go for so it feels easier keeping up with the crowd than running on your own and before I knew it I was half way round maintaining pace just a bit slower than 8 min mile pace. It didn’t feel too hard so I kept it up finishing in 25.12. The others also came home a good couple of minutes faster than they intended!

A good parkrun venue with toilets and a café plus playground, miniature railway and other activities for families and if you show your barcode you can get into the car park free.

kingsbury water parkrun


An amazing 16 days!

and review of Mobile Solar Chargers,

16 days ago I sat and watched the Olympic opening ceremony from a field in front of a big screen at the Adidas Thunder Run before a wonderful weekend. Such a fantastic atmosphere that has continued.  Tonight I have watched the closing ceremony and wondered where have the last 2 weeks gone?  Team GB have won 65 medals, I’ve run 60 miles and just about held the fort domestically, but done little else! Why?  I’ve been glued to the TV! Have been watching and enjoying sports I’ve never watched before and have been standing up shouting at the TV!

Well done London 2012 and team GB!

What I should have done is finish my review of Mobile Solar Chargers which kept me charged up at TR24 and tweeting through the opening ceremony!

These are basically portable back up batteries which can be charged from USB, the mains or by the sun which will then re-charge iPhones, iPods, smart phones, using micro USB, Nokia phones plus anything charged by USB, ie rather usefully my Garmin!

I was sent two models, which arrived rather appropriately the morning I left for TR24….

I pre charged both as much as I could before I left home.  The slightly larger unit with LED light (about the same size as an iPhone) charged everything from iPhones to my Garmin that we tried it on, keeping my iPhone going during the opening ceremony and then recharged very well from a sunny spot in our campsite and my car dash-board the next morning to go on and boost my Garmin’s battery for my night run and keep my iPhone going.

The smaller unit I was less impressed with at the time, only charging my teammates Samsung smart phone.  However since then I have  fully charged it from the mains or my pc a few times and it now charges both my Garmin via USB and iPhone perfectly, obviously needing its full battery charge, which can only be achieved after a few full charge-discharge cycles to work on these.

I think I preferred the slightly larger model, maybe because I had success with it from the start, but also because of the clear % charge indicators on the reverse plus the very useful LED light which was useful to make sure I’d switched everything on and set the right alarms in a dark tent!

These back up batteries work, are versatile,  being able to recharge them by several means and are perfect for travelling, camping, multi day ultra running, hiking or festivals for keeping your smartphone  (and garmin if you’ve got an old one with rubbish battery life) charged while away from civilization. They are definitely worth checking out and if your phone requires a different connection (if only phone companies would standardise connections) Mobile Phone Chargers are open to feedback/requests.


Mine is now a bit of essential kit to pack for races, events (TR24 next year!) as a backup for my iPhone, iPod  and Garmin and I have even had to promise to lend mine to my brother for the End of the Road Festival!


Adidas Thunder Run 2012

It was brilliant!

As I am writing my blog a bit later than many who participated in TR24 and having already read many excellent posts, especially those from my wonderful team mates, it is more than tempting just to post links to theirs, which between them give a complete picture of our weekend, and leave it as that!

So here you are…

Alma, Chris, Louise, Carla. If you’ve not read them already.

But.. seeing as it was such a wonderful experience I’d better add my bit…

  • Tent Envy. After slogging up the motorway on Friday afternoon I arrived about 5pm to find Alma and Chris who had bagged us what camp space was left and it became glaringly obvious that our team was seriously lacking in the tent department.

  • Atmosphere. We knew we were in for a great weekend while soaking up the atmosphere while watching the Olympic opening ceremony on the big screen with many other runners and their families.

  • Caravan Club. Thanks guys. ‘I will survive’ on the karaoke at 11.30pm accross the road from loads of runners trying to get some sleep in too small tents is not my first choice of bedtime playlist.
  • Team. What we might have lacked in the tent department we more than made up for as a team. Our line up had changed a lot since we first signed up and in the end, Lorraine, as a friend of a friend and Jon, who mentioned to Chris on twitter that it sounded like a great event and was recruited, really turned up to a field to join a group of strangers and run! But you wouldn’t have known it, sitting round our little camp drinking tea in good company we did wonder why we had to run at all!
  • Parkrun. Louise being a super parkrun tourist can’t possibly ‘sleep’ within 10 miles of an un-run parkrun on a friday night without getting up the next morning and running it! So on Saturday morning Alma and I accompanied her to Conkers parkrun for a 5K warm up. It turned out to be a really nice scenic, friendly parkrun, one of the nicest (in my small experience) that I’ve run.
  • 24 hour relay begins Jon was up first as the relay began at 12 on Saturday and we sent him off into the unknown!

