Indian summer

I’m so happy that the sun is out after all that rain in the past weeks, it feels almost like summer again, although I pull on a cardie and some socks in the evening… So, in the spirit of summer, we headed out to Finsbury Park this morning. I think Hector was glad to be back out in the running buggy, he does enjoy it whizzing along, telling me where to go and what to do. I can’t imagine where this bossiness comes from. We went via a different entrance today because I wanted to show him the outdoor gym they’ve installed. I was going to take a photo, but thought the people on board the machines might not be so happy about that. Every time I have been past this gym, there have been people using almost every machine, even before it was officially open. It’s a great idea because, before the outdoor gym was installed, people would use the nearby play area to do pull ups and so on, a bit intimidating for a small child! For anyone who hasn’t seen one of these gyms, they are a collection of heavy duty, brightly coloured machines to exercise various parts of the body. I imagine they use your own body weight to assist in the workout. One day I will have a go and report back (and take a photo).

We carried on up the hill, which I found far more difficult than on Sunday, with the running buggy ahead of me. We did pause at the sandpit and bumped into some friends, so it was a rather lovely morning/afternoon out.

Time: 46 minutes 28 seconds

Distance: 4.16 miles

Average Pace: 11.10

Best Pace: 8.27

Calories: 457

Last night I forced myself to go out for a run after dinner and after Hector had gone to bed, this meant leaving the house at about 8.30. It was dark. I am not a fan of evening runs around here, I had to stick to busy roads and loop around to make up the mileage. I also went on a bit of a detour to avoid a rowdy group of men on the main road. I think I should buy some reflective strips to make myself a bit more visible if I am to make a habit of going out in the evening – head to toe black is not a good idea.

Time: 32 minutes 31 seconds

Distance: 3.22 miles

Average Pace: 10.05

Calories: 318


Cardiff in sight

Oh hello! Yes, my running has taken a sideline recently. I got into a good groove before we went away, running in the evening, doing sit-ups, stretching, that kind of thing, then we went to Cornwall for a week and I lost my mojo again. I eagerly packed my running kit before anything else, then promptly left it in the boot of the car for the rest of the week. I was having far too much fun playing in the sand, catching my breath in the sea and eating lots and lots of delicious cream teas. Drool. Oh, and quenching my thirst with this stuff:

I became rather adept at my new obsession, stone balancing, excellent fun and ever so satisfying when you manage a tricky one:

Anyway, that was almost a month ago, so I thought I needed to get back on course and took advantage of this Bank Holiday weekend and went for a couple of runs and three bike rides. The first run was a little tester to see if I was actually still alive. I was. It was windy and grey and felt more like October than August, but I managed about three miles and a bit (dodgy Garmin stats again). On Sunday I couldn’t find my Garmin anywhere (it turned up under the bed, as things do) so Edward said I could use his iPhone. I did comment that I find it irritating that you can’t just look down at your wrist to see how far you’ve gone, but this particular app tells you out loud when you’ve completed another mile. I did six. In October I am running the Cardiff Half Marathon, so that’s about six weeks away. I figure I could add a mile a week to the long run and things should be just fine, slow and steady.

I ran to Finsbury Park for this one. Again it was windy, but it felt nice to run around Finsbury Park outside the constrains of the Parkrun: there are hills, but I avoided anything as horrible as the one we run up twice during the 5k. On both of my runs this week I witnessed men peeing in parks, the first one I reprimanded, but this one just puzzled me. There was a fun fair in the park and he was one of the fair people who had obviously been spending the night amongst the lights and dizzying rides in his caravan. Now, I have very little experience of caravans, but I do know that they generally have a loo in them, don’t they? So why would you go outside and pee next to it? Dirty.

Time: 1 hour 4 minutes 45 seconds

Distance: 6.18 miles

Average Pace: 10.28

Calories: 932

How generous the iPod is with calories, I took advantage of this with an extra big bowl of my blackberry crumble.

Another reason for my lack of running is that I am slightly distracted by moving house. Our sale is going through now but we were having trouble finding anywhere to move to. We seem to have found ‘the one’ now and are looking forward to a smooth move. This has set me thinking about running routes. We picked our blackberries on Tottenham Marshes and I said I am going to miss them (as does Jogblog), this half marathon will be the last race where I will train on the marshes and canals, the routes that have seen me through two marathons and numerous other running challenges. I wonder if I will find anywhere as wonderful where we are moving to. One thing that does excite me is the possibility of being just minutes away from a running club, and running is the best way to explore a new area and find out where everything is.

