PB or not PB?

That is the question. I ran around the track this morning. I wanted to see how fast I could run 5k. My legs have been a bit heavy since Tuesday so I wasn’t expecting much. I set off and, at the end of the first lap I glanced at my Garmin, which wasn’t registering distance or pace, so I fiddled around for a moment and still nothing was happening so I just kept going. Part way round lap 2 it picked up a signal but the pace was something daft like 24 minute miles. On I went, gritting my teeth, slightly disheartened by the lack of cooperation from my wrist mate, but determined to stick to the pace I had reached. When I finished my 5k I was slightly disappointed with the time as it appeared on my watch, but boosted by the kind comments from the gym manager who was marvelling at how ‘strong’ I had looked all the way around 🙂

Now I’m back home I’ve uploaded the run and this is what it says:


So, any ideas? Did I run under 26 minutes? I’m hoping the 25.45 ‘moving time’ is the one. If so, I’m getting there, if not, must work harder.


Fast track

I just had to share this morning’s track run with you. I wasn’t even going to go – I couldn’t find my gym membership card and was looking for ways to wuss out, but I went for it and the kind gym man let me in anyway since he knows me now. I had on my lovely NB Union Jack shoes again and my ears were plugged-in to some Audiofuel and off I went. It felt hard at first, and I wondered if I had it in me, but I soon warmed up and lengthened my stride. Each time I came to the long, straight edge of the track, I went a bit faster and picked up the pace again as the music increased in bpm. I was only going to run for as long as the track took me, but I glanced down at my wrist and saw how close I was to 5k and that I could possibly get a good time, so picked it up again.

Distance: 3.11 miles

Time: 26 minutes 51 seconds

Average Pace: 8.38

Best Pace: 5.50

Calories: 377

Yaaaaaayyy! My best ever 5k time is 26 minutes and I was not so far out there, I had even done the cool-down element of the run, so could possibly have kept the pace up a bit to get a better time! As you can probably tell, I’m a bit excited by this. My goal is to run 26 minutes or faster by my birthday on December 30th, so I think I’m going the right way about it 🙂 It’s interesting to see how much slower I am at the Hilly Fields Parkrun, so this confirms that my PB run is not likely to happen there!

Talking of Parkrun, here’s a nice little video filmed in Australia. Of course, we don’t always have the sunshine (though our three runs have so far been beautifully sunny) and we haven’t set up a BBQ yet, but we have coffee and cake at the cafe and we have friendly faces all round, so give the Hilly Fields Parkrun a go 🙂


(I tried to embed this, but it wasn’t working for some reason, so just click)

I also want to announce the winner of my Adidas MiCoach game competition. The winner is…Pete Howard, otherwise known as Follystone to his Janathon/Juneathon friends. Enjoy the game Pete!

Running the Hilly Fields Parkrun

For real!

Another gorgeous morning for meeting up with lycra-clad people and sweating your butts off on the hills of South East London. Edward and his small assistant were on marshal duty again, so it was up the hill bright and early for the Prince-Hill family and time for a quick play in the playground before the action started. It felt nice to be in running gear this time and giving it a go myself though, after my solo attempt on Monday, I was slightly apprehensive about potentially chucking-up in front of everyone at the end! The crowd soon built up at the top of the hill, not quite as many as last week’s first run, but a respectable collection of brightly coloured tops were milling around.

Heading startwards

I quickly set my Garmin to find a signal and it seemed slightly perplexed when it told me: ‘Multiple heart rate monitors detected’! I looked around, yup, they look like HRM types.

Thumbs up

I’m glad I ran the course this week because I was able to work out where I need to put the arrows, cones and marshalls when I am Run Director next week. It was also great to run it with the support of fellow runners and the encouragement of marshalls, especially this little fella, blowing his whistle, high-fiving and even giving me a hug mid-run (not so great for time, but marvellous for your morale).

