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Running review of the year 2015 part 2

July 70 miles

This is usually an awful running month, so not a bad total. Meredith and I started branching out from Crane Park on our after work runs. We found all sorts of interesting places and got lost a lot! I only did one Arethusa  mile, but did some really enjoyable interval sessions with SRC. There were not a lot of long runs – the other fat runners were all triathlon training and focussed on their cycling. Also it was hot!

I had another parkrun tour to Burgess, which was extremely easy to get to on public transport and very enjoyable. I had a great run on the fast, flat course. At the end of the month I celebrated at Bushy with my 400th parkrun. Only 100 to go and I’ll get a new t-shirt.

August 70 miles

Despite being on holiday all month, I couldn’t seem to find my running mojo. I did a few Arethusas, a few interval sessions at SRC, a couple of longish runs… but it was all a bit unfocussed and not really going anywhere. Maybe I just needed a rest.

At the end of the month, Team Bushy went on holiday to Austria for the Ironan 70.3 I was in the support team. It was a brilliant holiday, and during a run/walk around the lake I found my mojo! Six of us started this run, I was the only one to complete it! (The others did run round the lake on other days). Two other excellent holiday runs were the pop-up Arethusa (straight down a hill and back up) and Iron Girl, a support event to Ironman. I was 5th British lady.

September 72 miles

It’s a good thing I found my mojo, as I had 4 races lined up this month. First the Kew Gardens 10k, my new favourite 10k and one of my favourite races of all time. I had one of those incredibly rare amazing runs where everything works perfectly, and was super-chuffed with my time. Next was the Thomas Cup, the opening handicap of the xc season at Ranelagh. It was hot and dry, nothing like proper xc. But it certainly felt like proper hard work.

Next was the Bacchus half marathon, another of my all time favourite races. I was seriously under trained so took a casual approach! I completely hit the wall at 10 miles, when it occurred to me that was the furthest I’d run for about 3 months. Spurred myself onto the end by thinking about the hog roast…

Last of all was the Ealing half marathon. Emma double booked herself so I took her place so it didn’t go to waste. It was a brilliantly organised race on closed roads and I’d like to do it again having actually trained for it! The post-race cake was awful though.

This month we also had the first ever junior-senior parkrun. Some of us who regularly volunteer at Bushy juniors wondered if we could beat those pesky kids, so did it ourselves. The answer was an emphatic no, but we enjoyed ourselves and will definitely do it again.

October 62 miles

Looking at my log, I barely seem to have run this month! Hardly made it out midweek at all, except for when I had Meredith to keep me company.  Even during half term I lacked motivation. I missed one parkrun because I was volunteering, and another because I was too tired. That hardly ever happens.

I did have an enjoyable run at the Cauliflower 10. Ashleigh and Leanne from Ranelagh organised this as a social run to replace this year’s Cabbage Patch 10, cancelled due to the Rugby World Cup. It was a lovely event but certainly didn’t inspire to enter the race ever again. I know the course far too well.

November 86 miles

At the beginning of the month it occurred to me that I had a reasonable chance of getting to 1000 miles this year with no more slacking! This provided the motivation I was missing in October, and although the midweek running still wasn’t great, I got some decent miles in at the weekends.

Team Bushy had another excellent trip to the Ballbuster despite the fact that it rained again! I had insanely entered the full event but thankfully Stefan, Katrin and the Human Race team stepped in and we were able to compete as Team Katbanger! I didn’t have such a good run as last year, but enjoyed the event.

Andy, Emma and I spent a freezing, windswept weekend in Hawaii, I mean Felpham, visiting Sharon and David. I had a great run at Bognor parkrun, except for my time, that was not great. We had a lovely long run on the Sunday morning along the seafront. For some more parkrun tourism, Andy, Emma and I had an excellent run to Osterley. Andy and I ran there, we all ran the parkrun, then Emma and I ran back.

I ran to work one day, the logistics were not quite as complex as I feared and it was a great way to start the day. I don’t seem to have repeated it yet though…

December 98 miles

(I was tempted to do 2 miles this morning to round it up, but resisted!)

