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.


Welly Weather and Running in Company

I got very wet last night. Me and a few other runners. After a very, very long time of wanting to join in, I went down the road to the local running track and ran with my local club. Hoorah! It’s not that I haven’t had the inclination or the motivation to join in, but I have simply been unable to leave the house and run – Tuesday night is football night and Tuesday night has been football night for quite a few years now. The other week Edward informed me that he’s taking a break from Tuesday night football for a while, and would I like to to go along to the running club. I’ve been getting excited ever since.

Now Tuesday came round and so did Hector’s new drumming lesson: a train journey after school, sitting around while he learns about notes and rhythm and types of drums, train journey home then dinner. Phew. But this Tuesday was different: pull on running kit on return from drumming, look at self in mirror and wonder if this is the ‘right sort of kit’ to go running with a club, look disapprovingly at bum in lycra and think: ‘Yes, you need to get out and run’, go to the loo nervously a few times, grab stuff and saunter down the road to join in. It was raining, not a little bit of drizzle, but that big, sweeping sideways sort of rain, accentuated by the flood-lights at the track. I hung about and wondered what to do next. Now, since I started helping out at Parkrun, I have got to know some other runners and my day-to-day travels are punctuated by the odd ‘hello’ and a nod and a smile, so I was soon able to catch someone’s eye and have a chat with a familiar face as more runners gathered around and asked what we were doing tonight. I was introduced to the coach and was informed that we would be doing a mile warm-up around the track then 1200, 800×2 and 4×400 all with a 200m recovery in between, something like that anyway – he told us a few times and I still had to ask someone. And off we went. I didn’t want to exhaust myself during the warm-up, so took it easy and generally tried to hold back a little all the way through the evening, I didn’t want to show myself up by throwing up on my first session!

At first we were pretty much together, then some people pulled away and others trailed behind, there was a real cross-section of abilities, which was great. I was surprised to see just how well-used the track is on a Tuesday night. At one point I looked around as I ran, taking in the various groups going in different directions. I was plodding along in the inside lane as some faster runners from another group sped past on the outside, shorts shorter, limbs longer and leaner and ponytails flickier (always the flicky ponytails). In the centre of the track was a group of youngsters running diagonally across the football pitch, and outside the perimeter fence was a group of very serious-looking chaps being led by a man on a bike, and all of this was with heads down into the driving rain. I was surprised at how chatty it all was, with people catching up and talking about all sorts of things during the recovery sections, all so friendly and welcoming. Before I knew it we were on our last lap and gathering to set off on a warm-down around the park, avoiding being mowed down in the dark by the steam engines in shorts. Everybody said their goodbyes and I jogged home to a delicious noodly dinner cooked by a still slightly disgruntled at not playing football Edward.

This wet weather seems to have come out of the blue, though really, you’d think I’d have the hang of Autumn by now, but I do like to cling to the last remaining drops of summer, determined as I am to wear my Birkenstocks until my toes turn blue. I am a bit more responsible in my roll as a parent though, and swiftly got Hector off to the shops in search of some new wellies to splash about in Muddy Puddles.


I’ve been buying wellies for Hector for a few years now, and have mostly gone for the cheaper ones at Sainsburys or Tesco, but last time I was fed-up of them cracking around the ankles after just a few months’ wear, so spent a bit more at Clarks. A few months later and they cracked in exactly the same place! A friend mentioned Crocs wellies, which seem thicker and a better shape for crouching down in rivers and retrieving conkers from under trees, but I can’t seem to find them anywhere. If anyone knows of a decent but inexpensive welly that doesn’t crack then please let me know!

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!

Light-footed and patriotic

I miss the Olympic Games, I miss the Paralympic Games and I miss the uncharacteristically friendly London we encountered during the games. In an attempt to keep the spirit alive, I have been running around in these little lovelies:

Light as a feather

I received them in the post a few weeks ago and was, initially, slightly disappointed that they weren’t more Union Jackish, but have since forgiven their slight subtlety, and have embraced them wholeheartedly. I have always liked New Balance shoes, having had a pair of trail shoes when I first started running all those years ago. They were just lovely: light, bouncy, nicely designed and even waterproof; I was sad to have to replace them when they were no longer as bouncy. I was very pleased to be asked to try out this particular pair of shoes, having seen that they are a lightweight shoe, and they certainly are! You can see here that they have a blown rubber outsole that you can sense straight away, giving just enough cushioning and lots of flexibility.


When I took them out of their box Hector took a great deal of interest in them, turning them round, looking at the sole and trying to take out the inner section. When I asked him what he was looking for, he said: ‘Is there a toy* in here?’. Shoe manufacturers, you are missing a trick, a little Mo Farrah would be just perfect as a little heel mascot 😉 There are some nice details such as the ‘British Miler’ logo on the tongue and the nicest – Union Jack – aglets I’ve ever seen.

