Parkrun Park Run

I was determined to make it out for the first Finsbury Park Parkrun on Saturday, so we all downed our porridge and got ready to bike it over there. As we were putting on our helmets the rain came down in buckets. Edward was all set to stay behind, but Hector wasn’t (and never is) put off by a bit of rain. It was so bad we even had to shelter under a tree for a bit, but it eased as we made our way up the hill to the park. As we rounded the corner I saw a few runners huddling under the eaves of the cafe, all looking a bit bleary-eyed and with that sort of ‘what the hell am I doing here at this time on a saturday morning?’ look on their faces. Edward and Hector sauntered over to the playground and I did that runner’s loitering thing you do before a race, where you check everyone out whilst doing a daft token stretch and trying not to look to awkward.

Eventually we were directed over to the gate where the race will start each week, and were given a few pointers before the start was called. I was delighted to see that the first stretch was down hill so we could generate some speed, but soon found myself overtaken by pretty much everyone. Quite quickly I settled into a pace alongside another woman whom I plodded beside for the rest of the race. I had been very excited about this new race and have dreams of cracking my PB here in the future, but I soon realised this is not really a PB sort of race. About a third of the way round, the path takes a sharp turn up a steep hill. During the first lap I found some incredible grit from somewhere and glided up no problem, leaving my fellow runner behind, but during the second lap I thought I was going to throw up! I had to pause for a moment and lean over before resuming my trek to the top. How embarrassing. Shortly after the hill I was on the home straight, so picked up the pace, gasping and panting all the way. As you cross the line you are given a token with a number on it to hand to the computer-wielding volunteers at the end, who scan your personal barcode and add your finish time to the website later in the day; all very high-tech.

This was my Garmin’s reading of it all:

Time: 27 minutes 41 seconds

Distance: 3.16 miles

Average Pace: 8.46

Best Pace: 5.28

Calories: 329

Not a PB, in fact a little bit slower than  my last 5k race at Trent Park, but not so bad considering I stopped to avert a pukey disaster.

On Sunday I headed out for a ‘long’ run, but this was cut short by not being able to see where I was going due to the rain being horizontal and mostly directed at my eyes.

Time: 41 minutes 20 seconds

Distance: 4.37 miles

Average Pace: 9.27

Best Pace: 6.55

Calories: 445


Challenges of running every day

It’s hard! Octoberthon is going well in many ways, but it’s such a challenge getting out every day. On Tuesday I didn’t manage it. It rained and rained and rained all day and Hector and I were all ready to go at one point and it started chucking it down again. We spent some time at the library and I decided I would head out when Edward got home…only he didn’t get back until just before nine and I didn’t fancy the streets at that time, mingling with the ladies of the night and their associates. Oh well.

On Wednesday the weather really picked up, it was one of those autumn days that makes me smile: crisp, fresh and sunny, so we headed down to the canal.

Time: 33 minutes 13 seconds

Distance: 3.17 miles

Average Pace: 10.29

Best Pace: 8.21

Calories: 358

Thursday was just as lovely, if a little bit windy, so we did the run-to-swimming-lesson-and-run-back-home run. I do enjoy this, it’s so much more enjoyable than the bus, but it’s hard putting on slightly damp running clothes after emerging from a deliciously warm swimming pool!

Time: 50 minutes 45 seconds

Distance: 4.74 miles

Average Pace: 10.42

Best Pace: 7.40

Calories: 453

Friday was another gorgeous autumnal delight, but I waited until the evening to run and really regretted it as the skies opened up just at the point where I said: ‘Ok, I’ll go running now’. I stared at it for a bit, procrastinated some then realised it wasn’t going to stop and I should just go for it. The rain did something great to my speed motivators as I kept up quite some pace for the whole three miles. It made me realise I might just crack that 25 minute 5k I would love to achieve. My enthusiasm was knocked somewhat as I neared home and heard some lads shout out: ‘Come on big arse!’. Hmmmm, thanks for that.

Time: 25 minutes 29 seconds

Distance: 3.02 miles

Average Pace: 8.26

Best Pace: 6.04

Calories: 298

Yesterday we all set out early on our bikes to Hampstead Heath where we enjoyed a flask of tea and our lunch near the lovely Pergola and then wandered through the trees and had a play in the playground. I saw Ricky Gervaise at one point running through the heath, looking like it was hard work. Glad it’s not just me that finds the heath a challenge! Talking of challenges, the outward trip to the heath is full on hills, hills, hills and I realise how useless I am at cycling; I might be running fit, but cycling makes my legs scream. As a result I decided not to run yesterday, I was simply worn out.