My tenth Parkrun and a Juneathon win

I had a big smile on my face as I cycled over to Finsbury Park this morning, I had had a quick look at Twitter before I left and found out I had ‘won’ Juneathon. My wrist felt a bit airy as I pedalled along and I realised I’d left my Garmin at home, for a second I considered turning back then thought ‘Nah’ and carried on, all carefree and happy. I was even there early enough to stretch a bit, chat and saunter over to the start line feeling fresh rather than frantic, as I normally do. The heat was a challenge on this race, and I enjoyed the downhill stretch, not just for it’s downward properties, but also for the shade it offered. I chatted with someone called Roz on the way round, we found we ran at the same pace and used this to push ourselves and each other along a bit. I don’t normally do this, but it seemed to work and, on the second hill I thought I had left her behind, but she had walked a bit to gain some strength and sped through towards the finish line ahead of me! I think we’ve started something.

I will post my result for this race later when I get the Parkrun email, but I think Roz managed a PB, which is great!

So, to Juneathon. I am delighted to be the winner, but also shocked when you consider all the people who took part this year and the effort that was made to reach personal goals and pass markers from previous years that left some defeated. Everyone has a Juneathon story and it’s fantastic to be a part of this, to share in the ups and downs of a month of jolly hard work. There were so many people blogging this year that I found it hard to keep up at times, goodness knows how Cathy and Shaun managed it! I could sit here all day listing the various blogs I have enjoyed and the many achievements followed, but one person I really enjoyed following was Deepa. I saw her mention running on the first of June on Twitter, and asked her to join us in Juneathon, so she set up a blog for herself and dedicated some time each day to a different activity, managing to run on 22 of the 30 days, amazing when you consider that she’s pretty new to running. That’s what it’s all about.

Of course, my Juneathon wouldn’t be possible without the support of my two-strong team of coaches, Edward and Hector. Thank you to Edward for encouraging me and making time for me to fit in a run on some very busy family days (June is a crazy birthday month in our house) and a BIG HUGE thank you to my little fella Hector for accompanying me so enthusiastically and shouting: ‘Faster Mummy!’ on those hard bits, you little super star!

Ingerlund, Ingerlund, Ingerlund!

I think we deserve some sort of extra special Juneathon loving for getting to the Parkrun this morning. Hector slept until 8am (!) so we had to throw our clothes on and just go, without breakfast. My cold of recent days had escalated into a nasty cough, complete with Mariella Frostrup vocal tones and I felt a bit like this trolley:

We got there though, just as the runners started to head over to the start. Today Edward was being Dad runner and pushing Hector around. He said to Hector: ‘Maybe we will try and catch up with Mummy’ but, of course, he is just as fast even when pushing Hector and they were soon well ahead. It was hard today: no breakfast and a chesty whatnot equals a tough race, I even walked for a bit on THE HILL both times. Team Prince Hill was waiting for me at the finish line to give a little cheer and we headed over to the sandpit for a quick play before grabbing some breakfast.

Hector and I have a fun new game we play on our trips out and about: spot the flag on a vehicle. This round trip resulted in 63 England flags, 1 Italian flag and 2 Cameroonian flags. Then, at Sainsburys we gave in and pimped Hector’s running buggy, entering a whole new chavvy world.

He did get a ‘Roll on England!’ from a chap passing in his car!

Stats for Juneathon Day 12

Type of run: Race

Time: 29 minutes 56 seconds

Distance: 3.08 miles

Average Pace: 9.43

Best Pace: 4.40

Calories: 339


Not an awful lot to report really, too sunken in a fog of illness to run, but I am emerging slowly to see the sunshine again. Poor Hector was so ill throughout Sunday night, waking every ten minutes or so to vomit, so Monday was spent dealing with much of the same and generally snuggling and cuddling whilst reading the same books over and over. Last night, I came down with the same lurgy. It’s hard being ill, but harder when you have to carry on as normal because you have a small child to care for. Thankfully, H slept quite well, so I only really had to deal with my own illness. This morning I feel a lot better, but very weak due to the fact that I haven’t kept anything down since yesterday’s breakfast 😦 Parsnip soup for lunch I think, and maybe a bit of ginger grated in to settle the tum.

I did get out for the second Finsbury Parkrun. It was such a beautiful day, far nicer that the previous week, but fewer people turned up. How odd! I decided to just cycle over on my own, and do the race then head back straight after, much less hassle than a family outing. Despite the glorious sunshine, it was cold so I put on my long sleeves for the first time this season, but felt really hot a few minutes into the race! Things went well, but I kept thinking about that bloody hill, I was determined not to stop this time, and didn’t. Instead I kept a steady pace throughout but somehow managed to finish in a slower time than last week, even without the pause on the hill! Someone was taking photos and I unfortunately got captured by the lens at a few points, not a pretty sight.

Time: 28 minutes 14 seconds

Distance: 3.12 miles

Average Pace: 9.02

Best Pace: 6.06

Calories: 323

I think I need to change my Garmin to KM and start doing some KMs at 5k race pace to really get a sense of what I need to do to hit 25 minutes. Even with the slower time, I was the 9th woman in, so it’s the sort of race where you can excel if you put in the work.


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