I was extremely motivated by my 1000 mile target this month, and even ran 5 x a week twice, this kind of dedication is usually unheard of! I did a couple of different parkruns – Crane, because I was at my brother’s house and it’s nearer than Bushy, and Hackney Marshes on a haircutting outing. Meredith and I had less work to do towards the end of term so did a couple of bonus runs – to Starbucks for a festive latte and back. I then discovered the horrific calorie count of said festive latte… let’s just say I should have run further!

We ran to Surbiton for the Straggler/26.2 mob match to make a change for a long run. Not that I’m a member of either club, but never mind.

Christmas came with its usual opportunities to pack a lot of running into a few days. The turnout and atmosphere at parkrun on Christmas Day was truly inspirational. Plus I got the letter K in the funnel! Boxing Day happened to fall on a Saturday, which made for an interesting double – Bushy parkrun plus CP4. Once I added it up withal the bits in between I was chuffed to discover I’d run 11 miles, mostly at a pretty good pace. Between Christmas and NY we repeated last year’s race the Train run with  much bigger group. The weather was considerably better, and I was a lot fitter and healthier. The 4th mile of this run was my 1000th of the year, hooray!

Overall I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved this year. Next year, I’d like to address the post-marathon slump better, and increase the number of parkruns I’ve run to from home up to 10.  So far it’s 7 – Bushy, Kingston, Richmond, Old Deer, Crane, Osterley and Bedfont. I’d also like to get better at booting myself out the door on weekdays.

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Running review of the year 2015 part 1

January 79 miles

The year got of to a normal but not great start. I did the NYD parkrun double (Bushy-Kingston classic for me) but was properly dragging myself round by the end. I’d had the Worst Cold In The World Ever for several weeks and was still coughing up a lung. I decided to have a week off running which worked. I finally got rid of the cold and started marathon training.

I am extremely fortunate to have a great group training buddies which helped to make nearly all my long runs enjoyable. In January, Zoe accidentally coined the phrase ‘fat run’ due to a typo, and from then on all long runs became fat runs! Everyone else’s marathons were earlier in the year than mine, so the first few long runs were very pleasant (minimal)efforts of 10 miles or so.

My mum and I went on parkrun tour to Mile End on a lovely cold sunny day where I had an inexplicably excellent run! In fact I think it was my fastest parkrun of 2015.

February 94 miles

The month began with a new race for Liz and I – the Bookham 10k. This is an xc race and must have been the slowest 10k I ever ran in my life. I enjoyed it a lot though, unlike my poor  mother who fell in a puddle just before the finish, emerging looking like something from the Black Lagoon. I did ask if she was ok before taking photos! She felt fine at the time but ended up damaging her knee and not running properly for several weeks. Bummer. Never mind, the post-race cake was amazing!

At half term Liz and I went to Lancashire to visit my cousin Jon and his wife Carol and their lovely daughters Finty and Daisy. Finty is a very talented athlete and Jon and Daisy are good runners too. Carol prefers to walk the dog I think! Apart from catching up with family, the main purpose of this trip was parkrun tourism – the fearsome Cuerden Valley. Definitely the toughest course I’ve done, and my slowest touristing run despite trying very hard! In the afternoon, Jon, Finty and Daisy were participating in their local xc league. 5 minutes before the start of the ladies race, I decided to borrow a Red Rose Runners vest, pay a fiver and join in! Thankfully there were no hills at this friendly event. The following day Jon and Finty kindly took us for a run in their local area, up a giant hill mostly. I spent most of the rest of half term asleep!

I had a far less enjoyable run at the xc at Parliament Hill. I realised far too late I have no spikes any more, due to my fading interest in xc. I ‘ran’ in trail shoes and it was ridiculous. I fell over about 10 times and was nearly last. However I was glad to finish as we had the most female finishers Ranelagh had fielded for several years.

I decided to avoid the Hampton Court not ‘alf this year, but Andy and I had a very enjoyable run supporting the race, and eating scones at Carol’s afterwards.

March 120 miles

Biggest month of mileage this year (and for 2 and 1/2 years in fact) as the marathon training began to get serious! There was some nice Spring sunshine, there must have been, I even got my road bike out once! I did three half marathons this month – Leith Hill, North London and Hampton Court Palace. All new to me. Leith Hill was very, very tough but a fabulous event. Andy, Emma and I all ran well and are looking forward to a repeat. The race was preceded by the national wife carrying championships, and followed by a full English breakfast. They also had Jaffa cakes at the water stations. Awesome.

