fairweatherrunner

running blog


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Osterley parkrun

I made it to my first parkrun of the year this morning. I went to Osterley to meet Louise. Osterley is the last London parkrun which Louise hasn’t run and, being just under half an hour from me (I don’t do 5am commutes like some amazing parkrun tourists!), within my ‘I ought to give it try range’. (Having written that I realise there are others I have yet to get to within range. Sounds like I have set myself a challenge).

Louise’s parkrun today was the first part of a her long run and I decided to tag along for a chat at her easy pace and save my legs for tomorrows 10K. The course is 3 laps on hard trail, grass and through a wooded patch. Not surprisingly there were some huge puddles to tiptoe around, jump over or splash through and lots of slippery gooey mud! Not best conditions for PB hunters so I was more than happy with an easy run, in fact our pace was plenty fast enough!

It was my slowest ever parkrun! Something to celebrate. The more parkruns I go to the more I relax and stop expecting myself to run it faster than last time (which has maybe stopped me going sometimes if I’m feeling tired or very hungover). Now I discover they are far more enjoyable at an easy pace and much more comfortable when I’m not gasping for breath, regretting last nights red wine or going bleary eyed!

Today I had a great, sociable run in the fresh air at a beautiful location. I think I will run some more easy parkruns as well as fast ones!

Janathon day 18  parkrun, 3.1 miles run.


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On the 4th day of Janathon

On the 4th day of Janathon Fairweatherrunner decided enough was enough. I HAVE to run. The first few weeks of my marathon training have gone so well but this week has been non existent.

So she got up early and put on her run kit. She laced up her trail shoes deciding that a rice muddy lung busting blast around Medina parkrun was just what she needed. But after 30 minutes drive she got there to find it was cancelled. Like the roads and the trails the park was under a few inches of water.

She threw her toys out the pram and is now packing to go back to the big smoke.

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CBA

I am pleased to report that I am on the road to recovery following a recent bout of ‘Can’t Be Arsed to Run’ disease. After 16 days of no exercise whatsoever I started my recovery by dragging myself to Medina (IOW) parkrun on Saturday morning. Well it was my birthday and I had to prove I’m not completely over the hill (yet) although I am obviously getting into that really annoying middle-aged ‘can’t work out technology’ stage because I failed to press ‘Go’ on my garmin.

Just as well really because I’m not in a big hurry to see my split times after an ‘interesting’ run. The combination of fresh legs, feel-good effect of running again mixed with what 16 days inactivity had done to my cardiovascular fitness left me red-faced, huffing and puffing after a rather optimistic fast start. After a mile or so I was feeling somewhat breathless, light-headed and queasy. I carried on at a more appropriate pace and recovered to have a few chats with overtaking runners and finish in a respectable enough time, not quite my slowest parkrun.

CBA disease affects me once or twice a year. Usually in school holidays at Christmas or in the Summer, when I am out of my normal routine, there are friends or family to hang out with and drink wine with or too many teenagers moping around causing chaos. It’s normally when we are staying on the Isle of Wight and symptoms include much winging, whining, moaning and gnashing of teeth accompanied with complaints about not wanting to run on too busy twisting country roads, the wrong sort of weather or lack of nearby BMF classes.

The decent summer weather in the UK made it particularly bad this year and although I hung out on the beach and even went in the sea the few moments when my feet were not touching the bottom can probably not be classed as exercise or swimming!

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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


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Pontefract parkrun

On our journey up North last weekend we stopped overnight on Friday at Pontefract Travelodge which is less than 10 minutes by car from Pontefract parkrun. This was not a coincidence but the result of this comment on my blog…

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I’d got back to parkrun in Juneathon and Abradypus had sown the seed so it had to be a full house. I started researching parkruns and travelodges close to the M1/A1 on our route north.

The nice thing about parkruns is once you’ve done a couple you get to know the routine and the same format everywhere is reassuring whatever venue you go to. Once I was there it was easy to follow the stream of runners to the start and the sight of the parkrun banners, the finish pen and fluorescent jackets of marshalls make you feel at ease and before you know it you’re standing in a huddle with other runners exchanging parkrun chat.

The course is at Pontefract racecourse. I learned that the term flat racing describes the lack of jumps and not a lack of gradient changes. However the ups and downs were gradual so it was far from hilly. The course starts with a lap of the boating lake before running a lap of the race course on a path (tarmac and hard trail) on the inside of the rail followed by a quick second lap of the lake in the other direction.