Since I did my big walk a couple of weeks ago I have been experiencing a new pain in my left knee, on the inside, some sort of patella thing I guess, probably just caused by all that walking and stair climbing. The funny thing is that it only hurts when I walk, it’s absolutely fine when I run and was ok when I cycled yesterday. This morning I set off to Finsbury Park as I fancied running along the path that we rode on yesterday. My knee was hurting though. I ran as far as the park, stopped and stretched and decided to run back home. As well as the knee, my right shin was aching too, so I didn’t want to push it too far and cause long-term problems. Damn it. I don’t know if it was because I had decided to run back home or if it was because I had warmed up, but the pain and the ache both eased a bit on the return journey…

Time: 33 minutes 30 seconds

Distance: 3.19 miles

Average Pace: 10.29

Best Pace: 8.03

Calories: 337

Running like a girl

Juneathon Days 26, 27 and 28 and 29

I am just emerging from a glorious weekend spent celebrating Hector’s second birthday. Friday was spent getting ready: preparing food, getting Hector’s hair cut, keeping him out of the way while Edward tried to get his birthday cake made, painting a big sheet of paper to make bunting, enjoying the sunshine, a chat with our neighbour over the fence about all the delicious smells wafting over (in both directions) and a little run to Tesco to pick up some forgotten ingredients. I have been keeping up with Juneathon, but certainly not with the blogging.


Juneathon Day 26


Time: 14 minutes 23 seconds

Distance:  1.36 miles

Average Pace: 10.34

Calories: 135

And onto Saturday. Party time! Another morning spent getting everything ready: putting up the bunting, blowing up balloons, making salads, tidying the house then having a jolly old time entertaining friends at Hector’s party.


It was just lovely. We had fantastic weather (a bit too hot for some), delightful children being very well behaved enjoying the sandpit and playing  nicely with Hector’s toys and some delicious food. To be honest, I think Hector found it all a bit overwhelming and even started crying when we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him, so much to take in all in one go.


By the evening the weather had changed dramatically and we were treated to an almighty thunder storm – a few die-hard partiers stayed put in the garden, but we eventually decided we were indeed getting wet and came inside. Once everyone had gone we were exhausted and felt glad to only have Ben and Jackie to entertain and settled down to a dinner of left-overs and wine (mmmmmmmm). At about ten o’clock I jumped out of my seat and said: ‘I haven’t been running!’ At this point Edward said I had to go, but I was all set not to bother, I had been drinking and was well and truly knackered, it would be stupid to go out like that. But the others wouldn’t let me off, I was cajoled (bullied) into pulling on my running shoes to do a quick round the block…in my skirt and pearls…and in the rain. I felt so daft legging it up the road in my lady-attire, so much so that I took on some sort of girly demeanour, running daintily along as if merely dodging the rainstorm. I only had to endure this for a few minutes and was glad to get back inside away from my embarrassment. I didn’t bother with the Garmin for this one, it would have taken longer to get a signal than it took to actually run! Now this counts for Juneathon, surely, but it wouldn’t keep me in the ‘running streak’ community as you have to run at least one mile every day, and this was nowhere near that. Oh well, I managed 26 running streak days, not bad.


Juneathon Day 27


Around the block in a skirt and pearls. Quick but worthwhile.

Sunday was spent with the lovely Ben and Jackie, going to the Hackney City Farm, wandering around Whitechapel Art Gallery and eating yet more food. I did squeeze in a little run in the evening but still felt the incredible heat was slowing me down to a crawl.

Juneathon Day 28


Time: 19 minutes 34 seconds

Distance:  2.24 miles

Average Pace: 8.45

Best Pace: 5.21

Calories: 224

Monday – the big day! We were up early, excited about the little man’s big birthday. We had put his new bike in the living room so he would walk in and find it there. ‘What’s that?!’ he asked ‘A bike! A bike!’. He was a bit wobbly at first but had got the hang of it within the hour and was even trying a brief free-wheel! These bikes are amazing: they have no pedals and encourage the child to find their own balance and work  out how to combine steering and balancing at the same time, once a child has got the hang of this they can adapt to a pedal bike no problem and without the need for stabilisers. Oh, and it looks really cool too!


We had some more present and card opening then cycled over to Clissold Leisure Centre for a swim. The toddler pool there is great – the water level is just right for H to climb in and out himself, with the odd unexpected jump from standing to keep me on my toes. Lunch was eaten in the park then another cycle home. In the evening I lay with Hector as he went to sleep, at about the time he was born in just the same spot two years earlier. He was such a tiny, fragile little thing, and look at him now! Again, my run didn’t happen until the evening, once he was asleep, just another quickie to keep the Juneathon alive.