I had a free place in the North London event – Hannah, a journalist friend, was looking for a mother/daughter pair to run it and write a blog about it. Unfortunately Liz couldn’t run it in the end but she kindly came to cheer me on. The thought of my finish time being in a national newspaper spurred me on to a nice sub-2, and we got to join a Q and A with Mo Farah. Oh, and I bought this laptop with the money I earned from the blogging!

Hayden and I ran the HCP half together. It was not the best route, or weather, and there was a lot of swearing! We ended up enjoying it though, and there were homemade biscuits at the finish in the shape of Henry 8th. (In case you were wondering, yes I am utterly obsessed with my post-run snacks).

April 88 miles

At the beginning of the month I went on holiday to Malaysia for a wedding, which was not conducive to marathon training at all. I did not cope well at all with the heat and sun and managed two really lame runs. It was a beautiful wedding on the beach though! On my return I struggled a bit with  a 15 miler, but got going again over the next few weeks.

This month we had the end of an era and the start of a new one – last run on the old course of Bushy parkrun and first run of the new one. I only just made the last one after landing at Heathrow that morning – Emma was tracking my movements around the globe to ensure I made it! I was all ready to hate the new ‘butterfly’ course but actually I really like it.

I had a new experience at the London marathon this year – I went with Rachel, Michael and Rob to volunteer at the start. Apart from the ridiculously early start it was fun and I’d do it again. Our job was to keep the riffraff out of the fast GFA start. We then got a brilliant view of the start, never seen that in real life before. There was still plenty of time to meet Hayden, Emma and Emily at 20 miles to watch. I think this was Rachel’s suggestion and it was a brilliant spot – I’d definitely go there again. Highlights were seeing Paula with the biggest smile ever, surrounded by club runners who couldn’t believe their privilege of running with her; and of course seeing Andy looking brilliant and going on to a fantastic first marathon finish.

May 128 miles

Marathon time – but not until the end of the month hence the massive mileage. My last 20 miler was an excellent run and a massive confidence booster. I ran to Emma and Andy’s house in New Malden, where Andy joined me to run to Nonsuch Park. (I seem to remember discussing a lot of politics as it was election time). Emma and Zoe went in the car. I then ran the Nonsuch 10k, plus a drizzle to round it up to 20 miles. The drizzle was by far the hardest part!

The Arethusa season began, I seemed to have no speed whatsoever. Not really a focus, but Meredith and I had been consistently paarlaufing on the school field so there should have been something there. Ah well.

The GBR was only 2 weeks before my marathon so I opted for stages near to home and sleeping in my own bed. To be honest I didn’t really enjoy either run and missed being part of the road trip. I was glad to run another 2 stages though towards my target of eventually doing all of them.

My last run before the marathon was textbook awful – literally I don’t know when I’ve felt worse on a run. I know that’s normal though. The marathon itself – you can read about that in its very own blog.

June 42 miles

Er, post-marathon blues anyone?! An absolutely shocking month of (barely) running, I had no mojo whatsoever. I also had a whole weekend off running as I was away with school on a residential trip. I entered the Ranelagh 10k for some inexplicable reason, the less said about my atrocious pacing the better.

The only successful running related thing I did this month was joining a Team Bushy trip to Ironman UK 70.3. On the Saturday we ran Longrun Meadow parkrun and avoided the Quantock beast! On the Sunday it was the Ironman, we had several relay teams and it was huge amounts of fun. I did the run stage for Team Dickingbang (Andy swam and Jonny cycled) and had a surprisingly great run.

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Kent Roadrunner Marathon

This race appealed to me for a number of reasons – the small field (500) being a big reason. I don’t like running in crowds! When I researched the event, what struck me most was it seemed very much to be organised by runners, for runners, and I’m happy to say this proved to be absolutely true.