A good course which I liked. Even with 140 plus runners it wasn’t busy apart from the very start. It was interesting, green and attractive even though so close to the motorway. The out stretch round the race course was fast and gently down hill and the return stretch a little slower as the course gradually climbed up toward the lake. At least that was flat for a nice quick finish.

I had a great run, a new attractive venue did wonders for my Mojo. I now understand what motivates people to get to parkrun week after week and some people travelling all over to different venues. I think I could get to quite like parkrun tourism. Bug caught!

pontefract

Juneathon day 29. 5th of 5 Juneathon parkruns.

3.13 miles in 24.19 mins, parkrun PB.


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Medina IOW parkrun at Gurnard

It was wet and windy when I looked out of the window first thing this morning. Did I fancy going to parkrun in horizontal rain? Would I rather go back to sleep? It is however Juneathon and as I’ve run 3 parkruns, 3 weeks in a row, it would be a shame not to make it 4 while I can.

So my long-suffering OH gave me a lift to the other side of the Isle of Wight where (fortunately it wasn’t raining) I got a warm welcome from a friendly bunch of parkrunners on a grey windy day.

It was my third run at medina IOW parkrun but a first run at one of their alternative courses. The parkrun was at Gurnard today (first used over the winter I think when everywhere else was too wet) because of the festival last week at their regular venue and because of Armed Forces Day today at their Appley Park alternative.

gurnard parkrun

This course is along the seafront from Gurnard to Cowes and back (plus a short double back at the start). It’s run on smooth pavement and is absolutely flat. A lovely fast course with PB potential. Today unfortunately it was very windy. I set a PB first mile as I literally flew the first half with the wind behind me. After the turnaround point at half way the course curved back into the wind and it became hard work.

I caught up with one of the regular U14 runners who was struggling running against the wind and she tucked in behind me to get respite from it for a short stretch. It was hard going but I found some motivation from having someone close behind me to keep working and trying not to slow down too much. We finished together and by this time the sun had come out and I was suddenly feeling pretty warm.

An IOW parkrun PB of 1 whole second for me today. A slightly slower overall time than last week at Wormwood Scrubs but because of slight differences in the distance run, today was a 5K pace PB for me at 7.55 minute/mile. Just got to work on running a whole parkrun as fast as my first mile today!

Juneathon day 22. 3.11 miles in 24.37 mins.

4th parkrun in 4 weeks. Getting the parkrun bug!


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Hat-trick

Three parkruns, three weeks in a row! It might not sound that great, as many people run 52 in a year, but it is a minor miracle for me considering I’ve only managed 3 or 4 a year before!

I nearly didn’t make it at all. Those critical 10 mins dozing after the first alarm ( I assume everyone is like me and requires at least 3 alarms to get up in the morning) when you can either go back to sleep or fight it, mind over matter, and get out of bed. Thank goodness for Juneathon for helping me summon the determination to get going, it’s too easy to postpone it for another week, and another. I find it strange, when trying to get up, that I feel so tired and desperately in need of a long sleep in but if I do make it out of bed in 10 mins or so after a cup of tea I feel fine and have plenty energy to face the day. Sometimes I promise myself I can go back to bed later or have an afternoon nap but never feel like it! I must remember that for next Saturday when the first alarm goes off.

I was rewarded for my efforts in getting up with another PB. And most importantly my first sub 25 minute parkrun at Wormwood Scrubs on our slightly lumpy grassy course. I’ve scraped under 25 twice before a few years ago on faster courses but really wanted to do it at home.

It’s so true that the good runs happen when you don’t expect them and aren’t trying too hard. Not that I wasn’t trying, I did think about what I ate this morning (less) and drank (less wine last night and more water this morning) and I grabbed a gel with caffeine as I left for rocket fuel. I looked at my garmin starts from last week and noted the sections of the course where I ran slowest which I should concentrate on attacking this week. (Thanks @2coldfingers for the tip in your Q&A on Marathon Widows Diaries blog). I also decided to hold back more at the start and not overdo my starting pace as the first section is uphill gradually and leaves me hanging out when it flattens out if I start too fast. Apart from that I ran on feel. (Looking at my garmin makes me feel either tired, panicked or despondent so I’ve stopped looking!)