Nice tongue

I couldn’t dirty these chaps up in the park, so went straight to the track. I was advised to go up half a size and, having had some NBs that stubbed my toes previously, I listened to this advice and ended up with a size six. As I walked to the track, I wasn’t sure if this was such a good idea, as there was a bit of heel slip but this stopped once I started running – I guess some clever lace-tying could rectify this potential problem (though I did find the laces a bit long, and had to do a double knot to stop them trailing and coming undone). These shoes are lovely. They felt comfortable straight away, they were light, so light in fact that I was totally unaware of them and could just focus on my running. I had a great session with some good paces hit and, when I went in to the gym, the manager said: ‘I saw you running on the track, you were fast! I was surprised!’ (I’m not entirely sure about that last bit, but let us imagine he was being nice)! Woo-hoo! Someone said I was fast! I have decided that these will now be reserved for track sessions, they are my special edition Union Jack lucky shoes and I don’t want them to lose any of their gloss.

*Hector has a pair of sport shoes that have a toy hidden in the heel.

My new favourite socks

I’ve been busy. The weekend was spent sanding the floors at last, with my part being filling in the gaps with a gloopy porridge mixture of PVA and sawdust, a slightly back-breaking task, but necessary if Hector is ever to play with Lego in our living room! I had intended going for a run on both Saturday and Sunday, but it simply wasn’t possible, it was all hands on deck to get things done because we have been living upstairs for far too long now. I did, however, go for a fantastic track run at the end of last week, and took the opportunity to give my new socks another test. I have had the Run Breeze Running Socks for a while now, and have tested them on a few different runs, including the lovely North Wales run I did a few weeks ago.

I have been comparing them to some 1000 Mile socks I got recently, and can definitely say that these are my favourite. When I initially unpacked them I thought they might be too bulky, and I really prefer a much thinner sock, but once the are on they feel great. As they are an anti-blister sock, they have a thinner layer inside and it certainly does the trick, with no movement whatsoever. This has been challenged on a hilly, long run and on a speedy track session with a few average pace runs in between and there are no blisters to report.

Back to the track session. Following the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon workshop, I decided I should pay closer attention to interval training and strength, so gave myself a confidence-boosting talking to and got down to the running track whilst Hector was at nursery. I decided the best way to approach this would be to follow an Audiofuel track so there would be no slacking, and I plumped for the Martin Yelling Pyramid session. It’s a tough one! As with the shorter pyramid session, you build up gradually, peak, then work your way back down, but the challenge here is that each block of effort is three minutes long and I found myself struggling at each two-minute point. I think, if I hadn’t been at the track and feeling the pressure of my surroundings, the fact that I had paid good money to be there (it’s only £2.25, but still!) and the speedy chaps training alongside me, I might have doubled over and taken a breather, but I didn’t. I kept hard at it and felt fantastic for doing so. The two men who were quietly going about their business in the outer lanes looked quite serious. They ran in unison and had an incredibly relaxed, at ease stance as they covered the lanes with their long, comfortable strides. As I stretched, one of them stripped off his outer clothing to reveal short shorts and a vest, and put on his spikes as the other chap checked his clipboard and stopwatch, pros.

Time: 45 minutes 51 seconds

Distance: 4.76 miles

Average Pace: 9.38

Best Pace: 5.38

Calories: 472

Feet to the beat!

I ran on the track! Yay, I’m a proper runner! The other day I read/heard that there are plans to close our local running track and, when I mentioned it to Edward, he said: ‘Use it or lose it!’, so I thought I really should get down there and vote with my feet. I dropped Hector off at nursery – he went quietly but not before he gave me an insight into Toddler Time Management: ‘Mummy, I don’t want to waste this time at nursery, I want to use this time playing at home’. I quickly passed some of the other mums (who I feel slightly embarrassed running in front of as they don’t yet know about this ‘running persona’ like my ‘old’ mum friends do) and up and over the footbridge towards the track, and there I was, handing over my £2.25 and stepping onto its lovely springy red surface.

This track was being re-surfaced when we moved here in November, and is one of the Olympic training tracks, so this suggestion that it might close seems ludicrous. I asked the man at the office, and he said he thinks it unlikely, but the council want it to be run as a ‘community facility’, who they think will look after and maintain the track, I don’t know. With this in my head, I popped some Audiofuel in my ears and off I went. It was so much better doing the Pyramid 180 session on a track than in the muddy park, back and forth, back and forth, and I found the markings on the track useful in pushing me forward towards the end of a sprint: ‘I must get past that line before this sprint finishes!’ While I did my session, two other women were doing some sort of plyometric exercises at the side of the track and a man was putting out some hurdles so, for a Tuesday morning, that’s not a bad level of usage. The track is used by the Kent Athletic Club – who have Olympic hopefuls amongst their members – and the centre of the track is well-used as a football pitch, though I get the feeling the footballers use the metal track edge to scrape the mud off their boots, and they are not too careful about disposing of their drinks bottles. Ahem.

Time: 29 minutes 50 seconds

Distance: 3.03 miles

Average Pace: 9.50

Best Pace: 5.52

Calories: 358