I did something new in my training – I didn’t try to follow any kind of written plan. I planned out all the long runs, and literally made everything else up as I went along. This worked brilliantly and I would definitely do it again. What also helped massively was having so many excellent running buddies. My long runs (which became known as fat runs after an autocorrect error by Zoe) were mostly done in the company of some combination of Andy, Hayden, Zoe and Iggy. They are all much faster than me, and it was really good for me to discover I could run long faster than I thought. We did some interesting long runs that included parkruns, the Sutton 10k, train rides…. I even did regular speedwork on the school field with Meredith! All in all my training went well, except the last run was awful, but that’s normal!

I had an excellent support team on race day. The journey was very uneventful, not much traffic at 6am on Saturday! We stopped at the services so I could get to race weight. Ahem. The only other people there were a couple of other marathoners. When we arrived I sorted out my chip, number, shoelaces etc. I collected my 16 wristbands – ditch one each lap, and run the last one naked! (I counted them about 10 times to make sure I had the right number). Zoe did my race plaits. Once I was ready, my support team headed off to Shorne Woods parkrun to set a few age group records and suchlike. This seemed a good way to keep them busy while I did the first few laps. Nothing to see there! I stuck a couple of shotblocks in my pocket, one last toilet trip and I was ready. It was sunny, windy and warmish. I felt kind of nervous but okay.

We set off and I ran the first mile far too fast. Oops. I then felt like I couldn’t settle into a pace for the first 5 or 6 miles, but looking at the splits afterwards I was actually reasonably consistent. I soon decided which were my favourite parts of the lap, and forced myself to think of something positive about the part I didn’t like (a switchback in the furthest corner). I loved dropping my wristband each time! They were all over the road, all mine went in the bucket! Another brilliant feature was on the line – when you ran over the chip mat your name and number of laps completed flashed up on a screen.

Four laps in and my support crew were back. One of the details I liked about the race was the option to set up a personal drink table in the manner of an elite athlete. Emma and Andy provided the table, I provided the drinks and snacks. Every time I went past I demanded something or chucked them an empty bottle. They were excellent – chasing me up the road with gobs of vaseline and all sorts. Although I did have a small tantrum at one point about my shotblocks not being unwrapped for me. What a diva! They were also writing me messages on a whiteboard – my lap splits when they were good, and all sorts of other stuff when they realised I didn’t want to know my lap splits!

I did lose count of the laps after 7 or 8, but had no fear of getting it wrong due to the foolproof wristband system. I say foolproof – some people got it wrong! I noticed when I’d done 10, because the number of bands I had suddenly looked significantly smaller. Hooray! I chucked them in any old order, until the end when I had red, black, pink and blue left. They went in that order – red didn’t go with my colour scheme. Black was a bit depressing, and I saved the Ranelagh blue until last for good luck. It’s amazing the utter shite that keeps your mind occupied when you’re running a marathon. Strangely, the laps didn’t seem to make it any better or worse than running a ‘normal’ marathon. I did like going past my support team so often though, and they all said they enjoyed ‘adopting’ other runners.

There was great support all round the course, including a bloke called Matt who ran the whole thing the opposite way round. All the other runners were so friendly too, in fact several of them probably thought I was not because I’m not that keen on chatting in races. Sorry friendly runners! I enjoyed the first half immensely. I was going along at a lovely pace and felt great. I looked at my watch at 13 miles and it said 2.02. I am not foolish enough to think for a second that meant I might finish in 4.04, but I was still happy with that for a halfway split. Miles 13-20 were ok too, except my hip flexors began to take it in turns to tighten up. Nothing major though. Then in classic marathon running style, I hit the wall at the traditional 20 mile point. Looking at the splits it’s absolutely textbook – mile 21 was suddenly a minute slower than any other mile! Oh dear. Nothing was actually wrong, I just could not move any faster if my life depended on it. So I just decided to keep running and not walk. There was a lot of walking going on by now, so it took a huge amount of willpower. I was also really struggling to eat anything at this point – it took a whole lap to get a shotblock down and not let it come back up. In retrospect I think I definitely didn’t eat enough (6 shotblocks and 2 pretzels) and next time will focus on eating more in the first half of the race.