Being a small group we soon spread out and I ran alone for much of it, trying to keep the runner in front in sight. I looked back as I got towards the end of the first lap when someone overtook me to check I wasn’t last, and was relieved to see someone who’d left me for dust last week behind me. On the second run uphill I gritted my teeth and put my efforts into holding pace. Near the top I overtook someone who was a good minute or so ahead of me at the last two runs so I got a boost which kept me concentrating to the end. I knew I was possibly on track to get below 25 mins so I was very happy to find out I’d done so with a little time to spare.

Juneathon day 15. 3.05 miles in 24.23


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Wormwood Scrubs parkrun

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Happy 2nd Birthday Wormwood Scrubs parkrun!

There was a great turn out today, a record attendance, almost double last week  and a great atmosphere for the second anniversary parkrun.

I  was up and out and ready to run by 9am and very happy with my efforts to make parkrun a Saturday habit. Two in a row!  Go me!  I had plans to attack last weeks time.  Can’t be too much effort to take off 3 seconds can it?  It was not to be.  I was just plain tired.  I  tried to run as fast as I could but there was no speed in my legs, my garmin didn’t register the sort of pace I wanted and I found it hard going. Seven days of exercising for Juneathon must have taken their toll but the benefit of all the extra miles have not kicked in yet!  I still  finished only  30 secs slower than last week so wasn’t as bad as it felt half way round.

A sociable run. I talked to some regulars, someone running their first parkrun and met a fellow tweeter in real life before the start.  During the run I chatted (as much as my tired lungs would allow) to Florence, also running her first parkrun, before she disappeared into the distance and afterwards enjoyed flapjacks and tea at the local running club house while the parkrun awards for last year were announced.

I then came home and was sleepy all afternoon and am looking forward to my first lie in for a long time tomorrow!

Bar code race numbers for our run today

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Juneathon day 8.  parkrun  3.02 miles, 25.33 mins.

photographs from Wormwood Scrubs parkrun.


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Getting out of Bed

Getting out of bed at an early hour is not something I find easy.  I have to during the week, (actually if my Sons were better at getting up I strictly wouldn’t have to, but that’s another story),  so getting up and out ready to run on a Saturday by 9am doesn’t happen very often!  This is a bit of a problem because I really like parkrun.

Recently I’ve been more of an armchair parkrunner, following   abradypus‘s parkrun travels and reading my twitter timeline on a Saturday morning.  However the run reports from my local parkrun and twitter tales of PBs  have worked their magic and made me feel guilty and that I’m missing out by not dragging myself out of bed and getting to parkrun.

Along comes ‘Spring’ and I tell myself it’s about time I stopped doing parkrun vicariously and get myself down to Wormwood Scrubs.  When I noticed that Juneathon (jog,log and blog. Everyday) happened to start on a Saturday this year I definitely got the message! (I do also have to declare another pressing reason for my being up and dressed before 8.30am in the form of our efficient local traffic wardens because I failed to get my parking permit renewed)

I was rewarded for my efforts.  I ran the first mile close enough to my target pace, the second slower, because of (probably too much information), digestive issues (need to get up even earlier if I want to eat before parkrun) but I managed to speed up again for the last mile.  I wasn’t watching my Garmin too closely so was surprised at the end to see I’d got a new PB for Wormwood Scrubs. (I will have to go back next week and deal with a few pesky seconds.)

Later on I read the race report and discovered  I’d definitely chosen the right day to  return to parkrun because I was second female home (after a youngster of course) and first in my age group!

Juneathon day 1.  3.05 miles run. 25.02 mins


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Snow excuse

Today for the first time during Janathon or Juneathon I haven’t run. London was snow free for an hour after driving my sons (pampered, yes) to school but my leg and glute muscles were not warm, loosened nor awake and sense told me to stick to my plans not to run early or go to BMF to avoid innjury, even if it meant missing today’s opportunity.

Instead I walked to the shops, twice (2 miles exactly, half of which carrying shopping.)

As the pavements will be too icy to run on tomorrow, I seriously toyed with the idea of going to parkrun which is on soft grass so less slippy to get a run in. Unfortunately my local one has now been cancelled so my return to parkrun will have to wait another week.

Janathon, Day 18: Two miles walked plus 20 press-ups. (Proper ones, yes toes not knees on the floor)