Whistle-blower in action

Having run the course on Monday, I had a better sense of pacing and managed to avoid feeling nauseous as I got to the top of the hill of the final lap, I was even greeted by Hector on his bike, who prompted the people gathered at the finish line to chuckle and cheer as he raced me to the end, giving me the boost I needed to attempt a sprint finish! I was telling everyone I had knocked a minute off Monday’s time, but I think it’s more like 45 seconds, still not bad 🙂 I then had to fess up. Having spent my week telling people: ‘You must remember your barcode…blah, blah…’ I didn’t have mine! It wasn’t my fault, honest, it was all Edward’s doing, or rather not-doing: he left it on the printer at work. Afterwards I realised I pushed in front of loads of people queuing nicely to get their barcodes scanned, in my rush to get the embarrassment over with, sorry about that folks. To make sure I don’t do this again, I have ordered a rather splendid little tag that I can attach to my keys or wherever, and not worry about sweaty bits of paper, or indeed any bits of paper.

Distance: 3.12 miles

Time: 29 minutes 18 seconds

Average Pace: 9.24

Best Pace: 6.46

Calories: 380

I noticed that I got slower each mile, so I need to work on keeping the pace consistent for the whole 5k. Still feeling confident.


Wrong head

There was some more stalling going on today, I’ve been feeling a bit weird: aching all over, headache, sort of flu-like but without the cough/nose/throat bit, so it took a lot of effort to get out there this morning. Again. I think I have to accept that I will succumb to illness during each of the Athons, it’s the way. So I got into my gear and remembered that my HRM strap seems to have a flat battery (discovered during yesterday’s heart-attack moment), our washing machine is still in the living room after the new floor being laid, so the clothes were a bit wrong and, when I went to put my contact lenses in, I found that one of them was torn. I wasn’t keen on running in my nice new glasses, so rooted out my old ones only to discover that they were covered in paint, scrape, scrape, scrape. It all felt a bit wrong. I relayed all this crap to Edward, who simply said: ‘Wrong head’ and I felt right again, or at least more willing to snap out of it and make an effort.

It was funny because, once I got out there are started running (and got used to the ‘looking through a letter box’ effect of my old glasses) I felt much, much better. The aching eased and I had a good run. It just goes to show that a run can really do you good if you can get past that initial ambivalence.

This afternoon we went with our neighbour up to the Horniman Museum to see some World Music in the gardens. We dug our heels into the mud and ignored the odd shower and heard some really interesting stuff. One of the bands is a favourite of Hector’s and he showed off his top moves near the stage:

Bustin’ some moves

Distance run: 3.31 miles

Time: 34 minutes

Average Pace: 10.17

Best Pace: 8.09

Calories: 409

A Queen, an owl and The Red Arrows

It’s been an odd sort of day! We had planned a while ago to meet some friends today at the British Museum, so off we went to Charing Cross and right into the middle of the Jubilee celebrations. There was no way we could cross The Strand until Edward spotted a foot tunnel and, as we surfaced, the crowd started to cheer. ‘Get on Daddy’s shoulders, it’s the Queen!’ I shouted.

My view of the Queen

After this little bit of excitement, we wandered through the closed streets and got caught up in the atmosphere, enjoying all the police motorbikes and the general sense of fun. When we reached the British Museum, we found our friends and the falconry display was about to start. Edward joined some of Hector’s friends in lying down on the ground to have birds of prey fly over them, then we all cooed over this little lovely:

A twelve-day-old owl

In true British Bank Holiday style, we took our picnic down into the basement and spread ourselves out in the schools picnic area (a really good spot to know about if you need somewhere to shelter and eat on a rainy day). It was lovely to catch up with our North London friends and share some delicious scones that Hector and Edward had made before we left. We then did some ‘making’ in the Great Hall, the craft activities are always really good there. Hector sat beautifully and made a finger puppet and a crown, much to my delight, I think the influence of his friends was having a positive creative effect on him.

King of the castle

Our journey home was broken up in a rainy Trafalgar Square, Edward and Hector weren’t keen, but I’m glad I pushed to stay because we got to see this:

The Red Arrows!!!

Hector has wanted to see The Red Arrows for a long time now, so this was a real treat greeted with cries of ‘Again! Again! Again!’.

This was not something that could be applied to my run. Oh, how I wished I had gone out this morning, but instead I had to abandon the boys, who were snuggled up watching a film, and go out in the pouring rain, even the couple of dogs that I saw looked pissed off at being out in it. At one point I felt a stone slip into my shoe and I thought: ‘Can I live with this stone in my shoe? I really don’t want to stop’.