With 6 laps to go I started thinking in parkruns – 3 to go! Laps 13, 14 and 15 were not fun at all, but I did them. Lap 16 was better as I felt the end was in sight. I didn’t look at my watch after 15 miles or so at all – I didn’t want to see 21 miles when I was hoping for 23! I actually liked not having mile markers for this reason, although obviously I knew how much further due to the number of laps. Oh dear, that made no sense at all! Ditching my last wristband was a great moment, and as I finished lap 16 I got a shout from the run director – ‘last lap Kirsty!’ Thank feck for that! I did make a concerted effort to speed up in the last lap and even attempted a sprint finish.

I finished in 4.22, which is my second fastest marathon time, and fastest since 2008. Also it’s the first time I’ve run the whole thing with no walking since then. So although I didn’t meet my time target (which was 4.15) I’m not at all disappointed. I got the biggest medal ever, a goodie bag and a hug from my parents. I felt knackered but completely fine. Little bit chafed, but no significant blisters. I often get awful blisters, so I put this down to the lovely smooth running surface. Couldn’t really eat anything but had a drink and a nice sit-down! Job done!

I would absolutely recommend this event 100 per cent. Everything about the organisation and facilities was excellent, I really couldn’t fault it. They’re changing the route slightly next year – it’s going to be 21 laps!

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Running review of the year 2014 part 2

July 50 miles

Always a rubbish month for mileage, but this seems particularly poor! I completely failed to run midweek at all until the last day of term. Emma and I did an extra long parkrun in Bushy involving running back to the start to get help for a man with a twisted ankle. I had a lovely weekend visit to see Sharon and David and try out their new cake club, I mean parkrun, in Bognor. Handily this coincided with David running his 300th parkrun. I just managed to outsprint my mother to the finish line of the Wedding Day Race, where I helped Ranelagh win the mob prize for the umpteenth time.

August 91 miles

No excuses in August, I get the whole month off, so it stands to reason that I did my best mileage of the year! This month is particularly noticeable for a lot more midweek running – including a few outings with the SRC people. I really enjoyed these sessions, specially intervals, not least because it’s a 4 minute jog from home. It’s all about location, location, location. I did the Burnham Beeches half marathon which I really hadn’t trained for at all. However, I was pleasantly surprised by my ability to run it all (at a slow pace) and I found this very motivating. The following week I did an enjoyable long run with my mum where we got the train to Clapham Junction and then ran back until we found Neros! Team Bushy descended on the inaugural Woking parkrun, and I was an extremely slow ‘fast’ runner in the Ratchford Relay. I had a lovely morning standing in biblical amounts of rain at Michael and Rachel’s house watching Ride London. In fact I enjoyed it so much I insanely entered for next year – hope I don’t get in! My mum and I tried out another new parkrun, Southwark, where we may have been the first people ever to navigate to parkrun using a compass!

September 91 miles

Really chuffed to achieve the same number of miles as August. I made it out on Mondays to SRC and Wednesday sto Arethusa which helped a lot, plus the weather was lovely. I did quite a few races too, including turning up for 2 xcs at Ranelagh which must have shocked them! As an ever present I again thoroughly enjoyed the Richmond running festival 10k, it has fast become one of my favourite races. Not least for the well-designed, well-fitting free top at the end. I did a massive course pb at the Bacchus half, mainly because I had a stomach cramp so couldn’t stop for many snacks. Thankfully I felt better for the hog roast at the end. I was first lady (not to mention first Kirsty) at Osterley parkrun and ran a season’s best at the last Arethusa of the year. I think this was my most successful running month.

October 82 miles

This was the month when Meredith and I had an amazing idea! After working together for a mere 5 years, it finally occured to us to go running together straight after work in Crane Park. We did this a lot and it was very successful. I had a wonderful, emotional morning at the 10th anniversary of parkrun. I felt so priveleged to be a part of it. Zoe, Emily and I failed to regain our title at the Kingston Breakfast Run relay, but had fun trying and all improved our individual times. I did some more xc – a Surrey League on Wimbledon Common and a mob match in Epping Forest. Found them both quite hard tbh! I had a random 9 mile run on a Friday because we had a bonus day off work for a power cut!