  • Shock. Next up was me. Not the slickest of hand-overs in the busy pen but we learnt for the rest of the runs! The first km was falsely reassuring, I flew along at normal 10K pace downhill on grass thinking all was well. Then the course rapidly double-backed up a vertical bank onto trails in the woods. It was soon very obvious that there is ‘fit’ and ‘fit’ and I am definitely on the soft and squishy side! I was feeling the heat and could really feel the sun beating down on the stretches over open fields. I was annoyed carrying my water bottle but grateful for it all the same. I soon realised I was going to have to walk many of the hills as a good marching pace was more efficient than trying to keep running and easier on my calves. I also realised that my relative inexperience at running trails made me less confident about placing my feet where the ground was uneven or there were tree roots in the woods and therefore slowed my pace. Afterwards I was disappointed with my performance, however in hindsight I am more than happy with my time of 63 mins given my need for a lot more hill and trail practice. It was probably one of the toughest runs I have ever done and think my disappointment was more down to me having not enjoyed it.

  • Dusk. My next turn was to be a double lap of 12 miles. I was apprehensive. Alma had had an argument with a tree and cut her head so we shuffled the order to give her a little more recovery time and therefore my run was an hour earlier than planned at 8.30pm. It was to my advantage, I had a really good run which dispelled all my bad feelings. Mainly because I knew what to expect and set out at a more easy pace so my pace was more even. It was also dusk and so beautiful. Light over the open fields, yet dark in the woods to get me slowly accustomed to my head torch. The point where the course rose out of the wood onto the ridge overlooking the surrounding area as the sun was going down and the lights were coming on was just stunning.

  • Night. My double lap carried on into the dark and to my third time round the course. I was aware that the general pace of all the other runners around me was now easier in the dark and got into the mindset that it’s ok to walk! Such a great experience running around a dark wood, seeing and smelling the fires from the Marshall’s camps along the course and having a chat with an ultra runner on his 10th lap while walking round the dark twisty paths in the wood. At some points the course doubled back on itself and looking back it was an amazing sight to see rows of twinkling head torches moving up a path in the dark.
  • Friendly. It was an extremely friendly race. 99% of overtaking fast runners said thanks if I moved to the side or paused to let them pass. Most said there was no need to stop at tight bits to let them pass, although on hills I was grateful for a rest and everyone said ‘hello’ or ‘keep it up’ as they passed or asked if you were ok if stopped to walk.
  • Results. We were in it to complete not compete, but are still pretty chuffed with ourselves for clocking up 22 laps or 220km in 24hrs 50mins.
  • Next Year? Yes! And I would love to challenge myself to try and run the course in an hour and complete 4 laps.
  • Mileage. We all ran 3 laps (apart from Jon who ran 4). Louise, Alma and I added the parkrun to clock up 35K or 21 miles in less than 24 hours (in my case in 14 hours as my runs finished at 11pm!)


1000 km

Yesterday I got out for a second attempt at my long run.  I left it until after 6pm, took lots of water and tried to keep to the shade.  It was still hard work and my legs were far from fresh, but it was so much better than Sunday!  I managed 8.32 miles and am now feeling more confident about TR24 at the weekend and my night-time double lap!

During that run my mileage to date in 2012 passed the 1000km (or 621 miles) milestone which was my total in 2011.  At the end of last year I quietly challenged myself to run 1000 miles (1600km) in 2012… barring injury, with my marathon training it looks like I might make it.

Monthly running mileage 2011, 2012.


Marathon training started… eventually.

So I’m back from my holiday and my marathon training plan started last week.  It wasn’t the full on enthusiastic start I might have imagined and certainly not like my enthusiasm to get going when I started training for my first half marathon this time 3 years ago!

Day one of my plan, Monday was Rest Day – great I could do that! Just as well because I had a marathon of washing and ironing to do! Day two, 3 easy miles…  didn’t go to plan. Morning dentist appointments prevented a morning run and then waiting or younger son to contact me (ET phone home!) and tell me when he was coming home dragged the day out. He finally turned up at six and I mustered my enthusiasm for a run only to spend 20 minutes on the phone catching up with a friend.  So finally a last chance dash out the door and I stood for 10 minutes waiting for my garmin to get a signal.  No luck I walked down the road and waited a bit longer, still no signal.. I gave up and walked home in a huff to cook super and poured myself a glass of wine.  Run 1 fail!

So on Wednesday I did make it out and I ran not only the 30 mins easy from my plan but 6 miles as also training for Thunder Run next weekend!  Run 1 take 2 success!

I was also scheduled to run on Thursday (day 4), and hummed and ahhed.  I wanted to go to BMF on Friday so in the end swapped my rest day and went to BMF on Friday morning (run 2) and added 4 miles in the evening (run 3) thinking that endurance would be good pre TR24 plus alternative days would help my legs recover in between.

Sunday’s long run also didn’t go to plan.  I left it too late, it was hot, I maybe should have eaten better the night before, and drunk less wine… so I cut it shorter than what I had aimed for but about the right distance for my marathon plan week 1 long run. (Run 4).

Week 1.  4 workouts, 18.6 miles. 

15 weeks to go…. plus a few races in the meantime!