Distance run: 3.04 miles

Time: 31 minutes 08 seconds

Average Pace: 10.15

Best Pace: 7.25

Calories: 371

Adventures in Geocaching

This three-week Easter holiday lark is proving challenging in the think-of-something-to-get-you-out-of-the-house-for-free department. I was in danger if being lured under yet another pile of Lego this morning, but was enthused and rescued by the idea – out of the blue – to try geocaching. I registered on the geocaching website and discovered that there are lots of caches in our local area so, not being in possession of the right kind of Garmin or an iPhone, I went all old-school and wrote down the details and clues and off we went. The idea (in my head at least) was that I would run and Hector would cycle, but he soon started to get distracted and I was pulling his bike along within the first mile while he hunted for sticks to poke around in the locations where the caches were hidden. Thankfully we found our very first cache quite close to home and quite quickly, so our enthusiasm was maintained and not dampened at the first spot.

Happy Geocacher

The next one involved us rummaging around at the wrong tree whilst avoiding nasty piles of dog poo for while before I suggested another tree. When I had described it all to Hector, with my limited knowledge, I had said that the caches might be like a sandwich box and could contain treasure, so we were surprised at just how small some of them were, but not disappointed, there is a real sense of delight when you eventually find your little capsule.

Tiny cache

For some reason, my normally bike-loving boy decided he would now spend the rest of the outward journey on foot, so I gradually acquired a bike, a jacket, a helmet, a rucksack and a particularly ‘important’ stick. This meant my idea of sneaking in a run was now in danger of being dashed completely. A few of our searches were unsuccessful, though we will go back because one was just off-putting due to being the favourite haunt of the local winos and therefore strewn with discarded beer cans (and worse) and not especially child-friendly. We made a team decision to head towards the last one on our list then take a refreshment break at the Big Sainsburys cafe.

In terms of increasing my Viceathon mileage stash, this outing only brought me even (I ran the return journey). The half a bread roll and a scone I consumed in Big Sainsburys didn’t really help the cause, but I did find myself walking away from a particularly lovely-looking hot cross bun (baked by Edward’s Mum and brought all the way from Manchester) this afternoon, in favour of an avocado, how very odd.

Today’s Viceathon totals

Baked goods eaten:

1/2 a bread roll

1 scone

Fruit eaten:

1 avocado

1 apple

Distance run: 2.54 miles

Time: 26 minutes 30 seconds

Average Pace: 10.26

Best Pace: 6.39

Calories: 268

Baked goods total for April 2:

2 slices of bread

Fruit eaten:

1 avocado

1 apple

1 orange

some dried apricots

Miles left in the Viceathon bank:


On the first day of Viceathon…

…my true love gave to me a lovely lemony loaf. It would be plain rude to turn down a slice. Wouldn’t it?

Before I indulged in such citrus delights I went for a run in the sun (I was very happy about this because the weather forecasters have been promising cold, cold, cold all week). As I ran I thought about what might pass my lips today and decided five miles should do it, hopefully leaving me with a bit of extra fuel in the Viceathon tank – I didn’t want to start panic buying too soon and end up with burnt fingers. Though, with this being the school holidays I have swiftly gone from being a six-days-a-week runner to just three this week, so I can’t sit back and let the miles take care of themselves as I have been recently on the school run.

My Viceathon vice, as I revealed in my last post is baked goods. I have decided that:

1 baked item=1 mile run

(a baked item could be a slice of bread, a piece of cake/a muffin, a hot cross bun – my vice of choice right now -, a biscuit or an oatcake.)

I am also going for a mega price-match and having a piece of fruit for every baked good eaten. In our house I compete with the miniature fruit monster and allow him to eat all the fruit, neglecting my own needs, imagining that ‘he needs it more than I do’. Given that Hector can consume his five-a-day in one sitting, I don’t get much of a look in.

Today’s Viceathon totals

Baked goods eaten:

1 slice of lemon cake

3 slices of bread

Fruit eaten:

2 bananas (0ne of which had gone past the stage of brownness I find acceptable)

1 pear

1 apple

Miles left in the Viceathon bank:


Distance: 5.15 miles

Time: 48 minutes 26 seconds

Average Pace: 9.24

Best Pace: 4.31

Calories: 548