November 87 miles

The lovely Autumnal weather continued and there were some hot runs this month bizarrely. The sun shone on the Ranealgh junior marathon relay which was a really fun event to help with. Team Bushy had an excellent day out at the Ballbuster on Box Hill. Running up the Zigzag Road was a great experience and I love my hoodie. In fact I’ve barely taken it off since! I didn’t really enjoy two races that I normally would. One was the Brighton 10k – the route was slightly altered and the time was changed, and it all seemed a bit… meh. Used to be my favourite, think I’m over it now. The other was a mob match in Richmond Park, all was fine excpet my shoes really rubbed and gave me nasty blisters. I hate trail shoes. I had another trip to Bognor cake club where I ran a course pb to make the podium.

December 60 miles

This month I have had The Worst Cold Ever which accounts for the rubbish amount of running. I did quite a lot of after work runs and even ran home from work a few times due to a puncture, but nothing more than a few miles each time. I managed to feel better enough to do all the usual festive running, but in some very slow times. Best run of the month was definitely Mon 29th, when Liz, Zoe, Hayden and Andy raced Emma (who was on the train) from Twickenham to Carnaby Street. It was freezing and a hard run for me, but very enjoyable.

Summary 915 miles

Some decent running hidden here and there overe the year, but a lack of long runs seems to be a consistent factor. I’ve entered 5 halfs and a marathn next year, so that should solve that problem. Here’s to 1000 miles in 2015!

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Running Review of the Year 2014 part 1

It’s that time of year again….

January 86 miles

Nothing partuculary interesting happened to start the running year – NYD double parkrun was extremely wet, I didn’t make it out much midweek, I did some decent long runs on Sundays. I did a couple of xcs, both in ovely sunny weather – one on Wimbldon Common and one on Parliament Hill.

February 80 miles

A pretty decent number of miles for a short month. This was because I was training for the Hampton Court half at the end of the month. I was aiming for a decent time at this race, which kind of happened except we all went the wrong way so I ended up with a new pb for 12.8 miles! Never mind, it was great fun being paced/bodyguarded by Andy and Hayden. Although I did a reasonable number of miles, they were almost all at the weekends. Not good.

March 69 miles

Not so good on the mileage, again virtually all at the weekends, but I did get my road bike out twice as the weather was lovely! Had a lovely time at the NTLM, the weather was the complete opposite of last year’s hypothermia-fest. I had to walk at parkrun for the first time ever, and the following day had a terrible run at the Tempest 10. All became clear on day 3 when I came down with a most unpleasant stomach bug. I’m not sure where it came from but I had an amazing run at the Baker Cup, achieving a course pb. And I wasn’t second which always pleases me here!

April 63 miles

Rubbish mileage again – what on earth was my excuse when I was on holiday for half the month?! Could do better. I tried out a new parkrun (Brockwell) and did a good time – 23.43. I also did some running on the island of Mull where I went on holiday. Supported my mum at the Brighton marathon and had a stress free time watching the London marathon for achange, as I wasn’t particulalry looking for anyone. Except Jed on the milk float! Sharon and I got interviewed for the radio too…

May 75 miles

That’s a bit better – daylight, GBR and Arethusa all helped! I only made it to Arethusa once this month – for the opening run of the new season which was on a Tuesday, to commmorate the 60th anniversary of the 4 minute mile. Couldn’t exactly manage one myself! There was a very sad Bushy parkrun at the start of thre month – Sharon and David’s last before moving away. And a very fun one at the end of the month – to celebrate my 40th birthday. In the week leading up to this I had a random sore leg, no idea why. Very annoying as it stopped me running over half term. I also tried out another new parkrun (Dulwich). I had an excellent run on day 1 of GBR, finishing 18th and 4th lady, followed by considerably more of a struggle on day 2!

June 82 miles

Despite turning the grand old age of 40 this month it seems I can still just about run. Thank goodness for that! I did lots of Arethusa miles this month but couldn’t get near the magic 7 minutes. Or outsprint 7 year olds for that matter. had a great day out in the Sunshine Variety Bus for the Summer Super Seven! It never fails to amaze me how far I can run when I really want to. A new achievement this year was running all seven with no walking. I also had only 44 seconds between my fastest and slowest – pretty consistent.