Juneathon Day 29


Time: 19 minutes 51 seconds

Distance:  2.29 miles

Average Pace: 8.41

Best Pace: 8.37

Calories: 205

Astute readers might have noticed that I haven’t been logging any press-ups and sit-ups, that’s because I haven’t been doing them. Shame on me. I just haven’t had time. I would like to incorporate them into my regular training ‘programme’ but have let them slip by the wayside in the past week. I really can’t see myself doing the prescribed 200 sit-ups and 100 press-ups by the end of today!

Please excuse the lack of stats in this post, my Garmin is being a complete bastard and not allowing me to read the totals for each run, I just have some odd laps and can’t for the life of me work out what’s what. I will try and get it sorted and update later. Damn it. EVENING UPDATE – SEE STATS ABOVE

Still at it

Juneathoning that is.

On Saturday I am amazed to have got any running done at all. I have Edward to thank for getting out there: he was super encouraging after a long day, and at the point where I was ready to sit down and not run at all. We were up at 5am with a very lively toddler, not a great start, then had to catch a train to Leamington Spa for a family get together. So, we got there, walked to Edward’s brother’s place, went on what was billed as a two mile walk by Edward’s Dad and his dodgy map-reading, sauntered along the canal to a pub where we had a big lunch, then walked back and got on the train home. It was an 11km walk in total. One day Greg might get the hang of his GPS.

By the time we got home Hector had fallen asleep on the Tube and we were both well and truly knackered. But, in true Juneathon style, I pulled on my kit and out I went. Short but sweet (and quite fast!). I was stopped in my tracks at one point when I heard the most amazing bird-song and, on the railing ahead of me, stood a song thrush at full blast. I stood still for a moment and took it in before the bird caught sight of me and headed up to the tree tops.

Juneathon Day 20




Time: 20 minutes 15 seconds

Distance: 2.23 miles

Average Pace: 9.04

Best Pace: 6.15

Calories: 250

Yesterday was an active day all round. After a big Father’s Day breakfast we got on our bikes and headed over to the swimming pool in Crouch End. Hector was really going for it, showing Edward all his new tricks and, while they played, I did 20 lengths. We then went with some friends up to the farmer’s market in Alexandra Palace and ate more delicious food. To counteract this we got back on our bikes and headed up some seriously steep hills to Highgate Woods so Hector could burn off some energy in the lovely playground. After enjoying the woods a bit more we rode along the Parkland Walk back home. I then went for a run after eating a massive roast dinner. Talk about heavy-legged!

Juneathon Day 21

Bike Ride

Approximately 10 miles


20 lengths


Time: 19 minutes 9 seconds

Distance: 2.25 miles

Average Pace: 8.31

Best Pace: 7.26

Calories: 204

Press-ups: 20

Sit-ups: 70

Another day another picnic another bike ride another run, oh and a swim too.

Do I get some sort of merit for the length of today’s title?

Today was the day I didn’t feel like doing my run. It’s been an action packed day and the run got left until last. This morning I joined the boys for their swim and it was really, really lovely. Hector was loving every minute and was being so adventurous and, as Edward was there too, I got to have an actual swim rather than bobbing about in the water doing squats. It felt delicious to glide through the water and I remembered how much I enjoy swimming. Just a quick ten lengths. When we got back we packed up the panniers and headed over to Hampstead Heath for a picnic to celebrate Hector’s friend’s birthday. I put the Garmin on and it measured 5.18 miles. It was blazingly hot, so quite a challenge. On our return journey though, I was defeated by a killer hill alongside Highgate Cemetery. It was so steep I actually thought I was going to go into a wheelie and tip up backwards (remember I have Hector on the back in his bike seat). I got off and pushed and found that just as hard!

This evening we had a lovely time around at Hector’s (and our) friends’ house, eating gorgeous food and catching up (what an incredibly sociable weekend we’ve had!) and then I had the challenge of getting myself out of the door after putting H to bed…and consuming a big bowl of rhubarb crumble and custard. Edward was playing devil’s advocate on the way home: ‘But you’ve been on a bike ride, you’ve been swimming. That’s enough!’ he knows that I would feel I was failing if I didn’t run now though, so was just teasing me, testing me. I told him it’s just that I’m determined, ‘stubborn’ he said.

