fairweatherrunner

running blog


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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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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. 


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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. 


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Jan-don

Another Janathon is over. Rather too quickly as usual making me feel I’m still in catch up mode. I haven’t run or exercised as much as other years but have hopefully re-started some good habits which I can build on and continue rather than going for broke and spending February recovering.

This week I’ve run a bit less due to some mild niggles in my hamstrings and piriformis which feel worse when it’s very cold  so I stuck to alternate days exercising.

Today, the last day of Janathon and being Saturday it was parkrun time. I’ve been using parkrun for the past few months as my way back into running so for the last day of Janathon, I gave back and volunteered and did finish token duty. My exercise was therefore just cycling there, a bit earlier than usual, (and in a snow/sleet shower) and back. Unless walking round and round in circles while looking after all the bags and trying to keep warm waiting for runners to finish counts. I do have a 10K race tomorrow to make up!

Day 30. 1 hour BMF class 2.7 miles run, 5.5 miles cycled.

Day 31. 2.4 miles cycled (part in snow) 1 parkrun volunteered at with a few circles paced, in the freezing cold!

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parkrun

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I nearly didn’t make parkrun today. I snoozed my alarm many times and while I lay there semi conscious I was convincing myself that my body ached too much from BMF yesterday (no mention of the wine I drank last night of course) and I was sure I could hear it was raining outside.

At 8am, the point of no return, I got up and looked out the window. Dry cold and sunny. One of those lovely mornings that I would regret not getting out there. Two cups of tea, run kit, 2 nurofen, a bit of toast and 40 minutes later I was wrapped up and dragging my bike out the door.

Thank god for my local parkrun at Wormwood Scrubs for being less than 10 mins away by bike and being, in the winter at least, reliably wet, boggy, ice and mud filled to make it not really matter (for the likes of me) what state of hydration, fuelled or hungover I turn up in, it doesn’t really affect my overall pace.

Bike and warm layers deposited at the finish I was off to the start and wondering what I was up for today and what bits of me really did ache after yesterday.

It was very soggy under foot, wet soggy grass and puddles covered in a crusty ice surface hiding the lovely mud underneath. I started trying to avoid the worst of the puddles and mud but once one foot had plunged completely into an ice bath most of us just ploughed straight through it all.

My legs didn’t ache too much but my hamstrings convinced my head that any attempt at pace was out. In the end I finished not too much over my recent ‘muddy times’ and went to enjoy a post run cuppa and flapjack. A lovely bright, cold, blue-sky morning to be out. I was really glad I made the effort. A bit of mud is always fun!

Afterwards I realised that some parts of my glute muscles got more of a work out during Friday’s tuck jumps and jump squats than I realised. Time to stretch and think about the foam roller.

It took longer to soak the mud out my feet and legs than run parkrun and my socks and shoes (once yellow) needed special treatment.

Janathon day 24. 29th parkrun done.

5K run, 3.4 miles cycled


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PB hunting.

I do like cycling to parkrun. It’s the best time to cycle in London and the bright fresh feeling of being out on my bike at that time of the morning, especially as the parkrun gods usually send a glorious morning, is well worth crawling out of bed for. I also arrive at parkrun fully awake and warmed up.

Today I was off PB hunting. I went to Fulham Palace parkrun which is the nearest fast flat and on tarmac parkrun because today was one of their regular paced runs (odd numbers this week). I arrived just in time after a cautious cycle (I didn’t want to slide off round a corner on ice). The main gathering area was worryingly icy but as we walked to the start the course looked a lot better. It was a record turn out of 300. Too many other pacer following PB hunters or refugees from muddy winter parkruns!

I had planned to get the 23 min pacer in my sights and follow (at a suitable distance) for as long as I could. My goal is a sub 24 so I thought i’d try 23 pace for a mile at a time as a bit of training and maybe sneak a pb while I was at it.

The start was rather busy. I inched
in front of the 31 and 29 pacers but couldn’t get sight of any others. The first half mile I was dodging and over taking and trying to get past dogs and small children. I finally managed to get past the 27 and 25 minute pace makers but the 23 pacer was long gone. Oh well, next time. I tucked in and settled to a steady pace, got my head down and planned to keep going at best effort but not be silly and embarrass myself by falling over at the couple of icy patches on the course.

I finished in 24.38 and was well pleased with that despite worrying that things didn’t go as I wanted at the start. I’d knocked 12 seconds off my Fulham time, scored a 2015 PB, inched back towards my overall PB and made another step towards my long term goal. I even cycled home and bought milk, papers and was drinking coffee before the rain arrived.

My good day was topped off this afternoon when I went with Alma to cheer Louise to the finish of the 45 mile Country to Capital Ultra race. She finished in 8 hours 18. Amazing. Congratulations to her, and all the other runners. They looked so good at the end they make me feel ashamed of the fuss I make of aches and pains after a fraction of the distance!

Janathon day 17.
My 28th parkrun.
5K run, 6.7 miles cycled.


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Another parkrun fix

I’m sure it must have been Abradypus who first put the idea into my head that if you spend Friday night within 30 mins travelling distance (probably more like 60 for her these days) from a parkrun you’ve not run, it is quite rude not to make it there the next morning.  So I checked with our family we were staying with who confirmed that Braunstone pakrun was in fact about 30 mins drive away.

I made it there this morning with 2 mins to spare, perfect timing for a cold drizzly day as I ran from the car to catch the end of the welcome and announcements. No getting cold or give away tell-tale sign of being a tourist or first timer by turning up 20 minutes early for me! Turns out my hubby doesn’t know Leicester quite as well as he claims, or they’ve added a few dual carriage ways and cinema complexes since he were a lad.

Anyway it was a very well attended parkrun over 2 laps of a not too unattractive urban park. A bit busy at the start, but just enough to temper idiots (who me?) who go off too fast and then die round the first corner and then take the next 2 miles recovering. But it soon spread out and I had a good run and managed to knock a few more seconds off my average pace. Not flat but nothing too bad for the first 3 miles until the finish straight up a hill for the final 0.1 of a mile! Sprint finish effort at snail pace. Thank god it was only 0.1.

Janathon day 3, parkrun number 27, 14th venue.