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Just before the summer holidays I spend a delightful weekend at the seaside with Sharon and David. Of course, as part of the festivities we all ran at Bognor parkrun. It is a lovely course in a little park (it really is quite small – you have to do 4 laps!) with a delightful bunch of people who make a wonderful array of cakes every week, not just for special occasions. Clearly they have got the right idea about parkrun. However this was a special occasion – it was David’s 300th parkrun. This got us talking about our parkrun stats and Sharon and I discovered we had each run at 28 different parkrun locations. So I decided to visit two more over the holidays to bring my total up to a nice round (although actually completely arbitrary and meaningless!) number.

Last week there was a Bushy trip to the inaugural run at Woking, and Julie kindly offered me a place in her car. Inaugurals are always fun and this was no exception. It is a three lap course, mostly on tarmac with a short section in the woods, and a lot of corners! I don’t think the lady serving coffee afterwards quite knew what had hit her…

This week I decided to find a parkrun that was easily accessible by public transport and picked Southwark. My mum, Liz, decided to join me. It was an extremely  simple journey and I would highly recommend it to anyone who lives near the line to Waterloo. Four stops on the Jubilee line, a 5 minute walk and you’re there. Liz had helpfully printed the instructions and map, and when we came out of Canada Water station the first instruction was to head South. So naturally Liz got out her compass and we headed South! Has anyone ever navigated to parkrun using a compass before?!

Everyone at Southwark was very friendly, just like everyone at any parkrun ever! We invited the team to come to Bushy one week, but they looked a bit scared at the thought of 1000 parkrunners all at once. The course at Southwark is three extremly flat laps on tarmac, with lots of interesting landmarks to maintain your concentration. We were a little unsure about going to a pub for coffee, but it was perfectly pleasant and served delicious porridge!

When I got home, I checked those aforementioned stats… and discovered that actually I’ve now run at 32 different parkruns! Oh well, next I’ll aim for 50, but first I’m going back home to Bushy.

 

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Run and fun in the sun

This weekend the weather was absolutely fantastic – sunny, warm, just beautiful specially for the time of year, and after all the rain and wind over the Winter. On Saturday I went to Bushy parkrun as usual. As it was a lovely morning I thought I’d try and make an effort and aim for under 25 minutes again. I set off at what felt like a reasonable pace and tried to push myself all the way round. It felt like hard work but not like I was actually dying. I didn’t look at my watch at all – I didn’t want it to disappoint me when I felt like I was going well! Coming round the roundabout, I thought maybe I was on for a good time when Andy overtook me and helpfully commented ‘you’re in nosebleed territory here, Bangham!’. The final push from the last tree was hard work, but I was absolutely thrilled when I crossed the line and looked at my watch to see 23.35! The official time was 23.37, but either way it was the fastest parkrun I’ve done since 2008! And I’ve only ever gone faster at Bushy! Really not sure where that came from, but it made me very, very happy!

 

On Sunday it was the Not The London Marathon – an annual sociable training event I’ve been attending every year since it’s inception in 2008. Basically we run as many (or few) laps of the Bushy parkrun course as we like, then have a picnic. Last year this was one of my worst runs of the year, possibly of my life! The weather was revolting, cold, wet and windy, I was unfit and it was just hideous. There was crying. And no picnic!

 

This year’s run erased all those hideous memories. Over 70 people turned up. Pretty good for what is essentially a fairly pointless event. And I mean that in the nicest possible way! People had plans for everything from 1 lap to 16. I decided to run three. I ran lap one with Hayden and Peej, which meant I went a bit faster than intended. Hayden slowed down for me on lap two, so we were joined by a group of people just behind us. This included Zoe. I was very glad to run with her as we were celebrating our anniversary today – we met two years ago at this event and bonded over some marathon advice!

 

Towards the end of lap two I stopped for a drink of water so was on my own. At the end of the lap I waited for my mum and ran the third lap with her (she then carried on and did anther three). Thank goodness I’m not marathon training!

 

Then came the highlight of the morning – lounging around in the WARM SUNSHINE eating, drinking, gossiping and cheering people as they finished or continued.

 

We worked out that the weather has generally been good at this event in the even numbered years, and rubbish in the odd ones. So I don’t think I’ll bother turning up next year! Big thanks to David for organising this year’s event.

 

BTW Michael did run 16 laps. No really. He did.

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