And yes, I am stubborn and that’s what got me out of the door for a brief run. At the end of my run I entertained the lads in our corner shop by running in and buying a bar of chocolate. This is one brand that I feel counts towards Juneathon in some way: Ritter Sport.

Juneathon Day 14

(no sit-ups and press-ups today, I’ll double up tomorrow instead)

Swim: 10 lengths

Bike: 10.44 miles in 1.37.55 (this includes stops at lights and pushing up hills etc)


Time: 20 minutes 36 seconds

Distance: 2.03 miles

Average Pace: 10.09 miles

Best Pace: 6.45

Calories: 184

My Garmin was doing weird things on the run, saying I was doing a 55 minute mile at one point. I think I need a new one, four years it’s been going now!

Juneathon Week 2 Total

Runs: 7

Mileage: 20.62 miles

Sit-ups: 490

Press-ups: 160

Bike rides: 2

Distance: 14.44 miles

Swim: 1

Distance: 10 lengths


What a lovely day it turned out to be! As usual I was up early, looking out at the gloom and feeling saddened by the rain but, lo, the skies cleared and out popped the sun! We spent a delicious afternoon in the park with Nick and Nadine, being treated to culinary delights prepared by Nadine’s fair hands (with some onion caramelising help from Nick)…


And after we had feasted on these scrumptious morsels, Nick disappeared on his Brompton and returned not long after laden down with a whole tub of gelato!


Yum, yum, yum.

To balance out our feasting, we had ridden there on our bikes (around four miles in total), and then had fun trying to catch a frisbee for a while. I also found myself playing a run-up-and-down-the-hill game with Hector.

All this festivity meant my run got pushed back until this evening, probably a good idea given the heat, and I went for a quick one around the parks. I am now becoming familiar with the characters that emerge from the bushes of an evening, but never fail to be amazed by some of their antics. At one point I was very nearly driven into the hedge by an idiot riding around at top speed on a mini motorbike, ‘monkey’ bikes I think they’re called. That’s not what I called out after him. I got a bit of pace on and tackled ‘the hill’. I decided to use a technique I read about in Runners World, where you look at the ground and imagine you are running on a flat surface. It works! Really!

Juneathon Day 13

Sit-ups: 70

Press-ups: 20 – Nadine – who is a yoga teacher – showed me some very cool and very testing press-ups, I shall show you tomorrow.


Time: 26 minutes 24 seconds

Distance: 3.04 miles

Average Pace: 8.41 (woo-hoo!)

Best Pace: 7.33

Calories: 278


Up with the lark this morning: Edward had a plane to catch and had to get up at 5am, which in turn woke Hector who saw no reason why he should sleep when Daddy was up and about. We had visitors staying and this is when you realise that living in a little flat really does have its limitations: poor Hector did not want to stay confined – quietly please! – to the work room so as not to disturb our guests so I decided to get out and run…this was when the time still began with a 5.

It really was a good idea to get out then with the weather as it is (around 30 degrees yesterday) and it was already hotting up at this still and quiet hour. There weren’t many people in park number one, but I did notice someone asleep on the grass – I ran close by just to check they were ok and they looked quite comfy actually. The park was littered with lots of cans and bags of food-related rubbish; I really can’t understand why people come to the park to enjoy the setting, tuck into their picnic, then leave the remains exactly where they sat…when there is usually a dustbin a few feet away. Grrrrrrr.

Park number 2 was a bit busier, in fact there were quite a few older people doing their morning challenges: a few plodders, some power walkers and the jolly group of Chinese ladies who walk then do Tai Chi. My schedule said that I should have done a 3-miler and a 5-miler over the weekend, but I did neither I’m afraid. We did cycle to the lido on Saturday – up hill – so I might count the bike ride and then the extreme surge of energy use in acclimatising to the freezing cold water 😉 Today was supposed to be a rest day, but I thought I would go for my 5-miler to make it up. Part way round I started to feel that dreaded sting as a blister developed on my heel, a down side of the hot, sticky weather I suppose. I would have gone for it, but it really was nagging and my stomach also started playing up (I thought I had got over the dodgy-tummy-when-running thing, so felt a bit disheartened by this) so we headed to the duck pond area and had a play in the sandpit.

I noticed a couple who were doing hill repeats on the steep bit and I looked admiringly at the woman’s amazing legs, so muscular, she looked like a sprinter or something. Those legs don’t come easy though: they were virtually sprinting up that hill and cruising back down, not an easy task in the heat.

Time: 44.23 minutes

Distance: 4.18 miles

Average Pace: 10.37

Best Pace: 8.32

Calories: 484